by Jeanne D’Brant
Photos by Kevin McPartland
Get Well Card for Malachy
The IAWA July Salon at Bar Thalia was favored with a solid turnout who sent their support in song to founder, Malachy McCourt. Donie Carroll led the group in singing “Wild Mountain Thyme,” a song of the Scottish Highlands readapted by an Ulsterman. Salon Producer John Kearns forwarded the video to Himself.
The night featured the return of some familiar faces along with a few first-time presenters and an innovative mother/son poetry performance.
Sarah Fearon read a short piece called “Hurry Up and Relax.” While approaching the July 4th Holiday Weekend, a conscious effort is made to go against the city’s grain of “hurry up and relax.” Starting off at the zoo’s Delacourt clock, she gives us a walking meditation through the weekend’s events. Taking in a massage at an insanely deluxe spa, compliments of a gift certificate; watching fireworks on a Brooklyn rooftop, making the trek to a Rockaway bungalow, and feeling nostalgia for the old days when life was slower and more relaxing.
Tom Mahon read a story called “LUCK” from his collection: Tomorrow Never Came. A new Lieutenant arrives in country and is immediately sent to replace a platoon leader in a firefight. The instant he gets off the helicopter, he’s shot. He’s evacuated, and we learn the man he was supposed to replace was killed along with his radio operator and two others by a direct hit from a mortar.
Jonathan Goldman read a poem, “Aunt Rose,” from his in-progress suite of poems about his dead relatives, imaginatively entitled, Dead Relatives. The poem alludes to the unknowability of previous generations, and is kind of about how the author used to be a shit.
John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, in which Paul Logan reminisces about a gluttonous day spent in the French Quarter of New Orleans during a Catholic school teachers’ convention. Paul recalls eating beignets and muffulettas and drinking beers in the Old Absinthe House and from a lovely young street vendor while listening to live music coming from the bars of Bourbon Street. Paul will meet his girlfriend and other fellow teachers for a dinner that evening, in an excerpt John will read at the next salon.
In a piece from his one man play Cabtivist, John McDonagh commented that the upper east side never changes: no one dies, and the only places they go are to Bloomingdales, and psychiatrists’ and doctors’ appointments. His pithy stories of interactions between cops and cabbies show how quickly things can get out of control in the city, and how society and cab drivers deal with the homeless. To paraphrase William Butler Yeats, driving a Yellow cab in NYC too long “makes a stone of the heart.”
Bernadette Cullen lead off the second half of the evening with a reading of two pieces from a series of long poems in development which explore the themes of loss and remembrance. She will continue to write poetry, but is also interested in exploring short fiction pieces.
Frequent presenter and ever suave crooner, Jack DiMonte sang “On Second Thought,” a poetic ode to the regrets one can experience after a romantic break-up. It was written by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh, who penned many well-known hit songs, including, “Witchcraft.”
Maureen’s son, Asher
This mother and son poetry team of Maureen Daniels and her son, Asher, was a first-ever for the Salon.
Donie Carroll sang three songs, including, “Are Ye Right There, Michael?” by Percy French, describing comical adventures on the West Clare Railway. The song appears on Donie’s album, Divil of a Noise. The Corkman also sang the Wexford song, “The Bantry Girl’s Lament for Johnny.”
Donie finished the evening’s presentations accompanying himself on guitar whilst singing “Wild Mountain Thyme” in an accent redolent of the Auld Sod (County Cork, to be specific). The crowd joined in to wish Malachy well and expects to see him dancing at a ceili before Yule (with the Rockettes)! Watch the video!
See you on 7/21 at the Cell!