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Harry

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Harry was going to the shops. To buy two large pencils and a ball of string.

Written by patrick_cahill

May 2, 2010 at 5:00 pm

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Down In Andium

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It was Andium’s
seventh son. Who
stole his throne.
And wore his slippers
as if they were his own.

Lit his pipe
and settled down.
As the lonely
bronze toy clown.

Written by patrick_cahill

April 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm

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chapter 6. Cleopatra’s Daughter

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To my Surprise the much loved yet rarely mentioned daughter of Cleopatra called the other day.

She, in a soft and ancient voice said, “my dear boy, its been so long since our paths have as much as touched.”

We talked for a full six hours about new Loves, new Thoughts, new Gods and the stars. Then said goodnight, after arranging to meet for a drink, at mannocks the next day.

I awoke that next morning at 10:52 after four and a half hours sleep, brushed my teeth, pulled on my tattered grey suit trousers, the cleanest white shirt I could find and that thin racing green tie with the tiny gold crests. Whilst checking the weather through the crack in the curtains I tied my shoes, then left.

We had agreed to meet at 11:30 where the 12a bus stops – which is only a short ten minute walk from my front door – so, I took my time said hello to the cat outside the post office and picked some flowers from a large decorative plant pot by the bank.

I arrived chrysanthemums in hand, checked my watch; 11:27 perfect. It was one of the most pleasant days that we’d had in a while. The air was an encouraging 24°C, there was the lightest of sea breezes and only an occasional and not unwelcome cloud interrupting the suns shine. I took a perch on the wall next to the bus stop and began admiring the stone work on the building across the street.

“Or-ite my love” she whispered in my left ear. “Shit off, I didn’t see you coming”, I mumbled whilst regaining my composer.

We walked&talked our way through them old lanes, that take you from Acardy St. down towards the river. Discussing new Ideas, new Fears, new Leaders and their art. Until we reached mannocks with it’s tall skinny windows sunk into the blackening, bare, sand stone walls. The solitary table, chair and unused ashtray, still standing in the street by the front door.

As we went through the door I handed her the flowers and told her to grab a table, while I went to the gents to take what was left of my, heart medicine. On my return I found her sitting in the corner by the window, strumming her fingers thoughtfully through the flowers. Picking off the occasional petal then watching it fall to the floor. A small circle of them surrounded her bare feet.

Though she was wearing; dirty dark navy skinnys, folded halfway up her shin, a roughly cut white cotton top and had short brown hair, that bobbed and ducked its way around her head. She still looked effortlessly elegant, as only someone with true royal blood could. I sat down opposite her, gave the waiter a nod and ordered us a pot of tea to share.

As he placed a large willow pattern teapot in the centre of the table. She reached into her bag on the seat next to her and from it handed me a book of poems written by a fabled Lebanese Prophet.

“Read that” she said with a look of immense satisfaction.

I smiled back, poured us both a cup of tea and lit a cigarette. We sat there quietly for a moment neither of us feeling the need to ruin it with lazy words.

After a while she said, whilst pushing her empty tea cup to the centre of the table. ” Well dear, please promise we won’t leave it this long again”. Stood up, kissed my head and left.

Written by patrick_cahill

March 10, 2010 at 5:52 pm

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Again

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Far flung mysteries

and dreams

of distant melodies.

Forgotten words

and misplaced lines.

Broken plans

for holding hands.

Written by patrick_cahill

October 24, 2009 at 6:06 pm

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is socialism dead?

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Socialism – n. political system which advocates public ownership of means of production, distribution and exchange.

Yet, mention socialism to Paul from Kent and what comes to his mind? Totalitarian dictatorships, poverty, police brutality and a lack of tolerance for religion. Socialism has become in many if not all ways a dirty word. It’s alright to be a socially concerned citizen, to dislike the current political system, to disagree with the domination of markets by large corporations but don’t use the S word.

Speaking just after WWII Raymond Williams wrote “communism [so far] has meant mainly anti-fascist. Within the next few years it will come to mean anti-liberal, anti-democratic and for some treasonous”. During the cold war Socialism as a whole was painted with the Stalinist brush, by leaders in the ‘west’ who for numerous reasons wanted to keep any form of Socialism at bay. But the truth is that the Spanish Republicans in the 1930’s, Che, Tito, Orwell and Trotsky, basically all the high profile socialist thinkers and fighters of the last century; were and are opposed to Stalin’s insultingly twisted use of the word socialism. Yet to this day Stalin’s legacy (still evident in China and North Korea) taints the very notion of Socialism.

And, with the current political and corporate leadership it’s going to stay that way unless we individually re-brand it. Instead of letting someone (whether they be socialist or capitalist) tell us what Socialism is, decide for ourselves what it is, what we want it to be. Rediscovering the underlying beauty and simplicity of Socialism.

Socialism promotes public ownership of land, but when a state is run to control the people rather than by the people, there is nothing public about the ownership. Socialism can be democratic, it can be liberal, it can allow people to practice their own faith and live prosperous lives. Whilst still bringing about true equality, justice and peace.

Socialism is dead, long live Socialism.

Written by patrick_cahill

October 23, 2009 at 4:10 pm

death round the table.

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This pretty girl said to Jamey, “would you still love me if I… Was to settle for death round the table?” Jamey paused, looked into her hazy eyes and said;

“When you have been down and out in Paris, London or Jersey for so long, that you can’t remember your own name. When love and music are but myths. When everyone you’ve loved is dead. And, when the British sun has set on our western shore for the last time.”

“Then, and only then. Should you settle for death, round the table my dear.”

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April 7, 2009 at 5:57 pm

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what’s in a face?

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Annalese Kohlmann, former Nazi female guard noted for her cruelty

I first came across this photograph in a lecture nearly a month ago and it has been etched on my mind ever since. Looking back at my notes I can see I didn’t make many notes after it was shown. A few days after the lecture I had a link to it on my desktop and by last week I had a print of it pinned to the wall above my desk. And, all of this just because it asks questions of me I still can’t answer.

The photograph was taken by George Rodger for life magazine in Germany, May 1945. The first thing I noticed was her hair, very modern I thought. With her long fringe coming across then down the right side of her face while at the back its short and neat. Then her shirt I love that shirt, the collar, the sleeves, I love it and I could see myself in something similar. I then look at her face it has this awkward, slightly disgruntled look that’s hard to define exactly, but you can see something more than ‘what are we having for dinner?’ is going through her head. After this quick look I’m thinking; yeah I like this women.

Then I’m told that this women is Annalese Kohlmann a female guard at a Nazi prison camp, known for her cruelty to the prisoners. I’m knocked back, what? I’m looking at her face even harder, for anything that might suggest she might be capable of this. I find nothing. Well I think, there you go we are always being told “not to judge a books by their covers”. But there is a much more pressing issue than this for me. Anyone who knows me will tell you I don’t dislike much in life, but one of my exceptions is Fascists, I just can’t grasp the logic behind wanting to kill someone for something as trivial as religion or where and to whom they happen to be born.

But yet, even now that I know this about her, I still struggle to have any negative feelings towards this women. And, I don’t have any logical reason for it; I should loathe everything about her. When I’ve seen other photographs of Nazis convicted of war crimes more often than not I get a feeling that this person was in some way evil, and for me this justifies why I feel the way I do towards them. But what about when I don’t get this feeling? Is there something else in the face? Something that allows me to get past the terrible things they did and connect with them. One could argue, that this photograph and others like that work on me in the same way are examples that show, perfectly reasonable and logical people who have been dragged into taking part in utterly illogical and cruel acts, through peer pressure and propaganda. But this is being far to speculative when I am only looking at one photograph of a woman I know so little about. It does however show I should definitely stop trying to spot war criminals by how they look.

None of this answers why it is I’m still fond of her or why I wish I knew more about her. Is it purely because she is female? But I’ve seen many photographs of other of female Nazis known for cruelty like Irma Grese, Maria Mandel, Herta Oberheuser and others, and I don’t even slightly feel the same way towards them.

Just to point out I don’t dislike anyone who had anything to do with the Nazi party during the WWII, terrible things were and still are done by individuals on all sides in all wars. As I’ve already touched on and as psychologists such as Stanley Milgram and Phillip G. Zimbardo have shown in their studies, it is very easy for any of us to end up taking part in things we would never usually consider, if our minds are fogged by fear and hate.

But this woman was known for her cruelty to prisoners, there is a strong case for me to justify not liking her, yet I don’t. Maybe it is because I was so wrong about her in the first place? I have always believed that a portrait/photograph can say a lot about a person, especially when it isn’t posed. I don’t really want to disagree with this too much. If it doesn’t, then it raises a whole other argument about the point and the effectiveness of documentary photography which I can’t really get into at the moment in anywhere near the depth I would need to.

You could easily argue that the face shows nothing, that captions and text are needed to explain the full story. Which is true, I would never of known what she did without extra information. But it is because I know what I do about her, that I can’t help but think there is undoubtedly something, in the face. Something that makes me think twice about her and want to know more. I have noticed it in a couple of other photographs that I’ve seen before, but it was this one that really kicked me in the teeth with it. Maybe it is purely personal? Maybe it’s not? But I will never be able to explain it or justify what I think, without knowing a lot more about her background and personality. Perhaps someone someday will give me a proper answer, because it’s asked me questions about myself, the world and photography that I would of once answered in a second, but now I can’t.  What’s in a face?

Written by patrick_cahill

March 14, 2009 at 11:42 am

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