Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Stick shifts and Steep Cliffs" by Christy Callahan

Christy Callahan was one of several participants in the open-mic at the February 28 reading at Duff's.

The next reading at Duff's, 392 North Euclid, will be Monday, March 14. Featured readers will be Kristina Marie Darling, •chance operations• co-founder Chris Parr, and Buzz Spector. Musical guest will be Learn, Artist!; doors open at 7:30 p.m. Advance sign-up for the open-mic following the featured readers is encouraged. Cover charge is $3.00.

Stick shifts and Steep Cliffs

My first observation of County Clare: it stinks.
The man to cow ratio appears to be a toss-up.
I scribble in my journal not only to document
every sight, every feeling, every, well, smell,
but to distract myself from the urge to advise
you on your driving skills and reckless speed
in our tiny Irish rental car on tiny Irish roads.

We arrive at the Cliffs of Moher, jerking
into a parking spot, too close for your comfort.
Still high on your Jason Statham-esque joyride
through Connemara, you lower your voice,
say, Let me just back this baby up a bit and lurch
our Polo into the car in front of us.

You claim to be a victim of culture shock.

A harpist charms as we climb stairs in the June
breeze; birds holler and flap, playing tag
as turquoise water crashes against jagged rocks.
Atop the Cliffs, we pose for pictures in matching
windbreakers, stare at etched limestone
and struggle to find descriptors besides Indescribable.

On the way to the bed and breakfast, we stop
at the store to restock on candy and Corn Nuts.
In the lot, the man in front of our car unloads groceries
into his trunk: orange juice, tea, and brown bread.
As you prepare to reverse out of our spot, I throw my hands
over my mouth as the car jumps forward again.

He steps toward you, calmly taps on the window, and says
A few weeks in the hospital would have been a holiday.

-- Christy Callahan

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