I am very pleased to be able to share with my readers another powerful short story by Karl Parkinson.
Karl Parkinson is a writer from Dublin, Ireland.
His debut collection of poetry Litany of the City & Other Poems was published by Wurmpress in 2013.
His work has been published in If Ever You Go: A map of Dublin in poetry and song, Dublin OneCity, Onebook choice 2014(Dedalus press), New Planet Cabaret anthology(New Island & RTE Radio), The Stinging Fly, Penduline, The poetry Bus, Can Can, and many more. He is spoken word editor at the Literary, arts web journal Colony.ie.
My Q and A with Karl
My post on Karl's powerful collection of poems, Litany of the City & Other Poems
Dave Lordan's excellent interview with Karl
Here are my opening thoughts on his collection:
Karl Parkinson's Litany of The City and Other Poem is almost a Leaves of Grass of the dark side of Dublin. There is to me a kind of deep paradox inherent in his works. There is a reveling in things most would turn their faces from, junkies, young girls giving blow jobs for heroin, natural geniuses on the dole, beer cans all over a filthy apartment in the projects expressed in what most see as the most elite literary form, the poem. The poems speak for those without their own voice. It takes a very cultivated person too truly focus on Karl's works, one whose life style and background will often make him a near tourist in the world of these poems. The literary roots of Parkinson, he refers to them, are Blake, Burroughs, Ginsburg,Whitman and Joyce. I can see Joyce in some of the "catalogues" in "Litany of the City". I can see Whitman nursing a 18 year old fatally injured Civil War soldier and knowing he will not last the night reading these works and feeling an almost paternal pride. Whitman wishes he could have sex with the soldier before he dies. I see Blake rewriting "Litany of The City" as a prophecy book, I see Burroughs asking where the cheapest heroin can be found and I see Joyce taking it all in with a blink of his eye and wondering if it is ok to ask Ginsburg if he wants to talk through the night with him. I see Frieda howling. Jean Rhys stops by and thinks to herself, "there is real potential here". She'll stop back in twenty years.
Taking ‘E’ Bath
By Karl Parkinson
We wer all sittin der in de gaff wit de Aunites an uncles. De Ma.
De fuckin aul fella an all. Sharon’s dressed up te de nines for de debs and her fella little Jocker is in de suit wanna see de state of him hair all gelled back an all,
thought he was the fuckin bizz he did.
So everyone’s getting stuck in te de cans an we’re poppin out for spliffs in de garden having a great time.
A few of us dropped a few bumble bee’s aswell. Why not ya know?
When de yokes kicked in we wer having a bleddin cracker of time.
Dancing wit de aul ones, flirtin wit de youngones, just havin a proper sesh, like.
Next of all I look around an can’t fuckin see Yonkers anywhere an I’m askin dem all where is he?
Cause ya know tha cunt he’s always getting too outta of it an up te no good.
Nobody’s seen em in awhile then Jimmy says he went de jacks about 20 minutes ago.
So I says better go up an see what’s de fuckin story with em.
I goes up de stairs pass de bleedin queue, birds all doing little dances holdin der fannys burstin for a piss.
I bangs on de door like an says
‘Are ya in der Yonkers?’
‘Yea, pal, be out in a bit.’
‘In a bit, yer in der 25 minutes ya mad cunt ya, a load a birds out here are pissin
‘Be out in a bit pal, don’t worry bout dem birds, they’ll be grand pal.’
‘Let me in for sec pal, I need te have a piss come on lads can piss together,
ya seen my nob loads a times anyway, ha-ha!’
‘Ok pal I’ll let ya in now.’
So I’m in de fuckin door, locks it behind me an this mad cunt is in de nip
Climbin in te de bath.
Fukin steam comin out of it, ya cant see in de mirror, fuckin sauna like.
He has his clothes folded nice an neat on de floor an he’s just lying in de bath like nuttin’s wrong wit it, he’s fuckin red raw man, an he say’s te me
‘Bit cold in here pal isin it?’
A bit fuckin cold is it, here let me runa bit more hot in der for yea so.
De fuckin water is boilin an dis fat cunt is in der like a bleedin lobster sayin it’s cold ha-ha-ha-ha.
I’m tryin te explain te em that we’re not in his gaff, wer in Sharons and er whole family’s down stairs but he just doesn’t give a bollox ya know?
So I’m thinking I have te get em outta dis bath an down stairs quick.
So I say’s let me give ya a head massage pal that’ll be lovely with de bath.
He’s gameball for that. So he’s der wit de eyes closed in de fuckin bath, chillin te bits like, an I’m massagin em wit one hand an runnin de hot water wit de other till de bath is like fuckin lava or sometin, right?
He fuckin starts pumpin sweat and is going fuckin redder than a United jersey.
Then I just slaps em in de face real hard te snap em outta wha ever buzz he’s on like.
He fuckin jumps up and starts screamin, fukin lookin around de room like wha de fuck am I doin in de bath, like?
Ya wanna see em getting out de bath in de nip his cock was burned he’s legs were so fuckin red, fat arse on em, bleeding gas man.
He just puts on his clothes an me an him walk out de bathroom an pass all de birds laughin are heads off liek nuttins wrong here an him with a big red tomato head on em.
We get te de end of de stairs an ya know what dis mad cunt says te me?
He turns around and says
‘I feel real fresh now pal, anymore a dem yokes, me buzz is after wearin off a bit over tha bath, ya know?’
What did I do?
I gave him another two pill didn’t I?
I mean, what’s a mate for ya know like?
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