Sunday, 30 June 2013

Abortion In Ireland

The ‘Right or Wrong’

It would seem that Ireland is going to be brought, with some citizens kicking and screaming, into a pro-choice world. So far the main proponents of the debate are those with liberal attitudes and agendas and those who, for the most part, are right wing, conservative and religious. Unfortunately, as is often the case when debates start to gain public recognition, there is rarely a discourse for people who may believe or at least question elements from each argument.
                We live in an era of scientific knowledge and beliefs that refute various religious ideas. This has seen a profound number of people stray from their local parish in the past twenty or so years. The Catholic church, for its part, has remained an archaic institute which refuses to change as social attitudes and customs do. It has fallen from an immensely powerful structure in society to something that has become relic like. While this seems true for many religious institutions the Catholic church is alone in the fact that it has been publicly disgraced for its transgressions again and again. Many people have turned away from the institution primarily for this reason while for others the community of church and belief is important and they recognize that it wasn’t ‘their’ priest who was involved. It has become obvious through recent inquiries and media attention that the upper echelons do not act with the interests of community at the forefront rather interests of appearance but the fact remains that religion can be a source of warmth and healing to people. Many others would argue that they are spiritual to some extent or believe in something transcendent though what they couldn’t tell you. The truth is that there is no way to prove or disprove any of these ideas and the act of endeavouring to do so often causes more damage than good.
                A growing number of societies and governments have decided that a foetus’ life cannot be called a human life and in doing so have paved a way for abortion. There is no point getting into the idea of a human spirit or soul being housed in a foetus or at what moment it becomes active. I can’t know this, neither can you. But one thing we can accept is that a foetus has the potential for human life. A foetus can grow from child to adult and live their lives whatever way they deem fit. To create life is a legal responsibility and those found guilty of neglecting their children face legal ramifications. As a society we have accepted that once the baby has been delivered it has the same rights and legal standing as any other citizen. We have not decided to which point this legal right extends before birth. I have no statistics on what point a brain develops but the fact that the potential for these things exists should bring a bigger argument than it’s a woman’s body, a woman’s choice. From a humanitarian point of view abortion would be unethical should we extend the same rights of a foetus to a child. Where then does this stand when we consider that a foetus is the potential for a child? And then of course darker arguments begin to spring up: what about cases of incest or rape, mental or physical illness or death? We can say that a foetus has the potential for life but also it has the potential to cause a devastating effect on life that already exists. Also there will always be cases where abortion is used flippantly. I would never argue that people would knowingly use it as a source of contraception, that argument seems shallow. However I do believe it relieves people of a certain amount of responsibility that they should have, but then the reality is that these people will probably make far better parents when they are ready, whether than is together or apart. There is also the argument that abortions cause people to experience depression. This is probably due to stigma and the fact that an abortion itself is a traumatic experience rather than evidence of anything inherently evil about it.
                Should abortion be made legal? I myself would not want my partner, sex buddy or one night stand to get one. I believe that the potential for a child is an important thing and without knowing if a foetus has some kind of cosmic or otherworldly energy I couldn’t stand by a decision to abort one. But that’s me and I don’t have the right to extend my sensibilities and ideologies to anyone else. Just because I believe in something does not make it real. I believed in Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, I even believed in the Abrahamic God I grew up with. The reality is that abortion should be legal for those that feel they need it for whatever reason that may be. Anyone who believes a foetus has a soul will not get one anyway. Whether this is right or wrong is a purely subjective matter. But if abortion does become law, we as a society, must stress that an individual be responsible. We must give them all the ideas, all the beliefs and all the mental and physical factors that go into getting an abortion. I’m sure many more people regret having abortions than children, and we should have a detailed list of the various coping mechanisms available to pregnant mothers. Above all else we must approach this with compassion for the person involved and not judgement. For most people the decision to get an abortion cannot be easy and times may well be tough in the preceding months that one has been completed.
                The abortion argument should not be about who is right and who is wrong. It should be about compassion for people regardless of which side of the line they stand on and a recognition that no matter what your beliefs are they don’t transcend the experience of being human. If you were brought up Catholic put yourself in the shoes of a young woman who isn’t. If you’re not spiritual or religious consider the possibility that the foetus may be more than growing cells or at the very least consider that it holds the possibility for life. When you have considered all these things and the various other ideas and arguments not expressed here make your decision but you must have the integrity and responsibility to consider these things. Once you do there is no one on either line of the argument that can convincingly say you were wrong.


Tuesday, 25 June 2013


Little one for the summer...


The cars looking for parking and granddad saying out past the sand bank are basking sharks. That he used swim with them out in Dungarvan and he gives a wink. Young lads green coming off the waltzers and through the P.A. there’s a seat left on the Future Dance. The roar of holiday money thrown to chippers and arcades, pin balls smashing records. And in the marram grass the big fella is climbing up on the missus, half clothed the big red neck on him. Little men with ice cream snots dripping off the top lip shouting and bawling as a skinny chap in atomic green togs, water to his ankles, wonders the point of it at all. And granddad says they’ve no teeth on them but by Jaysus they’d swally ya whole. And now the big fella, covered in lumpy sweat apologizing to the missus, just gimme a few minutes says he and I’ll be ready again, the sand plastered up his inner thigh tearing the hole off him. Mothers with sun screen palms and everyone trying to make memories, forcing too hard, some. But we lie down and bask in it all, melanomas and our skins not able. And there he is now a little bit further out, shaking with the cold and the waves turning black. The chap in atomic togs swimming with sharks.

Friday, 21 June 2013


These are barely edited, jaysus they're as raw...enjoy it anyway


May as well be times square for a Wexford boy. Streets gridded across each other and buildings so tall you go ant like. But god love them these poor lads don’t know how to name places at all. Future Shop one of them was called and Chronic Tacos was another. There’s a dose of punky looking one’s begging for money with a cardboard sign that reads: Too honest to steal, to ugly to whore. The tranny goes by sitting in the back seat of the squad car and I throw a quarter, or a dime or, a nickel down. No idea. The tiredness of the world is heavy and I duck into Bulldog Coffee ordering an Americano. The coffee’s two dollars but I get charged twenty cents more. I’m about to start something but then I remember the tax. I sit down by the window and open a book about enlightenment. I’m trying to understand it but it’s tough going like. Full of these stories that don’t make sense and how you’re already enlightened and if you strive to be enlightened you won’t be enlightened. If you meet the Buddha on the way kill him. But I keep at it and if I’m truthful I don’t understand a word. That’s the point the book says.
                When I get back to the hostel Beano’s after leaving a message in with the dudey-man that sold him the mushies. It doesn’t say much:
                Couldn’t hack it man, went home. Good luck.
                So that’s that, half way around the world by myself with three full packs of lexapro and two grand.
                You’ve never seen Guinness poured as quick and those country boys aren’t lying it doesn’t fucking travel. Nearly eight quid for the pint before tax and yer one has the gob open for tips all afternoon. And don’t even start about the pub, a ‘sports bar’ with some eejit on the telly spinning the handle bars of his BMX. Beano’s probably waiting on a plane now, heart sunk on his ma’s dinners. Might even be right what?

                It’s six when I get back to the hostel, eyes jet lagging, wankered on four pints. Leonard’s gone and it’s just me in the room. Nicer jails out there I’d say. Four green bunks, four lockers and a wooden floor. Walls are just stacked bricks like the dorms back at DCU. I drop two sleeping tablets, an antidepressant and wait to fall asleep. My heart starts hurting like it sometimes does, those sour pints of Guinness turning bad in me. Sadness looming, the heart tighter, sure what have you to be moaning about? Half way around the world and a small fortune. I’m reminded of my own weakness born of nothing in particular. I fall asleep gasping and fart some stout.

Thursday, 20 June 2013


gonna turn this one into a short story but right now it's kinds working as flash fiction.


The air hostess brought me four party cans, one after another before I dropped two sleeping tablets. Twenty minutes later Beano taps me on the shoulder saying to come to the tail of the plane and look at all the ice. He asks me why I’m stumbling and I give him two sleepers. The nine hour flight to Canada breezes by, us with our heads dog-like at the windows and half closed eyes. Beano starts talking to some contractor who tells us he can set us up with a tree planting company if we ever go to Alberta. He’s slurring his words though, the sleepers coming on strong and him going on about how he’s republican out and out. I interject, try and keep the old boy onside should we ever decide on Alberta. I don’t remember the rest of the journey. Beano and me head to the luggage bay after the landing and he goes:
                “Jaysus boy you were slurring your words some bad back there.”
                The lad on the desk at the hostel asks if we want some dried mushrooms. Mexican he says and scratches his stubble, dandruff in his hair. Just the room I say and Beano says fuck it, takes two stalks worth heads on them like UFOs. There’s no elevator to the rooms, I manage lugging a two year visa worth up the stairs, arms cramped up and raw. Each room has a flag painted on the door, I’m staying in Argentina with a Swede called Leonard. He’s a fifty odd chap, smell of money off him too flicking through pages on a tablet. Hello I say, realising how long it’s been since I used that particular word to greet anyone. Yup, Story, Craic, newly useless. He smiles and puts his head back to the screen, half eaten apple there like a medal. I take another sleeper out of my bag wash it back with a sup of water and my antidepressant. I fire everything into my locker and lie on my bunk the springs moaning with pressure.
                In the morning there’s still no sign of Beano. I head down to the restaurant for a free breakfast, rashers me hole, bacon like a bag of tayto. Fucking bagels and something called wonderbread. The apples are savage though to be fair. The waiter comes over to me and starts going on about bagels with jelly and cream cheese. “Cheers” and he stands there eyeing me like the conversations not done. Okay then he says and fucks off. It’s playoff season and the Canucks are doing well, a pride parade is due next week and its ten years since they caught Robert Pickton. They nabbed him before he had a chance to do his fiftieth prostitute, bits of the rest of them out with the pigs. I walk out onto Granville St, and there’s two hoores boxing the chops off each other by a greyhound bus. I watch from a safe distance, they both look crack hungry, one of them muscled and toned. Square jaw tense as she’s throwing another dig and then I see it, all because her skirts riding up her leg. The little mickey head-banging between her thighs. The cops pull in and break it up, stick the made up fella in the back seat the other one crying out loose teeth.

                Van-fucking-couver sahn.