From the pen of Turlough Ó Maoláin ...

The Chronicles of Bulgaria

Her Troubles


Tuesday’s fish supper grease still lingers

On grubby stubby stiff little fingers

Cracked by cold and each one bleeds

From overuse of rosary beads

The prayers that failed to meet her needs

Shaking as she does her speed

And always stained by nicotine

Hopes to be a beauty queen

Dissolved before she turned thirteen

A twenty-two-year-old has-been

Ashamed, afraid, must not be seen

With giro day’s amphetamine

And never let old Father Quinn

See her world is caving in

Keeping up her awful lie

Folk must never see her cry

Craving for the next great high

Screaming from a mouth too dry

To make a noise or even sigh

She wonders why

So many people point and stare

Does any mortal sinner care?

Hands shake in pockets with nothing there

But holes just like the soles

Of her shoes

That the cash from the dole's

Not enough to mend

The fear and desperation send

Her in flip flops frozen to her feet

She’s hard and cold like the wet concrete

Where she slips and slops in driving sleet

Nonstop to the shop

At the top of the street

In icy rain

In physical and in mental pain

For twenty Benson's

With no intention

Of paying back

A tenner stole from Granda's pension

Not to mention a few wee coins

For a drop of something sweet and strong

To help the morning move along

To drown the sounds

Of crying weans that pound and pound

Inside her head and all around

Her life's in tatters, so it is

Yer man at home says so is his

He once could fill her life with craic

Until he filled his own with crack

A body tortured on a rack

Small hope of ever turning back

A page in a Falls Road almanac


Belfast ...

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