Memory City


I spoke to you today, for a minute I believed you were still here,

the crisp air spread around me like a blanket of winter mornings.

The way you used to savour fresh air against your face and smile,

I can picture your eyes closed and mouth smiling on the promenade at Venice Beach,

Crisp waves hitting the rocks, I took a deep breath in as a whirlpool of

summer days ran through my mind.


I picked a flower for you today, yellow like the radiance you shone,

The scent of summers choosing a daisy or tulip to pick came racing back.

Exploring Ventura Boulevard, only returning home when dusk was falling.

Sitting on the wall outside my house when I was ten years old with the kids on the street,

Days of packing up the car going to beaches and parks entertained me and gave me moments to cherish and reminisce when adult responsibilities overwhelm me.

From kindergarten to middle school, all the way up to graduation, you guided me.

I can picture you collecting me from LAX, smile beaming, arms outstretched.

Thousands of passengers in the terminal became a blur,

I could see your smiling face and life was normal.

A book of crosswords makes me think of you, even better if it came with a free biro.

Your face would fixate on a clue, trying a letter at a time, then a cheer if it fitted.

A pot of tea by your side, almost like your side kick, the refreshing taste on your lips eased the anguish of not being able to finish a full page in your puzzle book.

Your chair was lined up with the gameshows on the television, remember the time my childhood dog started barking and you didn’t hear an answer from the quizmaster,

Oh, how that terrier scurried so fast her shadow caught up with her eventually.

As days turn into months, then it is years, photos turn into memories.

This sprawling metropolis is home to millions, I was fortunate to call it my home but now you lay in your eternal resting place and now I am lost.


Happy Wedding Day


“That’s the money shot, right there, freeze” roared Stephen, the over excited photographer.  “Freeze, just one more, your doing great” he exclaimed as he beamed with joy.  Genevieve posed gracefully and chuckled at the dirt on her €500 dress.  “I told you Mum”, “I told you something like this would feckin happen to me” she continued, as she looked at her mother Mary wiping away a tear.  “What the feck did you walk that way for Geenie?” snapped Mary.  “You spent a fortune on fake tan, false eyelashes and got your hair done, then you feckin well walk into a pile of crap” shouted Mary frothing at the mouth with anger, foam was now forming on her lips.  The rain clouds over Beaker park were opening, drizzle was spitting down on the wedding cortege.  Tempers were frayed from earlier in the morning, as Genevieve, a laid back and easy-going person by nature stayed silent to her highly strung and perfectionist mother. The wedding guests, many of them colleagues of Genevieve’s from the local hospital, the vicar, Shirley and the groom, Darryl, were seated in the marquee in the centre of the magnificent forest and Mary was not happy the wedding was running over time by fifteen minutes.

“This is like your communion day all over again” grinned Jane, the bridesmaid, Genevieve’s older sister as she calmed her mother down with a shot of whiskey from a hip flask that was in her bag.  “Mom, it’ll be okay, remember Geenie can look wonderful in a bin liner, she has the graceful elegance to wear anything” reassured Jane, stroking her mother’s hand.  “What happened on your communion day, do you mind me asking?” enquired Stephen.  “I skidded across the park in my lovely white frock while I was playing football with the lads” announced the bride-to-be.  “You always end up a state Geenie” snarled Mary shaking her head and throwing her hands up in the air with disappointment.

Stomping her foot and clearing her throat to get maximum volume, Genevieve bellowed “excuse me Mom, but just because I embarrass myself on big occasions doesn’t make me a failure.  I’ll have you know I performed CPR on a toddler in cardiac arrest last week on the ward, I sat with a woman for a full half hour on my lunch break listening to stories of her beloved husband  of fifty years who had just passed away, I gave a child a piggy back to ease their nerves about being in a hospital, so no Mom, I may not give you a picture perfect polaroid but that doesn’t give you the right to shake your head at me”.

“Ssssh, your making a scene” said Mary as she linked Genevieve to move her towards the path into the forest.  “Geenie, ignore her, focus on your big day, Daryll is waiting for you, you know Mom’s way, she says things, but she doesn’t mean them” comforted Jane.  Genevieve shrugged her shoulders as Jane linked her other arm.  The midday sun was now prevalent as the rain clouds moved out of the way to shine down on Genevieve Baxter, soon to be Genevieve Timball.

The Baxter women walked towards the rose bush that signals the start of the wedding walk into the marquee, the guests stood up as a violinist began playing Genevieve and Daryll’s favourite song, ‘What a wonderful world’.  Jane walked first down the aisle carrying a beautiful bouquet of lily’s, George Baxter’s favourite flower.  The patriarch of the family had passed away when the girls were young.  Mary and Genevieve walked down next.  Mary whispered into Genevieve’s ear, “Geenie, you look a right state”.  “Shut up Mom, I love you, but shup up” smiled Genevieve in a quiet voice through gritted teeth.  Mary nodded and gave her a wink as she handed her youngest daughter over to a beaming Daryll Timball.

Ms Hattie



Meredith stared at the glistening and twinkling light display.  The crisp winter air was fresh on her face as she sipped a hot chocolate.  The Stars, Moon and Surprises Display was illuminating the town for one evening only and the people of Roseville were amazed at the spectacle.  Multi-coloured cotton ball string lighting hung from the tall evergreens that line the four avenues which meet at the town centre.

Bright yellow fluorescent lighting enveloped the gazebo in the town square, while blue fairy lights were fixed to railings in the park where Meredith was standing, admiring the beauty of sapphire, baby blue, royal blue, powder blue, light blue lights sparkling and dazzling in Roseville town park, adjacent to Ms Hattie, the town’s oldest resident, a strong oak tree that has stood the test of time and if she could talk, she would have an audience in awe of historic battles, weather patterns and how the town has developed over the last few centuries.

Meredith’s grandfather told her about how the big storm of 1901 could not flatten Ms Hattie, while adjoining trees were uprooted.  The summer of 1915 had a sweltering heatwave and Ms Hattie continued to grow tall while other trees withered.  She is an icon of the pretty five thousand resident town which Meredith is so proud of.  In the words of David Icke, “Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s nut that held it’s ground”.



I am writing this to you today, my sweet child, on your birthday.

There are things I would like you to know when I must go away

Life, think of it just like the weather. Wet days we use an umbrella and put on a coat, some of us stay indoors until the rain passes,

Sunny days we put on sun hats, sun cream and mind our eyes with sunglasses.

My child, in life, tough days come and go, bright days come and go, people come and go

Remember to always have a goal, an aim, a dream.

Life will mould, bash, uplift, drag, stall, shock, hearten, strengthen, weaken you.

I hope you have more highs than falls.

I hope you show resilience and persistence but no gall.

Remember to always have a goal, an aim, a dream.




Tina knew that yesterday’s fiasco was the catalyst to open her own business.  She had earned millions for the fashion design company in the decade that she had worked for Pizzazz.  She had a steady stream of wealthy clients, a reputation that was applauded during the awards season and credentials that were worthy of her own name being on her own designs.

The boardroom was always so daunting for Tina.  She stared at the clock as every employee in her unit took their seats.  It was 4:02pm.  At the start of each quarter, she would be asked by Michele Pizzazz how much did she earn for the company.  The staff revered Michele Pizzazz.  When she was in town, it was only ever to assess the employee’s performance.  A tall brunette Parisian who inherited the fashion design business from her father and rose to the CEO position instantly when she stomped her feet and threw a strop.  “Only two million” answered Ms Pizzazz abruptly.  That was the straw that broke the camels back as far as Tina was concerned.  Tina was raised in a family who were taught that if you work hard, you should know your worth.  Her entrepreneurial skills could be developed she thought to herself as Ms Pizzazz continued to outline reasons why two million is not enough in a quarter.  Tina remembers zoning out of Ms Pizzazz’s rant, glancing at the clock, it was 4:05pm, and arising from her seat, placing her Filofax into her briefcase and walking calmly out of Boardroom A.  She remembers touching the button on the elevator and strolling out of the lobby, briefly looking back to take one last glance at her office window, faces pressed up against the pane of glass to gawk at her leaving, Tina smiled and went home.  She slept so soundly.

This morning’s journey by train was filled with excitement.  She was going to choose a new office from which to base her new company.  The future is bright as she is now able to continue working in a flamboyant and vibrant industry.  She is not letting one setback prevent her realising her dream. She loves everything about fashion and is in her element deciding if a client should wear a pink swing coat, a black duffle coat or if a client should accessorise with a clutch, satchel or tote bag. Tina took a deep breath in and sighed, she felt her body calm muscles that were overworked and underappreciated.  From now on, she was going to look after her happiness and become the successful designer she deserves to be acknowledged as.

The Missal

missalFather Jim clutched the missal tightly as he strode confidently to the altar.  It was his stage and he loved spreading the word of God and being able to help those less fortunate than himself.  Life has been good to him.  Graduating top of his class in college, spending years in a seminary in Rome, which to him is the Hollywood of the church, then becoming a parish priest of a developing parish in South Africa.

He fitted in well as he had a humble nature, which he always maintains is from his mother, Margaret Byrne, a lady who was born into a wealthy family but was taught at an early age by her own parents to share the wealth.  She started a dress making business in their local town of Caherlong on the rugged west coast of Ireland.  Every summer she would hire the services of a tailor and the duo would kit out the students of the town in new clothes for the school term.  If the parents of the students were able to pay, she would accept but if they weren’t then so be it, she still gave them the clothes.

Father Jim always uses the mantra of ‘never look down on somebody unless you are helping them up’.

Home Comforts


Rita smiled like the cat who got the cream as she looked back on last time at the caravan which had been her home for the past few months.  She was made temporarily homeless by Hurricane Jane last winter.  Weather warnings had been in place but hurricanes that forceful in this part of the country were very rare, so the townspeople didn’t prepare enough.  Windows and doors should have been boarded up to minimise shattered glass, water supply should have been turned off to prevent floods and homes should have stocked up on food to prevent the looting of local supermarkets that took place in the days immediately following the hurricane.

The aftermath still haunts Rita.  Her son, Toby, was only a new born when it happened. The strong gale force winds howled loudly that November morning.  The rain fell so fast, Rita thought the clouds above her were going to open so wide and swallow up her house.  Cars were lifted off the roads and flowed down the new river that used to be her street.  Trees that stood long before even her grandparents were born were uprooted in minutes.

“Oh, my goodness, what will I do for supplies?” cried a panicked Rita to her husband Jerry.  “We’ll get help from the army” answered Jerry in a quivering voice that couldn’t hide his nervousness.  A team of locals set up a makeshift relief centre in the town hall.  The next few weeks saw people moved to caravans.  It wasn’t quite like home comforts, but it was their own personal space and it meant the world to Rita.

The days of going down to the local town hall to stock up on necessities give her haunting flashbacks.  She learned to never take for granted day to day errands that she normally complained of, like going to the supermarket for nappies, milk or bread.  Using clean water sterilising baby feeding equipment was always a difficulty after the hurricane.  People are the mercy of weather and at times like this appreciate the simple things of life.

Rita was moving into a house today.  Knowing she will have hot water, electricity, a cosy bed to lay down her weary body, her baby will be snug in his cot all tucked up safely like every baby should be.  On a joyful day like today, she remembers a saying her mother used to say to her growing up, “Never forget who ignored you when you needed them, and who helped you before you could even ask”.