IN THIS poem from my 2005 debut collection, The Boy With No Face, I take a comic look at my mostly unsuccessful attempts at wooing a person of the opposite gender in night clubs such as The Oasis in Salthill.
For the most part, the ladies in question very wisely ran away.
Letter to a Friend about Girls
after Philip Larkin
What losers we were when it came to girls.
‘Pull up to my bumper baby, drive it in between’
played soundtrack to the wet dreams
of small, inconsequential fellas, the likes of us.
And we’re talking small on an almost monumental scale.
In duffle coats and awful glasses
we shuffled around the edges of other people’s parties
all through the eighties,
gawking down in the general direction
of our stupid, stupid shoes.
If charisma could be distilled,
ours would have been measured
in somewhat less than millilitres.
So small, we barely existed.
On the rare occasions when opportunity
— the tastiest variety — put herself there
to be availed of and there was nothing for it
but to press the advantage all the way home,
we either failed to spot the most obvious signals
— our radar were useless at picking incoming aircraft up —
or else managed to inexplicably miss.
She grinned through the worst jokes
and was clearly prepared to overlook that duffel coat,
but the score on the board stubbornly somehow stayed zero.
The goal could be yawning wide open
and still the ball would either trickle
pathetically wide or go sailing miles over.
And just what exactly were we supposed to say
as another cut-price night at The Oasis declined
(with no bachelor flat to which she might be lured back )?
“Let’s explore the universe with my last fifty pence piece.
If I empty my pockets perhaps I could stretch as far as a kebab.”