Joyce's City

By David Keenan

The city is a subliminal soap opera in which we act out our lives
The city is a subliminal soap opera a smutty subplot for some.
We devise order to maintain the infinite trudge.

We play our parts well,
“Say my subjective odyssey would bate your subjective odyssey”
“Say Joyce’s Ulyssean odyssey allows entry into a more terrific version of the turbulence than thine own.”

One of speaking out and breaking out thinking out giving out making out dolling up doling out clawing clout crying poor mouth death march rebirth timepiece mouthpiece in need of touch please... while blooming amidst the noise and decay.

The city offers a reflective ramble to mark the anniversary of meeting a Nora and what that represents.

Does Nora have to be a person though?
Can Nora be a thing, like the culmination of physical and spiritual in the belly of a dying star?

Think about that now on your objective trek through the sublime and the surreal,
the neglected and subjugated.

The city has been known to lead a person on.
In an age of budget air travel and constant content creation compulsions how many geographical scalps have you acquired from your mappings, how many notches are buckled on thy belt and do you carry your experience well?
Do you wonder in humble awe at all you saw
Or do you use it as an affectation in company when the silence becomes unbearable.

The city befriends me,
Reminds me of the constant,
Comforts me when I rant about unnecessary change..... “no taste this crowd, butchering it they are, monsters all!”

“He’s a mate, what can you do?”

I’m speaking of course of the city of the self!
The estates and neighbourhoods of the imagination....

That’s where Joyce lives.
Joyce is standing there, staring, rattling keys in his hand, goggles ardently fixed.

“Ah you will you will you will.”
Ah I will I will abhaile

His clues are there for us to free

If we’d only shut our eyes and see.


Directed by Luke De Brún.

Poem commissioned by the James Joyce Centre.