TALES OF AN ORANGEPEELER
an archive of pleasures, wounds, sublimations
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The countryside swiftly rolls past me as my train rocks toward Galway from Dublin. In cemeteries spiky with white and black stone, bright floral bouquets signal remembrance, only to wilt and wither. Fields sweep by, freshly mown of hay, striated where industrial blades had scythed thin gold threads, falling in untold numbers, followed by murders of crows, their stabby beaks. Heavily mortgaged houses show off boomtime conservatories. Disused sheds or small, clearly uninhabited houses molder, crumbling stone by stone, never again to bear shape defined by human use.
In a yard behind a house in a gated cul-de-sac in very North Dublin, a wood pigeon scrabbles into the thick fringe of firs. Still and tidy-looking, the trampoline, florescent slides, and football goalie post await future play. Airplanes roar overhead as golfers strike tiny balls across vast manicured land. A strawberry-blond child with pale blue eyes steps hesitantly toward me, wondering again who I am, not mommy, not auntie, not minder, maybe her father’s mother.
The surrounding land feature more gated communities, corporate campuses, industrial sites, a looming vast hotel with the Brutalist appearance of 1960s institutional architecture, farm fields, and a housing estate inhabited by mostly Eastern Europeans and Africans, where the houses abut each other, identical except for the color of the door, and there’s a strip mall nearby, with a dentist, takeaways, discount supermarkets, and that odd suburban institution, the bistro-pub, with its uniformly awful “Continental” food and overpriced drink. Occasionally the odd pub from another, older era appears, the windows blocked and letters missing from its sign; it reminds me that this area looked different, shaped by other uses, fortunes, desires, and hopes.
The one constant is the sky, lambent, never one sense, just lucent or grey or blue, but so many senses.