Bob Mazzer

Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady driving the Merry Pranksters Bus, 1964.


Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady driving the Merry Pranksters Bus, 1964.

(Source: mpdrolet, via kantica)


Tipperary Hurling Team (1949)


Tipperary Hurling Team (1949)


San Francisco hurling team
(Robert W. Kelley. 1961)


San Francisco hurling team

(Robert W. Kelley. 1961)


Kilkenny Hurler by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on Flickr.

Cold Turkey (Inspired by a folk tale involving hurling)

The emptiness in Jack was becoming unbearable. He hadn’t had a hit in three days now. He drove with one hand on the steering wheel, the other stretched across his chest, itching the healed needle marks, at times breaking the skin, causing his arm to lift and swerve the car across lanes. White crosses appeared on either side of the road, more a warning to motorists than a memorial to those that have died there. In Jack’s altered state the crosses seemed to grow as big as the trees and arch over the road. Turning into giant hammers and coming down in blows on the asphalt in front and behind the car. He was shaking now and slammed the brakes causing the rear tyres to skid from the road, leaving a flower memorial flattened. Shaking uncontrollably and reaching for the glove box he pulled out some Valiums. He used his teeth to get through the foil and let two slip down his throat, waited for twenty minutes until the shakes lessened before pulling out. The morning had fully broken and clouds patterned fields with light and dark green patches, he noticed a GAA field in the distance that hadn’t been there before. He took a long breath and let it out with a sigh as he took a right off the motorway and headed towards his father’s house.

The house looked as it always had, ever since he was a boy. Broken slates on the roof, turf and sticks piled against the wall and the smell of the hearth rising in grey smoke from the pebble dashed chimney in the center of the bungalow. The small house had two windows positioned either side of the large red door, from one of which Jack saw the curtain move and the black ratcatcher pounce upon the sill. He knew he didn’t need to knock. The door bounded open before him. His father looked smaller, shrunken with age. He was always known as the big fella but in recent years those big shoulders slouched and his face had shadows at the eyes and cheeks. There was silence as he looked Jack straight in the eyes with a judging stare. He obviously found something he didn’t like within those eyes for a moment of disappointment washed over his face. This caused Jack to look away and to the ground.

“Come in so!” ushered his father.

They sat either side of the fire. Old collector’s sports stickers still clung to the mantelpiece where Jack had got a hiding for sticking them years before. Pictures and sports trophies dotted the house, the only things that had not gathered dust. His father took his seat and Jack pointed to a hurley next to his chair.

“Ya still playin da?

“Ha…use it to get around, back gets stiff”

“Everything else alright?”

“Sur the same, you’re brother and Claire came with the kids on Sunday. Didn’t get a word from the kids, faces stuck in those screens. Do ya want some porridge?, It’s just ready!”

“Nah I’m alright”

The rejection of food brought a bout of silence. The itch was beginning to come back and the silence began to play on the nerves. Jack stared and watched the flames of the fire fight to jump the highest. Patterns and shapes of men appeared within, hypnotising him to the point of sleep. He suddenly became aware his father was standing over him with a blanket and jumped in shock.

“We’ve been here before Jack, I told ya, stay and get clean. Come back to us.”

“I just need a little cash da” was all Jack said before he drifted off.

The time was a little after one when Jack awoke and the fear reached the depths of his stomach and shook his body wildly. He huddled in a ball next to the hearth. His father had kept it going. The crackle and spit of the flames came like clashing wood to his ears, a black panther stood against the wall, a hieroglyph of death. His father appeared through the front door. His hands were huge now and held within them a bloodied body, the body of himself lifeless in his father’s arms. A body to Jack’s mind, sticks for the fire in truth.

“Easy son…fight this. I’ll look after ya, just stay with me.”

Jack picked up the poker and made towards his father.

“I’m sorry da, where’s the stash. I know ya keep money around. Where is it?”

The father’s voiced started to rise.

“Ya feckin blaggard, ya think i’d keep money around after last time? Do ya?”

Jack looked into the fire again and saw the flames had turned a hundred different colours morphing into a face with black empty eyes and then a hand with a finger beckoning him to the the fire. His hand was beginning to sizzle when the father grabbed his hand from it. Jack’s elbow came back and caught his father in the face sending him backwards and to the floor. His lip became bloodied and Jack’s need for a hit reached it’s pinnacle.

“Sorry Da, I really am.”

Spreading the blanket on the floor Jack proceeded to lay down all  the trophies and picture frames in it’s center and wrapped it into a satchel. He saw his father was struggling to get up and threw his hurley at his feet. He saw his father’s piercing eyes look in his face.

“Last time da I swear!”

“You’re mother said you’d be the death of me son but I still love ya. It’s not too late son, ya can stay, stay!”

“I’m sorry Da”

Tears welled in Jack’s eyes but the thought of a hit made him manic and he ran for the door. He threw the swag on the passenger seat and started the engine. He knew just the guy to pawn the takings onto for a nice earner. He mercilessly threw three more pills into his mouth and sped off down the country road. He felt the pills take effect and felt an emptiness. This time for his father. A black sheep leapt in front of the bonnet breaking his reverie and he broke hard. He got out and inspected the car. It was fairly dented but with no dyer consequence, he thought. He took a deep breath and felt his head clear. With that voices. Looking across some limestone blocks and towards where the maimed sheep was limping he saw the hurling field and saw a game was in progress. All thoughts of shooting up had disappeared and he became  hypnotised by the movement of the players. Without realising he had come so far, he found himself on the sideline and entranced. One of the big lads threw a hurley at him.

“You’re the big fella’s lad aren’t ya? Well c’mon!”

On the pitch Jack felt better than he ever had and a great peace came from the feel of sliotar on ash. The joy of scoring or the dismay of a score against all bringing the most dizzying high he had ever felt. He was hooked and wanted to play forever. Some clouds drifted over the field and it wasn’t long before darkness enveloped the field. Hands were shaken and pats on the back were given all round. The team had lost by a point. One of the players, the captain, turned to Jack.

“Bring the ol’man back tomorrow. He’ll tell us where we’re going wrong”

“I will, jaysus he’d love this so he would”

Jack walked back to the car with a smile from ear to ear. He looked forward to getting to his father and apologising and telling him of the hurlers right on his doorstep. He stopped in his tracks when he got to the side of road and dropped to his knees. There, where he left his car now stood a weathered white cross with fresh flowers tied upright at it’s foot. He turned back to where the field had been but it had disappeared. There now in the dying light stood the circular ruins of a wall, a faery fort. He turned back and stared at the cross for a time contemplating the scene before dashing to his fathers house.

A light came from the sitting room and Jack looked through. A fire was lighting and there silhouetted was an oak coffin and in it lay his father’s body. Small and frail, but the hands across his chest as big as ever. Brandy bottles were dotted around the tables with not a trophy to be seen. A picture of him and his father from many years ago now took one of those places. The door of the house swung open and the spectre of his father walked out, hurley in hand. Both men smiled and embraced.

“I’m sorry Da, I was comin back.”

“I know ya were son, sur you’re here now”

“How long has it been?”

“Four years since I found the car and carried ya back”

Jack grabbed his father in a link and the walked slowly down the road. Time was lost and dawn broke filling the sky with light. Dew clung to the grasses and flowers and  the sun upon them lit a path towards the faery fort. Father and son gathered pace and felt their hearts lift as they saw the high posts, flags and clipped soft grass appeared before them.

Jack watched his father walk out onto the pitch and then break into a run, throwing the hurley from one hand to the other. He went to take up his place in goal and grew with every step. Shoulders widening, chest puffing out and back straightening, filling the frame of the goal.


Wise words. 


Wise words. 





The Coyote

The rifle felt heavy on Jack’s shoulder as he followed his mother, making a game of hopping, stepping into her footprints. When they set out it had been dark and now the sun sneakily peered over the plain, bringing light upon the sandy, dusty arid expanse of dirt. Wild horses danced in the fresh glow, raising clouds of dust  where it lingered in the stillness of the morning air, hiding their forms. The mother stopped to take in the scene, lowered her head and then moved on with a rush. Jack could tell she had pushed unwanted memories from her head.

“You O.K Mother?”

No response.

“Don’t see why ya had to sell the horses, could be savin our legs right now.”

“Shut your trap, git your gun ready, we’re close”

Up ahead a mound appeared and they cautiously moved towards it. There lay a dead foal. Flies buzzed around the open, hollowed, chewed out cavity. The smell hit the back of the boy’s throat and he emptied his stomach immediately, turning quickly away as he spewed leaving a rainbow of liquid to mark his cowardice. His mother wrapped her knuckles across his cheek. His eyes welled and looked up into his mother’s face to see if she showed remorse, she didn’t.

“Suck it up Jack, death follows us. Breath in it, and get to know it’s smell. Gimme the gun”

She brought the butt to her shoulder, looked through the cross hairs before opening it, removed the shells and blew a breath down each barrel in turn. Snapping it back, she threw it at the boy’s chest. He caught it in the clefts of his elbows, looking ridiculous as if he was expecting to catch a bag of potatoes. The whole theatrical display had made Jack forget the sting on his face.

“You be ready to pull that trigger, ya hear? That Coyote gonna come right to our doorstep, so deal with it. Ya gotta grow into this world, ya hear me?”

“Yes mam”

The gun felt even heavier now and he kept an extra pace behind his mother. The heat was rising and he felt the trickles of sweat flow down the crease in his back. His mother seemed unphased, she trod hard over the dust in her long blue dress. With every step the heel of her boots becoming visible and a metal spur clinking the ground. She stopped suddenly. Jack was about to ask why when she put her finger to her lips to keep quiet. After a second Jack heard the sound. Low whimpering coming a hole beneath a bushel of small cacti. She pulled Jack behind a nearby rock where when crouching were invisible to the den.

“That’s our coyote” She whispered.

“What now?”

She pulled something wrapped in newspaper from her shoulder bag. Unwrapping it he saw that it was two plump chicken legs.

“Git that rifle ready”

She took off her boots and made her way cautiously towards the coyote den. Around two feet from it she placed the meat with great softness but a deathly intent. Walking back she hugged her dress to her waist for fear of tripping. The boy saw that her feet were cut and blistered.

Jack lay flat on his belly. Twenty minutes passed but felt an eternity. An eternity in which a nine year old boy held in his crosshairs the complexities of life and death. Questions that he felt would never be contemplated to a satisfying result. He mulled over these questions and thought of his father.

Awoken from his thoughts by a swift poke to the ribs from his mother he saw a snout appear from the darkness of the hole. The dog slinked out into the open. Jack felt the quesyness come back to his stomach and felt a lump growing in his throat. The dog took up the crosshairs. It was an easy shot. He put weight upon the trigger and felt the rifle punch his shoulder as the momentum of the shot flew towards the body of the canine. A spray of blood filled the air and rained down, falling with the coyote and dotting fur and dirt. He felt his mother’s hand roughly tap the back of his head. Half a well done, half for leverage to pick herself up.

As they walked away two pups emerged from the den. The mother looked down at Jack and he saw in her face a great sympathy. It was directed at him for what would come next. Sitting on the ground she pulled on her boots with great discomfort and not withholding profanities. Rising, she walked towards the pups and proceeded to snap their necks as easy as taking corn from its husk.

“It’s a harsh world Jack. Ya gotta grow into it!” She said not looking at the boy but towards the horizon

Walking back, Jack saw the foal carcass. Something had changed. He looked deep into the open, dark, frightened eyes. He felt that lump in his throat but forced it down. The day was darkening and the expanse of desert became red. The horses had calmed and some were drinking from the corral, steam rising from their backs as they cooled from the heat of the day. Once again his mother stopped in front of him and lowered her head. This time  Jack watched the memories flow over her and tears stream down her face, dripping off her chin to the dirt. The boy left her for a time before grabbing her hand and leading her home.


Arthur Tress, Boy in T.V. Set, Boston, 1972


Arthur Tress, Boy in T.V. Set, Boston, 1972

(via kantica)

Wild Wolves (Inspired by Jack London)

Wild wolves gathered around Myself and Sal. Five days outside of Seattle, the tundra and sky seemed to mimic the day before with no marker or glitch upon the whiteness to bookmark our journey. Our shadows in the snow and echoed howls on the wind  grew longer as evening caught up with us easily. The dogs began to slow to a crawl. “Time to stop Joe?” I heard from behind and I closed my eyes at the sound of his voice. Two weeks had passed since we found claim to a gold mine that would yield us a comfortable life. Sal had been beginning to grate on me and I felt madness upon me. “Yeah Sal” I sighed “time to stop”. We begin the nightly ritual of unloading the packs, building the fire and feeding the dogs before sitting down to our dwindling supply of beans and jerky.

“I’m afraid Joe!”

“Jus keep the fire going an they’ll keep off”

“I’m sure they be gettin closer, look at the dogs! they know!”

The dogs all stood huddled close and looking around as if invisible spectres were swooping and teasing squeals from somewhere deep in their throat.

“They jus a little spooked is all”

Sal looked into his beans trying to keep from crying. This poor excuse of man did not deserve the gift coming to him.

“These are some god damn good beans”

“So ya’ve been saying all week”

It was dark now and the place where the light of the fire could not penetrate the night, hung the ferociousness of nature. Red eyes glowed and disappeared in that limbo. Growls returned with every spit and snap of the fire as if intimidating the flames into the cold ground. Each dwindling flame bringing the darkness closer. We hugged the fire and I took the first watch.

Waking at daybreak and my opening eyes are blessed with light. Turning to my left and Sal is asleep. Anger boils, bubbles and steams from me to an extent it pushes the cold from my body. I am a step and and half from him and I use that space to build momentum and drive a kick direct to his ribs. He awakes with a squeal that causes the dogs ears to prick.

“What in tarnation Joe?  What the hell?”

“I hope you piss blood you fat god damn piece of shit! I mean…goddamn! You can’t stay awake if your own life depends on it”

“I’m sorry Joe, we alright ain’t we?”

“You slip into dreamland like that again I will end you, ya hear me sal? I will feed you to the god damn dogs.”

I run at him again and he falls backwards. His eyes well and flow and the tears freeze on his cheeks.

“Alright, please don’t hit me, i’ll stay awake.. all night if ya want me to”

I stop short of hitting him again and kick snow over him instead. For a moment he looks like a pathetic snowglobe encapsulating the runt of the human race.

“Just get the dogs harnessed, i’ll brew the coffee.”

I pinched tobacco from my pocket and smoked while waiting for the coffee to boil. Looking out over the tundra and seeing the Cascade mountains pierce the horizon I felt a calm wash over me as I thought. I must buy Sal out or neither of us will survive another trip. The decision was made and brought me peace.

“Uhhh Joe?” came the voice from behind, breaking my reverie.


“I can’t find all the dogs.”

Shooting up I walk towards the dogs and count six where there were eight.  Pawprints of darkened red paint the snow telling an age old story. Man against nature, weak against strong, life against death. My chest tightens as fear takes hold. How stupid we were, for there is an endless war afoot in which we lost a battle and are now maimed and ready for slaughter.

“Get them tied to the sled. We push on. If we move fast maybe we can lose the pack. I doubt they will be satisfied with sinewy dog if the glimpsed the prime rump sleeping next to the fire”

We move with as much speed as we can muster. Moving through the canvas of snow, just a slight discoloration fading in and out of reality. Wind contorting our faces, cold freezing our hearts and our minds darkening with the deepening day. Death marks every line left in the snow and now here, on this plain, his breath chills the back of our necks as we hear the howling rise with the moon.

After unpacking and eating we bring the dogs closer to the fire I sit and smoke. looking across the flames I see the fear deep in Sal and wonder about God. Had he made a mistake with man. To mould us of rich tasty meat, instill us with fear and set us loose to fight a war with the primordial ruthlessness of nature, one which we will inevitably lose. If not from it directly but from our own nature to destroy the weak and survive. Nature will win even it has to destroy itself if only to rid itself of our infestation. It is our destiny to feed the belly of nature and become the soil from which life can spring.

We hear a scuffle from the borderline of light and sal jumps landing almost in the fire, weakening it with his smothering big feet. I go to scowl at him but get distracted by the snout coming from the darkness, snapping at the heels of the dog. A struggle as the wolf makes contact and drags the bitch into the darkness. A quick squeal followed by gurgling and then silence. The episode has turned Sal. He has pissed himself and is curled up so close to the fire the wool on his coat is being singed.

“Get up and put something on the fire before they get hungry again”

He doesn’t move. I feel madness begin to override my senses.

“Get up damn it and build the fire, it’s your god damn fat feet that brought it down.”

I run over and begin to kick him once for every word I shout.

“Get up, get up get up and be a man you weezy, sniffling, god damn piece of shit. We will die because of you!” If we get outta this alive you will not see an ounce of my gold…ya hear me?”

Silence. I turn back to the fire and begin to rebuild. I  hear the scuffling again, only closer this time. Looking around and up I see Sal standing over me, tears streaming down his face and a smouldering club above his head.

“Fuck you Joe” I hear him say just before darkness envelops me.

Awaking I am aware that I am moving. Opening my eyes I am looking skyward. The stars spin in the heavens and grow brighter as I float towards the borderline of man and wolf. There I am placed in that darkness and look to see the broad shoulders of Sal disappear into the light of the fire. Cruel red eyes gather around. Another night, another battle lost.


Rene Magritte, The Lovers, 1928
Magritte’s mother was a suicidal woman, which led her husband, Magritte’s father, to lock her up in her room. One day, she escaped, and was found down a nearby river dead, having drowned herself. According to legend, 13 year old Magritte was there when they retrieved the body from the river. As she was pulled from the water, her dress covered her face. This later became a theme in many of Magritte’s paintings in the 1920’s, portraying people with cloth covering their faces.

My favourite photo for years now


Rene MagritteThe Lovers, 1928

Magritte’s mother was a suicidal woman, which led her husband, Magritte’s father, to lock her up in her room. One day, she escaped, and was found down a nearby river dead, having drowned herself. According to legend, 13 year old Magritte was there when they retrieved the body from the river. As she was pulled from the water, her dress covered her face. This later became a theme in many of Magritte’s paintings in the 1920’s, portraying people with cloth covering their faces.

My favourite photo for years now

(Source: soulstudy, via gelatinousgiraffe)


May 1968

Run, comrades, the old world is behind you!


Run, comrades, the old world is behind you!