Most pictures and words from Anthony C Murphy

Thursday, 25 April 2013


The bar on Avenue B looked suitably dirty
It was dark and the windows gave no hint
As to what went on inside
I needed someplace quiet
To finish the thoughts I had been carrying
There should have been sawdust on the floor
Like the Bloodtubs of years ago
A few bearded men sat at the bar
Nibbling on their nuts
It was a trick they’d learnt early
I ordered a stout and watched the menu
And looked at the t.v. screen
Two ultimate fighters got bloody on the canvas
It was obscene
The pizzas were dairy free
And the gravy was vegan
They have landed
A few punches
A righteous hook
Here and there
The cheezeless amongst us

Thursday, 18 April 2013


Daryll on my doorstep… wrecked in the face and other places from his years as a rent boy to City Bank reamers… teeth like boiled corn…fingers papery as moths… asks me everyday for a couple of quid…sometimes I ask him to get the fuck off my porch, other days we go for a drink together… at the Barley Mow of all the bars… I can see the youth in him then… his eyes shine with moment not memory… but he is thinking of taking the bible up … seriously… He says he doesn’t want to always be lost… and now that his looks have gone... What has he got but unwanted experience... He would rather share someone else's... 

Thursday, 11 April 2013



They would come over to play, especially in the summer. Whilst my brother was busy fighting with Jimmy, I would hide under the bed with Holly. Holly and me would innocently investigate each other, and not having anyone to report to, I would mentally store my tentative findings for future reference. I don’t know what she did with hers.

I liked Holly, she had the best mouth and a soft voice. She asked me things. She never shouted or got upset like I did. She was comfort.

Her hair reminded me of breast meat on a roast, the blonde strands through my fingers instead of the tines of a fork. I knew it wasn’t complimentary to say your hair is like cooked chicken, greased as that was with connotation, but to me the thought was soft and warm and all I had for comparison. Still, I had the sense to keep my mouth shut. Not that I needed to give compliments. I was after nothing. 

I think of Holly on occasional Sundays but since my Nan died nobody cooks up that memory as much.   


Thursday, 4 April 2013




On a forgotten street way out from the city centre is the last church of our county. Or the first for any visitor. It borders on the river and the pirates that live there. After that brown water there is fear for us, for we know the pirates but we do not know what they know, or how they became friends with fear. And after the fear are the unknown places which are so unknown that we do not fear them. And after that, then, maybe there is something else. And maybe that something else is also not fearful of us...

But before all that and back here on this street is the church of San Isidoro y San Leandro. It was a place of tradition and welcome for some. A place of hiding for others. Sanctuary they called it. Safety.

It is an old church of an older faith. The people who built it believed in things that I only call things because I do not know what they are or what they mean. No one goes to the church anymore but Father Matthieu still lives there in hope. Although he is not the only one.
Behind the broken wood shutters that cover the belfry of the brown and white church lives a family of birds.

So what? You say. Birds! Who cares where they live? What about the pirates? Yes, I can understand. When I was younger I too wanted to hear of pirates and musketeers and bandits and kings. But listen to my words that travel through the air to your ears, words not bound to earth or caught by sea. This is no ordinary tale of piratical men and their material treasures. Pah! We have heard of their lives and bloody deaths a thousand and one times! These birds… These birds are more than ordinary birds. Why?
Some say the birds are blessed. Some say they are fearless. Some say they have stardust and rainbows in their feathers, that they sparkle at night whilst owls are nearby. Some say they are just lucky or stupid. They say these things because nobody has ever seen the like of them before, not here and not now. They are unknown and they live. They are the starlings of San Isidoro…