Harambe Inc.

By Sheehan Quirke

 

It feels like Harambe to live in twenty seventeen…

With notifications wreaking havoc in the peace of our bedroom,

Suffering can’t seem all that real; because really, ISIS is just

A faraway legend and Brexit probably won’t happen.

But they’re nothing compared to ‘my wifi won’t

Load’ and ‘I got too drunk last night,’ so how are we supposed

To believe in death when the crumbs of Sana’a and the dust

Of Damascus fall somewhere between nightclubs and

The Somme. Don’t blame us for having it all.

 

As said (once) before, notwithstanding such a state of affairs,

I perceived a chance for romanticism to stake its claim in this

Ferocious and beautiful world. With words and notions carved

From nights dreaming of her and not by swiping this way or

That way to kindle a fire (aye, more than tinder’s needed for

A flame!) it was my intention to craft love like our generation

Could only sense in the misgivings of William, Rupert, Steven et al.

 

It was in the twilight, with night collapsing onto the goldening sea,

When a dark sky blossomed across the zenith of my vision

And the dusk’s yellow expression was grimacing, laughing, frowning,

Kissing and blessing every cobble and street and terrace-

 

But………………………..

 

Phone’s twittering about something in somebody’s pocket,

And one-hundred-and-forty characters later we’re none-the-wiser

As to who is in charge slash who will be in charge slash

What all this gobbledeegoop slapstick slaptrash politicking

Celebrity whoop-whoop fishfinger rubber dress nonsense means:

 

Get hammered plastered wasted smashed!

The club is your true pal the bev is your honest mate!

All the thud-thud boom-boom electrosplosion music

Will tell you everything you ever needed to know about

Yourself and the world. And for the price of what? A sick

Night out you can’t half remember, woke up in somebody’s

Bed, you don’t why but it makes a good story when you’re

Fifty years old and you gotta talk about something

Worthwhile in that life of yours…

 

Somehow we’ve got to make sense of it all.

This mad earth where everybody has their own campaign,

Where every emotion’s summed up by a hashtag,

Where the heroes of the past keep on dying and the

Films keep on showing us ridiculous superheroes who do

The same things again and again and again and again…

 

Get back in your safe space and shut the censored up!

Donald or Nigel will shut you down soon, just don’t forget

That black lives do matter too. Question is, did you watch

Planet Earth Two? Shame that Harambe isn’t around to be

There, candlelight vigil for the meme-superstar? What with

Snape and Ziggy out of the picture, and Leonard too,

Who else can we turn to? Even the Dancing King, the Greatest

Of All Time, the Most Famous Man on the Planet can’t

Answer your calls anymore. Harry Potter’s back and being

Gay’s OK, but can Eddie compete with Danny? Seems unlikely.

What’s older is better, right? Ronaldo celebrated thirty-two

Birthdays and Connor won’t shut up, if only he’d start talking

About racism. Tyson realised the dream and lost his grip

On reality; ain’t that just the story of the year, of the century…

 

But………………………….

 

In Paris and under the arches and the ivory hotels, in the oilcloth

Flutter of nights on-the-run from everything we left behind.

With your dark eyes and my golden hair, the transience is all

That keeps us going. Our beauty won’t last much longer,

But while we shine then we must love, and we must run.

 

I don’t want to grow old with you. So we shall throw together a

Few extraordinary lines of poetry and live for that moment our

Eyes once met and just enjoy our breathing, writhing romance.

We shall write these poems and books, leave our marks of love

On bridges and cathedrals, the world will glow golden.

 

It will be a sepia, piano, timeless, burning, passionate, Parisian,

Glowing, golden, dark eyes, innocent, unforgettable, secret,

Yellow, red, Autumn, Summer, poetic, beautiful romance.

 

Just maybe it’s best to not know because it really might exist.

This time you can’t Google the answer and the truth won’t

Come via ten seconds of Snapchat fame. After all, who even

Remembers Vine- and one day that could be you, some washed

Up forgotten disused rusty cog of the social media machine cast

Off because you’re time’s up and nobody finds you funny.

 

I was all lucked out and I couldn’t chase our dream.

Asked myself: why are you so immature? You’re not sixteen anymore.

So is two thousand and seventeen the year that dreams die?

No, because dreaming is free and we dream the most when it’s dark.

 

From Boko to Bernie to Bieber it’s all the past and that can’t be changed,

Now we’ve got wifi and planes with wifi and mobile data and the world

Is at our fingertips, everything’s done right? Next stop Tyson syndrome!

Like Harambe, it makes no sense, it can’t possibly be real.

 

Then I dropped my iPhone and saw something reflected in its screen:

I looked up and the sun was rising, all glowing and glimmering;

The stars had faded but day was born again. Gold wove itself between

Bricks and iron, the tapestry was bright! Somewhere far below me,

In a small black mirror, the confusion of twenty-seventeen could be

Glimpsed. But now I had better things to look at. Two smiling eyes

Came my way – they reminded me, they told me:

Let’s run away to Paris together, let’s weave a dream together.

 

Find more of his work at www.sheehanquirke.com

Photograph: Anna Gibbs 

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