may: la poesia e la violenza

Ho letto un libro bellissimo, quest’estate.
Si intitola «Falling out of Heaven» e l’ha scritto John Lynch, irlandese dell’Ulster di madre italiana, attore in molti film (mi vengono in mente «Sliding doors» e «In the name of the father»).

Questo capitolo si intitola May.
È il nome di questa donna selvatica, sporca, ferita e poetica.
È la storia di un tradimento iniziatico in Ulster, tagliente come una rasoiata che incide una tenda tesa di seta.
Ha un odore selvaggio.


She talked to me as if I was a grown-up, as if I had something to say. I would listen to her as she spoke of the magic that lived in the hills around us, how each breath of wind had its own message.

It was only later in life that I discovered that she had lost her brother when she was in her early twenties.
He had been taken out and shot nearly thirty years before; local men had arrived in the dead of night wielding a rusting gun and iron bars.

She had answered the door.


They pushed their way past her and dragged him from his bed out into the front garden where they beat him senseless and then shot him twice in the head.

His blood seeped into the grass and onto her nightshirt as she held his broken body.


He was an informer, or so a man told me, running titbits of information to the local police in return for a few shillings, for blood money, was the way the man puy it.
The man also told me that when she was younger she would have broken your heart with her beauty. She had many suitors, him included; they would follow her like the strays that she subsequently collected.
When her brother was shot the young men looking for her hand fell away, melted back into their own lives.
The world shut her out, banished her to the wild scrub and the fluttering heather of the mountains behind her house.
She stopped washing maybe out of protest, maybe out of shame, maybe rage.
She buried her brother and stood in the wind alone as he was put in the earth.
Maybe as she stood there watching the coffin being lowered she thought about leaving, setting out for England or America. Instead she looked to the night; she moved to peer through the cracks that border this world, the place where fury lived and where the lonely spin in eternity, friendless and without love.
She began collecting strays, broken beings who knew the taste of disappointment just as she did.
She held them to her as the world lay sleeping and told them that she was one of them.

degli altri «loro»

Locals from the town, young boys fed on a diet of Republicanism and sheer fuck-you hardness, used to circle her house in the dead of night like wolves scenting the weakness of a fallen prey. They would call to her and taunt her, throwing rocks at her doors and windows.
One night they came armed with baseball bats and chains, one had an axe, a kid called Hardface.
One after another they poured into her house, thumping and kicking their way down her small hall.
Ahab was the last animal (of hers, ndr) they met; he stood by her (…). He looked like a lion of the savannah, proud and ferocious, daring any of them to make the next move.


As Ahab leapt I saw the axe move past my head in a downward swoop, its blade gleaming. It struck the dog across the muzzle, drawing a long line of blood across it and almost separating the nose from the snout. I let out a cry and May’s head snapped in my direction and her eyes burned into mine.

The dog managed to get a hold on Hardface, biting into his wrist, causing him to drop the axe.
I grabbed the axe and swung it high above my head, bringing it crashing down across the dog’s back. I could hear the dull thud of steel on bone and fur. Its body buckled but still it held on, its teeth shining, its blood mingling with that of its attacker.
I felt May’s eyes on me, I knew that I had crossed a line, that I had committed a treason against the beauty she had laid at my feet, that I was taking an axe to the strong tree of poetry she had grown in my heart.

la macchia

I wanted to explain to her that the stain had always been there. Even when I first came to her, my small hand beating on her door to let me in, the mark lay across my heart like the shadow of an upturned cross.
The seed was already in me as I stood in her front room for the first time; I was lost to her even before she began to talk to me of the world of magic and wondering.
I was a hard ball of hate and so immune to her.
As I killed her dog that night, pounding it until its carcass was a mass of fur and blood, that’s what I was trying to tell her, that she shouldn’t have bothered with me, that all along I was a spy, sent to peer into the workings of her soul, and that like my father I was built for betrayal.
The dog was dead and with it any hope I had of crossing back from the wasteland I now found myself in.

un’altra caccia

She didn’t say anything and made no sound as we dragged her into the front garden and stripped her.
Then we hunted her, giving her a head-start, listening as she crashed through the hedges and fields that surrounded her house, her dirty nakedness flashing through the moonlit night.
We chased her, calling to her, taunting her, making animal noises. I remember revelling in the power of my hold another human life.
Higher and higher up the mountains we pursued her.
When we reached her we stood in a circle around her.
I ignored the look in her eyes that told me she knew me. I tied not to pay attention to it because I was someone else; I had worked very hard at it, day and night, minute to minute, and hour to hour.
I had killed the dreaming child, the one who talked of the courtship of butterflies, who had opened himself to the world like a daisy reaching for the sun.


So we left her there, in the pool of her sweat and her misery, her strong profile broken by the shadows that grew up around her, her eyes a mist of confusion and sadness.