In the Ivy Exchange

In the Ivy Exchange


Daniel Wade




For Karl Parkinson


‘the rain falls
that had not been falling
and it is the same world…’
– George Oppen, Of Being Numerous


Rain: my 95th favourite type of weather.
Doesn’t take much to remind me, sure it doesn’t,
now that I sing of all that I ever wasn’t
with very little song left in me? However,

before starting work, I walk past the Ilac,
freestanding in certainty, the whir of a street-
sweeper sucking up cigarette butts
down Henry Place, where a dreadlock-


ed junkie, face colour-bled, squats mid-shite
in a shuttered doorway, unmoved by the combined
reek of aerosol spray, weed and fish waft-
ing up from Moore Street on the wind


into morning traffic, where a Deliveroo cyclist
pedals through a red light, and Gardaí shuffle
by on patrol. I clock in, stand my daily post
at the Chapters Bookstore entrance, muffle


back yawns no Americano could quench,
eye each and every face that walks in,
my waterproof Timberlands planted firm.
The automatic doors stay stubbornly open,


a flow of air hissing across parquet tiles
to knock over the yellow ‘Caution Wet Floor TM’
folding sign as rainy footprints pool
their displeasure, like barcodes stamped to clear.


Tannoy blares Vivaldi in the morning and Bach
at noon, the sweet, dread chorus
of St. Matthew Passion a call to prayer for waifs
and strays to amble in, spillvodka in the kid’s


section; it doesn’t drown out the mid-afternoon
swarm of Toyota, Citroen and Skoda chariots
trampling after eternity. In March, Parnell’s crown
is bulldozed, ashtray-destitute, traffic lights


grinning a salutation at me with the green,
and give me the finger with the red.
“You’re only makin’ more work for yourself,”
my assistant manager grunts, shaking his head.


For sure, it’s Dublin’s answer to Times Square (circa ’72),
and twice as much of a shithole; even the iron shriek
of the Broombridge-bound LUAS is bandaged
in frost. But it’s only the rain that falls, adding acidic


wealth to the pavement once the tide ebbs back
to ground-level. I clock out at half six, switch my phone
on, thumb through notifications, go for a gargle
in Fibbers. Later, I’ll carry a shopping bag laden


with empties to the bottle-bank behind Tesco.
I’ll head home to you with the scraps of rain,
when I’m done with their shattering,
bone-weary now, and soaked to the skin.



Bio: Daniel Wade is a poet and playwright from Dublin. In January 2017, his play The Collector opened the 20th anniversary season of the New Theatre, Dublin. His spoken word album Embers and Earth, available for download on iTunes and Spotify, launched the previous October at the National Concert Hall. A prolific performer, Daniel has featured in festivals including Electric Picnic, Body and Soul, Culture Night and the West Belfast Festival. Daniel was the Hennessy New Irish Writing winner for April 2015 in The Irish Times, and his poetry has appeared in over two dozen publications since 2012.

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