I’ve only been to Cork once,
to a funny place they called The Other Place
which I thought was like the Scottish play
with the name you’re never supposed to say.
In another place, beforehand, we’d sat
on beer kegs in a girl’s bar called Loafers
and I giggled at all the comfy shoes
in astonishment and thought that sitting
on a keg felt more like a punishment.
I’d only been to Cork once, when I was 20,
a year since I’d had my first kiss, with a boy,
behind a sofa, at a party.
You catch on quick, I heard him murmur
and so I dropped the tongue in further.
That drive down to Cork in the 90’s
felt like operation transportation-
5 sisters of Dorothy all crammed in the car
singing Liza and Barbara in proud
polychrome while inside I was thinking
this was certainly no place like home.
We slipped out of Loafers
and their shoes that had absorbed me
and headed to that no name place
that was actually called The Other Place.
A disco it was with lads against the wall
and I thought you’re man in the white socks-
I won’t be snogging him at all.
They opened up a back room, in Cork,
halfway through the Whitney medley
which caused a run for the big buns on sale-
fruity scones sausage rolls,
fondant fancies and fairy cakes,
in Cork, at the disco,
in The Other Place,
when all the gays still ate sugar
and some grandmother’s doily
was the only bit of fecking lace.
All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly