If you have to say anything, say nothing at all by E F Fluff

if you have to1On a little island on the edge of the world.

That you’ll be tortured, degraded, humiliated, and ultimately, hardened to a strange faraway horizon point no one else will really understand; was something, we all, ultimately, later, laughed about.

There was a time, where if these childhood experiences fractured you, to a point of inability to move, continue, or handle. You, or the damaged person, was referenced with a sort of strange creased wrinkle frown shrug of half-remorse and half-ah well, they failed the hazing, but don’t talk about it too much, ‘lest there we ourselves go ah,ha-hahaa…

A very real, palpable sense of the dangers of abyss gazing, and names that should not be spoken.

The weak, the wounded; were relegated to the streets and halfway houses, alcoholism, derelicts and heroin.

We often knew why, but we rarely grazed on it in any depth.

Maybe if they died, or killed themselves; it might come up in graveyard passing, a rueful-faced aunt drag-twisted around a Superking as she threw away a comment before being hushed by another.

Our little island was never suited to the desolate rigors of Christianity.

We were a barbaric people who had found the time to give each wind its own colour.

Wrapped in hallucinogenics, our DNA hints of nomadic seafaring and other questions.

Vicious, unforgiving if crossed, midlander; there can only be one – don’t take the rivers, you’ll wake the old folk… and yet capable of drawing down a very intricate, expansive and forgiving legal system that intermingled with our fading knowledge of the power and source of Cunt.

Orthodox might have suited us.

Yet a swing of the calendar and Christendom being given open season on us, a little island on the edge of the world, unless we toed the line.

It’s no wonder the downers of knowing it is there but being gifted the ability to not give a fuck would become so intravenously attractive.

if you have to 2We used to paint ourselves blue, and dance howling into battle in baggy cloaks with sleeves for blade catching. The dye so astringent that a single cut and mingle of sweat and blood, and the wound would burn itself closed. And the only way you’re dealing with that is tripping balls, half cut.

It’s no wonder the Queen’s advisor said the only thing that would break the Irish was famine. Shortly before we entered a hundred or so years period of famines, great, large and small.

Island life is small, harsh, and unforgiving.

A revolving room of curtains you may never get to look behind.

If you have to say anything, say nothing at all.

That you’ll be raped is inevitable.

You weren’t? Maybe you don’t remember.

It’s not all buggery.

That you’ll be beaten is a given.

Each person’s view of a “beating” being relative, some more shocking than others.

We’re, maybe, hopefully, the last generation.

To get our teeth into it, to bend over, and grit.

The others gloss over the horror a little bit, preferring to focus on the biting poverty that they’ll reference as so desolate that their memories of youth are so grim; they only come in black and white.

The surreal commonplace of physical, and sexual misconduct so common, so rife, many of us don’t even know we were subjected to a wrong. Somewhere there, in the bleak hazing that is the foundry that casts the Jolly Irish Person the rest of the world has, mostly, sung the praises of for the last thirty or fifty years.

We made good soldiers; that’s a millennia old solid – no bullshit, just do, forward, like the sacred hare, always through the fire, the Paddy Mayne genetic imperative for a people so used to encroachment, one of our oldest tomes is called “The Book of Invasions”.

We’re not fucking about now.

The airport banner says a thousand million welcomes where it should say “How are ye, what’s in your pockets?” – not that we could accurately get the accompanying vaguely friendly squint down into text.

if you have to 3Father Ted was a documentary filmed in real time, written by a man who would later become trapped in the negative zone of his own past. Though he left, the old horrors would spin cycle him again and again like some dreary forgotten Lovecraftian temporal nightmare.

Little realising the rest of us had finally been able to move on.

In part due to the silver bullet he took for the rest of us.

It was all so rife, in memory it now plays out like some sort of blend of Brass Eye and Are You Being Served?

“There’s a paedophile disguised as a school/a church/a country…”

Out near the dual carriageway, a sodden alcoholic gym teacher, somewhere hitting fifty, in small tight red shorts that crush and swell his genitals to exaggerated proportions, that when the vodka makes sure he minces around in over-gesticulation. It’s hard to know whether to laugh, or feel disgust.

It seems so surreal now.

With his little closest by the boys changing room with the two-way mirror so he could watch us.

That, we discovered, and used to bait him out with ever wild and bizarre behaviour; including flamethrower fights with our lighters and deodorants.

Knowing he could never reveal what he’d seen because he could never reveal he was standing, steamed, huffing behind a one way mirror.

“What is this powder in the air!” “This powder!” “Who put this powder in the air!”

Knowing, knowing he could not reveal too much of the ruse ‘lest red-faced questions were asked.

The fanatic religion teacher with ligature scars around her neck. So fervent she thought nothing of inciting frenzied heathen dog piles on students who questioned her dogma.

The Christian Brothers who forced the fresh graduate to teach a class of thirty boys the horrors of abortion. Ghoulish teens needling a clearly emotional young woman trying hard to hold the line.

It was all so rife

We don’t even know until a foreigner puts their hand over their mouth in a strangled squeal of horror.

if you have to 4It was all so rife

We don’t even remember, and if we do, we don’t talk about it, because we’re not one of them, one of the weak ones. Sure, didn’t it toughen us up.

It was all so rife

I haven’t even had time to talk about the people who’d make you disappear. The cause, and all that. “Is Daniel there? It’s time for his tea.”

Maybe that’s why we do death so well, if you have to say anything, say nothing at all, and how better to do that, than over seven days drinking around the reminder corpse of a spirit that is finally free.

“Who can beat us? Nobody!”

Who’s like us? Nobody!

Who’s better than us? Nobody!

Island life.

If you have to say anything, say nothing at all.

E.F. Bio
E.F Fluff is still trying to escape a Kafka-esque nightmare of corruption, death threats, violence, white collar crime, and bigotry in Finland, and Ireland. Seriously. The photos above are all theirs.