Dear Dirty Dublin

Content Advisory: Adult Language and Sexual References

Dear Dirty Dublin is Lisa Zuliana’s poetic tribute to James Joyce’s Ulysses, a work testament to Irish Modernism in its concerns with sense of belonging, nationalism, what makes a true Irish citizen, wandering and the usurpation of the home. Writing in the combined perspectives of Stephen Dedalus, Leopold Bloom and Molly Bloom, Lisa sketches in shorter, (hopefully) more understandable verses than the novel, anecdotes of what home means to each character, their regrets, peregrinations and hopes in securing a home.

Think you’re escaping but you run into yourself
Longest way round is the shortest way home

Start from the phallic symbol jutting up from
Mother Ireland that faces her
Scrotumtightening fluids and look up
The gulls caw a greeting and sun creeps
Past the rocks where soon you will wander

Usurp the home but home is everywhere

Ashplant makes a hole in all sand and soil
Walk, you brute, what else are you good for
Save for writing like I am writing because there must be an omphalos reference in here

The streets stank of squalor and a lame soldier begs
Woman’s arm, full of love’s lard and lusty folds, flings down a coin
Glints and I sing a song of sixpence
The journey took me here though maybe it was mine own two feet
Strange, surely, I have transgressed the natural order of things

This detour seems fortuitous

Redirect my path to home but home is everywhere

Potted meat and its gaminess wafts through the air
Coupled with smoke and faeces and fecund wives
The perfume of my nation
But I am not an Irishman yet this smell sinks into my blood
Like the reddish essence of my burnt kidney
Sawed off and gnawed
Leftovers from another world that found solace in the womb of a shelter
Home can be a home even if it is not the picture-perfect home

Paint my own home and look through my eyes and the Daily Telegraph waves in the wind as does the Irish flag

Have a pint no thanks not for me

What I have no money
I wish only to relax in this place that I have known all my life
I am not one of them
Damned dog of the foreign and chased by a mongrel myself
Can’t leave well enough alone
Ah but these are the trials of finding one’s place in home

Home is where I belong surely
But could it also be where I want to belong?

yes of course he took me away to here where the city never sleeps i can’t sleep either so noisy and the stinking rises up in the midday the two damned dogs are at it again breeding populating no stopping want to fill up all blank space He takes residence up in me cunt he fits surprisingly you think after so long of no loving he would be down for the count i want to make him feel all over me till he loses control hide himself in me like i am the safest place for him ay i hear the toll of the clock what a fool he is keeping me up in such a state need to be in his arms lie with him side by side indent on the right is growing deeper and when was the last time he used his tongue on something other than that bit of burnt kidney loved seeing him rush down and near cracking his head on the staircase pussens would lick up the dried blood a happy home is a home of laughs and solemnity my mother used to say without a husband what home could you have a stupid jealous brute that wants to shove it right up into you let you house his hat rack and polish it good till it shines he thinks i want to hang pearls around his neck make it a noose and ill give it a good tug i want him to eat me though it is a stuffy old place this apartment but i suppose it will do so hot so lurid woofing and barking and humping and ay husband come home and make me a home for you

LISA ZULIANA is a graduating student majoring in English Literature in Nanyang Technological University. Her writing often details feminism, eroticism, gender issues and the battering of women. She is inspired by Rupi Kaur and Angela Carter but her senpai is James Joyce. Her hope is to publish two poetry collections she is currently working on.

Photo credit: Rachel Eng