CAIN AND ABEL - Paul Durcan Poems


Poems » paul durcan » cain and abel

My name is Cain MacCarthy.
I am a Senior Counsel, forty-nine years old.
A Bencher of the King's Inns.
No humbler fellow could you meet outside a courtroom.
Inside a courtroom I am pedigree ape.

When I get a witness in the witness box
I imbibe the witness's entrails
Only to spit them out again,
Draping them - entrail by entrail
On the rails of the witness box.

I earn £700,000 a year before tax.
I do not deny they are entitled to tax me
But I protest at the exorbitant tax
That overworked barristers like myself have to pay
To subsidise blackguards like my brother.

My brother. Yes. My brother.
He is a priest. God help us.
Father Abel CSSp.
To spell it out, a Holy Ghost.
Spent most of his life in South America.
Would to Jesus Christ he had stayed there.
Things were okeydoke so long as he was away on the missions
But every time he'd land home on leave
There'd be trouble. Nothing would do my wife
But to invite him to break bread with us
Every other night of the week - she could not have enough
Of him. I was sick of the pair of them
Nattering away about Social justice and Liberation Theology,
Papal Encyclicals, Rerum Novarum, Quadragesimo Anno,
And - one of his party pieces - how the beggars in Nassau Street
Those good-for-nothing tinker teenage mothers and their pups
Are icons of the Holy Mother and the Infant Jesus
And, as if all that were not enough, Poetry!
Poetry! To behold her eyes gaping at him
As he quoted Oscar Wilde or some such alcoholic pansy
Was enough to make me puke my roast lamb.

It was the night he criticised my colleague Mr Wyse Power
One of the most patriotic advocates ever to grace the bar
That I flipped my lid. I grabbed him by the curlies
And dragged him out the French door into the back garden.
'Oh no! Oh no' - I could hear him moan.
But I was in a cocoon of my own.
My youngest kiddie's baseball bat was on the sill
Of the utility room and that is how I did it.
I beat him to death with a baseball bat and as I did it
I called to mind having intercourse with my wife
On our last holiday in Florida.
We have a time-sharing apartment in Orlando, Florida.

As I thumped him
I developed an erection
And I felt profoundly calm,
Profoundly humble.

My beloved brother, I never knew you
Until this moment. I never knew
That deeper than my lechery for my wife
Was my detestation of you.
Although I married my wife for the broad view of her hips
And in terms of bed pleasure she has not let me down -
In fact, she'd jump over the moon
With me gripping onto her breasts
With my teeth if I told her to
I have never known such pleasure
As I have known in the liquidation of my brother.
As he gasped his last gasp for mercy
I could feel my right nipple stiffen
In a lilac halo.
I switched on the tv and watched a half-hour of Gulf War.
When the police came I told them he had attacked me.
Naturally they believed me.