Ghost Session

Pete Mullineaux

In the elbow of the snug, our absent selves make ready –
open cases, ease bellows, tune strings – spread the rosin;
some chit-chat about weather, the match, a bit of world
news thrown in. Flute enters, shrugging off the raingear,
bicycle clips; Banjo tries to order drinks, plink-plink of
a coin on an empty glass. A few are already warming up
fingers, loosening wrists, softening lips; taking off into a
gentile O’Carolan set, maybe a jig or two, before letting
rip with a few high tempo reels…

Each takes a turn starting: Whistle leans towards polkas
and slides, Fiddle often picks a mazurka; there’s a pause
every now and then for Singer. The evening reveals more
habits and rituals: Bouzouki will check the soccer scores,
while Mandolin slips out for a smoke; Bodhran is bound
to come back from the loo saying we don’t sound too bad
from in there. Concertina’s quiet tonight, maintaining her
own distance, squeezing thoughts…

The music fills the absence, names of tunes taking on new
resonance: Last Night’s Fun, Happy to Meet Sorry to Part,
– My Love is in America – there’s a call for “Ciunas” when
someone announces a lament, but with no stag parties, darts
crowd to compete with, the TV off, there’s already silence…

Pete Mullineaux lives in Galway, Ireland where he teaches global issues in schools through poetry and drama. Interdependence Day: Teaching the Sustainable Development Goals through Drama will be published by Afri in 2020. He’s published four poetry collections, most recently How to Bake a Planet (Salmon 2016), “A gem” – Poetry Ireland Review. A New & Selected will be published in 2021. His debut novel, Jules & Rom: Sci-fi meets Shakespeare, was recently released as an ebook by Troubador Publishing, (2020). Pete plays fiddle and has published a poetry collection titled Session (Salmon 2011) containing poems inspired by Irish Traditional Music.