Matador Review

A Quarterly Missive of Alternative Concern

clíodhna walsh

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P., there is a meeting on Friday at 7pm; attendance is mandatory.

P., kindly explain failure to attend last meeting. I was under the impression that you were taking this more seriously. Our only hope of success lies in efficient organisation. Please remember procedures and lodge explanation of absence with me in future.

Dear mummy, thanks ever so much for sending on the pattern. Finishing the jumper only took me a few days—how flattering the orange and blue are on me has yet to be ascertained: I have received no compliments. It does keep me nicely warm in the library. Corned beef. Shall I bring a trifle on Sunday? Mother, I have already told you told you that I shall be attending alone. No current updates regarding romances, relationships, or exciting encounters.

P., I am afraid that, by accident, I may have sent you a personal mail.

P., your presence is urgently demanded. Very, very worrying.

P., your presence is urgently demanded. Very, very worrying.

P., sorry. I sent that twice.

Comrade, of course, I completely understand how very stressful it must be! No, I absolutely was not implying anything of the kind, really and truly!

Comrade, if it came across that way, I beg your forgiveness.

Comrade, you need not question how much you are appreciated. Not everyone could do what you do—your name is perennially the source of awed discussion between us all. I personally have always admired your bravery, but merely am trying to treat you equally to everybody else.

Comrade, I question the wisdom of writing so openly.

Comrade, yes, of course, you're probably right. Yes, I have been quite uptight recently. I have broken my glasses, would you believe; I dropped them in the library, and a large child, who I thought was trying to help, stepped on them. The head librarian refuses to punish the child, perhaps because she is also large. Consequently, I have been going around with one good eye and so, to my violent embarrassment, I appear to be constantly winking at strangers—which has led to an awkward—and possibly criminal—encounter with my landlord. No, I have not gone for a drink in quite some time—would you like to go for one perhaps?

Comrade, I think perhaps my last letter was lost in post? I have broken my glasses and it is possible with my bad eyes that I deposited my letter in a bin.

Comrade, meeting on Friday and Tuesday at 7pm.

Comrade, meeting on Friday at 7pm!

Comrade, extremely annoyingly, I am sick. A powerful cold has appropriated my nose. I have sneezed c. forty times the last hour. Have been alone in bed for days but have caught up on my knitting. Would you like a scarf? Cannot attend Friday meeting. Can you please take minutes for me?

Comrade, thank you so much for the flowers! They're lovely!

P., why have you taken my memorandum? You must reply immediately.

P., all night I've been up, biting my nails over this. Very inconvenient, very troubling, very difficult to comprehend—I don't have a clue why you would have wanted to take it in the first place. Meet me immediately.

Yes P., I had a nice time last night. I had wanted that to happen for a long time, but had never imagined it would—are you surprised? You should take my incriminating documents more often! (Please do not. I am joking).

Yes P., of course, you are a very nice kisser. Am too embarrassed to answer your further questions but I thought it was very nice.

Yes P., I would like to see you again.

P., what are you doing this evening?

Comrade, did you see the article in the Times about our posters? They're spooked, and shall overreact before too long. The red paint looked great in the photographs, didn't it? P.S. I think you're very handsome!!

Comrade, please could you pick up a bottle of wine?

Comrade, it would be very revolutionary if you gave me a kiss and a hug later tonight at 7pm.

Comrade, my mother will be over at 9pm. Please don't be cross—I have knitted a cardigan for you; I would be so pleased if you wore it. Might be a bit old-fashioned but I think you shall look handsome. Also please remove anything suspicious from your sitting room! Do you have any milk?

Comrade, of course I would love to—I am smiling here as I knit and thinking of you.

Comrade, blow it up!

Comrade, success! I heard that we made a terrible mess and that the front of the house resembles a warzone. The blown-off door and blasted windows look fantastic. Don't feel bad you were late and missed it! I just am so relieved to hear of your safety. Both my head and my stomach ache from worrying about you and from all the biscuits I anxiously have eaten. I am so proud of you.

Comrade, I cannot find you.

P., I am beside myself. So salted is my face with tears that from my eyes two tracks of eczema groove down to my chin. My skin feels like a peanut—I have never cried so much. The others have been saying all sorts of awful things about you, making terrible threats and accusations. So distraught am I that I may have developed a urinary tract infection; I keep going to the loo. Is it true? Is this why the furniture in your flat doesn't seem your style, and why the place never smells like you? Are your tattoos really 'ironic' like you claim? Write to me.

Darling, oh darling, forgive me, forgive me, I beg you; I love you. I'm so sorry. Of course you are right, and I hate that you have always put up with my nonsense. I probably do need to see someone like you suggested; my nerves are fragile. But is my perm really that bad?

Darling, I'll meet you there with your things at 7am. Bit of a silly question—shall I bring that cardigan?

Darling, pigs have found me. They're saying all sorts of outrageous lies about you to come between us. I don't believe any of it, sweetheart. Am not so stupid as to fall for such unconvincing rubbish.

Comrade, I am beginning to worry -


Clíodhna Walsh lives and works in Dublin. She previously has appeared in publications such as The Incubator Journal, Corda Magazine, and The Bohemyth.