We're delighted to present an extract from one of 2016's most notable Irish literary debuts - poet, performer and novelist Karl Parkinson's The Blocks, published by New Binary Press.

The Blocks is a story of a visionary artist growing up in the inner city tower blocks of Dublin in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, with drug dealers and addicts, stolen cars, malign and benevolent spirits, fights and prostitutes. A story of family, friends, bands and poetry. A story about the redemptive power of art and love, and the quest to break free from spiritual suffering.


He fell in love wit any woman dat gave him de slightest attention or nicety or a kiss, wow a kiss! A walk home in a haze uv love sickness. Heed stalk dem, wait outside der house, across de street, offer te walk dem home, be a gentleman. It never lasted; dey led him on for reason known te dem? He scared dem, he got de message all wrong for reasons known te him or not?

Heed sit on de balcony outside me flat all de time even if I wuzzen der, waitin squintin te see who wuz dat comin inte de block, mistakin dem for sumone else.

Georgie started te wear a baseball cap aniz hair curled under it, wore a red n navy hood, black faded jeans or pale blue ones, old runners. Navy n yellow Liverpool F.C tracksuit. Didden care too much for fashions or wot others thought uv iz clothes or so he claimed.

Its me n Georgie walkin up Infirmary Hill tegether. Heads bob up n down n around in all directions. Lookin at trees, de sky, de road ahead. Lookin menacin, moody n eager. Georgie walks a little behind, iz short legs juttin a step every few he took, tryin te keep up wit de long legs uv iz friend. Hes got a stick uv wood in iz hand dat he found on de street, he taps on de ground as he walks. Hes got a crazy rhythm goin wit de stick n de juttin. Hes whistlin Rat in de kitchen by UB40. We reach de top uv de hill n turn right towards de blocks. De blocks, four storeys high, corporation built blocks uv flats. Three hundred flats n thirteen blocks. Families boxed n stacked n stuck on concrete shelves.

Ive te go up te de gaff n pay me ma, before I go up te Beatzer, yeah.

Cool, yeah. He/ll be up der all day anyway.

Ders enough for a joint up der we/ll smoke dat before we go up te um.

Ya gettin more off um today?

Yeah.

Dya wanna get a quarter n I/ll go half on it, pay ya on Friday?

Yeah cool, cool man. Datll do us for a few days.

Is dat Tommy standin on yer balcony?

Yep its Doyler alright well spotted for a blind cunt. Georgies face turns a little red at dis remark.

I can see tings far away mad isin it?

Yer f**kin mad, dats whats mad, hah!

Georgie n me walk up de stairs dat have names n love-hearts wit initials n plus signs inside dem. A smell uv grease n vinegar in de air. On de balcony,

Tommy Doyle is standin waitin for us.

Wats de story Doyler?

Alright Tommy?

Alright lads?

Why didden ya not knock, me ma wud uv let ya in?

Ah, just thought Id stall it here I knew yiz werent der cuz ders no music.

Come in n smoke a joint wit us wer goin up de Beatzer after it.

Yeah, nice one lads, Beatzer up in de pitch as usual yeah?

Yeah.

Yeah, ha, ha.

Alla us enter de flat, rubbin hands, scratchin necks, whistlin, happy in anticipation uv de joint wer goin te smoke tegether.

Georgies arms er criss-crossed wit blade marks. Iz face is contorted, iz glasses steamed up. He takes dem off n looks at de bath, de water looks green but he knows it isnt. He undresses slowly iz short hairy body is numb, he climbs inte de bath n takes de blade, he might hit an artery dis time, he might get de wish, he might leave de blocks for good dis time.

He thinks about Beatzers face in de coffin, how he looked happy n as good as he ever did. A dark gloopin shade is salivatin in de bathroom wall. Its de scream in a small bathroom uv a flat in de blocks. Its art dyin in water. Its as dull as a soap opera sex scene.

Georgie Teeling, sits wit a gang uv Gargoyles n Glooptings in de blocks. Iz hair shabby, iz face worn, iz relationships cracked n broken. Iz body weary. Spirit chained te de walls, chained te de concrete uv de blocks. Georgie goes n scores a few bags uv gear from de dirty hands uv a faceless man. De money is wet from sweat. Georgie skips n trips n falls on de ground. He vomits white witdrawal all over de place an old man passes by n harrumphs at him. Georgie spits a gob in de blokes direction n grins. Its cold de air has ice in it. Georgie gets up wipes iz face n lips. He looks for a pub toilet te wash iz mouth out n looks in de mirror, sees iz face full uv spots n scabs, he wears iz glasses dese days, has no choice, hes eyesights f**ked. He sees a shadowy blur around iz head n back, swerves around but its not der, shakes it off n leaves de pub on Manor Street. Walks on by de bookie shops, Chinese take aways, video shops n newsagents, traffic trudges down de road.

Georgie n de gargoyles in a small cold flat in de blocks get it tegether wit de works n sliver spoon, a bummed cigarette n a lemon for de acid.

Ready te ride de worlds again.

De brown powder blooms in de veins, swims tru de small weak body n hits de broken heart. Georgie blue in de face, foamin at de mouth. Rockin n moanin on de ground. Glooptings stroke iz face in wonder. De door gets busted down by another junkie in need uv de flat te shoot de s**t dat swims in de arms uv little George Teeling. De junkys skinny yellow hands turn Georgie on iz side, kicksum in de back wit tattered Nike foot. Calls 999 n f**ks off te another cold, dirty room, full uv butts n barrels n shadowy beins. Georgie in de back uv an ambulance eyes rollin. Georgie in me shirt. Georgie hands bruised. Georgie lookin at himself n sayin

Wot a dope.

He thinks about Beatzers face in de coffin, how he looked happy n as good as he ever did.

Georgie in n out uv iz body. Georgie on de hospital bed. Pumped out. Breathin heavy. Georgie back in iz body in de Mater hospital. Drips n machines dat bleep. White bed sheets n white walls, white everyting cept de shades n shadows.

Georgie half-awake. Stumbles from de bed. Spittle on iz chin. Georgie unhooks de drip n gets off de bed topless, shoeless, no glasses. Georgie, de great escape from de Mater hospital, avoids de security. Georgie heads for de walls, de damn f**kin walls uv de blocks. Georgie staggers inte a gallop. Georgie leaps on de wall, go on Georgie get out, run Georgie, leap Georgie. Georgie Teeling a hero uv dis book, slips shoeless n stoned on de walls uv de blocks n falls, iz neck catches on de barbed wire, iz hands so small n fat grab n tear at de wire, swingin n spurtin, chokin on blood, iz face blue, bluer din its ever been, iz lips white, breath gone, eyesight at last perfect, he looks n sees de stars glowin in de sky n hears music, like sumting from an old movie like Ben Hur n hes gone. Georgie Teeling hung der on de barbed wire. Crucified by love n drugs, hung by heroin. Glooptings below pointin n laughin, floatin up n all around de body, lookin for a fix, a pack uv nightmares. De Gargoyles flew away te de top uv de blocks n lowered der heads in silence for de night. Poor Georgie Teeling hung on barbed wire in de blocks turns inte a Francisco Goya Etchin.

Martyr uv dis book. Georgie Teeling dead at twenty-one n free from de blocks. So long buddy n so long wuz de weepin uv all de characters in dis tale.

In de church Christy Dignam sings

Its a crazy world, how can I protect ya in dis crazy world?

De stain glass Jesus looks like a sick joke te me. Me eyes hurt wit de salty tears.

Me Da is in a haloed shade uv whitish grey sleepin in coffin, pale, cold te de touch uv me Childs selfs lips. Georgies Da is tryin te hold it tegether in de church but de tears flow. David Newmans Da wore a wig n painted on iz eyebrows wit mascara te conceal iz alopecia. A sad comedy it wuz, for all te see, de wig tilted too much te one side. Me Da became a dove wen he died. Georgie became a dove wen he died. We all become doves wen we die.