One day
you’ll only speak to the bees*

Maitiú Mac Cárthaigh 


Wrap me in a blank of cultural hegemony. Keep me safe and warm in the space I sleep. 
Go to work and know the game. Same shit, different day. 
Lean against the tractor and speak of Johnny over by Ballinaspittle, 
who couldn’t jump a fence if you threw him. 
You are the Good Farmer, and I shall inherit you.1


Worms live in this earth. 
Pink wriggling things under soft layers of white dust. 
Around them grow beige carrots and potatoes. 
They crawl in and around and through and under little mountains of soil.
Up and down this field. Rubbing up against beautiful organic seaweed fed turnips.

I germinate everything indoors. 
In little compostable cups which come in a set of 30, wrapped in plastic. 
I can see my little carrots yearning to be out in the wild rain. 
Wanting nothing more than to be let loose from their greenhouse nursery.

The crows don’t attack my crop as much as they used to. 
They prefer ripping apart the bins for scraps of the dinner. 
Or foxes and badgers left dead on the road.

Every weekend I invite my friends round for dinner. 
All the food is prepared by my hands. 
The food is rarely touched while it’s hot. 
We are all too excited to pile into the sauna downstairs. 

And my bees died long ago. 
All three hives scattered across the ground. 
Like they were trying to escape something invisible but couldn’t. 
Instead, they gave up and all died together. 
I never found out what killed them. I was too upset to ask. 

Next to my compost heap is my alter to the old pagan gods. 
I ask them to bless this loose and floury soil they have nourished for millennia. 
They have given me this island to do with as I see fit. Here, I am one of the divine ascended. 

Under the soft little hill, rainwater is collected into blue gallon drums. 
It is cleansed with shop bought charcoal and trickles over the top into small buckets, signalling its purity.  It was used to irrigate my crop during the last few good summers. It’s so unusually dry.  I’m sure the weather will settle down again this summer. It can’t stay like this forever.


The advance of agri-policy and business within the EU over the past thirty years has occurred due to increased market pressures and environmental concerns.2 Rural Europe’s mass industrialisation and outsourcing has  continuously risen the expected quantity and quality output for a farm. Forever questioning its viability. 
Making it harder for smaller farms to resists pressures to expand or cease to exist at all.3
The same small farms which constitute a once large component of collective Irish identity. 
The auld fella can no longer be sustained.
He is outdated. 
Pushing and pushing and pushing, 
policy and innovation are applying more and more pressure on the male farmer, and subsequently his identity.  Worship of the hegemonic rural male identity is waning from outside and also within. The male farming identity has long held supremacy in Irish culture, yet now mounting stressors due to sectoral changes jeopardize the farmer’s patrilinear control over the land and their need to pass it on his sons. His environment is quickly being destroyed. 
Loosing sense of place in a sick landscape. 
Between a rock and a hard place, does he get out or does he stick to his guns and go mad over the cliff? And what of an alternative? Rural commune escapism was never going to save us anyway. 


The rush of self is orgasmic. 
I wake up every day fuelled with fury. 
It is all consuming. The need to never tame self for others. 
To supersede my own caricature. 

I am a blaze. Edging myself further and further away from identity.4
I no longer wish to speak or understand. I beg you, only bruise and bleed me.5
I dissolve into nothing because unlike others, I can. 
It is celebrated as growth and breaking away from Catholic guilt. 
Moving rapidly over thousands of miles of ocean, I am burning up and erasing older selves for fuel. 

Adoration of self is proposed as queer.
Individualism is lived as Queer. 
Monoculturalism is the reality of Queerness. 

All hail the Queer God. 
All fear the fires which burn all around me. 
This Instagramable chaos is trending.
Queer confessional is my rite.
You will rejoice in this holy trinity of I.


The monoculture of I must be sustained. 
This field must be ploughed, and I will harvest what I need. 
I have no need of bees because this spoiled white earth will be healed by me.

This text is a series of excerpt taken from I ascended this mountain to its highest peak, and looked down at all the bodies I had to jump over, 2023. Work in progress.

1 Rob J.F. Burton, Jérémie Forney, Paul Stock, and Lee-Ann Sutherland. 2020. The Good Farmer. Routledge.

2 Current expectations, “Agriculture and Rural Development,” European Commission - Representation in Ireland, accessed January 8, 2023, plan.

3 Hammersley, Conor, David Meredith, Noel Richardson, Paula Carroll, and John McNamara. 2022. “Mental Health, Societal Expectations and Changes to the Governance of Farming: Reshaping What It Means to Be a ‘Man’ and ‘Good Farmer’ in Rural Ireland.” Sociologia Ruralis, November. Pg. 5.

4 Quinlan, Hannah, Rosie Hastings, and Leo Bersani. 2022. Gay Betrayals. London, United Kingdom: Afterall Books.

5 Oakley, Be, and Noah LeBien (eds). 2021. GenderFail Reader. 3rd ed. GenderFail.