Clár Tillekens

100% dark chocolate or poison

A rumor went around that I tried to poison someone once.

I offered them a piece of 100% dark chocolate and they had a conniption when they ate it.

Foolish of me, really, as I know building up a tolerance is necessary.

70% this week, 85% next, 90% the following, and so on.

Diligent training of the palate.

If you don’t believe me, check the directions on the wrapping of Lindt’s EXCELLENCE bars.

Diet ode to my ancestors

Guggering potatoes. You heard that right? It’s not googling.
Dad is telling me about a method for planting the crop, what he grew up doing.
I never did that on FarmVille back in the day.
My father made use of his hands. Dirtied them, felt the soil.
Out of respect for my forebearers, I’m no longer eating chips, crisps, or fries.
I only want potatoes in their purest preparations.

Acceptable forms of spuds:
  • Boiled
  • Mashed
  • Baked
  • Roasted
  • Bread
  • Boxty

Hast du Feuer?

A good rite of passage in Berlin is being asked “Hast du Feuer?” on Admiralbrücke. Ideally by a looker with a gleam in their eye. Yes of course you have fire. You hand over a lighter from your mini bum bag. He lights up with the heat you gave him. Calms with the flame you lent. Thanks you in a foreign accent. Maybe he’ll invite you to The Club™ or he’ll walk away down the canal and leave you tormented wondering what would’ve happened if you exchanged numbers.


I want to age like a bog body.
Thousands of years of preservation, but now.
Figured out a small yearly ritual.
On the last day of winter I’ll dunk my head into the acidic water of Connacht.
On the first day of spring I’ll return for a touch up.
Won’t need tretinoin again, nor rose water.
Just annual dips and daily peat spritzes.


Some of you should be healed by holy well water and it shows.

What you need:
  • A sacred spring – within it a tree tied with rags
  • A piece of cloth – natural fiber and enough to knot around a branch
  • Prayers – good ones to secure your request

Steps to get cured:
  1. Dip your fabric into the blessed water
  2. Wash the part of your body that is the source of your sickness
  3. Humbly say your prayers
  4. Tie the cloth to the tree

Go on your way and be patient.
As the cloth disintegrates, so does your ailment.


Brigid played Patience at night, more so in the colder months.
Moving her cards around, serene all by herself.
After she died I realize it’s the Euro name for Solitare.

She stepped on stray sod once,
on her way back home from getting turf for the fire.

Some say these jinxed sites appear where unbaptized children are buried.
One foot on it and your sense of direction is gone.

Put adrift in an area she knew well
and enveloped in fog on top of it all.
So not just lost, but blinded too.

What saved Brigid was the faint sound of whistling,
from Rían, who set out to find her,


Walking in front of my friend on a narrow sidewalk on our way to get dinner.
“Were you a dancer?” she asks me out of nowhere.

What the hell
was my first thought.
What in God's good name

A few seconds later, to my sheer surprise, I realized that, actually, yes, I was a dancer.

“I can tell by your stance and the way you walk”

My legs used to strictly move by way of jigs and reels.
Feet bound up in soft shoes on Tuesdays, hard shoes on Thursdays.

8 years of that ended when a misstep in a routine resulted in a broken right foot.

Unclear on why it was all a memory lapse.
Meanwhile my body is still altered by the craft more than a decade later.

Comforted by, and proud of, my muscle memory.
Habitually showcasing my rhythmic past.