A New Ulster 119

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FEATURING THE TALENTS OF Satya Bosman, Don Stoll, Hannah Nagle, James Molloy , Marc McCann, Yuri P,W. Sterck, Terry Brinkman and Theresa McCormack. EDITED BY AMOS GREIG


ISSUE 119 November 2022 UPATREE PRESS

Copyright © 2022 A New Ulster All Rights Reserved.

The artists featured in this publication have reserved their right under Section 77 of the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the authors of their work.

ISSN 2053 6119 (Print)

ISSN 2053 6127 (Online)

Edited by Amos Greig

Cover Design by Upatree Press

Prepared for Publication by Upatree Press


This edition features work by Satya Bosman, Don Stoll, Hannah Nagle, James Molloy, Marc McCann, Yuri P,W. Sterck, Terry Brinkman and Theresa McCormack.


Poetry Satya Bosman Page 1

Prose Don Stoll Page 3

Prose Hannah Nagle Page 16

Poetry James Molloy Page 29

Poetry/Prose Marc McCann Page 35

Poetry Yuri .P.W. Sterck Page 46

Art/Poetry Terry Brinkman Page 60

Poetry Theresa McCormack Page 67

Editor’s Note Page 73


Satya Bosman is a poet and Editor of the Black Cat Poetry Press and some of her poems were included in their debut nature anthology A Bin Night in November. Her poetry has been featured in Dreich 6 Season 5 Magazine, the Soorploom Press, Green Ink Poetry, The Wee Sparrow Poetry Press, The Kent and Sussex Poetry Society’s Folio for 2022, Duckhead Journal, BBC Radio Kent, The Lake, Paddler Press and The Galway Review.


Clootie Well

This summer, the fire tore through the field it burned like it would never go out but then it stopped at the clootie well with my hand stitched wish bearing your name a good name

In Autumn, there was crackling of the bonfires the smoke danced in the night sky I bobbed for apples and smoked roll ups under the pine tree, watching the light fade the air begin to crisp until it was time to go back inside. (Satya Bosman)

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Don Stoll lives in the Southern California desert. His fiction has appeared three times here in the pages of A New Ulster and more recently in Terror House (tinyurl.com/3dsp9b9m) and Jupiter Review (jupiterreview.com/issueiv). In 2008, Don and his wife founded their nonprofit (karimufoundation.org) which continues to bring new schools, clean water, and medical clinics to several remote Tanzanian villages.



All the Cattle in the World

Among the Maasai, as among the neighboring tribes who have always envied the wealth and power of the Maasai, it is well known that they own all the cattle in the world. Among the Maasai it is also well known how this came to be. Every Maasai child knows the story.

But some of the Maasai say that every child knows the story only because the story has been made suitable for children. They say there are things a child must not hear. They say that one of these things is the true story of how the Maasai came to own all the cattle in the world.

They are willing to tell this story if they have assurance that it will not fall upon the ears of a child. Because I believe that I have this assurance, I will tell the story. If my trust is betrayed so that I am made to look a fool, the betrayer will suffer the consequences.

The Maasai have their own name for God. They call him Enkai.

When the world was new, Enkai inspected it to make sure that it would satisfy him. Often, a thing is not made correctly the first time. All good artisans review their creations


before sending them out into the world. The creation reflects upon the creator and the creator does not desire embarrassment.

Enkai’s inspection revealed one feature that he thought he might correct: men had to obtain their food from wild beasts because Enkai had neglected to bestow any tamed animals upon them. There were cattle, but Enkai had reserved them for his own use.

He might have acted right away to correct this but he did not. He worried that if he were to bestow tamed animals upon men, the men would grow weak. Strength was better. The strongest and best men were the Maasai. Therefore Enkai did not observe all men equally. He observed the Maasai more than he observed others. To observe the Maasai gave him pleasure.

He also observed the Maasai women. He took delight in their jewelry. They festooned themselves with much jewelry. The beads rattled and clinked against one another when they performed their leaping dances. Their jewelry was beautiful to both eye and ear.

But Enkai did not observe all Maasai women equally. Observing that one Maasai woman was more beautiful than the others, he put the others out of his mind and observed only her. He listened when her parents spoke to her. He learned that her name was Naserian.

He asked some Maasai what the name meant. They said it meant the peaceful one. This amused him. He thought of her constantly. Thereby he was denied peace.

For souls capable of being moved by great passion, love is a bounty. However, the bounty is not one of peace. It is a bounty of turbulent joy.


Mortals believe that the gods cannot know disappointment or unhappiness. They do not understand that eternal life multiplies the possibilities of disappointment and unhappiness and other, similar feelings. Eternal life multiplies them infinitely.

Enkai’s love of Naserian produced a boundless desperation in his soul. He wished that he might live with her and lie with her, as the mortal man to whom her parents would give her could do some day. Yet his nature would prohibit him from doing so.

In his desperation he decided that he must breach the border between the realm of the immortals and the realm of the mortals. Grasping the occasional moment of pleasure with his beloved would be better than never at all to take pleasure with her.

One fine afternoon Enkai observed Naserian at her bath. Her courage equaled her beauty if it did not surpass it. For she bathed in the Mara River during a crossing of the wildebeests. Their hooves rent the water next to her yet she was unmoved. The crocodiles were close by. Those that were nearest turned their attention away from the wildebeests to look instead at her. Enkai feared for her life. He wondered if he would have time to act if one of the terrifying beasts should lunge at her. But he was astonished to see them leave her in peace.

He deliberated about the crocodiles’ refusal of an easy meal. He believed they had not chosen to be merciful: the crocodile has no capacity for mercy. He saw that her beauty had stunned them into inaction. Her beauty had engaged their faculty for disinterested

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contemplation and they had forgotten that they must always seek the satisfaction of their baser appetites.

She came out of the river. He had decided upon the moment when he must act. He waited until she had dried herself, making use of the sunshine and a leaf of the banana tree. As she prepared to dress, he executed his plan.

In the childish version of the story, Enkai lowered from the sky a bark rope or a leather strap or some other similar long object. In truth, he lowered a part of his own body.

The part of Enkai’s body that he lowered toward Naserian bore no resemblance to a bark rope or a leather strap. It was as thick and hard as the trunk of a young tree.

Naserian watched the descent in awe. Once the object had come within reach she embraced it with both arms. Then she relaxed her grip. She had never been with a man. Yet her mother had explained what she must do when her time came. She lay on her back.

She was a mortal woman. Hence she was not a perfect match for Enkai despite her beauty. He was too big so he could not penetrate her. His excitement achieved its climax in between the generous mounds that were her breasts. He emptied his seed into that hollow. He did so much as a storm cloud will pass over a mountain peak and then spill its burden of rain into the valley at the foot of the mountain. The valley is made grateful because it had been parched. Naserian was likewise grateful. Her gratitude found expression in laughter.

Her laughter did not please Enkai. He asked why she laughed. Had he made a fool of himself by behaving as an adolescent who did not understand how the act was performed or


who could not control himself for the correct performance of the act? She insisted that far from making a fool of himself he had made her happy.

Placated, he told her that although he would be unable to achieve penetration he might approximate it, touching her close to the spot where his touch would be most appreciated. In this way he might provoke in her an excitement surpassing his own.

She said that she understood. She asked how long she must wait. He reminded her that he was God so she need not wait at all. A mortal man cannot be forever prepared. But a mortal man’s infirmity has no bearing on the capacities of God.

She announced herself also prepared and he made good on his promise.

The world was new so the Maasai were few in number. All people were few in number so one could easily find privacy. Every afternoon Naserian came to bathe at the same place in the river. Every afternoon she found herself alone until Enkai joined her there.

Enkai considered himself lucky but he feared that his good fortune could not endure.

You are a mortal woman, he said to Naserian one day. Do your mother and father not ask why you have no husband?

They ask but I answer with a question of my own, she said. I ask them to explain why they believe I must hurry. I remind them that I have many childbearing years ahead of me.

Enkai had an idea.


Suppose I made you immortal so we could be together always. Would you like that?

I am mortal and yet you desire me, she said, looking him in the eye. You need me and I believe you would feel bereft without me. Does that not suggest that in mortality there is something that the immortals miss? No, thank you. I choose to remain mortal.

Her words injured Enkai. She had not said that without him, she would likewise feel bereft.

Nevertheless, for the time being she belonged only to him. He was lucky, indeed. He told himself that his good luck ought to satisfy him.

One day the lovemaking seemed not to please the mortal woman as it had on other days. Enkai asked her what was wrong. He feared that she would say she had grown tired of him and wished to take a mortal man for a husband.

I worry for my father, she said. Yesterday when he tried to slay a Cape buffalo the beast turned on him. His injuries are not serious but it might have been otherwise. And in time he will be too old to hunt.

She stroked him and he became aroused. She pulled her hand away.

I want to satisfy you again, she said. But does my compliance not deserve some reward?

In vain he reached for her hand. She had concealed it behind her back.


Have you not kept a species of docile beast with you that would ease my father’s life?

He reached again for her hand. She took it from behind her back and crossed her arms.

If you bring us that docile beast, I will have something for you that will make you regard my hand as a useless tool.

She stuck her tongue far out beyond her shapely lips. She waggled it back and forth.

Enkai understood that Naserian was proposing to do something that had never been done in the history of the world. At that time the history of the world was so short that there had been no need to record it in writing. Mortals had done so few things that they were able to repeat to one another during the course of a single evening everything they had done. They would do this over a fire and they would run out of tales to tell before the embers had cooled. No one had ever spoken of what Naserian had suggested.

Enkai tried to be clever.

You are talking about something new, he said. How can I know it will give me pleasure?

Just look at yourself, she laughed.

He saw that the mere thought had aroused him.

He said, I will permit one cow to descend, but before I send more I need a demonstration.


Send two, she said. One for meat and one for milk.

A bull and a milk cow descended the entire length of Enkai. Naserian pressed her tongue against him. She kept her tongue upon him as she walked the circumference of his body part. When she stopped she wiped her mouth with her hand.

Slowly, Enkai recovered the power of speech.

He said, I shall send another bull and another milk cow.

The second bull and second milk cow descended the length of Enkai.

He waited for Naserian to resume. Instead, she spoke.

I have been observing the wild beasts. I have taken particular interest in the python. From the python I have learned another thing that no mortal man or woman has ever done. Promise that if I agree to show you, you will send all of your cattle to the Maasai.

Without deliberating, Enkai promised.

Amid the stampede, Naserian set to work. She ignored the thunder of the hooves while the cattle made their way past her from the realm of the immortals to the realm of the mortals.

The talent that Naserian had learned from the python brought astonishment to Enkai. The widening of his eyes did not equal the widening of her mouth as she took him between her lips and deep inside her, as the python takes inside itself the pig or antelope whose


breadth exceeds that of the great serpent.

The extent of Enkai’s arousal was such that Naserian had no need to be about her business for long. After she had finished she had no more cause to brave the danger of the stampede. She withdrew to a prudent distance.

Enkai needed much time to recover the power of speech.

Finally, he said, I am grateful.

His heart beat loudly like the hooves of the cattle upon the earth.

He said, You must do that again.

She coughed. So many cattle now dwelt in the Maasai homeland that the clouds of dust rose nearly to the height of Enkai himself.

She said, It will be my pleasure.

Enkai had not regained the full possession of his faculties. He did not discern the tone of indifference in her speech. For the truth is that Naserian had suddenly experienced the desire to take a mortal man as her husband. For she and her husband could own many cattle and their lives would be good.

The possibility that she had accepted Enkai’s advances with some measure of cynicism, or with a view to the advantages that his affection might bring, did occur to Naserian. Yet the possibility did not trouble her. To seek intimate relations with a mortal woman had been Enkai’s idea. She had done what any mortal woman would have done when confronted by


an immortal’s awesome power. For to that power there would forever attach an implicit threat.

Naserian returned to her boma to tell her parents of her plan to take a husband. Her return attracted the attention of the tribes who were neighbors of the Maasai. For she emerged from out of the tower of dust that the hooves of all the cattle in the world had kicked up and that the neighboring tribes observed with curiosity.

Some of the men of those tribes, seduced by the luster of her ebony skin which even her coating of dust could not suppress, conspired to ravish her. But other men restrained them. They argued that she might have some knowledge of the bounty of cattle that had befallen the Maasai. They ought to leave her in peace but follow her, that they might learn what she knew. Subsequently, they might ravish her.

Naserian’s announcement gave joy to her parents. They had been in conversation with the family of an exemplary young man from another boma. The wedding might move forward immediately.

Her parents told her the name of the young man. She knew of him. She agreed that he was a fine choice. She said she would be pleased to meet him but that first she must go to the Mara River to bathe, otherwise the young man might change his mind.

She found Enkai where she had left him. He remained in a condition of blissful reverie. She saw that this would not be a good time to deliver her news. But she judged


that there would never be a good time. She went ahead.

Enkai wept. He tore his hair. He beat his breast. For hundreds of miles around the people looked to the sky because they believed they heard thunder yet the sky was clear.

The men who had followed Naserian had taken cover behind acacia trees and sausage trees. Overhearing the conversation between the mortal woman and the immortal, they grew angry. A harlot had seduced God himself. Because Enkai was a man and they too were men, as Enkai wept their bitter tears flowed freely along with his.

One of the men suggested a punishment for Enkai, who had failed to resist the harlot’s seduction. The others laughed and he fell silent. They reminded him that Enkai had done nothing more than what is in a man’s nature, hence he had incurred no guilt.

The punishment that the man had advocated was the severing in two of Enkai’s body part. Of course, the men declined to do this. However, the suggestion is in all likelihood the origin of the childish story about the severing of a bark rope or a leather strap on which the cattle had descended. According to that story its severing accounts for the separation between heaven and earth. In truth, heaven and earth had already been separate. They remain so. Yet now, as always, certain forms of intercourse between heaven and earth are possible.

When Naserian left Enkai, he was still weeping. She, too, shed some tears. She had not wished to hurt him but she believed there had been no other course of action in front of her.


If the tears had not blurred her vision, she might have noticed the party of men who waited to seize her. She might have avoided them. Instead, they overpowered her. Then they debated her punishment. Those who wished to put her to death were a minority.

The horror of this story is otherwise. The men chose instead that form of mutilation, which, the precedent having been set with Naserian, would become standard for Maasai women.

Recently, many Maasai have renounced the practice, but among others it persists.




Hannah is a freelance writer


Good Guy

It felt weird to be seeing it in real life, this lighthouse without a house. A single towering pole with a bulb on top. He’d googled photos of the island before coming but the lighthouse was the only thing that came up. He found himself on Twitter where he counted seven people who said it was technically just a light if it didn’t have a house. Then he read an article about how it was controlled remotely by a company on the mainland, and how this had angered a lot of people. He skimmed through the comments underneath, all from locals complaining how the strength of the light was too strong for the size of the island. ‘It makes the whole place look like hell when boats need warning’, MrSav16307 said.

He read all of this, scrolled through all the photos until there were none left, imagined the whole trip in his head. Like what clothes he’d pack and the music he’d listen to on the way there, never thinking he would actually come. Just another one of those things he thought about doing but never would. Until it became something he was doing without really realising it, like he was stuck behind glass, watching himself do things while the world moved passed. And now he was here and he still felt like he wasn’t, that somehow he could still be sitting in his room reading blog posts and news articles and what he was seeing was only an image in his head. He looked up through the car window at the lighthouse as it pulsed around above him and wondered if it was real. ‘Yes’. One single word. Her answer at odds with the delivery. There was no kiss, no signing off with her name. Just a big expanse of white where the rest of her email should have been. He’d only asked to visit as some kind of test. It annoyed him she’d done something to bring attention to herself while also feeling hurt she’d left the city. They’d never gone anywhere together. ‘When shall I come?’ he replied. ‘Whenever’ was all he got back. She said he could only come for two nights but he packed for three. He chose to drive his dad’s


old car, partly to piss her off because she had always told him to get rid of it. The leather seats were torn and the interior smelt of must. The little scented tree he bought on the mainland swung back and forth from the mirror and he could hear the sounds of pebbles and shells crunching under the tyres. He stopped the car and looked down at his phone resting on his knees to check the photo she’d sent him. A small fisherman’s cottage in the middle of nowhere. It looked more like a shed to him. Without meaning to, he began swiping back through photos. One of some books he saw in the WH Smith at the service station that he wanted to buy but couldn’t afford. A few of a sunset back home taken through the car window. Paler and less impressive than he remembered, not quite committed to pixels in the way he hoped. He became conscious of what he was doing and remembered why he’d gotten his phone out. He went to scroll back to the photo of the hut but under the glass, a photo had appeared that he hadn’t meant to take.

It was taken from above, waist height with the camera looking down. There were his trainers and his jeans, brown laces where they should have been white, a tear in the denim on his left leg. He didn’t need to look at the date to know when it had been taken. There was the worn carpet underneath his feet and Jim’s foot creeping in at the edge of the frame. And in the top left corner, blurred because the lens had not focused on this, was a sharp shock of red. It looked like nothing, something soft like a cushion or a blanket. But he knew it was a very large flag. And he knew underneath that flag was the rusty box they found under his great grandad’s floorboards. And he knew in that box was a deep and dirty secret. He would have to tell her. He hadn’t told her he died. He didn’t know what the protocol was with these things after you’d broken up. As soon as they opened the box he thought of her. They’d only ever visited his greatgrandad once while they were together. He could remember telling her about him in the car on the way over. How he was quiet and mainly stayed in his house. ‘No need to do that ‘Sir’ ‘Mister’ thing you did with my Uncle Jim either, just call him Carl. Everyone does.’ After tea, she had gone


upstairs to the toilet and then, quite innocently according to her, found herself looking at a photograph in one of the bedrooms. Carl with his arm around a woman his family never knew the name of. But then she’d gone further, opened a drawer and found it. A metal badge of an eagle with its wings outstretched, claws clutching at a swastika. They had argued on the way home. She swore blind she’d seen it. He told her she must have been seeing things. She refused to go there again.The next time he visited, he crept into the same room and checked the drawer it was empty.

The fisherman’s hut sat alone. Plants and shrubs were dotted about in an attempt at a garden but there was no fence to keep anything in. Thistles and poppies swayed in the wind by the door and an old rowing boat sat sad and dry off to the side. The ground was littered with bits of wire, piles of rocks, an old rusted bicycle wheel. It was an odd place. You didn’t quite understand why anything was there. He turned the engine off and got out the car.

A path leading up to the cottage had been faintly marked out with scraps of orange metal stuck in the shingle. As if someone had been worried you’d get lost among all the crap lying around. He made a point of winding through it all to get to the set of wooden steps up to the front door. He climbed up and knocked, the steps too skinny for his big feet. He fell awkwardly back down and waited.

The door opened. For a moment she seemed to float above him, a green cotton dress waving gently in the wind. She wore a wooly cardigan over the top and her long wavy hair fell down over her shoulders. She looked completely different.

Come in, she said. He started to follow but forgot the stairs and bumped clumsily into the wood. His shin screamed out in pain. Inside, the cottage was cosy. Knitted blankets and cushions, lots of wood. A kettle was boiling on the stove and pots were huddled together by the door behind him, filled with cacti. Everything was


old and worn. So far from their old flat, with its fake marble and matt black. The kettle started whistling and she turned off the heat. Do you still have yours the same? she asked. He nodded. He had watched her perform their tea making ritual so often it was a shock to see her do anything different. In went his usual tea bag, his perfect amount of milk while for her a strange concoction of herbs and flowers were poured from a pot on the counter. A sudden sense of loss came over him.

An old Nokia phone vibrated on the table to the side of the sofa and he turned to look. It was large and brick like and he laughed.

That’s not yours is it? he asked. She shrugged her shoulders.

I didn’t want to be on social media while I was out here, she said. An awkward silence settled between them as they drank. He met her gaze as they finished and neither of them looked away. He panicked and said, You look good. Really good.

She smiled sadly and asked Is that what you say to all the girls?

He looked down, staring into his cup of tea, unsure of how to respond. When he looked up again she was still watching him. He wondered what she was thinking, if she was regretting saying yes. For the first time, he noticed the light from the lighthouse entering one window and leaving through another. It passed over her face, coming back round again to light up her features for a moment and the silver earrings in her ears. He tried to find something he recognised in her eyes but there was nothing familiar to grasp onto. Instead he only found a strength and a hardness that hadn’t been there before. It made him feel ashamed.

The spare room’s through here, she said turning away, Bring your stuff.

He leant down to pick up the bag and when he stood up he could see she recognised it. The same one he’d packed when he’d left her. She went to say something but decided not to.

The room was small, the bed uncomfortable. Afterwards she said she was going for a walk and


to make himself at home. He wandered around, looking at the pieces of her left throughout the cabin. Dried flowers and old books, a desk covered in little ornaments. Wet paintbrushes had been left on the drainer and a collection of shells sat in a pile on the window ledge. He tried to piece her together, to separate the things that belonged to the cottage and the things that belonged to her. But it seemed the two were intertwined, refusing to give up one another’s secrets.

Inside her bedroom, he opened the chest of drawers only to find clothes he’d never seen before. Even her underwear was different. He took out a pair of knickers, clutched them in his hand and wondered if anyone had taken them off her. In the bathroom, the perfume she’d worn for years had been replaced by something nondescript in a plain blue alchemist bottle. All of these things seemed like souvenirs from a long life lived without him. In reality, they had only broken up a few months before. He looked at himself in the mirror, dismayed to see he was wearing a jumper she had bought him two years ago.

He spent an hour going through her stuff and couldn’t recognise anything. In desperation, he rummaged around at the bottom of the wardrobe for a wash bag. He wanted to find a pair of her used knickers, bring them up to his nose and smell her just to find something he recognised. Checking the back door to see if she was on her way back, he spotted the wash basket outside. Empty. He stood still and watched the clean clothes waving back at him from the other side of the glass.

He laid on his bed for a while and watched the light from outside pulse around the room. The later it got the more intrusive it became. He scrolled on his phone for a while and forgot the light existed and then fell asleep. When he woke up, she was in the kitchen cooking fish, something he’d never seen her cook before because he didn’t like it. He knew she knew this but she didn’t seem to care.

They sat in silence while they ate. She looked comfortable and at home while he felt awkward. Doesn’t that annoy you? he asked, as the light came around once more and lit up silver tankards


and wine glasses on the wall behind her. She shrugged and carried on eating.

Later she asked You can come star gazing with me tonight if you want?

He looked up, surprised at her offer. Yeah, that sounds great, he replied. Suddenly hope filled his chest and a voice in his head said maybe we’ll have sex. He didn’t think that’s why she’d let him come but maybe it was.

She had kept the dress on. It was a surprisingly warm night and he had followed her to the other side of the island in just a t shirt. We need to get as far away from the lighthouse as possible, she called back to him as she walked up ahead. She looked mythical staring up at the sky with the old telescope she’d found in the desk drawer. She taught him the different stars, what their names meant, how to find them. Kept the conversation away from everything.

Do you do this a lot? he asked.

Only since I got here. I find it calming. The land and the sea intimidated him. She seemed to fold right into it as if it were cradling her, protecting her with its invisible arms.

It wasn’t until the next day, after he’d watched her run into the freezing cold sea, that he told her. Carl died.

Words struggled to come out of her. I’m sorry, she finally said. Yeah, well we found a stash of shit under one of the floorboards in his bedroom. What do you mean?

The badge you found in the drawer is in there. Shit, she said under her breath. The sounds of the waves filled whatever he was supposed to say next. He wondered how much he should tell her. What else is in there? she asked.


Uh a flag, massive. Photos of him in a uniform with his arm sticking up. Looks no more than fifteen.

Fuck Yeah And no one had any idea?

Someone must have, but no one’s saying anything. I went over to look at it all a few days ago. The flag, it’s like a film prop. Like I’m holding this thing and I still can’t understand it’s real. Or that he would have been a part of it. Held his arm up like that. There’s a photo of Hitler. Even a fucking bauble.

What are you going to do with it?

I don’t know. Jim wants to sell it. Sell it? She turned to him, horrified. He refused to look her in the eye.

Yeah he’s got a friend who collects it. Apparently it can go for quite a lot. That’s really fucked up, making money off it. Yeah I guess so but it’s just stuff. And when you actually look, people are selling all sorts. I did look into it a bit. I read one blog post by this guy and he said it’s a way of not forgetting everything that happened.

Last time I checked, it didn’t cost money to remember. Well I guess it does now. He was getting annoyed. What about a museum?

We asked mum’s mate about it. She gave us a list of places to contact. But then she had a drink and started telling us about these rumours from the eighties. How people at the national war museum would take Nazi guns out and go shooting with them for fun. So Jim, did his thing, you


know what he’s like, and said we might as well sell them if that’s the way they were going to be treated.

I’m sure that’s not true. Maybe not, but I guess when you’re around all this old stuff all the time it just becomes like everything else. He could feel her judging him, the heat of it radiating out towards him. He felt himself cave in. I might just burn it all in the garden though. It freaks me out. Did you come here to tell me that?

She sat wrapped up in a towel watching the sun glisten back in the water. He shuffled restlessly next to her, shells crunching under his shoes.

I don’t know, he replied honestly. It did make me think of you. And I guess partly out of curiosity. I didn’t believe it when Leena had said you’d gone away. She took in a deep breath and closed her eyes. She looked worn out. It’s all in the past though anyway, he uttered quickly. So it doesn’t really matter. Us or the fact your great grandad was a nazi?

I just want to get rid of the stuff and forget about it, he said over her. They said nothing. Neither of them moved and they stayed like that for a while. He could feel her by his side, noticing how different they both were, how far apart they felt now. Rejection suddenly rose up inside him. Ridiculous because he was the one that left but there it was all the same. He watched the seagulls above them, lost for words. Why had he come? Why would she care whether Carl was a nazi or not? This was the most they’d spoken since he’d got there and they couldn’t manage it. The burning hot anger. The irritation that always dug its claws into them. It was all still there. This wasn’t putting their relationship to rest. It was digging it up and churning it all over. Shoving it down his own throat just to choke on it. He needed to leave. There was nothing kind left to say.


I’m going back to the cottage now, she said suddenly. You can find your own way back. And he knew she had felt it too. That something had snapped in each of them while sitting there on the beach, separating them for good. It was too much to feel. He took a deep breath and felt something tear inside his lung. Before he could call out to her, to say he didn’t know the way back, she was already running up the rocks to climb the steep path behind them. And then she was gone.

When he eventually made it back, it was dark. He had decided to leave first thing in the morning, reminding himself to take his toothbrush he’d left in the bathroom. That was all forgotten when he got out the car. His bag was waiting for him at the end of the path leading up to the fisherman’s hut. She had packed it for him this time. He would have to sleep in the car and get a ferry back tomorrow. He drove off and parked somewhere between the cottage and the lighthouse. The light kept swinging around to illuminate one of the windows. She wasn’t there.

Once he pulled up, he opened his laptop and set up a hotspot from his phone. The tabs were already open. Relicsofthereich.com. Nazi memorabilia, german militaria. ‘WE BUY NAZI

RELICS! We pay IN ADVANCE now!’ He copied and pasted one of the links to Jim and sent it off.

He looked in his mirror, the light passing over him in a white glow. It illuminated inside the car and for a moment, each time it passed, it felt like the light from his laptop was spilling outwards consuming everything like bleach.

He hadn’t told her he’d already agreed to sell it all. Jim had pulled him to the side just before he left Carl’s and told him if he sold it he could keep the money.

It might help you get back on your feet after the breakup, he said. You should get enough for a deposit, you can start renting again.

He thought of her, of what she’d said about the morality of it. He wondered if the story about the museum and the guns was true. He opened a new tab and searched ‘reddit museum rumours.’

Nothing came up. He tried ‘bad curators’ and then again with ‘misbehaving museum staff.’ He clicked on a thread of museum employees complaining about visitors. ‘I got called a bitch for


asking her not to scratch paint off a Miró.’ Then someone confessing to sitting on a 2000 year old column because it didn’t look that old. ‘Museum staff aren’t all that either’ one person posted. ‘I used to work at the British Museum and a guy I worked with drank diet coke next to all the artefacts while he photographed them. Didn’t give a fuck.’

He thought about burning them after all. Then felt annoyed he hadn’t thought to say ‘but it would be bad for the environment.’ She was always going on about how important climate change was. How we shouldn’t waste anything. What would she have said to that?

He let his mind wander, wondered how far the future would take ‘reuse.’ Whether they’d recycle the Mona Lisa if things got desperate. He googled what a nazi flag was made out of. Wool bunting. ‘Is wool bad for the environment?’ he typed in. It was. Very. He imagined the flag sitting in a landfill with everything else he threw away in a week. No, he would sell it. Throwing it away would be a waste. Burning it would only be a symbol and did the world have time for symbols anymore? Time was running out to save the planet. That’s what they said. He felt a pinch of guilt release inside him. It was alright for her anyway. Not everyone could afford to sit in a fisherman’s hut for three months doing whatever she was doing. He needed the money. Then everything went red outside. He stopped thinking, his train of thought cut in two. The hairs went up on the back of his neck and he pummelled the palm of his hands into his eyes, rubbing at them to try and get the colour out. His brain finally caught up with what he was seeing. He wasn’t going mad. The lighthouse had turned. The red from the bulb was so intense it felt like liquid was seeping into the car seats and into his skin. He hadn’t noticed the weather change but now he could see the little diamond drops of water hitting the windows and feel the force of the wind against the car. He closed his laptop and got out, his hand briefly touching his pocket to feel the shape of his phone. The guy on the internet was right. It was like hell. Like being underground or in a cellar, somewhere deep below. Not on the coast, with wind and sea salt whipping around him. He walked closer to the light, marvelling at the puddles that looked like blood. There was something horrifying


about it, all this red where there should have been light shingle and black sea. He stood in front of the lighthouse and stared up the pole. Feeling dizzy he tried to plant his feet on the ground. Suddenly everything felt disorientating. The red light was like a pulse, making his heart palpitate. He started to think about things he didn’t want to. His mum’s new partner up close in his face. At his cousin’s wedding, smelling of alcohol and cigarettes. Telling him he was moving in and that he would really need the space in the garage. He could remember his mouth, the bit of food stuck on the corner of his lip, watching it fall off as he said Maybe it’s time to sell your dad’s car? It’s not like he’s coming back is it?

Slapping his back and walking off to dance with his mum. Everyone happy and hopeful but there was that feeling again, like none of it could reach him.

He imagined the ground opening up like the wide black mouth of a monster, where he’d fall into it and it would swallow him whole. It was a nice thought. Things began to snap inside him over and over again. Little thought bubbles he’d been keeping closed off, safe above, floating somewhere that didn’t count as real life. Things had gone so wrong with her. He thought there would be something gentle left between them. Something to salvage, that he could make amends for the way he left. He’d felt so bad for so long and he just wanted to feel like a good person. Now he felt even worse. Was that why he wanted her to know about Carl? He saw himself above the box, seeing what was inside for the first time, and knew that it was.

Because when they opened that box, he hadn’t felt anger or sadness or fear, or whatever you were supposed to feel when you found a load of nazi stuff stuffed under the floorboards of your relatives’ bedroom. But had actually felt a perverse sense of glee, a sickly giddiness. Because now he had a reason to contact her, to maybe make amends. To make her feel better. To say sorry, I was wrong. And it would be like one of those conversations where what you were saying and what you were actually saying were two different things. Not always clear but if you knew the person well enough then you knew. Like a conversation within a conversation. So that when he said, ‘Sorry, I


was wrong’ he was actually saying sorry I was wrong to leave the way I did. And she would understand what he was really referring to. Because they’d been together so long and you understand people in a deeper way after that, don’t you?

But none of that happened. She wasn’t interested in Carl, had felt so removed. Far away from anything that happened in his life. This imagined conversation that had run through his head was based on what he knew and he knew nothing of the person she was now. She had burnt all of herself up just to survive him. Or maybe she had never been that person to begin with. Just with him, and after they broke up it was like taking off a mask and throwing it away. He wondered who she really was, whether the person he had lived with all those years was a construct and not real at all. Had she always liked herbal tea? And knitted cardigans and things with scratches on them? Panic rose up inside him, confusion tilting into madness. The wind was getting in his ears. Had she always wanted to leave the city?

Standing in the rain, submerged in the hot light, he let himself feel it all. There would be no closure, no nice ending. They were something worse than they had been before, over but not. For the first time since he got there, he stopped pretending. He looked back at the fisherman’s hut and decided he quite liked it, looked at his dad’s old car and wished he’d hired one. With air con and a usb charger and that thing where it beeps at the back to help you park. He got out his phone and took a photo of his trainers in a patch of red grass. Then an arty one of the car off to the side. He turned his phone outwards, keeping the lighthouse to the edge of the screen and took a landscape shot of the light tearing through the darkness above the sea. Something to keep at least, he thought. A good photo of a terrible time.



James Molloy is an amateur poet and is 29 years old, and has been writing poetry and prose casually for many years.

Originally from County Donegal, he has had many experiences that have shaped his style of writing. Coming from a rural setting whilst also spending time in more built up areas and cities, James has written many poems with the theme of nature whilst also having influences of urban culture and anti industrial sentiments.

He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism.



Along the tide two ships sailed together, hull to hull latched with tether, two ships are safer than one but the storm was a vicious one.

A wave came crashing, breaking our lashing, splinters everywhere, I heard the stern smashing.

The boom of thunder complimented the screams, an eerie wail full of longing the ships were sinking now, and yet I felt belonging.

Too late was the storm, from the port we could have swam, and in the end I dreamed of home, safe and happy alone. (James Molloy)



I dreamt I was lost, along the coast of slumber, just fading, slipping, and in it, I wonder

The ground is thick, My pace is slow. I see a cat, a horse, a crow followed by the prickling of skin The beast behind begins to grow.

My sight fails me, A blurred chaos, while trudging, I know not what chases me, some shadow, a shape, not yet formed, opaque.

My teeth grind to powder, some crack and burst asunder, my stomach falls out into the frost, and still I am lost.

The only thing that remains is the fall. From nowhere to nothing at all. Plunging deeper into the mind, of a broken porcelain doll.


The ground meets me with a smack, reminding me of what I lack, I wake with a sweat, and figure the cost, Reflecting on when I was lost.


The Purge

Born a spark and into the fire, sought out release and found pressure. Sirens, sirens. Everywhere a hasty pace, funny creatures we are; the human race. Buzz like bees, be that as it may, I say we are this way. Striped and swarming, harvesting pollen in the early morning. Happy to graze in their flowerbed maze. The beast in the woods is hungry, ready. We are no beasts, our meals steady. Yet in vain, we yearn our old life we cling to, not ready for this, not you. In a century we may be similar, but the world will be unfamiliar, an evolved organism, born from a cataclysm


Given time, space will provide and so, yes we have died unto the fate we must collide so shaken are we, from the earth like fleas. (James Molloy)



Marc is a keen writer of lyrics, poems and short stories. He has had some work published in collections and anthologies. He writes to express his feelings and emotions in a creative way and to process and understand his thoughts and emotions



Imagine what your hands could make, death or peace or structures shake

Or temples built for heaven sake and chemicals to kill

Imagine what your thoughts could mean, self destruction, low esteem Ingenious, unclean thoughts you can’t erase

Imagine what the people know, of life and God, of friend and foe

Of why the earth rotates so slow and why the sun is round

Imagine what the truth could do, to the masses and the youth In a world that is so untrue, in a world like this

Imagine when the end will be, for the likes of you and me

For the souls who’s tyranny, weighs heavy on their mind

Imagine how the world was sold, pounds of flesh and pots of gold

See the merchants collecting souls with minimum of fuss

Imagine what your dreams could mean, the messages and hidden themes

The incoherent, ill conceived images and sounds

Imagine what your eyes could see, beginning, end and in between Over mountains, under seas and things you can’t explain

(Marc McCann)


“Mum, how did dad die?” Liam almost choked on the words and then quickly took another bite of his toast as he waited for an answer he wasn’t sure he wanted to hear.

His mum went into the usual spiel as she dragged an endless stream of damp clothes from the washer “Well, you know he wasn’t well for a long time, with the drink he took and the tablets didn’t help and his body just couldn’t cope”

He had heard it before, very general, very vague and not very helpful. He wanted to ask if it was suicide but he didn’t have the courage. The resulting conversation would be too awkward to bear.

“yeah, but was it like a heart attack or what?”

Mum focused her attention even harder on the washing. “I can’t keep up to this washing with you lot, I’m not running a launderette here ya know”. Just then, Liam’s brother entered the room and the moment was gone. Another failed attempt.

“Here mum, how’s the launderette business going”, said Sean. “It’s a wash out, son, now hurry up and get your breakfast or you’ll miss the bus”

As Liam walked to the bus he thought about his dad, he hadn’t stopped since yesterday when his form group had a Mental Health talk last two periods. The guest trainer spoke about depression, self harm and suicide and Liam had a knot in his stomach ever since. His dad was only 52 and was reasonably fit. Fitter than other dads and he didn’t smoke. He did drink a lot, especially in his younger days, but still something about his death just didn’t add up.

“you going to training after school?” shouted Shane Fearon or Fearno as he was known to most.

“Shit, I forgot my stuff, I’ll get my ma to drop it up later”

On the bus the conversation turned to last night’s Champions League game. Liam joined in, “did you see that Juventus free kick?” but his heart wasn’t in it. His heart felt heavy, and he wasn’t sure why.

Period 5, Religion, and as Liam stared out through the window and onto the playing fields he had a flashback to a few weeks earlier when Miss O’Neill spoke about euthanasia and suicide and how they were both seen as sinful in the eyes of the church. He recalled how the

37 1996

conversation made him feel uncomfortable and how a girl in his class, Katie, had challenged Miss O Neill, saying “people who commit suicide are desperate and shouldn’t be judged”. Fair play to her, he thought.

It had been 4 years since his dad died and Liam was 14 now. Old enough to know the truth, at least that was his thinking. Lately there had been all these little signs and reminders. And that word suicide kept popping up. There was a storyline in one of his mum’s soaps, where a woman had taken an overdose. And then there was the documentary about Kurt Cobain that was on channel 4 at the weekend. His dad would have listened to Nirvana a lot. And finally the Mental Health talk in school. It was unavoidable. Signs, surely that it was time to ask outright. Liam winced at the thought.

Miss O’Neill’s sharp tone brought Liam back to reality with a bump. “Absolutely not good enough, 4A. Out of 22 students, only 13 of you have completed the course work that was due LAST week. I look forward to speaking to your parents next week at the PTM, now off you go”

The following day was Saturday, Liam’s favorite day of the week. His football team had won 5 2 in the local park that morning and Liam scored 2. He was still buzzing. It was the same park his dad Daniel had taken him to for his first kick around. His dad was a very good player in his day, he had been a schoolboy international and Liam still had some old photos and medals belonging to him. He cherished the photos especially. They captured him in his prime, smiling, fit and healthy. There was a sparkle in his eye in those phots that Liam hadn’t seen too often in real life. That broke his heart.

Later that afternoon Liam and his mum were driving back from his Grandmother’s house, where Liam had been busy moving furniture around to accommodate a new armchair for his Grandad.

“Did dad kill himself?”. The words were out before he even realized. “What…who told you that?” his mum was visibly shaken. At that moment the car in front took a very late exit off the roundabout and she snatched the opportunity to change the subject. “you bloody eejit, that’s right, don’t you indicate, we’ll just bloody guess where you’re going. Jesus Christ of Almighty!”

Liam was sort of glad of the distraction himself, it momentarily broke the tension. His heart was thumping but he regrouped and stuck to his guns. It was now or never. “Well, did he?”

The look on her face went from anger to resignation in a second, she pulled into a side street, stopped the car and turned to Liam in what felt like slow motion. She looked deep


into his eyes, knowing that she was about to deliver a dagger to his heart. “He did, son…. he did. I wanted to wait until you were a bit older to tell you” her words were soft and sincere. Liam was part shocked and part relieved. He stared at the dashboard in front. “How did he do it?” another question that Liam wasn’t sure he wanted an answer to. “I left for work one day and I got a phone call from the police about 11am, a jogger had found his body in the woodland behind the old carpet factory”. Her eyes had glazed over with tears at this point. But her voice was so calm and he could sense that a burden had been lifted from her. She was staring straight ahead now with both hands on the steering wheel. As Liam looked through the window at the bright blue April sky he noticed a plane way off in the distance. White jet streams dissected the vast canvas behind it, for a split second he found himself thinking of how care free the passengers must be, while here he was, world collapsing around him in a second hand Fiesta.

“was he depressed?” Liam asked, his own voice now way calmer than he expected.

“He was troubled, son, and yes, he must have been depressed, but he hid it well for a long time”

“Did he leave a note?” Liam remembered that Kurt Cobain had left one, maybe his dad had written some heartfelt words that would somehow make things easier, more logical. “No, son. He didn’t”

Liam had other questions he wanted to ask, but they could wait. The Dam had been broken. The wall breached. The hard part was over. “come on mum, let’s go home”

“Aye, son. Let’s get the dinner on” and at that she wiped away a single tear from her left cheek and put the keys in the ignition.

Liam tossed and turned in bed that night. The TV in his room was turned off now, not that he had been paying much attention to it. He had been staring at the screen but his mind was elsewhere. The same questions replayed over and over. What was his dad thinking at the time…? was he scared? drunk? eerily calm? Did he pause to think about us, his family, and how we would be affected? He also thought about how he must have planned it out, the actual method he used, the preparation. It was all so deliberate, calculated and bleak. But one thought nagged at Liam more than anything. The notion that his dad could be experiencing so much emotional pain that he couldn’t bear to live another day. And the gravity of that thought alone was so overwhelming that he couldn’t dwell on it for more that few seconds. He couldn’t match that suicidal person to the one in the photographs. They were poles apart. Liam started to sob, he wanted to bawl but Sean was in the next room and the walls


were paper thin. So he lay there, sobbing, convulsing, venting, until exhausted he fell asleep.


“Daddy, how did mum die?” Daniel continued setting up his sisters Dominoes in an S shape on the sitting room rug as he nervously waited for a reply. His dad lowered the newspaper to make eye contact. “what’s brought this on, son?”

“Just something Uncle Jack said to Auntie Mary”

“And what was that, then?” His dad had set the paper down now on the nearby sideboard and was lighting up another cigarette.

“Uncle Jack said the drink took her in the end” Daniel was on edge now, he felt like he’d broken the unwritten rule once already and was now pushing his luck. They rarely talked about mum, unless dad was threatening them with her immortal disapproval over some misdemeanor or other. Your poor mother would be turning in her grave, was his favourite. “Did he now, and he would know, sure he’s never out Kelly’s Inn, now go and top that tea up for me in the kitchen, and make yourself useful” Daniel lifted the tea mug from beside his dad’s armchair and brought it into the kitchen, as he lifted the large worn looking pot he couldn’t help notice how untidy the kitchen was, bread crumbs all over the work tops, a few dried out old teabags had found their way onto the kitchen linoleum. The sink was full of dirty dishes and kitchen table was barely visible with old newspapers.

It was never like this when mum was alive. Back then the house was run like a well oiled machine, clothes were pressed and floors were scrubbed. Lunches were made and dinner was cooked. His dad couldn’t manage full time work at the carpet factory and keep the house in order, lately he hadn’t even bothered trying. His aunties would take it in turn to call every few days, do a bit tidying up and leave a pot of stew or soup. Other than that they were on their own, Daniel, his sister Sarah, brother James and his dad. The glue that held everything together had been missing for 2 years now and for Daniel at least, time wasn’t proving to be a great healer. He missed his mum so much it hurt. He missed her smile, he missed her cooking, he even missed how she would scold him for running over the freshly mopped kitchen floor before it had time to dry off.

Daniel brought the tea back into his dad. “there’s a good lad” his dad said.

The conversation was over before it even got started. Shut down unceremoniously in the


way only dads can. Known for his temper, Daniels dad would occasionally use his belt to ‘put manners’ on him and his brother whenever he felt the need. He returned to the dominoes. “Have you your homework done, son?”

“yeah, just had some Latin and a bit of math’s”

“I’ll be heading down to the club later for a game of cards, you get them other two sorted and into bed for 9 o clock and I’ll be home shortly after”

“Aye da, okay” and at that Daniel flicked the first domino and watched the others fall in perfect synchronicity. The satisfaction was fleeting. Daniels father turned off the wireless and went upstairs to get washed. Daniel looked out the window. He could see a few of his friends kicking ball down near Mooney’s field. He wanted to go down and join them but knew it was a bad idea. He had jobs to do around the house before bed. Jobs he hated. The kitchen needed cleaning for a start. They were ‘Mum’ type jobs. If only she were here.

The following Sunday evening Daniel found himself sitting at his Aunt Mary’s kitchen table eating one of her homemade buns.

“Do ye want a wee glass of milk with that, son?”

“No, Aunt Mary, thanks” crumbs fell from the corner of his mouth as he spoke. Mary was busy sewing the hole in the knee of Daniels school trousers. She sang as she sewed. He knew the song well, The Emerald Isle, his mum loved that song.

Daniel though this might be an opportunity to ask a question that had been nagging him all week. His cousins were out playing and his Uncle was in bed nursing a hangover from the night before. “Aunt Mary, was it the drink that killed mum?”

Daniel had his back to her, and began polishing off the few crumbs that had fallen on the kitchen table.

His Aunt stopped singing. She stopped mid stitch and glanced over the top of her reading glasses at the back of his head.

“Turn round Daniel son” he hadn’t even managed to turn his when she said “what give you that idea?”

“Nothing really, just wondering”

She knew that he knew more than he was giving away. She switched her gaze to the photograph of Daniels mum that sat on the nearby cabinet. A wave of sadness washed over


her. “It did son in the end, aye. She wanted to stop but she couldn’t. God help her” “why did she drink so much?” Daniel asked nervously as he scanned his lap now for more crumbs.

Mary was sewing again now. “It’s hard to say, son. It’s a disease you know. Some people can take a drink or two and stop. Your mother couldn’t. I suppose drinking was her way of coping. She had a hard life, she more or less raised us when my mummy and daddy died. And she never got over the death of your sister”

Daniel new about his baby sister, she had died at birth before he was even born. It was another subject that no one talked about.

“but she loved you’s son, never forget that”

As Mary finished off the trousers, Daniels cousins charged through the back door. “Ma, is tea ready, alright Dan, what you up to?” said Micky.

“Not much, just getting these trousers sorted for school tomorrow, sure I’ll give you a shout in the morning”

“Aye, do well, we’ll show you the Chestnuts we got today, some crackers”

Daniel lifted the trousers that his auntie had left over the back of the kitchen chair “yeah, dead on, see you later”

As he left he could hear his auntie giving off at the muck the boys had trailed in over the carpet. As Daniel walked home it began to rain. The heavier it rained the slower he walked. He didn’t care. All he could think about was how sad his mum must have been to try to numb her pain with alcohol for all of those years. He stopped momentarily to stare at the sky and feel the rain hit his face. He wanted to cry but nothing happened.


Forgetting his age, Liam tried to turn quickly with a trademark shimmy but ended up in a heap on the grass. “Referee, that’s a foul” he roared into the air while trying not to laugh at the sorry state he found himself in. His son Jamie paid no heed, he was off like a hare before Liam could even gather himself up.

“C’mon dad, keep playing” Jamie was full of life like only a 7 year old can be.

“I think that’ll do me son, I’ve to help your sister with her homework, you keep practicing


there……and use your weaker foot”. It was advice his own dad had often given to him.

Jamie didn’t need any encouragement. He was off dribbling around invisible defenders before Liam finished speaking.

Liam went into the house and took a bottle of water from the fridge, as he stood there he couldn’t help smiling as he watched Jamie through the window.

“Are you ready, dad?” Liam’s daughter Shannon had just entered the room armed with her tablet and wearing her reading glasses. She turned 13 last week. Liam still couldn’t get his head around that. She sat down all business like “right, let’s get started”

“yes, boss” said Liam as he took another drink of water. “What is this homework you’ve been on about anyhow, and how did I get roped into it?”

“We’ve to write an essay about a grandparent for English, I told you this earlier, you never listen to me” Shannon replied sharply as she searched for the homework file.

“Sorry, what was that?” Liam couldn’t resist Shannon looked at him over the top of her glasses “HA, HA” she shot back with the kind of sarcasm that 13 year olds specialize in.

“Right, when was grandad Daniel born?”

“mm that’s a tough one to start, let’s see, August 15th 1948, I think”

For the next ten minutes, Shannon asked about her Grandad’s work history, hobbies, achievements and anything else she thought would make an interesting essay. Liam was able to answer most of the questions but the more Shannon asked, the more he realized how little he actually knew about his own dad. He found that revelation both startling and disheartening. He didn’t know about his own fathers hopes and dreams, his fears and insecurities. He didn’t know what inspired him. What amazed him. His funniest memory. His proudest moment. He knew him as sons know dads, but he didn’t know the person, at least not intimately, the way you might expect to know someone who shared your genes and personality traits.

“How did Grandad die?” Shannon’s question was not entirely surprising.

Liam took a deep breath and prepared to answer the question as he had promised himself he would. Honestly and directly. The question was inevitable. Unavoidable, not so much in the course of Shannon’s essay research but nevertheless he knew this day would come and now was as good a time as any to open up this can of worms. Jamie was still playing outside and his wife Carla was out with her walking group. “Your Grandad took his own life, love?” She


stopped typing and their eyes met. She paused for a few seconds, searching for the right words. “What do you mean, like, he…. killed himself?” she lowered her tone just above a whisper for those last two words. “yes” Liam replied and then gave her space to process. He could tell her mind was racing.

After a few moments all she could manage was “But…. but, why, daddy?”

“He was suffering with depression for a long time, he tried to block out the pain with alcohol. And it got to the point where he didn’t see any other way out” The directness of his words surprised even him.

Shannon was speechless. She felt so sorry for her dad, but she fought back the tears.

“Daddy, that’s so sad?”

“it is, Shannon. It’s heartbreaking. I didn’t talk about it for many years, but when I was ready I got help and support. And then things got easier”

Liam felt liberated. He was transported back in time to the day his mum had pulled the car over and told him the ugliest of truths. The truth will set you free, he thought to himself. Back then he felt at the mercy of this shadow hanging over him but now he could honestly say that he felt in control of it.

“Shannon, Mental Illness is real. Suicide is real. It happens and shouldn’t be some deep, dark secret. When your Grandad was suffering there was no real help available. Men especially, tended to suffer in silence. But that’s changing now. Society is changing. We have more support services, more media coverage, a better understanding”

“But, how can people commit suicide?” She was still coming to terms with the initial shockwave.

“We don’t say commit anymore, Shannon. Commit makes it sound like a crime. It’s not. It’s a desperate act from a desperate person. Your Grandad, My dad, completed suicide. The best way I can think of describing it is, when the pain of living becomes greater than the fear of ending your own life”

Shannon felt sad, it was a deep sorrow that she couldn’t put into words, but there was something else stirring inside her, a sense of pride perhaps, that her dad had overcome such a tragic event.

“Is that why you work in mental health now?” she said.

“I don’t know, Shannon. Maybe. During these last few years especially I just sort of


gravitated towards it. I got so much from the support services where I could share my experience with others, I felt great strength in that group environment, great empathy, and to this day I have so much admiration for the people that supported me. Six people in a room talking about depression is so much better than one person sitting alone suffering with it. It’s the difference between black and white, Illness and wellness, life and death. And to be part of that recovery is a great feeling”

Shannon couldn’t hold back the tears any longer, she left her seat, walked over to her dad and hugged him from behind as he stayed seated. He leaned back into her hug and placed his right hand on top of hers. Her tears were a mixture of pride and sorrow, but most of all love. Liam was tearful himself but more than anything they felt like tears of relief. This was yet another step on the road to recovery. A moment of truth, a feeling of hope. During the worst of times and the darkest of days he sometimes felt that history might repeat itself and that, weighed down by the burden of his past and the specter of suicide, he might become another victim like his dad. Despite this a mantra always remained in the back of his mind. Three simple words became a source of light. An inextinguishable flame.

‘Better days ahead’

Days like today. (Marc McCann)



Yuri is 25 years old, and has been living in Brazil his whole life. A couple years ago he started writing poems in English - in the end he even ended up writing a short story as well.



The best of times, the worst of times

Without the first part though Ô brothers, to what degree have we lost our sense of depth? And subverted glee by cutting ourselves on the pleasure fence

Monstrosities get a free pass as geneticists play cards in the lab One or two outburst, hopping mad

In the end, we’ll all be inoculated like rats

Ô brothers, to what degree have we brushed realism aside so as to let utopia run free so as to hop on a deathride

Mao’s red book bewitch still

Not to mention Marx’s socioeconomic thrill The opium of this spoon fed generation who so quickly draws conclusions, then bumps into starvation


A los señoritos satisfechos no les gustan la complejidad empotrada en nuestros echos sinon pretextuar su propia discapacidad

Ô brothers, how distractions fill the days!

And self reproof fills the nights

Old urns where we stored our mights overload, as we set ‘em ablaze

Some sixty years have gone by Peripheral accomplishments add up to grief Those pangs of conscience came so late and brief

But be sure, accountability will be around after we die

Ô brothers

What silver tongued illusions have we clung to!?

Fortune’s wheel has left us high and dry in rags

If only time god Saturn had stood still a year or two We wouldn’t have abandoned the field and put up that white flag

If the gates to the golden dawn


were still opened for us to cross into: Eden, Atlantis, Avalon or even the seven lokas of the Hindus… How reckless it was to swear off divinity Immanentizing the eschaton down to this ludicrous claustrophobic morbidity

Ô brothers

Why the antipligrimage misanthropic isolation or else amorphous dissolution into the masses awry Where lies the trick to mend this pendulum’s harmony? For at the extremes is no truth but castration Our lives reduced to little come and go desires estranged from those causes that once drove the human race forth

We’re rotting corpses waiting for the funeral pyre Puppets pulled by maîtres à penser of the worst sort

Ô brothers that impressive pantomime we so thoughtlessly utter Human language, you mutter?


No, no. Rather, its antonym

We brag a great deal about love, but have we ever discern its face, the times it came landing from above, asking for shelter in wintry disgrace?

We brag a whole lot about knowing, but have we ever welcomed reality, the times it ran contrary to our philodoxy? It’s our thing to ignore the wise wind blowing

Ô brothers

We’re Gandhis out in the public sphere yet little Hitlers under the covers Gee, and to think such sanctimony stems from fear!

Unfathomable how we went from in the likeness of to Logos loathers

Easy to take credit for technological feats

While overlooking the IQ drop puzzle piece Easy to spurn Babylonian wit as yesterday’s news

Unsuspecting we’d never handle that sexagesimal with the proper savvy and zeal


Ô brothers

Now we’re hanging drapes to get around the belvedere sight that displays our 4th world brothers’ plight

At times, we throw ‘em clusters of rotten grapes

We walk all over their stretched bodies unimpressed wall street show must go on It’s said they feed on us, while we suck up to the Saudis

So, question: why there ain’t no surplus for the African pawn?

Who’s to blame for the supply chain’s hijacking?

Ya see, no matter how hard we try abducting ourselves into a happy hour rainbow frame, the Real always strikes at midnight to prove our numbness lame

Ô brothers

Now we preach in dim lit temples hallelujahing to our mental crazes. Altars trimmed with sundry threaded deities Woven together into the most adorable of heresies

Stale bread to fit our rock bottom standards Spoiled wine to top off our


worship manners

Who cares about body discernment? C’mon, it’s business. We’re merchants!

Selling salvation dough

To the afterlife addicts who dream of reaching Polaris having no concern for the Plough

Ô brothers

It’s time we work our lazy asses off to lift humankind up, and organize mobs to turn every sphere of life inside out lest time’s up for preventing soul drought (Yuri P.W. Sterck)


I’m a man of my dreams cuddlin’ them nice and sweet I’m a child of my time plunged into spiritual crimes

Depression, indulgence, pussyness… A refusal to take it like it is Instead, holing up in existential laziness Waiting for the miracle that never sneaks in

I’m a worker of my days No vision, only migraine haze Startled by how people make it through dozens setbacks and shit The ideal as opposed to the concrete How to reconcile those yin yang twins? Should I thirst after the summer breeze or settle for harvesting my tiny wheat?

I’m a victim of myself


broken and done with calling 911 for help

After I’d stabbed all my happy myths People have tried to talk me out of the massive drag and soul debris But I function in this other side now I’m irretrievably dead inside anyhow

So how should I’ve presumed violent storms coming my way? Who’d have thought and doomed goin’ from a sunny to a sick grim face?

I became a foreigner to my goals Dunno, man… got delusional, got hopeful, got many blows watched everything die before my eyes And then…boom! Self stem went down the tube likewise

Still… Rain or shine, I keep this ball rollin’ Though my trip ain’t been no bed of roses I stand my ground against harakiri voices growlin’


Holding on tight, anchored to the absolute

Though I’m no prophet, though I’m no Moses

I’m a man of my dreams.

(Yuri P.W. Sterck)



The ragged form of men, stripped naked facing the dusk vault

Waiting for dawn to claim its place, reveal its face to those who’ve fought

The longing eyes of men who sit tight cuddling the ripe compass of hope

Waiting for angels to ring the bell, waiting for God to perform his final piece of work

But insufferable darkness still remains

Is it supposed to be just some interval or eternal constraint?

Will we ever be released or forever be prisoners in adamant chains?

(Yuri P.W. Sterck)

56 3


By the side of the road

I sweat agony praying at the watchful sky

Resenting my decision time running old

Conscious of my failure, only unpuzzling the why

Why so weak a will betraying promised destinies?

Why so strong a will insisting on barren lands?

Anticipated disaster, accepted disaster, made up disaster

My grand vision easily blocked by the tiniest grain of sand

By the side of the road

I beg for a fresh new start

For me and my despair to drift apart

Tenacity doesn’t take long to pay off, I’m told

Sleepwalking tragedy rambling in the gloaming

Depiction of a wretched individual in a wretched world

What a pity! Colorblind scarecrows get all rainbows blurred

57 4 BY

By the side of the road

I’m the one hiding in the shadows of sorrowful ends

Dancing in the cemetery of fallen heroes

I’m the mental cultivating cobwebs on reminiscing mirrors

Flirting with ambitions I could never withstand

Like Jews lamenting at the wailing wall

Like Sunni Muslims suffering ethnic cleansing in Iran

Like eastern Christians beheaded for answering Yeshua’s call

This muddy broken bough of the Abrahamic tree’s what I am

By the side of the road

Wilderness’ forsaken child freezes under frosty rains

In the stillness of gloomy winter days

Walking a treadmill of desolate experiences

Eaten alive by out of the blue tangled grievances

The discarded chaff awaits, awaits, awaits…

For a callous sun sleeping miles away

Some brightness would shed meaning upon his pain

Cus all suffering is due to wrong modeling of clay


Alas! There was no move from flesh of clod to heart of gold

By the fading side of the road.



Terry Brinkman started painting in junior high school. He has had painting shows at the Eccles Art Center and paintings published in the Healing Muse volume SLCC Anthology and in the book Wingless Dreamer: Love of Art. Detour and meat for tea; The Bangor literary journal, Barzakh Cacosa Magazine and The New Ulster.


Sleepy Whale 247

Free union with Oxygen Carbon and Hydrogen Similar apparition

Kneeling on one or two Knees

Society of Jesus Kilcare

Kinder five unfurnished room

Godmother, number thirteen

First residence in Dublin

In the house her dying sister

His mother, Mary Dean of Students

In unite number twelve (Terry Brinkman)


Sleepy Whale 294 Meeting rubber ghost giants

Old men, hangman God

Euclcode economy of Heaven

Bawd erogenous Angle

Laughed unmarried

Scribbled on a sheet of paper

Unfancied finger ponder nightly

Show us a franc triangle

Good stoke fidgets

Delusion said roundly Ramming a temfeful (Terry Brinkman)



Hymns of heavenly bliss

Such is life in a snag

Church land Flag

Dead bloated carcass

Biscuit tin Swiss

Alabaster silken bag

Dead wood dick in a rag

Deathless God nemesis

Jade green Sage

Switchback Boomerang

Lonely silence of page Haunting remorse rang Incrustations of age

Unwashed and uncooked slang

Old fool rampage

Woeful orangutan (Terry Brinkman)


Beer Spilled

Sitting crossed legged smoking a coiled pipe in the center of her house

Part way open the chalk scrawled front door

Nobbling her beer spilled on the kitchen floor

Unshed tears over the Broken arm of her spouse

In the basement Sabastian being chased by a mouse

The Priest to strike her spouse as limp as a wet rag emperor

Nose rags too many being blown to ignore

Wake she wearing a green patch on her crucified silk blouse (Terry Brinkman)


Like A Hick World’s greatest reformer’s stump

Sun burst appeared on her thigh like a hick All that man has seen was clever Shovel Hat merciful face and classic brain Interplanetary transmitters never the server

Doubted Emperor Alabaster Champagne She thanks you with her heart forever Peers don’t palfrey homage again (Terry Brinkman)


Theresa has written several poems and engaged in Instagram poetry


(Poem 1).


October happened quietly

Like a whisper in a Library

The crows cawwed blacker than the chimney

As they stared right back at me.

I flick the pages of a novel

Caressing each page Filled with fear and longing

Bewildered Queens

Lost forever in a bygone age.

Like fallen leaves a fog has fell Cascading a grey harbour

Shrouded in a cloak of hell

My black coffee Dead Stone cold again.

As the embers crackle in the ancient hearth

Still alive and breathing

Small explosions


Giving birth


No smoke exhaled

No goodbyes

No leaving.

One final girl standing Alone in the forest.

The dark night spread out ahead of me

It's her and me Soon you''ll see.

I flick the page and read aloud "Who dares to go there"

The candle flickers

In my hellish layer................. "WHO GOES THERE"

To the dark woods at night

To behold the girl Who died of the fright. (Theresa McCormack)



Everything I’ve lost along the way

Everything I’ve lost along the way

Your smile in a crowd

Charismatic and loud.

Every time my lips

Whispered your name

And the pain brought the rain

Pouring again.

Everything I’ve lost along the way

Will come back and haunt me

In some ghastly way.

You’ll stand at my door

Just like before

With your dreams in your pocket

And my heart in a locket

You found in a little place

70 (Poem

On a Tuesday downtown

A gift for the girl

With the smile upside down.

Everything I’ve lost along the way

All the words I ever wanted to say Like you make me feel real

You make me feel seen Was it all in my head ?

Perhaps a dream ?

Heaven sent and earth bound

Our love like the clouds Fading away With every last kiss We’ve lost on the way

Drifting on oceans

Far far away.

You placed a halo Crowned on my head The world on my shoulders

“You’re my angel,” you said. Everything I’ve lost And learned on the way Will come back to haunt me At the end of the day. (Theresa McCormack)


I have managed to get this issue out several days early for once. In this case I’m struggling with the ongoing economic crisis and we’re watching every penny right now. We have a nice range of poetry, prose and artwork for you this month. I’m still struggling with my eyesight but I haven’t let it stop me from working on A New Ulster and a number of other projects thar I’m working on.

Still we will continue to provide a platform for writers and artists around the world for as long as we can. Submissions for December and January are now open as well. We got some lovely emails from people who found our magazine and a number of schools have been using it as an educational resource.

Happy reading, good health, and keep creating, Amos Greig (Editor)



Over the past number of years technology has transformed poetry publishing: shop closures due to increasing operational costs has had an impact, to put it mildly, shops are releuctant to take ‘slow moving’ genre such as poetry and play scripts among other minority interest genre.

The figures given a few years ago were: we had 5000 bookshops in the UK Ireland and at the time of the research that number had dropped to 900 and falling: there was a period when bookshops had the highest rate of ‘High Street’ shop closures.

Lapwing, being a not for profit poetry publisher has likewise had to adjust to the new regime.

We had a Google Books presence until that entity ended its ‘open door’ policy in favour of becoming a publisher itself. During that time with Google, Lapwing attracted hundreds of thousands of sample page ‘hits’. Amazon also has changed the ‘game’ with its own policies and strategies for publishers and authors. There are no doubt other on line factors over which we have no control.

Poetry publishers can also fall foul of ‘on consignment’ practice, which means we supply a seller but don’t get paid until books have been sold and we can expect unsold books to be returned, thus ‘remaindered’ and maybe not sellable, years can pass!

Distributors can also seek as much as 51% of cover price IF.they choose to handle a poetry book at all, shops too can require say 35% of the cover price, which is ok given floor space can be thousands of £0000s per square foot per annum..In terms of ‘hidden’ costs: preparing a work for publication can cost a few thousand UK £ stg. Lapwing does it as part of our sevice to our suthors.

It has been a well known fact that many poets will sell more of their own work than the bookshops, Peter Finch of the Welsh Academi noted fact that over forty years ago and Lapwing poets have done so for years.

Due to cost factors Lapwing cannot offered authors ‘complimentary’ copies. What we do offer is to supply authors with copies at cost price. We hold very few copies in the knowledge that requests for hard copies are rarely received.

Another important element is our Lapwing Legacy Library which holds all our retained titles since 1988 in PDF at £4.00 per title: the format being ‘front cover page full content pages back cover page’. This format is printable as single pages: either the whole book or a favourite page.

I thank Adam Rudden for the great work he has done over the years creating and managing this web site.

Thanks also to our authors from ‘home’ and around the world for entrusting Lapwing with their valuable contributions to civilisation.

If you wish to seek publication please send you submission in MW Word docx format.




All titles are £10.00 stg. plus postage from the authors via their email address. PDF versions are available from Lapwing at £4.00 a copy, they are printable for private, review and educational purposes.

9781838439804_Halperin Richard W. DALLOWAY IN WISCONSIN

Mr.Halperin lives in Paris France Email: halperin8@wanadoo.fr

9781838439811_Halperin Richard W. SUMMER NIGHT 1948

9781838439859_Halperin Richard W. GIRL IN THE RED CAPE

9781838439828_Lennon Finbar NOW

Mr Lennon lives in the Republic of Ireland Email: lennonfinbar@hotmail.com

9781838439835_Dillon Paul T WHISPER

Mr Dillon lives in the Republic of Ireland Email: ptjdillon@gmail.com

9781838439842_ Brooks Richard WOOD FOR THE TREES

Mr Brooks lives in England UK Email:richard.brooks3@btinternet.com

9781838439866_Garvey Alan IN THE WAKE OF HER LIGHT

9781838439873_McManus Kevin THE HAWTHORN TREE

Mr McManus lives in the Republic of Ireland Email: kevinmcmanus1@hotmail.com

9781838439880_Dwan Berni ONLY LOOKIN’ Berni Dwan lives in the Republic of Ireland Email: bernidwan@gmail.com

9781838439897_Murbach Esther VIEW ASKEW Esther Murbach lives in Switzerland though she also spends time in Galway Email: esther.murbach@gmx.ch

9781916345751_McGrath Niall SHED

Mr McGrath lives in County Antrim Northern Ireland, UK Email: mcgrath.niall@hotmail.com

9781916345775_Somerville Large GILLIAN LAZY BEDS

9781916345782_Gohorry & Lane COVENTRY CRUCIBLE Mr Lane lives in England UK and due to the recent death of Mr Gohorry Mr Lane will be the contact for this publication:


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