ISSN 2053-6119 (Print) ISSN 2053-6127 (Online)
Featuring the works of Peter Wyton, Ruari de Barra, Byron Beynon, Robin Dunn, Daniel T Johnson, Heller Levinson, David Riley, Rory Duffy, J. K. Edwards, George Moore, Amy Barry, Kofi Acquah, Nigel Ford and Terrence Sykes. Hard
copies can be purchased from our website.
Issue 62 November 2017
A New Ulster Prose On the Wall Website
Editor: Amos Greig Editor: E V Greig Editor: Arizahn Editor: Adam Rudden Contents
Editorial Peter Wyton;
1. Recharging The Batteries Ruari de Barra; 1. Faces 2. Merciful Sleep 3. The Middle Sea Byron Beynon; 1. Spanish Landscape 2. Coast at Sunset 3. Old Movies 4. The Paul Robin Dunn; 1. The Barycenter Brit Daniel T Johnson; 1. I Found My New Jersey in a Painting in the National Gallery, London 2. Three Weeks in 3. The Reading Heller Levinson; 1. In the Pith of Loam 2. In the Pith of Charred Boyancy 3. Desuetude 4. Fulsomely Merrily David Riley; 1. Coffee / Unfinished Thought Rory Duffy; 1. Learning to Inhale J K Edwards; 1. Pronoia
George Moore; 1. The Old Faith 2. Is it Enough? 3. The Chainsaw in the Distance 4. The Dogs of Bangkok Amy Barry; 1. Between Captivity and Villa Maria Kofi Acquah; 1. Two Side Within 2. The Sacrifice 3. Far From Home 4. One Night Behind a Bell Nigel Ford; 1. Life in a Day Terrence Sykes; 1. Woman of My Lot 2. DNA Pastoral 3. Collage 4. Bohemian Angel 5. Ressurection Creek On The Wall Message from the Alleycats Round the Back
Poetry, prose, art work and letters to be sent to: Submissions Editor A New Ulster 23 High Street, Ballyhalbert BT22 1BL Alternatively e-mail: email@example.com See page 50 for further details and guidelines regarding submissions. Hard copy distribution is available c/o Lapwing Publications, 1 Ballysillan Drive, Belfast BT14 8HQ Or via PEECHO Digital distribution is via links on our website: https://anuanewulster.wixsite.com/anewulster Published in Baskerville Oldface & Times New Roman Produced in Belfast & Ballyhalbert, Northern Ireland. All rights reserved The artists 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) Cover Image â&#x20AC;&#x153;Waypointsâ&#x20AC;? by Amos Greig
“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. ” Aristotle Onassis. Editorial For some reason the editorial is always the hardest part of each issue to write. Reading the hundreds of submissions is hard work and there’s some amazing work but not every submission will make into the issue. That’s a tough decision which has gotten a little easier with time but only just. Formatting and collating each issue a challenge watching hours of work suddenly collapse when you change formats to the pdf is soul destroying at times especially when you are collaborating with someone on a project. However, when you finish the work is satisfying. Not so the editorial I try to make each one unique to the issue I’m working on, to the social issues relevant at the time while not taking away from the amazing work elsewhere in the issue. I never enjoy writing the editorial it is a chore rather than a rewarding task. This issue has been delayed a few days as we had a special anthology which came out on the 4th and wanted to give it time to fly. I’ve also been ill and had a severe reaction to a cortical steroid which affected my memory and my ability to process data properly. It took nearly a month to recover and here we are putting the final touches on this issue and the editorial is once again the hardest part.
Onward to creativity!! Amos Greig Editor.
Biographical Note: Peter Wyton
Peter Wyton is a page and performance poet who has presented his work at Festivals, Arts Centres and countless smaller venues from Penzance to the Kingdom of Fife and from Aldeburgh to the Glens of Antrim. He has eight published collections to his name, two of which are still in print. The most recent ‘Not All Men Are From Mars’, has raised over £2000 for the charity ‘Womens Aid.’ Anthologies in which he has featured are numerous, the pick of them being the 1997 Forward Book Of Poetry, in which he has the back page all to himself. Presumably Benjamin Zephaniah must have been having an off year that year! Also the New Oxford Book Of War Poetry in which the editor, John Stallworthy, paid tribute to his poem in the Introduction. He has so far won over 20 1st Prizes in written competition and 20 in performance poem Slams. He was Gloucestershire Millennium Poet in the year 2000 and is currently Poet Laureate to the Towton Battlefield Association in Yorkshire. His work has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. He broadcasts regularly on B.B.C. Radio Gloucestershire, as Breakfast Bard on the Mark Cummings Show and his work has also featured on B.B.C. Radio 2 ‘s ‘Poetry Please’ and ‘Something Understood.’ He regularly addresses branches of the W.I., Probus and similar organisations at their monthly meetings. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
RECHARGING THE BATTERIES (Peter Wyton) On the sort of day which used to be called a scorcher, I am pedalling between Derriaghy and Dunmurry on a bicycle which cost my life savings of £8. Lava-like bubbles of tar dottle the crazy paving of surface repairs. The mad dog outside the village hall is too sun-struck to bark, never mind chase me. Depending from my handlebars are two batteries, heavy duty, infinitely awkward encumbrances which I am ferrying to the garage for recharge. A burst main has inundated the dip in the roadway beneath McHenry’s bridge, under whose arch I am comprehensively drenched by a grinning eejit
driving a Lilliput Laundry Company vehicle, causing me to wobble wildly, bare knees coming into bruising contact with my cargo, whose acids slop alarmingly in their chambers, reminding me that I was instructed to ‘ride carefully’, before I set off from Killeaton, which is what passed for a Health and Safety briefing, throughout my childhood. I regain control, mercifully, moments before a bus bound for Portadown swings into view and continue under the rookeries of the Conway estate, which are unnaturally quiet due to the temperature, inhabitants slumped like accident victims in their nests, unable to summon a fraction of their customary fractiousness. Overtaken by a bakery van with a hideous exhaust, I sing “Ould McWater’s bread, sits on your belly like lead, Not a bit of wonder you fart like thunder, ould McWater’s bread”, All the way into the village, where I offload my responsibilities And head for Chamber’s Newsagent, with enough coppers for a packet of sweet cigarettes and a comic called, “ The Adventure. “
Biographical Note: Ruairí de Barra
The author Ruairí de Barra hails from the wilds of Tawneyshane, Co. Mayo and now resides in Cobh, Co. Cork. He writes creatively under the nom de plume Karol Barry on his wordpress (www.karolbarry.com) He is a sailor with over two decades of service with an tSeirbhís Chabhlaigh & Óglaigh na hÉireann including service overseas on international humanitarian operations in the Mediterranean. He writes professionally as an accredited Irish Defence Forces military journalist and is a regular contributor to ‘An Cosantóir’, the Irish Defence Forces magazine. His work has also been published in the ‘Emergency Services Ireland’ magazine and his May 2017 article “Rebuilding Somalia – The Sea is their future’ has been nominated for the European Military Press Association ‘Best Article Awards 2017’. He is a former nominee for ‘Mayo Person of the Year 2016’ for his work in the Mediterranean and he is the current Cathaoirleach, Muintir Mhaigh Eo Corcaigh His creative work has featured in Tinteán, the Australian Irish Heritage Network magazine.
I draw faces on the nitrile* gloves with care, never more struck by my privilege, until I meet those without a home, a child alone, the laughter and delight at a simple toy, a joy, they are gathered at my feet, their little bundles stand out in stark relief, drawing in the bright sun, on expensive paper with cheap crayons.
Children from the opposite sides of a continent, separated by a vast expanse yet inseparable now, sons of Ishmael and Isaac, divided by words in a book, one blue, the other amber through my sunglasses, sharing a cardboard mat as worn out parents lay against the hanger door, stress etched on their faces yet absent now in these little artists.
Their drawings made tears fall later as I sat and stared at the pages, a little token offered up in friendship, from tiny hands without shoes, a village where a family lived and granny sat outside, a car of an uncle that used to go so fast, the battle in the streets,
where Technicals* blaze bright tracer fire, and the roaring jets drop bombs.
One home has lurid yellow thatch, while the other is a burnt-out shell, smoke curls out of shattered windows, in the other a pet dog abandoned wags its tail, one child escaping poverty, the other hell, the stick figures have names and stories, except those who are lying still, floating on red tides, as the sun beats down on my neck, blowing glove balloons.
By RuairĂ de Barra
Notes: (*Nitrile Gloves are non-latex sterile rubber gloves which have superior puncture resistance, the NS crew wear two gloves to prevent infection. Blue as the inner glove and White as the outer, so that a puncture on the outer glove will stand out and can be quickly replaced.)
(*Technical is the term for light improved fighting vehicles which are ubiquitous across Middle Eastern and African conflicts. Often an open backed four-wheel drive pickup truck which has a heavy machine gun, anti-aircraft gun, recoilless rifle, or rocket launcher mounted on the back.)
Nameless and blameless, drownings not painless, Saint, sinner, solider and thief, weeping child for their mother, father lost brother, Muslim, Christian and Sikh. Stuck to the cardboard with third degree burns, for hours without any relief, please get him to stop crying, tell him his sister's just sleeping, gently drifting, as the others are still dying, in the water just beyond my hands reach. The sounds of the ribs cracking under my hands, are better than the screams in the dark, we can't save them all, despite piles of money, lie to yourself and say ‘more could have died’, go to your cabin, curl up in a ball, and pray that exhaustion brings relief. Twins reunited with the grieving father who falls to his knees, a rare ray of hope in a boat overflowing with dread, a young pregnant lady with a six-month round belly, who was drowned when we pulled her in over the side, the shame and the anguish knowing there’s people, who would prefer if she had just died. There was mass on the flight deck with the singing of Coptic’s, shattered people proclaiming their beliefs, the chorus of women swaying in union, while the men spoke the words of the book, when the darkness it came, it all when so quiet, silence unbroken by the chosen in merciful sleep.
When the boat rolls over faster than you can imagine, disappearing in the blink of your eye, ditching all into the sea, decision time now, which one to save first, knowing full well you might never be right, living with that isn't easy, when it plays in your head every night. The cause of this mass migration is desperation, crippling poverty and war without end, if you choose to flee please don't go by the sea, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t waste your life onboard one of these rafts, you'll die in the ocean forgotten and lonely, with so many others washed up on a beach. By RuairĂ de Barra.
THE MIDDLE SEA.
If you drew back the ocean waves, the graveyard of the middle sea would be seen, strewn with the bodies of the poor, from a hundred nations they lie scattered by the thousands, on the seabed, blanketed in the forever dark.
The ocean has no memory or mercy, the sand will not a headstone make, there will be no names carved in Tripoli or Valetta for these nameless bones, locked or trapped inside decrepit hulks, they tried to cross the waters with pitiless men.
The force that drives the third world out onto the waves, must be stronger that the sickening worry in the pit of the mothersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; stomach, as she places a toddler between her knees in the bilge, the golden glow of Europe delivered via satellite, must cloud again the eyes when the door of the hold is snapped shut.
When the jackals have stripped each and every dollar, they'll extract what they desire from your flesh, hanging on the hook your family defenceless, when you open your mouth they'll break your teeth, or execute you on the beach if your panic starts to unsettle all the rest.
The hands of Moses will not part this sea as they plummet, there is no saviour here in the depth of night,
the deflating chambers on the collapsing raft, ditching the screaming into the swell, lungs inundated as salt water rushes in, they'll be dead before they rest on the ribs of the fallen below.
By RuairĂ de Barra.
Biographical Note: Byron Beynon Byron Beynon's work has appeared in several publications including A New Ulster, Crannog, Santa Fe Literary Review, The Yellow Nib, Cyphers and London Magazine. Collections include Nocturne in Blue, Human Shores and Through Ilston Wood (all from Lapwing Publications), Cuffs (Rack Press) and The Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions).
SPANISH LANDSCAPE The day's heat lingers as the remaining grains of light listen for the music of cicadas. He thinks of Carew, Chepstow, Kidwelly, as he executes a Spanish castle on its hill. Unbearable hours underneath an unforgiving sun accelerates the mind's imagination. Witnessed by a searching sky, earth and scorched plants, feverish veins jealous for the love of a throbbing landscape, at home with the palette's suit. Byron Beynon
COAST AT SUNSET A folio of clouds scarred with another day's remnants. The subdued sea and sand are of one accord, but what crawled from here onto the expectant land? Light, shade, opposites exchanging hours that continued like grains sifting without the aggravation of counting the hard prospects of each human century.
OLD MOVIES Watching old movies in black and white, I wonder how the lives of those caught on camera by chance turned out? Driving by or walking along uncut in different shades of grey. Did they live long or perish too soon? Was fate kind to them, unpaid extras their shadows long gone? Was laughter and love their vocation, or was the pain of loss their ultimate creed? The glass-reflected sun startles the eye, it warmed to them once, those humans we'll never meet.
THE PAUL Carried by the wind and sea, a four-masted schooner with flesh of mahogany oak and teak. A voice which skimmed on water silenced on that day of July squalls, when the deep, silked-back sands ambushed its passing. The abandoned body of sail drowned and embedded, half-dreams into time and lost places. The sky was a witness to currents that changed courses with no translations needed. The beauty of what became lost, a different world was added cradling its ribbed solitude on a critical beach. The Paul was a four-masted vessel launched in Seattle in 1919. After crossing the Atlantic in 1925, with a cargo of timber it ran aground on the beach at Cefn Sidan, Carmarthenshire, Wales.
Biographical Note: Robin Wyatt Dunn Robin Wyatt Dunn teaches writing in Los Angeles. In 2017 he was a finalist for poet laureate of his city.
The barycenter brit tattooed over an Irish hell come on in all ye who marry well marry and believe the bright and air the board and bare beneath barren beings broad cornered and square shouting the silent names under your hair I saw them there the ruins out of your ears
Robin Wyatt Dunn
Biographical Note: Don Johnson
Dan Johnson is a 22 year-old American poet from Ringwood, New Jersey. He is currently a student at Saint Michael’s College in Burlington, Vermont where Dan is working towards a degree in English. He has also studied at University College Cork and frequented the amazing Ó Bhéal open mic evenings above the Long Valley bar
I Found My New Jersey in a Painting in the National Gallery, London
George Shaw, you must have been to Ringwood. You must have been down the trail behind the supermarket and the strip mall where we have drank pissed smoked and tripped for generations into the woods, whose footpaths are mosaics of bottle caps and cigarette butts, whose nature is graffitied rocks and trees. We painted ourselves into nature with hissing aerosol and not a gentle brush stroke.
Three Weeks In
I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t yet vacuumed the floor of my house. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been tracking dirt and debris in for weeks now. Little rocks and dead grass cling to my bare feet every time I hobble stiff across the floor. But all I can do, for now, is brush the dust off my calloused soles like I did your vodka sodden texts.
I’ve been sentenced by tribunal for a crime that they know I’ll commit. They line me up in front of them. They’ve put a microphone in front of me; it cyclops-stares, daring me come closer. They command me go on, so I do go on. I grasp the silver bullet with sweating palms and I speak into it. And when I’m done they execute me with machinegun applause.
Biographical Note: Heller Levinson
Heller Levinson lives in New York where he studies animal behavior. He has published half a dozen books and his work has appeared in over a hundred journals. His publication, Smelling Mary (Howling Dog Press, 2008), was nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and the Griffin Prize. Black Widow Press published his from stone this running in 2012. Hinge Trio was published by La Alameda Press in 2012. Wrack Lariat was published 2015 from Black Widow Press. tenebraed (Black Widow Press) is newly released. He is the originator of Hinge Theory.
in the pith of loam lambent meander
bellicosity purl the stuff of walrus, lacinia, polyphonic madrigals, horsehair on the bluff, . . . circumstantial gotta be a fool to bluster forth like that
as if there were no tomorrow no providence
no reckoning the gangbangers never considered youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d tadpole them in retaliation stuff of dreams unruly canisters even bribes dismissed with an adept symmetry how curious you didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t falter when compromised so much muster
in the pith of a charred buoyancy singe grapple grip rattle scrubbed clean flammability courses a multidimensional wherewithal intersects a rarefied bipedalism bewilders the necessity for overload is abbreviation abortive constituencies threaten to cavil the landlocked suffer lockdown the challenges for formalism are all inclusive
desuetude rag picked wrack dry rook wrecked rust fricative wrench wobble reel-ing
molding inutile slake tongue spittle
fulsomely merrily roll along we rock roll roll relentless restless roll on buddy meander stroll roil pearl pole pixilate percolate perforate speculate ejaculate tabulate totter titter shameless twitter tumble rumble bellicosity fumble firm glow seed game ignite flame trounce tame glum garden glucose lame merrily interpolate ambulate not too late move groove splice sail slice dice go ooh la la go ooooooh
Biographical Note: David Riley David Riley is a physicist working in academia. Originally from England, he has lived in Ireland for Over 20 years.
Coffee Sun shining brightly Meeting with you for coffee Clouds under my feet
Unfinished Thought I have two photos on my desk One of you, sleepy and new Another aged two or three Grumpy with devil horns askew I see them as I measure the day On lists I'm working through, Ticking each task away And then, as I turn, I see A younger me on the wall Before the care of your heart was mine.
Biographical Note: Rory Duffy
Rory Duffy - work published in Southword, Crannog, The Stony Thursday Book and Penduline Press. In 2016 Rory was 3rd in the PJ O'Connor Award and was short listed for the Frances MacManus Award. In 2017 Rory was nominated for a ZeBBie Award and was highly commended the Sean O'Faolรกin Prize.
LEARNING TO INHALE Through bushes, bins and overgrown back plots Hedgehog happy searching outcrops of glassy gold Coke and Pepsi the gleaming diamonds excavated like fragile bones of an ancient king
Dappled glass dangles from torn coat pockets trundling from the lane at the back of the terrace up the road to the shop by the pub To trade in hard won swag at two pence a go.
Ten Bensons, a box of reds and four packs of Spangles fill mouths and lungs and singing eyes we learn to inhale on the corner at Lambton's shop while newly paid fathers stumble home
Biographical Note: Jonathan K Edwards
Jonathan Edwards was born and raised in a small seaside village aptly named Seaview, outside of a small town named Port Elizabeth in the not so small country of South Africa. He attended school, then attended bigger school. And now attending the biggest school, studying in his third year at Rhodes University in English and Psychology.
Pronoia Have you ever heard the leaves blow, On a night with no breeze? Have you ever seen a shadow lurk, Behind a line of trees? Have you ever seen the puppeteer, And mistaken him for straw? Have you ever caught the Night Beastâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tail, His breath his bite his claw? Have you ever heard whispers, that were meant, Just for you? Or the ticking tap of thoughtless doubt, That grew and grew and grew? For if ever in your waking, Your heart beats loose a seam. Remember not all visions are, As pleasant as a dreamâ&#x20AC;Ś
Biographical Note: George Moore
George Moore has been shortlisted for the Bailieborough Poetry Prize. His recent collections include Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015), Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FurureCycle 2016), and The Hermits of Dingle (FurureCycle 2013). Georgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s poetry has appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, Stand, Orbis, Dublin Review, North American Review, and the Colorado Review. He taught literature at the University of Colorado for many years, and presently lives with his Canadian wife, also a poet, on the south shore of Nova Scotia. His great grandfather was from the village of Desertmartin in the 19th century.
What is Enough?
Is it enough to spring their traps, to set their snares on pine limbs that will not snap? Is it enough
to circle the spot where they dump gnarled carrots, and wait for deer to wander down into their sights?
The church has emptied and the boys are out again, combing the woods for recreation. There is nothing here
to do but wait for rain, for lobster season to start up again, for death, and a grand ole seaside burial.
There is nothing here but birch and Jack pine, and old man moss choking life from wooden limbs.
But then one day weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re all caught up in coils of blue rope, all dragged down into the sea. Our traps are sprung,
or set without us, and pod lines run to the gods who live beneath, singing to the echo of our guns.
The Old Faith
Some of them sit around and dream wide awake of the beauty they might find in forgiveness. Some probe the sky for a sign or word, cloud or bird or letter, that might take them back to the days their lovers were arriving. There is that one that hovers at the edge of dawn, sleeping on a deck near the blindness of the sea. He lives just past his age, near the rocks of another. Cat lives they call them, those whispers of place, city or countryside, the space filled by ghosts and yet not filled. They pull belief from their sack each day, like priming a pump, but the hour are dry as wine or lovemaking.
Some of the poets among us remember moments of imagination, and comb their minds for lost words like elephants returning to the bone of their friends.
The Chainsaw in the Distance
sounds like two old women arguing, or two gulls on the fishermenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stage of predawn wharf, but but daylight turns sounds to matter: how dogs barking at night are not dogs at all but gulls squabbling,
or you wake to the liminal sound of children crying out.
First crow sounds a warning, then second augurs evil. Sounds of lobstermen off-season, putting up winter cords of wood, steel teeth whining through hemlock,
or the old rhythms on tied up boats arguing the coming weather, cut with a laugh or a gullâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rising caw.
How soon, we interpret the world from the sound up,
somewhere within us, past us, through us.
A Kittiwake annoyed as we near a sand dune nest, knit with a harp of broken trees swinging their dead bows,
or an orchestra of rocks, the sea crashing far off on Brook Islands.
Ears knit together echoes of wind, vibrations that life puzzles into a whole.
The world as text said Thoreau, signs leading to revelations. All waiting to be interpreted, listened to, a symphony, a novel, post-expressionist art
are metaphors but metaphor lies flat on the page.
Nothing unadulterated in the gray matter, all a clash of cymbals;
nothing as it is, all noise
played by the instrument of mind.
Consciousness a stream, the stones picked out by William James, more a series of waves
than a rock that catches surf.
Here, the Herring gulls laugh, the ratchet of their short, sharp cries wake me to other arguments.
A dog in the distance its rhythmic yelp, clear as the gullâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mimicking bite. Both raise alerts.
The crows chatter at tongueless enemies and we are home. The sea borrowed from men and gulls,
music on a sputtering plane, spiraling in their metronomic swirls,
wake to the call of children
crossing the woods, buzz of saws cutting through wood.
The world is estranged, and more familiar.
Small birds blown off course from the Gulf of Maine by a hurricane,
into enemy territory. The sounds of war, metal edged and planted in the brain like nails.
The invadersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; staccato laugher, standing up like wood decors in shoreline parking lots.
Each noise inherits an unstill world,
each fills a hollow, digs a tunnel of words. In it, each gull is a punctuation, the echo of a star.
The voices of
and idlers on the dock, coiling rope for a new season as we surface from our sleep.
The Dogs of Bangkok
They sit outside on the temple steps waiting for the sun to die,
waiting for the rumors of noodles or rice, waiting for the silence to pick them up
and carry them into Buddhaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s arms, where they grow backward into puppies
and gather in the pool at his feet, and praise the image of the sun on the water
sinking into the forgetfulness of the last life.
Biographical Note: Amy Barry
Between Captivity and Villa Maria
On cracked farmlands of ancient olive, Pink cactus blossoms preen themselves, Exhibit their soft wares. Masserias are hot beds — And we are expected to play. Drizzled in musical sweat, We dance, swayed By la terra magica; We’ve tasted wine and cheese, Tapas like pleasure girls. We prowl the Mediterranean shore, Wild and awake — Strangers, almost lovers on neutral ground. Sometimes, We forget all vows, Lovesick And never free.
Biographical Note: kofi Acquah
Kofi Acquah is a Poet, Writer & Performer. A certificate holder of the 2015 online American Poetry Marathon. He was shortlisted in the poetry category for the maiden edition of the Ghana Writers Awards, 2016. A contributor to the international anthologies; XXI Century World Literature—India(2016) & Voices of Humanity Vol.1—USA(2016) etc. Kofi is a co-author of 'Palm Leaves' and a coach in an Afro– Creative Center in Ghana dubbed: THE VILLAGE THINKERS.
— Two Sides Within — .. A strange sound is waving from within It rattles like a tambourine Whispers of fear — it means We are sleepless in this morn We mourn no peace— like afternoon tumult .. The ears are dancing to tears The mouth is silence to words There is night inside The Sun — ... The globe is smoked to darkness No light until the Highest There is a glowing ember in a dark corner It is poked — .. Blood ooze, Is like a mantra under hungry tongues —inside angry eyes .. For houseflies came whirling It is not well —they refused the artist And the sun died under her soot ..
For last night was written In a powdered diary
â&#x20AC;&#x201D; The Sacrifice â&#x20AC;&#x201D; .. The eyes are dead The feet can't see You have become cemeteries to restless corpses in the morning.. Two thousand tongues sooth a womb But, One passing talk silence the tomb .. They are spirits of a dying sea Of age- Of time the blue bird is not a 'borla bird' .. This is the voice of a child__ .. For, a mystical virgin is born in a mummified dead body...
— Far From Home — .. ... look down the hill Men are growing Tails Women are digging caves no tonight in Knights last night It was the soul that changed; they said .. Like the absence of red oil in Mid-Night lantern The soul fades— to them, so it failed .. Captured with 3 catapults shots & 4 young stones in fortified pot I am still not caged ... they said; I am no bird .. Not a single sky of ordinary chiefdom Falls a drop of wisdom on my clapping lips — .. I walk far from home ... unshod in stealth of shackles even when the shadow: has not given me a tip. (Kofi Acquah)
— One Night Behind A Bell — .. Corners of flatter whispers Slowly drizzling into bouncing hearts a fading day —fades without 'bobo' Sisters are born — through the womb of this dawn childhood memories: torn in this morn .. There is a girl within two fighting crossroads — one crossroad of cameleon colours she listens not to old folks: folks with no beards & hopes .. The tree has survived the sun In this soil — in this toil for the Heaven's has foot the earth Saving the dead & the dying: 'Spirits'
Biographical Note: Nigel Ford
Born in 1944, wrote his first radio play aged 14 (refused). Jobs include reporter for The Daily Times, Lagos, Nigeria, travel writer for Sun Publishing, London, English teacher for Berlitz, Hamburg, copy writer for Ted Bates, Stockholm. Had a hand in starting the Brighton Fringe in 1967. Several magazines in UK and US have published his work. Such as Nexus, Outposts, Encounter, New Spokes, Inkshed, The Crazy Oik, Weyfarers, Acumen, Critical Quarterly, Staple, T.O.P.S, The North, Foolscap, Iota, Poetry Nottingham, Tears in the Fence etc. Nigel is trying to produce & direct one of his stage plays.
LIFE IN A DAY
EARLY HOURS Curtain blind crackle breeze winds into room through window slip dark in here pitch black vision adjust nose wrinkle someone has farted recently. Grate of bedsprings, grunt, curse, small rumble snore, curse, jab, small tired voice ‘what?’ Urgent whisper ‘stop snoring!’ ‘O.’ Vision adjust to a pair of swathed humps lying close together, one bends upwards, rolls over, flattens ‘Ugh!’ One mound rises on elbows, head turns this way and that. Mound swings, rises straight, shuffle, shuffle to window, rattle, creak, small bang, loud crack, blind flies upwards. ‘Sorry.’ ‘What ARE you doing?’ ‘Stuffy. Can’t breathe.’ ‘It’s freezing!’ ‘I need to open it just a little bit.’ ‘Ugh!’ Shuffle mound slide to bed collapse. ‘Ugh.’ ‘Ugh.’ ‘Good night.’ ‘Ugh.’ Silence. Silence established. Silence remains. Light enhances objects dimly. Squares, hard lines, soft piles. Something hanging on door handle. Starlight picks up sock and leaves.
Sleep or despair, worry or silence, relief or tension. The hues of intention swoop and settle, swoop and settle, to an out-of-tune medley of inhalations and exhalations. Grunt (Loud). ‘Ugh.’ Bedclothes twist and shift. ‘Ugh.’ Sigh. Silence. Silence fills the gloom. Settles permanent.
MORNING Sun shines through window. Rain smacks on glass. Hot and wet. Greenish grey and mist. Smell plays sound and damp bright. A fist pokes out. A foot with clenched toes on the other side. The foot struggles. The fist opens to a hand. Grips the duvet and pulls up and up. The second foot revealed. Which meet together. And rub together. And rise together to the vertical. And down flat while the other end then rises to the vertical and the bedclothes fall away. To reveal a smeared face. The eyes stare at nothing. The eyes take in their first impression of morning. They blink, screw shut, open again.
Eyes shut, loud sniff, loud snorkle sound, scramble of knees, rubbing feet, cracking elbow joints, mound rises. Swings. Feet on floor. Other mound from which this mound now detaches remains motionless.
Detached mound upwards, stuff falls around pinhead bag surrounding white grey shadowed sheet shuffles off somewhere. Stuffed bag on bed motionless. Wait! Twitch. Twitch. Twitch. Motionless.
TEA Noise, clatter of cutlery falling into metal sink. Water pour. Switch click. Screech of metal rail. Light streaks across floor, stripes motionless mound humped on bed.
Cough hacked from somewhere. Silence for several minutes. Rushing noise from electric kettle. Click. Scratch of chair leg on floor. Rush plop sound of water pour. Scratch of chair leg. Silence. Sigh. Silence. Harkle. Spit sound. Water streaming tinkle. Silence. Scratch of chair leg on floor. Water pours. Soft crescendo. Snapping sound of window latch. Curtain flap. Snapping sound of window latch. Flap stops. Teaspoon clink on porcelain. Upright mound shuffles back into room moving forwards holding cup and saucer. Turns, shuffles backwards, drops sheeted buttocks onto bed. Bed sinks. Lifts cup to mouth. Suck slurp sound. Lowers cup. Chink! “You awake?” “No.” “Would you like a cup of tea?” “Yes please.” “Hnn.” Lifts cup to mouth, suck, slurp, lowers cup. Chink! Upright mound rises. Shuffles off. Gone. Ugh sound from mound on bed. Half-rises from middle up. Flops back. Ugh sound again.
RISING Silent movement of two bodies/entities in patterns. Shedding of skins, heaving, grunting, splashing. Water running intermittent streams a vulperine sun pierces the windows. ‘Hot today.’ ‘It’s going to be hot today.’ ‘That’s what I said.’ ‘No you didn’t, you said it’s hot now. Is that what you’re wearing?’
‘What’s wrong with it?’ ‘Nothing. What would you like for breakfast?’ ‘The usual. Why did you ask is this is what I am wearing?’ ‘Aren’t you going to work today?’ ‘Of course. Why?’ ‘And that’s what you’re intending to wear?’ ‘Yes. I got dressed all by myself. Aren’t I clever.’ ‘It’s your funeral.’ This Body departs this room, wipes brow with forearm, materials in varying shapes and sizes and colours fly, flop and settle. Grunt grunt. Suck. This Body returns to other room from which it had left. BREAKFAST During this time Other Body hums a little ditty. Clatters, grinds and boils for several minutes. Whoosh! Tinkle. Laying of tools. Setting out of bits of food in both solid and liquid forms. Other Body turns and places egg in egg cup as This Body enters. ‘That looks very nice.’ ‘I don’t have time for an egg now.’ ‘Don’t be silly. Of course you have. ‘
GOING TO WORK This Body and Other Body drive to work in car. ‘You’re driving too fast.’ Faces blur in transit from pavements. Green and red lights and dust rises, settles, sticks. Orange and yellow work clothes here and there. An elderly rock musician sets out her paper cup and tunes her electric guitar. ‘Have you got your alms?’ ‘Yes. Of course I have.’ ‘Never forget it.’
‘Don’t nag.’ The car noses to a stop at a calm intersection. Passenger door opens cautiously. Then quickly. Other Body scrambles out onto pavement. Have a nice day! You too! Other Body straightens back and watches This Body thread car back into traffic. Picks up briefcase and meshes with crowd. Both bodies gone. They may not be important to you, but they hack a big difference in the day of certain people.
ABOUT WORK Other Body is followed now separately for a while until left in temporary suspension for the focus to be trained on This Body for the same while. Once these two routes have been completed they merge into the Other Body, This Body combo once more. This period of separation is known as “work”, and performed at cross-purposes. Other Body working to demote the society as a whole, This Body working to promote society as a whole. Billions of similar pairs throughout the world perform these rites daily. They too, refer to this rite, ritual/habit/behavioural pattern/what-you-like, as “work”. Which is presumably “nature’s way” of maintaining a fine balance of survival.
ARRIVING AT WORK Other Body walks into a building, exposing teeth at various bodies, who respond by a return showing of teeth or closed mouths with lips turning up at corners. These movements are known as “smiles”. They also make noises at each other, known as “greetings”.
At the same time, This Body, having stopped the car and got out, walks into another building and runs through more or less the same procedure.
OTHER BODY AT WORK Other Body sheds their jacket and loosens their tie. The jacket is hung over the back of Other Body’s “work chair”. Other Body watches a lighted screen and taps a keyboard. Other Body is “working” at “making calculations”. These “calculations” require concentration and are aimed at breaking up society into sections, which move up and down in tiny jerks and make “life” more comfortable for some bodies and less comfortable for others. This is nature’s way of maintaining a balance (sometimes referred to as the “status quo”), which is essential to the balance of the human race’s home comforts and continued survival. And indeed, to that of all other races. A little bell rings every 45 minutes, at which signal Other Body rises from the work chair and walks around the desk twenty-five times. It then lowers itself back into the chair. This ritual is performed throughout the day, exception a 30 minute interval during which time Other Body feeds and is “at lunch”. The performance made by Other Body every 45 minutes is “exercise”.
THIS BODY AT WORK In another part of town, This Body walks into a wall of noise. Squeaks and groans. Incessant chatter. This Body shakes head mentally and joins the fray. Strips down to underwear and puts on white overalls, slips into clogs. Clops this way and that in a non-stop conversation and a non-stop set of actions. Lifting, spreading, tightening, removing and replacing. Every hour or so This Body leaves the building, sits on a bench, looks at the sky and smokes half a cigarette. For some interludes during this period in the relief of solitude, at others in the nuisance of company. This Body adheres to this routine apart from three pauses. One for a cup of tea and a biscuit, called “Tea Break”. One to heat up something in the micro, this called “Lunch”. And another later for a cup of coffee and a bun called “Coffee Break”.
AFTER WORK At an o’clock sharp This Body changes back into the clothing in which they arrived, leaves the building, clambers into the car and drives to the calm intersection where the car parks between a lamp post and a post box. Quite soon This Body sees Other Body approaching from the west along the pavement. Other Body works itself into the car, seats and pecks This Body on the cheek. ‘Had a good day?’ ‘Can’t complain. And you?’ ‘Just fine.’ The car carrying One Body and This Body creeps carefully into the traffic, is whirled away in the flow and disappears.
Biographical Note: Terrence Sykes
Terrence Sykes was born and raised in the rural coal mining area of southwestern Virginia and this isolation brought forth the theme of remembrance to his creations, whether real or imagined …… His poetry – photography – flash fiction has been published in India, Ireland, Scotland, Spain and the USA
WOMAN OF MY LOT I am Lotâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wife A woman without a name least none remembers Behind every great man there was a great Woman but only remembrance without a name A wife indeed yet devoted mother of daughters a daughter myself - duly noted an ancient - traditional - yet modern woman Unlike a man I reflected - looked - glanced - back upon our memories & past Did I leave the iron on? Ye are the salt of the earth Nurturer Simple substance Sustenance Nourishment Yet left alone - abandoned clinging on a cliff feral - forgotten A mere deer-lick
along fieldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edge persimmons clinging â&#x20AC;&#x201C; longing for first frost dreams & chicory cut down to straw unborn children scythed into oblivion searching for that field guide to religions stumbled upon thrift store truth pass along plants watered by bitter wine artesian baptismal fountain until colors mutated unsung hymnal overgrown pastures eroded turmeric stained soil archaic greenhouse suspended arbutus galaxy as the last sparks of day mute into void
seated silently wooden osteria table empty wine glass days & meals etched into the surface mapping that past winding wayward roads journey to where broken bridges abound cluttered leaves murmur gull searched horizon longing for another season only faint stars beyond these cliffs collaged prayers scatter
BOHEMIAN ANGEL -- To Chrissy .. My Muse -Oh Bohemian Angel were you not cast out - banned because you were different The Garden of Eden wilted Paradise lost in confusion HEAVEN - exit bypassed In the dead of night into the light of day that devil may care demeanor Oh the games that are willingly played shape shifting in the shadows of the wind riding in the path & ashes of a fallen star Treading on untethered wings silken binds that tie you to your past & purpose Come & sit by my fire Drink the bitter wine Listen to the watersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; songs Oh Bohemian Angel were you not cast out - banned because we are the same
Resurrection Creek walking along the bank of this creek first days of spring winter naked trees unable to name in their leaflessness ash beech birch dogwood maple mulberry summer will rise & names will be given to each autumn pentecostal banner soon my winter will come silently lay me down amongst these woods place an acorn in my hand I shall rise a mighty oak
If you fancy submitting something but haven’t done so yet, or if you would like to send us some further examples of your work, here are our submission guidelines: SUBMISSIONS NB – All artwork must be in either BMP or JPEG format. Indecent and/or offensive images will not be published, and anyone found to be in breach of this will be reported to the police. Images must be in either BMP or JPEG format. Please include your name, contact details, and a short biography. You are welcome to include a photograph of yourself – this may be in colour or black and white. We cannot be responsible for the loss of or damage to any material that is sent to us, so please send copies as opposed to originals. Images may be resized in order to fit “On the Wall”. This is purely for practicality. E-mail all submissions to: email@example.com and title your message as follows: (Type of work here) submitted to “A New Ulster” (name of writer/artist here); or for younger contributors: “Letters to the Alley Cats” (name of contributor/parent or guardian here). Letters, reviews and other communications such as Tweets will be published in “Round the Back”. Please note that submissions may be edited. All copyright remains with the original author/artist, and no infringement is intended. These guidelines make sorting through all of our submissions a much simpler task, allowing us to spend more of our time working on getting each new edition out!
November 2017’s MESSAGE FROM THE ALLEYCATS:
November is here and the hot weather has vanished. I’m afraid there has been some delays due to Amos’ asthma the doctor has had to change his medication. Where does the time fly? It seems like it was only last week when we were busy making the January issue meow!!. Well, that’s just about it from us for this edition everyone. Thanks again to all of the artists who submitted their work to be presented “On the Wall”. As ever, if you didn’t make it into this edition, don’t despair! Chances are that your submission arrived just too late to be included this time. Check out future editions of “A New Ulster” to see your work showcased “On the Wall”.
We continue to provide a platform for poets and artists around the world we want to offer our thanks to the following for their financial support Richard Halperin, John Grady, P.W. Bridgman, Bridie Breen, John Byrne, Arthur Broomfield, Silva Merjanin, Orla McAlinden, Michael Whelan, Sharon Donnell, Damien Smyth, Arthur Harrier, Maire Morrissey Cummins, Alistair Graham, Strider Marcus Jones Our anthologies https://issuu.com/amosgreig/docs/anu_present_voices_for_peace https://issuu.com/amosgreig/docs/anu_poetry_anthology_-april