A New Ulster 77

Page 1

ISSN 2053-6119 (Print) ISSN 2053-6127 (Online)

Featuring the works of Patricia Walsh, Niels Hav, Mark Sculion, John W. Sexton, Joyce Walker, D.J. Tyrer, D.M. O’Connor, Susie Gharib, Sanghamitra C. Mukherjee, Scott Waters, Nathanael O’Reilly, Robin Wyatt Dunn and Colm Fahy. Hard copies can be purchased from our website.

Issue 77 February 2019

A New Ulster Prose On the Wall Website

Editor: Amos Greig Editor: E V Greig Editor: Arizahn Editor: Adam Rudden Contents

Editorial Patricia Walsh;

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Silvertooth Creative Farce Drained Injury A Tabloid Called the Moon Majestic Force

Niels Hav; 1. Lenze XXX 2. Life and Love Mark Scullion; 1. Another Day 2. Mary Catherine 3. Kingsmill 4. Resurrection John W. Sexton; 1. Inside Her Kidney 2. The Blue Truth 3. Marvels Still Enter 4. What’s the News? 5. And Farewell 6. Collapsible Box Joyce Walker; 1. Always Forever 2. Illusion of Love 3. Lady from Soast 4. Olympics 2012, Good or Bad? 5. See How She Leans D.J. Tyrer; 1. Anger 2. Bully 3. Fog 4. Kicking It

D.M. O’Connor; 1. Smug Neighbour 2. Tad From The Bay 3. Spin Cycle Night Susie Gharib; 1. Physiognomy 2. A Chair 3. To Dance on the Ulgy 4. W.B. Yeats Sangha C. Mukherjee; 1. Sleepnessness (on a bleak winter’s night) 2. The Soul Re-lives 3. One moment at a time 4. Music to my ears 5. Fly 6. Going beyond 7. Troubled 8. The Voice 9. Farewell Scott Waters; 1. Dream 2. I Took a Train to Fresno 3. Summer Pioneers 4. I Could Have Been a Prospector Nathanael O’Reilly; 1. Alt-Facts Bio 2. Scarification 3. Maggot 4. Holy Ghost 5. Dark Times Robin Wyatt Dunn; 1. what no battle ready; 2. gut the harp and string 3. down light Colm Fahy; 1. In the womb of the sea 2. Palestine 3. Dusk at the Sound


This day to listen 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: g.greig3@gmail.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 “Kling� by Amos Greig

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. ” Aristotle Onassis. Editorial We stand on the precipice of sanity in March the UK will either leave the EU or enter a constant cycle of delays and continued debates. Our govt does not seem capable of engaging in rational thought and that’s only the beginning. For some reason in all of that time writing the editorial for each issue still remains the hardest part for myself. I’m not sure if it’s because I worry about taking away from the rest of the content, may come across political or just the difficulty of putting thoughts down coherently. The latter is a recent concern I’ve started a new medication and one of the side effects is memory problems, confusion and increased anxiety. Still apart from that it does help with my health issues. A New Ulster has become something of a global magazine we’ve readers and writer’s from around the world including, Palestine, Iraq, Israel, America and more. The continued interest in the magazine shows that there is still a ‘market’ for literary magazines I dislike the term market as art is in essence an ephemeral commodity how do you put an intrinsic value on something that a person has poured their heart and soul into? I had surgery recently it hasn’t helped and the condition continues sadly that’s distracted me from my work and I regret that. Amos Greig Editor.

Biographical Note: Patricia Walsh

Patricia Walsh was born and raised in the parish of Mourneabbey, Co Cork, Ireland. To date, she has published one novel, titled The Quest for Lost Eire, in 2014, and has published one collection of poetry, titled Continuity Errors, with Lapwing Publications in 2010. She has since been published in a variety of print and online journals. These include: The Lake; Seventh Quarry Press; Marble Journal; New Binary Press; Stanzas; Crossways; Ygdrasil; Seventh Quarry; The Fractured Nuance; Revival Magazine; Ink Sweat and Tears; Drunk Monkeys; Hesterglock Press; Linnet's Wing, Narrator International, The Galway Review; Poethead and The Evening Echo.

Silvertooth (Patricia Walsh)

We could do without the attention being sought, the sympathy called for, the telephone snapped, the watered-up rarities fearing a failure viewing in closed sight a diehard sorrow.

Calm and collected, paying where due, illuminated, just enough to purchase an overture symphony, watching through glass to infinite punishment, second relationships slide past derision.

A supposed miracle fashioned on a tortured wheel, a studious overdrive signifying nothing, the rank unemployed laughing at indifference electrified teeth decaying under the choice smile.

Good percentage of nuts and bolts kept on going, calling over to this house a burning socialising, appreciated by all, this dinner welcomed, silent letters judged by the younger caller.

As long as you’re all right, prepared for independence wasting infinite time, drinking the cold harbinger this perfect result like an overweight bolt,

mistaken affection bolted like an abuse.

Will to live a washout, a whole life tariff simple employment where the old literature demanded placement under fashion, this decaying blood out of credit where due, a salacious due.

Creative Farce (Patricia Walsh)

Hungry for diminution, an aggrandised shot, the essentials empty in a coffee oblivion crystal ball sunflowers still sympathise form follows function filling the fix, relating to some of the massacre as is.

This annoying preferment, getting up in time, lines that don’t scan hurry the situation, white as a wedding dress, calling time on growth of a bandit calling the bullets.

The respectables walk across the boulevard, past the hydrants make redundant at speed, tightly structured, the worse for reading, rightly-won festivals litter the scolded fields type of renaissance walking staid, at notice.

In fear of getting lost, a total line count, aggrandisement to the lost coffee cups, perchance easy publication too good to be realistic, or to be bought, suckered on the wall.

The obvious pregnancy, garnered over time

scanned from the milky way, horoscoped incessantly outside of election, photography sliding bowling for classics, burning people instead, rolling cigarettes a work of art, short-lived.

Drained Injury (Patricia Walsh)

Death is cheap, at least, for this moment, simple suicide denigrates the landscape, preferring the blow-in over the standard office, getting a vicious circuit before the decorum pitching in for site work for the beloved’s position.

Crying on shoulders, the more numerous the better, walking in on disaster, eating as normal, waiting on the hard station, on someone else, delivering goods not promised by the affection crudely pointing out the lowest denominator.

Holding driven leads, business cards aside, a dissonance perhaps an innocent gone to trial, taking another piss on another’s timeline, mouthing fro profit, the same mistake twice the cost of interruption a deed not possibly done.

The sunshine mix calls upon a wishbone, annoyed to decorum that is a pardonable sneeze. Keeping time to do dancing, wholly bereft, the cost of mistakes bleeding dry the misgivings

the price of loving a midday pint, censured.

This singular love slices the competition, coming at worse times through the departure gates, no competition for some, walking through swathes of what belongs, repetitive admonishments this broken love remains on shattered standby.

A Tabloid Called the Moon (Patricia Walsh)

Moving the fascistic lines forward eschewing the obvious drink on the street, timetabled through days like these happily, knowing your friends is a serious enterprise recurrent darlings hope for the silent better.

Sleeping under gratitude, this dangerous game, loved to insanity, a goodly situation not even interested, desperately renegades supply on demand still burns itself out.

Loving the food drive until it dries up, the life of a hobo is perfect for some, to not pay any dues, taxes or inclinations and burn on its own sword, self-same abuse, the unmarked bed still waits for credit.

Addicted to oneself, a preening paranoia, living on borrowed beds a homestead supreme. The mystical bollocks drives home the catastrophe abuse where merited, walking from duty.

This stench where someone died, dying from excess,

roses bred without scent, looking after itself, promising notoriety on the dint of a laptop scanning signatures on a hearty website picking knowledge through the heart of darkness.

Majestic Force (Patricia Walsh)

Bright eyes, burning like a peat briquette, warning on electric devices sacrosanct, glowering like a queen at a hearty amiss crying on cue before finishing the cake.

Storing breakfast in a tattered bag, taking some on the train a wise move, otherwise encumbered, this princess of wails making no sense where bettered, hardly souled.

Reciting the ways in which we don’t matter sending letters to beloveds by hand not wanting out, or to know secrets harboured under wraps, a diligent promise.

Splitting atoms under the midday sun, sterile inspiration under a bible of lies taken sternly in the face of mediocrity, heartfelt adventures call for a record.

Not understood, but to understand, taken under skinned noses, a fatigued soul, white as kosher diesel, nice as pie

growing ugliness a defence on the shelf.

If not alcoholic now, when? Laughing through space unnerving the same, dropped on another head guaranteeing mockery, through curdled affection a divorced haircut, the worse the better.

Biographical Note: Niels Hav Niels Hav; in his native Danish the author of six collections of poetry and three volumes of short fiction. His work has been translated into several languages such as English, Arabic, Turkish, Spanish, Dutch and Farsi. In English he has We Are Here, published by Book Thug - and poetry in numerous magazines.

Lenze by Niels Hav

I slept lightly, the way you do when you are in a new place, newly in love and getting lots of sex. So when the doorbell rang I sprang awake. I woke Lenze with a light touch, it must be for her, no one knew that I’d moved in. She threw off the covers and went out into the hall. I lit the lamp over the bed, it was almost two AM. I could hear her open the door out there, talk to someone. - You can’t, she said. - Come on, she said. - Well, actually it does, she said, and it’s nothing to do with you. The door slammed. She ran back in her bare feet and slipped under the covers again. - Who was it? I asked. - Erling, that idiot, she said. Which I knew already. His name was still on the door, some of his jackets hung in the closet. But Lenze said he had moved. - What did he want? I asked. - He was drunk, she said. She hadn’t told me much about him. He didn’t interest me either. But he was in trouble with the police, that much I knew; one day two officers had showed up asking for him. Lenze turned off the lamp over the bed, then turned it back on and took a cigarette. - He got his sentence, she said. - For what? I asked. - He was in on beating up someone or other. It didn’t sound as if she knew the details. But nevertheless they had lived together for years, he was used to sleeping in this bed. Lenze had changed the

lock, his key was no good anymore. I lay considering all this while she smoked. In a way I was sorry for him, which was a stupid feeling.

It took a few weeks and then one day, Erling’s things were gone. I had my name on the door and began to unpack my books and set them on the shelf next to Lenze's novels. Every night I called to talk with my son before he went to bed. The situation had settled into a kind of normalcy . Then one night when I was half asleep in front of the television, the telephone rang. Lenze had gone to bed, I took it. - Yes, I said down the line . I could hear music in the background, loud voices and laughter . - Hello, I said. - Where is my stuff? It was an unfamiliar voice, blurred by excessive drinking. - You've got your stuff, I said, haven’t you? - Can’t she even pick up the phone? - Lenze is out, I said. I listened. He was breathing heavily on the line. - I can’t see any of your things here, I said. There was more noise in the background, the clink of bottles . - I’m going to beat you up, he said then. I hung up. Hill Street had started on TV, I was used to seeing it with my son; we used to sit on the sofa together. Now I'd didn’t feel like watching, instead I opened the window for some fresh air.

The next day we were both at work, then in the evening Lenze went to handball. I was reading when he rang again. - Haven’t you moved out yet? he asked. This time he was calling from a box, there were traffic noises in the background. - Listen, I said - I want to talk to Lenze, he said.

- She’s out. - The hell she is you asshole! - Do you go around in my clothes? he asked as well. It was impossible to talk to him. – Can’t you understand when something’s over? I said earnestly. - With me and Lenze it will never be over, he said. And he hung up. I could feel my hand shaking when I put the receiver down. I started to go through the apartment, into all the corners. In the closet I found only Lenze's and my own clothes. I looked in the kitchen cupboards, under the bed, in the bottom of the freezer. There was nothing. Lenze came home. - He keeps phoning, I said to her. She was stiff and sore after a hard training, she threw herself on the sofa and stared at the ceiling. - He has got his things, I said, hasn’t he? - He bloody well hasn’t, she said. - Where are they? I asked. - Oh God, she said resignedly as she slowly came to herself, - what bullshit. She went to the bathroom, I sat and wondered. If she ever told me anything about him it was fragments, never the whole story. When she came out she had put on fresh makeup. She smiled at me, and I got a long wet kiss. We lay down on the rug. She was small and warm, this was what I couldn’t resist, like a kitten or something. I had left everything for her sake, and every time she was like this, I regretted nothing.

But next time he rang it was Lenze who answered. I had just had a call about my son, he had broken his arm that afternoon. Nothing that serious had ever happened before. Now he had his arm in a cast. - He needs you, said my ex-wife, can’t you visit him once in a while?

I also talked with the boy, he sounded a little pathetic. I promised to come soon, maybe already the next day. So I had something to think about when the phone rang again. Lenze took it. And it was him. They were at each other from the start, and it evolved into a huge fight, Lenze yelling and screaming. - I threw it all in the damn trash, your fucking clothes, she shouted. You could have just picked up your shit . And so on. I couldn’t hear his side of it, Lenze stomped around with phone against her ear. - Absolutely not, she said, you bloody criminal! They hurled words back and forth, shouting over each other. Eventually she slammed down the phone, she trembled all over. I stood and held her, got her to sit on the sofa. - Relax, I said. - Is this the way you two usually talk? - What an asshole, I said. - You just keep your mouth shut for a bit, she said, OK? Then she flung a cushion across the living room; it hit the lamp, which teetered and sent wild light careening around the walls. She bit her lip and gave me a strange look. Later she went into the bathroom and was in there for a long time. I tidied up a bit, turned on the television, turned it off again. When Lenze came out, I tentatively opened a bottle of wine, but she wasn’t interested. We just went to bed, where we lay apart, staring at the ceiling until we fell asleep.

Suddenly, in the middle of the night, the door shook with repeated hammering. I woke up dazed, but Lenze started up , she was wide awake. - It's him! she said. I crawled out of bed, grabbed my shirt. The door was being kicked now brutally, it sounded as if a monster was trying to get in. I went out into the hall. Everything was so real.

When I opened the door it was slammed against my shoulder. Outside stood a man in leather jacket, he was surprisingly small. - Aha! he said. He took a step forward and grabbed my shirt. - I'm mad at you, he said. He hit me on the jaw and my head struck the wall. Lenze had come out, she ran at him and tore at him while she screamed and shouted. He looked at her. - Hey, baby, he said. They looked at each other. Lenze was shaking all over, I had never seen her like this before. In a panic I tried to say something, but I could no longer understand what was going on. - Move, he said to me. I pushed him and got a knuckle in the temple. - Scram! he said. He strode into the apartment, his laughter reverberated off the walls, now he was there. And Lenze followed him. I was left standing in the hallway like a complete stranger who had lost his way. Š Niels Hav Translated by af Heather Spears

LIFE AND LOVE by Niels Hav

When my father left and returned to Pakistan my mother kept waiting for him. She wrote a lot of letters, but they were never answered. She wanted me to write something she could send to him but I declined. If that dick didn’t want to write to us that was on him. “He’s your father,” she said. I didn’t care. Since he pulled out we hadn’t heard anything from him. I could barely remember what he looked like. “He was so handsome,” my mother said. “A Pakistani prince.” She laughed and looked at me, her eyes beaming. “Just like you.” When I was little I loved that sort of thing and at school I bragged about my dad. Until the others began making fun of me. One day one of the girls had a chocolate bar and I asked her for a piece because I thought everything was my due. “Go away and eat dog shit.” she said. I studied my face in the mirror. My father’s genes were flourishing. I had black eyebrows, large ears and pitch black hair. How could he be handsome if he looked like me? My mother told stories about him, how he’d arrived all the way from Pakistan. He was an engineer. They had met at a disco. Slowly I began to wish that he’d stayed away. Her father had forbidden her to see him. “Wise man,” I said. “You should have listened to your father.” Then she began sobbing and throwing things about. She opened a bottle of wine and lit a cigarette. Sometimes she’d take off her shoes, put on some Pakistani music and dance barefooted, while singing in a shrill voice. “Oh, Mehdi,” she said, “You don’t understand life and love.” She could keep on for hours. I hated those evenings. The next day she’d often stay in bed and I had to call her work and tell them some lie. And when I got back from school she’d call me from her bed, asking if there was any mail, a letter. She longed enormously for a letter with Pakistani stamps.

When I entered grade ten I began delivering morning papers. My mother had stopped writing letters and she’d also stopped working. All day she’d lie there watching TV as if her mind was broken. All sorts of movies with heroes and heroines she could drool over. “I was very beautiful when I was young,” she confided to me. I looked at her. It was hard to imagine that she had ever been young. Her hair grew wild and the skin of her face looked like gray dough. She never went out any longer, except to pick up more wine. Every morning I brought a newspaper home for her, but she only read the TV listings, which was always left spread out on the coffee table next to her. “Oh, Mehdi,” she began again. “Don’t!” I said. Then I’d go to school because what else was I going to do? After all, the others showed up too. But it felt as if we’d all lost interest in the project. The teachers couldn’t trick us into believing in it any longer. Our promising future had been canceled. So we mostly sat playing card and talking about parties. Wild plans that were never realized. I played along. In the afternoon I’d lie in my room listening to Michael Jackson. In the livingroom the TV blathered on. My mother opened another bottle of wine. Sometimes she’d come for me. “You have to watch this movie,” she said. “It’s fabulous.” I chased her away and turned the music up. When I’d saved up enough money I wanted to have my face fixed just like Michael Jackson had. I’d ride in a limousine. I closed my eyes and sometimes I fell asleep. Once I dreamed a strange dream. My father was in it. I was walking on a brown earthen road holding hands with my father and mother, the air was full of birds. Then a bus drove by and suddenly everyone from my class sat in the bus staring down at me. I wanted to get on it too. I let go of my mother and father and began running. But my feet were stuck. I couldn’t move. It was impossible. The bus kept moving and then it disappeared. I woke up, my head was a complete mess. It was five o’clock in the morning. I went into the living-room. My mother lay snoring, the TV was on. I turned it off and took my bicycle to work, picking up newspapers.

Then one afternoon when I came home my mother lay dead on the sofa. The TV was hissing on an empty channel, as if at the last moment she had attempted to shut it off. The remote was on the floor and she had slipped half way off the sofa. She lay there like a dead woman in some horror film. I called the police. “My mother is dead,” I said. The man asked some questions, how and what. How old I was. It made me quite irritated. “We’ll be there,” he finally said. As I walked through the hallway I noticed a letter dropped untidily in the dim light among shoes and boots. It may have been there for days. I picked it up. It was a small thin envelope with some strange stamps and the sender on the back looked like curlicues. I took it into my mother. Her eyes stared nakedly into the room, her mouth open. I put the letter on the table and lifted her up onto the sofa. It felt strange to touch her like that. There were a couple empty bottles on the floor, quite a few newspapers and some clothes. I tried to clean up a little, took the bottles into the kitchen and put them next to the rest. But the entire apartment was a pigsty. Once my mother had planned to paint the living-room. The walls were shittybrown and they had been for as long as I could remember. She bought a gallon of paint and started, taking down pictures and getting her brush moving. But after a couple of hours she tired of it, needed a glass of wine and a smoke. The next day she didn’t feel like it and ever since the wall had stood there naked and half done. Neither of us noticed any longer. But now I noticed it again. The can with the brush and the dried-up paint still stood in the corner like it had for years. I walked about the apartment looking at things. My mother was dead, but I couldn’t cry. It was as though I felt ashamed. If only she could have left off dying for a few days I would have tidied the place and vacuumed. Maybe I would have finished the paint job for her. She had snookered me. Then the doorbell rang and I hurried to open the door. Outside stood a woman and a man wearing police uniforms. The man had a walky-talky in his hand. They looked at me, introduced themselves politely and followed me in.

“What is the problem here?” the man asked. “My mother is dead,” I said. The woman went over to the sofa and bent over my mother, touching her arm, looking for a pulse. “Turn off the TV, please” she said. I turned it off and the room filled with an empty sound. Strange. “She is dead,” the woman said. “Is she your mother?” The man called someone on his walky-talky and they spoke back and forth. “Yes, we’ll stay,” he said finally. “Will do.” They moved about in the apartment and studied everything as if it were an exhibition of strange items in a museum. Dead things. The woman opened a window and looked down to the street. She stood there for a long while, inhaling and exhaling. The man stood in front of the empty wall. It was completely silent in the apartment. “How old are you?” asked the man. “Almost seventeen,” I said. He nodded and kept nodding as if that was an incredibly important piece of information. The woman had turned around but she stayed by the window. Her face was white as if she were about to throw up. We just stood there looking at each other. My mother lay on the sofa. Time stood still. Then the ambulance arrived. People flocked in. Voices. My mother was moved onto a stretcher and a blanket was covering her. More questions. They turned the apartment upside down, touched things, opened drawers and cupboards. “Did you mother take any medicine?” “Has she been ill?” “When did you last talk to her?” They opened the door and carried my mother out. I stood at the landing and looked as they carried her down. The stairwell was too narrow and they had to turn the stretcher in awkward angles. The whole thing seemed so wrong. A small man wearing a brown suede jacket stayed behind.

“Do you want to go along with her?” I shook my head. After all, I wasn’t dead. He gave me a piece of paper, a receipt or something. Then he stood there for a little while. He looked at me. I was in focus. He stood turning a cigarette between two fingers while he was thinking intensely. “Do you want a smoke?” he asked. “I don’t smoke,” I said. “You know what?” he said. But he gave up. He touched my shoulder with a heavy hand. I stood by the stairs and heard him run all the way down, until the front door shut down there. I went in. The empty sound filled the apartment now and in the living-room the sofa stood as an empty yawn. On the table were my mothers cigarettes, her last pack with a single crumpled smoke inside. I held it in my teeth. In the kitchen I looked among the bottles till I found some vodka. I filled a glass and brought it into the living-room. I turned on the TV. There was an American film showing, car chases, gun shots, flickering faces. I sat in the sofa and took a gulp of vodka which bit and scratched. She’d been sitting like this, my mother. I struck a match and lit the cigarette, her last cigarette. Then my eyes caught the letter lying on the coffee table. I picked it up and studied the stamps but they were illegible. I force my finger in and opened the envelope, pulled out the letter. The paper was very thin with tiny tight handwriting that looked like mine. It was easy to read.

© Niels Hav Translated by P.K. Brask

Biographical Note: Mark Scullion Mark is from County Monaghan has been writing poetry since April 2017. His work tends to focus on recollections of real events and people from his childhood on the border in 1980's. He also uses a narrative style to relay stories his relatives would often recall from their lives in Northern Ireland from the early part of the twentieth century through to the current day. He was longlisted for the Over The Edge Poetry Competition in 2018 and has a poem appearing in the next edition of Skylight.

Just Another Day! (Mark Scallion) “Have a good day�she closed the door, watched through the crouched rear window of the Beetle the skinny upper half of his frame flanked on top by rich sideburns, the indicators patiently tapping their fingers on the road until the exhaust let out a few expletives and the car sighed as it trudged down the Shore Road skirting the city, sniffling over the Lagan on to the arm of industry that reaches into Belfast Lough like a crab claw, down Queens Road under the hateful eyes of the cynical cranes to Short Brothers where each day with head down he wiled away, counting. Cavehill in the west yawning over her, unhelpful, useless, she steps along Fortwilliam Park, its garaged abodes and well suited trees providing little comfort on her way to the Dominican College, the guttural craw of more late afternoon hours lost waiting in childless rooms with the bell well settled, only the odd squeak of cleaners to provide sparse melody, until his coming at six, all been well, to return to the embryonic days of family life in Randalstown. Across from the school gates torn and tattered Bearnageeha boys jostle and bay like Foxhounds without a master, their presence re-invokes stark memories of a few months before when on the way to Philomena's on the Cliftonville Road, unwittingly she drove into their morning stoning of passing buses, rubble and flint laden looping cascade formed an unintended whizzing guard of honour as she tried to scream, infant Gerard gurgled in the back seat. Grateful for the simplicity of sedate pony-tailed adolescents her chalked integers like new born stars illuminate the blackness as morning rotates, timetable check reveals a free class segwaying into lunchtime, the perfect opportunity to scout the city's stores. Permission neither granted nor requested she alights the bus on the Antrim Road, the descent south sees an exponential rise in crumble, corrosion, worded walls, passing patrols. Mindlessly soon she is dancing along Royal Avenue doing a right hand star with the surly stacked sandbags, a do-si-do with a rotating rack. Caressing, straightening, stacking, looking backwards into mirrors. While examining groomed lifeless forms on Castle Street the nervous pane rolls a reel of folk lunching, grocery gathering, absorbing bag searches,graduates of the University of acceptance. Littlewoods on Ann Street she is drawn to tweed skirts that exude unassuming assurance, the professional assistant points the way to cubicle, declares advice, sizes merely a call away. As the items pile up on the tiny floor space her uncertainty prompts a shout out for help. Deep in self assessment she realises her sweet voice went unheard so she repeats her request but it does not resonate. Unperturbed and restored to her original state she opens the flimsy door to find a suspended starkness has invaded the furrows between the coats and blouses some of which lie unconscious, overturned with limbs contorted on the carpet tiles.

Peering to the cash desk her mouth dries on seeing the unmanned till sticking out its tongue. English accents outside cause her to whirr around as a slanty capped inflated figure glances in without looking, then ferrets on, machine gun moulded to elbow. Like a chased cat through a flap she clatters on to silenced streets when a fellow stray's forearm gesticulations suggest Robb's stop for escape, but only a few heavy breathes in at the refined corner wise Victorian arches above whisper into the vacuum“Run! Run! Don't look back!�. She scampers northward away from the metastasised metropolis as pious pupils stare at a blank board and empty table, statically waiting, wondering.

Mary Catherine (Mark Scallion) Every Tuesday she made her way out the raspy Tydavnet road from town, on a footpath that gradually narrowed until its disintegration twenty yards past the mile stone, seeing, smelling but undeterred her sub five foot wispy frame powered past overcrowded egg laden houses, over the unheard gurgling river, took the corner of carelessness past our house, the sedate cows, the unnoticed animated dog and through Hasty's cross, energised but agitated cars not acknowledged until the last moment on the untidy bend before the ascension to Holland's. Six o'clock she would descend homewards but not without stopping in on the way with us for her tea, sitting at the table awaiting her fish fingers as the chip pan crackled, her electric eyes her sole keyhole to the world, darted after each of our movements, absorbing the joyous eccentricities that only four children under eight can provide, sometimes her eyeballs retracted and got sucked sharply back into her head, her mouth tightly pressed into a tiny circle as David and I failed to impress her with our circus inspired leaps from a stool. At just three a diphtheria tsunami ripped through collective nerve endings robbing her and a brother of tone and tympanic vibrations, putting them potentially at odds with an early twentieth century world ill equipped, oblique to itself. But strong parents and been centred in their shop on Market Street exposed them to the whirl of people, helped them grapple with then garner from their cruel remove an instinct to live,love, be loved, developing an ability to accurately assess a scrunched nose, a squint, the expansion and contraction of lips, the merits of a smile, the skip of a breath the subtle dropping of a head. Her entwinement in the community allowed her to go about her way as much as the next, ritualistic routines fostered such as the daily taking of the sacrifices, the loss of elderly parents saw the locality embrace her further, Mrs O'Mahony furnishing her with a quasi flat in her three storey family home, a snug sourced space poised on a hill overlooking the town,where each night supper and a check on her well-being were provided. Peig an old employee of her folks became like a sister even expanding herself to allow conversation with fingers and amicable fists, her soft wrinkles would lessen and her hands drop away in loud laughter at the humour of her non speaking friend. She filled our house like the light of the sun which too cannot shout, sing, or scream, her hair like white candy floss on a head of relaxed concentration, on her replete lap a pen and paper or Etch-a-Sketch lay in wait as we thumbed enthusiastically through the signing book we had acquired, she preferred physical expression right hand over the left elbow, left hand over the right elbow followed by a swaying motion to express delight, excitement at mum's pregnancy and subsequently the arrival of baby Una, her raised clenched fist, rare cross face when Dad jokingly intimated that his wife was hard to live with.

On an October Saturday morning a violent erratic wind conjured nasty spins and twists in tandem with hassled sneering rain. Snaking up Latlurcan, Gerard cried out to mum, dad, to stop and give her a lift as she battled her umbrella on the return from ten o'clock mass, with no lay-by nearby and a stuttering cavalcade behind, apologetically the car had to continue into the valley towards Dundalk with the requesting letters of believers weighing. Barely overcoming the elements like a struck bowling pin barely maintaining the vertical she reached the ribbed concrete lane, making the last steps to her front door, a bin lorry with a bright skip teetering on the back like a moses basket swinging from a tree nonchalantly began to reverse around the house, unwittingly she stumbled into its line, didn't hear it, the driver didn't see her or hear her gulps to stop, fat steel rear punched her in the face, masculine tyre marched over her tender frame, the thump startled the driver who sprung from above and seeing, crumbled by her lifeless corpse baying for help. Folk quickly gathered, blame rapidly relinquished. Watching Noel help carry her petite coffin that resembled the pencil case Gerard made, we all wondered what if mum could have stopped and rescued her from the turbulence, but the thought of her hearing her own voice after nearly eighty years brought relief under our hats and scarves at the church doors.

Kingsmill (Mark Scallion) On that bleak narrowed road, The cries of “mummy mummy” are still carried by the breeze, Rippling through the hedgerows that stoop over its channel, Which disappears and reappears in the South Armagh hills, A dark shadow lies below the dignified monument, Its shiny facade repentant against the assaults of paint splattered hatred. And still the blood of those most decent and innocent ten, Seeps into the poisoned earth below, Floating like oil around a destroyer, Docked in this lawless, celebrated bandit bay, A cesspit where compassion is but a vague notion, Where entertainment is anonymous calls goading the feeble mourners, As they sit in the ticking night never remembering, And now in their annual battle, To erase their shredded bodies from their minds, A formidable champion of the people crudely scoops away, The leftovers of their hearts with his rusty ladle, The builders of a new Republic forget that you can't take back a dealt hand, And yet these suited vigilantes hold the future with Paisley's apostles, His sick conspiracies a fossilized toxic stain on their memories. In the fog that lingers on that lonely highway, The truth is forever buried, Inhumane backroom games to concrete the divide, Lost in the establishment's waste ground of deceit, But unable to cover up the endless cries of “Mummy, Mummy” at dawn, The dove now hurriedly flocks southwards.

Resurrection (Easter Sunday 1985) (Mark Scallion) When Father Nolan prayed for them I knew it was serious and what with all the talk of second comings, another resurrection from the dead seemed possible that Easter Sunday, Travelling to and from Mass the way was lined by many saturated flags of blue and white. Homespun, moulded from redundant t-shirts and vest tops intertwined by crude stitching. Today Monaghan could emerge from the marshy whin into the fertile pastures of national award and acclaim, after four decades nailed to the cross of defeat, with only the very very odd day in the sun, where the light like a glimmering thread, briefly touched the darkness, inside the passage tomb of rotting pathological failure. We couldn't gather with the other hopeful followers on the Jones Road strip of Judea that day, Instead heading in the opposite direction to our Granny's in County Armagh, Father saying “that it is too wet a day for a game”, we were are too young and that “we wouldn't see anything anyway”, the radio and our imaginations would create the images. To soften the blow, we were allowed to take our Hound of Ulster with us, as the Annals dictated, his hairy torso recoiling like a spring, eight hands rapidly reacting to his eel wriggles at every corner and gear change, At Middletown Pilate's centurions halted our motion, their swinging gun butts tapping the door, their Television voices and pointless questions jolted by our Extra passenger who seemed to bring some cheer, we felt safe coursing northwards around Eamhain Mhacha, the dog growing bigger and calmer, delirium amongst us all and my little sister sitting at my mother's feet, her eyes never wandering from the drama in the back, then reaching Maghery where mist leaned heavily on Neagh's weak rippling resistance, smudging Coney island. Suddenly I am an occupied mind in an occupied land, a weathered orange flag twisted on itself at the football field across the canal reactivates my loyalty to the Farney as we enter Granny's little house, the canine leading the charge, scattering sensitive cousins to a sobbing huddle atop chairs, But the lady of the house invites him to lie by the fireside just as McCumhaill would have it. With Bran curled up on the rug content in the glow of the moss fuel of Derrylaughan, The wireless is located and placed on the side table, morphed by the industrial battery

wedded to it with blue masking tape, its fossilised dial in holy matrimony with Radio Eireann, Micheal's voice splutters and crackles from below in Dublin as he declares the ball is thrown aloft. Hanging on every word, guided by every cheer, I sit and stand and stand and sit, Nudie rides the tackles of the legionnaires to send it over the bar, then Murphy gets clobbered by Judas Iscariot and McEneaney converts the resultant penalty, it isn't even half time and my outburst of cheers are met by jealous jeers, Why are you not shouting for Armagh,Uncle Frank played for them! Crucify Him! Leave him alone! Let him listen to the game, Granny interjected, her fierce Tyrone blood and deep love for her Grandson, rarely given outward expression, instantly silencing their cries, the second half couldn't come soon enough, Sherry and his disciples prepared to die for all sinners, powering through the mud, Murray weaves and solos and sells Joseph of Arimathea a dummy. Linden tiring, his kick outs labour, then dives to his left and redeems himself, McCarville cathches and drives out fearlessly putting a gladiator on his ass, Byrne fields, McCarron swivels and his shot bounces off the steeple of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and over, the insurance score, true believers have abandoned their seats in the colosseum we are told, and are giddily caressing the touchline. The game is over! The wait is over! Supporters dance on the sod and shoulder their heroes from the field, to their ascension to heaven via the steps of the Hogan, my protected joy uncontainable, My father has become immersed, roaring passionately for his adopted home, the cup is presented, Eugene holds it aloft, the light of our saviour ricocheting off it, over the damp ones below. Waving goodbye to Granny and scrambling to get the windows up as she water cannons our car with holy water, we head southwards to the land of champions in the dark, the risible back seat scramble recommences, floating red traffic lights greet us at the checkpoint and wave us through county lines, where bonfires line the way home, the tomb door ajar, we have risen from the dead. Mark Scullion 19/06/2018

Biographical Note: John W. Sexton

John W. Sexton lives on the south-west coast of Kerry and is the author of six poetry collections, the most recent being Futures Pass (Salmon Poetry 2018). Under the ironic pseudonym of Sex W. Johnston he has recorded an album with legendary Stranglers frontman, Hugh Cornwell, entitled Sons Of Shiva, which has been released on Track Records. He is a past nominee for The Hennessy Literary Award and his poem The Green Owl won the Listowel Poetry Prize 2007. In 2007 he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry.

Inside Her Kidney the police telepath perseveres ... the chalked pavement saw nothing too hot when hot strangely ornamental when cold ... Granny’s glass custard the stale air put on the creased clothes ... this is the life thought the bedroom bright bodies are brighter by contrast ... darkness is the brightness of space Becky's crayoned smudgy white snowman ... on the fridge door, unmeltable Wittgenstein’s truffle … the cream fudge refuses to clarify is he telling us something? detectives examine the murdered mime blains on her fingers boils on her nose … misery follows as she goes years between nibbles deep inside her kidney a seven-headed mouse

John W. Sexton

The Blue Truth unseen shooting stars through the sleeping hours … bedbugs fall from the ceiling NO TOUCHING … the vampire’s jaw at the dental museum this season ... cured human with body-length zipper and handle ears the herd moos the meadow grasses turn to gold the angle-grinders trim out of the sky a fingernail paring … who’d question this boundary? recycle the sarin skin of the dead … slaughter too precious to waste open your trap … their tongues so into us body light as paper skin bright as air ... he found the stairs through the sky indigo false nails … the blue truth inscribes his flesh long after she’s gone

John W. Sexton

Marvels Still Enter moonlight in her fur, badger-she shuffles fernwards ... stars rich with language now, silence ... removing movement from the clock does not remove time Cthulhu Bermuda shirt … button by button he opens its face from our printed house we watch the dusk … tomorrow they will ink the sky unable to make head nor tail of it ... let's just call them Middles do not eat the edible boomerang ... you'll wake elsewhere, on a plate the lava elevator … who has come down from the up it goes to? the prisoner locked in the acorn ... yet marvels still enter our dreams good morning, Anti-Gorgon ... every day the mirror turns her to flesh

John W. Sexton

What's the News? eir hair combed in ornate sculpture … I’m sunk on non-binary mermoids examines a length of starlight … somewhere at its end, the future our other grandmother's mother's smother was our greatly ground other Orion’s sword-tip charges the henge … steer the hill from your chair steel pegs, I said … his seven-league pants flee the washing line you couldn’t make it up … the false eyelashes flutter in their packets say hi to flastic preserves your rot in its unstable molecules so what's the news? Pam Phlett writes it Dan Druff spreads it

John W. Sexton

And Farewell that roof definitely moved … a false start at the tortoise race Putin’s head, set tastefully into a gold brooch … Yaga’s box of bling canned unredeemed souls … do not shake before opening pouring ire into the nine acre hole … and farewell, President Trump its pages made from desiccated cow dung … the rising gospel renders you visible but incomprehensible … Ron’s coat of guff held earbound by the thousand-mouthed frog .. absolutely ribbeting we stand with art … critics gather inside the enormous chalked phallus the Wart of the North … a lot catchier than it sounds

John W. Sexton

Collapsible Box inside her collapsible box enters solid planes Yang Chunk Zoo polymer imprint virt stream skin by removable skin he unpeels to his skelenull harnessed the anguish of every goldfish that ever was angry Lord Squash throws his long-range head Doctor Debt's hole sewn with umbilical cords his finery rot tattoos Lord Dracul rises through mulch Nip & Bud their garden gnomes outlived them downtown exit take the steps up Old Nick's back

John W. Sexton

Biographical Note: Joyce Walker

Joyce is a retired administrator who has had poetry and stories published in a number of magazines. She won 1st prize in the Writers Brew story competition in 2002 and was runner up in the Erewash Writers Burst Flash fiction competition in 2013. Her most recent win was 1st prize in the Writers Forum Poetry competition in the July 2016 issue of Writers Forum. She loves the First World War Poets.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER (Joyce Walker) Always and forever, you’ll be in my heart We’ll feel we are together, even when we’re apart. For I love you very dearly, as you knew that I would. I’ll help you through life’s problems, just like I should. Through good times and bad times, in sunshine and rain, I’ll feel pleasure when you’re happy and share in your pain. My love’s growing stronger, the more we’re together. I’ll love you come what may, always and forever.

ILLUSION OF LOVE (Joyce Walker) The illusion of love Must never ever fade. For while it is kept safe within our hearts, Illusion is enough And may to love upgrade. Whether together, or so far apart, Those hearts will stay forever closely twined And love will grow and blossom, day by day And finally will stand the test of time, Defying sense sublime. That this illusion, into love has grown, Means we won’t be alone And whether skies are blue or charcoal grey, Illusion becomes love that yours and mine.

LADY FROM SOAST (Joyce Walker) There was a young lady from Soast, Put a joint in the oven to roast. First it did sizzle. Then burnt to a frizzle, So for dinner she ate beans on toast.

OLYMPICS 2012, GOOD OR BAD? (Joyce Walker) Two Thousand and Twelve, The Olympics come to town. Greatest Show on earth, So we’re being told. Athletes go for gold. Two thousand and Twelve, Yes, we hear of nothing else. We all should feel proud Of London’s great bid, But pride heads a fall.

SEE HOW SHE LEANS (Joyce Walker) See how she leans her cheek upon her hand. Oh, let me kiss that hand. A thousand shall fall by thy side And ten thousand at thy right hand. With your hands and your feet And your raiment all red It will go into a man’s hand And pierce it.

Biographical Note: D.J. Tyrer DJ Tyrer is the person behind Atlantean Publishing, was placed second in the 2015 Data Dump Award for Genre Poetry, and has been published in issues of Amulet, California Quarterly, Carillon, The Dawntreader, Haiku Journal, The Pen, and Tigershark, and online at Atlas Poetica,Bindweed, Poetry Pacific, and Scarlet Leaf Review, as well as releasing several chapbooks, including the critically acclaimed Our Story. DJ Tyrer's website is at http://djtyrer.blogspot.co.uk/ The Atlantean Publishing website is at http://atlanteanpublishing.blogspot.co.uk/

Anger By DJ Tyrer

You feel anger Because I only seem to hear A fraction of the words you say Cannot comprehend I might feel anger Because I cannot hear your words

Bully By DJ Tyrer Oblique reference Slipping it past the radar Snide remarks cut deep

Fog By DJ Tyrer

Like another world When the fog seized the High Street Cocoon of silence Buildings vanish from my view Momentary perfection

Kicking It By DJ Tyrer Take out your list and off you tick it When the deed is done Or place visited, all good fun The last: get a bucket so you can kick it

Biographical Note: David Morgan O’Connor

David Morgan O'Connor is Irish but grew up in a small village in Ontario on Lake Huron. His writing has appeared more than 50 literary magazines. Currently, he is pursuing an MFA at University College Dublin and writing daily.

SMUG NEIGHBOUR (David Morgan O’Connor)

At the rooftop lounge in Trump Tower in Doha, Qatar, I played pool with a professional ethnic cleanser. Claimed he kept peace for the UN as he sunk his stripes. I didn’t believe him. His R’s were too soft. We talked Bosnia, Dostoevsky, Bulgakov. I pretended to let him win. Two Friday nights later, I shot stick with a United States Marine, a child really. He talked Orioles, Cardinals, Hawks, Eagles. Before each shot he uttered a mantra, just doing my job, just doing my job, just…BOOM, oh yeah. His job was joy-sticking drones over Yemen annihilating hospitals and schools. Ask no questions. When I sunk the eight ball, he screamed DUDE! DUDE!! DUDE!!! Like a synonym for fire and I was next in the cremation queue. The Sudanese bouncers ushered him into the elevator. Like a polite well-trained Canadian, I observed the ensuing struggle from a safe stool, feeling hypocrisy as he descended, and I spent his dollars.

TAD FROM THE BAY (David Morgan O’Connor)

After tying bowlines to a name-forgotten wharf near Chesapeake Bay, I decided to row alone into the rising sun for exercise and fun. Downtime from crew-mates. Face rancor off the day ahead. Shrimpers and lobster potters and gurgling trawlers returned home to family dinners. Maritime rush hour. I was making time. I’d like to share a life-saving lesson: Always row into the wind first. I forgot to read the tide. Around noon, facing panic and open sea, wondering if I’d hit Bermuda or Ponta Delgada alive. Tad buzzed by in a Boston Whaler. Tad asked, Y’all like beer? Do I? I said. He pitched a Schlitz at my head. I caught his test. We tied our dinghies together and shucked oysters. Talked tide till Tad asked, Y’all wanna a tow? Do I? That night, Tad lit the largest bonfire I’ve ever seen. The size of his house. We whirled like Sufis. Tad filled squirt guns with diesel and howled when the flames shot higher.

SPIN CYCLE NIGHT (David Morgan O’Connor)

In Hope B.C., in 1991, I got a lift with Bernie the one-legged trucker. Claimed he’d lost it in Korea. The leg? I asked. No all of it. Occasionally, he’d lift his left knee with his left hand. I now imagine he’s bionic and retired. Fly-fishing Horsehead Creek or dead from unrequited bitterness. Anyway, that night he offered a bunk and I accepted. He slammed his middle leg for hours till the cab shook like a rusty washing-machine stuck on spin-cycle. My kingdom for a sunroof. Are there stars? British Columbia can be brilliant at night. The next morning approaching Alberta, Bernie asked with a snide chuckle if I wanted to ride straight through to Saskatoon. I told him I had a line on a job in Yellowknife canning trout.

Biographical Note: Susie Gharib

Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Since 1996, she has been lecturing in Syria. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Adelaide Literary Magazine, Grey Sparrow Journal, the Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Blotter, Mad Swirl, Leaves of Ink, Down in the Dirt, WestWard Quarterly, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Crossways 4, A New Ulster, The Moon Magazine, the Mojave River Review, The Opiate, Always Dodging the Rain, and Miller’s Pond Poetry Magazine.

Physiognomy (Susie Gharib) In imperial Rome, face reading was a respectable trade. In England, Queen Elizabeth I had physiognomists whipped. Numerous thinkers wrote about the human countenance: Diderot, Mary Wollstonecarft, and Charles Dickens. Some spoke of the inner diffusing beauty on the outer, Others like Charlotte Brontë made beauty plain. For Hardy’s Henchard in The Mayor of Casterbridge, The visage in sleep bears ‘ancestral curves’ and ‘dead men’s traits’, While for Monsieur Paul Emanuel in Villette Physiognomical affinities with Lucy interweave their fates. The language of features continues its debates to this very day. When we were children we were told that our foreheads were slates Upon which every lie we told is exposed to the public, But now that plastic surgeons manipulate the topography of the face, Can we trust physiognomical readings?

A Chair [A Reading of a Painting by Adnan Rihawi] (Susie Gharib) I viewed a room's bare angle in the fleeting lap of dusk. A window whose eyelids were drooping had cast a final glance at an empty chair that stood mourning and looking quite aghast. The paintings on the wall in the gloaming faintly glimmered, so loath to part with the light which could have brought him to abide a little while with the chair that now stood moaning before another nocturne. The inviolate hush of exasperated years had finally broken forth in a somber sigh, inaudible to ears but so loud to the ancient floor which longed for footsteps to heal the anguish of an abandoned chair.

To Dance on the Ugly (Susie Gharib) “Jinny always dances in the hall on the ugly”. Virginia Woolf, The Waves I abhor everything that Jinny stands for, her casual sex and promiscuous lore, but I must admit she animates the book with her billowing frocks and opening doors and from her I learnt despite my scorn to dance on the ugly, and dance for long. In curfew darkness, I scribbled odes by the haggard light of a famished globe, a candle’s orb. The rattle that Wilfred Owen deplored in an anthem meant to disparage wars now live assaults my metaphors, Who, unscathed, tap-dance a rhythm of their own. And deaths that queued before my abode, that abducted whoever I adored, bequeathed an inheritance of fortitude, of resurrection from every plight and woe, a new-born soul.

W.B. Yeats (Susie Gharib) Yeats slept on stones below his pillow, let Godstones repose on my grave. His tongue grew numb with faerie chatter, mine waxed voluble over Yeatsian Sidhe. In the shadow of Ben Bulben his rose trees fluttered, let a Rosicrucian cross be my monument.

Biographical Note: Sangha C. Mukherjee

Sangha is an aspiring writer based in Ireland. She has lived and travelled across the world and has vast experience in being lost in translation. She has so far only written for herself with her first publication appearing in University College Dublin’s Caveat Lector in November 2018.

Sleeplessness (on a bleak winter’s night) (Sangha C. Mukherjee)

I remember a sunny day. It warms my heart. I remember that moment – When I sat staring out the window Feeling the breeze, the sun on my skin; Looking at young leaves dancing, Shimmering, Playful. I remember the clouds that came afterwards, And the pounding rain; But in my heart, The glow of the sunshine had lingered on ‘til long after. A fleeting memory: Treading lightly, Joyful, Quick to fade. The moment expands… Pain hits me As intensely As if I was stabbed straight through the heart. Just another memory... Yet, I relive the feeling of panic, Of having lost everything, Most of all – hope. Perhaps I will overcome. Perhaps I won’t. The lazy walk of a random thought crushes me for a second. I snap in and out of consciousness Before sleep overtakes. Sweet slumber, Sweet surrender.

The Soul Re-lives (Sangha C. Mukherjee) Soulful arias flood my senses Ever so slowly Stealthily Like the first rays of the morning sun Secretly snatching away the shadows of the night Leaving no hint Of the darkness that was once here Here Yet not here to stay. Sheltered in the rapture Remote My heart sways to the music. Oh so magical, so melancholy, so mysterious Those mellifluous melodies: Surpassing space and time Transcending reality Tearing apart the rotting remains Of a spirit: dead; bereft of beauty, of passion, of perception. Quelling the disquiet deep within That stifling solitude; Outshining the gloom that eclipses the imagination; Leaving behind a sweet trail of lingering bliss. Burying the old self A journey A reincarnation of the soul.

One moment at a time (Sangha C. Mukherjee) (published in UCD’s Caveat Lector) Those whimsical imaginations Have long been buried Gone Are the sunbeams of youth and fantasy Each day now trudges on Long hours and heavy feet Your soul’s cried For those old times, To feel again, even for a moment, That sense of being free. Your heart’s been scathed The burn runs deep There seems no way to turn back time Your life’s lost meaning No hope remains Now it’s all covered in dirt and grime. Yet One moment at a time The earth spins around Just a little further Your life’s being touched Your heart’s being soothed Your broken spirit’s growing Just a little stronger You’re now a moment older Just a little each time. One speck at a time, time wipes off the hurt One memory at a time, it becomes easier to forget A bit at a time, time slips by Scurrying on. Nimbly. Unnoticed. One moment at a time makes many moments together. The pain doesn’t claw at your heart any more. It’s suddenly the past. Someone else’s story. A new tale has begun.

You’re ready to fly again. Music to my Ears (Sangha C. Mukherjee) As warm as the sun that dries my tears As soft as a moonlit night As gay as joyous church bells ringing It sets my heart alight. As quiet as morning dew drops That rest gently upon the grass As fragrant as the rose that brings to me Sweet memories back from the past. As beautiful as the blue bird As refreshing as the rain Light footsteps on my heart That erase all pain. No spring so clear, no blessing so dear Feels closer to heaven than I have ever been Aflame, ablaze my soul becomes When your love touches me. As mighty as the mountains A graceful butterfly As colourful as the rainbow That spans the clear blue sky. Nothing can destroy it No snow, no storm, no heat Oh, there is nothing in this world That makes me feel so complete. Through high and low Through laughter Through tears Your love is music to my ears.

Something so deep, so true, so pure Overcoming obstacles, conquering fear Aflame, ablaze my soul becomes When your love touches me.

Fly (Sangha C. Mukherjee) I look at the sky far above me And I feel A feeling quite beyond my comprehension Of Someone holding me While I try to break free A blessed release A freedom, unearthly and surreal Without bounds I fly Though only in my imagination It’s an unending journey One moment seems to be forever Forever I fly, feeling limitless Only a moment goes by And I come back to my senses Unable to understand Yet a beautiful peace descends on my soul A joy that’s liberating A heavenly moment Nothing is impossible when that Power Uplifts, upholds, and unleashes my spirit Within the fettered limitations of reality.

Going beyond (Sangha C. Mukherjee)

An encouraging smile A kind word A good laugh An understanding nod A comforting tear A healing touch A strengthening handshake A liberating kiss A friendly hug A peaceful day A hopeful beacon Wise advice Appreciation that cultivates faith Love that’s pure Knowledge that’s powerful Truth that survives. They have a power that’s limitless Within the limits of human capacity.

Troubled (Sangha C. Mukherjee)

You walked through my dream tonight.

Again. One more time.

No... This time You stomped. You screamed. You… You clutched at my heart. Seized it. Squeezed it. And let the blood drip… You trouble me honey

You leave me a little paralyzed With every passing dream

You tread wildly Where you have been, With that evil sneer You leave me cold

And dead.

Please, Leave me alone tonight.

The Voice (Sangha C. Mukherjee)

I hear a whisper in the silence I hear a voice within me speak Speak of right and wrong, and what I must do When everything's so puzzling.

There's nothing I can hide from me There's no way I can lie I always know when I've done wrong If only I'm listening.

When everything's a blur and I'm filled with doubt There are voices all around me Telling me what went wrong But most often they're misleading.

'Cause it's only the Voice within That always says the truth It brings my struggles to an end And makes my world less confusing.

It's a faint glimmer that drowns And comes back to life again

Someone to rely on in times of need That invisible, intangible, yet invigorating Voice within.

Farewell (Sangha C. Mukherjee)

This may be my last letter in a long time. I don't say 'forever' because, if I've learned anything in my lifetime, it is this - life isn't predictable. Things happen, not as and when we desire, but at a time and place that lead to even better things than we ever imagined for ourselves. Life has a queer sense of humour that way. I don't seek a reply to this letter. I write somewhat selfishly, to soothe my own soul. A funny thing happened this time we met. That last goodbye caused an ache in me I had never felt before. It was as if, that last hug, instead of comforting me, left a gaping hole in my heart; as if that last parting took with it a part of me that will never be mine again. Once at the airport, I could no longer contain my tears - I let them flow silently to their destination. This feeling of despair wouldn't go away on the plane either. The tears kept flowing, unabated, quietly determined. I ask for neither compassion nor sympathy. If our God is fair, I daresay I deserve no better. My present suffering may pale in comparison to the pain you have endured for my sake. But I think I understand something of your situation now. Falling in love is agonising. I know, for I have fallen for the new You. I feel a longing for you that tears can't assuage. I feel I haven't had enough of you, that a lot has been left unsaid, that our minds directed our bodies to tread a bit too cautiously. I pray that time does its job of distorting my memories faithfully and swiftly, or else I feel I may lose the will to live. I know we can't ever be together again, and it is a sin to trap each other in any way. So, I write this letter in an attempt to release my bottled-up feelings, so that I may be able to release you too. I hope you can forgive me for this. I pray that you find the happiness you deserve, the kind of joy that will keep you going. Life can be cruel sometimes, but I hope you succeed despite that. Do not think of me often but keep that part of me I lost to you safely, locked deep inside of you. May you never lose your sparkle, your will to live or gratitude for the good in your life. Above all, may you find peace in your relationships...we haven't got much else in this world. Finally, with every step you take, may your feet lead you to your life's purpose. Believe that things always fall into place eventually, however hard the journey. Be brave, loved one. I love you, X. I hope you find strength in that. Farewell.

Biographical Note: Scott Waters

Scott Waters is a poet and songwriter living in Oakland, California, with his wife and son. He graduated with an M.A. from the San Francisco State creative writing program, and has published previously in The Santa Clara Review, The Pangolin Review, Amethyst, Ink in Thirds, Oblivion, and NatureWriting.

DREAM (Scott Waters)

You can wreck your life. It’s an option to burrow deeper into your van by the riverside, swaddled in the festering rags of your drug of choice, taking potshots at cardinals ablaze on branches, and pissing fountains at the cracked blue sky. Or you might decide one grey day to take a walk through the shady muck, thorns scraping jagged roads into your swollen forearms, and keep going drawn by the bends and twists of that glinting ribbon you remember is called a river, until it flushes you out of the woods into a bright meadow where the breeze offers two hands,

one cool on your cheek, the other warm in your palm, lowering you down into tall grass and a new life that will never stop resembling a dream. Copyright Scott Waters, 2019

I TOOK A TRAIN TO FRESNO thinking I would use the 4 hour ride to catch up on e-mails— San Pablo Bay lapped like a blue dream at the windows a gray mare took a bite of tall grass in the morning sunshine windmills and orchards marched in orderly ranks toward snow-checkered mountains blackbirds rose from marshes clouds of dark steam boiling off the cat tails a sheen of yellow flowers lay upon a green planted field another tilled field shuttered past brown fan-folds dragged by a red tractor criss-crossed white swords of irrigation spray doing wet battle scattered droplets winking like diamonds on the hilt of noon * when malls and sub-divisions slid past in their tan coats of bland and black ponds revealed rusty pickup trucks mired to their grills in oil and algae the distracted sky still gazed on and so did I Copyright Scott Waters, 2019

SUMMER PIONEERS Pack the pans, tarps, Coleman stove, sleeping bags, tent, blow-up mattress, half the house (or so it seems) and haul it on a dolly, house to car, car to camp site set the tent up plant the stakes before the evening winds can knock it down light the stove, cook the sausage, beans, tortillas, start the fire, make s'mores for fiending kids, wash the pans, plates, plastic ware, squatting over a tub on the ground while darkness falls like a hawk with its eye on a rabbit crawl in your sleeping bag bones and muscles asking why you do this every summer why in God's name why? then fall asleep with your answer in the rushing boom of an ocean

creaking wood of a dock rippling current of a breeze in the leaves Copyright Scott Waters, 2019

I COULD HAVE BEEN A PROSPECTOR up to the knees of my dungarees in a cottonwood river milk chocolate swirling in my pan tilting pouring swirling again until glinting flakes stick to the side or a nugget sinks to the bottom later that evening i'd wander into town drawn by the plink of a piano thrum of a fiddle walk through the swinging doors of a saloon plop a bag of gold dust on the bar watch the barkeep pour and weigh the gleaming grains shots of whiskey fired down my throat later still a romp on squeaky springs at the Lucky Lady then the long slop home

through mudded streets clouds parting like skirts for one quick glimpse: creamy thigh of the moon Copyright Scott Waters, 2019

Biographical Note: Nathanael O’Reilly Nathanael O’Reilly is an Australian residing in Texas. His poems have appeared in journals and anthologies in twelve countries, including Antipodes, A New Ulster, Australian Love Poems, Cordite, FourW, Glasgow Review of Books, Headstuff,Mascara, Postcolonial Text, Skylight 47, Snorkel, Tincture, Transnational Literature, Verity La and The Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology 2017. He is the author of Preparations for Departure (UWAP Poetry, 2017), named one of the “2017 Books of the Year” in Australian Book Review; Distance (Picaro Press, 2014; Ginninderra Press, 2015); and the chapbooks Cult (Ginninderra Press, 2016), Suburban Exile (Picaro Press, 2011) and Symptoms of Homesickness (Picaro Press, 2010).

Alt-Facts Bio (Nathanael O’Reilly)

My favourite subject at school was physics. I always wanted to drive a monster truck.

I play the harp, pennywhistle and bodhran. I keep a rabbit’s foot in my pocket for luck.

I am seven feet and three inches tall. My hair is naturally curly, lustrous and black.

I speak fluent Icelandic, Farsi and Mandarin and can order beer, ouzo and gyros in Greek.

I ran the Reykjavik marathon in two hours and twenty minutes, setting a course record.

My first wife was Elle McPherson. I traded her in for a newer model.

I scored a triple-century on debut for Australia during the Boxing Day test at the MCG.

1.5 million people attended my graduation and gave a forty-five-minute standing ovation.

Scarification (Nathanael O’Reilly)

After Robbie Coburn & Michele Seminara’s Scar to Scar

scars on my forehead scars behind my ears scars on my jawline scars on my neck scars on my back scars on my forearms scars on my knuckles scars on my thumb scars on my abdomen scars on my thighs scars on my kneecaps scars on my shins scars on my toes

long scars short scars deep scars straight scars curved scars round scars jagged scars

scarred by rugby scarred by hernias scarred by falling out of trees scarred by diving off rocks scarred by barbed wire fences scarred by falling on a BBQ scarred by surfing scarred by skateboarding scarred by backyard cricket scarred by BMX racing scarred by the southern sun scarred by the surgeon’s knife

Maggot (Nathanael O’Reilly)

Let him play on, you maggot! screams the Swans’ fan

at the MCG sustaining her abuse of the umpire

deep into the fourth quarter despite her team’s six goal lead

Holy Ghost (Nathanael O’Reilly)

follow Holy Ghost Creek higher towards its source

keep the water on your right and the mountain on your left

cross the creek on fallen logs follow the path that guides you

teach your daughter to make stones walk on the water

cross the creek on fallen logs follow the path that guides you

keep the water on your right and the mountain on your left

follow Holy Ghost Creek higher towards its source

Dark Times (Nathanael O’Reilly)

America descends into a dark time. The hopes of humanists decimated; ideals of democracy swamped by slime.

The orangutan reaches the peak of his climb, surveys the scene where he defecated. America descends into a dark time.

The egomaniac relentlessly pursues crime until the rights of citizens are eliminated, ideals of democracy swamped by slime.

The capitalist barbarians are in their prime, absolutely uncaring - how they are hated. America descends into a dark time.

The tyrant smears Lady Liberty with grime, the Founding Fathers are brutally castrated, ideals of democracy swamped by slime.

We continue to strive for the sublime, even when the masses are sedated. America descends into a dark time; ideals of democracy swamped by slime.

Biographical Note: Robin Wyatt Dunn Robin Wyatt Dunn is a prolific author and anarchist his work ranges from poetry to novellas including but not limited to The Black King of Kalfour, Debudaderrah, This isn’t one pf the stories I remember and more. His website is: http://www.robindunn.com/writing.html

what no battle ready; not in this life; it could have been anyone; any scoundrel fit for the shaft; any body made to the order of killing and who are you now watching it all and laughing my story-boy kept-angel quadrarific exceptional student of love now name me the soapbox on which you will stand stand there or die give us this knowledge we crave of your betrayal

(Robin Wyatt Dunn)

gut the harp and string out the innards for the park each bandstand tuned in for the song too far apart I can't see come close to me the waves of cloud are like the waves of blood under my skin waiting for the electric charge summoning my dark gut the show and carry it on your back eleven miles to sunup each trap and knife and hat for the surprise I've got it for you love the low light in your hands

(Robin Wyatt Dunn)

down light dig and draw the deep for me scry the shades of your beneath whose arches and whose roads tell me where Rome is inside your mind all the green sheaves of your silver shocks rubbing over the surface of the walls light build me the machine to take me into the sky and then the sky above that one I want to see them all with you inside my mind the river scrums the belly of the world jet black and full racing a current of cold love squashing the air charging your laughter with relief before Rome was Rome it was a river dividing one life from another touching wet each mark inside the dark a landscape all its own I'm petrified to see the light spread out over the curves beneath the sea

(Robin Wyatt Dunn)

Biographical Note: Colm Fahy Originally from Achill Island, off the west coast of Ireland and now based in Madrid, Colm works as a consultant human rights lawyer specialising in democratisation support and has worked extensively around the world and across Africa. Intercultural understanding is a key motivators in his profession and writing. Colm speaks English, French and Spanish as well as his native Gaelic. He is a self-taught painter, motion graphics and digital matte painting artist. Colm has exhibited art work on numerous occasions in Ireland and twice in Madrid since 2012. He writes short stories and scripts and has one self-published collection of poetry. Several of his poems have been published by US literary journal Page and Spine, - http://pagespineficshowcase.com/colm-fahy.html. He has also completed two illustrated stories to date, the first of which was published with Libros in Spain in 2015.

In the womb of the sea (Colm Fahy)

When the sky falls Like the dampened leaves of autumn And my heart no longer pounds But plops and plods like Thick droplets of rain upon the deep I retire to that familiar place Where the crash of waves upon the sand Are the kisses on a long parted hand Here, I bathe in the warmth of your tender memory And become like a creature of the ocean Floating in the womb of the sea.

Palestine (Colm Fahy)

Land of wadis

Where gushing luscious waters flow,

As though from Jesus’ punctured belly,

Drenching languid fat green grasses

As might the tears of Mary -

A gazelle drools and puckers her lips,

Her mouth filled with verdant plants -

Staring and munching -

Strained as the centurion with the vinegared spear.

And all the while,

Where the gazelle chews her cud,

The yahm ebbs and flows

Against that thirsting bank

Like lips smacking.

Dusk at the Sound (Colm Fahy)

Last evening as dusk descended on the Sound I looked up through the cotton clouds and sprinkled stars And wondered if a UFO might blaze its way through those heavenly depths To settle all our qualms About, for instance, how odd it is being in this place After all hell had already broken loose Here in the chasm between burgeoning civility and their technology, Which would surely take us to the stars.

Yet dusk fell silent and all but dead upon the Sound With only the curlew, passing, crying its evensong A plea like all of those calls we have sent into that vast unknown, Slowly fading into the vexing doldrums of the night.

This day to listen (Colm Fahy)

Many days speak With salted words Like nights of bitter hail That sting our northern panes Where hardened cheeks lay cold on pillows And rivers of regret flood the moors of stifled dreams.

But, many days, too, speak With succouring phrases Like the crackles of a roasting hearth That spice the wanderer's soul Where a familiar brow leans dreamy over a winter skillet And the gravy of respite graces a smothered smile.

This day then to listen

For that patient yearning Musterer of the brazen army Which - bandage wrapped - beats a courageous drum And like an emboldened Sidhe, who feuds tormented gusts Fights on into battle, until the demon’s dust.

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: g.greig3@gmail.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!

February 2019’s MESSAGE FROM THE ALLEYCATS: Several hospital appointments and operations have made the editor very sleepy lately great for us cats đ&#x;˜Š. 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 Wallâ€?. 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 Ulsterâ€? to see your work showcased “On the Wallâ€?.

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