ISSN 2053-6119 (Print) ISSN 2053-6127 (Online)
Featuring the works of Kevin Kiely, Michael McAloran, Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois, Tom Benson, Peter Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neill, Mel Waldemann, Peter Nolan, JD DeHart, Alisa Velaj, Michael Enevoldsen, Kelly Creighton and Walter Rhulmann Hard copies can be purchased from our website.
Issue No 38 November 2015
A New Ulster On the Wall Website
Editor: Amos Greig Editor: Arizahn Editor: Adam Rudden Contents
Kevin Kiely; 1.
The office on Serious Street
The Foyle Flows Softly when she sings her song On Finding a Book to Read
Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois; 1. 2. 3.
Colonoscopy II Freighter Glacier
Peter Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neill; 1. The Diviner 2. Kenmare, Circa 1989 Dr Mel Waldman 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
A Sacred Place The Bridge of Aleph The Waves of Aleph The mirror of Tav Soul Case The Silence
Peter Nolan; 1. Unfinished 2. Inch Deep Lake 3. Are You Coming? 4. Now or Later JD DeHart; 1. Retiring from the Art of Letters 2. Quiet Moves 3. What Makes Myth Alisa Velaj; 1. Agaves 2. The Call of the Wolves 3. A Tale Michael Enevoldsen; 1. Long Gone Are Triumphs 2. Late Glimpse 3. A Letter to Nomad of Sunrise 2
Lace Teaching Moment
1. 2. 3.
Michael McAloran; 1. 3 Sketches (After Gherasim Luca) Walter Rhulmann; 1. Heath Lowered 2. Mismatch 3. Slapstick
On The Wall Message from the Alleycats
Round the Back Tom Benson; 4. 5.
The Zero Eye Review
Manuscripts, 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 Digital distribution is via links on our website: https://sites.google.com/site/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;Fairy Thornâ&#x20AC;? by Amos Greig
“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t met ” Yeats. Editorial You never know where your journey will take you I never thought that I would ever be an editor of a literary magazine especially a monthly based one which has such a global following. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without your support and I hope to keep delivering a service for new and established writers. We have an interview with Tom Benson on his writing style and genres he has a broad range of books and they are worth reading. We also have a review of the Zero Eye a book of poems by Michael Mc Aloran. Of course A New Ulster wouldn’t be what it is without the poets and artists who submit their work each month and this issue features some very strong material as well as some first time writers we also have some established names for you. We have prose and traditional poetry formats for you to explore I am just a gatekeeper and today the door is open once more. Enough pre-amble! Onto the creativity! Amos Greig
Biographical Note: Kevin Kiely Kevin Kiely poet, novelist, literary critic, American Fulbright Scholar, PhD in modernist and postmodernist poetry; honorary fellow in writing Iowa University – born County Down, Northern Ireland. Commentator on the arts in Village Magazine, poetry critic with Books Ireland, Irish Independent and other publications.
selected publications: Breakfast with Sylvia (Lagan Press, Belfast; Dufour PA) Patrick Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry,Plainchant for a Sundering (Lapwing, Belfast), A Horse Called El Dorado (O'Brien Press) Bisto Award, SOS Lusitania ‘One Book One Community’ title for the Lusitania Centenary year in 2015. Francis Stuart: Artist and Outcast (Liffey Press, Dublin; Dufour, PA. Official Biography). His poems have appeared in many anthologies, he is currently editing John L. Sweeney: The Patron of Poetry at Harvard. wwwkevinkiely.net kevinkielypoet wiki
The Office on Serious Street (Kevin Kiely) 1. Once upon a see-saw moving high and low outside the office on serious street the child stared at a rainbow bars on the windows, the bank-safe is locked it looks like a steam engine with a shipâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wheel the red burglar alarms are primed and cocked a story-book hand points on the wall the doors with gleaming glass are locked it is cold near the brass handles in the hall here come policemen with the guns across the chessboard tiles out the door the child runs crammed into school among the horde the teacherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s music is a bunch of keys how many slates make up the blackboard 3. his mother returns from Gamageâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s after coffee with the ladies. String is tied around parcels for everything the kitchen is a shop inside a museum a jam factory and a food factory a playhouse, a bakery and a party his father is talking on the big black phone and smoking. The golden letters on the door can spell his name the mahogony desk, the ink-wells like eggshells, pens red, green and black the blotting paper is a map with a leather triangle at each corner. In rolls the starched-white paper and oily carbon, the sound of the high-backed typewriter keys are pressed like gunshots 7
they echo through the ticking clocks here is the mail van in circus red here is candy from the seaside red here is red ceiling wax that melts and burns 4. Out in the yard, evening glints with lights in jagged glass, the high wall has such teeth― cheque-book stubs and a match ignites in the rusty barrel that stinks of petrol a genie quivers in the smoke and flame the child sees apples on every tree the Carrig-a-Rede is a hammock across the sea his brother and sister know Hantsel and Grettle and the little match girl goes to heaven Humpty Dumpty falls down laughing hit by a snowball made of icing sugar the office is high on serious street the half-frosted glass of three windows the name in look-through letters childhood is a pop-up book it is a public park falling into a time-tunnel as the carousel takes you around and around here is a pop-up book of the town an old man with a white beard wears a red dressing gown where a tall tree in front of the hotel is growing coloured lightbulbs for Christmas and all shall be well through the smoke the genii swells from the chimney pots on the roof ‘stop your dreaming,’ say the church bells a silver crown all angels wear the office on serious street flashes in lightning the Giant’s Causeway toy is flung away the brown hexagonal coins are falling 8
and what disturbs you in the night the rain is always falling it comes with thunder and is frightening the magical tree was taken away
The Foyle Flows Softly When She Sings Her Song The memorial sky: invasive clouds are too near and hyphenate the irises like catâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eyes entranced: motorways are stairs and corridors in scale, convoys of traffic are so much glass, metal and plastic and in each a phantom ghostly driver plays out the sonata of speed and distances The tattered arras of clouds is carved against blue carvings of clouds in Alpine grey, Himalayan silver the dome of the sky leaks pewter, lead, burnt brass and the sacred sun occluded. Clouds have continental faces crumbling coastal contours jaw-lines that merge into the landmass of sky. For only sunlight sets fire to despair. Horizon swells beyond mountains into the arches of the sky and the world is in the sky in rivers turning gold The sun fort blazes firelight, frames bridges and the clouds of life beyond life, the golden bowl of her life flowing flowering beams brightening, brightening, magnifying all that is seen and unseen as she walks to the railing The zenith which she may not feel up to but reaches with one hand. A thread of her golden hair curves on her ebony sleeve. A blonde strand of river a vein of water through the city. I climb through myself to ledges that are too high, fearful while only through her reaching the gladiola sky
On finding a book to read (Kevin Kielty) For the days that are left the smallest song: A wish for snow on your parted hair. The fire is warm but the nights belong To the days that are left, and the smallest song ‘The Smallest Song’ Martha Collins The Catastrophe of Rainbows Well that is enough: the smallest song and some things words can do and did they cut deep, where the ooze of blood stings and how long to heal into poetry? it must do more or less, it must do if it sings by the crackling fire with a lamp on when you know that such exercise cannot outweigh January beyond the window and sheep looking warm in moonlight the road sloping down from the Heinrich Böll cottage and hill to the flowing cream of waves and loneliness speaking from this collection left in the west messages in an empty Cognac bottle, sand stained we could have walked with you, been here do I know you from your b&w thumbnail? the best smile out front beside the photo credit, ISBN and price the only gossip in your wake: how you left for hours the doors unlocked, the underfloor heating full on you had gone shopping or walking or hanging in there? and gave a reading in Doogort hall the local newspaper promo-ed it——is that all we know? a blurb: born in Nebraska, raised in Iowa a shelf of disparate slim volumes that failed to engage except for yours. It was the ache behind the words that caught me 10
Biographical Note: Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois
Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over nine hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for work published in 2012, 2013, and 2014. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. He lives in Denver.
Colonoscopy II (Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois)
I think about spirituality I wonder what it is Is it the same as soul or is soul an earthy thing and spirituality of the air?
My gastroenterologist looks into me easily He sends the scope up and knows the state of my health at least part of my health He searches for polyps like a Haitian searches for something to steal or some poor white trash lady, obese and dressed all tacky scours yard sale tables for something that will be worth a million dollars
I’m hoping my gastroenterologist won’t find any polyps or, if he does, that they won’t be pre-cancerous
I wonder what exactly his expression is as he peers up into me No doubt focused in concentration with an underlayment of concern There’s also some anticipation of paying off his medical school loans and finally being able to get that Porsche he’s always wanted
He’s an African-American and he wants more and more symbols of success He wants our respect Everyone does We should all re-read Abraham Maslow every few years to reconnect with the basic needs we all share that make us human and we should all read Orwell’s 1984 about that often as it becomes more relevant every year as endless war engulfs us as Thanatos engulfs Eros
Freighter (Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois)
I can imagine quite easily ending up in a decaying port on a desolate coast --W.H. Auden
like the one in Haiti where a freighter ran aground ten or fifteen years ago and is still there rusting away
We sit on the splintered deck of a cafĂŠ and watch contractors supervise their workers shovel sand into pick-up trucks for a cement project Marcel stands up and screams at the contractors trying to bully them or shame them into leaving the beach alone Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a public beach not your free Home Depot!
Marcel has lived in America and loves Home Depot loves Costco 14
He’s spent hours in those places even when there was nothing he needed to buy
but what else might you expect?
Marcel’s father is the richest man in this little town Marcel lives in a sort of castle It’s big and very lonely there He’s as lonely as a medieval Italian all alone in his castle
Marcel’s father is the richest man but there’s nothing he or his father can do to stop the looting of sand There’s no real law in Haiti Life’s a free-for-all You grab what you can
The freighter doesn’t move It’s stuck there ‘til the end of time
Glacier (Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois)
Under global warming the glaciers recede like a pack of erections that have simultaneously changed their mind
The Mendenhall Glacier wonders: Viagra or Cialis? I need to assert myelf I need to get back to fucking the world with my cold rod The world is too hot Women are supposed to be hot but not planets
I remember when I was young and stretched out beyond what I could see or be aware of I did not know myself All the worse for me
Now I know myself better but what I know I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like 16
Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m retreating from the battle Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m becoming more frayed and mud-spattered every year
President Obama visited me and he had tears in his eyes Then, to take his mind off my fate he went and watched Eskimo children dance in colorful constumes big smiles on their faces They laughed with joy when the president got up and joined them in their dance
Biographical Note: Peter Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neill
Peter O' Neill is the author of five critically acclaimed collections of poetry, his latest being The Enemy, Transversions from Charles Baudelaire published by Lapwing, in Belfast. He currently hosts a series of readinds in The Gladstone Inn Skerries, in north county Dublin, where he also hopes to host Donkey Shots 2, Skerries International Avant Garde Poetry Fest. He is currently researching the appearance of Heraclitus in the writings of Samuel Beckett, research which gives him much insight into his own ongoing poetic direction.
The Diviner For Silva Zanoyen Merjanian (Peter Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neill)
The vision of old crumbling, white-washed Stone walls, with fuchia bells overhanging, As they did in Glenbeigh, out on the road To Rossbeigh Strand in high summer. Only ever finding the same habitus Arriving on the flat roads to Porto Palma, Down on the Costa Verde, in south west Sardinia, where the same nuragic Elements pepper the mountainous plains, The majesty of the peaks straight out of Vico, With their prodigious giants. And you, Promethean, still of the trek For fire, your Heraclitean, With her voice in your ear, still
Kenmare, Circa 1989 (Peter Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neill)
They had, like Arthur Rimbaud, come up from Africa, I had heard someone say. Those old hippies with their beat up Bedfords, dread-locked and reefered to the blind light of the day. Bringing visions of the Bohemians of Charles Baudelaire. Cybele's ancient guardians, had come out to play. Later, that night, The Pogues in full long rider array, had stationed themselves at the most prominent corner in the square. An off license had set up a make-shift counter, placing a single beam of wood resting upon two empty kegs of beer. Each member of the group clasped in their hands a bottle of spirits. Some drank them by the neck, eyeing the people passing by as they did.
I could have sworn I heard Ennio Morricone and some where 20
a bull whip whistle. The next day I saw them play in the local gymnasium. It was Saturday afternoon. Everyone was pissed. The crowd, a lot of New Zealanders there for some reason, moved in great tidal shifts. I thought of shoals of fish, out on the great barrier reefs. Spider Stacy kept nudging the other fella', who had stopped singing. Shane MacGowan swayed upon the stage, a bottle of something clasped in both hands. He was looking heavenward. We watched him gently sway upon the stage, like a metronome, with his very own tempo. We all watched him sway and sway. Spider too! Like some forgotten deity, he seemed to defy us entry into some unalterable algorithm, which had him in its sweet and gentle possession.
After the concert, possibly the shortest in history, yet one of the most memorable, I found myself lying flat on my back in the town park.
All my money had been taken. Shark Bait were now playing. Screaming. I put my hand inside the top pocket of my shirt. Inside it, the gentlest of thieves had placed a reefer, built with all of the rigour, and priZed verility, of a Romeo & Julietta. I stood up and lit it. It would help to stoke my own illuminations as I thumbed the slow way home to Cork, singing A Pair of Brown Eyes all the way to Paris.
Biographical Note: Dr Mel Waldman Dr. Mel Waldman is a psychologist, poet, and writer whose stories have appeared in numerous magazines including HARDBOILED DETECTIVE, HARDBOILED, DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE, ESPIONAGE, THE SAINT, DOWN IN THE DIRT, CC&D, PULP METAL MAGAZINE, INNER SINS, YELLOW MAMA, and AUDIENCE. His poems have been widely published in magazines and books including LIQUID IMAGINATION, A NEW ULSTER, THE BROOKLYN LITERARY REVIEW, THE BROOKLYN VOICE, BRICKPLIGHT, THE BITCHIN’ KITSCH, CLOCKWISE CAT, CRAB FAT MAGAZINE, DEAD SNAKES, SKIVE MAGAZINE, ODDBALL MAGAZINE, ON THE RUSK, POETRY PACIFIC, POETICA, RED FEZ, SQUAWK BACK, SWEET ANNIE & SWEET PEA REVIEW, THE JEWISH LITERARY JOURNAL, THE JEWISH PRESS, THE JERUSALEM POST, HOTMETAL PRESS, MAD SWIRL, HAGGARD & HALLOO, ASCENT ASPIRATIONS, and NAMASTE FIJI: THE INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY. A past winner of the literary GRADIVA AWARD in Psychoanalysis, he was nominated for a PUSHCART PRIZE in literature and is the author of 11 books. Four of his mystery, fantasy, and horror stories were published by POSTSCRIPTS, a British magazine and international anthology, in November 2014. Having completed an experimental mystery novel inspired by one of Freud’s case studies, he is looking for an agent. He has been inspired for decades by his patients and their heroic stories of trauma and survival.
A SACRED PLACE (Dr. Mel Waldman) A sacred place around the omphalos inside the circle at the center of the earth visible only to obscure creatures of beauty that watch with awe & humility in light & darkness while the red sun dies & the seething desert sand melts spirit; yet even in the heat & chill of suffering the 3rd Eye of consciousness opens up in a free-flowing efflorescence, the holy orb & flower of revelations, for receptacles of love, our creatures of obscure beauty, blessed with otherworldly visions that heal the shattering of soul-eating pain 24
THE BRIDGE OF ALEPH (Dr. Mel Waldman)
Aleph, mystical Aleph, the oneness, the thousandness, is the first letter of divine creation in the holy Hebrew alphabet, & a voiceless bridge between 2 worlds. The shape of Aleph is the sacred symbol of a ladder, Jacobâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ladder, the letter Vav, rising diagonally to the left, between Yud and Yud, forming the first letter of creationAleph ascending to the Heavens; Aleph, the holy ladder on which angels travel up and down, back and forth between the earth and the celestial kingdom, uniting the unfathomable Emptiness with Being; 25
Aleph, mystical Aleph, a bridge of luminosity, connecting 2 worlds, flowing and returning to the Ultimate Nothingness.
THE WAVES OF ALEPH
(Dr. Mel Waldman) The waves of Aleph, swirling semaphores, speak to me within the Aleph Beit, the holy Hebrew alphabet; sacred Aleph, the first letter of creation; flowing Aleph moves my spirit; voiceless Aleph reveals; & the shape of Aleph conceals the secret symbols of 2 holy waters, separated and united by the divine sky; the paradox of Aleph points 2 ways, to the upper waters & closeness to the Ein Sof, the Without End,
& to the lower waters & distance from the 27
Ultimate Nothingness; & the waves of Aleph, whirling semaphores, speak to me, from the 2 sides of Existence, Emptiness & Being, numberlessness & the oneness of the Holy One.
THE MIRROR OF TAV
(Dr. Mel Waldman) After the vanishing, of the letters of creation, except for Tav, the last, I gaze into the Mirror of Tav and mourn for all the lost holy letters and the cosmic love that died too. After the mourning, I learn to love the oval Mirror of Endings, and while I look inside the Mirror of Tav, I watch the rebirth of Aleph and the other holy letters, for after the end, comes the beginning, and with an iota of love, healing.
(Dr. Mel Waldman)
Soul Case wounded
my pain overflowing with unendurable loss
& death cascading from my mutilated eyes My Body shattered body a cornucopia of crimson anguish gushing above & below & through my flesh flowing with my seething blood to antediluvian caves covered with skin painted with mournful memories of scarred flesh & flooded with a sea of pain & only evanescent traces-scattered vestiges & lost shards of pleasure-hidden & buried in old cave walls of porphyry & my soul case seeks solace in an undiscovered secret garden the Garden of Eternity the keeper of my soul my metaphysical gem & conundrum the ethereal celestial consciousness I approach & never reach so close so far so real & intimate in its fugitive & strangely beautiful unreality
(Dr. Mel Waldman)
I sit inside the Silence, on my womb chair, within the darkness & inhale, exhale the whispers of the oneness, the thousandness & the susurrations & psithurism of I AM within the light & the sacred rose & oval universe of the Ultimate Nothingness & enter, explore the obscure beauty of inner space, the oneness & the holy sparks of creation, the thousandness 31
& inside the Silencethe deep snow of Silencethe sweeping unfathomable Silence & the Silence of Revelations, I am. one with the Ultimate Nothingness, vanishing eerily within the Without End.
Biographical Note: Peter Nolan
Peter Nolan aged but never matured in Laytown, Dublin and Drogheda. He is Lukeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Dad. He is considered sound and taught his son to play guitar. He has travelled and will do so again.
Unfinished I (Peter Nolan) We are unfinished at the end of each day Remaining incomplete until we pass away That sorrow we feel Is not a true regret to hold Like missing a lifeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s love or hearing a song It is a want for more Unfinished is what we are and will be All in timeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beauty
Inch Deep Lake (Peter Nolan) This inch deep lake Reflecting mountains As if a deepest lough Clouds, sky, grass, reeds and breeze Shimmer its surface too I can run to it longing for the coolness of it waters To be cosseted and flying in its clarity Diving head first Breaking wrists Smashing face, twisting neck and crushing spine That choice; death, long recovery or Taking time to test the truth First I will touch, look for dragonflies, tadpoles, fish Perhaps sip before Removing shoes and socks to paddle Feeling the joy of cold water on my feet Disturbing beyond ancient, round pebbles Crunching welcome with each step Further out
Are You Coming? (Peter Nolan)
Are you coming? Joining with me To explore Are you resting? Tired out by the weather Or is this as far as youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll go? Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll wait here by your side Thousands of miles away Listening, quiet At least quiet for me Quieter then So that I can hear the noise Of your reasoning Fear and longing Humourlessly slogging Through that miasma you shoulder After thirty-six days you must be tiring Or is that just the weather? Again Are you coming?
Now or Later (Peter Nolan) “Hi Mrs Mac. Is Catherine in?” “Oh hello Angela. How are you? I’ll call her. Come in dear. Come in. Catherine! Angela is here! Catherine!” Angela entered the long hallway, onto the ochre, white and blue hexagonal tiles, closing the heavy front door, built to keep the sea gales out. She took off her combat jacket and found a space on a hook, amidst all the coats, jackets, scarves, hats and umbrellas, and hung it up. “Hi Cath!” she shouted up the stairs. “Come on up Angie! Mum? Will you put on the kettle?” “Tell her it’s already on Angela.” Angela nodded and smiled at Mrs Mac as she continued up the carpeted stairs to Cath's room. “Hi Cath.” “Hi Angie.” They kissed each other on the cheek, hugged and, at the same time, they both said “Munge.” It was their word for someone or something they loved and thought was cute. Angie lay down on Catherine’s bed and sighed. “Did you see Top of the Pops last night? Jesus. Sting. He is gorgeous. Did you hear they’re playing in Ireland later this summer?” “Ohmygod! He is gorgeous! Did you see him in the boiler suit? Ohmygod! Playing in Ireland? You’re joking! Will we get tickets? We have to get tickets Angie!” There was a polite knock on the door and Mrs Mac entered with a tray of tea and biscuits. “Always chocolate biscuits, Mrs Mac. And brevilles too! I love you.” “And I love you too Angela. Enjoy. Catherine, you could have tidied up your room a little for Angela.” Catherine looked at Angela before raising her eyes to the ceiling. Her mother did likewise before leaving the room. “Jenny said she was calling around three. What do you want to do?” Angie looked out through the large window to the wide beach below. The tide was out and the sand silvered in the sunshine. Near the terrace wall children were playing a game of rounders on the sand. She could just make out the sounds of their voices carried on the wind. Couples were walking, huddling affectionately as the chilling breeze came in from the east over the rumbling sea. Soon, she thought, we’ll all be sunbathing down there on the lawn side of the sea wall, protected from the breeze and warmed by the sun. “Do you remember last summer Cath? All of us laying out there in the sunshine?” “It was amazing Angie! You, Jenny, the Murrays, the McEneanys, the Downes, the Nolans, the Brownes. All of us. What was the song?” “I Will Follow. U2.” “Gerry Ryan played it all the time. So did Larry. Ohmygod! Do you remember when the lads prank-called Boyneside Radio?” 37
“They used to swim from Highfield to here and swim back. Remember?” Cath sensed Angie quieten and look out of the window to the beach and the sea. She recognised that Angie was remembering her brother. He was a boy when the current took him two years ago. Cath felt her friend edging towards the guilt of the living and reached out her hand to her friend’s tanned foot. “And you had young McEneaney at your beck and call too. He just hung around waiting for you to ask him for a massage.” “I know!” Angela, thankful for distraction, laughed her hearty laugh, throwing her hair back. Cath loved how Angela’s long dark Indian hair flew through the air and came back to rest in an elegant mess over her tanned, high cheekbones. Angela was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. That anyone had ever seen. All the boys said it too. “He was so good at giving them though. I used to fall asleep, it was so mungy. Have to be careful this year … he’s a teenager now. Any word from Franny?” “Oh they’ll all be down again this summer. He wrote me a card at Christmas.” “You’ve a keeper there Cath.” “Feck off.” Angie smiled back at her blushing friend. They had known each other all their lives. Angie could not remember a time without Cath. Cath was a little younger and Angie thought she was perfect; with her thick, wavy brown hair and skinny body. Now that Cath’s breasts had appeared, Angie knew that her friend would receive a lot of attention this summer. The doorbell rang. “That’s Jenny! Late as usual!” “It’s not as if we’re in a rush to get anywhere Cath.” “I know but I’m dying for a fag. Haven’t had one in three days. Mum! We’re going out! Jenny's here. See you later!” They ran downstairs, grabbed their jackets, went outside to Jenny, hugged, kissed and munged each other before walking down the terrace lawn towards the beach. “Angie that is a mungy combat you’re wearing. Where’d you get it?” “One of my brothers. If he catches me wearing it he’ll kill me.” After they had reached a safe distance Jenny took out her pack of 10 John Player Blue and offered them to her friends. The three of them sat on the sand beneath the Race Field, and finally, after putting three matches together to combat the breeze, lit their cigarettes and inhaled the sulphuric smoke. Jenny in the middle, Cath on her left and Angie on her right. Jenny had long curly red hair and when she laughed she’d fling it back, just like Angie. They sat, smoked, passed comments on the people on the beach and laughed. “What do you think of Dempsey, Cath?” “He’s gorgeous!” “Yes. He is lovely.” Angie agreed. “What about Eamon? I think he’s a dote.” Jenny said. “Mum says he’s in the IRA and that I’m not to speak with him.”
“That’s bullshit, Cath. He just looks that way because he goes around with a black combat jacket and a beret. I think he’s gorgeous. And his friend too. What’s his name?” Angie asked Jenny. “Kieran? He’s a munge too!” The three girls smoked their cigarettes, sitting on the sand and evaluating local boys. The sun arced overhead and when it was at their backs Cath asked if they would like to stay for tea. Angie and Jenny said they would and suggested they walk to the shops to get something nice for Mrs Mac. They stood up, brushed the sand from their clothes and set off towards the village. When they reached the old white viewing stand they climbed its steps to the road and walked the path to Mrs Willet’s red corrugated iron shop. As they entered the dark interior a small bell on the door rang and old Mrs Willet appeared. She and her store smelled of sugar because she stocked only sweets. This shop was the favourite of all the local children. The only milk was in toffees, and the only cheese was with onion to flavour Tayto or King crisps. They would spend ages deciding how best to spend their 20p pocket money and Mrs Willet valued them as if they were royalty considering the purchase of a thoroughbred. The three girls bought a Yorkie bar each and Jenny and Angie bought a chocolate swiss-roll cake for Mrs Mac. “Always bring your welcome with you.” Jenny said. They left the shop, waving goodbye to Mrs Willet and walked back along the path overlooking the sea. Angie pushed her hands deep into her pockets after pulling the collar of her combat jacket up around her neck. She shook her long hair in the wind and strode on along the path, face forward. Cath and Jenny continued talking about how Mrs Willet was such a dote and failed to notice Angela marching on ahead. Angela saw two figures walking towards her. They had just passed the Terrace wall and Angie recognised them as Eamon and Kieran. They were far enough away for Angie to assert control of her suddenly erratic heart and breath. She ran her fingers through her long hair and sucked in her cheeks slightly, pursing her lips. She wanted to look amazing and cool. She also speeded up her walk to further distance herself from her two friends. She prepared herself for the encounter with the two boys and started to rehearse in her mind their conversation. She really liked Kieran. He was tall and always made her laugh. His humour was gently observational and he always smiled shyly at Angie when they met. She would be calm and friendly, humorous and cool. Maybe they’d talk about music. Why did Eamon have to be with him? If they were alone she would suggest they go for a walk on the beach. And then they could hold hands! And then, after a few more days, they might kiss! And then they’d be going out with each other. Why did Eamon have to be with him? The boys and Angie drew near. Jenny and Cath were far behind, giving her priceless moments alone with the boys. She smiled briefly at Eamon and beamed at Kieran. The wind swirled and tugged her dark hair across her face. Kieran beamed back. Then she noticed Eamon handing her a pamphlet. “Will you join us, Angie?” 39
She was irritated. What was he giving her? She snapped at the page and tried to read it. She saw white crosses on a black background, heard Eamon talking about a march in Drogheda and a meeting in The Alverno. She wanted to talk to Kieran but he shrugged back an apologetic smile. She felt good again and decided to be grown up about this. After all she was a mature intelligent woman of the world. She would engage briefly with Eamon, tell him what her father had said, and then suggest a walk to Kieran. “It is a tragedy Eamon. I feel sorry for all their families.” “But we need to do something. Don’t you see?” She had thought that would be the end of it but she recognised Eamon's clerical determination. She remembered the line from a song her brother had sang and thought that this would shut Eamon up and give her a chance to speak with Kieran. Jenny and Cath were closing in behind her. “Make love not war. That’s my motto.” Pleased with herself she saw that Eamon was slowly processing her wisdom, mouth open, disbelief in his eyes. She turned her full attention to Kieran. “So Kieran. How are you?” she bent her head slightly towards him and looked up through her long lashes. “I’m good Angie. How are you?” “I’m great thank you for asking.” “I know you are…” She laughed and moved closer to him, daring to hold onto his elbow. He is absolutely fucking gorgeous! This was going even better than she expected. This was her chance! She was finally going to have a boyfriend and grow up and be happy and free. She’ll be with Kieran and they would kiss. She leaned a little closer to him, almost resting her head on his shoulders. Jenny and Cath caught up with her. They were a little out of breath because they had speeded up to join in the conversation. “Angie! Will we eat our Yorkies now or wait until after our tea?” Cath asked.
Biographical Note: JD DeHart
JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. He has recently been nominated for Best of the Net, and his chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available on Amazon.
Retiring from the Art of Letters (JD DeHart)
After a while, the letters weighed on him. The graceful but sharp A was nothing fun to sit on. Sure, B provided some lovely groping and even a little sliding. But then he always fell flat on C, belly-flopping. Then D, D for damn, D for damp, what to do with with, a sharp incline, nothing to hold to and just another slide on the other side.
Who made this ridiculous alphabet anyway?
Quiet Moves (JD DeHart)
Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s got quiet moves, they say. I want them to say. Fingers extended, a face like play. A purpose to find in the tickle. This is the game my uncle played who now can barely move but still tries to leave the house often as he can.
What Makes Myth (JD DeHart)
A dash of fear, a dose of reason, a bit of the unexplained. A phenomenon that makes us curious. Love, danger, clouds, a hole in the ground. A big damn hole in the ground. Then we refer to our penchant for narrative, a voila, as the chefs say.
Biographical Note: Alisa Velaj
Alisa Velaj was born in the southern port town of Vlora, Albania in 1982. She has been shortlisted for the annual international erbaccepress poetry award in June 2014. She was also shortlisted for the Aquillrelle Publishing Contest 3 in January 2015 and was the first runner up in this contest. Velaj’s full length book of poetry “A Gospel of Light”, translated by Ukë ZENEL Buçpapaj, is published by Aquillrellle in June 2015.. Her works have appeared in many international magazines, including The Cannon’s Mouth , The French Literary Review, The Journal , Phenomenal Literature , The Atherton Review, The Dallas Review , See Spot Run Magazine,Eunoia Review , The Linnet's Wings etc etc. She also has poems to publish in the forthcoming issues of Of/with Journal, Harbinger Asylum , The Seventh Quarry, Indiana Voice Journal , Clockwise Cat , Ink Sweat & Tears and Poetry Scotland.
AGAVES (Alisa Velaj) “There are so many dawns which have not yet shed their light.”
One morning Agaves appeared to me Wandering barefooted On dry rocks of Colorado
My patience suffocating With my aching soles Made me stop to rest for a while And suddenly agaves appeared to me With their petals turned towards the sun
Since then I have learned to measure time With shadows of flowers And walk freely on horizons Of dawns which have not yet shed their light…
THE CALL OF THE WOLVES (Alisa Velaj) I have now come With my peaceful soul and breath Don’t expect to single out anything at first sight Only on Sundays soul is a contemplating view Breath stays hovering between me and the world
I shall stay a little longer, and then I shall leave Otherwise the ripen apples will rot with gloom
I shall stay as long as needed, not a single moment more Departure becomes meaningful when the sun’s winds blow Arrival is blessed with a few rain drops On a day as clear as the Ionian Sea waters
Don’t implore me at all to stay this Monday The blue of the waters is the voice of my journeys The blessed call of the depth of the skies The only happiness empty of farewell sadness
I told him that I adore small-mindedness.
A TALE (Alisa Velaj)
Once upon a time, sunflowers grew Far from you, With their face always turned Towards God.
At this gloomy night When crickets sing hymns to sadness, I am telling about these temples of light To you who loved lilies and daises, Burning with the same ardent fire.
I am telling it to you, My love coming the homeland of waves, And even dying strange deaths… I will calm down if you make my soul hit me With the taste of scream Visiting my palate and tongue… These poems are included in my poetry book “A Gospel of Light” published by Aquillrelle and are translated from albanian language into english by Ukë ZENEL Buçpapaj.
Biographical Note: Michael Enevoldsen Michael Enevoldsen is a poet and photographer, who lives in Denmark, just outside the capital of Copenhagen. He has education as both a gardener and preschool teacher. The latter he finished at the University College of the city of Roskilde in 2015. His interests include literature, metaphysics, philosophy, meditation and nature â&#x20AC;&#x201C; particularly bird watching and hiking. His poems have appeared in some international magazines, including Lummox Poetry Anthology 4 (USA), Calliope: Literary and Visual Arts Magazine (USA) Yellow Chair Review (USA), The Commonline Journal (USA), Time of Singing, (USA), Aquillrelle Anthology (Belgium), Section 8 Magazine (one micropoem combined with two of his photos) (USA), Indiana Voice Journal (USA), Writing Raw (USA), Under the Fable (UK), A Divine Madness: an Anthology of Modern Love Poetry - Volume 1 and 4 and Dead Snake (CANADA). He also has a poem to be published in winter issue of Harbinger Asylum (USA)
LONG GONE ARE TRIUMPHS (Michael Enevoldsen) Sun gleaming from portal of ancient times Through castelle of Constantin
Long gone are the trials of beasts and men Sounds of peace now roam these hallways Once haunted by noises of gladius and claws
Sun gleaming through castelle of Constantin Once haunted by noises of gladius and claws Long gone are triumphs and celebrations of blood
A birdâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s song invades everyday the silent corridors!
LATE GLIMPSE (Michael Enevoldsen)
Last waves of greenery In the memories of September shadows
A soft farewell Spoken in whispers of wind Against autumn blue skies
A LETTER TO NOMAD OF SUNRISE (Michael Enevoldsen)
Dear Nomad of Sunrise For me as a brother of wolf and ice These midsummer evenings On the Island of Easter are magical
It's still light outside And the blackbird is singing on the roof My nightingale soul is filled with dusk This bright, sunny night
Dark clouds in the horizon Distant flashes of rays beyond the sea Made me aware that lilies of such skies Cast light of deep green
Dear Nomad of Sunrise This time on the Island of Easter Will enchant my nightingale soul With magic of the duskâ&#x20AC;Ś
Biographical Note: Kelly Creighton Kelly Creighton is the author of The Bones of It (Liberties Press) and Three Primes (Lapwing Publications). Her work was runner-up for the Michael McLaverty Award, and shortlisted for the inaugural Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing, the Fish Short Story Prize and the Cuirt New Writing Prize for fiction. Kelly edits of The Incubator literary journal. @KellyCreighton @IncubatorThe
Lace (Kelly Creighton) It must have been divine once because I remember how much I loved it â&#x20AC;&#x201C; tarmac bubble-wrapped in rain the glaze it left on your tyres.
You read the windows aloud to me â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that dot-dot-pause-dash-dot.
How hale and hearty selfishness felt! How now you speak of our hours left and measure them in hands that will reach out and wipe clean our slates
even those long-lost winter miles especially the sheen from the rain.
Teaching Moment (Kelly Creighton)
Godless and goose-sheeny, skittish as a bird, I can’t sleep at night after speaking to anyone but you. Days run seamlessly, slide easily off misty skin. When someone says something that passes for wit, we roar religiously. It is expected.
Three steps forward, one back. ‘I’d rather have your photo than have you,’ and at that we both have to laugh. God forbid you should let someone know you like them. God forbid someone should like you back. It is an idea too vast to be turned over in the palm of your flighty mind.
Plumb-line (Kelly Creighton)
Between glass layers is a bud, between lapping mouths that glitter ice, milk dropped into water, a door slammed tied to a string or a tongue worked it away.
It is called, after all, after what it was only good forâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;milk first, then rice with milk next fruit with milk until potatoes were mushed.
And milk. Making way. Around it red dries the roots. A milk tooth cased in glass is a mirror back, it is a window kept open.
Biographical Note: Michael Mc Aloran Michael Mc Aloran was Belfast born, (1976). He is the author of a number of collections of poetry, prose poetry, poetic aphorisms and prose, most notably 'Attributes', (Desperanto, NY, 2011), 'The Non Herein' & ‘Of Dead Silences’ (Lapwing Publications, 2011/ 2013), 'Of the Nothing Of’, 'The Zero Eye', he'The Bled Sun', 'In Damage Seasons',(Oneiros Books (U.K)--2013/ 14); 'Code #4 Texts' a collaboration with the Dutch poet, Aad de Gids, was also published in 2014 by Oneiros. He was also the editor/ creator of Bone Orchard Poetry, & edited for Oneiros Books (U.K 2013/ 2014). A further collection, 'Un-Sight/ Un-Sound (delirium X.), was published by gnOme books (U.S), and 'In Arena Night' is forthcoming from Lapwing Publications. 'EchoNone' & 'Of Dissipating Traces' were also recently released by Oneiros Books...
3 Sketches (After Gherasim Luca) (Michael Mc Aloran) The breeding ground is a sheet of black metal stretched within the eye of a frozen cadaver, wherein there is nothing by which to see the abscess of the gilded tooth, the splayed legs of a woman revealing the roots of a blind tree shedding no tears. The eye will never close, there will be no fruit other than the tears of something other than the blood of the jackal’s jawline. All damage has ceased, however, a stillness in the hand of a medicated alcoholic. Blind edge of some distant removal, I find myself in the nothing of some final silence. The splayed legs close, reopen, a stirring in the loins cuts short the breath, there is no secrecy to the filth that must be endured by the revelations of the sun. Hence, the night within the eye is preferable. Echoes of nonspeech gather in the throat exterminated at once by deft lack, the virtuous bone of what has never been before. Once cast, into the shadow’s lack, seeking out the harmony of blackened burnt flies or blackened glass, the fingers dripping away as of some foreign waterfall. Ashen the light still claims without responsibility. There is death or the redeem of death, it is said, either way there is nothing left of the world to cling to, perhaps nothing at all. Given the grace of things, the sheared silence and the pennies dropping from closed mouths, or moreso the eye, the shards of razor and the cunt reclaimed as of she, penile eloquence and spit and solace of the acclaimed reward, din of none ever expectant. This is no road. Aching yet all the while, the drapery of skinned animals from the meat hooks of larval nights and the disclosure of the dream. Elsewise there of the here to follow, the breached ghost limbs as if to say what matter, love in turn turned to shit in the batting of an eye. Scattered then what from it, from a precipice overlooking a contaminated desert scattered with animal carcasses and sharded metal, some insects perhaps humanoid, there is nothing there, the eye roves elsewhere of course. All said undone. It returns to the bled sky where a fortress of nothing still drags prayers kicking and screaming from the depths of some redundant well. Even the screams of which are of no origin, the taste is speculative, there are ovaries in given eye, the reek of decaying silences, the flowering of absent flowers and the meat of damage. Here or there the knowledge of the ocean’s cunt, the filigree skin, a placement of mouth upon mouth and the break of snapping roots revealed by said given. It runs amok. The landscape is of no importance anymore. She, having been unseen before, clicks her red heels and wishes for…Yet it is forever night and the rip and tear of flesh rends in the pestle and mortar of the blind man who has sits patiently and waits for a little more. He will not be forgiven. There will be 58
little tolerance, yet in truth he is as blind as the next, it is just a matter of non-seeing and blindness to the actuality of sweet nothing at all that does not come. I must pare down the broken lung, the bankrupt precision of the pulse. I skin the orchards of my mind as of flayed cadavers and all locks are rusted with semen traces. I understand nothing else. I dream undreamt. There is dust upon the surface of my skin when I awaken, this cocoon of nothing I cannot shed. I lack the impetus to scream yet I am bound by voice. Beneath my eyelids the waters of the world dream forever of the body floating face down, the wrists slashed or the rope-snap within the silver fish that slowly devour me. Am I? As if to say? Razors bite across my skull as my flesh explodes in a vortex of mutilation, the lights extinguished they glint in the darkness reflected by the moon, which of course is as dead as I is, yet I persists, as full of vagrant knowledge and the rapture of blind teeth, cracked they sneer into the void, where nothing but obliterated foetuses spit the venom of blackened waste. Or shall I gather flowers for the dead, as if to say? I say all is shit. It is. Even bleak does not cover the translucent skeletons of this nothingâ&#x20AC;Ś
2… The scissor-bird landscape is the breath of my deliria stretching a vast expanse that my eyelids cannot touch, like meat cleavers dressed for the charade of the game of given speech, the flowering blood of spectral waste till given, taken from the remnants of the whore’s breath upon my absent body, it is filled with leeches feeding from the inside I am dying away I am tumour night, thick with excreta, with a barrage of symphonies. These words seek the banal butchery of silhouette attendants caressing my balls with lillies hands adornments there is. There is the nomen-clature of this, the pulse of some stagnant cigarette ash loosed from the marble taste of cold ash of some stagnant loosed a cigarette. As if to say that the crushed violets of this cigarette in the mouth is a blade balancing between each lip. There is taste of rust and alcohol on the tongue. Yet each given recluse of light will -true- spittoon of blind sadness there will be trees unhinged the night is slim it cannot forget the habitat or habitations of. Irrelevancy of blind havoc and the rage of dysentery speechless but for the sound of echoing in nonspace how can one. Disease yes this is of the disease it is drunk down like deathwilling absolution from which to draw the blackest wines the secrets the promise of elusive all. Fucked yet I will. Not for the saying of the asking of. Walls stripped blind of elusive in the illusion of walls they dissipate into piles of sand reform wherein is the. A compulsion in the face of the centre it never held, given now the illusion of the centre’s function +1. Night tastes of bitter rat. Rat cares not what it tastes of. Rat is the season to be jolly ever. I feel extremely unusual, I may be going again yes I must light this cigarette and be done. I strike a bone matchstick and sudden as if to exist it spits shards of light caressing the tip of my cigarette. Yet nowhere to go I inhale/ exhale a plume of divisional apathy, indivisible from myself I cast it a side, this bone matchstick. There is horror in my continuum. Repetition. Cracked marble and excrement sprayed against the walls, a reek of stale sweat and the cold breeze of a hand not given to touch. No not rat. Or perhaps a night of rats. I no longer fear what it once was that I ran from not as before. The denuded shadow that crawls across my face viewed in a cracked mirror is what I have come to absurdly replicate in a pool of water flecked with an oily substance milked from the lungs of some distance that I never will.
3... The pulse shock-shore in the shadow of a murder of obsolete victims, crows, spliced candied wings outstretched given to madness and the flourish of the crowd. It is death, mine or the empty kind, the speck of blood upon a starched white collar or perhaps the lipstick-stain what does it matter it. Spoken like a true dissipate of sky the layers of which are unknowable yet do not it. Regardless there are veins to touch and absent rhythm, the cold calm reflection in the pupil of the sunâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s indifference hence it does not, a razor slash all the same, given that there is the flesh of one thousand pared statuettes, women, detritus, nothing. I feel something, though it is less than before. My teeth are the crowned sneer raging into the beckoning silence from out of which there is no caress. As if to. Not a trace it. All that was ever heard or seen drifts down that same lake where the image of a denuded child lies floats face-down a trail of blood drifting, cardiacal speech will not change this. I trace the sky with a finger that will of course not reach yet I do I trace the colour of the skyline with finger with my index finger I trace the colours of the skies they are liquid. Yet still more than this to claim. Somewhere else. Almost always the best place to find oneself disentangled from the lie of given all, or. Meanwhile I know that the walls are peeling elsewhere like sunburnt skin and that there will ever be blood there will ever be blood until I am unspoken for. My headless barrage kicks in the teeth of it. As if to say, cleft dew, boundless disregard, I do not care. I do not care for the sun its listless absence nor the traces birthed from the sickness the nausea of breath. Electrical carousel of dreamspell, a swelling of the eyes the tongue as passage through abandoned courtyard I dissipate as I observe I return I am nothing. There have been others more firmly footed in the twisted limbs of abandonment, the horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s teeth are bared through which ooze a carrion feel of maggoty searching for something what I cannot. Dead pale the remembrance of my fading sight as if there were ever. Broken swans of newspapers snag in the aborted bones jagged and still as stone though even the stone melts before my eyes the ground beneath my feet crackles like crystals. They are not beyond vision yet I am elsewhere. I recall the hand that gripped my hand hence I was not forever alone I was alone. Yet afterwards I had to begin againâ&#x20AC;Ś
Biographical Note: Walter Rhulmann
Walter Ruhlmann works as an English teacher, edits mgversion2>datura and Beakful, and runs mgv2>publishing. His latest collections areThe Loss (Flutter Press), Twelve Times Thirteen (Kind of a Hurricane Press), 2014, and Crossing Puddles (Robocup Press), 2015. His blogs http://thenightorchid.blogspot.fr and http://nightorchidswork.blog spot.fr
Heath Lowered (Walter Rhulmann) Reload the hew! The Machine helps the waled hero to dare the wheel in the hot stew: wholehearted, cruel, cold, calculation, tiresome technicality. Hew the hetero lad! The Machine helps the whole read through her awed hotel where the wheel tore the wailed hero into pieces, bits, crumbs â&#x20AC;&#x201C; tad heel whore.
Mismatch (Walter Rhulmann)
The woman wore a silver skirt, it was tightened by a gold belt. A red jumper, pink laced-boots. Even her hair diverged from her.
Discrepancy rules the world, disparity guides our steps. Homogeneity mind you is dull, dark, dangerous, vile, evil.
Who really minds about the lack of congruence those days? Mosaics regal more than plain, unimaginative palettes.
Slapstick (Walter Rhulmann)
Can one be hit with a slapstick? No comedians, no dull mummers ever collapsed while performing unless wisdom is dotted with blanks, gaps, uncertainties.
Meaningful words once prevailed. Now letters mix with trite signs: the pies are thrown as usual, they promote sharp imagery with deceitful music symbols.
Life is a counterfeit farce, a tragedy staged by bad-actors, a masquerade leading nowhere. All on this nave flow to the void of a dissembler existence.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 2015 MESSAGE FROM THE ALLEYCATS:
Like the tide the last few months have had their ups and downs but like cats we bounce back and land on our feet. 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”.
Biography: Tom Benson
Author: http://www.tombensonauthor.com Writer & Artist: http://www.tom-benson.co.uk Blog: http://www.tombensoncreative.com
Organic Writing – An Interview with Tom Benson This issue, Arizahn and the alley cats have been losing themselves in the mists of time, with author Tom Benson.
ANU: Who do you feel has been your inspiration for writing? Tom: My inspiration comes from a variety of authors, but mainly: Robert Louis Stevenson, Wilbur Smith, Frederick Forsyth, Jeffrey Archer, and Chris Ryan. I feel I’ve absorbed different aspects of my craft from each. * ANU: What are the best and worst parts of writing? Tom: The best part of writing for me is when I have an epiphany. If something doesn’t sit right with me in a story, I leave it and move on. It is usually when relaxing with a coffee that the solution strikes me – and wherever I am, I write notes. Editing is the area which causes concern for most writers, but for me, it is finding basic mistakes, like repetition of information, or realising that the timeline doesn’t work. * ANU: Why did you choose your particular genre? Tom: I write a variety of genre, but the majority of my work is action-based thriller. This is a genre which allows me to explore extremes of relationships and circumstance. It creates a perfect arena for good versus evil, but I remember that occasionally a good guy gets hurt. There is also an opportunity to use a variety of settings. I recently experimented with my novel, ‘Give & Take: a tale of erotica’ * ANU: Which – if any – of the characters and themes in your writing do you identify with? Tom: In my wildest fantasies I indentify with my leading male characters. They are handsome, 30+, and will face any adversary to right wrongs. There is a hint of humour, an underlying sense of romance, and an unswerving desire to ensure that good prevails. Whether in short story or novel format I believe most of my readers recognise my keen sense of justice. In life, the bad guys sometimes escape, but in my worlds – they get punished. 70
* ANU: When can readers expect to see your next book released? Tom: My next novel is scheduled for publication in early November 2015. The title will be ‘Acts of Vengeance’ and the story is the sequel to my most popular book so far, ‘Beyond The Law’. My next anthology is scheduled for publication in January 2016. The title will be ‘The Welcome: and other Sci-Fi stories’. It will contain at least 12 short stories and a selection of those will be donated by guest authors.
Biography: Peter O’Neill
Peter O’ Neill is the author of five published books of poetry: Antiope (Hammer & Anvil Books, 2013), The Elm Tree (Lapwing, 2014), The Dark Pool ( Mgv2>publishing, 2015) , Dublin Gothic (Kilmog Press, 2015) and The Enemy – Transversions from Baudelaire ( Hammer & Anvil Books, 2015) . He has edited And Agamemnon Dead, an Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry with Walter Ruhlmann for Mgv2>publishing, 2015, and which is due to be published on Patrick’s Day. Michael McAloran is one of the writers who is featured in the anthology.
the zero eye michael mcaloran (ONEIROS BOOKS, 2014.)
‘Vis donc, damné.’ Baudelaire
the zero eye is a short book (82 pages) comprising of five prose poems, the first, and longest of them being title-less, followed by the roving eye, the hanged light, bone break and finally the title piece the Zero eye. Let us start with the opening section, or piece. Bearing no title, it opens with the ‘warning’ to the reader that it is 'a book of misunderstandings'. This is then followed by 21 fragments of text, each numbered in Roman numerals. What strikes one initially is the almost complete absence, barring the odd few dots and forward slashes, of punctuation and capitalistion. So, one is reminded immediately of modernist texts, such as the later Beckett and even Celine. In fact, these two writers are mentioned in the introduction to the book by Aad de Gids in connection with McAloran, and the similarities are not merely stylistic but also thematic. The influence of the former particularly. However, anyone thinking that they were in for some ersatz Beckett, as I was I must confess, should immediately prepare themselves for the excitement of reading the work of a writer who, aside from the aforementioned similarities, is entirely his own man. ...in carousel/of breath/ no nothing taken/ back fall from out of stitch/ itch of the redeem/ heart what heart/ no/ bone reclusion in soil/ emptily/ shave the air with violet/ (p.5)
So reads the opening three lines of the book. The humour is disarming, especially so early in. And this is reassuring. McAloran is a prolific writer with about ten such books behind him, could this be a sign of him mellowing into his long familiar, to him and his many loyal readers, Baconesque material? I am referring to the painter, of course, another name, like Beckett’s with whom McAloran is associated with. The 73
writer, and painter, is an avid admirer of Francis Bacon, having written a number of sequences after the great painter ( see Christine Murray’s Poethead Blog) .
... heave- ho/ what of it/ it breaks the heart’s dissolve/ (p.6)
The opening line in the second fragment picks up, and I find myself, as a reader, being spirited along, rather reminiscently of Beckett’s Worstward Ho, into the dislocated, deconstructed self with its respective parts voiced. Tongue as distinct from eye, speech act as distinct from sight, or vision. One should speak of vision in relation to this kind of work, when form and content cavort together in such a devilishly fiendish way. Can there be trust among them? Will the tongue be a credible witness for the eye? Will it record faithfully the tale of the limb, and the limb alone? Or will it merely recount the pale ephemera of the shadow? One must read on to discover.../ As one does, one becomes acutely aware that this first section of the Zero eye is in fact a meditation on time, Real time.
entropic/ atrophic time and the obscene breath/ marred skull of disused flowerings/ failure in spite of the longing held to be/ (p.10)
There is a moral outrage here, on every page – ‘through the glass eye of the/ sands to gather as the hands dissipate/sing low/ sing chariot/’(p.10). The intertextual elements from gospel hymns(p.10), Jesus (p.14), Beckett (p.17), and T.S. Eliot (p.18) all serve as a reminder to the author/reader of the circular nature of the enterprise; hence the farce, and outrage. ‘...in carousel / of breath’ (p.5). For this is no proustian act of total recall, (there are no madaleines in McAloran) but rather a Nietzschean dirge to the eternal return – ‘/ more shit than shovel/’ (p.15). The insertion of popular local Irish expressions interspersed sparingly throughout the text like this, along with the aforementioned intertextual elements, is but another endearing feature of the writing. The litany of nouns compounds the matter of factness about it, rarely have verbs been given such secondary status, and more often than not they are used in their nouny, gerund forms. There is a purpose to this, to still supposed, or apparent, movement. The fictional enterprise of time passing!
/all hope garrotted/bailing out into the circus naught all spun together/ (p.25)
The overwhelming impression which assailed this reader, while reading the first section of the book, was that I was reading the work of a highly accomplished and universally significant writer, and I found myself turning the pages to section two the roving eye with a sense of increasing excitement. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;eye eye eye roving in the darkness of I...).â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Michael McAloran is a writer to be cherished, and the fact that he is not a household name speaks volumes about the times that we are living in.
LAPWING PUBLICATIONS RECENT and NEW TITLES 978-1-909252-35-6 London A Poem in Ten Parts Daniel C. Bristow 978-1-909252-36-3 Clay x Niall McGrath 978-1-909252-37-0 Red Hill x Peter Branson 978-1-909252-38-7 Throats Full of Graves x Gillian Prew 978-1-909252-39-4 Entwined Waters x Jude Mukoro 978-1-909252-40-0 A Long Way to Fall x Andy Humphrey 978-1-909252-41-7 words to a peace lily at the gates of morning x Martin J. Byrne 978-1-909252-42-4 Red Roots - Orange Sky x Csilla Toldy 978-1-909252-43-1 At Last: No More Christmas in London x Bart Sonck 978-1-909252-44-8 Shreds of Pink Lace x Eliza Dear 978-1-909252-45-5 Valentines for Barbara 1943 - 2011 x J.C.Ireson 978-1-909252-46-2 The New Accord x Paul Laughlin 978-1-909252-47-9 Carrigoona Burns x Rosy Wilson 75
978-1-909252-48-6 The Beginnings of Trees x Geraldine Paine 978-1-909252-49-3 Landed x Will Daunt 978-1-909252-50-9 After August x Martin J. Byrne 978-1-909252-51-6 Of Dead Silences x Michael McAloran 978-1-909252-52-3 Cycles x Christine Murray 978-1-909252-53-0 Three Primes x Kelly Creighton 978-1-909252-54-7 Doji:A Blunder x Colin Dardis 978-1-909252-55-4 Echo Fields x Rose Moran RSM 978-1-909252-56-1 The Scattering Lawns x Margaret Galvin 978-1-909252-57-8 Sea Journey x Martin Egan 978-1-909252-58-5 A Famous Flower x Paul Wickham 978-1-909252-59-2 Adagios on Re – Adagios en Re x John Gohorry 978-1-909252-60-8 Remembered Bliss x Dom Sebastian Moore O.S.B 978-1-909252-61-5 Ightermurragh in the Rain x Gillian Somerville-Large 978-1-909252-62-2 Beethoven in Vienna x Michael O'Sullivan 978-1-909252-63-9 Jazz Time x Seán Street 978-1-909252-64-6 Bittersweet Seventeens x Rosie Johnston 978-1-909252-65-3 Small Stones for Bromley x Harry Owen 978-1-909252-66-0 The Elm Tree x Peter O'Neill 978-1-909252-67-7 The Naming of Things Against the Dark and The Lane x C.P. Stewart More can be found at https://sites.google.com/a/lapwingpublications.com/lapwing-store/home All titles ￡10.00 per paper copy or in PDF format ￡5.00 for 4 titles. In PDF format £5.00 for 4 titles.