ISSN 2053-6119 (Print) ISSN 2053-6127 (Online)
Featuring the works of David Rigsbee, Peter Oâ€™Neill, Mark Young, Ian Hartley Roisin Browne, John W. Sexton, Marcus Bales, Conor Smyth James Antony Rooney, John Grochalski, Linda McKenna, Gordon Ferris, Mike Gallagher and Michael Leach. Hard copies can be purchased from our website.
Issue No 46 July 2016
A New Ulster On the Wall Website Editorial
Editor: Amos Greig Editor: Arizahn Editor: Adam Rudden page 5
1. The Paradiso Cantos I-III
Peter O’Neilli; 1. And Jesus will be Suspended until Sunday 2. The Prohibted Christ 3. Confucius in Derry 4. Minerva 5. We’re all on First Name Terms Here Mark Young; 1. Geographies: Lausanne 2. Belated Peaches 3. Patience 4. Un Pasajero Creacion 5. 3 production lines help 6. A line from Holland, Dozier, Holland Ian Hartley; 1. Field of flowers 2. Pale Garden 3. A Beer for a Bear 4. Plato’s Dilemma 5. Curfew 6. Lost Boy 7. Game Over 8. The Fighter
Roisin Browne; 1. Bellevue 2. Fire Island 3. On a Post-It note for William Carlos Williams 4. Decommissioning of a Homo sapiens
John W. Sexton; 1. The Keeping or Otherwise of Wasps 2. The Owls 3. An Interstice 4. Rend a Nowhere 5. The Poetry One Finds These Days Marcus Bales 1. My Last Employee 2. Meeting Hagan 3. Meeting Newberry 4. Maneuver 5. The Isle of Greece 6. Talk At Parties
Conor Smyth; 1. Saturday 2. Tug of War 3. Walking into Bangor
James Antony Rooney; 1. Lou woke in a sweat 2. Poem 087 3. Lou Followed 4. Symphonic Rabbits 5. Connected to the Stars
John Grochalski 1. a sort of disappointment 2. the poetry rejection 3. no chance 4. julio 5. metric system blues Linda McKenna; 1. Door Closing 2. Neapolitan 3. The Ring Masterâ€™s Wife Gordon Ferris; 1. Journey Home
Mike Gallagher; 1. My bookends 2. Nature or Nurture 3. The Silent Witness 4. Take Off
Michael Leach; 1. My British and Irish Ancestry
Message from the Alleycats
On The Wall
Round the Back
Manuscripts, art work and letters to be sent to: Submissions Editor A New Ulster 23 High Street, Ballyhalbert BT22 1BL Alternatively e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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€œderelict Fasciaâ€? by Amy Barry
“We know what we are, but know not what we may be ” Shakespeare. Editorial
Welcome to the July edition of A New Ulster we are deeply saddened by the increased violence and racism that seems to have boiled over in recent months. July is meant to be a time of relaxation what with the beginning of Eid, 4th of July festivities and the start of summer holidays. Poetry is a salve for the soul and I hope that the offerings found within this issue help ease the mind if even for a short while. You are probably aware that the UK had a referendum recently on whether or not that we should leave the EU. Both sides of the argument failed to provide any real leadership and managed to overlook the fact that referendums within the UK aren’t legally binding due to being Parliamentary Sovereignty. What does this mean for us? Hard to say for now however parliament has to make the final decision on whether to leave the EU the failure to let the public know this gave a false sense that democracy was being carried out. Personally I’m hopeful that a leave decision won’t affect A New Ulster very much although the printing service we use is based in Europe. I apologize for the political aspects of my editorial I try to leave politics at the door when working on A New Ulster however we’re at a very uncertain crossroads and racial abuse appears to be on the rise. I’m horrified by the loss of life in Saudi Arabia and Iraq as well as the increased bigotry within the UK. While this issue is based in Ulster I consider it a global magazine I see myself as part of the world it is true I’m proud of my home country the majority of my friends and contacts are from all round the world. Enough Preamble onto Creativity!!
Biographical Note: David Rigsbee David Rigsbee is the author of 19 books and chapbooks, including seven full-length poetry collections. In addition to his poems, he has also published critical works onCarolyn Kizer and Joseph Brodsky. He has coedited two anthologies, including Invited Guest: An Anthology of Twentieth Century Southern Poetry, which was a ‘notable book’ selection of the American Library Association and the American Association of University Professors, and was featured on C-Span’s Booknotes program. His work has appeared in many journals, including AGNI, American Poetry Review, the Georgia Review, the Iowa Review, the New Yorker, the OhioReview, Poetry,Prairie Schooner, Sewanee Review, and the Southern Review. Winner of a 2012 Pushcart Prize, the 2009 Black River Poetry Prize, the Vachel Lindsay Poetry Award and the Pound Prize, Rigsbee was also 2010 winner of the Sam Ragan Award for contribution to the arts in North Carolina, as well as winner of the Oscar Young Award for the best book by a North Carolina author (for The Red Tower: New and Selected Poems, 2010). He has received two creative writing fellowships from the NEA, as well as fellowships from the NEH, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Virginia Commission on the Arts. He has also received residencies from the Djerassi Foundation and Jentel Foundation. Rigsbee is currently contributing editor for The Cortland Review. His latest book is Not Alone in My Dancing: Essays and Reviews (Black Lawrence Press).
Canto I (David Rigsbee) The glory of Him who moves all fathoms the universe, radiating in one part more, another less. I was in the part of heaven that receives more. Whoever descends from there can neither know nor say what he has seen because approaching its desire our intellect becomes so weighty that the memory can’t follow. Still, as much of the holy kingdom as I could take away as treasure will become the matter of my song. Good Apollo, for this final labor make me worthy of your courage and the gift of your beloved laurel. Up to this time, one Parnassian peak has been enough for me, but now I need both to enter heaven’s arena. Enter my breast and blow as high as you did when you pulled Marsyas' limbs out from their sheath. O divine power, if you lend me just the shadow of your image stamped in my brain to manifest, you will find me at the foot of your revered tree, crowning myself with those green leaves of which my theme and you make worthy. So seldom do they gather, Father, —it’s the guilt, the shame of human bias— to honor either poet or Caesar that when someone desires leaves from Peneian branches it should make the Dephic God swell with happiness. Great flame follows after a spark, and it may be that another’s superior song will elicit a response from Mt. Cirra. The world’s lamp rises to mortals at different points, but where it joins four circles with three crosses it reaches a better course, moves in conjunction with a higher star and like this anneals and stamps the mundane wax more in its own image. 8
The conjunction had made morning there, evening here, and that hemisphere was in light, this in darkness when Beatrice turned to the left and stood fixed toward the sun— no eagle ever stared as straight. And as a second ray will follow the first and reascend, pilgrim-like, so her gaze entering my eyes moved into my imagination, owned it, and I, contra custom, stared into the sun. There, more is permitted our powers than is lawful here, being a place made proper for the human species. I did not bear it long, but neither so briefly as to fail seeing its sparks as molten iron from the fire; and suddenly it seemed that day was added to day, as if He Who Can had hung another sun to adorn the sky. Beatrice fixed her eyes on the everlasting spheres; I turned from the sun and fixed my eyes on her. Watching her I was changed within, as Glaucus changed, consuming the herb that made him the sea gods’ companion. Transcending the human cannot be put into words: so let this stand as example until God’s grace makes it experience. Whether it was the newest created part that rose there is known only to you, Love, Heaven’s Governor, whose light lifted me. When that wheel that spins by desire for you captured my attention with a harmony you temper and tune, then it seemed to me the sun set fire to so much of the sky that neither rain nor river ever formed so wide a lake. The sound’s novelty and the great light incited me to find out their cause: I was more full of eagerness than I had ever been. Then she who saw me as I saw myself, seeking to calm my baffled mind, started speaking before I even had a question, and she began, “you have weighed your mind down with preconceptions; you can’t 9
see what you otherwise could have. You are not on earth, as you seem to think; but lightning, streaking from its site, doesn’t move as fast as you, returning home.” When I had been divested of the first doubt by her brief words, she smiled, and I was nonetheless perplexed anew and said, “Though satisfied at this great marvel I have to wonder how my body rises and transcends these lighter bodies.” At this, a sigh of pity, and then she directed her eyes to me with that look that a mother gives to a babbling child, and she began, “All created things have an inherent order, and this is the form in which the universe resembles God. Here, the higher creatures create an imprint of eternal worth, which is the end and which is made the law. Within that order I speak of, all natures are inclined, depending on station. nearer or farther, to their source. Thus these natures sail to anchorage at different ports in the grand sea of being, each according to its instinct. This instinct bears fire to the moon: this is the instinct that moves the mortal heart; this binds the earth and unifies it. Not only creatures innocent of reason but also those who possess love and intellect are struck by the arrow this bow shoots. The Providence that governs forever subdues with its light the heaven wherein spins the most rapid sphere. Now we soar to that place, as if to a predestined site, shot by that bow that always strikes its joyous target. It is true that, as form sometimes fails to follow art’s intention because matter is deaf to the call, so this created being sometimes veers from the true course because he can, and so goes astray, like lightning seen falling from a cloud, and man’s initial impulse, sidetracked by false pleasure, turns him earthward. 10
You should be no more amazed at your ascent, than at the rush of a mountain freshet to the valley floor. If you, now free of impediment, had remained down below, that would be a cause for wonder. At this, she returned her face to heaven. Canto II O you who are in a little boat eager to listen following behind my ship that sails singing turn back again to your shores not out to sea since you could, in losing me, be lost yourselves. I sail an uncrossed sea; Minerva breathes, and Apollo pilots me, while the nine Muses show me toward the Bears. You other few who have turned your mouths in time to the angelic bread on which human life is fed—hungering—here, you may indeed launch your vessel upon the sea, keeping within my wake before the water levels out again. Those heroes who crossed over to Colchis and saw Jason behind the plow were not as amazed as you will be. The perpetual, inborn thirst we feel for the godlike realm bore us nearly as fast as the heavens you beheld. Beatrice gazed upward, and I gazed at her. In less time than it takes an arrow to fly from the bow to its mark I found myself borne to a place where something wonderful drew me, and she from whom I could not hide my mind’s need, turned to me as joyful as her beauty, and said, “Turn your mind to God in gratitude. He has brought us to the first star.” We seemed in a cloud as brilliant, hard, polished, and dense as sunlit diamond. The eternal pearl received us the way water takes light rays into itself and yet remains indivisible. If I was body—and we cannot conceive 11
how things can share the same space, as we do here, where body enters body— then should our desire be even more to see the essence in which we behold how our natures’ and God’s unite. There we shall witness as true what we hold as faith here and not proven but directly known like the first truth man believes. I answered, “Lady, with the most devotion possible, I thank Him who removed me from the mortal world. But tell me, what are the dusky spots on the body of this moon that, down on earth, have led men to spin the fabled story of Cain?” She smiled momentarily, then said, “Mortals can’t unlock the truth except with the key of the senses. This should come as no surprise, when, pierced by amazement’s arrows, you realize that the senses give reason short wings. But tell me what you yourself think. And I: “What seems diverse on earth, is, I think, caused by infrequent densities of matter. And she: “If you listen carefully to my rebuttal, you will come to see that your beliefs are riddled with error. The eighth sphere offers many lights and you can make out that they, in size and quality are stars with differing features. If this were caused by rarity and density alone, then all stars would share a single virtue more or less or equally distributed. Different virtues must be the fruits of diverse formal principles, but on your view, if correct, just one would be left, the rest destroyed. What’s more, if rarity were behind the dusky spots you mention, then this planet would lack thoroughgoing matter, or else, just as a body can alternate fat and lean, so this planet would be, like a book, presenting different pages. To make a case for the first instance, in an eclipse, the sun’s light would have to show through, as with translucent matter. But this isn't the case. Therefore, we should take up the latter instance—if I 12
refute that too then your opinion is surely false. If the rare matter is not spread throughout then there must be a limit, a point at which the density doesn’t allow the light through; from this point the sun’s rays would be cast back, just as lead-backed glass returns colored light in reflection. Now you might argue that where a ray has been reflected from a more remote place, it will show itself dimmer. But were you to try an experiment, you might be freed from your objection to find in it the fountainhead of your art. Take three mirrors, place two equidistant from you and a third between but set farther back. Now turn to face them and at your back have someone set a light so that it strikes all three and all reflect the light to your sight. Although the farthest image is also of reduced size, you will observe that its brightness is the same as the others. Or, as the sun’s warm rays touch the snow, divesting it of its blankness and cold—and your intelligence stripped of error—I will leave you with a luminescence so filled with living that the light itself trembles in your sight. Inside the heaven of godly peace a body revolves in whose might is contained the being of whatever lies within. The next sphere, myriad-eyed, confers being to the various essences within, stars distinct, and yet all contained in it. The other spheres, in their different ways, deploy the distinctive powers they possess in the cause of their own seminal workings. These other spheres, as they go from one stage to another do so receiving influence from above and then acting below. Now pay attention to how I make my way to reach the truth you seek; that way you will learn to ford the stream. The power and motion of the sacred spheres derive their inspiration from the blessed movers just as the hammer is roused by the smith. 13
And so the lighted heaven wheeling from the unfathomable Mind receives its stamp and in that image it becomes the seal; and as the soul within your dust is shared by the different organs, each suited to its individual labor, so does the Mind in this way unfold its plenitude which all the stars in turn multiply even while revolving in its wholeness. The various virtues are mixed with each precious body that it quickens, just as the life is blended with the soul. From the happy nature of its source the mingled virtue shines through the body, just as the living pupil conveys the soul. It is from this, not dense or rare matter, that make the variations from light to light; this is the formal principle, that produces according to its virtue, dark and bright. Canto III The sun which had previously warmed my heart with love had now revealed, by proof and reproof, truth’s sweet face, and I, confessing and convinced, raised my head and brought my eyes to the level of hers to speak but a vision appeared so close that it gripped me, and my mind quite forgot its confession and went blank. As in transparent, polished glass or water still and undisturbed— (but not so deep it blocks reflection) the faint image of our face returns to us so colorless our pupils might as well be seeing a pearl on a white brow. I saw such faces eager to speak! I made the opposite mistake of that man who spied himself reflected in a pool. As soon as I became aware of them and thinking they were reflections, I turned around to see who they were, and instead I saw nothing. I turned my sight forward into the light of my gentle guide whose blessed eyes, as she smiled, glowed. “Don’t wonder if I smile,” she said, 14
“at your naive understanding. You don’t yet trust your steps to come down on the truth; your mind tricks you into emptiness. The forms you see are true substances put here for falling short of their holy vows.” Therefore, speak with them, listen and believe. For the true light that by itself fulfills them does not let their steps wander.” So I turned to the shade who seemed most eager to express himself, and began as one bewildered by his own eagerness. “O well-created spirit, who feels in the rays of eternal life such a sweetness that it cannot be known unless experienced, it would gratify me so if you would tell me your name and fate.” To which she answered at once with smiling eyes: “Our charity will never lock the gate on a just desire any more than Love would not want his court to be like Himself. When I was alive in the world I was a sister, a virgin, and if your mind will recall, and my greater beauty now does not hide me, you will recognize me as Piccarda, posted here among the other blessed ones within the most ponderous of the spheres. Our wishes, which only serve the flame that is the pleasure of the Holy Ghost, glory in being shaped to His order. And we are to be found within so seemingly low a sphere because our vows fell short of fulfillment.” And I to her: “There is something wonderful in your face that glows divinely transmuting the look you once had. Thus I was slow to recognize you but with what you have told me now I can make out your features more readily. Yet I wonder, you who are happy, do you want to rise to a higher place in order to discern more and to be nearer Him?” She smiled a little with the other shades but promptly answered me with such rapture it was as if she shown with love’s first fire. “Brother, the power of heavenly virtue quiets the will, and we are desirous for what 15
we have, not thirsting for what we do not. If we longed for what was higher our desire would be discordant with the wish of Him who wills us to this sphere. Such discord you’ll not find here for to exist in love here is our necessity if you think about the nature of love. Indeed, the essential blessedness of this state is to be at one with the Divine Will that wills our own wills to His. So that our postings from rank to rank please this realm, as they please the King whose Will it is to will us. And in His Will lies our peace— it is a sea where all beings are drawn, a sea He creates and nature carries forward.” Then it became clear to me how everywhere in heaven is Paradise, where yet supreme grace need not rain down uniformly. But as it chances that sometimes one is sated by some food, yet craves another, giving thanks for this thing, yet asking for that, just so I pleaded with her by word and sign to say what cloth she had failed to draw through the shuttle, her unfinished vow. “A perfect life and celestial merit preserve a higher lady,” she said, “in whose rule some on earth assume the tunic and veil and who until death both keep watch and sleep, receiving the Bridegroom for whom all love’s vows conform to his pleasure. As a young girl I left the world to keep to her and enclosed myself in a habit, promising to follow the path of her order. Then men more used to hatred than love came and tore me from the cloister: God knows what my life became then. This other bright figure you see here to my right, who reveals herself to you, kindled with all the luminescence of our sphere, well understands my words: she too was a sister and from her head, as with mine, they tore the shadow of the holy veil. But though she was returned by force to the world, and against her honor, she never let go the veil covering her heart. 16
This was the glory of the great Costanza who, married to Swabia’s second gust of wind, gave birth to a third and final rush of power.” Having said this, she began to sing “Ave, Maria” and while singing she sank and faded like a weight vanishing in water. I followed her as long as I could until she disappeared, and then I turned my sight to the greater object of my longing which was Beatrice, but so forceful was the light from her that struck my eyes that at first it blinded me and I was slow to resume my questioning.
Biographical Note: Peter Oâ€™Neill
Peter O' Neill was born in Cork in 1967. He is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently Divertimento The Muse is a Dominatrix ( mgv2>publishing, France, 2016 ) and Sker ( Lapwing, Belast, 2016 ). He also edited An Agamemnon Dead, An Anthology of Early 21st Century Irish Poetry with the poet Walter Ruhlmann ( mgv2>publishing, France, 2015 ). He is the founder of Donkey Shots, an avant garde poetry festival held in his hometown of Skerries, in North County Dublin. He also hosts The Gladstone Readings a series of monthly readings in his local pub in Skerries. A translator-transverser of Baudelaire and Rimbaud, he has just finished writing a collection of poems, mare nostrum, treating the ancient Roman settlement at Drumanagh promontory, in the first century AD. This book was the product of his residency at the boathouse in Loughshinny, sponsored by Fingal Arts.
We're all On First Names Here For Kathleen Spivack (Peter Oâ€™Neill) I never knew there was a Derry in New Hampshire. Then, the penny dropped! Once again that phrase by Guillame Apollinaire, about love's duplicity resonates. You, Seamus, grew up in the farm at Mossbawn, County Derry, in that, what was then, a very troubled part of Northern Ireland. And you, Robert, inherited that place on the Rockingham Road, in Derry, New Hampshire, USA; with a lineage going back to the Wolfana. Both of your names now, when voiced, signal, like the distinctive blackbird's warble, all of the heavy graft of tilling those bloody fields.
Minerva For Enda Coyle Greene (Peter Oâ€™Neill) Holding the red pencil before me, with its tattoo emblazoned of the helmet headed goddess, weapon borne, it reminds me of you. Rarely meeting any who would use her as a calling card, nor Robert Grave's White Goddess. Now, you are finally becoming more familiar to me. Sentient to the owl and her death swoop, attendant to the ghost still hovering in the boughs of Virgil's elm. Locus to the underworld unending; your traffic in the tools trace stills, momentarily, all speech.
Confucius in Derry (Peter Oâ€™Neill) The sound of things, indiscriminate, politics in aural disparity; a parallel praxis to accursed verticality, shifting in shitty drifts, the tectonic plates of castes, fragment, imploding in our minds from mere thought air. No subject too great or conversely small enough. The scraping of the servant's tray at Emmaus, the audible trace of the Christ's return, echoes through to today in the babble in the cafĂŠ. The double pronouncement of the lilting vowels indicative of the grounding in the felt ephemeral.
The Prohibited Christ after Curzio Malaparte (Peter Oâ€™Neill) After you return to the place of your birth, and you find you still have a home to go back to with living people, people who understand the essentials; that there is a table to place bread and wine upon, as well as one's elbows, over which conversation flows freely like air. These are things you would come to expect, and yet this is the error. Carpenters have laboured since the dawn to uphold such encounters. But these days the legs of the table are askew, the bread tastes like paper, the wine is covered in phosphates, and nobody talks.
And Jesus will be Suspended Until Sunday For Michael J. Whelan (Peter O’Neill) And Jesus will be suspended until Sunday. For on Monday you must fuck your neighbour. And his wife, or husband. The operative verb here being shaft. O the slave's palaver. Priding ourselves on being a nation of kute hoors. As deep as bath water. All our scripture being written into brochures, SUVs and golf courses. “ Howaya!” The jovial greeting flits through the air, with all the levity of a flint head affixed to a stick. On impact crushing the skull. Spend the whole week dodging them. And come Sunday feign the love in.
Biographical Note: Mark Young
Mark Young's most recent books are Bandicoot habitat & lithic typology, both from gradient books of Finland. An e-book, The Holy Sonnets unDonne has just come out from Red Ceilings Press, & another e-book, For the Witches of Romania, is due out from Beard of Bees.
geographies: Lausanne (Mark Young)
The tonal center emerges if, & only if, the feted Japanese architects carry messages to the brain. The face can be seen in ultrasound images using a plasma moving across the CNPA view line. Bluetooth headphones carry a multilayered techno. When enriched in quality, it argues that this is in essence a question. She stumbled across a pile of memories last month in Lausanne. She aims to stay.
belated peaches (Mark Young)
We bought the tower to celebrate getting the photos off the camera. He grilled chicken & hamburgersâ€” Heidi Klum was barely recognizable as Cleopatra. Studying was not going to get done until I got some baking in.
(Mark Young) wears thin
through prolonged use. It should be changed
at least every
other dayâ€”or sooner if you canâ€™t stand waiting.
Un pasajero creaciรณn (Mark Young)
Creating a temporary disruption in the yellow trees in Canberra was hazardous despite the great distance. Economists & environmentalists haven't yet diagnosed the civil rights organization as having hypothermia. Some of the major pollution emitters say it has been treated as a child for at least a century & a half, though the new store-house of original materials remains copious & piquant. The Mongolian Secretary of State has disappeared, believed hijacked on a flight to Bali.
3 production lines help (Mark Young)
We offer a range of ecofriendly paper goods & guitar-driven noisepop centered around those vegetable-based meat flavors created in our highly efficient manufacturing unit. We're not a one trick pony.
A line from Holland, Dozier, Holland (Mark Young)
My boyfriend & I are
heading to the historic Roxy which was recently redone as three connected tree-
houses set in nothing but
huge paddy fields. The chainsaw ringing in the nearby
rainforest is, on one level, a kind of recognizable
historical pedigree, on an-
other an incongruous shout giving the surroundings a
different meaning. Livestock wander the grounds. Young
people migrate long distances. It is possible to survive for
about 60 days without food.
Penguins are one of the arche-
typal animals of cold climates. This can be a bleak narrative.
Biographical Note: Peter Oâ€™Neill
Peter O' Neill was born in Cork in 1967. He is the author of six collections of poetry, most notably the Dublin Trilogy comprising of: The Dark Pool ( mgv2>publishing, France, 2015 ), Dublin Gothic ( Kilmog Press, New Zealand, 2015 ) and The Enemy, Transversions from Charles Baudelaire ( Lapwing Press, Northern Ireland, 2015 ). In his review of The Dark Pool, the critically acclaimed American poet David Rigsbee wrote: Peter O' Neill is a poet who works the mythical city of Modernism in ways we do not often see enough.' ( A New Ulster ) The same book was described by Michael S. Begnal in Poetry Ireland's Trumpet as 'O' Neill's unique achievements.' This year sees the release of his two latest collections: Divertimento, The Muse is a Dominatrix ( mgv2>publishing, France, 2016 ) and Sker ( Lapwing, Belfast, 2016 ). As well as his own writing, he is very much involved in promoting the writing of others. Last year he co-edited, with Walter Ruhlmann, And Agamemnon Dead, An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry. Translation is also hugely important to him, he edited issue 81 of mgv2>darura Transverser also edited by Walter Ruhlmann. He is the organiser of Donkey Shots, Skerries International Avant Garde Poetry Fest, now in its second year, as well as hosting The Gladstone Readings also in his home-town of Skerries in North County Dublin. He is currently working on his thirteenth collection of poetry.
FIELD OF FLOWERS (Ian Hartley) Buildings crumble
At the sight of blood, As with men who
See the world theyâ€™ve Created.
A car pileup.
An aborted child. Even the war
In the Middle East. Millions lost as with
One building broken. More demised as Another child is Conceived.
This is now the World.
PALE GARDEN (Ian Hartley)
A garden lies behind my Fatherâ€™s house.
Red tomatoes grow. Not a gardener. A teacher.
Father of four.
Ready to retire.
Fifty years gone. Red tomatoes grow.
A BEER FOR A BEAR (Ian Hartley) On the other side of The world there
Are no polar bears
Outside. Theyâ€™re at The bar drinking.
Thinking about how
Their world has been Shot and burned.
Ice always seems To melt. Hot or Cold weather. At least in
Find ways to Stay cool.
PLATO’S DILEMMA (Ian Hartley)
Being drunk isn’t
Boring. It’s seeing
Everything as it is. Beer. Vodka. Whiskey. All the while the
World moves out Of focus, and I Can finally be Myself again.
(Ian Hartley) Tattered blue blazer. Tie around my neck. Private school. No work to pay bills. Life after school. There is no life. No memory of Christ. No identification of What it means to be alive. There is this God. What’s his name? Maybe we spent time Together. There was once a girl I slept with. Don’t know Her name. Forgot. Washed up. Broken mind. Going home. Watching 37
The world. Fences encircle Large lots. Restaurants. Fences with black Daggers. Almost looks Ragged. Broken teeth. Canâ€™t speak. Once prayed To God for a new life. A family.
(Ian Hartley) Black lines. Black chalk. Not enough. Time. This is it. All my life. All the same. Time is long. Gone. Forgotten. Unreported. Disturbed. Too much T.V. Too much dope. Pills. Powders. Getting high. Bloated. Insecure. Skinny. Hungry. Funny. 39
Is this all There is to life?
GAME OVER (Ian Hartley) Walk alone. All by myself. Minding no one. Noticing. Long forgotten. Music. Love isnâ€™t real. Is it real? Be fake. Donâ€™t forget To be home by 12. Late night. Pizza. Beer. Ramen noodles Taste life. Love life. Hate life. Forget all You knew about Life. 41
School of life. School of hate. Graduation. Where is everyone Who knew me? Cap and gown. Tie. Slacks. Smiling. How are you doing Today kid? Interesting life. Noticing. Forgetting. Feel free to quit.
THE FIGHTER (Ian Hartley)
Is here to stay. Might he
Never know about his life Before. Forget his past.
Glory in the ring. Staying.
Praying. Noticing his wife. Girl of poverty. No glory.
Still here. Cheering her man.
Loving his form. Noticing his
Scars. Still here. Still fighting. Moment. Guts. Glory. Fight. Starving. No food. No rules.
Life on the streets. No money. Bank closed.
Still broke. Still here. Still fighting. Champion in the ring. 43
His name is nothing. Unknown. Still broken. Still working. 1, 2, 3, 4…
Countdown Who’s the winner? He’s still here.
Still a fighter. Wife leaves. Still broken. Lighting. Gold. Glory.
Biographical Note: Roisin Browne
RoisĂn Browne lives in Rush, Co Dublin, a public servant; she is a member of the Ardgillan Writers Group and is an attendee at the Gladstone Readings in Skerries. She has had her poetry published in Creative Writing Ink, A New Ulster Issue 43, and The Galway Review
Bellevue (Roisin Browne) Soon, I will visit 462 1st Avenue - July. Learn that it is the oldest public hospital in America, opening doors 1736. Refuse, to take in the monstrous Cube or comprehend the entry rigmarole, metal detection, guns, papers. Instead, I'll glide between 25th and 28th street, melting. Stand on the 18th floor, look out, while not looking, at the East riverâ€™s dirty green at worldly flags saluting U.N. plaza at a space of scraper-free sky, longing for warm rain. I am the sister, and before all this, I have to make a call.
Fire Island (Roisin Browne) I sit across the oatmeal sofa felt tip pen tucked over ear, hard book on lap, papers on knees. A liver colour dog uses my feet as a pillow. Coltrane plays on the radio, through my telly, the belly of his sax sets off dusky notes, that pad June light. I’ve noted Frank O’Hara’s New York-Irish flattened nose, cigarettes, poetic loves shoe shining, and watched his mouth say Coke. Past the glass it’s soupy, a basketball stand is childless submerging into tree walls. It says on my phone he was killed, a Hit and Run, on Fire Island.
On a Post-It note for William Carlos Williams (Roisin Browne) The plums my dear you say you ate devoured I guess from plastic tray, not mine alone to have so cold, so sweet, so tender on their own but I forgive your appetite though Porky, you are far from slight. P.S. A breakfast share I had in mind entangled in a sweet bind!
Decommissioning of a Homo sapiens (Roisin Browne) I began as a provocative stretch, lazy unfurls beguiling muscles, unknitting sinews. I was serene to start, a passing ripple through scarlet tributaries that led to a pulsing quiver, molecules palpating, cells cuddling and neurons dancing Into the petrifying forest, quelling raucous rubies, diluting electric emeralds, anesthetising synaptic sapphires, corralling them into capricious captivity.
Biographical Note: John W. Sexton John W. Sexton lives on the south-west coast of Kerry and is the author of five poetry collections, the most recent beingPetit Mal (Revival Press, 2009) and The Offspring of the Moon (Salmon Poetry 2013). His sixth collection, Futures Pass, is also forthcoming from Salmon. 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.
The Keeping or Otherwise of Wasps The ghosts of wasps are harmless only to those whom they choose not to haunt. To be haunted by dead wasps you just have to irritate one of them. Just one. Calling in an exterminator to remove a nest from your attic is not an action that is likely to irritate wasps. Wasps take this kind of death in their stride. Spraying their nests with diesel and setting fire to them is also something they’d hardly be bothered with. Pulling their wings off and collecting them in jars so that you can feed them to your pet goldfinch; well, to be honest, they don’t really give a shit about that. Swatting them, that’s not even worth a mention; although I thought I’d mention it anyway, just in case you’re worried. Squashing them with disinterest while they climb up the length of your window won’t offend them in the least; for you are supremely beneath their notice anyway, even in your imagined superiority. Slapping them flat with your hand immediately after they’ve just stung you, that doesn’t bother them at all. To them that’s an honourable death. Wasps are high on honour; because they’re warriors; because they’re brutal at heart. They kill and sting without a thought; so revenge isn’t something that stirs them. Revenge is for lesser beings as far as wasps are concerned. No, if you want to be haunted by the ghosts of wasps this is what you must do: (And if you don’t want to be haunted by the ghosts of wasps, this is what you mustn’t do under any circumstances): Pull out their stings, tie cotton thread to their bodies and use them as kites; make them your neutered plaything. That’s it, that’s what’ll make them come back from the dead and haunt you. 51
Collecting them in matchboxes and putting them in somebodyâ€™s mouth while that person sleeps, however, is perfectly fine by them. Thatâ€™s the kind of impulse they actually appreciate. John W. Sexton
The Owls after Les Hiboux by Charles Baudelaire From within the yewsâ€™ gloom that asylums the owls, (ranked in rows like migrant gods), their red gaze exudes. They scheme. There they will roost, torpid, until the saddened hour when, folding the slanted star, the night thickens rigid. The student of such perceives that the wise will never grieve lack of vigour and tumult; men who hold their shadows close will always bear the deadened welt of the dark exchange they chose. John W. Sexton
An Interstice the government sends updates â€Ś a scab forms in his mind inside the wheredrobe ... an elsewas-cat purring shadows x-rated vision â€Ś the whore with a hundred eyes a lozenge of frozen light burns an interstice ... strings a then to now how hides Leviathan? a boneless flatwhale that knows only mud the giraffe ghouls â€Ś those wallpaper faces hail from the distant stars John W. Sexton
Rend a Nowhere love nulled ... our eyes met in death-ray vision an inexplicable gash in the ocean narwhals rend a nowhere the Magma Lords construct a lens of molten glass ... the light-years burn off Ralph + roborphic outsects they 8 his eyes he can't 4C her diamond house ... the empty moon is a gem through every window a third eye twice removed ... the future is relative John W. Sexton
The Poetry One Finds These Days It is an unavoidable fact of modern life that there are far more poets than there are poems. Poets appear everywhere, farting their guff. For instance, this very morning one appeared at my front door, disguised as a postman. He handed me a narrow envelope which I duly opened at the kitchen table. Inside was a poem entitled Monthly Electricity Bill. Like many poems one finds these days, it made demands upon the reader. Although claiming to be a poem about electricity it had absolutely no spark to it whatsoever. Its only currency appeared to be contained in its final line, which was presented as a sum pending. As is the style found in some experimentalist poetry, much of it was written in signs and numbers. Granted, it did bear analysis, in that it all added up. But poetry should be far more than the sum of its parts. John W. Sexton
Biographical Note: Marcus Bales
Not much is known about Marcus Bales except he lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio, and his work has not appeared in Poetry or The New Yorker. You can, however, buy his new book, 51 Poems, from Lawrence Block Productions, at https://www.amazon.com/51-PoemsMarcus-Bales/dp/1533326339 .
My Last Employee Meeting Hagan
My Last Employee That's my last employee standing there,
Protesting, wet and cold, and wondering where His pension went. And how his former pay
Decreased in buying-power, he cannnot say.
Let's stop and watch him standing with his sign, Queuing in the unemployment line. He cannot say because the GOP
Has taught him how important to a free Nation it is to keep his wages low
So I have monthly profits I can show, Creating rising prices for our stock
By unemployment lines around the block. I know that look -- as if you'd like to ask
How I can sleep at night with such a task. I sleep just fine. And better than that guy, Who worries whether someone such as I Should care about community, not cash,
Or worker's rights! Iâ€™m planning how to slash Expenses sending more jobs overseas,
Replace the rest with contractors like these Illegals I have found that I can cheat
With deportation threats. They scarcely eat! They work their unpaid overtime and bring Enormous profits -- more than anything
Before. And this guy and his fellows hate The cheaper workers coming in the gate
Instead of Wall Street, me, my Board, or staff. You'd cry if money didn't make you laugh. American workers just don't understand
We take advantage of them with our brand:
The right to work, and don't pay union dues,
They medicate themselves with food and booze. Drive on, driver. Itâ€™s nearly time to meet The company directors. I repeat,
The Chairman of my Board's known munificence Is ample warrant that no just pretence Of yours to get a golden parachute --
Youâ€™ll see how I can play him like a flute -Is likely to be disallowed; I'm sure
You'll like the package offered to secure Your acquiescence to our acquisition,
And me ascending to the top position. Drive on! I hope you notice as we go
The leather seats recline -- and watch the glow Of flowers in the dome light, a rarity
That Dale Chihuly cast in glass for me.
Meeting Hagan "Marcus," Hagan said to me,
"although it looks like we are free, for better or for worse we're stuck believing what we do by luck." He took a sip, and so did I,
and just before I asked him why
he said "And why, you may well ask." I fell to my allotted task
and nodded. Then he nodded, too, and amiably said "If you
would quiet down and let me get a word in edgewise I will let
you in on what the secret is."
I said "Will this be on the quiz?"
He snorted. "Maybe you should work On working not to be a jerk."
I raised one eyebrow as I smiled;
he can't; it always drives him wild. But not this time. He took a sip
And did that subtle thing to flip me off, his middle finger on
his glasses' bridge. Our drinks were gone. He caught the barman's eye and gave that little fill-up beckoning wave.
And when we had a brand-new drink
he said "It ought to make you think -not you, of course, but other folks
who hope for more than poems and jokes -about the reasons we are here."
I did the standard Groucho leer.
He waved it off. "Not that," he said, "I mean the reason we are this or that religion, which abyss
we stare into, and that in turn
stares into us. Why this concern
with what some other people think?
Why can't we all just laugh and drink? There's nothing like a rum and coke To blunt the sharp edge of the joke The universe has played on you --
And not just one, but quite a few --
since rum does more than Rumi can To spiritualize a man."
I clicked his glass with mine to thank him for the rant. We sat and drank.
Meeting Newberry Although I ended up on that committee I didnâ€™t like it since it meant I had to travel all across the city. But we got mileage, so I went.
I drove a low-end Acura that year -a friend of a friend had had a divorce; I got a deal, though shifting to second gear required a little bit of force --
she drove a Jeep. Our eyes met as we got out of our respective cars twenty minutes early in the parking lot, and it was magic: we saw stars.
And just like that we both knew right away. She put her hand on my lapel -oh what a lot a little can convey! -62
and nodded when I asked "Hotel?"
We walked across the square to rendevouz -it felt more like a rhythmic dance -checked in, got keys, and barely made it to inside the room still in our pants.
We gasped together as hands and lips explored, each eager in our purest id and yet resisting as tongue or finger scored, then, murmuring "We shouldn't", did.
And so for a year and a half, every week, that meeting went on unattended as we improved our mutual technique til just as it began, it ended.
We got out of our cars one day and met each others' eyes and couldn't see 63
what the hell we'd seen that made us get excited. We nodded to agree.
And that was it. We got a drink and said adieu, smiling at the way it was. But oh my God sometimes I'm jolted through remembering that brazen buzz.
Maneuver Two men sat at the bar, side by side, watching brightly-colored cars pack jostling together skillfully not collide around and around a sun-lit black-top track. A woman eating at a nearby table suddenly choked and pounded on its top, apparently in real trouble, unable to breathe or swallow. One man made a hop down off his stool, seeing her distress, strode there, stood her up, and bent her, weak now, over the table, lifted up her dress, yanked down her drawers, and gave her butt cheek a lap with his tongue. She spasmed, a piece of bread flew wetly out, and she could breathe once more. When he got back to the bar his buddy said "Ain’t never seen that Hind Lick Maneuver done before.” They sat as she stomped out past the cashier. “I know she was embarrassed, but then, ya know, Ya saved her life.” They drank a little beer. “She prolly hadn’t oughta slapped ya, though.”
The Isles of Greece The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece, must take the burning Sappho's song
and pimp her long-descended niece in sessions thirty minutes long
to spread her nubile grecian thighs
in trade for maybe two cheese pies. The mountains look on Marathonâ€” and Marathon looks on the sea,
and mother looks for something to pawn til father finally can agree
to put their daughter on the street so they can have enough to eat. A king once on the rocky brow
which looks on sea-born Salamis
saw ships in thousands but, right now, a poor man stands to take a piss
and doesn't care how long it took -there's no one in a ship to look.
It's sure a different kind of fame 66
instead of known for Oedipus Rex
you're known for being on the game by selling Europe's cheapest sex.
And what is left the poet here?
For Greeks a blush -- for Greece a tear. Or has it always been this way? Anacreon served Polycrates
a tyrant famous in his day
but famous names do not abate these
who love for lunch, go down for dinner instead of pay, while growing thinner. Fill up the glass with Samian wine! forget a while the way you weep
at how your leaders lack a spine
and how Greek girls are going cheap;
the rest of Europe now determines
when Sappho must suck off the Germans. Fill up the glass with Samian wine!
your children screw for daily bread;
I see their famous black eyes shine
with shame as they are giving head 67
for pennies in the alley-ways
where Plato trod in other days. But who am I to criticize?
For aren't we all mere prostitutes?
Aren't wages slavery in disguise?
We fear the faceless men in suits;
our blood fuels systems they construct,
and they make sure we're always fucked.
Talk At Parties I like a woman who can talk at parties, A woman never silent as a nun; I like that her attention can be won since other men will almost always shun all female thinking. And if she's often slightly stout well, so am I. And there's no doubt that she has more to talk about than sports and drinking. I like a woman who can talk at parties. I’ve found that it’s invariably true That women who will take a point of view have also taken time to think it through past mere opinion, and often have a zesty twist that you unfortunately missed while you were trying to insist on male dominion. I like a woman who can talk at parties who’s looking for an audience like me, who listens well and asks the questions she is pleased to answer so that she can be deep yet amusing; ‘amusing’ – that’s a pun, you see, since they’re my muses, speaking free; I often grab a phrase or three, picking and choosing. I like a woman who can talk at parties who’s not a poet, since the female muse afflicts our female poets with the blues and self esteem as low as socks and shoes -that’s unappealing. The woman who can talk in prose does not read poems, and never knows it’s not her heart but her bons mots that I’ll be stealing.
Biographical Note: Conor Smyth Conor Smyth is a writer from Bangor County Down he has had his work published before at
Saturday (Conor Smyth) Past where sick children lay And â€œrevolutionary propaganda sprayed Turn down La Salle Drive To the house, second last on the right There we feast on bread and broth While a red hound lies beneath Awaiting donations of anything going His head gently rubbed In the front, an out of tune piano Keys crying out to be played Even inexperienced, I would persevere To find beauty in muddled tinkering And then for another week Or less as I grew distracted by age We leave with shiny currency for sweets And later on, cigarettes Then one day, Saturday Is just the first day of the weekend No road trip to the west Piano now silent, no more music to be made
Tug of War
(Conor Smyth) Put some muscle into it Strained with sweat, and grasp that rope, that disassembled noose It means you have won, as your foe falls What was pulling you?
What was on the other side? Was there a trench dividing you, a cloudy moat in between? Aren’t you curious to see what was there? Something better, or, at least, different? But, you won, stand victorious high on the water’s edge, looking over the bank to the beaten, uncertain. You wish, sometimes, you had let go, and lost.
Or except the unknown and see if the might of it’s pull was worth falling into the current
Walking into Bangor (Conor Smyth)
Seaside towns forever appeal
Even in surrounding dereliction Step onto Brompton Road
Descent towards the edge of blue A June night can see the shoals
Making their way round a winding path Abandoned reminders of a world at war
Profanity art emblazoned on sea-swept walls Pass where Jenny perished, allegedly
As a swirling beacon signals in the distance Past pier and park, ersatz-urban returns Buildings, shrouded by wooden boards Still, the sea remains always
A comfort, a glorious distraction
Biographical Note: James Antony Rooney
James writes poetry, usually based on three or four diverse characters in his head, who he thinks partly represents the human condition. Dennis Greig of Lapwing is publishing a collection this year, or next...of poems he’s written about a septuagenarian prostitute called Molly. He’s probably one of only three people in the world brave enough to publish them. James used to grow vegetables for supermarkets. He also used to produce plants for landscaping shopping malls and over expensive housing estates. These days he visits prisoners. It’s one of the few things he does for Jesus. It’s good to see God’s plan in everyone. It’s better than not. He sees God in people like Lou.
Lou woke in a sweat
(James Antony Rooney) His nightly dreams were taking a hold Shaking him to the core. In tonightâ€™s he was
A malfunctioning taxi driver Turning into one way streets
With oncoming traffic hooting Like charging elephants,
Dropping Jews off at mosques, And men looking Miss X
Getting delivered to nursing homes. It was all too much.
He went to a dream reader who
Lightened his load, by a hundred euro Before hardly saying a word.
His chicken dream was about cowardice, His dark city dream was about secrecy,
His scaling rope ladders was about failure, His three women in a bed was Lou felt lost and at sea.
just wishful thinking.
She directed him to someone else To discuss his feelings.
(James Antony Rooney) The text came through Just before bed time
After he’d taken his vitamin tablet
Before he’d brushed his teeth, actually
While wagging his finger at the rabbits. It vibrated in his pyjamas. “Where r ubastard.”
He looked for the smiley icon. None. Checked the number. Blank. Frowned. Smiled. Laughed. Shook his head.
It was dark, the pillows piled, Screwed up intense,
Marcia was pregnant and broke. Worse than a bad dream,
All the things her mother’d said
(James Antony Rooney) Her down the street, into the bookshop And stood waiting,
Hoping their eyes would meet. She flicked through Duffy In the poetry section, Then Kennelly.
He wanted, like nothing ever before To run his fingers through her curls To kiss the length of her neck, And even in public,
To caress and fondle
The contours of her curves. She looked around,
“Sorry, am I in your way?” “I love poetry,” he blurted, “Milosz’s brilliant.”
Bemused she stepped aside. Lou went for it,
“I have a lovely apartment
Overlooking the power station.” Smiling she walked away. Lou checked out Yeats
For two and a half seconds.
(James Antony Rooney) One was black with white ears,
Anotherâ€™s ears, albino, flopped forward From about half way down.
The last was grey, alert, wild Missing a back leg.
Lou made his own museli,
But fed the rabbits on carrots.
They hated to see him coming. Carrots carrots carrots carrots.
Always watered and fresh strawed Lou kept them in a fish tank, His stereo below.
He was unaware of stimulations Leporidae experienced.
When he played Strauss They wanted to dance.
When he played Chopin They wanted to mate,
When he played the Sex Pistols They wanted the tank To fill up with water.
Biographical Note: John Grochalski
John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesnâ€™t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and the forthcoming novel, The Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, in the section that doesnâ€™t have the bike sharing program.
a sort of disappointment (John Grochalski) there’s some ruckus
in one of the rooms in o’neill’s pub some drunk old broad
interrupting people watching the united states get their asses handed to them in the rugby world cup
the bartender calls the cops in
one cop instead of the riot squads
that descend on minor disruptions in the states and he’s ruddy-faced
looks like he was somewhere getting pissed before this happened to his evening he gets her out of the room
this horrible yellow-toothed beast
who looks like she digested the whole of ireland and is itching to fart it back out
she’s belligerent too and won’t go he’s begging with her
says, look for the last time
you simply got to leave the bar
she spins and throws her heft into him curly howard style
knocking his hat sideways 80
screams, you leave the fookinâ€™ bar
as my wife and i sit there and wait for it her pushed to the ground flat on her fat belly his gun out
knee to the back of her neck
choking out her sulfuric essence as he calls for back-up
but all the cop does is grab her by the arm and haul her drunken ass away
as people go back to the match
as the south african team scores on america again
and i go back to my aspall suffolk cider feeling strange
the poetry rejection (John Grochalski)
in 1999 i was
three years out of college working in a library basement
checking-in magazines and newspapers for a living delivering mail and stocking book donations making fifteen grand a year
which mostly went to rent, bills, gas money and smokes
she had written three books of poetry in twenty years but was well-known around the city
for being one of the hard-working literary big shots sheâ€™d been my teacher in college
had given me c.k. williams and a b minus for missing too many of her classes in one small stretch
iâ€™d read two of her books on a plane from florida back to pittsburgh
then proceeded to forget them both but i was hardly getting by
living bad paycheck to bad paycheck
growing green on peanut butter sandwiches and hardly writing a word of my own i thought the only way
i’d ever make it was to go back to grad school and get an MFA degree
hide in some college until i died i needed a recommendation
so i thought about the poet and her books the c.k. williams and the b minus
i started leaving messages for her but she never got back to me when i finally got her
she said, well, you know
in that soothing poet voice she’d used in class usually i do recommendations
but i’ve just been so busy with my own poetry lately 83
the new book, readings
that i simply donâ€™t have the time to write a letter for you she laughed her flighty poet laugh
said, you know, this is the first time iâ€™ve ever said no to anyone
then she said, good luck with the poetry, and hung up on me as i sat there
surrounded by a pile of mail that needed to be sorted a dull ache in my belly
half a pack of cigarettes left until payday and another peanut butter sandwich waiting with my name written all over it for her next book to come out eleven years later.
before the dust clears on suicide bombs
the blood wiped off the tile
from this week’s horror show
the victims become talking points
for politicians and demagogues on fluff tv for shitty poets with writer’s block and short attention spans their bloviating creating enough pure energy
to make small nuclear bombs that i’d love to have
shoved back into their mouths before gently pushing
their inflated heads and egos down deep under the wine dark quiet sea
like fart bubbles in a dirty bathtub
comes in sometimes in his pajamas
when he still has his hospital wrist bands on i know the night could go either way he loves to chase the girls
the twelve and thirteen year olds
who are maybe just learning how to flirt
who could’ve winked at julio once or twice before they knew the deal now they run from him
squeal and hide in the bathrooms
have their moms come and give me shit about julio but i have no idea who takes care of him other people move their seats
because julio stands over them
sometimes he shouts about rape and murder he pulls at those hospital wrist bands
while they’re trying to read the newspaper
yesterday his hair was blue now it’s the color of rust i’m told i have to call the cops
when julio gets too out of hand but i hate dealing with cops
so i’ll save those bastards for when he
tries to rip the womenâ€™s room door off of its hinges or when he sits with a table of girls giggling and slobbering on himself
ready to take it out and go to self-pleasure town again the good nights are the ones like tonight when julio comes in dressed normally
waves hello and just falls asleep at one of the tables sometimes he snores too loudly
and it bothers the newspaper reading people when they come and complain to me
i swear i listen to them and feign my concern but on a peaceful night like this i find it hard not to smile
laugh at them right to their faces
tell them about the shit that went down only just last night
when julio screamed bloody murder in the bathroom for fifteen minutes and then came out smiling
like the newly anointed king of brookyn
to a kingdom of frozen and terrified subjects.
metric system blues (John Grochalski)
the words roll off her tongue like poison when the kid asks her
if the united states should adopt the metric system
spitting patriotism she says,
why should we have to adapt for the rest of the world? yes
us and burma and liberia
the last men standing in this great and glorious math war
really, the kid is just trying to do his homework not start a revolution ask a few questions
he says, itâ€™s for a project
she says, the metric system?
like someone asked the kid to go out and recruit communists i guess here
weâ€™re afraid of everything now
mexicans and terrorists childless women
giving minority people a chance to succeed a kilogram a milliliter
measuring out our water like some effete european
she says, they can have their metric system like using it might give her the shits we got our
guns our god our glory
mass shooting foot stacked upon mass shooting foot green acre yard by green acre yard because kid
here in america
we donâ€™t play that metric system shit you give us an inch
in this land man
weâ€™ll take a mile.
Biographical Note: Linda McKenna
Originally from North County Dublin, I have lived in Co Down for almost 20 years having spent a few years in England and one in Fermanagh. Having written various things half heartedly in my teens and twenties I have started to write again and really enjoy it and hope to get a lot better!
(Linda McKenna) That's no annunciatory angel at my door
Selling me good news, fresh hope, eternal day I have let a knock fool me before.
Dazzling wings won't seduce me any more
I have swept the last one's leavings all away That's no annunciatory angel at my door.
I have opened up to pain and loss and more Bitter regret an unholy debt to pay I have let a knock fool me before.
I will stay inside safe from celestial roar
My heart will not hear what the heavens say That's no annunciatory angel at my door.
The angel's way never made my spirit soar Those voices led my everyday life astray I have let a knock fool me before.
I don't have a soul to save any more I dismantled it and sold it far away
That's no annunciatory angel at my door I have let a knock fool me before.
(Linda McKenna) We climbed up the slabs of concrete.
Scuffing our precious school shoes on the thick layers of coloured plaster,
the exact shades of our Sunday ice cream, Neapolitan.
Yellow, white, pink.
Our mother's knife cut cleanly through the block
turning the slices onto
the syrupy fruit cocktail.
Our measuring eyes gazed
for a moment at the symmetry of the stripes until our
greedy spoons demolished them.
As hungrily as the ice cream dancehall was devoured by the digger, swallowing up the ghostly
pastel girls who lined the walls.
The Ring Master's Wife (Linda McKenna) I flew over the open mouths below, their breaths held as I swooped down on the other side. Until the night your oiled hands clipped my wings. I put my head in the lion's mouth, my neck bared to his bloody teeth. They gasped and counted out my daring. Until the day you didn't quite fill up his food bowl. Then I was a bareback rider, standing still on a trotting black horse. Until your whip snaked out, sending me tumbling down. Now I am conjured by your wand, sawn in half, levitated, disappeared. Until you re-assemble me, their applause crashing around you.
Biographical Note: Gordon Ferris
Gordon Ferris is a Dublin writer and poet who has lived in Donegal for almost thirty year's. He has been published previously in a magazine based in Sligo
Distant wailing sounds, like a whale in song, dreamlike, unsure of where I am. What’s that strange distant- far away, irritating, noisy racket, familiar, just can’t make it out. I turn over hoping it might just go away and leave me in peace. But it gets worse, a whale in distress, the harpoon in for the kill pops into my head, ah but
now an even louder noise, a big stamp on the floor, a leap out of a bed, then the
sudden realization, Dora my niece is awake, that’s the whale wailing, Mauve my
older sister has jumped out of the bed, cursing under her breath, she’s out down the stairs now to feed her young beautiful daughter, silence resumes.
Trying to get back off to sleep seemed impossible. To retain that dreamlike state is so
frustrating, if you don’t get back off immediately, you can forget about it. Ah I just lay on my back and accepted that I’m not going back to sleep. My thoughts turning to my first day of freedom, no more school, exams over with, no more childhood things, no more being told what to do or go. Or what to think.
I can be my own man now, make my own decisions. I always did think for myself,
but couldn’t be seen to be doing it by my Dad, children should be seen and not heard and all that crap. Do as I say, not as I do. So I just stayed out of his radar as much as possible, which wasn’t hard to do because he worked most of the time. At home we
were in bed when he went to work and were in bed when he got home. So we just saw him on his days off, in fairness he spent as much time with us as was possible.
Heavenly scent creeping up the stairs now, along the landing, across my bedroom
floor, finding its way to my nostrils, that succulent, unmistakable aroma of Rashers, if there’s one thing that’s going to get me out of bed in the morning it’s the scent of
rashers. It’s a wonder nobody ever invented an alarm without sound, but instead gave 95
off the glorious emissions of bacon, someone could make a fortune out of that, or maybe if you could send a scent down the phone line.
Trousers on, shoes and socks etc, on like a light, in to the bathroom then, to throw
water on my the face , just to get the sleep out of my eyes then down the stairs three steps at a time. “I thought the smell would have ya out of bed, bet ya don’t be up at this hour at home”.
“Of course I do, unless it’s raining outside, plenty to be done, when the rain stays off.” I sheepishly said. “Ye, I’m sure ye do, and the popes a Muslim.” Mauve replied
sarcastically “Believe it or not, I have a very busy schedule in my spare time, major football matches to be played, against the surrounding streets, lands to be explored
before there built over with more houses and factories to employ the occupants and offspring of the houses in Finglas.” I said as earnestly as I could, trying to
serious. Mauve looked at me with a hesitant smile and said, “Ye, I believe ye, now do ye want an egg or what”
“What’s WHAT, I said, being a smartarse, is it nicer than an egg, can ye make a
sandwich out of it, or WHAT.” I said. Waiting for clip on the ear which came, lightly, immediately along with the title of Cheeky bastard. Funny that because I Always
thought my name was , little bollix, that’s what my other sister always called me when she echoed up the street to get me in for me Dinner, get in here , Yer dinners poured ya little bollix, she would roar.
Dora was sitting in her chair, one of those new-fangled ones a child can rock back and forth, bouncy chairs I think they call them. She was enjoying the banter, even though
it was all double Dutch to her, she was roaring laughing at us, so I leaned down to her
and asked what she was laughing at, playfully, don’t think it would be received to well
if I said it and meant it, I could end up with a thick lip and get no bacon. I let her play with my finger and was reminded again that she was getting teeth.
Breakfast was out, three plates placed at the sides of the table, with an egg on each, to be filled from dishes centrally placed on the table laden with sausage’s, bacon, black, white pudding and tomatoes. There was a plate of bread there too, for us to help
ourselves with. Nicest part of the breakfast is always the tea, for some reason the tea tastes so much better with a fry. Second cups are always had, and sometimes third
cups. Dave arrived in just as the breakie was being dished out, dressed in overalls, he had a nixer on. Like most Saturdays he had an extra bit of work outside, on a car,
extra money always came in handy. When we had finished eating, Dave nodded at me silently to follow him, I was done eating so I did as I was instructed, trying not to
draw attention to myself, but Dora started to call for me and Mauve copped on to us, she slagged Dave for trying to get away without doing the dishes, it wouldn't have occurred to me do dishes, until recent times I assumed new replacement cups and plates were used every day, every time we ate. I was shocked when 0ne day I
suddenly discovered my Mom was the one who did all the work in the kitchen. We got out to the car with Mauves' scorn ringing in our ears. Bonnet was up and,
sleeves rolled up, brake pads were removed, brake fluid was then emptied. Time flew in and before we knew it the job was done and we were getting cleaned up. “Make sure you pair don’t make a mess,” Mauve yelled up the stairs as we cleaned
up. Swarfiga first, breaking down all the oil and grease, then heavy scented fancy
soap that strangely reminded me of the red bars of soap my mother used to scrub us
with every Saturday night, to be purified for mass on Sunday morning. Dave brushed his reddish brown hair to the bottom of his neck and handed me the brush, I gave my almost black hair a quick brush without looking in the mirror. We came back down the stairs and Mauve put the kettle on, “Will ya be out with your Ma and Da 97
tomorrow” she said, “should it not be our Mother, or is there a family secret I don’t know about” I replied. “Don’t let your Ma hear you talking like that, or you’ll have her popping Valium again and throwing one of her Hissy fits” She said flippantly.
“I’m not that stupid,” I said. Knowing this was one of those unspoken truths about our Mom, for some reason that I didn’t understand.
Biographical Note: Mike Gallagher
Mike Gallagher, writer, poet and editor, was born on Achill Island and worked in London for forty years before retiring to Kerry. His prose, poetry, haiku and songs have been published in Ireland and throughout Europe, America, Australia, Nepal, India, Thailand, Japan and Canada. His writing has been translated into Croatian, Japanese, Dutch, German, Italian and Chinese.
He won the Michael Hartnett Viva Voce competition in 2010 and 2016, was shortlisted for the Hennessy Award in 2011 and won the Desmond O'Grady International Poetry Contest in 2012.
His poetry collection Stick on Stone was published by Revival Press in 2013.
(Mike Gallagher) Four and ninety years apart, stand my bookends,
an uncle now grown old, a grandson, not yet two.
Between them, stacked, are tales of war, none won, of nations born and great empires undone; stories of romance, of broken hearts, joy of births, painful deaths; dispersal of our island race,
the blooded drag of clan's embrace; weariness of a world worn down, hope of a world cheerily young.
Distanced by an ocean, a disparity in age, my bookends could, now and ever after, our cares and worries soon assuage were we to share their laughter.
Nature or Nurture (Mike Gallagher) As I walk along Dromáda
I prod at Billy’s dyke and ponder
as I watch the waters gush I feel the memories rush back
to my mother –
she could not stand stuck water – and I wonder who really pokes
The Silent Witness (Mike Gallagher)
Old silvered mirror rests in rustic frame,
cold swivelled witness of life's light and shade.
Brown scapular hangs from its rough-turned stud, threadbare relic of some forgotten prayer; by its mantle, I-Pod sits, jangled apostle of today's newfangled god.
Tonight, familiars pass by its burnished skin, keep company, swap litanies;
Mother, Grandmother, Daughter, Granddaughter: women of the house, mistresses of the heirloom.
sharers of sorrows and joys, stratagems and ploys. bringers of life; granite hard, but brittle as glass that saw tears rinse your first breath, and now, unhazed, reflects your last.
(Mike Gallagher) Before this, he toddled,
bounced off stools, bumped off chairs, staggered around the room, grabbed the tangible, grasped the abstract, scary gap between him and
his come-to-me Mum. Tonight, an airport lounge
offered scope, the space to probe new limits, no limits.
Of a sudden, he had taken off:
taxied between mock marble walls, scampered across terrazzo floors, scrambled along alluring aisles, played the gallery,
swerved, steadied, stopped, swaggered into childhood.
Biographical Note: Michael Leach Michael Leach is a health researcher, biostatistician, and wordsmith. His creative writing, including poetry, has been published in The Galway Review, The Copperfield Review, A New Ulster, Pulse â€“ Voices from the Heart of Medicine, The Medical Journal of Australia, and Medical Humanities. Michael is an Australian who identifies with his Irish ancestry. He resides in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia.
My British and Irish Ancestry (Michael Leach) As I
Age below the
Warm sun and Southern Cross,
Ancestral sounds resonate from Lush isles.
If you fancy submitting something but haven’t done so yet, or if you would like to send us some further examples of your work, here are our submission guidelines: SUBMISSIONS
NB – All artwork must be in either BMP or JPEG format. Indecent and/or offensive images will not be published, and anyone found to be in breach of this will be reported to the police.
Images must be in either BMP or JPEG format.
Please include your name, contact details, and a short biography. You are welcome to include a photograph of yourself – this may be in colour or black and white.
We cannot be responsible for the loss of or damage to any material that is sent to us, so please send copies as opposed to originals. Images may be resized in order to fit “On the Wall”. This is purely for practicality.
E-mail all submissions to: email@example.com and title your message as follows: (Type of work here) submitted to “A New Ulster” (name of writer/artist here); or for younger contributors: “Letters to the Alley Cats” (name of contributor/parent or guardian here). Letters, reviews and other communications such as Tweets will be published in “Round the Back”. Please note that submissions may be edited. All copyright remains with the original author/artist, and no infringement is intended. These guidelines make sorting through all of our submissions a much simpler task, allowing us to spend more of our time working on getting each new edition out!
July 2016’s MESSAGE FROM THE ALLEYCATS: Poetry, Prose Oh My!.
Well, that’s just about it from us for this edition everyone. Thanks again to all of the artists who submitted their work to be presented “On the Wall”. As ever, if you didn’t make it into this edition, don’t despair! Chances are that your submission arrived just too late to be included this time. Check out future editions of “A New Ulster” to see your work showcased “On the Wall”.
We continue to provide a platform for poets and artists around the world we want to offer our thanks to the following for their financial support Richard Halperin, John Grady, P.W. Bridgman, Bridie Breen, John Byrne, Arthur Broomfield, Silva Merjanin, Orla McAlinden, Michael Whelan, Sharon Donnell, Damien Smyth, Arthur Harrier, Maire Morrissey Cummins, Alistair Graham, Strider Marcus Jones Our anthologies
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 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.