Burning Bush 2, issue 8

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The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

The Burning Bush2 issue # 8 Summer 2015


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

The Burning Bush 2 issue eight Editorial


Niall McDevitt Jessamine O’Connor Robyn Sykes Matthew Geden Katie Sheehan Daniel Ayiotis Pansy Maurer-Alvarez Alan Weadick Nyaradzo Masunda Philip Cummins Amanda Bell Rehan Qayoon Kevin Higgins

4 5 7 8 9 10 11 13 14 15 16 17 18

Firing Slit (3) In Time Dislocated Labels The Smoke Late afternoon, flightless in the city Recipe for Disaster Wisdom, the Immigrant, Earth D4 A Letter from Rome Irish Water Tuam Speak The Islamisation of Birmingham



Ailbhe Darcy reviews Dylan Brennan Joseph Horgan on George Charlton

John Fitzgerald Maureen Curran Joan Jobe Smith Partho P. Chakrabartty Sheila Mannix Edward O’Dwyer J V Birch Paul Koniecki Jennifer Matthews Fred Voss

25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 34 36

Light Itinerary No Metaphor Need Apply I Can’t Breathe Asbestos in a cramped neighbourhood Google Translates PIIGS The Poet as Messi Fan Nothing to Wear Dust Eater Flat Viewings Running Over the Dream



Joseph Horgan reviews Mary Madec and Jessica Traynor

Michael Ceraolo Peter Donnelly Michael Ray Suzanna Fitzpatrick Michael J. Whelan Fióna Bolger Anne Tannam Majel Haugh Rangzeb Hussain Michael Farry Graham Allen Michael Dooley Noel King Tomas De Faoite

41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 53 54 55

Reading Kipling on Kipling The Banker’s Characters The butcher’s dilemma The Shepard’s Husband Question love cure for a bad back An Act of Faraway Fields I am labelled This Winter Trojan Horse Last Passage Driving Back to Incheegeela Boxes


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Editorial Ah, you know, you just stumble along don’t you? Get it right, get it wrong, get it right or wrong. Go to bed and sleep the sleep of the just. Go to bed feeling, well, I fucked that up. Get up. Go again. Remember Beckett. Fail better. Go again. That’s how it is, isn’t it? Why should it be any different in this role? Choose what’s good, what’s not. Christ, how do I know? I’m only making it up. Aren’t you? So, yes, I read a lot. A lot. Much rather read than write. Any day. Any time. All day long. As Logan Pearsall Smith said, thanks for this one Mathew, ‘people say that life is the thing but I prefer reading.’ So I read vociferously. Book after book after book. Read all the journals and the magazines. You probably won’t have met me, as I’ve got three young kids and I work nights, so there’s a good chance I won’t have been at your reading. But there’s a good chance I’ve been reading you. And, yes, I’ve bought my own hotchpotch of opinions and prejudices to my editorial role. I’m the son of Irish immigrants to Birmingham who was reaching adulthood when Margaret Thatcher was systematically attempting to erase the working classes of England. I lived that and I still fight the old battles. Drank whiskey when Thatcher died, lit a brazier in the yard to mark the anniversary of the miner’s strike. I won’t have Murdoch in the house and I think Jeremy Clarkson is Bernard Manning for posh people. But, listen, I’ve tried to do my best by you here. I’ve judged your poems purely for their poetry. And I thank you all for picking up the pen, for trying to shape existence in this way. It was heartening to realise there are so many people who feel the same, strange compulsion. Sorry when I got it wrong. I have. But in the poems below, I’m pretty sure I haven’t.

Joseph Horgan


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Niall McDevitt Firing Slit (3) The wall we see today was built at the initiative of the Turkish Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in 1535-38. The Ottoman Wall consists of 35 towers, 344 fighting slits, 4 fortified gates, and two postern gates. The fortifications were beautifully decorated with geometrical and floral carvings, and in one instance were even adorned with cheetahs that had been removed from an ancient fortification. Inlaid between the wall’s building stones are 16 inscriptions that mention the name of its builder, Sultan Suleyman, and inscriptions giving thanks to the Lord upper sentry path, crenellations, decorations, embrasures, lower sentry path, firing slits looking for Jeremiah’s Grotto, spying through a loophole: Arab Bank Ltd, a Gold Corn stall, Beauty Shop, a shwarma-eater surrounded by cats dying for hot meat, sports shops, Ghassan Jewellery, fruit stalls, the Markana Press “for all kinds of printing and security cameras”, Siam Pharmacy, Baraka Stores, the Golden Walls Hotel, a tall ornate gate with the words JERUSALEM COMMERCIAL CENTRE, the shwarma-eater kicking at cats, the white-blue buses of East Jerusalem, the shwarma-eater spilling meat ‘disaster will come from the north’ warned Jeremiah I see disaster, I see disaster approaching, I see disaster approaching at speed, I see disaster approaching at the speed of cheetahs

(Jerusalem, 2014)

Niall McDevitt is an Irish poet living in London, author of two collections: b/w (Waterloo Press 2010) and Porterloo (International Times 2013).


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Jessamine O’Connor In Time The house heals itself of broken windows, peeling paint, fading looks. A scatter of glass gathers on the bedroom carpet, and lifts, becomes a flock of fragmented sunlight, beating towards a jagged frame. The pieces hover, jostle and fuse, cracks melt, the pane clears, a window is born. Other carpets shimmer, the house tinkles with chirruping glass lifting off. Then fluttering photographs, their features unfolding, faces relaxing, eyeing with pleasure each others strange outfits, fastening generation gaps spanning centuries. Finally they file off to the wardrobe, arranging themselves into reunions by date, place, event, and era. Back in packets, restored to order, they’re at ease after the trauma of the floor. The furniture rights itself, and all the ransacked things go back to where they were, when they were hers. Rocks and pebbles start to rock then roll and thump down dust-spraying stairs, through the hall,


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

and outside, the paint regenerates, bubbling from shutters and facia like fuchsia, blooming, a fresh fleshy pink, like a new baby, like when it was new.

Jessamine O Connor’s chapbooks Hellsteeth and A Skyful of Kites, are available from www.jessamineoconnor.com. Living in south Sligo, she facilitates the Wrong Side of the Tracks Writers, and The Hermit Collective: www.hermitcollective.weebly.com. Her publications include Agenda; Poetry NZ; Skylight47; The Stinging Fly, Abridged, New Irish Writing, and The Galway Review.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Robyn Sykes Dislocated labels Imagine that the broadcast hype mixed stereo- and mono-type; misread the tags that suffocate, misallocate and dislocate. Middle Eastern white suburban hairy-legged soothing white coat

Toryist, terrorist; pharmacist, feminist.

Indigenous industrial queue ignoring smartly trained our

efficiency, delinquency; employees, refugees.

Menopausal corporations’ greenie vegan red-necked farmer

greasy ladders, leaky bladders; cattle beater, lentil eater.

Those lazy, crazy, hazy tags suck self-esteem like vacuum bags; cap prejudice of potted pap that poly-fills the knowledge gap. Am I eastern or suburban? Born to burqa, thongs or turban? Native-born or new arrival? Free or forced to grab survival? Although a sculptor fashioned me, the tags bring doubt I’m worth his fee. So how can I convince the world if my belief stays tightly furled? The artist’s subtle new technique shaped my unique, boutique mystique. For skinless, we are abstract art, our worth revealed when heart-to-heart.

Robyn Sykes is an Australian poet with numerous awards for her writing. A former newspaper editor, she currently runs a farm in New South Wales with her husband and is working on her second poetry collection.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Matthew Geden The Smoke He watches lives burn to a nub-end, the kids on the corner metamorphosise in the early morning light to a death rattle on a park bench as a fine mist suffocates the sky, reduces everything to a monochrome stillness interrupted by the occasional blaze of lips. The city lives he thought he might have lived seem like fairy tales read by an absent parent; soothing words in which he succumbs to sleep, floats in an unreachable universe. In real time his routine consists of a queue for the dole, the humiliation of a hand-out that doesn’t touch him, withdraws at once from his outstretched grasp. On the way out he fixes the floor with a steady stare as though following a trail of breadcrumbs that will take him home. And so the day slides past him, boredom dogs his hours, the faithful clock ticks away monotonously counting down to zero. Open to the benign indifference of the world he unpockets a bag of weed, rolls a large joint packed and tamped down with tender care. As night falls through the floorboards he lights up and lies back to think of the next day’s plans, the nothing that will follow, the meaningless curls and clouds of smoke.

Matthew Geden was born in England and has lived in Kinsale, Co Cork since 1990. His most recent publication is The Place Inside published by Dedalus Press.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Katie Sheehan Late afternoon, flightless in the city It's nothing the crows haven't seen before― another pair coupling as though there were such a thing as privacy here. Two learning to tremble still after years together. It is not enough that the birds already know what will happen. We retrace the ways we've made across each other's skin, looking for what we might have missed, as though surprise could be its own kind of forgiveness, hallowing for a moment the selves we've always been. The crows complain from power lines and chimney tops. The neighbours shout to one another over railings. We have no time to listen. There aren't even hours left of the sun streaming in through the open door, and these bodies are the only ones we have.

Katie Sheehan is a doctoral candidate in Trinity College Dublin. Her work has previously appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The Moth and Southword, and was selected for the 2013 Poetry Ireland Introductions Series.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Daniel Ayiotis Recipe for Disaster Take your raw ingredients. Check the skin for firmness and colour. Bruising is not necessarily a bad thing. Be sure to apply rigid routine to the cooking process as pre-determined by our Chef. Popular varieties include: “Lonely,” “Frustrated and Stressed,” “Extremely Hostile,” “Depressed,” and, “Unhappy.” Ingredients are cheap – ranging from €9.60 per child to €19.10 per adult. To prepare ingredients: Place huddled in a single box room. Check regularly to ensure they are psychologically frustrated and creativity is being restricted. Ingredients should then be forcefully removed with no prior warning. Garnish with envy and serve.

Note: This poem came about as part of a creative workshop called Imagining Sanctuary. Facilitated by poets Fióna Bolger and Turlach O’Broin, it aimed at bringing together asylum seekers and local arts people in the spirit of exploring Dublin as a welcoming place. It was written in reaction to a first-hand account of life under the direct provision system. The highlighted words were the ones that struck me and which I highlighted while reading the piece, and the poem was written around them. Regarding the euro figures in the tenth line, they are the weekly payments given to asylum seekers by the Department of Social Welfare.

Daniel Ayiotis began writing regularly in November 2012 after joining the Dublin Writers' Forum. He has recited short stories, poems, drama and satire at various performance nights around Dublin. During 2014 his writing was accepted for publication in Colony, the Haunted Traveler, Census, HeadSpace, Anomalie, ESC Zine and We Long to Belong.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Pansy Maurer-Alvarez Wisdom, the Immigrant, Earth To go stepwise and step sideways, brushing the doorframes of houses being vacated, a leather jacket over one shoulder making slight noise with each step. Someone throws open a window and this part becomes really easy to remember because everything is in its place, as if it had been committed to recorded memory, or so it seemed, as it once was, while we stood there catching our breaths and taking in the full presence of each other again in a room. I see myself waiting before the mirror of a night retrospectively where we become shadow play figures recalling drunken party kisses with reluctance, the new green of leaves down our street in lamplight and blood one night on your forehead. We are so acute in blame. We come apart the way trills in the right hand of a high octave lift off the keyboard – how we feel this in fingers and forearms on certain days more grievously, more graciously than others. To suppose to know, to think again. About such knowing and such desire. We come striding out of a thought although it still idles in the room like vapor. To open up space, to lean into the freed-up space and tend towards each other like this. To question durability. We step grammatically into foreign sentences and as we advance in our phrasing, each syllable becomes a heavy sentence to be born forthwith out of this shared memory apprehensively, gravely, and with ceremony. To address space tantalizingly, to use figures of speech, because the body is so important it undulates through our serenity like a beautiful, fragile dress. Alone, face to face, without premonition or pretext, we spy through the keyholes of each other's individualities. What chimera imposes itself on the sensuality of our imaginings in these moments? We were pulled into that room, two people resilient and resplendent, and simultaneously we entered each other's consciousness and foreignness. We weren't looking for anything we kept saying, we hadn't defined anything yet. Much later we saw a dark-eyed woman in a painting, clutching oranges to her bare breasts and staring into the distance behind us; Naranjas y limones that's her space, but sometimes thigh to thigh we ourselves have thought like that, dipping in and out of each other's vocabularies all afternoon towards just such a distance. We came to a point where everything about us seemed curious and we tried to answer for it.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

As though another figure appeared in the room to hand us an envelope and the opening of the envelope were accentuated by our not expecting photos of you. Immediately we fall down the stairwell of the ordinary dimensions of a childhood, without sentimentality because we think they are diminutive strangers looking back at us and we might even laugh. To recognize the shape of a knee, a stance or facial expression that might denote just what holds your story together. If we veer towards that harmful place, you'll put the photos away and the symmetrical arrangement depicted before us will be rent asunder, it will swing up, float and be scattered in the spring air like tree pollen. To open interpretation. Small things flower in the mind and take the shape of a flower opening towards full blossom. To deposit this flower, respectfully and without any regret for its beauty, on the windowsill and turn away from the wide open window in a slow-motion sweep. To look back at you, to look back on you with a different woman's regard. Without words in our sonorous throats, without our beautiful arms responding to the sensuous pull of a departure.

Pansy Maurer-Alvarez was born in Puerto Rico, completed her literary studies at universities in the USA, Switzerland and Spain, and now lives and writes in France. Her work has appeared in numerous publications across Europe and the US and in several anthologies. Some poems have been translated into French, German and Spanish. Her latest poetry collection is In a Form of Suspension (corrupt press, Paris, 2014) and she has four previous collections. She is a contributing editor to the British magazine, Tears in the Fence and curates the monthly reading series Poets Live in Paris.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Alan Weadick D4 Up above

in D 4

they say

down below in the back of beyond kow-towing with full-on fury to the sound of two fingers taking the air signifying everything

Alan Weadick has had poems published in a variety of journals, online and print, including past issues of Burning Bush 2 and most recently Crannog, The Stony Thursday Book and Cyphers. He was selected for Poetry Ireland's Introductions series in 2013. A short story "Floater" was broadcast on RTE 1 for the Francis McManus Short Story Competition. He lives in Dublin.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Nyaradzo Masunda A Letter from Rome I can say I speak for most of us when I say it hasn’t been easy when we got here in Rome. We faced a lot of challenges or should I say the challenges faced us. Though it sounds like one and the same thing I still find as though at first the challenges faced us and as time went by we became able to face them. I cannot outline all here now; we will discuss them over the fire one night when I am back. When we got here, we found out the Romans have made a drink from old times and it is time. It is a dark drink that seems to revolt as it’s poured, you can imagine, time liquidised and contained. The locals here seem to drink it smoothly though, to our disgust we find it impossible to down, we have however devised a way, by holding our noses and shutting our eyes we can force it down our throats without tasting the bitterness. We have our own Guinness Book of Records; we enter the names of those among us who can down a glass without tears. Some already boast that they can no longer drink anything else except this. We meet often to celebrate achievements like these and to encourage those lagging. We also found out, and came as a surprise, that the Romans do not live in the house of God as you may have assumed. Most of them have a special relationship with God which means they celebrate birth by baptism, marriage by weddings and of course funerals. I miss the drums at mass, I know I may have found the drums a little disturbing before but their absence seems to be killing something in me or should I say has created a lack of a resuscitation mechanism that was keeping me alive.

Nyaradzo Masunda was born in Gutu district of Zimbabwe in 1972. Her poetry was recently published in the anthology Landing Places by immigrant poets in Ireland and in The Stony Thursday Book. She has read her poetry on RTE Arena Programme, Cork’s Sound Eye Poetry Festival and at Irish Aid Africa Day Celebration.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Phillip Cummins Irish Water (i) Generous, brimming with love, glass- half- full This is how the sister of Meath man Colm McCann (forty seven) remembered her late brother (missing since Monday), owner and sole inheritor of McCann’s filling station, located on the Old Dublin Road. Due to challenge the granting of the Circuit Civil Court of a repossession order on his home near the Boyne Valley, Mr. McCann had recently appeared in the High Court before his body was found, washed up, on the banks of the Boyne. Gardaí are not treating Mr. McCann’s death as suspicious. (ii) In other news: A new report leaked from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government reveals that water charges may end up costing taxpayers much more than what was originally believed.

Philip Cummins was born in 1984 and grew up in Drumconrath, County Meath. A graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University’s MA in Creative Writing, he was shortlisted for the 2013 Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award. His poems have previously appeared in Cyphers and his literary criticism appears regularly in The Irish Post’s RíRá supplement. He lives and works in Dublin.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Amanda Bell Tuam Once more we are called upon to lay our wafers on the body politic, take them one by one, place them on our tongues, absorb the failings of the state, digest the blind-eyes turned. All this we do, in silence, and remembrance of you.

Amanda Bell is a freelance editor and doctoral candidate in UCD. Her poetry has appeared in Crann贸g, The Stinging Fly, Burning Bush 2, Skylight 47, The Clearing and The Ofi Press Literary Magazine. In 2014 she was shortlisted for the C煤irt New Writing Award and the Strokestown International Poetry Prize.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Rehan Qayoom Speak After Faiz.

Speak, because your lips are free Speak, because you have a tongue Because your golden body belongs only to you Because you are still alive See how in the blacksmith's shop The flame burns wild, the iron glows red; The locks open their jaws, And every chain begins to break. Speak, for this moment is long enough Before the death of the body and the tongue Speak, because the truth lives yet Speak, say what you have to

Rehan Qayoom is a poet, editor and translator educated at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has featured in numerous literary publications and performed his work at international venues. He is the author of Prose 1997 - 2008, (2009) and two books of poetry After Parveen Shakir, (2011) and About Time, (2012).


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Kevin Higgins The Islamisation of Birmingham “there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Moslems just simply don’t go” -

Steve Emerson, Terrorism Expert, on Fox News

Most reckon it was the day Ozzy Osbourne walked out the gates of Winson Green Prison, ready to commit acts of musical terrorism in a desperate effort to undermine Christ, that the City began turning instead to Mecca. All agree the situation grew more serious each time Roy Wood sang: I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday in the hope we wouldn’t notice the big mad beard he got at a training camp in Pakistan. Spaghetti Junction was already jammed with Moslem only vehicles, the night the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town were blown up by Moslems disguised as IRA men. Since then every nil all draw between Aston Villa and Birmingham City has been celebrated by stadiums half full of nothing but Moslems. Truth is, it started way back, the night Chamberlain signed his secret treaty with Adolf, agreeing in the event of war with Russia, to hand the birthplace of Enoch Powell over to the Islams. These days the local economy is mostly Jaguar Cars and Cadbury’s chocolate being secretly manufactured by Moslems for export to terrorist countries busy thinking up new ways to kill us.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Note: All people, pubs, companies, and football teams mentioned in this poem are native to Birmingham, with the exception of the late Adolf Hitler, who was born in the small Austrian town of Braunau am Inn, though his people did visit Birmingham in 1940, 41, 42, & 43.

Kevin Higgins was born in London in 1967 to Irish parents. He is co-organiser of Over the Edge literary events in Galway, Ireland, writer-in-residence at Merlin Park Hospital and poetry critic of the Galway Advertiser. He has published four collections of poetry: The Boy With No Face (2005), Time Gentlemen, Please (2008), Frightening New Furniture (2010) and The Ghost In The Lobby (2014). His work has also featured in the anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and in The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Bloodaxe, 2014).


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Review Ailbhe Darcy reviews Blood Oranges (The Dreadful Press, 2014) by Dylan Brennan In the second half of the nineteenth century, France, Britain, the United States and Mexico staged a series of attempted land grabs on a tiny island off the southwest coast of Mexico. The island, Clipperton, was difficult to reach and almost inhabitable. But it was blessed with a layer of shite. Guano was known to be general all over Clipperton and the various interested parties believed it could be valuable as a fertilizer. By 1910, all the various attempts at settling and mining the island had been abandoned. The only remaining inhabitants were thirteen men from the Mexican army who had been sent to guard it, their wives, children and servants, and a reclusive lighthouse-keeper called Victoriano Álvarez. Elsewhere, a process of arbitration had been set in motion, to finally decide which nation had claim over the island. For various reasons (including the Mexican revolution) the countries involved had gradually stopped sending ships to Clipperton. Supplies began to run out. The adult men on the island began to die of scurvy. There followed a series of small catastrophes, which the women and children from the army survived. The men did not. And at this point Álvarez, the lighthouse-keeper, declared himself king of Clipperton and began to systematically rape and beat his new “subjects” over a period of nearly two years. The story of Clipperton Island – its attempted colonization, its bloody little tyranny – is one of a handful of events in Mexican history with which Dylan Brennan’s debut collection Blood Oranges is fascinated. These events situate and shape the collection, making of it an admirably coherent whole. Brennan, like Ciarán Berry in The Dead Zoo and Sinéad Morrissey in Parallax, possesses a coldness of eye, a willingness to comb through history for captivating details and curate them in the service of art. Perhaps this tendency, in Brennan as in Berry and Morrissey, is a reaction against the selfcastigating eye of Heaney in “Punishment”, Mahon in “A Disused Shed” and Muldoon in “Turkey Buzzards” – and all those bleeding-heart poems in which the artist anxiously picks apart his own exploitation of the vulnerable material. Despite his performance of flinching in “Irma” (“Irma / you are made / of iron and I will / look away.”) Brennan’s poetry tends towards the chillingly unflinching, whether regarding sacrificed children, ritual genital mutilation or the drowned body of a kidnapped acquaintance: Upon the sedimentary base of the Río Grande or Río Bravo (depending on your line of approach) his corpse was found. It probably stank. It was probably bloated and purple and was definitely shackled.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Lyric poetry is always a little nervous of seeming feminine, sentimental, twee. But if Blood Oranges were a T.V. series, Netflix would put it in its “Strong Female Characters” section. Women in it give gory birth in the street, hack off heads. Men drink mescal, eat seal meat and have at women. The story of Clipperton ends with two of his “subjects” beating and stabbing Victoriano Álvarez to death. This is, we might say, manly fare. For my money, though, the book only truly comes alive when Brennan takes a more personal tack. In “The Men in Fake Uniforms” the poet imagines what it might have been like if he was kidnapped and murdered instead of the acquaintance he writes about. This is a more modest poem than others in Blood Oranges. It’s more or less prose, loosely structured by anaphora. It doesn’t formally signal “modernist influences” the way some of the other poems do. It’s just a little bit funny and just a little bit frightening. It feels honest – though of course it uses the oldest tricks in the poetry game to appear so – and the reader is allowed to be affected in the oldest, simplest way: I would’ve begged for mercy. I would’ve told them about the economic disaster in Ireland, that the folks back home would be hard pressed to come up with that kind of cash. I would’ve worried about the lack of sunlight and the lack of vitamins and the lack of fresh air and clean clothes; worried about the chances of ending up with rickets, my bones more fragile, cracking more obediently when they kicked my ribs; worried about dehydration and accepted the offer from the kidnapper’s sister-in-law, perverse and motherly, to suckle at her nipples in the half-light. I would’ve heard the sounds of frying food and football commentary from a closed room that I’d never enter. “The Men in Fake Uniforms” accumulates small insights and then stops. It allows us to return to the beginning of Blood Oranges and re-read with a new sense that the book might have a human heart. It belies the ponderous declaration, at the close of another poem on the same subject, that Every death is an unacceptable affront. The inexplicable murder of a young orchestral conductor is a dark leaden palm that pushes down on the lungs. Let it be known and understood – there is nothing to be learned from this.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

I have no doubt that this declaration is heartfelt. But it is not earned in the course of the poem which leads to it, and it is too sure of itself. Brennan is better when he doesn’t know or understand, and forges ahead anyway, leading us along step by step. The act of imagining oneself into the victim’s place in “The Men in Fake Uniforms” is foreshadowed in a much earlier poem in Blood Oranges, when Bernal Díaz “stumbles upon / the severed heads of his companions / and imagines his own beard upon an altar, / matted and hard – black dirt and blood.” Beautifully constructed, Blood Oranges is full of such foreshadowings and symmetries. Brennan doesn’t push the Irish connections – “Ireland” in this collection reduces to a recurring yen for greasy chips doused in vinegar – but the relevance of his writing about colonization, identity, gender and violence to an Irish readership is obvious. There has been a bit of a buzz surrounding the publication of his début, and I think that’s right. Brennan is a big shot.

Ailbhe Darcy was born in Dublin in 1981 and brought up there, and currently lives in Germany. She has published her poetry in Ireland, Britain and the USA. Selections of her work are included in the Bloodaxe anthologies Identity Parade and Voice Recognition, and in her pamphlet A Fictional Dress (tall-lighthouse, 2009). Imaginary Menagerie (Bloodaxe Books, 2011), her first book-length collection, was shortlisted for Ireland's Strong Award at Poetry Now / Mountains to the Sea.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Editor’s Choice Guest Editor Joseph Horgan discusses Nightshift Workers - from the collection of the same name (Bloodaxe, 1989) - by George Charlton. Badly taught and inattentive, disconnected, reading became my bolthole. This peculiar discipline that somehow put a shape on the world and left a kid on an inner city street, by a river, up a mountain, in a forest, outside a log cabin and on another planet. Poetry was different though, just out of reach, sometimes there, sometimes not, seemed a lot of the time, when I’d figured it out, to be talking to itself. Yet something about it, some heightened, precise emotion amongst all of that heightened language appeared to have a possibility of exactness; a pristine clarity that avoided definition but was definitive. If fiction was every weather there could ever be, poetry was snow. It made everything look different but more itself, all at the same time. The poem below became, for me, the moment of realisation. I’ve worked nights on and off for over twenty years and my father worked nights throughout his immigrant working life. I know all of the patterns and the silences that make up that existence. George Charlton’s simple, straightforward poem, from the collection of the same name, captures that as if a documentary. It has the immediacy for me of lived experience. More than that, though, it said to me that poetry, poetry of all the refined, polite, ethereal things, could talk about this very thing, of public transport and long hours and low pay and no pay and somehow making-ends-meet. Not in the way of dogma or relevance or manifesto. Just truth. I went along the shelves and there were any number of collections or single poems that gave me that special moment, the realisation that feels like a memory, or sets the world in a different light. As a poet, though, George Charlton’s poem is the one that made me think I might be able to write too and that still now fills me with the deepest and fullest artistic satisfaction.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

George Charlton Nightshift Workers They have come from a factory Where fluorescent strips flared all night And ears grew numb to machinery. They are going home to working wives, To cooling beds at breakfast time, Undressing fatigue from their skin like clothes. Later to wake at four and taste teeth Soft as fur in their mouths. They live in a dislocation of hours Inside-out like socks pulled on in darkness Waking when the day is over. They are always at an ebb, unlike others Going out to work in the morning Where sun and moon shine in the sky together.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

John FitzGerald Light Itinerary The backside bulb of the pale grey walking man is flashing as though his phone’s on silent in his back pocket ringing, or he’s left the flashlight app set to strobe. Slightly stooped, his workmanlike right arm makes him seem like a backpacker, hiking city crossings, pavements, parks: elusive, sketchy, faceless, like the haggard trolley-hauling homeless who are everywhere here, their eyes avoiding yours avoiding theirs as if to say: go, don’t go, go, don’t go, go.

John FitzGerald's poetry has been published recently in Poetry Ireland Review, and in the Irish Times, Irish Independent and Irish Examiner newspapers. He was the winner of the 2014 Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award and was been shortlisted for a 2015 Hennessy New Irish Writing Award. He was a jury member for the RTE Poem for Ireland campaign and a Key West Literary Seminar bursary holder.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Maureen Curran No metaphor need apply This sticky rain doesn’t trickle. The air is full of it you can walk into it, watch it drift-shift before it loosens and reforms where it swims. It’s the colour of a swarm of midges. A pointillist’s rain, dabs of it smite my vision diffusing the failing light confident it can carry it a while and not allow the evening darken; rather lengthen this moment. See, it’s still waiting for me, holding back the dark. I like that it rains this beautifully and though a poem about rain won’t stop the whip from lashing, the sword from falling won’t get between a bullet and a man’s flesh, I want to teach the love of the rain, to believe in the love of rain.

Maureen Curran is one of the organisers of the North West Words readings in Letterkenny. Her poems have appeared in Boyne Berries, Crannóg, Envoi, Poetry Bus, Revival, the Stony Thursday Book, Skylight 47, Southword and Word Bohemia. Her flash fiction has been published online by wordlegs.com. She lives in Donegal where she works as a teacher.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Joan Jobe Smith I Can't Breathe I can't breathe. The smoke from the pyre burning me alive because my name is Joan in Rouen chokes me. Othello stifles me with a pillow. Bill Sikes smites me with his big stick till I fall face down upon the floor to ask the dust. A Nazi shaves my head and hands me a bar of soap for my shower in Auschwitz and right now I am watching on my computer this video of a big cop sitting on my chest as he laughs, tells me a joke, while he punches me in the face with his big fists a cop big enough to sign with the NFL play first string, win a Super Bowl. Have you ever had a big dude with a big ass like that sit on your chest? Scream hyena into your face? I have. Cracks your rib bones, busts your eardrums, and breaks your heart. That happened to me 50 years ago and that rotter got Soledad maximum security prison while that cop gets salary and a pension and it just happened again right now fuck I'm watching it on my computer this video of her, that woman the cop stopped for no reason except she drove a dirty old car and I'm watching her, you, me, in the privacy of my own home, minding my own business now minding her, your and the world's business and I can't fucking BREATHE. Can you?

Joan Jobe Smith's work has been published in The Shop, and extensively in UK literary journals such as AMBIT and The North. Her Pow Wow Cafe was a Forward Prize finalist in 1999. She has recently published a memoir, Tales of an Ancient GoGo Girl, documenting her life in 1960s-70s Los Angeles.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Partho P. Chakrabartty Asbestos awning in a cramped neighbourhood The secret door through which the world enters the matchbox home is not a door at all, it is a window, two-by-four. And below, like a wind-swollen skirt is the awning, which, above as below bears witness. Here lies the daredevil plastic motorcyclist who vaulted over the sill, here the secret cigarette stubs and a condom-wrapper, shyly stuck to this crumpled grey carpet for birds. Here, too, the patterns the rain made when it clattered, and a comb, from the days she would comb her hair by the window, her lips pursed, a glow in her eyes stealing a star here, there a patch of sky.

Partho P. Chakrabartty is a poet from Mumbai, India. His poems have previously been published on nthposition.com and in Nether, a Mumbai literary magazine.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Sheila Mannix Google Translates PIIGS* bulls make money & bears make money but pigs just get slaughtered translated into Portuguese, Italian, Greek, Spanish & Irish, then back into English by Google Translate, Spring 2014 [Portuguese] bulls make money & bears make money but only if pigs slaughtered [Italian] bulls make money & bears make money but pigs are slaughtered only [Greek] bulls make money & bears make money but pigs just slaughtered [Spanish] bulls make money & bears make money but pigs just get slaughtered [Irish] bulls make money & bears blitz money but only destroying pig sty

*PIIGS is an acronym used in economics and finance. Originating in the 1990s, the term refers to the economies of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

Sheila Mannix lives in West Cork. Her work has been broadcast on RTE Radio1 and has appeared in Cyphers, Southword, The Poetry Bus, The Bohemyth, The SHOp, Irish Left Review (Ireland); Wurm im Apfel’s can can poezine (Scotland) and Ping Pong: the journal of the Henry Miller Library (USA). She was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions series 2013. http://www.sheilamannix.wordpress.com


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Edward O'Dwyer. The Poet as Messi Fan I saw the poetry in your every touch of the ball, your movements off the ball decisive as a sonnet’s couplet. Cristiano Ronaldo is always prose to me, no more than a wonderful second best. I tried to convince everyone that preferred him why you were better, couldn’t help myself, though I knew you’d never approve; that you didn’t care about any comparisons; that there was no bitter rivalry in your head, only certainty of yourself; that you only wanted to play the game, to each ninety minutes fill the page of the pitch with the words and syntax and punctuation of your feet.

Edward O'Dwyer was born in Limerick in 1984. He has had poems published in magazines and anthologies worldwide. He has taken part in Poetry Ireland's Introductions Series and been shortlisted for many awards, such as the Desmond O'Grady Prize and the Hennessy Award for poetry. His work was recently highly commended by the Forward Prizes judges and featured in the Forward Book of Poetry 2015. His first full collection, The Rain on Cruise's Street, was published in 2014 by Salmon Poetry.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

J V Birch Nothing to wear I don’t want this face on today place it on a stand smooth out the years it falls as if it’s come home I take it all in see the stitches that laugh round my mouth the tears the last needle cried recall mother and her tales of tongue stealing cats I set to work sew some words in my cheeks be ready when they come calling for me

J V Birch is a British poet currently living in South Australia. Her poems have appeared in anthologies, magazines and journals across the UK, Australia, Canada and the US, including The New Writer, Sentinel Champions, Australian Love Poems and Transnational Literature. To find out more, visit www.jvbirch.wordpress.com.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Paul Koniecki dust eater i want to live on the 21st floor in a room overlooking your memory step off into a streetlight and fall i want to loiter under bridges that teach me to tap prescient non sequiturs in morse code i want to eat a deck of tarot cards and chime like a grandfather clock look at me look at you look at love i want to go to hell and plant a flag like the moon come back and die before they can swear it's not all some silver-blue fantasy myth i want i want i want to drop want like a cape in a bullring feel the silence of the crowd and the horn-tip's tender touch


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

dust in my mouth and my eyes and my ears and my mouth lips asking how heavy were you on the moon

Paul Koniecki is a poet living in Texas. His work has been seen in Kleft Jaw, Mad Swirl, out of nothing, and many other places. He has written poetry, it has never written back.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Jennifer Matthews Flat Viewings Careless as a spilled drink gambled to dry before a dangerous slip I repeated, no, I chose to reheat what I had been told, as if I had not been born with food stamps in my mouth as if that silver spoon no, that tarnished silver-like second-hand spoon now in my mouth did not worry my tongue with the bloodlike taste of metal I said You might want to be careful leaving your car below I hear this neighbourhood isn’t the best. The young woman who had so carefully visited this flat to share who imagined herself in the room next to mine, tested the taps, considered the space in the presses, turned to her boyfriend for help— a fireman no less, a man who works to save lives while I was artless, not yet bothered to consciously work the words I studied so carefully. Look he said, before they left me to close myself in, again in this tower of flats, out the window you can see my house from here. Look down. There’s my home.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Jennifer Matthews writes poetry and book reviews, and is editor of the Long Story Short literary journal. Her poetry has been published in The Stinging Fly, Mslexia, Revival, Necessary Fiction, Poetry Salzburg, Foma & Fontanelles and Cork Literary Review. In 2012 she read at Electric Picnic with Poetry Ireland, and had a poem shortlisted by Gwyneth Lewis in the Bridport poetry competition. Her poetry was recognised in both the 2013 and 2014 Over the Edge New Writer of the Year competitions. She was selected to take part in the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series readings earlier this year.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Fred Voss Running Over the Dream All night I couldn't sleep because of the flames in Ferguson Missouri teenage blacks burning down businesses because a cop got away with killing an unarmed black 18-year-old I've worked at machines all my life with black men our backs lifted the same 100-pound vises screwed the same set screws squealing tight until our elbows screamed the same pink layoff notices fell into our hands sending us to the streets where we weren't sure we'd ever find another job I've seen hangman's nooses draped over the heads of machines of men whose grandfathers died swinging from a branch KKK newsletters in a steel mill where I'd thought the worst thing a man had to face was a white-hot blast furnace flame and just the other day a nigger joke out of the mouth of a nice intelligent white factory worker and my forced laughter making me sick haven't we all black and white thrown our shoulders into the same 1/4-ton steel shanks shook inside as a foreman screamed at us like dogs known the joy of a Friday afternoon quit-work whistle walking out to our cars free at last and wasn't I stopped walking down a beachfront boardwalk by a cop demanding to see my i.d. because my long hair and white beard made me look homeless in a city where I'd paid taxes for 40 years and I walk into the factory Wednesday morning see the newspaper on the table with the picture of the demonstrators lying face down on a Ferguson street they've closed in protest and the white ex-Marine drop hammer operator comes by and laughs and points at them and says, "If it was me I'd have run them over!" I don't know whose country that ex-Marine thought he defended but it isn't one I want to live in.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Fred Voss has been a machinist for 37 years and has had three poetry collections published by Bloodaxe Books, the latest of which, Hammers and Hearts of the Gods was selected a book of the year 2009 by The Morning Star. His first novel, Making America Strong, has just been published by World Parade Books.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Reviews Joseph Horgan reviews Demeter Does Not Remember (Salmon Poetry, 2014) by Mary Madec and Liffey Swim (Dedalus Press, 2014) by Jessica Traynor I have to admit that my heart sank a little when I picked up Mary Madec’s collection and saw that its title, at least, was hinting at Greek myths. Now don’t get me wrong, I like being challenged in my reading and I don’t mind at all scurrying off to the shelves to look something up and coming back feeling as if I know a little bit more than when I first got up. But a bit like English language novels that have passages in French and just presume I’ll be able to translate it, references to the classics give me the hump. I always think there’s a flirting with elitism here and that it is something that poetry seems particularly disposed to. I have read the Iliad and it was pretty dull and I have read the Odyssey and it was brilliant. I do recognise the importance of all those foundation texts. But, you know, I see references to the Greeks, or the Romans for that matter, and I just think, ah, give me a break. So, from feeling that ill-disposed, I can only say that a few pages in Mary Madec made me forget all of my reader’s grumpiness. From the opening poem, Persephone: Coming of Age, and its startling exposition of female sexuality, to Apple Tree’s ‘you might remember a time when lichens/ did not grow on my bark,/ a red-and-yellow snapapple time/ when I swayed in the breeze’ and its beautiful and moving nod to loving, caring, motherhood and anyone at all whose body has grown older, I was only three poems in and already asking myself, are you still going to do that mardy opening for the review? For which I will have to ask Mary Madec’s forgiveness for these are warm, human, loving and exquisitely crafted poems. They are the kind of poems where you see none of the joints and feel none of the knots until sitting back at the final line you let out an involuntary, ‘ahh’. Don’t be fooled by that ‘ahh’, though, into thinking this is nice, comfortable poetry, for Madec’s skill and craftsmanship is not used to hide a lack of exposition. In What Does a Body Remember? she is both celebrating female physicality, ‘to take like a favourite animal/ what you need, lying down’ and speaking of something darker, ‘the heat of a slap or an icy hand/ somewhere it shouldn’t be?’ There is a lot of light and a lot of dark in Mary Madec’s discourse on being a woman. Even at times when it seems that Madec doesn’t quite pull it off, when the ‘poetic’ content gets a little bit high for my taste, as in Breaking the Horses, with its ‘white steeds’, ‘mirrors’, and ‘heartbreak’, she rescues it with a stunning last line, ‘the memories shivering, whinnying’, and it transforms the entire poem. Great stuff. There was definitely an ‘ahh’ with that one. I’m still going to whinge about the myth embracing though. I understand what the poet is trying to achieve and what she wants to hang her hat on but I just find it a distraction. Hades, Hades to Persephone, Persephone to Hades, Persephone to Demeter, the titles alone seem to distract from the poems. I’m probably getting the hump again but I had enough of feeling I was at school when I was at school. Yet, while much of this may well be the central conceit of the collection, it is only a framework and I have to stress that such is Madec’s poetry that the work is victorious and this is on the whole a quietly stunning collection.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

‘On This One Single Night’, ‘Soon it will be Winter’, ‘In Love with the Greeks’, ‘The Problem Demeter’, ‘Demeter: Coming of Age’, all display an excellent understanding of human needs and the essence of our physical existence and there is a good redressing of balance here in poetry so open about female sexuality. ‘Afterthought’ is a raw and visceral poem about ageing that will stay long in the memory and at their best these poems do what one of the voices in the poems asks them to do when saying ‘I wasn’t asking you to explain anything/ just hoping you’d put your arms around me’. Ahh. To sum up, in the poem Pinhole, Mary Madec, has someone say something that could well be offered up as a definition of poetry itself, at least poetry as good as this, with something of the mystery of art at its core. So forget my cribbing about the Greeks and let Mary Madec herself sign out on the excellent Mary Madec, in lines I’d like to send back to her as I close her book, with the acknowledgement that this is a book that stays with the reader long after it has been put down: You invited me into that space, between what you were thinking and what you said, and my heart paced up and down. Turning to Jessica Traynor’s debut, Liffey Swim, there’s a welcome chutzpah to someone bringing out a collection of poems ostensibly about Dublin that contains a poem called The Dead. It might or might not be a coincidence that it turns out to be one of the finest poems in a book of fine poems. There’s also, by the way, a poem called ‘Persephone Alone, in this one too. Am I missing something? Which is what I also felt about the three book division around which the collection is presented, Dodder, Liffey, Tolka. It kind of distracted me. Apart from a poem about each particular river in each section what was it for and what did it mean? It wasn’t just that the middle section was bigger, like the Liffey, and the other two smaller, was it? Was there something else, some hidden implication I didn’t pick up on? But that is a somewhat minor issue for, when the poet Jessica Traynor is good she is very good. Sometimes, I’ll admit, there is a cleverness here that I found a little stifling and clarity of poetic expression was often subsumed by a richness that I found cloying. There is, appropriately enough considering the poet’s backpage bio a gorgeous theatricality to some of the work too, especially in the Liffey section. Some of that might not be to all tastes but for a collection structured around a sense of place the best on offer here are those rooted in locality or with an immediacy of emotion. Nineteen-Fourteen House with its ‘visual language disintegrating’, My Aunt Reads the Tarot, Sin Eater, (which proves a good poem can survive a bad title), and Liffey Swim.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Liffey Swim in particular shows that, quite often, simplicity is best. The line ‘a black dog jumps, again and again, into water’ could not be bettered in terms of photographic immediacy. Likewise the moon is a lie the canal repeats and repeats, from Scenes From a Poor Town is another line to produce a rush of reviewer envy. Love is a generous, warm poem and the poet is best at moments like this, when craft and emotion are spirit-level balanced: My gift for today, this O: the iris of the word I offer opening silently to look at you. That really is very good. Egrets in the Tolka, Sackville Place and the stunning An Education in Silence are other examples of Traynor at her best. I’m fairly certain we’ll be hearing a lot more of Jessica Traynor.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Michael Ceraolo Reading Kipling on Kipling "As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market-Place" said the man himself, and I wonder if there are any Kiplingophiles anywhere in the area still (there are also streets named Rudyard and Mandalay nearby) And I also wonder if there are any free-market fundamentalists nearby, because it would be even sadder if the occasional vacant lots and boarded-up buildings came from within, not from without, the neighborhood

Michael Ceraolo is a 57-year-old retired firefighter/paramedic and poet. He has published one full length collection Euclid Creek, (Deep Cleveland Press). A second collection, Euclid Creek Book Two, is forthcoming from unbound content press.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Peter Donnelly The Banker's Characters The minute detail of the girders of distressed Assets photoshopped into my dream Which was intense, shaky, fast. And in the superdepths, a ream Of figures in a boardroom; they were Represented by two or three figures. The financial meltdown was a super-dense blur For me. Was heavy. Was made of weeks Blowing their memory-rafters with data From the Dow Jones and FTSE. I have friends in America; Undercover and under-fire, they speak to me Now. I swear, we'll speak also then, When all in this country's in ruin again.

Peter Donnelly was born in Dublin in 1988. He graduated with a BA International and an MA in English from University College, Dublin, concentrating on James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake in the case of the latter. His first collection, Photons, was published by Appello Press in 2014.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Michael Ray The butcher’s dilemma My father gave me origami pigs he’d make them out of twenty euro notes, put them in my palm and say; think Orwell, think of all the cuts this note will take, think about the cognisance of pigs. They had pointed ears and trotters, their snouts, snub – neatly turned up. Each time I’d promise myself that this one was for keeps. But there would always come the day when I would smooth away the shoulder creases folds and hocks, feel a little grief.

Michael Ray is a visual artist living in West Cork. In 2011 he won the RTE John Murray Poetry Competition. His poems have appeared in a number of journals including: The Moth, The Irish Independent, The Shop, Abridged, Cyphers, The Penny Dreadful, Ambit and Magma. In 2012 he was shortlisted for the Cúirt New Writing Poetry Prize and won second prize in the Fish poetry competition. In 2013 he was shortlisted for the Hennessey award.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Suzanna Fitzpatrick The Shepherd’s Husband She leaves early, kissing my forehead. She kneels all day, her small hands teasing out lambs. She returns bruised, eyes wary with fatigue. She sleeps restlessly, her fingers scorched with iodine.

Suzanna Fitzpatrick has been published in Amelia’s Magazine, Brittle Star, The Frogmore Papers, Fuselit, The Interpreter’s House, HQ, Lunar Poetry, Mslexia, The North, Poetry News, South, and South Bank Poetry. She won the 2014 Hamish Canham Prize and came second in the 2010 Buxton Competition, and has been shortlisted or commended in several others.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Michael J. Whelan Question Kosovo 1999

There is a theory, one which I tend to like, which says ‘energy can never die, always has been, always will be, only changes form,’ in the same way emotions built upon events become something else. So my question is, – like war are the tears that rolled down the young boys face onto bloody ground when cluster bombs accidently fell on his village (dropped by those who had come to help) transformed in some way and if so what have they become?

Michael J. Whelan is a soldier-poet, writer & Curator of the Irish Air Corps Aviation Museum. He lives in Tallaght, County Dublin. He served as a peacekeeper in South Lebanon and Kosovo during the conflicts in those countries, which inspires much of his work. He was 2nd Place Winner in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award 2011, Shortlisted in 2012 with a Special Commendation in 2013 and was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions readings series in 2012. His work has appeared in the Hennessy New Irish Writing 2013, Poetry Ireland Review, the Red Line Book Festival and other literary magazines and newspapers. His work featured in the recent anthology, The Hundred Years War, (Bloodaxe, 2014).


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Fi贸na Bolger love cure for a bad back in his dreams he fashions bones for you from memories as the rhythm of your words beats in his brain he gently threads his feelings through your spine strong fibres reaching into your mind

Fi贸na Bolger's work has appeared in Southword, The Brown Critique, Can Can, Boyne Berries, The Poetry Bus, The Chattahoochee Review, Bare Hands Poetry Anthology, Muse India and others. Her poems first appeared in print tied to lamp posts (UpStart 2011 General Election Campaign). They've also been on coffee cups (The Ash Sessions). Her grimoire, The Geometry of Love between the Elements, was published by Poetry Bus Press in 2013. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and is a co-ordinator of Dublin Writers' Forum.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Anne Tannam An Act Of In 1515, Albrecht Durer, a German painter and printmaker produced his now famous woodcutting ‘Rhinoceros’. Like most Europeans, Durer had never seen a rhinoceros basing his brilliant if inaccurate impression on written descriptions and a second hand sketch. Rhinoceros (original French title Rhinocéros); a play written by Eugene Ionesco in 1959 belongs to the school of drama known as the Theatre of the Absurd. It explores the belief that human existence has no meaning or purpose. Some Useful Definitions: Extant –still existing, surviving Extinct – family, class or species that has died out Extinction – the act of making extinct; total destruction and annihilation Phantom limb – the sensation that an amputated or missing limb is still attached to the body

Anne Tannam’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Ireland Review, The Moth, The Poetry Bus, Prairie Schooner, Skylight47 and several anthologies. Take This Life, her first book of poetry was published by 6tHouse in 2011. A spoken word performer, Anne has performed her work at Electric Picnic, Cúirt and other festivals and is co-founder of the Dublin Writers’ Forum.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Majel Haugh Faraway Fields Hints have been dropped - to visitors That all is not well in your new land Colder and more vicious than expected The winds from the vast lakes Curdling dreams and freezing the arches of your feet Even the robins - enormous Their voracious appetite The endless shovelling of snow under their smirking gaze And the ice mirroring a face you thought you had left behind Right back up at you

Majel Haugh lives in Limerick. Her work has been published in the Revival Literary Journal and Abridged. She was also a finalist in the Desmond O'Grady International poetry competition.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Rangzeb Hussain I am Labelled Before I was Black or White I was a rainbow, Before I was a country I was home, Before I was a city I was a family, Before I was a soldier I was a son, Before I was an enemy I was a friend, Before I was guilty I was innocent, Before I was branded I was flawless, Before I became a slave I was born free, Before I sank I freely swam, Before I died I was alive.

Rangzeb Hussain lives in Birmingham City and works as a teacher, and is also a freelance photographer.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Michael Farry This Winter We walk like ghosts. Our feet once firm in wide-open spaces now struggle to avoid last minute dashers. We enjoy small things the clink of cups the excess of incense flickers of doubt sad choruses of certainty. We have forgotten the song of trees the lively answer of pavements the right words why the herds fled to the hills. I’ll miss four things the smell of hardback books introductions lightning at dusk goodbyes.

Michael Farry was awarded third prize in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Competition in 2009, was selected for Poetry Ireland Introductions in 2011 and his first poetry collection, Asking for Directions, was published by Doghouse Books in 2012. He won the Síarscéal and the Fermoy Poetry Competitions in 2013 and the Dromineer Poetry Competition in 2014.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Graham Allen Trojan Horse We left Fallujah in the evening, gun fire cracking in the distance, a ragged army of spectres, stealing down broken streets, dreading the idea of return. Our memories on lock down. The atrocities we had witnessed, the carnage we had engineered, left for the locals to pick through. Our route was northwards to Mosul, leaving the Euphrates for the Tigris, out of the plain that had been Eden before the fact and legacy of Cain. Fa-la-llujah to the tune of Leonard Cohen as night condensed us into sound, a battalion of hopeless fireflies, devoid of gifts, stories or insight, thwarted Magi relinquishing the quest. I thought of meeting my boy again, how his mother might resent the years, home now a hollow sounding word, after the limbs, the car bombs, the rockets, the endless nights of vigilance and fear, charred bodies, the agony of fire on skin, and I knew I would have to wander the earth, find a more returnable point, before I could breathe clean air again, or bear the look in his bright blue eyes.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Graham Allen is Professor in English at University College, Cork. His books include Harold Bloom: Towards a Poetics of Conflict (1994); Intertextuality (2000; 2nd edition 2011); Roland Barthes (2003); The Salt Companion to Harold Bloom, co-editor with Roy Sellars (2007); Mary Shelley (2008), The Reader’s Guide to ‘Frankenstein’ (2008) and Readings on Audience and Textual Materiality, co-edited with Carrie Griffin and Mary O’Connell (2011) . He has published extensively on literary and cultural theory and on Romantic literature; his work has been translated into Japanese, Korean, French, Portuguese and Persian. He has published poetry in numerous journals and was the winner of the 2010 Listowel Poetry Prize. He has also has been short-listed for various prizes, including the Crashaw Poetry Prize for 2013 and The Fool for Poetry Prize for 2014. His epoem Holes and his collection The One That Got Away (2014) are published by New Binary Press.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Michael Dooley Last Passage Helmer: Nora! Nora! -

Henrik Ibsen

Our palms pebble-map inflections of limestone. Cocked like hammers, we wait – unsettled by the heat. Hung awkward for desuetude, suits mark us to traffic, their moth bites fervoured by neighbours suddenly shawled, Kissinger-glassed. They sign crosses as you are lifted over frayed and lichened headstones – faces careful not to mark strain. The first of yours in this foreign place, you are now handled well – a Helgason longboat shouldered over Plassey Falls.

Michael Dooley was runner-up in the 2013 Charles Macklin Poetry Prize. His work has been published recently in The Stinging Fly, Crannóg, and The Honest Ulsterman. In 2015, further work is forthcoming from The Poetry Bus and The Ogham Stone.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Noel King Driving Back to Incheegeela If you were still alive you might have done the driving today, you’d have smoked at least three Gold Leaf from the red packet, nipped a sup of Black & White whiskey before taking a dip in the sea. You’d have pulled up at that shop, told me to run in for two ice creams, foraging for the price of them with coppers around the dashboard and side-pockets. The slam of that door was final. I have my own car now; twenty years of advances on those green Mini years; the Mini you taught me to drive in. When I reach the beach I’ll take a dip, the very same spot of my childhood, thankful and regretful I wasn’t with you the day you slammed the door for the last time.

Noel King was born and lives in Tralee. His poems, haiku, short stories, reviews and articles have appeared in magazines and journals in thirty-seven countries. His poetry collections are published by Salmon Poetry: Prophesying the Past, (2010), The Stern Wave (2013) and Sons (forthcoming in 2015). He has edited more than fifty books of work by others. Anthology publications include The Second Genesis: An Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry (AR.A.W.,India, 2014).


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Tomas De Faoite Boxes I read in a magazine lately that many books stacked straight in a bookcase can work negatively on the eye. I am surprised, and I wonder why I have been feeling down of late, and I look to my bookcase and I decide–– right, I am going to change the way the bookcase looks, so I pile my books into two boxes, I put my poetry books in a Chiquita banana box and my prose in an Albert Heijn mandarin box. Daily I look at the bookcase and you know I feel better already. I turn my mind from books to bananas, mandarins, satsumas, clementines, clemenules, tangerines, and I am sailing across the straits of Gibraltar to Tangiers, where men kneel at midday to Mecca for their salat. And I am back in the box again, mooching about for the Koran, finding dried up river beds of wisdom, ruined Volubilis and Lixis; Romans conquering the known world in sandals.

Tomás De Faoite was born in Dowth, Ireland. He lives in The Netherlands. Some of his recent poetry has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review and Southword.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

About the Editors Alan Jude Moore is the author of four collections of poetry: Black State Cars (Salmon Publishing, 2004), Lost Republics (Salmon Poetry, 2008), Strasbourg (Salmon Poetry, 2010) and Zinger (Salmon Poetry, 2013). He lives in Dublin. His website is www.alanjudemoore.com Dr. David Gardiner is a writer and editor who has lived and worked in Manhattan, Dublin, Coleraine, Chicago and Boston. He has been visiting scholar at Boston College, New York University and the University of Ulster. From 2006 - 2010, he was founder and editor of An Sionnach: A Journal of Literature, Culture and the Arts (New York / Dublin) as well as Director of Creighton University Press where he published the works of Pat Boran, Gerald Dawe, John F. Deane, Theo Dorgan, Eamon Grennan, Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon and Paula Meehan, among others. He has written five books, edited ten and authored over sixty journal publications. His poetry publication Downstate was published by Salmon Poetry in 2011. His poetry has been featured in publications throughout the U.S. and Ireland. His most recent collection is The Chivalry of Crime, (Salmon Poetry, 2015). Joseph Horgan is the guest editor for issue 8 of the Burning Bush 2. Joseph Horgan was born in Birmingham, England, to Irish parents. He was shortlisted for the Hennessy Prize in 2003 and won the Patrick Kavanagh Award for poetry in 2004. He currently writes a weekly column for The Irish Post and reviews for Books Ireland. His work has also appeared on RTE radio and television. His first collection, Slipping Letters Beneath the Sea, was published by Doghouse in 2008. In 2010 Horgan published a collection of prose with the Collins Press, A Song at Your Backdoor, and was anthologised in Landing Places: Immigrant Poets in Ireland (Dedalus). His third book, An Unscheduled Life, a collaboration with the artist Brian Whelan of poetry and pictures, was published by Agenda Editions in August 2012. He lives in County Cork.


The Burning Bush 2, issue eight, Summer 2015

Thanks for reading issue #8 of the Burning Bush 2. If you would like your work to be considered for a future issue, please read the submission guidelines, available on our website, www.burningbush2.org Please send all correspondence to burningbushrevival@gmail.com


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