The Burning Bush 2, issue #5

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The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

The Burning Bush2 issue # 5 June 2013


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

The Burning Bush 2 issue five contents Editorial Brian Kirk

Neil McCarthy Kathy D’Arcy Denise Blake Morgan Harlow Hugh Fulham-McQuillan

4 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 14 15

Eileen Ní Shuillebháin Jessica Traynor Emily Cullen Evan Costigan Chris Murray Graham Connors Nancy Anne Miller Doireann Ní Ghroífa Michael Gallagher John Saunders Keith Payne Marion Clarke

17 18 20 22 23 24 26 27 29 30 31 32

Stephanie Conn

Nell Regan Gréagóir Ó Dúill Anthony Hegarty Noel Duffy Kevin Conroy Tyler Farrell Anjumon Sahin

33 34 35 36 37 39 40 42 43 45

Food Lover Town Foxes Absolute Desert Lepus Jungle of the Bourgeois Pig Pregnant 4-6 Weeks Lighting the Flame Valerie Themes on the Character and the Actor The Mountain The Water Table Amaryllis Udders Dark Pool Real Words World Fair 1957 Elegy for a City Tree Smoker Out of Date The Yellow Paisley Scarf Cantrer Gwaelod: The lowland one hundred Haiku 1 Limen Dawn Birds Movement To This of the Other I Am Too Old Shoes On Light Odonata Lampyridae Three Family Rummage Some Useless Notes or the Two Voices


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Chimera Lay Francis O’Hare Afric McGlinchey Susan Sweetland Garay David Murphy Neil Banks Éamon Mag Uidhir James Chapson Kenneth Keating Mary Madec

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No Translation Street Music Astral Weeks Walls The Interpretation of Dreams Files in Amber Unsaid Maisie The Royals What I’m Looking For The Peccable I Persephone: Coming of Age


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Editorial The revival of the Burning Bush, as Burning Bush 2, under the editorship of Alan Jude Moore, is important. It provides a venue for new and emerging poets as well as continuing to reaffirm with on-line work throughout the world the viability of a global literary culture that does not create any sort of empire. Where the internet failed to become the great equalizer we had hoped for twenty years ago, it has become the great feelie for social media and information availability to the point of obfuscation and isolation if we’re not careful consumers and readers. So, why bother contributing to the mess and publishing in an on-line literary journal like Burning Bush 2? Because it is a part of the emerging global literary culture -- at least for those fortunate to have access to the internet as many throughout the globe still do not. Within the May issue of Burning Bush 2 we feature works from writers throughout Ireland as well as Australia, India, Spain, Bermuda and the U.S. These include past and present winners of prestigious poetry awards as well as emerging writers. Self-congratulation is rampant on the web, so it’s worth casting a brief eye over some of the “facts” of institutional and global investment in endeavours such as ours. Just a few years ago, Oxford Journals users at ten institutions visited just 61 journals a quarter of a million times, and viewed two-thirds of a million pages. Based on the study of this usage alone, UK universities and colleges spent £79.8m on licenses for e-journals as early as 2006/07 (out of a total serials expenditure of £112.7m). Four years ago, it was estimated that 86.5 per cent of titles in the arts, humanities and social sciences are now available online. Ten years ago, Ulrich's listed over 34,500 online, active periodicals of all types. Active academic/scholarly ejournals weigh in at nearly 43,500. (Ten years ago.) Of course, none of this takes into account on-line poetry journals, blogs, writers’ sites, and so on that continue to shape the creative milieu and for which an accurate cataloguing algorithm has yet to be found. There is a lot of money and a lot of traffic in on-line journals. Unfortunately, none of us see it...yet. That is, the grassroots publications like Burning Bush 2 that are slowly, surely and significantly altering the literary landscape are flying under the radar until the point at which we pacifists end up “accidentally” knocking over the ivory tower upon which the radar sits.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

As guest editor, it was my great pleasure to work for Alan and enjoy his diligence and professionalism. In keeping with the open nature of the journal, works were forwarded blindly and correspondence took place between us regarding many of the acceptances. (Perhaps too much discussion or this would have been out a few weeks ago.) Now that we’re live, we hope that you enjoy the lives presented in the current issue and encourage you to continue to contribute to both the journal and its life.

David Gardiner Chicago


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Brian Kirk Food Lover It rained all day, the hours began to drag, I fed the dog and tried to eat something But since you left each mouthful makes me gag. The bottles on the shelf to me they nag, But wine will only make my stomach spin, It rained all day, the hours began to drag, All food now only tastes of stubbed out fags. I want to eat, I know I must be starving But since you left each mouthful makes me gag. Drink only ever makes me fight or brag, It never kills the pain or soothes the sting. It rained all day, the hours began to drag. Before the open fridge my spirits flag, The pasta and linguini taste like string But since you left each mouthful makes me gag. Till you come back to me the time will lag I miss you love and (of course) your cooking, It rained all day, the hours began to drag, But since you left each mouthful makes me gag.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Town Foxes How did we get here, knowing what we are and what we need to live? This place that we call home offers us nothing but still we remain, scavenging and cowering by turns among hostile hosts. Vermin they call us, rabid plague-ridden curs, and would have us slaughtered, where once they named us noble, cunning, wily, even sly. We are foreign to our natures, delirious, fearful to the last, unwanted immigrants.

Brian Kirk is a poet and short story writer from Clondalkin, Dublin. He was shortlisted for Hennessy Awards in 2008 and 2011 and the Over The Edge New Writer of the Year Awards in 2008 and 2009. He won the inaugural Writing Spirit Award in 2009. He has been highly commended in the iYeats Poetry Competition in 2011 and 2012 and the 2012 Bare Hands Poetry Competition. His work has appeared in The Sunday Tribune, The Stony Thursday Book, Southword, Crann贸g, Burning Bush 2, Revival, Boyne Berries, Wordlegs, Bare Hands Poetry, Cancan Poezine, The First Cut, Abridged, Shot Glass Journal and various anthologies. He blogs at


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Stephanie Conn Absolute Desert It has been pouring for days and in a country such as this it is hard to imagine the driest place on earth, but at Atacama’s centre the loose lying sediment proclaims a lack of that which might wash it all away – millions of years without a single drop of rain. Here nothing rots, the dead remain preserved forever dead between the barren hills and freezing desert nights. Yet further south, algae and lichen make the most of marine fog and perennials, and woody scrub suck on clouds entrapped by faulted mountains. And though the arid plains are littered with abandoned nitrate mining towns, the Peruvian song-sparrows sing and lemons still grow on the shores of the salt marshes while the villagers in Chungungo catch fog in mesh nets that moisture may condense and trickle into copper troughs.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Lepus Their collective noun is ‘drove’ though they mostly live alone, content with a solitary life, or become one of a pair, growing brave in the spring; chests puffed out, as if fluid has filled the cavities and dropsy has caused a long-forgotten frenzy, that gives rise to a meadow dash in daylight or a moonlit boxing match below the moon hare’s dark patches; that ancient celestial ancestor, as a distant cousin is driven south by the hunter and his dogs.

Stephanie Conn is a primary school teacher from County Antrim. Her poetry has been published in a wide range of magazines and journals. Recently, she was shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Prize and her short collection Talking to Tsvetayeva was highly commended in the Mslexia Pamplet Competition. She is in the final stages of her MA in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre, QUB.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Neil McCarthy Jungle of the Bourgeois Pig for Denisa Pisçu

Your father talked me down from a high window ledge the morning he lit a cigarette in the kitchen, poured me cold coffee, and told me of how alien it felt to have had the freedom to lie in the grass in a park in Vienna. This choice of action is something I’d never thought of, like so many things I have taken for granted to date. I furrowed my brow and jiggled memories in my head looking for a comparison to believe in when I heard you recite to your court at Café Kafka the feeling you had, and the watchful eyes upon you, the first time you tasted a banana. Those of us in attendance smiled as we looked for the comedy in such an odd situation, conned by every thin comparison that sprung to mind. We are watered down by choices, caught pants around our ankles at a crossroads with no signs, everyday staring inanely at giant menu boards and convincing ourselves that an iced lemon mocha with whipped cream and vanilla is just what the doctor ordered. We have no use for effort like we have no use for maps, our geography beamed from satellites to the palms of our hands to whatever jungle we choose. And I am blown away by distance, sitting listening to a man from Moldavia recant for me his translations of Eminescu in a bar in Los Angeles, the clientele shrill as an orchestra tuning up; his index finger pendulating gracefully, assertively, as if a flouted conductor’s baton.

Neil McCarthy is an Irish poet currently living in financial exile in Los Angeles where he teaches English and complains about the heat. In recent years his poems have appeared online and in print in journals such as Magma (UK), Poetry Salzburg Review (Austria), Popshot (UK) and The SHOp (Ireland).


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Kathy D’Arcy Pregnant 4-6 weeks After sitting on the cold tiled floor for a few minutes I think that might be bad and get up. I look at my face in the mirror. My mother was ten years younger than me when she had my brother Michael. Did she look like this? It was so normal for them, but she must have felt something, the first time at least. I put on makeup – not enough to be obvious, just to make myself look flushed with pleasure – and go next door. It smells like boy after the makeup. He's face down, twisted with a cold, white arm hanging over the side. The Father. We made a baby. I push his shoulder gently. He grunts. I do it again. 'Ah leave it will you, I'll get up when I'm ready!' I leave it. Downstairs I make toast and jam and a cup of tea, and sit in the cold kitchen chewing, reading yesterday's paper. We'll need to have the heating on more, it can't be cold like this. I think? We'll need to get a proper rubbish collection. And a baby seat. He'll need to get his driving license. He'll need to drink less. He'll need to give up smoking – in the house, at least. No – altogether. It stays on your hands and on the walls and things. We'll need to move house. We'll need to find a school, you have to enrol very early. Should we homeschool? Would I be able? I think so. But then he wouldn't be socialised. I could put him in lots of groups. But that costs money and school is free. More or less. It would still be cheaper to keep him at home than to send him to school, and then we could use the extra money for the groups. We will have no extra money, ever again. I don't know how I feel about it, I mean I'm over the moon, I can't believe it, I'm overjoyed, you know? I'm the happiest man on the planet! But you know, it's such a huge thing, I mean I know people do it every day, you know, but it's my first time and it's a big thing, you know? I want to be . . . I want to be the best father I can possibly be, you know? I want to give her the world, I want to spoil her rotten. I want her to have everything. I'm going to give up smoking. But in the meantime can I bum one of yours?


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Kathy D’Arcy is writer in residence with Tigh Fili Cultural Centre, Cork, and has published two poetry collections: Encounter (Lapwing 2010) and The Wild Pupil (Bradshaw 2012). She studies and teaches Irish women's literature with UCC's MA in Women's Studies programme, and also teaches creative writing. She originally qualified as a doctor, and now works with homeless young people in Cork city.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Denise Blake Lighting the Flame The paraffin lamp was a wedding present. A working ornament: a base of polished bronze to hold the oil, a small dial to control the level of cotton wick, a pronged metal cric held the glass chimney for flame and light. The pair of us, in our early twenties, setting up home with matches, kerosene and open flame in our small living space. Neither of us willing to ask the elders for advice on how to make the lamp work. We caused smoke, and soot and nearly, a fire. The low yellow flame brought a dim glow under the frosted-glass shade and no heat. We cast the lantern aside until we learned of the net mantle hanging like a tiny birdcage. We needed to place the mantle equidistant over the base, strike a match, flash oxides off the surface. What remained was a delicate meshing, strong enough to contain fire and white-hot heat, create incandescent light from a small blue flame.

Denise Blake’s second poetry collection, How to Spin Without Getting Dizzy is published by Summer Palace Press. She is a regular contributor to Sunday Miscellany RTE radio 1. She is on Poetry Ireland's Writers in Schools Directory.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Morgan Harlow Valerie Valerie died before we reached the end of second grade. She lived at the end of a dead end road; a slope crowned with oak trees behind the house fell off on the other side into a sandy quarry, giving us the feeling we had the whole world to ourselves. On Valentine's Day of that year a heavy packing snow fell, and we built an igloo around the trunk of a locust tree in her backyard. In the course of our excavations in the snow we came upon the leathery bodies of fallen locust pods. As if wresting them by hand from the icy Arctic Ocean, we pounced on them with our wet mittens and they clung there, biting. We alternated coming to each other's rescue and being saved until the monsters were defeated and then pressed, Simon Rodiaesque, into the walls of our domed hut. Our boots never thoroughly dried overnight or during the day in our school lockers. By the end of the week, Valerie came down with a kind of croup. I wasn't allowed to visit her but her mother let her talk on the phone. Valerie said she was tired of Eeyore-ing as she called it, that heaving donkey-like breathing that can oddly enough be a source of pride, a privileged hallmark of sickness to an otherwise happy child. Her voice was weak, and I asked What? What? and she started to cry. After our last conversation, her mother got on the line. "Valerie is too sick to talk," she said. I heard Valerie in the background coughing and crying, and her father saying, "when you feel better." That night I dreamed Valerie, thin and always cold, stepped through her bedroom wall, floated mid-air outside the window, and at last drifted over the road barricade at the end of the dead end street, leaving the house and its surroundings--curled silver maple leaves blown against the front door, daffodils beginning to flower around the trunk of the locust tree--as though her existence there had been something not to be believed in, after all.

Morgan Harlow’s poems and other writing have appeared in Washington Square, Seneca Review, The Tusculum Review, The Moth, and elsewhere. A debut poetry collection, Midwest Ritual Burning (2012), is published in the UK by Eyewear Publishing.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Hugh Fulham-McQuillan Theme on the Character and the Actor Consider three deaths: the historical assassination of the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, the fictional recreation of that assassination in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Three principals feature. The first is Marcus Junius Brutus, the original political assassin. To avoid confusion, we'll refer to him by the name Caesar is said to have uttered with his last, blood drowned, breath: Brutus. The second and third principals are among the greatest Shakespearean actors in 19th century America: Junius Brutus Booth, and his son, John Wilkes Booth. There will be no attempts to round out their characters in order to empathise with them and/or better understand pivotal moments in history. Aspects of their lives will be discussed, but only briefly and in relation to events that are bigger than men. They will remain photographs, left in the sun for too long. The centripetal force which propels these three principals and three deaths is a fictional character. It is the Shakespearean role of Marcus Junius Brutus. It is the spider at the centre of this web that manages, with its sticky strands, to pull together and compress vast tracts of time and geography. This character contains aspects of the historical Brutus, for it is a role based on his deeds. These aspects may be psychological, or physical. We are made of atoms and molecules. They continue after we die and become parts of other things or beings, until they die or are destroyed and so on. It is not inconceivable that these particles have a sort of memory, or that they may gravitate to that which is similar to one of their previous structures: the role of Marcus Junius Brutus, played by both Junius Brutus Booth, and his son, John. This is one possibility. Another: popular psychology books state, “to be confident, you have to fake it till you make it.” If this is true, then the minds of men who are paid to pretend to be other people must be questioned. I cannot provide answers. I can only provide two excerpts and a quote. The first is found in a letter from Junius to President Andrew Jackson in 1852: “You damn'd old scoundrel... I will cut your throat while you are sleeping” (he didn't).


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

The second is taken from the diary of his son, John Wilkes Booth, a lesser actor but more successful assassin. It was written in 1865, days after killing Lincoln: “...I am here in despair. And why; For doing what Brutus was honored for ... And yet I for striking down a greater tyrant than they ever knew, am looked upon as a common cutthroat.” When John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln, he repeated a line, first uttered by Brutus, that echoes through centuries and continents: “Sic semper tyrannis.” It is a cursed line. Tyrants -those who treat men like puppetsare rarely defeated. In fictionalising the Roman assassination, Shakespeare fastened reality to fiction, creating a möbius strip, a trap from which Junius Booth escaped. His son was less fortunate.

Hugh Fulham-McQuillan is from Dublin and is currently pursuing a PhD in psychology. He has previously been published in The Irish Times, Word Riot and Power's 2012 Book of Short Stories.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Eileen Ní Shuilleabháin The Mountain In my dreams I still hear the wind scorch the mountain side peeling granite ridges bare. Night sooths the bruising seeping black slickened oil into crevices distilling into air. I listen to an ancient breathing buried here beneath this creaking world. I light a bonfire on the hillside kindling made of ragged scars. Flames fever at first then burst fall to embers. Heather and thistle loneliness like a death bristles underfoot. Ghosts of children play among ruins. Family faces familiar yet strange. Women barefoot wash clothes in streams. In my dreams I still see the mountain.

Eileen Ní Shuilleabháin grew up in Carna in the Connemara Gaeltacht area of Galway. She currently lives and works in Galway city as a social worker and psychotherapist. Her work was previously published in The Galway Review, Apercus Quarterly, Boyne Berries, Scissors and Spackle, and Emerge Literary Journal.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Jessica Traynor The Water Table On my night-walk to the city I taste water in the air; the river has escaped again. Below me the vengeful sea forms water-table committees that mutter in the shores and the approaching shadow, hood up, shoulders rolling, could be the death of me – like the man who’d stood in Henry’s Street that afternoon, crack-addled, screaming his love for the children of Dublin. Shores shudder beneath my feet as the city forms new cracks along fault lines I can’t see; as water rises through hundred-year-old drains, shell-shocked, frostbitten; as it pours through catacombed rivers flooding our venom back to us. The shadow lunges, laughs, is gone. Beneath us, the sea sleeps before the next great push.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Jessica Traynor is from Dublin. Her poems have featured in Southword, Poetry 24, the SHOp, New Irish Writing and The Stinging Fly among others. She has won the Listowel Single Poem Prize and has been shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Award, the UCD Anthology Award and the Strokestown International Poetry Competition and has had poems highly commended at the iYeats Competition and the Fish Poetry Prize. She was awarded a literature bursary from Dublin City Council in 2010 and featured in the 2009 Poetry Ireland Introduction Series. She was the winner earlier this year of the Hennessy Literary Award.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Emily Cullen Amaryllis for Kevin

I descend the stairs to behold your Amaryllis, finally open. Morning light floods in upon the kitchen table where two proud stalks are gallant sentinels. Bewitched, I touch their elative petals: trefoils of carmine red, blooms of burnished wax. I recall your gestures: how you raced round the city to buy these flowers for our guest. We three sat drinking tea, willing their bulbs to sprout, but she had to leave last night, before their world unfolded. The amaryllis amplify how complete I feel to be loved by you from the inside out. Six yellow stamen whisper of your attention to detail, alertness to the natural world. Soon they will be pendulous, shedding, one by one. But I will remember how they hold their heads on this stark December morning; how their sturdy elegance irradiates everything.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Emily Cullen is a writer, arts manager, harpist and scholar, currently based in Melbourne. In 2004 she curated the national Patrick Kavanagh Centenary celebrations and was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions series. Her poem 'Primavera', which features in her second collection of poetry, forthcoming soon, was recently chosen as 'poem of the week' by the Australian Poetry organisation.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Evan Costigan Udders Unsure which way to look when the Mongolian mother lifted her top on the bus, he fixed on the puckering space between baby and breast, appreciating the shape and size of bottle teats, until breasts flopped from everywhere. He was back to topless models under teenage mattresses, reflections of boys with busy elbows in the rewound and replayed shower scene in Playmates of the Year 1990; when two-dimensional breasts in textbooks drew titters, and the rumour that girls with curls had bigger nipples eventually proved unfounded. Uncurling her top, she stared his way with a smile, but he looked away with a shudder of shame where a herdsman was driving sheep and goats through pampas grass towards humpy hills, and resolved to stay on in this landscape— until thoughts had pasteurised, and he could look upon the breast as just another udder.

Evan Costigan has had poems published in New Irish Writing, Cyphers, The Moth, Cúirt Annual and elsewhere. He won the 2012 Francis Ledwidge Poetry Award and has been shortlisted in several competitions, including the 2013 Listowel Writers’ Week Single Poem Competition. The recipient of a poetry bursary award from Kildare County Council Arts Office in 2012, he was a featured reader at the Art Bar Poetry series in Toronto, Canada recently.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Chris Murray Dark Pool Ripple-skiffed by bird and stone Tree is held in Dark-water, The flowers fight up.

Chris Murray is a City and Guilds stone-cutter. Her poetry is published in Ropes Magazine, Crann贸g Magazine, The Burning Bush Online Revival Meeting (Issue 1), Carty's Poetry Journal, Caper Literary Journal, CanCan (WurminApfel), Bone Orchard Poetry, Women Writers Women Books, Southword Literary Journal, and the Diversity Blog (PIWWC, PEN International Women Writer's Committee). She has reviewed poetry for Post (Mater Dei Institute), Poetry Ireland Review and Her poetry blog is Poethead. She is a member of the PEN international Women Writers Committee, and is web-developer for the Irish PEN Committee.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Graham Connors Real Words for Colm

He told me with words, his own words, the real words ‘unhappy’ and ‘scared.’ I didn’t have to glean meaning from a look or a half-cocked smile. He didn’t try to hide it, he didn’t lie about it or how he felt. But I didn’t believe him. I dismissed his words as just that - words. I laughed it off ‘you’ll be fine, buck-up, get back on the horse.’ What a thing to say to a friend who was asking for my help, for my hand. Three weeks later he was gone. And what I wouldn’t give for that hand right now? If I had those three weeks I’d listen and I’d tell him that he is so important and I would be using real words.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Graham Connors has previously been published in wordlegs magazine, 30 Under 30 Anthology, Allegory magazine, Under Thirty magazine, The Bohemyth, The Lit Garden, Link magazine and long-listed for the Doire Press International Chapbook competition. He is the founder and editor of Number Eleven Magazine as well as contributing editor for the Dublin Informer newspaper. He successfully staged his first play, ‘The Mortal Pitch’, in both Wexford and Dublin. Originally from Gorey, Co. Wexford, he has lived in Dublin for the last ten years.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Nancy Anne Miller World Fair 1957 The large globe showing only continents on a wire mesh of circles, so modern in the 50’s, today looks like a large baseball coming undone as I travel Route 8. I remember attending, tasting my first cotton candy, a dyed pink bee hive hairdo, mimicked the peak my locks streaked up into as I rode the roller coaster down. The merry go round steel ponies chromed as American cars and just as flashy, eyes bright as headlights, stirrups trailed leather like mud flaps on trucks passing. I won a teddy I was too old for. My father relived his USA childhood while we ate popcorn so delicately, as if it was foam packaging his memories were boxed in.

Nancy Anne Miller is a Bermudian poet with an MLitt in Creative Writing from University of Glasgow. Somersault, a poetry collection about Bermuda is forthcoming from Guernica Editions(CA). Her poems have appeared in Edinburgh Review (UK), The International Literary Quarterly (UK), Stand (UK), Mslexia (UK), The Moth (IE), A New Ulster (IE), The Fiddlehead (CA), The Dalhousie Review (CA), The Caribbean Writer (VI), Journal of Caribbean Literatures (USA), The Caribbean Quarterly (JA), Postcolonial Text (CA) Sargasso: A Journal of Caribbean Language, Literature and Culture (PR), and tongues of the ocean (BS) among others with poems forthcoming in Agenda (UK) and Magma (UK). She is a MacDowell Fellow and teaches workshops in Bermuda.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Doireann Ní Ghríofa Elegy for a City Tree* “Nearly every morning I go to the attic to blow the stuffy air out of my lungs. From my favourite spot on the floor, I look up at the blue sky and the chestnut tree.” — Diary of Anne Frank, 23rd February 1944.

Behind the bookcase in an airless annexe, Anne sits on the floor. Cold creeps into her bones. Through magpie eyes, she stares at the sky, imagining the whispered symphony of leaves. Above, treetops swing and sway. The flutter of a leaf is a beckoning finger, a green key. She imagines herself becoming a wooden woman, sinking toes like roots to drink deep of soil, to squirm among worms. Each night she dreams of green: the caresses of sunlight and starlight, the squawking quarrels of crows, the swell and growth of glossy nuts like the prickle of a first adolescent blush. Under a harsh bark, spiral rings spin as concentric circles hum like a heartbeat within. Tattoos of time revolve around her sapling core. She can almost hear the swirling spin of stories told echoing silently around those that are yet to unfold.

*The tree Anne Frank saw was a white horse chestnut, over 170 years old. On August 23rd 2012, the tree fell.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s poems have appeared in many literary journals in Ireland and internationally, most recently in France, Mexico, USA, Scotland and England. The Arts Council of Ireland has twice awarded her a literature bursary (2011 and 2013). She was a winner of Wigtown Gaelic poetry contest, the Scottish National Poetry Prize in 2012, shortlisted for the Jonathan Swift Award and Comórtas Uí Néill both in 2011 and 2012. She was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. Doireann’s Irish collections Résheoid and Dúlasair are both published by Coiscéim. Her pamphlet of English poems Ouroboros has recently been selected for the longlist of The Venture Award (UK). Her website is


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Mike Gallagher Smoker It was the way she asked, I suppose, casual like - yeah, that's what caught us by surprise: Kathleen, giz a fag. Not one of her own brood, note - wouldn't give us the satisfaction. She had never smoked, railed against it, and all of us smoking like troopers. No, she asked the daughter-in-law. Light! Strange that, not even a splutter; didn't inhale, mind, (we could tell), but still, not the splutter you'd expect. Just sat there, casual like, in her chair by the fire while all around her the laying of table, the grandkid's scribbles, the reading of paper, even the nine o'clock news, stopped. Dead. No one spoke. Oh, we all glanced - askance at her, quizzically at each other. Some raised eyebrows. Half way through, she flicked it fire-ward. Pressed the pause button. Life re-started. I'm glad I stole the photo. Still look at it. Glad I caught the mischief in the eye, the fun-of-it-all curl of the lip, the rebellion on the tongue, unspoken, daring a challenge: Feck ye all, I could smoke, too, if I wanted to.

Mike Gallagher was born on Achill Island, Co. Mayo but now resides in Lyreacrompane, Co. Kerry. His poetry, stories, songs and haiku have been published in Ireland, throughout Europe and in America, Canada, Japan, India, Thailand, Nepal and Australia. His work has been translated into Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, German and Japanese. He won the Eigse Michael Hartnett ‘viva voce’ contest in 2010, was shortlisted for the Hennessy Award in 2011 and for the Desmond O'Grady International Poetry competition in 2013. He is the editor of thefirstcut, an online literary journal. His first collection Stick on Stone was recently published by Revival Press.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

John Saunders Out of Date We are huddled in a grassy hollow where some beast has left its shape. The clouds are a whirlpool of confusion, what blue we can see is filled with emptiness. Wrapped in the worth of each other we try to mend our threads of imperfection, brush out the matted yarn of history. Your bones press against me like daggers. I wish I knew now what I once knew when I was lit by the light of youth, before I became another memory, a one man band of out of date stories.

John Saunders’ first collection After the Accident was published in 2010 by Lapwing Press, Belfast. His poems have appeared in Revival, The Moth Magazine, Crannog, Prairie Schooner Literary Journal (Nebraska), Sharp Review, The Stony Thursday Book, Boyne Berries, Riposte, and on line, The Smoking Poet, Minus Nine Squared, The First Cut, The Weary Blues, Burning Bush 2, Weekenders, Poetry Bus and poetry 24. He is one of three featured poets in Measuring, Dedalus New Writers published by Dedalus Press in May 2012. He is a member of the Hibernian Poetry Workshop and a graduate of the Faber Becoming a Poet 2010 course. His second collection was recently published by New Binary Press.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Keith Payne The yellow paisley scarf You’re sitting on a rock by the side of the road I know you from the fag crutched in your hand, the faded gold packet of Benson & Hedges you offer me. I catch the cast of your eye and know you’re not there, you’re elsewhere where you’re life wasn’t stopped in its tracks. Instead of falling to the floor that Sunday morning - as they tell it you picked up your paisley scarf, patted your breast pocket for your smokes, placed a kiss on your wife’s cheek - your kids’ crowns stepped across the threshold and out the door. But something had to give – that beat that your heart skipped that dropped you to the ground and with the hundred pound you left me I took Spanish grinds trying to work out the difference between the simple and imperfect past. And this paisley scarf I wear about town.

Keith Payne lives in Salamanca, Spain. His poems have appeared in Alimentum, Incorrigbly Plural, Mombaça, The SHOp and The Stinging Fly, among other publications. Most recently, poetry translations appeared in Forked Tongues: Galician, Catalan and Basque Women’s Poetry in Translations by Irish Writers, Ed. Manuela Palacios, (Shearsman, 2012,) and The Trinity Journal of Literary Translation. He has also translated stories by Argentine Alan Pauls for Mountain-Islandglacier, (Broken Dimanche Press, 2012,) and Catalan Victor Balcells Matas from his collection Yo mataré monstrous por ti, (I will kill monsters for you, Delirio, 2010,) one of which is forthcoming in The Stinging Fly Translation special edition, Summer, 2013.


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Marion Clarke Cantrer Gwaelod: The lowland one hundred (A Haibun) According to legend, between the islands of Bardsey and Ramsey on the west coast of Wales, a sunken kingdom lies twenty miles from the shore. In an early version of the tale that appeared in Llyfer du Caerfyrddin, the Black Book of Carmarthen, the land was lost to floodwater when Mererid, the maiden of the well, succumbed to lust and neglected her duties. stream of moonlight from the lip of the well water gushes A later story attributes blame to the keeper of the sluice gates, Seithennin, who was a notorious merrymaker. One night, at spring tide, a storm blew up and huge waves pummelled the sea wall, but Seithennin did not stir from his drunken stupor and the sea swept through the open sluice gates, submerging the land. heavy rain…. beside the rockpool, a limpet ticks Contemporary explanations cite the memory of gradually rising sea levels after the ice age as the cause for such folklore, although the sunken forest at Borth and Sarn Badrig seem to suggest that some great tragedy did overcome a community there, giving rise to the myth.

 frosty night all the stars in the sky in the sea Today, local people say that if you listen closely you can hear the bells of the lost city ringing out from beneath the water of Cardigan Bay. Sunday morning my father's voice calling us for mass


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holiday breakup ... her cheeks bruised
 by the breeze

Marion Clarke is a writer and artist from Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland. She is a member of the Irish Haiku Society and her poetry and fiction has featured in several print anthologies and online journals including The Linnet's Wings, theviewfromhere, The Heron's Nest, A Hundred Gourds, Notes from the Gean, Shamrock, Alight Here: The London Tube Project, The Poet's Place, Issa’s Untidy Hut, The One Word Challenge Anthology, AHA Anthology of the American Haiku Association and most recently Bamboo Dreams. In summer 2012 she received a Sakura award in the annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival haiku contest.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Nell Regan Limen Rain has bitten away much of this month but left us this foot-lifting morning, 
glistening, with its evening like an opening
palm or attenuated mind. Above us, ridges where each next sighted peak promises 
renewal, the city a coastling in its bays and

sight of the sea recalls a father
on the strand, his last child 
in his arms. Look - waves. Thinks. Like this. He extends and moves his arm. 
They stand at the water’s edge, 
wrists flexing over thresholds of meaning.

Nell Regan has published two collections of poetry, Preparing for Spring and Bound for Home, both with Arlen House. Her work has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, Cyphers, The Iowa Review and Poetry Daily and been translated into Russian and Chinese. She has also published nonfiction. She was an Fellow at the International Writing Programme, Iowa University in 2011 & lives and works in Dublin. See also


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Gréagóir Ó Dúill Dawn Birds For Alfred J. Hitchcock

Night ebbs to a limewash lie, warm duvet of sleep and its memories slip down to the floor. Hooded crows rap my window with imperious caw, with a hate I cannot fathom. There is no reason in this. I lie there, try to understand, put some parts together, co-ordinate response - catapult, poison, needles pushed in window frame – all tried before (this is not their first campaign), all failing. How can I hold to some semblance of my sanity as their smears opaque my window with their slime – spit, faeces, semen or is it blood? They go on some crow message in their smart black shirts, leave me, failed scarecrow lying there, checking my responses, physical, emotional. Then comes low, below my radar, belling nightmare call the owl.


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Movement Wind moves in a golden harvest field, each ear admits the sway, moves in slow swing. Small cloud-shadows on the shining surface of the bay a prussian blue, the sea foams with remaindered lace; Sky is not alive above the moving clouds though vapour trails gash eastward and the burnished sun goes west. Distance driving on good roads, your thigh in parallel some inches from my own, your hand restless as I tend the wheel, shift the gears. Too long, and silence stiffens like cloth unwashed. Too much. The road grows small and twists through purple hills around a bend; then, attent on roadside fencepost, watchful, a sparrowhawk at an angle from the transverse wire, from the vertical. I slow to stop, he looks at me through the screen, shows me how to fly.

Gréagóir Ó Dúill teaches contemporary Irish poetry in the University of Ulster, is a much-published poet in Irish with a recent second collection in English – Outward and Return, (Doghouse).


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Anthony Hegarty To This of the Other I Am Too: Another Psalm for David How surely gravity’s law, strong as an ocean current, takes hold of the smallest thing and pulls it toward the heart of the world. Rainer Maria Rilke.

Our embrace as beings is so huge, So Spirit held, To this of the other I am too, And therefore safe. It’s not yet light. Just a few hours since we touched To discover distancing, a moving away, Not a culmination but a draining down, an emptying out Into this not-dawn-departure for your flight. And will we hug before you go? You dressed for the street I in my underwear And this canal-side room At the top of the steep stair Narrow, closing in, a losing of all space, Of that space it never really had. Too tight even to trim your toenails in. And will we kiss before you go? Just that gentle token of touched breath I have come to know, But you, already light years on, Are expanding outward whispering, (Softly as you can) “It isn’t necessary”.


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The Rilke that you read, Seated in that timbered room, (Though I thought you should have stood) With its old leaking roof Blest by the summer sun, You read surely, how surely, Gravity’s law takes hold, And pulls us towards its heart. And I suppose with that embrace Beyond this, Beyond all of this, What need have I of this declined kiss? Surely I have that “hug” of gravity, That safe pull towards the heart. To this of the other I am too. But safe no, shortly it may let go With all that unexpected lightness of flight Unravelling, unbraiding and whispering, (Softly as she can) “It isn’t necessary”. And somewhere at my spine’s end I feel a lessening, a chill, To this of the other I am too.

Anthony Hegarty is an ecopsychologist and writer living in County Galway. He has written for The British Psychological Society Transpersonal Psychology Review (Spring 2012) but this is his first attempt at publishing his poetry. His Master’s degree thesis was about the therapeutic effects of swimming with dolphins off the West Coast of Ireland.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Noel Duffy Old Shoes I hadn’t seen you in three years, your visit to Dublin from rural south Devon marked a holiday as much for me as you. We met in Rathmines where we once lived and went for coffee to escape the rain that drove you from this country and my days. You had a box with new boots, bought to replace the worn out shoes that you had when we were still together. On our way to my flat the rain returned and your feet got wet. You threw off your old shoes for the new, and asked me to toss them in the bin – these shoes that had that had taken you to Guatemala, Oman, the dark woods of Wisconsin and the darker streets of London till, finally, your wanderlust spent, the refuge of rural England. It lashed again the morning you left, your new boots keeping you safe against the elements and, I sensed, me. We parted with an unconvincing embrace and promise to speak, whatever love we once had having walked its course and reached its end, the feeling worn out like your old shoes in my bin. I was relieved when the garbage men came.


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On Light ‘Truth is sought for its own sake... Finding it is very difficult and the road to it is rough. For truths are plunged in obscurity.’ – Alhazen (965CE/354AH – 1040CE/430AH), Doubts Concerning Ptolemy

Ibn al-Haytham, known to all as Alhazen, sits in his chair looking at the window opposite him, the rectangle of light revealing the jasmine tree in his small garden, finally in blossom. He’s been under house arrest for nearly ten years, this window and its light particularly familiar to him. He had once promised the sixth Fatimid caliphate and their Caliph, Al Hakim, that he could regulate the floodwaters of the Great Nile by means of a dam. Al Hakim believed him and gave him everything he needed both in terms of materials and men yet even the great Alhazen soon recognised that it was a doomed plan and feigned insanity of mind and purpose there in the heat of the delta to have his life spared as the water flowed by him, unstoppable. And thus he sits here in his chair opposite a window he knows too well. Yet when he looks at it he doesn’t feel anger or regret for the years lost in this room; no, for Alhazen has used this time well, conducting many experiments on the nature of light, the daylight from this window the only source he needed. Here he has written his masterpiece on optics outlining research and offering experimental proofs on refraction, reflection, spherical aberration, parabolic mirrors and the magnifying power of lens. Yet, one experiment stands above them all,


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

evidence to overthrow a millennium of opinion. Alhazen had simply placed a thick, black fabric across the window and secured it tightly, then made a small aperture at its centre, the rooftops and mosques of the city suddenly projected upside down on the wall opposite, showing for certain that light travels from an object to our eyes in straight lines and by no other means... Alhazen, though, feels different today. He has just heard of the Caliph’s death and with that news he is free to leave this enclosure. So he sits in his chair looking at this window for the final time, nostalgic for all it has given him. He stands at last and turns to the door. He thinks he might like to go to the market and buy fresh pomegranates.

Noel Duffy studied Experimental Physics at Trinity College, Dublin, before turning his hand to writing. He co-edited with Theo Dorgan Watching the River Flow: A Century in Irish Poetry (Poetry Ireland/Poetry Society, 1999), and was the winner of the START Chapbook Prize for his collection The Silence After in 2003. His collection In the Library of Lost Objects was published by Ward Wood, London, in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Strong Award for best debut by an Irish Poet. His second collection, On Light & Carbon will appear in autumn 2013, again with Ward Wood.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Kevin Conroy Odonata Lampyridae * There were glow-worms in the ghostly bushes, fireflies flashed in synch, as you pulsed the humid air with words – my lightening lucifer – touching, just enough, now here now there. There were dragonflies along the river, blue-bright tandems in tight embrace, as I winged it humming in the jewel-bright air seeking a touch, a thrill, a chase. You were lightning fire, a big eyed dragon I out to euphemise an Odonata and Lampyridae; your cryptic light in words I cannot match in any way our worlds can ever touch.

*Fireflies (Lampyridae) or glow worms are beetles that use synchronous flashing pulses in courtship communication to select compatible mates; Dragonflies (Odonata or ‘toothed one’) are insects of a different order – top predators of insects.

Kevin Conroy lives in Naas, Co. Kildare and has published in The SHOp and The Moth. He was also the recipient of the inaugural 2012 Poetry Ireland / Trocaire poetry competition award.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Tyler Farrell Three Family Rummage Signs sang locals up the crest of Hill Cr. with the deal hungry who looked and sought what and where did those hubcaps come from while we sat grandma’s lap on the davenport green for sale the back porch, in and out of kitchens garage boxes filled with old shirts and coats toys and useless trinkets, dishes priced at top dollar. My mother, my aunts tailoring every one time need counting the money in the box, joy to squelch the haggler. “Well…I couldn’t take anything lower than twenty dollars for that coat. It’s brand new and the seed company patch is quite unique.” And the kids are looking at the toys and I am trying on an old shirt of my grandfather’s while the poker face people hit the pavement with some old junk for a few dollars here and springs Veronica pushed on an elderly lady with a walker thinking her neighbor boy could fix her bed with them. And Father Upanup out of his classics lurking in the books ready to ask for them, a donation to the church perhaps. All the while my aunt’s holding onto stuff out of spite. She laughed at the ridiculous offer of fifty cents for a Monopoly game. And here I thought the idea of a rummage sale was to get rid of stuff, to clean house, to unburden. But, as always, my family would consider the money angle, greed over clutter. A thought glory flash of timing and profit, old supply sold to the poor and the needy, the selfish and greedy.


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Tyler Farrell was born in Illinois and grew up in Milwaukee. He has published poems, essays, and reviews in many periodicals, and a biographical essay for James Liddy’s Selected Poems (Arlen House, 2011). He teaches writing and literature at Marquette University and currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife Joan and their two sons. He has published two collections of poetry with Salmon, Tethered to the Earth (2008) and, his most recent, The Land of Give and Take (2012).


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Anjumon Sahin Some useless notes or the two voices Notes from a night walker once I found In the dark green bottom drawer of my old apartment. I walk in the black of the night day after day and find you day after day. It was time to move; time to scrape what was needed and discard the useless. So it does not matter that you are not the same for I am not the same either. In three years how did I never see these loose brown sheets? I sit in the bright light of the day night after night and I am invisible to you night after night Did she know me? Did she know that I was gonna be there? So it does not matter that you can’t see me for I can’t see my reflection often enough. I am sure they were meant for me, meant for me to be read and meant for me to be read sooner. To my dearest me, I had to read them, know the story that they tell and know it now. Emily did not relent till she found the old-little boy, why should I? The way my tongue rolls and the way it goes back all the way to my throat and releases itself creating the vibration that makes the ear drums dance. There is no name, it just says me. Gauguin gagua or was it linguine, I do not understand the words but I like the rhythm My room’s never been this naked before; not even the painting of the black lilies is left here. I concentrate on the smells in my room not on you and when I can’t buy them I draw them. Am I the me she is referring to? I draw them in all colours and shapes and imagine their smells floating in my head. Pages of obtuse commentary on clouds followed what I could vaguely decipher I kept his red sock, they remind me of the day when I had a Blueberry kulfi, saw the water and did not climb the stairs. Maybe it is time to go, leave behind the sheets just like the old place New Year is new when old people are with you. But we do have to begin anew I restore it to where I found it, no receivers to find here. I knew you would leave me, I knew it was only a matter of time,


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So it does not matter for I remember only the smells and the colours and the words. The last line that the right corner of my left eye caught was written In the bottom left corner, a tiny note: Use Silk threads instead of dental floss. She was a no one. I will still be me, eating Kulfis, sitting here swimming in the sea of my own story. No mystery, no history, no story. It was a waste of time.

Anjumon Sahin is originally from Assam, Northeast India but has lived in Delhi since 2007. She is currently pursuing her M.Phil degree in English literature at the University of Delhi where she also works as an assistant professor.


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Chimera Lay No translation I want to live where rain strikes hard, but doesn’t sting my face if I talk back. Where clouds have holes for climbing through to escape from everything once good that you have broken. I have a secret place between my ear and neck, where it is soft and knows a language you cannot translate. It’s been touched many times before but on the way to something else. I wonder sometimes if my skin will forget your carelessness. When you come close, to watch the tears spill from my eyes, run down crow’s feet, into my ears; your words wash far from comprehension and I know it’s best to say nothing. Like lonely men perched along the bar, hands wrapped around a beer grown warm; like sitting with a song that keeps me in the car long after the engine has stopped running.

Chimera Lay can occasionally be found panning for answers in the mountains of the Beara peninsula.


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Francis O’Hare Street Music O cold, wet streets of Newry, on a rainy Friday night, glistening with mystery, under streetlamps, starlight, your names compose a litany, a prayer, a lonely flight beyond the valley-vapour, chip shop, taxi-rank, night-club, pub, river, canal, cathedral, bank, town-hall, courthouse, Ulsterbus station, dank small-town air pervading my soul like John Coltrane on Spiritual, the tinkling jazz-piano strain gently harmonising with horn, like wind and rain that blows and falls through all these streets, this town, this me alert, observant, neutral, aware of history and Wallace Stevens’ angel of necessity; poetry in tune with what is here; lovers’ late night rows, shouts for taxis, laughter spilling out of shadows like rain from a shop-front gutter around midnight… now’s


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the time for me to listen, in this almost-silence, to the sound of falling rain on wet streets, its soft opulence a rich drip-drop refrain heard after the last note ends; River, Quay, Canal, Mary, Mill, O’ Hagan, Dominic, Talbot, Castle, Baggot, Barrack, Catherine, Chapel, Church, John Mitchell, Kiln, Kildare, Monaghan‌.


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Astral Weeks A sweetheart from another life floats there W B Yeats

As long as this music exists I’ll be twenty-two and wandering through a cherry-blossomed avenue in leafy-with-love that loves to love Belfast, an impromptu symphony of starlings and skylarks constantly singing soul-paeans to the sunshine, church bells ringing out in epiphany the sweet, sweet, summertime of the past, until out of sea-mystical evening, mysteriously, you shimmer, vision-like, sauntering, your perfume drifting through my mind like guitars, the first silent stars in sapphire skies glistening, heavenly, listening to the wind and the rain in my soul, sense-transcendent of, ballerina-like, pain, to breathe in your hair, to be born again, my arm round your waist in that pure instant in the lilac and blue wonder of being, in cool night air, and we forget who we were before we were here, wet with raindrops and dew, in the eternal now, cherry-blossoms falling weaving arabesques of feeling as we stand at a railing, a train blowing out its harmonica solo,


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and then we’ll have kissed as we watch the moon shine over Shalimar, feeling almost divine as long as this music exists.

Francis O’Hare, born in 1970 in Newry, Co. Down, was educated at Queen’s University Belfast, and University of Ulster, Coleraine; he now works as a teacher. He co-authored Outside the Walls (An Clochan Press) with Frank Sewell in 1997. A selection of poetry was included in Poetry Introductions 1 (Lagan Press, 2004). His poetry collections include: Outside the Walls (An Clochan Press 1997); Falling into an O (Lagan Press 2007) Alphaville (Lagan Press 2009): Somewhere Else (Lagan 2011) and Home and Other Elsewheres (Evening Street Press, US 2011). His forthcoming work, My Bohemian Fantasy, will shortly be published by Lagan. His work has been widely published in magazines in Britain and Ireland.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Afric McGlinchey Walls That roar might be the ocean outside, but just as often it seems to be occupying your head like echoes of last night’s dream And no matter how hard you rub, the windows won’t clear and anyhow, there’s all that rain, and wind battering and yesterday it was hailstones, piled up against the front door like leaves in autumn We’re incubated, while walls shake and pipes rattle – perhaps the house will grow a prow and stern, set sail on these floods Soaked socks, soaked boots, soggy laundry cloaking every piece of furniture and steam rising, fire spitting, kettle hissing fourteen times a day We make the treacherous journey to the creamery for wood and plasterboard to put up a wall, create a new study for writing and even the men out in their yellows and spades digging ditches for the run off are wellie-deep in it, floundering and it roaring down the fields, breaking through walls that have stood there for hundreds; feels like a planet that’s changing its mind and we take to bed early, sleep on late, our world shrinking to six feet of safety, twined legs warm, wrapping us up like a package but my body is seizing, the wheels barely turning, and yesterday you couldn’t reach down to the ground


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and our only comfort’s a bottle of wine and dinner in front of the fire, the clothes, the sawdust, long planks of wood piled on the carpet The night talks in its sleep, the soggy house drowning, the charm of crystal, the swallow, wearing thin The day sealed in its grey blur, flits to a darkness – was that it? Again? What did we do? Pressure building, like elephants pacing a room And still it persists, between hailing and lashing, hands running on walls, the scream that’s kept down, like a dog clamouring just for a walk....a walk...a walk.....

Afric McGlinchey grew up in Ireland and Africa. She is a workshop facilitator, editor and reviewer and tutors poetry online at Her work has appeared in various journals, including The SHOp, Southword, Poetry Ireland Review, Tears in the Fence, Acumen, and Magma. Her debut collection, The lucky star of hidden things, was published in 2012 by Salmon Poetry. She won the Hennessy Award for Emerging Poetry in 2011 and the Northern Liberties Poetry Prize (USA) in 2012. She lives in West Cork.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Susie Sweetland Garay The interpretation of dreams I look out the window surrounded by naked vines and fog so thick I can no longer see the birds who used to swarm so joyfully. It feels like it’s been ages since I walked under a blue sky. I read a book once that said as humans when we feel an emotion, while we are feeling it we can’t imagine there ever being a time when we no longer feel that thing. Though logically we know it’s not true, we feel that it will last forever, the good or the bad. It’s that kind of fog. When I was young friends would come to me for an interpretation of dreams. It was not hard. There was meaning waiting right below the surface, asking me to reach down and pull it up into the air.


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I wonder if I reach up into the fog what kind of truth will drip down on me.

Born and raised in Portland Oregon, Susan Sweetland Garay received a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Brigham Young University, spent some years in the Ohio Appalachians and currently lives in the Willamette Valley with her husband where she works in the vineyard industry. She has had poetry and photography published in a variety of journals, online and in print, and is a founding editor of The Blue Hour Literary Magazine and Press,


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

David Murphy Files in Amber According to those with knowledge – frogmen, policemen, coroners – certain factors prevent bodies returning to the surface: river temperature, tidal flow, clothing density, water depth. Experts all agree: in winter conditions a human body builds enough putrefied gasses to float after five hundred hours or so. Five hundred hours – a three week period when the moon matures from new to old, when a small mammal gestates, when a hen’s egg evolves into a chick. Twenty-one days – the duration of a multi-stop, island-hop cruise – the trip of a lifetime never won; longer than nine miles submerged between jump and beach; a rate of one two-hundredth of a mile per hour, by my dead and grim reckoning. When she jumped at sunset the water must have been breathtaking. Gold flowed in veils above her head. Her eyes stared up: one fleeting look at honey-layered eternity colouring the river flowing down from Lady’s Well, nectaring the water with amber tears of goddesses, of demons and nightmares. Did her whole life flash in front of her?


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That life I know so well flows before me now, licks the soles of my feet, the base of my spine, ruffles the hairs on my head. Never-ending ripples in the river nudged her body to the shore; randomness of colliding tides resulted in her discovery, the removal from beach to mortuary. A nun in civvies covered the devoured side of her face. She dimmed the lights. I stepped forward to bend my head in mute act of identification. I recognised her in silhouette. Three weeks, twenty-one days, five hundred hours – one minute might have been enough to heal the scars – a word. The past is more substantial these days. Memories float in pools beneath my eyes – denser, heavier, soggier. Memories weighed down, embedded – everlasting remembrances flowing in an alluvial computer; crystalised, glowing. Incorruptible files in memory’s softest amber.

David Murphy’s poetry has been published in various magazines and anthologies in Ireland and abroad, including The Poetry Bus, Stony Thursday Book, Every Day Poets, Boyne Berries, Minus Nine Squared, Revival, About Place Journal and Indigo Rising. He is also a short story writer and novelist. His website is


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Neil Banks Unsaid I expected, being out the pier so early, and the storm already through its gears to fourth, that I’d meet no one, let alone himself. Waves rushed in like row on row of white anger. I imagined them being the enraged souls of infantrymen sent over the top, gallantly advancing towards oblivion – doomed – dashed against a wall of enemy fire. Each wave’s end was like another shell exploding. The view beyond was largely whited out in a veil of spray and cloud, with the island visible through it only in outline, like the future, or the face of a bride. Himself saw me and nodded, took out a fag. He tried to light up with his shoulders hunched over, his hands cupped round match after match. The wind triumphed every time. He approached me then. I’d asked nothing but he shouted to be heard above the noise – that non-stop noise – bouncing off the low sky, like the roar that hoors up the flue when air sucks under the fire and flames grow fierce. That noise fairly bellows. Out there the sound was similar, but cold. He was, he said, at the edge of despair. He’d traced his troubles back to a day last summer when he stood with you, looking out to the island. Out of nowhere some demon made him wonder aloud how well he knew you, and you – he told me – said with a sad certainty that you didn’t think you and he were quite the match, but that you’d wait and see. He was hunting this evil spirit now, hoping to throttle it and thus regain the moment a second before he’d opened his gob at all. I can’t forget his windblown head, his face red and wet from the cold and wind and spray. His small eyes – gas-flame blue – were mad with passion, alive with sparks like wartime nights. He told me ever since your queer exchange that things were tempestuous – a good word, don’t you think? Demented, he maintained, was the only word suited to him after so much searching for a way back to where his own words and yours could be unsaid.


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Unable to hate him, I held open my coat, nodded at the matches in his hand. He leaned his head into my makeshift shelter. We were like soldiers ourselves, chums. The sight of him there bowed before me and the start of a bald patch on his crown almost cleaved my heart. He drew back, lit, and asked me what diabolical cause had me abroad on such a wild morning, and was I demented too? I left him yonder, smoking, sniffing around for demons. Back at the harbour all the boats – held by strong moorings – rolled this way and that, and thus mimicked your indecision. This is your war, really; not mine, not his. When the battle’s done though, when your mind – like that storm – has settled, you will roll this way or that, and one of us will have lost.

Neil Banks lives in Bray, County Wicklow. His poems have appeared in The Stinging Fly and Shot Glass Journal. His fiction has been broadcast by RTE Radio and published by New Irish Writing, Crannóg Magazine and others.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Éamon Mag Uidhir Maisie So he said

there's not much good in having a bee-loud glade and keeping the double-glazing shut.

And I said

you won't find me putting up with a draught.

Then he said

you should just listen to the bees and the birds.

And I said

there's no birds out there, only crows.

And he said

crows are birds.

Then I thought what can I knit him for his birthday that he won't like, that I can scold him for not wearing, ungrateful pig, for the rest of his days? And I said

hand me down me knitting basket, will you?

And I thought

I'll have the house off of him if he doesn't watch out.

Then he said

I've a thirst on me that'd cut a throat.

And I thought

if only it'd cut yours.

But I said

why don't you pop over for a jar and see if your pals are in?


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And he said

yeah I might in a while.

And I thought

they're like children really, though with a child you can always look forward to them leaving home for good.

Éamon Mag Uidhir is a Dubliner living in County Kildare. He has had poems published recently in Cyphers, The Moth, Crannóg, Revival, and online in Misty Mountain Review. He edited Icarus while attending TCD during the 1970s and currently maintains an online shrine to the sonnet form at


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

James Chapson The Royals I used to think that the interesting issue was whether we should have a monarchy or not. But now I think that question is rather like, should we have pandas or not? . . . pandas and royal persons alike are expensive to conserve and ill-adapted to any modern environment. But aren’t they interesting? Aren’t they nice to look at? —Hilary Mantel LRB Vol. 35 No. 4 · 21 February 2013

Come quickly, children! Look! It’s feeding time! See how the Royals pace about! That black stuff the keepers are shoveling into the trough? That’s caviar. Watch how the Royals lap it up! There’s a shortage of it now, you know, and when it’s gone the Royals might become extinct—a shame, just when new breeding stock’s been introduced. Enjoy them while you can. Those grizzled old ones won’t be around much longer, and the darling young ones I’m afraid are accident-prone. They’ll never reach the grave demeanor of the old, which is what they’re valued for; otherwise they’re just one more endangered species no one cares about. Oh my! The young ones are at it again! Come along, children; we’ve seen enough.

Jim Chapson was born and raised in Honolulu. He has for many years been living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where his work is known only to a small and rapidly dwindling cult. His most recent book of poems is Plotinus Blushed, from Arlen House, 2013.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Kenneth Keating What I’m Looking For for Mr. Gillis I'm talking to myself at night because I can't forget dancing to electric pop like a robot from 1984 I said ‘You look so fine that I really want to make you mine’. I thought that I heard you laughing. All my life I've been searching for something a bitter sweet symphony, it wasn't me, when we touch, when we kiss don't tell me cos it hurts. Touching you, god you're touching me, I love it but I hate the taste. I know that I should let go, but I can't I got something to put in you, my empire of dirt. By now you should have somehow realised ashamed, lying naked on the floor, I'm into having sex I ain't into making love so I'm done, done, and I'm on to the next one. Dancing to electro pop like a robot from 1984 and I still haven't found what I'm looking for.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

The Peccable I Marengo soon leads the me to a lake, Lac du Bourget, where the you occupied gone out into the flaccid fixed outside financial or perhaps economic the guilty I swim in the your absence floating and drowning peacefully beneath the our sheets submerged in temporary infinite held comfortingly, ensconced, dug in enveloped and posted to Land Foreign, Distant Position Thebur - quasi nostalgic and real covers cover the my face, the my body embracing in suffocation of self. Head swollen hard with thoughts thoughts indescribable, indigestible fingering, implicating the me the they it burst forward uncontrolled but desired from the mess the I is driven out Blondi and Bella swimming-snapping at my heels naked masculine confused the usual uniqueness unaltered and altered but the I will revert to normal. The uncleansing shower, the implication the class, the you leaving for the work the I sitting at the our home the death the rebirth the breakfast the penitent I eats the she and the you indescribable, indigestible skin enveloped, exiles exiled and the peccable I tacitly sit and dream.

Kenneth Keating is a poet and academic. Originally from Navan, Co. Meath, he now lives in Dublin and has published in various journals.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

Mary Madec Persephone: Coming of Age At the end of the Spring season, she plays in the ragged grasses clumpy, uneven, wet like the hairs on the mount of Venus, the sentinel peaks rising in the distance by the tender early light, now her breasts; in the waters of the inlets her arms and legs stretch like promontories. She is aware of the suck and tug of the earth taking her into itself, into its dark folds. When she thinks of her hips, they are a boat carved out of an old apple tree she remembers. She longs for a river; she would give herself to its bed, its mud and stones like flesh and bones. And she knows, as a salmon knows, that she would go with it into the dark places water flows, on its way to the sea.

Mary Madec has previously been published in Poetry Ireland, the SHOp, Cyphers, The Recorder, Natural Bridge, The Foxchase Review, Iota, and The Stand (forthcoming). She won The Hennessy Prize for Emerging Poetry in 2008 and in 2010 her first book In Other Words was published by Salmon Poetry.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

About the Editor 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.


The Burning Bush 2, issue five, June 2013

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