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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

The

Burning

Bush2 issue # 2 April 2012

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

The Burning Bush 2 issue two contents Editorial Christodoulos Makris

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Philip Crymble Kimberly Campanello Tyler Farrell Pat Jourdan Mark Granier Michael S. Begnal

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Sarah Havlin Daniel Ryan Judith Mok Alan Weadick Enda Coyle-Greene J. Roycroft Mary O’Dell

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Lex Runciman Kevin Finn Michael Corrigan Susan Millar DuMars Bill Hughes Tim Miller Barbara A Morton

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Niamh O’Mahony

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Four Manifestos Two Nudes Nursery I don’t know if you noticed The Cathedral /Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France Petition of an Indigent Roomkeeper Stolpersteine For Ron Asheton In the Stadium The Mad Polar Bear Equation An Irish Explorer on Fifth Rest of the World Notes in December The Possibilities Seen Through the Window of the Soak-n-Suds: A Woman Folding Underwear Head Is All Heart Has The Meridians Horse Men Sunday Morning, Lorient Blood Harbor The Burial Chamber in the Pyramid of Unas Under Water Amadou Review: Flash Bang by James Cummins

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

Editorial Welcome to the second issue of the Burning Bush 2. As in issue one, you will find a selection of poets well known, hardly known and almost unknown. As before, we have British and American writers who, although well published at home, might not be familiar to Irish audiences and, likewise, we have a number of Irish poets who will probably be new to readers outside Ireland. We have writers with prizes and collections under their belt mixing it with writers who are just starting out. This is good; we all learn something. Like any new publication, our aim for the Burning Bush 2 is to extend its reach with each issue. While we spread the word on social networks and our website, a lot depends on the magazine building up an involved community, people who not only submit their work to us but who simply want to read each issue. So, please continue to send us your work but remember also that poets, and poetry publications, need readers. Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your psychoanalysts and confessors: read this, I’m going to be in it! Most of the readers that we already have, judging by the stats on our website, are located in Ireland and the USA. We’ve had a number of American writers in issues one and two and I’m fairly sure most of them are new to most of our Irish readers. To return the favour across the ocean, and because we’re based in Dublin, in issue number three we will feature poetry from emerging (and recently emerged) Dublin writers. By Dublin writers we mean, of course, anyone who calls it home. The city by its nature changes always and Dublin is no different: it is at once what it was but also something that it has never been before. It is a thousand years old and it is absolutely new. It is a small medieval town overlooking the sea and sprawls of concrete seeping deeper into the hinterland. It is the engine of the country but it has no nation: its identity is the people in it and, as always, they are various. Although at times small and carnivorous, this is where we congregate and as Ireland seems to suffer death by a thousand cuts, it can be the vital sign that says no, we are not dead yet. So, show us what you’ve got: send word from the squares, the courtyards and cobblestones, from the stairwells and pram-sheds, from the concrete blocks and suburbs, from the centre and from the edge, from the housing estates clinging to motorways, retail parks and the nooks and crannies of vacant technology campuses. Send us the new, the multi-lingual and the ultracultural. Remember it should be good, it should be sharp and it should be genuine. Most of all it should be alive.

Alan Jude Moore April 2012

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

Christodoulos Makris Four Manifestos 1 A red rose sends fragrance to rise from my immaculate shirt. Sunshine, delectable fare, exotic teas, refine my mind. 2 Watching him it’s as if I need local fact and links or state sponsorship to speak. Rather, my words roam; they find audience in time. 3 We too have to eat and shit, apply for credit and promote ourselves for a fuck. We get our kicks from drink and trade, gambling and cars. 4 I spill out of myself. My body sags and smells. I wipe their children’s mess off the kitchen floor. I’m occupied with what occupies me.

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Two Nudes r. She sleeps. She is ethereal, escapes from photographs in filmy layers. A wisp swathed in snow. The cold does not faze her, she commands it. Water, she craves it. She pervades it. Watch it become ice, slumber through time. s. Her hair is jet-black and pulled back so tight her eyes arc skywards. Her skin is taut and livid and sparkles like wine. She is streetwise. Her mouth is foul and her mind scythes through jobs. She has energy to burn. She storms out of her clothes as if her bustling presence can’t be checked.

Christodoulos Makris is the author of the collection Spitting Out the Mother Tongue (Wurm Press, 2011), the chapbook Round the Clock (Wurm Press, 2009) and the chapbook / artist’s book, Muses Walk (yes, but is it poetry, 2012). He lives in Dublin.

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

Phillip Crymble Nursery An early summer afternoon in Glasgow, and we’ve come to see exotic flora in the West End’s glazed conservatories. Lost in careless conversation with your sister, you wander off to look at tree ferns, palms and succulents — leave me fiddling with the two pence piece I found on Byres Road. The Kibble Palace koi pond’s like a magnet for young families —children point, ask questions, and I feel at once how lovely and how lonesome life can be. Out in the gardens there’s a limousine — the Scottish bride concealed by tinted windows. Two men in rented morning coats — the fathers, almost certainly —seem purposeful, agreed. Between my finger and my thumb I roll the coin. When you come back to me it’s yours. Some things aren’t meant to keep. Wish carefully, then drop it in the water. Watch it sink.

Phillip Crymble’s poems have appeared in The North, The Stinging Fly, BR•\ND, Iota, Cúirt Annual, Succour, Crannóg, The Moth, Frogmore Papers, Poetry Ireland Review, and other publications worldwide. Not Even Laughter, his first full-length collection, will be released by Salmon Poetry later this year.

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

Kimberly Campanello I don’t know if you noticed I don’t know if you noticed but a cat has taken a bird and left a struggle of feathers on the porch You know me You don’t know me You know me You burn through the bottoms of 4 coffee pots You serve your grandchildren raw sausages on Sundays When you’re hungry you eat ice cream You forgo shots of botulism in the face to stop the twitching in your eye You are still beautiful Like a baby mouse your bones and veins breathe through your skin You wear his sweater with the sleeves pushed up tuck fresh Kleenex under the wristband with discretion You know him, this Your eye twitches and hones You don’t know me You know me You don’t know me You know me You me Take me to the kitchen Show me how to do this

Kimberly Campanello was born in Elkhart, Indiana. She now lives in Dublin. Her chapbook Spinning Cities was published by Wurm Press (2011). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in several publications including The Stinging Fly, The Irish Left Review, The Cream City Review, Tears in the Fence, and nthposition. She is an editor of Rowboat, a new international magazine dedicated to poetry in translation.

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

Tyler Farrell The Cathedral /Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France All souls in New Orleans are beautiful when the mist serves us heavenly air trapped on wet streets, the park noises, young artists wash feet with a little fountain water. We crawl along black brick long cracked streets aimed at the Mississippi. Fog like smoky faces unbound wishes humid people, lives eyeing around the quarter for someone, anyone to tell us about the parties, the great restaurants, the crowded bars and discreet strip clubs. All the rewards complete test and happiness. If we could live in this parish forever we could be truly happy our entire lives. Then a wedding opens chilled cathedral doors with smells of an ordination at the Vatican. Grey marble and incense – intoxicates honors the crowd, union heart throb Christ. Sounds draw us nearer the ground in reverence kneeling beneath the sun and crescent moon. Our minds now unclouded, sins confessed. Forgiveness is a city of saints, Louis singing a song for Saint Joseph. He sings also for the sinners – bourbon street window swingers bad barkers next to three card monty dealers near Café Du Monde where a homeless man hit on me as we sat on black iron benches in the park with the Civil War cannon, model 1861 parrot rifle. He said I had real fair skin and I was sweating. Beignet powdered sugar fell everywhere. I smiled, listened, chatted with him for a time about artillery and pirates, about the Jax brewery, voodoo. Then I went and had a few beers at the brewery, stumbled back to the Basilica and with other flaming hearts looked skyward. We prayed, recited plaque history, visitations always pondering a pilgrimage to another bar. Revelation love from local parishioners indulging the way sinners often indulge.

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

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 new book, The Land of Give and Take (2012).

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

Pat Jourdan Petition of an Indigent Roomkeeper (Society for the Relief of Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers in the City of Dublin of all Religious Denominations, founded 1790) With the passing of the first-floor-back, moonlight flit of the second-floor-front, demise of the front-parlour clerk, (his furniture marooned, unclaimed, leaving me in a legal noose), - the Misses McCarthy silently moved out. I miss the rhythm of their coins. With farded trollops in the attic, tenants winebibbing on the landing, rents unpaid, my bluster not unpicking their pockets, there was the public scandal of the piano being removed. With a basement melancholy of destitution (I can render no accounts), there were winter gales budging slates, downpours’ triumphs, broken windowpanes here and there, strangers on the subsiding stairs, the house unfolding into weather. Here I petition for refuge and deliverance my rooming house having turfed me out, its rooms unkeeping me.

After being included in the first Burning Bush, Pat Jourdan's latest poetry collection is Citizeness, following two short story collections Average Sunday Afternoon and Rainy Pavements and the novel Finding Out. She is also the editor of The Lantern Review. More details are on the website www.patjourdan.co.uk

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

Mark Granier Stolpersteine* Someone is at work, prising out paving stones. The work looks proper, official, though he is wearing a cement-dusted leather cowboy hat. Someone has made space for something, a little block capped with brass, a square palm-print outside one of the houses of the nameless. Someone has done his homework: HIER WOHNTE _____ a name, date, whatever’s available and can be packed. Someone has hammered in, punched each letter and number, each dent in the silence of the clean sheet, each word ringing with blows. Someone has laid it in your tracks, something to stumble on: a street testing its voice, ghost of a shine, blind spot flickering off.

*‘Stumbling Blocks’: German artist Gunter Demnig’s ongoing project: memorialising those murdered in the Holocaust by setting plaques outside the houses they originally lived in. His website is www.stolpersteine.com

Mark Granier’s work has been published in a number of magazines and journals over the years, including The TLS, The Horizon Review, The Spectator, The Irish Times and Poetry Ireland Review; also on the Limelight, Daily Poem and Verse Daily websites. He was awarded a Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in 2011. His third collection, Fade Street, was published by Salt in 2010.

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

Michael S. Begnal For Ron Asheton volume volume

volume

volume volume the volume

volume

volume

volume, no way, chord

chord

chord

chord chord

chord

chord chord chord one two three four, thousand— we mythologize and love our heroes and propagate their images, quantum leaps of evolution, it is nothing else but and and and and and and the thing you don’t understand at first is best

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

(like a toupée) something is a part of someone, never a dead end, never hard to understand a bloody hand and ____ (volume) the shifting sands what are the sensations in the studio under pink, looking for a place called Stoogeland? other times alone and drinking, a mind wide enough as liquid, a switch can’t ask him now of the sensation, songs of a single chord, quite other song, the true sound of metal guitar strings struck through loud amplifiers, a strange orange wind wails, a strange orange wind wails, now an orange wind wails, wails it wails— it’s 2009

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

In the Stadium the stadium of white stone, cracked blocks of sun faces brown and lined, the men eating tacos in the stands, some take pills when no one is looking hard working in the taxi office 12 hours a day, it’s hard sitting in these faulty seats of wood which date to Roman times or before, and the peanut vendors never come around it is that the colossal stadium has gathered the people— the announcer, drunk, crackles over the loudspeaker, you peer through an arch on the mezzanine and view its space/ the stadium at night, floodlights shoot into the black sky, cathedral columns spaced in circle so when you look up, the whole crowd one mass, as in its womb, enwrapped in its familial warmth, you see a passage, or a canal, you rise through it, up, up, up, to birth

Michael S. Begnal has published three collections of poetry: Ancestor Worship (Salmon Poetry, 2007), Mercury, the Dime (Six Gallery Press, 2005), and The Lakes of Coma (Six Gallery Press, 2003). His poems, essays and reviews have appeared internationally in numerous journals and anthologies, in print and electronically. His new collection, Future Blues, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry. His blog is www.mikebegnal.blogspot.com

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

Sarah Havlin The Mad Polar Bear There were no tigers in Belfast zoo. Down the slope of Cavehill to the sea in the east There wasn't much there at all, back in 1982 Except that pitiful Arctic beast Padding his huge white paws, Engaged in the steps of an eternal reel. Swinging his bowed head, and in a brief pause Turning to the same beat for each repeat, to feel his way back to the start of his recurring groove. Oblivious to the light, the water, the space; Retracing his pace Of the old familiar cage Where he will forever be Never free. I watch him with small eyes peeking From a tightly zipped cagoule. Does he feel the rain beating His snow coat to a slush of grey, hear the cruel Taunts and the bay of the crowd's call? He never lets on. Just plods his four steps to oblivion Until he hits the invisible wall Tugged back by the tightrope he lives on. And so he goes on. Walking but sleeping. Oblivious to the light, the water, the space; Retracing his pace Of the old familiar cage Where he will forever be Never free. Outside of here, there's nowhere to go That isn't bombed or boarded up tight. High on this hill is the only place I know That feels safe. Outside the air swells high, Pregnant with hunger and hate. But here, there are pools for him to dive in And they've even built giant fake Caves for him to hide in Where he can never go. Oblivious to the light, the water, the space; Retracing his pace Of the old familiar cage Where he will forever be Never free.

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Sarah Havlin is a solicitor by profession and started to write part-time whilst studying Creative Writing with the Open University.

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Daniel Ryan Equation Brightly coloured swallows fly in v-shapes of distance/time. Sun, skin warm summer sky, physics sing a symphony of blue.

Daniel Ryan was born in London to Irish parents. He grew up in the Tipperary countryside and currently lives in Dublin.

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Judith Mok An Irish Explorer on Fifth On Fifth Avenue, he walked under a man-made sky Toying with sentimental offers, bouncing his step Off the steamy sidewalk Flanked by his rag doll, a tiny, homespun, silent siren. The clanking of his heartbeat in his head Pleasure was written for him. As he walked down Fifth Avenue He had the “all clear” for himself In tune with some rocking song lines His inner Cuchulainn on a frayed leash Deceitfully dressed as a careless traveller The tattoo on his leg a healthy fake And the sun all mighty in the crown of his whiskey coloured hair Hope dangled in the air, a small New York bell.

Judith Mok was born in Bergen in the Netherlands and lives in Dublin. She has published three novels and four collections of poetry. Her first novel, The Innocents at the Circus, was shortlisted for the Prix de l’Academie Français and her work has appeared internationally in literary journals and anthologies. Her most recent collection of poetry, Gods of Babel, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2011. She travels the world as a professional classical singer.

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Alan Weadick Rest of the World From my son’s bedroom window Gable ends and back gardens cross-hatch A red brick infinity of homely secrets That could drop any man inside Down to a first full stop; My father and his, and the one before that, The one whose first name escapes the rest of us, All look out now and have this prospect, Or one very much like it, lodge about our persons To cause minor discomfort only in the odd breather taken From the coming decades of blissful drift. In grave danger of happiness, we’ll forget These rooftops probing the azure rumour Post Office labels call “Rest of the World” And in the sun-trapped weed-beds and through periscope hedges, Under the rusted line poles and listing Cinzano parasols, Between swabbing the decking and raising the log cabins, We’ll all go digging, fathers and sons. Armed with ancient, dodgy implements and truant eyes We’ll go searching for the further adventures of bricks and mortar, The unexamined lives making us up as we go along, Finders –keepers only of what will stay stubbornly hidden While the bigger plot rumbles along outside, And they scour forgettable streets for us.

Alan Weadick is from Dublin. His work has been published in the original Burning Bush, Books Ireland, Crannog, Cyphers, Nth position, The Argotist and Roundtable Review.

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Enda Coyle-Greene

Notes In December for Vanessa From the train you text me about a fox chasing birds, as I see eight swans flying, a flurry of snow-notes, an almost V.

Enda Coyle-Greene is a past Burning Bush contributor. Her first collection, Snow Negatives won the Patrick Kavanagh Award in 2006 and was published by Dedalus Press in 2007. A new collection is forthcoming from Dedalus Press in 2013.

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J. Roycroft The Possibilities Saul He tries to fit a small Lego piece into some Duplo, like a toy dog trying to screw a great Dane, and all of the hilarity that ensues. Once the laughter stops and the tears are dried, I take this from it: we are poorer for our laughter, for in his world, everything is possibility.

J. Roycroft was born in Dublin in 1974. He was educated at Queens University, Belfast. His work has appeared in Flaming Arrows, The SHoP, Tears in the Fence and others. He is currently at work on the companion novels The Imitation Game and In Fiction.

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Mary O’Dell Seen Through the Window of the Soak-n-Suds: A Woman Folding Underwear Her lips form a thoughtful O as she leans into the splintery table and slides the pile this way and that, plucking out dingy footies and dropping them into a pillow case. Her hair is rucked up in back like she’s recently skinned out of the sweatshirt now draped on a rusty folding chair. She frowns at the tangle of boxers, briefs and cotton panties still before her, not to mention the thin-worn long johns lounging down below in a blue plastic basket. Her dull eyes light as she peels a pair of red bikinis off her man’s gray shorts. If it were dark enough in there I’d be seeing sparks.

Mary O'Dell is founder and president of Green River Writers, Inc. and has been writing poetry for 50 years. She has several poetry collections, the latest of which, published by Finishing Line Press, are chapbooks The Dangerous Man and What I Can Count On. Her fulllength collection, Poems for the Man Who Weighs Light, is still available, as are two recently published novels, The Sweet Letting Go and Banger's People, both by Turquoise Morning Press.

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Lex Runciman Head Is All Heart Has Lydia Davis Like guests for cards or company for a meal, even if when alive they never met, they make small talk. Their room opens off a hallway. Mostly they’re dead and you’re in a hurry. But occasionally, the doorway lacking a door, you see a table, chairs, and look in. They remember their work. They remember jam and shoes too tight. Days and stories you thought their dying took with them turn out to be as present as they are – beer they remember, and how it was to spread a blanket on warm grass, swat flies, doze, wait for the tune up, the swing, the jazz. One of them this morning teased about February, that cold shovelling, which prompted another one to ask when last you simmered that beef barley vegetable stew all afternoon on the stove.

Lex Runciman writes from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. He has published four books of poems, including most recently Starting from Anywhere from Salmon Poetry in 2009.

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Kevin Finn The Meridians Our world is slanted. Like black top, it delivers the tires, the corroded steel -(the tempered metal). I reach for a blackened sky, come down like a white feather. You reach cast

there find me brittle, aside.

And now, the cat’s rheumy eyes; you let it out, seem awake in your sleep. I am awake in my sleep! Dreams take us to where the child lies between us, slumbers. We whimper -- currents in our bodies, meridians. What does the road hold for us? The curl of grass? We hope for bright light, a rich sun to move through curtains, blankets across our legs -my hands are like that, like lightning rods -it’s simple to become anything. I watch as the magnets touch your shoulder, wake her and caress her temples. Sometimes, a sparrow will crush the seed you put out for it, sometimes

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the squirrel, a thief, gorges, and nothing is left. In my mind, I have the spark of gears. I shut your eyes, a slight touch of my hand: it has just begun to shine through.

Kevin Finn is a poet, visual artist, and recording artist living in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. His website is www.kevinfinnmusic.com

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Michael Corrigan Horse Men Someone farted and there were snorts of barely stifled laughter though autumn had brought cooler, colder nights we were sheened with sweat In this tiny space crammed in our knees pulled up each mans breath filling the lungs of the next Carpenters joined the hollow hulls of black sailed ships face to face then dressed them up to look like a horse to our enemies the horsemen Had they been goatherds we would have made them a goat our legend lost in black ruminant humour But, incredibly they saw only what they wished To see And there we were lying in deception trapped in time encased in wood we were not heroes we were no hopers knowing men hauled through the welcoming gates

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frightened, fearful and ready for murder Finally our captain hissed his command we opened the trap door and tossed out the ropes then hand over hand we made our way down to the sleeping streets of Troy

Michael Corrigan has been published in a wide range of journals and periodicals including Revival Journal, Upstart.ie, Five Poetry Journal, and Prairie Schooner Magazine (USA). He lives in County Kildare, Ireland.

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Susan Millar DuMars Sunday Morning, Lorient There’s a man wiping down the carousel as if it’s the only thing that matters. Beneath his white rag flattered panels blush and flash like fallen sections of sky. There’s an old man up on his balcony wrapped like something precious in his white robe. He’s looking at the church across the square. The air so still he can hear the choir. A pine cone rattles to the cobbles. Jackdaws, and the warm wood of this bench expanding as though with breath. Small white roses grow on the square, their fluttering faces like candles. I need no other cathedral.

Susan Millar DuMars has published two collections of poetry with Salmon Poetry: Big Pink Umbrella, (2008) and Dreams for Breakfast, (2010). She has published a collection of short stories, Lights in the Distance, with Doire Press in 2010. Susan teaches creative writing to adults and groups with special needs. She lives in Galway, where she and her husband run the Over the Edge readings series. Susan’s third poetry collection, The God Thing, will be published early in 2013 by Salmon. She had a poem in the first issue of the original Burning Bush.

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

Bill Hughes Blood Harbor Steaming salt phosphorous oil and gunpowder lined passages draining the land mass giving off black and crimson blotches to the merchant skies filled up with power the families of bloodmen fed to stand guard an agency at every post along the wire and concentrate into a fortress at the international waterfront the export mayor casting his hands like a priest in a dim glow still selling toxic numbers to elite strangers and trademark rhinestones to elite designers packed in under the gunmetal crates releasing from the hazy harbor black money and blood money on corruptible ships stretch out their long greasy line as it thickens a carnival erupts in gold dust on the shore

Bill Hughes was born in Akron, Ohio in 1987. He has published three books of poetry with Six Gallery Press. He has an undergraduate degree in History from the University of Pittsburgh and is currently working on an MFA at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

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Tim Miller The Burial Chamber in the Pyramid of Unas My ceiling is blue with yellow stars: my ceiling is stone, but with the blue & yellow, my stone has become sky & my stone has become stars. I am proud of the night air here. With the king between my walls, look at the words that cover me: read the words carved into me: read the words colored green &blue: stare at the green & the blue that stands out from my white walls, carved & sunk into my skin but standing out in their green & their blue. My walls keep the king safe: the words there guard against the snake & the scorpion: the words there cense him & cleanse him & open his mouth to life again, & feed dear Unas again, alive again. My words commend him to the sky: Unas, who came here dead & has gone away alive.

Tim Miller's other poems from history and religion, someday to be collected under the title The Great Year, are at www.wordandsilence.com. His most recent book is Hymns & Lamentations (S4N Books).

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Barbara A Morton Under Water I am afraid to be under water. I do not swim although I used to. Even then, I always kept my head above the water’s surface moving my body through each calm salty wave by means of a very makeshift breaststroke that convinced me, and at the time satisfied me, I was a swimmer but which must have seemed amateur, if not inadequate, to any spectator watching from the strand or the view from the cliff. Nevertheless, I took pleasure then; my body almost but not quite fully immersed, abiding the rhythm of the cool water of the ocean, keeping close parallel with the gentle sweep of the water’s edge, and waiting for the sense of time to shift, for the movement of the waves to confuse me, for the moment I would lose count of my strokes and afterwards discover five minutes has become one hour Beneath me, the unexplained. Sometimes a sedimenty opaque of ochre. Sometimes a veiled Touat blue and the kingdom of the heavens reported in that blue. Mineral salts transported from tall mountains by way of rain and stream; suspended particula, air borne, brought down by offshore breezes. Shell colour appear bright and unusual. Still, I look outward contained upon an unlaid pathway where non-chronological sequences miraculously conjoined, geometrically cleave at the vanishing point, and beyond. My body carries on swimming having its own law, separate from my observation. All I have to do is consider the origin of the sea; its great existence in the hollows of the earth. I go in complicate. I come out forgotten Yet in all those years and all those days of swimming, I never allowed my head to become wet. I could smell iodine and cobalt; chanced upon oyster and coral, sponges and seaweed. I was frightened by small fish as they caught me unaware but I was always very careful; the water never touched my face

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Amadou Touchwood is the name of willow and some other trees softened by decay. Amadou is also so called; often used as tinder from the readiness with which a spark will ignite it Linnaeus, poet turned naturalist, named it, Boletus fomentaeus Fomentaeus, from the Latin, fomentum, meaning tinder; so, in German, Zunder; in Old English, tyndre, and from the Dutch tonder, where incidentally, in Holland, in the hallway, small braziers of it smoulder as a ready light. In the high land, it is gathered from the south side of the tall sycamore, having a common cinnamon-brown colour and the surface hard and woody. Gathered also among the birch trees, it grows upon old wood in a shelf-like formation, in concentric ridges, and shaped as one might imagine a horse’s hoof. It grows alone. It penetrates the bark. Over time, it kills the trees. It is a punk to catch the spark; embers transferred to the kindling to ready the fire. There are other utilities; for the physician and also for the dentist, a styptic to staunch the blood. Then incense, a smouldering stick without a flame; then, a pincushion for sewing needles, prevention against oxidisation in the presence of air moisture, endemic to this damp climate. And the tall man tells me it is the best material he has come across to serve as a mount for the delicate winged insects he preserves. Now consider this; Otzi the Ice-man carried it with him on his final even, fatal, cross-alpine excursion. A precious resource for the ancient people, this complex firestarter allowed the Ice-man to make fire by catching sparks from a hard stone say, flint or quartz, struck hard against another containing iron say, pyrite or marcasite. Thus, Amadou is commonly known as Tinder, or Ice-Man fungus. There were no less than four pieces preserved in his journey bag. Tests concluded it was used for tinder

Barbara A Morton is published in national and international journals. She is the recipient of a Tyrone Guthrie Writers’ Bursary, and in 2011 was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. A postgraduate of Queen’s University Belfast she is preparing her first collection of poetry for publication.

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

Niamh O’Mahony Flash Bang by James Cummins (Burner Veer Publication, ISBN: 978-1-907088-43-8, STG£5.00). Flash Bang is the fourth book of poetry by James Cummins following on from origins of process (Wild Honey Press, 2011), Warbler (DeFault, 2009) and speaking off centre (Dusie Kollectiv, livestock editions, 2008). This long poem fuses experimental modernism and lyric in a form both radical and engaging. With short lines and quick shifts in subject and tone, Flash Bang invokes a multitude of voices and themes to interrogate the construction of history through memory and the complicity of language in that process of construction. The opening stanza functions as an exposition delineating the style, form and poetic intent of Flash Bang: simplicity as if / (forward slash) movement as if neo industrial backwash Here, “as if” functions both as linking phrase comparing and contrasting each left-aligned word and as open rejection and expression of disbelief. Reading “as if” as a “forward slash” making the terms exchangeable for each other, “simplicity” manifests itself “as if” it were “movement” and “movement” functions “as if” “neo industrial | backwash.” These lines also read as a forthright dismissal of “simplicity” and “movement,” leaving the reader with only “neo industrial | backwash” as a grim remainder. The poet plays on the ambiguity of the repeated phrase to inculcate the reader in the meaning and development of the poem. This jolting opening indicates a poet acutely conscious of the responsibility accrued in reading and writing and his anxiety to sustain the breadth and depth of this responsibility for both poet and reader. From here the poem proceeds through twenty numbered sections dominated by images of birth, violence and the human body, particularly the head and the eye. The title word “FLASH” punctuates these sections, interrupting intermittently to suggest memory flashbacks, bursts of lightning before thunder and the flash of light at the firing of a gun, each resonating with the different aspects of the violence and history constituted. The term also recalls the repetition of “Flash” in Tom Raworth’s 1974 poem Ace, but however one interprets these interruptions, each “FLASH” augments the uncomfortable wait for the “Bang” that the title warns us will follow. All twenty sections of the poem are distinct configurations of different voices and found text. Lines from “The Clapping Song” intertwine with Ezra Pound’s Cantos alongside graffiti from London walls and tags from Cork city, producing sections like this one from part 15: “my mother told me If I was goody, that she would buy me a rubber dolly”

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

strike! w. intention dragging memories into dreams repetition as echo FLASH And from part 17: give me twenty minutes and i’ll give you a poem or at least a parataxis shoving adjective down your throat “how much more can you take? one in ten go mad! one in five crack up” On the second page, the poet presents what might be a glimpse of his poetics which inaugurates Flash Bang as a challenge to the casual construction of history through language with all of its effacements and violence. A poem, the speaker says, is “delicate as ever | bracing towards | //pitch// | sounding each echo | further | beyond | the circle | preventing | enclosure”. The permeable power of poetry sets it in opposition to history which is solidified in language with stasis and constancy in which “each object” is “centered around | another object”. The poem fosters ambiguity in order to disrupt such stasis. The play on the opening phrase “as if” is relayed through the poem in lines such as “you are easily reversed | yet still | in a state of restoration”; are “you” “still” and moving in reverse at the same time, or, are “you” “easily reversed” but “still,” even so, “in a state of “restoration”? The play of signifiers is extended again on hearing the poem read through the homophones “sum,” “sight,” eye” and “sign.” Flash Bang utilises the vagaries of etymology and play on words to set the scope and range of language and meaning against the stasis and immobility of history. This is one interpretation of Flash Bang, and several are possible. The poem is strongest in the demands it makes of the reader to attend to their own cognitive processes of reading and interpreting, a demand now familiar to avant garde poetry from Ireland, Britain and the US. Flash Bang is diverges from national poetic traditions in Ireland, and this divergence is informed by the poet’s in-depth knowledge of poetry traditions in the Britain and the US. Reading Flash Bang serves as a reminder of Ireland’s vibrant, and vital, neo-avant-garde tradition.

Niamh O’Mahony is a Doctoral Candidate at the School of English, University College Cork and her research is supported by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

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The Burning Bush 2, issue two, April 2012

Thank you for reading the Burning Bush 2. If you would like your work to be considered for a future issue, take a look at our submission guidelines, available on the website, www.burningbush2.com We will accept submissions for the next issue until 1st June 2012. Please send all correspondence to burningbushrevival@gmail.com

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The Burning Bush 2, issue #2  

The second issue of The Burning Bush 2, an online literary magazine from Dublin.

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