CONTENTS 4 Poetry by Jane Frank who’s chapbook Milky Way of Words was published by Ginninderra Press in 2016, and Flotsam – a collaborative work with Scottish poet Hugh McMillan – is forthcoming this year. Her poems have recently appeared in Poetry Salzburg Review, London Grip, morphrog, Popshot, foam:e and Pressure Gauge. She teaches in Humanities at Griffith University in south east Queensland, Australia. 7 Poetry by Conor Doonan who started writing poetry relatively late. His ambition is to keep on developing as a poet and publish a first collection. 10 Poetry by Elaine Reardon who is a poet, herbalist, and educator. Her chapbook, The Heart is a Nursery For Hope, published in 2016, won first honours from Flutter Press. Journals that Elaine’s poetry hasbeen published include Three Drops from a Cauldron journals and anthologies, MA Poet of the Moment, and The Paddock Review .She’s recently been heard at Brattleboro VT Literary Festival, and Great Falls Spoken Word Festival. 11 Extract from Eamon Somer's Dolly Considine's Hotel, a completed novel looking for a home. Eamon Somers was born and grew up in Dublin. He moved to London in 1986, where he continues to work in the charity housing sector. Nowadays he divides his time between both cities. Eamon has been writing for many years, and his stories have been short-listed in The Irish Post annual prize, The London Writing Competition, and Slough Literary Festival. His story Spring in the Country won the Carmarthen short story competition sponsored by BBC Wales. Other stories have been published in Chroma, Tees Valley Writer, and ABC Tales. The Journal of Truth and Consequence (in the US) published Fear of Landing, and nominated it for inclusion the Pushcart
Prize anthology. Nataí Bocht was included in a collection entitled Quare Fellas published by Basement Press (an imprint of Attic Press) in Ireland. This story formed the basis of his novel Foolish Dream. Foolish Dream received an honourable mention in a first novel competition in the US. Eamon is a graduate of the certificate in creative writing at Birckbeck College London - the forerunner of the current MA. He has attended many courses including the Stinging Fly and the Carlo Gébler (both week long) writing courses at the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin. He has read publicly many times, including several appearances at the Irish Writers Centre monthly Open Mic event. 13 Lucía Orellana Damacela is the author of two chapbooks: Life Lines, which won The Bitchin' Kitsch Chapbook Competition (The Talbot-Heindl Experience, 2018), and Sea of Rocks, forthcoming. Her poetry and prose have been published in both English and Spanish in more than twelve countries, in venues such as Sharkpack Annual, Always Crashing, Cha, Frontera, Into the Void, Orbis, Here Comes Everyone, and Bunbury. Lucía blogs at notesfromlucia.wordpress.com and tweets as @lucyda. 17 Poetry by Oscar Nugent who first discovered his interest in poetry from a priest and English teacher at the school he attended in Dublin City. This grew into a passion as he began writing his own, first drawing inspiration from Seamus Heaney in particular, and later from the Beat movement. Believing that the right words in the right order can become much greater than the some of their parts, he enjoys using verse to verbalise his dreams and anxieties, finding truth in the phrase "The end of art is peace".
19 Poetry by Jim Crickard who is a poet from Kerry living in Cork. He regularly attends O’Bheal, a popular Cork Open-Mic night and has been included in two of their anthologies. He was invited to read poetry in November 2017 at Cork’s Winter Warmer festival during the closedmic set for emerging poets. His poetry was also published in Contemporary Poetry 2 an Indian Publication by Dr. Pradeep Chawal and Dr. Deepak Chawal. He has earned a BA in English and Philosophy in UCC and an MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture in UCD. Themes and styles vary in his poetry from humorous, ironic, emotional, personal and playfully superficial.
civic award winner, for his lifelong contribution to arts and culture in Dundalk, and HSE prize winning poet 2011 and 2015.
22 Short story by Nicola Whelan who lives in Gorey, Co. Wexford. She is fairly new to the publishing world, but has done free self publishing for an American medical periodical newsletter and also a British medical periodical newsletter. She has also written blogs on the Internet. She is a new writer of short stories, mainly chicklit, and is also a member of the Gorey Writer’s Group, who meet twice a month in Gorey, Co. Wexford. 24 Poetry by Patrick Walsh who served four years as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division. He later returned to school to receive the M.Phil. in Anglo-Irish literature from Ireland’s University of Dublin, Trinity College. His poems have appeared in many journals in America and abroad, including Automatic Pilot, Chronogram, Evergreen Review, The Hudson Review, The Malahat Review, Poetry New Zealand, THE SHOp, and War, Literature & the Arts. 26 Poetry by Brendan Connolly from Dundalk, Co. Louth. Brendan studied Antropology and Humanities in British Columbia. Writing since 1977, he has published poems in New York, Britain, and Ireland, in journals, magazines, chapbooks, and anthologies. Brendan is a recent inaugural Municipal District of Dundalk 2
Automatic Pilot Automatic Pilot is a biannual print on demand and digital publication which welcomes submissions of poetry, short stories, flash fiction, micro fiction, and novel extracts from emerging, and established writers internationally, with an emphasis on accepting and rewarding a wider volume of writers than most publications.
Jane Frank, Conor Doonan, Elaine Reardon, Eamon Somers, Lucia Orellana Damacela, Oscar Nugent, Jim Crickard, Nicola Whelan, Patrick Walsh, and Brendan Connolly.
Automatic Pilot offers a platform for writers and poets to bypass the fierce restriction of legacy publishers, while having their work received more easily by a discerning audience, and getting rewarded generously. The showcase of talent received is amazing and a testament to the thriving world of literature which will hopefully survive beyond commercial restraints.
Editor Brian Bingham
Publisher Automatic Pilot
Digital Publishing Issuu
Copyright ÂŠ Automatic Pilot 2017. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or utilised in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Giant’s Causeway, 1997 I’m at the Causeway at dawn Taking large honeycomb steps, Astounded by the intricacy. I’ve stroked a giant’s smooth boot, Stared down into the weathered red Of his ancient eyes, struck gold in rare October dazzle, between 12 foot pillars. A man his wife stop kissing And ask me to photograph them. They want a perfect honeymoon shot with the distant Chimney stacks that teeter against the cliff– Balancing against the odds of weather and Time while cormorants circle. I imagine chunks of the Antrim Coast Thrown by huge hands into this mesmerising Sea, and think of broken things – Bridges, promises, hearts.
That only dimly flicker. You wouldn’t notice us smile At the dissolving labels on the absinthe and carajillo bottles That may not have changed in the 78 years that we Haven’t counted. We make only a brief mental note that It is a winter night in Spain, that we are in the company Of locals, maybe poets. Each time the door opens we only Glance nonchalantly across. We don’t expect. The film Crew laughing at the bar don’t really dampen Our chances of not seeing you at all. [published London Grip, December 2017]
Not Being with Hemingway We pretend not to look for you in Bar Marsella. It does not cross our minds you must have sat here Where we do, or at the table next, where an old Man is curled like a shell, a dog heaped at his feet. When we strolled the hot and knotted streets From the London Bar, we did not listen for your tired Steps or look for your reflection in the faded mirror Of the gantry as we walked in, and we did not make It obvious that we were peeling back our own layers, Dreaming ourselves as expats, shaking off the soil Of home like characters you would write, or necklacing Ourselves in dust and cobwebs like chandeliers 4
Pockets Keep something safe Draft a pattern of yourself During all those hours spent twirling round a post While your mother looks at pattern books Index finger to tongue, the pages turn You turn; see things in the heat Fold your fabric in half and cut two pocket bag pieces The shape you need will be a teardrop but with one straight side You are elsewhere but you turn slowly on the chair Your mother speaks to you with pins in her mouth He doubled you today on his bike It is the colour of plums Pockets. Always pockets You need a seam allowance on all sides If done properly, the inside of the pocket design Shouldn’t show when you are wearing the garment Pockets more private than your skin A letter in the one on your right Mark where the pocket will go with chalk Pin the side seams together You wear the culottes to the break-up dinner Chambray with a matching vest Red hair ribbons Use scraps of fabric to play around with colour Add something unexpected Red rickrack trim on the pockets Where his hands are as they announce the prizes You can’t remember whether he had pockets You will not see him again Your mother found the letter Stitch the pocket in
The Habits of Ghosts for Cath You turn, leaning on a gloved hand Sense her behind you in the garden As you weed, digging a hole For a plant that reminds You of childhood And he helps me Turn the Patrick Leigh Fermor pages The story about the General in Crete That he relished so much when there Were few other pleasures – and I nibble On words he read for comfort And he Suggests I more vigorously swizzle Whisky with a dash of soda (I Apologise even though he knows I can't drink it straight). Nothing to prove Now, I invest in the ways He showed me Yet I'm senseless here in this café And the clouds don't answer. They are Busy darkening. And when I need to Finish a poem he is never there And I remember you said She is never There at the difficult times when New ground is broken
We’ve always known the white strings encircle us pulled tight beneath the arc of our summer ribs tides sound in slow, golden beats sand a linchpin of memory the wash: the tepid grit of our dreams on salt tongues beyond the bitter glow of beer aquamarine crashes hard on calico clouds blacken, parts not understood seep charcoal into the sea and our tears lightning fires emerald in forks pale lace strapping us to ti-tree banksia and the smooth granite headland – to what it feels like we’ve always known
Jane Frank’s chapbook Milky Way of Words was published by Ginninderra Press in 2016, and Flotsam – a collaborative work with Scottish poet Hugh McMillan – is forthcoming this year. Her poems have recently appeared in Poetry Salzburg Review, London Grip, morphrog, Popshot, foam:e and Pressure Gauge. She teaches in Humanities at Griffith University in south east Queensland, Australia.
Ode to a T-Square Lunch Time at Bolton Street Tec and the boys are coming out in bantering threes and country accents. Some of them are holding their T-Squares. I look on in envy at this slender apparatus. The long blade, the stubby stock, neat as you like; meant to be. Aptly suited to planes and right angles but at its most free in the cusp of a palm. Gripped from the end, the blade invites mischief, with the stock countering with a mild resistance. Glee for a slightly taut wrist. While the broad offers only balmy resistance to a sideward swing. Any which way, easy to hold and a good sidekick to stroll. The simple T-Square, a well turned out diploma in wood. Pull the wool over The Unexplained magazine I binged on while youthful, from the coffee table rack, its pages cited eldritch ectoplasm, men in black, stigmata and the Kilakee cat. But holding court, the Cottingley Fairies, brainchild of children, princesses of dupe, by a frill and a frump, beautiful cousins of such imagination. Your photos, Elsie and Frances, were sporting and playful, and for a while you pulled the wool over, but along
came science, unsportsmanlike with measuring tape in hand causing havoc to the hoax, disproving your masterly opus as hocus. The Cottingley fairies were just bits of paper and like the shroud of Turin, you were given the Daz blue whiteness. Puddles Come with me to that park again. The one that you like a little more than I. Through the gate, we walk along the tarmac, and I stray onto the grass verge and your gentle tug draws me back in, flush again. A little later, we approach the other end. The turnstile exit leads out to the river walk, I let go of your hand, and one by one, we zig-zag out through that awkward stagger. We continue and our hands re-join. Just fingertips connected, making it easier for a couple to negotiate the puddles.
When might we see that?
Thatâ€™s how we first saw you, bullied in between two others on the end of New Ireland Road. Set in there, on a gentle bend. The incline of your path and the mild arch on your porch helped seal it. As we signed ourselves over to mortgage-hood. We moved in and went through the motions of stripping and gutting, your papery semblance shoved into black sacks and white plastic bags. We knocked out a wall to open your space, a new lintel inserted to keep you upright. For your newly frayed edges, a bucket of plaster and a coat of paint left you Corinthian clean. Under your floorboards, a full-fledged leak had formed its own rock pools. Our hearts sank into those pool but we glued the gush and dried the damp with machine that hummed all week. All the while your front door waltzed in and out to our comings and goings.
And when might he
That was then, but now weâ€™ve settled along with the junk, which fills your attic. You are ours now, to cling to and clutter. Our hulking sofa has claimed it position, with the shade beneath giving dusty consolation to upended flies and pennies and whatever else that might find its way under.
fury-white rays and zapping
come out of hiding, lashing out a hissy fit, stiff-kneed from crouching for so long and snooty from a testy sacroiliac, flinging from flung-open fingers
us with gusto zap zap zap while flapping his huge wings, flap flap flap causing
an awful stir, like a chopper landing. When might we see that?
Conor Doonan started writing poetry relatively late. His ambition is to keep developing as a poet and publish a first collection.
In The Garden
Adam Play it safe Eve, Follow the rules. Eve, where are you going?
I had need of the old jars this morning went to the cellar to retrieve them from the bottom shelf the empty jars still had bits of your faded handwriting
Lilith Eve, he was always like that, likes to be in charge, forgets how much you do, forgets you have needs, too.
Twenty two years ago you sat with me writing lavender, thyme, anise hyssop on stickers with neat calligraphy a row of garden for the herb shelf
Life is more than this garden Eve. Have you ever looked outside the gate, have you ever wondered what is out there? Eve, have you noticed the serpent?
It was difficult to loosen faded labels to fill the jars with something new they now sparkle in the dish drainer aside from rust on the hinges
Like what changes the heart what charges iron to rust can't be removed easily
Lilith Just here— I'll rest her in this tree branch notice how she moves her body hugs the tree. Watch her move along the trunk have you ever been touched like that Eve? Eve... are you hungry? The Rose The rose reflects in the stag's eye. Held close drops of blood fall onto crimson petals, mix in salty tears, onto the waiting goddess. The stag raises his head, sniffs the air. Pine needles crackle under his weight. Perfume rises
River Night We float in Rio Caliente and consider the stars. We swim slowly now and then, our muscles and bones soak in warmth. My daughter leaves us disapproving of older women skinny dipping, laughing together at midnight. we talk about Ireland and share old stories of the troubles. Obsidian hills surround us here, the jacarandra tree is heavy with purple bloom. Still, we talk about crossing other borders how our lives have brought us here. Elaine Reardon is a poet, herbalist, and educator. Her chapbook, The Heart is a Nursery For Hope, published in 2016, won first honours from Flutter Press. Journals that Elaine’s poetry hasbeen published include Three Drops from a Cauldron journals and anthologies, MA Poet of the Moment, and The Paddock Review .She’s recently been heard at Brattleboro VT Literary Festival, and Great Falls Spoken Word Festival.
When her Aunt Ellen’s will was read out and the extent of the debts run up during the yearlong closure were known, Dolly Considine’s father announced publicly that the twelve-bedroom hotel up in Dublin would be sold at auction. His daughter might have inherited the business, he said, but she was only eighteen and her place was with her family in Co Offaly. Everyone knew he had to look decisive in public, but to his constituents, party managers, and the pro and anti-Fianna Fail newspapers, it would be the outcome of the coroner’s inquest that decided his political future, and not the decisions he made about his underage daughter’s hotel. Dolly had been persuading her mother to take her Christmas shopping in Dublin for years before the scandal. On her very first stay in the hotel, towards the end of The Emergency, with war rationing still affecting everyone else, and while watching a couple of American soldiers in mufti in the Visitors’ Lounge, she had made a promise about her future. And as if to seal it, she let go of her mother’s hand, brushed a fleck of glitter from the front of her long brown coat and shook her head to make the two pink rose buds pinned to the front of the hat her mother had bought her that afternoon in Brown Thomas quiver with certainty. She smiled at the American soldiers to let them know they were invited to come back to the bar to sip celebratory drinks with her on the day she moved into the hotel forever. Mrs Burns, the manageress, had her own opinion about the hotel owner’s sister and favourite niece occupying beds that she could have filled twice over in the days surrounding the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the traditional opportunity for country people to come to Dublin for their Christmas shopping. But it was December 1951 before she said anything. “Dolly is getting to be such a grand lady, she might be more comfortable in the Hibernian next year,” Mrs Burns said as the pair of them stood at reception fretting over suitcases and Christmas wrapped parcels, and waiting for a
taxi to take them to King’s Bridge station. Mrs Burns might have said something similar the following year, but by the time the decorations went up in the shops, Josie Geoghan was dead, the hotel was closed and Mrs Burns herself was dismissed and living with her sister in Birmingham, and the shame which would finish Aunt Ellen off two days before Little Christmas had already begun its work. Far from it being the Hibernian Hotel, a week after the inquest into the death of the chambermaid recorded a verdict of misadventure, Dolly and her mother were sleeping in Mrs Burns’ old room, and despite Mrs Considine speaking to auctioneers, Dolly was making plans for a grand reopening; washing, scrubbing, dusting, making beds like a professional. She even painted the hall ceiling when the man she’d engaged to do it was scared away by Mrs Considine’s warning that he would have to join the hotel’s creditors. But invitations to the celebration were issued and her mother had no choice except to attend and pretend it was an opportunity for the auctioneer to familiarise himself with the business. Mr and Mrs Hannafin, (who had continued to live-in while the hotel was officially closed) attended, and when Dolly gave them a welcoming sherry each, she also issued them with a bill for their arrears. She introduced everyone to her late Aunt’s solicitor, who confirmed that selling the hotel without Dolly’s full agreement would be against the spirit of the bequest. The Porchester Theatre, which occupied half the basement, sent two representatives who expressed their personal satisfaction at the prospect of the bar they used for interval drinks being open again. The event was boycotted by the rest of the trustees, claiming association with the scandalous hotel was sullying their artistic integrity. Dolly presented them with an invoice for rent arrears. The other long-term guest (Miss Guilfoyle) did not appear, so her invoice was slipped under her door. Mrs Considine was in bed by midnight and thinking about her poor sister Ellen, entirely innocent of all wrong doing and yet, dead of shame. She was still wondering how best to protect her daughter when Dolly joined her just after two. “Listen to me young lady,” her mother said the morning after Dolly’s hotel relaunch party, “you are a child without any experience of business.
The hotel’s reputation will never recover from the shook her head at the taxi man waving up at shame, that’s why the National Bank is refusing her. to provide further credit.” “I don’t know what you’re suggesting,” her Her mother closed the lid on her mother said. “Your father has done everything for suitcase and pressed the two catches down you, and if he brings you to Party functions it’s with a click each. Dolly’s empty suitcase sat on because he’s preparing you to be a suitable wife for the bed, the open wardrobe exposing the an up and coming politician.” clothes she was refusing to pack. “I’m not going home,” Dolly said. “Aunt Ellen got...” She slammed the lid closed on her empty “My sister ran the hotel for forty years suitcase, pushed it to the floor and kicked without ever borrowing a penny. But in another few it under the bed. “I’ll never go back. months the debts will be greater than the value of Never.” the building. And then the bank will own it. We have no choice but to sell.” Mrs Considine had put on her hat and coat before she even rang for the taxi. Now she adjusted her hair in the mirror and pursed her lips at her daughter’s frustrated reflection. From Eamon Somer's Dolly Considine's Hotel, “Your father has decided, the a completed novel looking for a home. Eamon auctioneer has been instructed, and the date is Somers was born and grew up in Dublin. He set.” “The least you can do is tell the manager to moved to London in 1986, where he continues to work in the charity housing sector. freeze Aunt Ellen’s loans, and get Daddy to Nowadays he divides his time between both guarantee a new overdraft.” The sliver of cities. morning sun on her bare arms, and the lace Eamon has been writing for many years, and curtains blowing against her back insisted she his stories have been short-listed in The Irish stand her ground. Post annual prize, The London Writing “I came here to help you to get the Competition, and Slough Literary Festival. His hotel ready for auction. I’ve calmed your story Spring in the Country won the creditors, told the permanent guests and Paddy Carmarthen short story competition sponsored the porter they must make other arrangements, and by BBC Wales. Other stories have been held my tongue while you indulged in reckless published in Chroma, Tees Valley Writer, and spending on a pointless party.” ABC Tales. The Journal of Truth and “Please Mother. Just one year. And if Consequence (in the US) published Fear of the books are not balancing by then, they can do Landing, and nominated it for inclusion the what they like with the place.” Pushcart Prize anthology. Nataí Bocht was “The taxi will be here in a minute are included in a collection entitled Quare Fellas you coming or not?” published by Basement Press (an imprint of “If I’d been a boy you’d have put me Attic Press) in Ireland. This story formed the through me university.” She didn’t dare basis of his novel Foolish Dream. Foolish mention her dead brother by name or the Dream received an honourable mention in a savings account they’d set up on his first first novel competition in the US. birthday. Aunt Ellen had been trying to even Eamon is a graduate of the certificate in things up when she named Dolly in her will. creative writing at Birckbeck College London the forerunner of the current MA. He has “That’s it,” her mother said. “Your attended many courses including the Stinging duty as a daughter is to come back to Birr to Fly and the Carlo Gébler (both week long) prepare for your future as a wife and mother.” writing courses at the Irish Writers Centre in “You mean, to be Daddy’s trinket, Dublin. He has read publicly many times, paraded across the constituency to show the including several appearances at the Irish voters what a normal happy family we are.” Writers Centre monthly Open Mic event. She swept the tangling curtains away and 12
An Embroidered Past
By way of my mom, your embroidered linen is not on the table in your finca anymore, the sun as tropical as your fruit compotes or your plantain delights that I donâ€™t remember how to prepare. You, who once told me that a woman is not a woman if she doesnâ€™t know how to make cheese, which I donâ€™t, but I could find out.
The glow of this June sun captured in the dandelions that venture their necks above the green line of a disheveled field.
That was before your speech became harder for me to understand. That was before you spent most of your evenings by your window, reading the Bible until the day had extinguished its last light. But then you had the light in you, you believed. Now I have it, the embroidered linen your mother made, your mother whom I never met except in the altar you kept across the main living room window with pictures of her, your dad, and your first born son.
They edge a path along a fence that leads to another path less taken as times passes; less bold, less self-assured. The call of the wild is an urge to bear bushes, let them expand and cover its tracks; dissolve itself, become one with its surroundings once again. A gate cut for a while its feeding of transhumant sculptors: wellies, trainers, hiking boots, paws, assorted strokes smoothing the terrain, mingling soils from the foot of the hill and the mouth of the river. The land owner installed the gate, not amused by the constant transit next to his expansive property, flow running like blood through the countryside veins. The local council disagreed and ordered to take it down. Now, only the posts remain, greenery swallowing them more and more by the day.
Having a Moment and a Tuna Mayo at Landâ€™s End This ocean is stirred by melting glaciers somewhere up north, and that shows in the cold wind that circles around, atmospheric shark chasing the waters harnessed from deep down. Green green moss barely covers the modesty (the arrogance) of the rocks beneath my feet, while a sea dragon rages against the cliffs, liquid bursts, foam surging from its mouth. Land gestures outward, wind makes a sail of my parka. I scout out a right spot to enjoy my coffee and sandwich and can't turn my back to the scenery; it is still there, wherever I look. I see why people invoked the end when naming this headland; why a closure was called for. I am still unmoved, though, and it sucks. So I plunge into the gasping waters. Light crashes against the surface and blue soon gives way to gray. Weeds attempt to tie me up to the seabed but instead I catch with them my long submerged capacity for awing, propel it right up to the top of the crag with me, and enjoy the views together, like when I was growing up by the sea, mesmerized by the encounter between land and waters, by the mere idea of reaching the edges, the Tahuantinsuyo â€”the four corners of the world. My sandwich is soggy and my coffee cold; humidity penetrates my boots and muddles the soil accumulated inside them along the trek. I am in awe, though, and it shows.
Commuter’s Train Thoughts Hiccupped rambling soundtracks, the view of fleeting graffiti. Life-size strips show up and disappear in this unrolled carousel slide-viewer of color-faded movies where the noise is a roar like the one from the Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s lion, this time coming from the Metro North Line. Thousands of liquid pins on the roof chase away the sobbing morning light. From the train the view is an intimate albeit passing look into the everyday of towns and cities; a storage building in the background, a green strip, tall, traffic beyond that, another road. The back of buildings in plain sight, scrapyards, rusty cars’ skeletons, rocks and big walls, sixteen feet tall, support which contain the roads, the towns, from spilling over the tracks where the trains reign. A geography of cables and metal posts which carry them like Atlas of the railways’ power. Thick lines on the ground and on the sky on both sides beyond the windows. Bridge columns and beams graph the river and then again the rails. Brown metal resting. How do metals fatigue? Black hole the tunnel, passing lights and the roar and the undeterred daylight surprises even if you know it’s coming. The spread of bright-colored letters like dragons that emerge to spray-fire words and images and post them over cement or stone walls; localized grounded social media. The immutability of the stone altered by quick-dry imagination.
Sleepless Hanging tick tocks regurgitated into the dark straight line pantomimes resonance box for the branches scratching the painted back of the house which sounds grey but is yellow the wind a tap dancing ghost over the deck’s wooden plank a prolonged trachea sheep counted with each swallow breathing a loud performer inside the rib cage vault of this comedy night venue holding the mic of unfurnished dreams audible beyond the skin the mind the DJ mixing ins and outs into a rhythm of sorts until something like peace nests in my pillow.
Lucía Orellana Damacela is the author of two chapbooks: Life Lines, which won The Bitchin' Kitsch Chapbook Competition (The TalbotHeindl Experience, 2018), and Sea of Rocks, forthcoming. Her poetry and prose have been published in both English and Spanish in more than twelve countries, in venues such as Sharkpack Annual, Always Crashing, Cha, Frontera, Into the Void, Orbis, Here Comes Everyone, and Bunbury. Lucía blogs at notesfromlucia.wordpress.com and tweets as @lucyda.
Let my hearth be surrounded by the enthusiasts, The impassioned, and the soft of heart. Let me break bread with the ones who enjoy the world And who care about its future. I shall drink coffee or beer with any living soul Who dares to speak the truth To shake the foundations of my faith And catch it should it fall.
Bench so kissed by sunlight It’s lovingly smothered While it invites you To recline and refuse Worrying and hurrying Away on the day’s business. Shelter or retreat Put up in public For those still living In dedication to the dead Whose memory we mark By erecting benches above them. Solitude in cemetery brings thoughts Deeper by about six feet To terminus where I wish To see myself under legs relaxed By virtue of my living And coming to rest.
Those who bend their minds to learning Or lend their time to teaching Or even stare at windows and walls with wonderment These are the homespun saints who I hold up in belief of their beatitude, Who wear their hearts on their sleeves and Their smiles like neon signs, shielding nothing. They are the kind of humans you walk through the rain to meet, Stay up late to listen to, Love as easily as you have a waking thought - so often spurred by them The ones who, without exaggerating, make life worth living And let you know that you’re not wholly alone.
Green just grows Green just grows. It does not contemplate or contrive. Where conditions allow, it simply is, Sighing so softly, Framed by bright blue sky And white hue light Which shines, smiling, Feeding that which feeds us. Likewise, the gifts the world gives you Are your gifts to the world – Like grass, it is in your nature To take root in the earth And give forth your fruit.
Joy blown out like candle brief Fallen like deciduous leaf Only dread left in its stead Buried under flowerbed.
Craving connection like a drowning man gasping for air, Like a flower for light, or like a drop to keep the shakes at bay â€“ Cardboard cut-out void that avoids filling by being bottomless deep down, Dregs drying out of an unused vessel.
Hope has fled like homesick bird Dead on lips as final word Breathless as the blackest lung Sits on paper - song unsung. I do not dream now when I sleep The beast has dug its claws too deep My will is crippled, frail, and broken Some day I'll lie and won't be woken. A web is spun for every thought Because a fight that's lost goes better unfought. With an empty hand one has to fold I have no playing cards to hold. My head is ruled by deepest sorrow My tongue needs happy words to borrow My heart no longer wants a friend I have no pictures, news to send This relentless melancholy knows no end. When all the ways are shut to love Melancholy fits like a glove And the only voice to pass the test, To reach beneath your iron chest Bears outstretched hand, similarly dressed And that seems best...
Phantom feeling in lopped-off limbs, An empty church that hears no hymns, Whose flock has fled, Whose faith is dead, Like a bloody body without a head That's broken beyond repair - a crippled dancer, It spreads through veins - the unseen cancer, Blocking chance of charity, Widening disparity Between need and have, can and will, The drowning man and the landlocked crowd Whose souls have holes they cannot fill. Currents carry him with the tide Across a sea he knows is wide While he waits for sight of land, Breathless.
Then the glove becomes a sort of crest. And when the gloves are off I know I'll learn that all I knew I loved. Some things come and all things go But Iâ€™ll hold them in my hand, ungloved
Oscar Nugent first discovered his interest in poetry from a priest and English teacher at the school he attended in Dublin City. This grew into a passion as he began writing his own, first drawing inspiration from Seamus Heaney in particular, and later from the Beat movement. Believing that the right words in the right order can become much greater than the some of their parts, he enjoys using verse to verbalise his dreams and anxieties, finding truth in the phrase "The end of art is peace". 18
“Wake Up” Nothing grows between the L or O, Nothing breathes between the V & E. The word falls out of your mouth laying there, lifeless as a limp balloon. In time, it will fizzle away like spittle lost in the gloss of the table cloth. You never said it again,"L O V E", banished from your vocabulary, like ionic bonds in the letters, themselves, repelled. You always had a science mind "no time for magic" you’d say. I can hear the oceans of your soul roar, despite all of that poker face decorum. Don't you try to disguise the swells, the oceanic cries. In the aftermath of pain, the roar of stormy cry sea shells still speckle the shore, bright as pearls at midnight. Do you know where I came from? Where you came from? Where this all started? We were eyeless in a mermaid’s purse, nestled in the underworld, in ocean caves. The left foot lays against a beating heart, while the right foot, blindly, kicks in the dark. Luna, the moon, emerged then died nine timesOnce a month, ripping up the tides, pulling us She carried us, she gave us life, bore us through, by the axis of her darkness might, deplored on to a silver shore of childhood. It was in the fissure of a moment, one smack and air clouded its way into our lungs, first breath. Nestled in the breasts of sacred mothers, never knew of this world, never knew of each other.
Somehow, our rivers have changed course. I see you've built a dam on yours. I can hear your ocean roars. You always had a science mind, So you would definitely know: oceans cannot be c-o-n-f-i-n-e-d. “An Ode to Those Annoying People Who Monologue.” You speak in endless symphonies, I’m looking through opera binoculars because I’m trying to find the punch-line. I pretend to understand and clap my hands as you obstinato in your one-man show. Words are flying from your mouth and stacking upon themselves into an ever growing emporium. Great dome of glass I stand in. Marvelling at the size of your voice. I’m truly in awe that you are still going. Where do you get all of these sentences from? You are a magician pulling words out of a magic hat. I have been in the audience so long I am covered in cobwebs. I chime in with conversation-changes of my own But you take them hostage and roam Into everything you’ve ever known about them Until they have all been torn along the ground. You have ruined everything I love. It is seventeen minutes since I have spoken.I am swimming in words and he doesn’t notice the spiraling existential nausea I’m steeped in: I’m disassociating and leaving behind this blind and deaf Man to prattle on to a room of empty chairs. It’s not like I’m needed here. “Working in a Call-Center.” “Working in Call-Center.” When the phone rings I hear gun-fire.
I’ve been shot by all kinds of people. Even your own mother has told me to “eat led” before spraying her AK47 mouth. I said “sorry” as bullets ripped lips into my skin. In training they said: “Customers love hearing sorry.” Your mother shot down every sorry like they were ceramic pigeons. “Yes mam” I said to your Hilter mother. I am her “Yes Man”, her “Candy man.” I turned into a pool of sugary sweet courtesy, relying on the spine of my seat to hold me up.
That day is many years away. So, for now, I will answer the phone like Florence Nightingale risking typhus in a make-shift tent. A risk I’m willing, for I am heaven-sent. Cleansing this world, one call at a time, in a habit and a head-set.
When I’m with customers I become a little Asian girl. I have the daintiest feet and the smallest hands. Kneeling politely at the dinner table with a docile smile. I wear a kimono of permissive silk. The customers are my angry Asian Grandfather. I heartedly respect their honour, asking permission to pour them wine, my eyes forever fixed on the carpet. One day I will poison Grandfather. Do not trust my docile smile. There are eagles asleep in me, waiting on my notice to be written. They’ll awake with yellow eyes and set their sights on chaos. On my last, my very last day, I’ll become cruel as Medusa, with snakes coiling my headset, hissing to me with sick amusement as we push the terminally rude into nuclear meltdowns. I will look around like a proud mother to see my eagles rip a photocopier, carrying parts around the ceiling flying in a sort of death circle.
Marie Laveau: Sassy Immortal Voodoo Queen I’ve walked through centuries in these heels. Taken so many names I cannot keep track: Sasha, Ingrida, Florence, Sunita. Binned a tattered list of dead lovers They began to meld into one another.
That great chase of the human race. One problem after another, all so delicate Let me ask you this, darling: You care if your grandfather couldn’t get a date at sixteen? No, exactly, same for everybody. Give me real something to cry about.
Give me something real to cry about. Oh, I’m rare. Rarefied. That’s my word. 100 years in college, got knowledge to burn. All worth it if you ask me, Miss PhD times 20. I’m on the verge of deity. I could be the world’s technician. It hasn’t always been easy, believe me. I couldn’t go to therapy to reflect my immortality. They would lock me away for eternity like I’m crazy. Then discover me and study my skin. What a gas that would be. “What a gas” I’m speaking from the wrong era. As I’ve been known to do, with blank eyed People staring at me in my antiquity. I brush it off and get lost, ghost, I dare say I’m the most alone. God damn, I been awake so long. I’m sure this world is a dream. I guess if I’ve learned anything, It’s that people never change. I hear you all talking about Trump. I’ve seen Gheghis Khan and Hitler And watched their ghastly power filter down the eaves of society. Give me something real to cry about. Acting like the world so fucked up. Pshh, you know it keeps spinning without your opinion. Then, your death comes, you’re blinking into oblivion.
Jim Crickard is a poet from Kerry living in Cork. He regularly attends O’Bheal, a popular Cork Open-Mic night and has been included in two of their anthologies. He was invited to read poetry in November 2017 at Cork’s Winter Warmer festival during the closed-mic set for emerging poets. His poetry was also published in Contemporary Poetry 2 an Indian Publication by Dr. Pradeep Chawal and Dr. Deepak Chawal. He has earned a BA in English and Philosophy in UCC and an MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture in UCD. Themes and styles vary in hipoetry from humorous, ironic, emotional, personal and playfully superficial.
She had missed the last train and there was only one person she could think of who she could stay with until the next morning, and that was Marcus Perkins, but on second thoughts she remembered that he was in New York City on a business trip. What the hell, she had the key to his house, so she decided to get a taxi to Dun Laoghaire and as no one lived there, apart from Marcus, so she let herself in. First of all, she scoured the place up and down to check that there was no one else in the house, ie someone sleeping in bed, or someone having a bath in Marcus’ main bathroom. There wasn’t, so immediately she got onto the phone and telephoned his mates and her mates, and there was going to be a party of all parties!!!! Once she got off the phone, she had a nose around in the kitchen, and checked out the drinks cabinet which was in the corner of the kitchen. There was whiskey, wine, and beer in there!!! Great!!! That should start off the party off with a swing. She had told his and her mates to bring a bottle of their own, so there should be plenty. She then made some sandwiches and proceeded to empty big bags of 6 pack crisps into dessert bowls and Leonora set them gingerly, on the main table in the kitchen. Leonora blew up some balloons with helium and they floated about the house. She turned up the music loud and it blasted all through the house with a good vibe, wow oh wow did they have a glorious party. Leonora danced and boogied all night long. It was a sight to behold, there were only supposed to be approximately 50 people invitees, but there ended up being about 150 people in the house. People smoking weed, people snogging together and in some of the bedrooms. There was a bed full of about 10 people squashed in together, laughing, singing, talking, just being really happy in their own skin. There were people getting sick in the toilet, but luckily there were other people on hand to help them. Jim, a friend of Leonora, spoke to her. “Wow, this is some party!!! Does Marcus know? “ he asked.
“No, he’s out of town. He’s not due back for another couple of weeks, Thank God,” cackled Leonora. “So, who’s that in the flash BMW parking up in the drive? Marcus’ car is a 2017 red BMW 7 series convertible, is it not?” bellowed Jim above the beat of the eclectic music. “Shit!!! You’re joking aren’t you!!!” Leonora gasped. She ran to the front room window, which was bay shaped and she suddenly heard the turn of the Marcus’ shiny key in the keyhole of the front door. Marcus was jaded when he walked through the door. He thought he was hallucinating when he stared bleary eyed at all the bodies spread out on the settee, the floor, in every nook and cranny of the spacious house. “What the fuck is going on?” he shouted. His throat felt hoarse and dry from the 7 hour flight, he had just encountered first class flying with British Airways, from JFK, New York.. Marcus had had a can of Red Bull in the car on the way home from Dublin Airport, and he could feel it kicking in, giving his jet lag, a boost of adrenalin which is just what he needed, and suddenly he heard his favourite hit blaring out of the surround stereo, so he bumped and grinded to the funky music. His favourite motto of all time, “If you can’t beat them, then join them !!!” So that’s what he did!!! Marcus stooped upstairs after he danced to the hit, and he flung open the bathroom door. The couple that were previously throwing up had now slumped against the wall, outside the bathroom. In their place, there was a girl dressed in hippie clothes, snorting a few lines of coke!!! She looked up, stonily eyed and waved her hand. Marcus, thought, what the fuck, what if the garda charged him for people having drugs in his house!!! But then he thought better of it, and they impounded ships and container full loads of drugs being imported into Cork harbour, and the Gardai did fuck all about 22
it, because the Gardai were, according to a new campaign on television, were in fact, in the process of drugs testing themselves, so they were fucking hippocrits!!! The whole bally lot of them!!! So, with that thought in mind, Marcus rested easily!!! It was 6am in the morning, and the music had been switched down to a nearly inaudible sound. It was very soft sounding music that people could just about hear now. The party had come to a standstill and Leonora woke up with a shudder, She proceeded to pick up empty cans, wine bottles, paper plates, etc etc from inside the house on the, now manky carpet and even outside where there were loads of dead bodies. Marcus couldn’t sleep. He had heard Leonora padding around the garden. He crept up behind her and gently nuzzled her warm, soft neck. She turned around and faced him. He was on a jet lagged, high, and he passionately kissed her. She responded fully, taking his face in her hands. He smelt a faint, masculine, musky scent from his aftershave that he was wearing and she decided that he was deliciously sexy. Nathan, one of Marcus’ mates, sleepily wandered into the garden, and saw Leonora on her knees, frantically doing up Marcus’ trousers. Nathan blinked wearily, suddenly copping on to what had just taken place. He knew that he fancied Leonora, but it seemed that she liked Marcus more. Just when he was plucking up the courage to ask Leonora out as well. “That was glorious!!!”, announced Marcus. Leonora smiled sweetly as she was the cat that had got the cream. She was immensely happy. They were in Marcus’ bed and slept soundly til 12 noon. By that time, everyone had left the house and had gone home wherever they lived . “Jesus!! I hardly knew any of the people that crashed here for the party. Most of them were strangers.” Leonora agreed. She felt the same as him. They both decided it was the party of the century. Three months later, Marcus and Leonora moved in a small country cottage
together where she worked from home as an Interior Designer and Marcus continued his work in Sports and Nutrition Consultancy.
Nicola Whelan who lives in Gorey, Co. Wexford, is fairly new to the publishing world, but has done free self publishing for an American medical periodical newsletter and also a British medical periodical newsletter. She has also written blogs on the Internet. She is a new writer of short stories, mainly chicklit, and is also a member of the Gorey Writer’s Group, who meet twice a month in Gorey, Co. Wexford.
What the Darkness Says
The darkness says . . . a truth will be disclosed that went unnoticed in the light
Every evening the world submits
the seduction of rivers is just one of my powers tonight may be the night travel to the edge of where I am — and then keep going day reveals the earth, I unveil the galaxies
that mysterious moment when night becomes
sleep for some, but not for you
stars swirl in the firmament
hear my heralds: a train’s whistle in the distance, the Dopplered siren of an ambulance
and the firm ground turns
I was here before the light; I’ll be here after it’s gone
I am a canvas to take your colors; reality unfolds upon me
quicksilver of associations made at the speed
dawn will end the dream of mind.
My face, imperfect forger, now I know the
What’s the point of money
way you work:
If you can’t pile it on the bed,
Each day you replicate the cells that were
Rake your fingers through it
And fling it over your head?
Tiny, detailed batches and almost every one matches.
But somehow error enters in — you won’t go back to a master, Copying instead your most recent counterfeits. Maybe you think It’s more challenging like that? It really ought to be science, But you approach it as an art. I see interpretation
Traced around the corners of my mouth and eyes — Where the double “t’s” were once crossed individually Now there’s a ligature. In the bathroom, with the dimmer
Patrick Walsh served four years as an infantry
Set to “interrogation,” I discover your stab
officer in the U.S. Army’s 25 th Infantry
at a watermark.
Division. He later returned to school to receive the M.Phil. in Anglo-Irish literature from
Nice touch. You want it to look good, but
Ireland’s University of Dublin, Trinity College.
not too good —
His poems have appeared in many journals in
Allow for wear and tear, the effects of
America and abroad, including Automatic
Pilot, Chronogram, Evergreen Review, The
The only way to tell it’s a fake is by holding
Hudson Review, The Malahat Review, Poetry
it up to a mirror.
Literature & the Arts.elbarro
Ladywell Wheelbarrow If I said the wheelbarrow was blue Would you say Iâ€™m a poet baptising black, Shades of Nina Simone and Roberta Flack. Too bright for a blackbirdâ€™s, Just right for a thrush Or the skyscapes of winter dreaming of such. Like the greenhouse that garbed it The barrow but skin For the organs of debris all hammocked within. Serendipitous collage of beauty and truth Rude splinters of wood Withered leaf, branch and shoot. Now dwell on the centre, the shelter, the house For the broken and branded Cats clawed the poor mouse. Fragile and sensitive, vulnerable folk, Raw sienna, burnt umber, A Forrest Gump box Inspired by Ladywell Psychiatric Day Care Centre. 15/02/2018
The Green Rose There in the shade of the chestnut tree Under the lee of the deep dark sea Where the shades are elliptic And wine cannot be I reached out to art for true poetry. She took a lump hammer And smashed the green glass Broke the spent bottle of romance now past Shattered my mind, heart, self and soul Til naught was intact but the neck of good will. Then up on a mountain She showed me a stone Heart shaped til broken From whence bloomed a poem Go back and do likewise til all souls are home. Shards became petals Hate turned to love Darkness to light The hawk now a dove Arranged in the stem like a rose in a glove. Green is the rose resolved now to cope Fragrant the waft of compassion and hope Abandon desire, the prisoner is free, Losers turned winners Wine's sweet victory.
Nine O’Clock News Good Evening. I’m Simon Smyth with the nine o’clock news. Today surgeons performed open heartedly on a local poet. A preliminary scan indicated a lonely wet road, an incendiary device and a clown about to give his last circus act. Afterwards he said … “When she smiled in Drumalice it seemed like a dream and in Derry how tender and sacred a kiss, that spoke of the summer and saving the hay”. But then by October the sky had grown darker he left in the drizzle by Dublin express, barely escaped from a downpour near Carrick and feared he would always be travelling. Later, much later, there’s healing in nature, two halves of a stone somehow taught him compassion our sources report he became a good neighbour. And now we continue with Ceili House.
Give Us A Fag My mother died on Thursday did you know her? Give us a fag. I’ll give you ten on Friday. Give us a fag. I fixed Our Lady’s statue Give us a fag. I haven’t shit in weeks me arse is sore. What’ll I do? I’m Saint Michael the Archangel have a cigar. I’m going to be Prime Minister Give us a fag. Will I ever get out of here Give us a fag. There’ll be a singsong this evening. Give us a fag. Here’s where I slashed my wrists help me. Here’s where I cut my throat save me. Teresa took an overdose on Tuesday Give us a fag. Sean jumped off the bridge into the Boyne Give us a fag. Mother of Perpetual Children Give us a fag. Crucified Jesus Give us a fag.
Gently Falls The Rain Gently falls the rain, comforting the breeze, sweet the singing birds, patiently the trees, silently the grass reaching through the earth, peace in caring hearts, love is giving birth. Whisperings from God, petals to the ground speak of easy ways, hush, donâ€™t make a sound. Still your troubled mind, weep your healing tear, join your hands in prayer, He is very near.
Brendan Connolly is from Dundalk, Co. Louth and studied Antropology and Humanities in British Columbia. Writing since 1977, he has published poems in New York, Britain, and Ireland, in journals, magazines, chapbooks, and anthologies. Brendan is a recent inaugural Municipal District of Dundalk civic award winner, for his lifelong contribution to arts and culture in Dundalk, and HSE prize winning poet 2011 and 2015. Brendan Connollyâ€™s 4 anthologies of poetry, autobiography, and autobiographical novella available: www.amazon.com/author/brendanconnolly
Automatic Pilot is a biannual print on demand and digital publication which welcomes submissions of poetry, short stories, flash fiction, mi...
Published on Jul 4, 2018
Automatic Pilot is a biannual print on demand and digital publication which welcomes submissions of poetry, short stories, flash fiction, mi...