VOLUME LXXI, ISSUE I
Trinity College Dublin © Trinity Publications 2020
E D I TO R I A L “If not by faith, then by the sword I’m going to be restored” John Darnielle, Hebrews 11:40 “Since the world is ending Why not let the children touch the paintings?” —Ben Lerner, From ‘Déjà Lu’
The neoliberal myth of individualism would tell you that Icarus is only a sum of its contributers, but I don’t much like the neoliberal myth of individualism. I want to invite you to look beyond those names. Somebody printed these pages; Icarus is theirs. Someone put it on the surface where you found it; theirs. A poet met someone once, and their work was changed. It could have been anyone, it could have been a brief encounter, but now this is theirs, theirs, theirs. It does not just belong to them, it is a creation of them, and it is a creation of you. I’ll be trite now and remind you that this year has been difficult. I think that we are all looking for restoration. I hope you find some in this collection. I hope that the pages say something to you, I hope they yell it. I hope you can find the little bit of it that looks like you, the part that is yours, yours, yours. I’m so glad that Icarus is free so I don’t have to encourage you to steal it. Though, please, do me a solid— take something from it, and consider leaving something behind. This issue owes particular thanks to Meg-Elizabeth for her advice & support, Aoife for her birds & support, and Jack for the rest of it. — Sophie Furlong Tighe
Icarus is proud to present new poetry by Alice Kinsella and Eva Griffin, alongside the work of Trinity students and alumni.
CONTENTS Cover: 1 by Catherine Ding Turning the microwave on with nothing in it? by robert Quinn Us as Two Rocks by robert Quinn “Goodnight my Love!” by Freya ní Chuagáin
Kafka by Cathal eustaCe The Desire to make sense of things is interventionist by Fionn o’sullivan Too much time is now inside by Fionn o’sullivan
Pilgramage: I. Haworth II. Bronte Waterfall with Grouse III. Ascent IV. Dawn chorus for the dead V. The Haunting of Sylvia Plath
5 6 8
An Eye by busé tobin
Cerebus by JessiCa allen
Haiku by JessiCa allen
A Tuesday Afternoon by Penel norman
Bullying Poem #18 by matthew tallon
A love letterbox flowers by elliott mills
Amber by ruairC o’leary
38 40 41
After Edmund Hopper by anthony braDley
If all the young men were hares on the mountain by FerDia Foley 14 Space Fish by Zoé orFanos
Those Big Platform Shoes by holly loveDay
That’s the Tweet by meg-eliZabeth lynCh
Little Mercy by Kathryn glen
Sky Spires by meg-eliZabeth lynCh
CONTENTS FEATURED: Eva
Doe-eyed jackrabbit The blue coming out of the blue Anthurium Prints 2 by Catherine Ding
canal round by alex mountFielD
overture for the birth of adenomas in my small intestine by alex mountFielD 49 Having a Doke With You by aoiFe Kearins 50 raudona nosis by Keegan anDrulis
Extract: The Quadrangle Blues by Cáit murPhy
Deora Dé by Conor Dunne
Everyday Living by aislinn shanahan Daly
Turning the mircrowave on with nothing in it? by ROBERT QUINN
Well no apparently it wouldn’t explode And I’d say every electronical appliance in the world has exploded at least once, TVs, laptops, remote controls, etc. It would only maybe blow the fuse if you left it on, with nothing in it. Which wouldn’t be so bad. Wouldn’t be so bad unless there’s something near it. By chance and then that catches on fire, near the socket? Then your hand is scampering across the room for your wife’s hand, and that’s only if you can find it, but smoke is thick, and the kids? Which way do you turn to go down the stairs? But that would only be if you had a wife and kids
Us as Two Rocks
by ROBERT QUINN
If you can remember in Lost how there’s a massive marble statue, only a four toed foot – but then in a flashback in a later episode it shows the feet were just the remnants of a giant which we can only see from behind. When we’re on our way somewhere And go the wrong way and try to figure out where we are Solely based on street names (or I would use maps) I never get annoyed, and that’s unusual for me I’d wish that the things we do had our names on them If we could instead be a landmark or place name Or something as common and distinguishable as the ‘boy’ tag Or even that tag you’ve called ‘squidgy man’ that we see around Dublin I’d hope that people could easily dress up as us for Halloween, That our silhouettes would make it obvious that it was us Just like in The Simpsons, and if we were in a video game that we’d Be unlockable characters near the end – you’d have to work hard for it And then there we’d be: each in our favourite outfits Everybody would know it was us I’d like that if we were rocks that we’d be close together They could write us into local folklore, and people would Say ‘can you see it?’ that we actually did faintly resemble characters from mythology, and we’d wake up again one day
I’d be hoping that whatever they can make of us, That it would be something worth a packed lunch And long drive to see, and we’d be standing there For a long time According to Wikipedia the statue is of Taweret the Egyptian goddess of fertility and life. I’m trying to figure out if it’s worth watching back, but I can’t tell or remember if they justify why things happened and if it’s even worth trying to make sense of it at all.
“Goodnight my love!”
by FREYA COOGAN
Freyka dar-ling, he sings, Freyka dar-ling, Frey-ya baby… That old voice croons in my head My fair lady, Freya dar-ling! All soft and frail and full of love This party you’re going to tonight? He asks Do you like them? Do you like the people there? They’re grand, I say, They’re grand are they? They’re grand and oh There’s one girl Oh there’s one girl? One girl you’re not sure about? Freya! She doesn’t like me Oh she doesn’t like you? I don’t think she likes me You think she doesn’t like you? Freya! Freyka! Darling! Has she told you herself ? Well, has she told you herself ? Well til she tells you herself, darling you just do not know 8
You do not know what she thinks and anything else Anything else is delusion - delusion! Freya, baby It’s an awful easy thing to slip into, delusion It’s an awful easy thing to slip into - and once you slip in, you may never get out. But have fun tonight darling! Have fun and I’ll see you again, your grandmother and I, we’ll see you again - Have fun! And remember! Remember what I said! It’s an awful easy thing to slip into. Yes, I’ll see you again I will, I’ll see you again, Freya, baby - I’ll see you again One last time, I’ll see you again. won’t you stroke my hand? When you see me again Be human with me, Freya-darling, Be human with me when I wither away, I’ll be naught but a creature, faint, breathless, human creature Freya, but, I’ll do my best to smile, You always make me smile Freya, I’ll squeeze your hand like Eleazar to Johanan, They say I’m dying, but it’s a misnomer darling, I’m alive until the very end. And darling will you? do you? weep for my smile? weep for my mirth? Will you weep for my beauty that rots in the earth? Remember what I said - it’s an awful easy thing to slip into Have fun, darling, have fun My darling girl This party you’re going to? Do you like the people there? Do you weep for their beauty? 9
After Edward Hopper by ANTHONY BRADLEY
driving in September and the night steals us light possesses us – the pizza-boys illuminated in sharp relief, a neat square cut into darkness incandescent where they work their dough squeezing and moulding then leaned-back and easy-talking their movements thoughtless their conversations silent framed in glass
by CATHAL EUSTACE
The desire to make sense of things is interventionist by FIONN O’SULLIVAN
EYELASHES BLURRED TO SPLIT RAINBOWS, WINDOW-SPLIT SUNBEAM WARMING RETINA AND MY BLURRED NOSE:
I have acquired the ability to offer infinite arrays Of possible explanations for a given x of choice Perhaps this light/this nowness/this writing-down…? “It feels like the poem is getting in the way of itself.” And the n-th poem won’t be written Not this one, nor even one “Life is real.” Or am I begging the question *for answers
The desire to make sense of things is interventionist I try telling myself I’m just here writing
Too much time is now inside by FIONN O’SULLIVAN
Later that morning filled with impulse I “can write better poems than I’ve written before” I tell my wife at breakfast I’m eating another’s ovaries. She accuses me of anthropomorphising the apple. “...this is what happens to you when low-grade occidental ontology manifests into emotional whim, you can’t even act in the world.” I put down my spoon to admi… “and anyway, I know you don’t believe in marriage, you’re the one who’s dreaming yourself up.” God. I was just trying to have conversation.
If all the young men were hares on the mountain. by FERDIA FOLEY It’s pitch black in Cork and I’m being hand-led home. I’d get lost in weather like this. The carnival is still going. It’s all lit up and following us through the trees. It might even follow us up into the house. Between the moon and this ferris wheel we’ve some cohort of admirers. We’ve some excuses to make. We should be long back by now. “Erah, we’ll get them some chips and they’ll relax soon enough.” I’m sceptical. “They’ll settle after a while. You’ll see now once we get them a battered sausage each there won’t be half the fuss you’re expecting.” That’s all well and good but he’s not taking the ferris wheel into account. The garden is very small and that thing is dead set on coming home with us. If all the young men were hares on the mountain. Lo and behold not an issue is raised. In fact, it’s not long before we’re all gone up to our beds. Not a word is mentioned about the large rotating mechanism keeping vigil out front. I wonder is it almost morning? That’s either breakfast happening down there or somebody can’t sleep. I wonder will I join them? Not at all, I’m absolutely exhausted. If all the young men were hares on the mountain. “It’d make you sick to the stomach the way they spin things,” “Ah stop, have they no shame at all?” In fairness now, it just looked like a laugh to me. Did they never have fun when they were small? I suppose there wasn’t time enough in the day between the machines and the milk. Wasn’t it a great thing for your man who discovered colour? “Look at the lot of them, hoppin’ around the feckin’ place.” “Yer man there is off his head.” I think he’s only having some fun but I get their point. He is very loud and he looks a bit like Justin.
If all the young men were hares on the mountain. I can’t stand the sight of porridge and it tastes like texture. Would ducks not prefer it if their bread was fresh? Can priests have wives and why would they want them? If all the young men were hares on the mountain, how many young girls would take guns and go hunting?
Space Fish by ZOÉ ORFANOS I like to imagine scientists in waders, combing the rice paddies for astronauts, scooping translucent bodies, carrying them hundreds of miles…up. The International Space Station weighs hundreds of thousands of pounds— But it weighs nothing at all. A place that exists in a perpetual state of free fall, shared between countries that traded bomb threats like baseball cards, and it has a fish tank. A wave of fluttering, inch-long bodies fills the Japanese facility. Kibo, or Hope, plunges into orbit, raising a new generation on sixteen sunsets a day. I like to imagine these pioneers as I wade into the sea, so I send joyful tidings to those suspended in the sky, the space fish.
Those big platform shoes
by HOLLY LOVEDAY
I For sure, there was a time when a banana split was the height of decadence, or when wrapping my wet hair up in a towel tapped into a woman’s dated bathroom. II The ground isn’t stable like after so much caffeine in a stuffy room it’s like walking on great platforms that cushion the feet and mute the pavement. So I feel like tripping over. III Can everything be cream, grey or off-white from now on, please, loud colours incite my migraines, my anxiety, my sense of future, my sense of interior design. IV She mentioned that the ground isn’t stable, as if she’s wearing those big shoes, the ones you used to wear out on the town she can’t feel anything where she’s stepping. 17
V Why would she say that the ground isn’t stable, I get up every morning, early, when it’s still cold out before I leave for breakfast, with my rake and make it all even. I go out there and make the ground every morning, for her. VI Then I saw that they were closing soon and ran out of the building, still in cotton pyjamas shorts, creased from rucking up my thighs over days, a cream tank top, bare feet. I think I smelt awful but the skin under my eyes was soft I’d been sleeping so much. I was too afraid to cycle down the hill with its sharp bends, so I flung the bike into a hedge and threw myself into the road. A red car pulled up, gruff bayerisch out the window and I jump in the old man’s car, fiddling with the seat belt I tell him I’m expected. I can’t feel myself on the cream leather, but feel the sweat collate under my knees against the aircon breeze. We pass the biergarten, the chapel, the gondola and the pharmacy, then he drops me off outside the doctor’s office. VII I scrape the whole of the city down even and flat then go out again in the evening.
by KATHRYN GLEN
Above the realm of the known, beings of power allot punishment to the dearly departed. On occasion, in the presence of mitigating circumstances, little mercies are allowed. Far below, further down than depth allows, a woman crouches on her knees in a forest without moonlight; digging. Clods of dirt, wriggling with bugs and worms, land on the hem of her ruined dress. She is barefoot, her shoes abandoned in a river long ago. Her nail polish chips as her nails crack, splitting painfully down to the beds. Still, she digs. The grave is not deep. His hand appears first, as she knew it would. She grasps it, its fingers curling in response. Her other arm roots around into the cold, loose earth until it finds his elbow. She pulls and the body lurches into a sitting position, soil falling from it in a rush. Still kneeling, she reaches forwards until she can touch his face. She brushes his eyelashes, faintly as a whisper on the wind, and his eyes blink open. They look down upon the woman with a gentle fondness that is unmistakably love. She stands and taking her proffered hand, he stands too. They pad through the silent forest, around trees larger than time and over mountains of roots thick as trunks. The treeline breaks onto a glassy lake which reflects no stars. Without pause they crunch across the pebbled shore and walk straight into the water. Shadows on the surface dart away as they pass and the ripples of their movements interrupt the stillness of the lake. Her skirts billow around her, floating like mermaid hair.
They wade farther out, until his ruined tuxedo shirt is sodden to the shoulders and, still grasping the other’s hand, plunge underwater. No words are exchanged in that silky silence, but still through the darkness they can see one another. They lie together on the pebbled shore the rest of the night. Neither can feel the cold. ***** The next day the couple sit on a threadbare blanket in the shade of the towering trees by the lake. They eat grapes and cheeses and clink glasses filled with white wine. To a small dock a smaller boat is tied, and it bobs rhythmically though there are no waves. The couple take it out onto the lake. He rows whilst she trails her hand along the water, her eyes always on him. So long as they are far enough away from the trees, she can almost forget the lack of birdsong. If he notices a strangeness, he pretends not to. She gazes at him through sorrowful, hungry eyes. As the sun circles them and lazy morning becomes lazy afternoon they kiss and love and swim. They dance on the shore in each other’s arms, as he hums a tune in her ear. They eat and they drink and they laugh and they love. As the sun dips lower in the sky until it brushes the treetops, she grows more earnest. She says things he does not understand, so he just kisses the top of her head as she buries her face in his soiled shirt. ***** Twilight appears, pink-purple-blue. They swim in the lake together rootlessly drifting as they float on their backs, hands tethering them as they gaze at the changing skies. As the light fades, he thinks she begins to cry, though it does not feel right to ask.
She moves abruptly and kisses their joined hands once, hard, before placing them on his chest, directly s his still heart. Red blood blooms between their fingers, crimson and cold. He bleeds a raft of red into the water around them. She lets go of his hand as his loving eyes grow lank, and with a soft push she sends his lifeless body floating to the farther shore. There, it drifts in the shade before joining the shadows. She turns and swims to shore without looking back. She trudges through the forest, over the roots, and back to a moonless clearing which cradles a shallow grave. ***** Far below, further down than depth allows, a woman crouches on her knees in a forest without moonlight; digging.
featured: ALICE KINSELLA
The first visit hit with the wallop of words. I was in some kind of heart’s home. Now, despite synchrony, stars won’t align. I buy a brochure from the blue corner shop pushing Brontë merch, English pubs, and the ascent – that climb to Emily’s quarry of emotional excess where she could carve so delicately her indelible structure. Now bless me, I am having what you might call a crisis of faith. But what prayers exist for the faithless? I find a signed first edition of Station Island, five pounds, not re-priced since Heaney’s death. It must be a sign, laughs the bookseller, with phantasmal Yorkshire wit. I think, maybe an omen for this Irish girl, neglecting heritage before drowning in it.
Bronte Waterfall with Grouse
Off the track towards the birth of water bubbling over from the earth, heather and ferns hold out their hands pull me to this historic hideaway, where blocks of sandstone balance like steps from a faraway Eden. The water filters rust like glitter. I am bleeding again, I can feel the cleaving within, the rush in my groin. In the water, birch leaves and shale gleam like fountain coins. The water berates as it lulls, keeps coming, dashing its weight on the rocks that wait an eternity for destruction. It’s getting late, I’ve lost sight of the peak, the house’s silhouette, and my goal. I wash my hands and face in the water, leave my shoes on, it’s cold for September and the moor is not kind but the water is soothing, reminds me rest, then go. * It’s the red that I spot first, like a stain on a dress, the crown that he wears even in death. Feathers bent like broken bones, wet as new kittens. Claws closed on air, bead eye forced to stare, beak open mid-pause. I want to pet the oil slick of his neck, close his eye, beg his pardon for interrupting his decay with my search for some kind of epiphany
that I can’t find reading poems. I tell him I’m after what I’ve lost at home: some kind of jumpstart, a shock to the heart, I hoped I’d find here on the moor, which must hold a power, some answer to the mystery. The ageless water keeps crashing to dissolve him. I can see how unforgiving nature can be, but there’s a blood deep pull and for the briefest of seconds do I glimpse the sublime? The flow shifts, the light dips, the clouds threaten to break. I continue to climb.
The house grows in the final few steps to the peak of the earth. I follow the crushed steps of those before me decades of silica ground to grains. Panoramic wind, catch of breath. I swallow the air, let it fill me. The scene moves like a time lapse. The air quivers: dusk has cloaked everything in this huge space, where the curve of the earth is almost tangible. Horizontals fall into place: the clouds rest on each other, lay on the slope of moor, the valley spurs interlock fingers, the black stone of the house, all insistent angles. I walk over centuries of decomposition. The first time, it filled me like a haunting. This peace is outrageous. Something must fill it. The chuckles of grouse, the odd hysterical pheasant, somewhere impossibly far, stones fall, jolting the air. The rushes bend and quiver, waves roll over them. The wind, my breath, my heartbeat. I read Sylvia Plath’s Wuthering Heights on my phone, know she climbed this path too. What am I trying to reach?
There’s a suggestion of garden, lawn shorn by sheep teeth, stones pop their heads from the grass to say wall, two Sycamore trees, black-spotted leaves, crumpled like bat wings, fret on branch ends. The crunch of the first falls this year. Against the roots of one tree: a yellow rose, wrapped in plastic that may outlast the standing of these stones. This is where people bring their grief. A crow looks on. I am open. The wind comes to hollow my bones.
Dawn chorus for the dead
They rest until the day breaks And the shadows flee away The rooks wake before day breaks and deliver me their caws through the canopy cloaking Haworth cemetery parsonage windows dark could be sleeping church locked overnight could be sleeping slip of cobbles under foot clip clop clip clop Victorian light black mist streetlights like fires catlike I slip through shadows tip tap slap slap of my footfalls close distance chaos peaceful in the absence of all earthbound heartbeats other than my own so tightly held beneath my tongue the bells ring welcoming seven Sunday morning bing bong bong bing all houses snooze still rooks scream their panic
crescendo crescendo! Until the shadows break And the day flees away They rest
The Haunting of Sylvia Plath I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth. – E.B, W H.
Misty day half way to heavens. So close this whole time. Heptonstall sleeps like a ghost town. No cars crushing cobbles, no chit chat on the street. It feels like a film set or a dream. No signs, no plaque, no Sylvia mugs in the shops. Her tragedy too new, a modern myth. Give it a hundred years, persevere. The churchyard is committed to wildness. Medieval bones of prayer withstand the briars that rise up like waves to engulf them. At the gate, yellow poppies big as fists welcome me. Bees bob in and out. The sun, high and bright, holds no heat but it’s white as starlight. I have no map. Instinct brings me to her. Still as the photographs. I don’t have to queue for an audience. It baffles me. I fall to my knees. Her earth overgrown with foxgloves, weeds, crumpled bouquets, pens, lipsticks, stones.
This impossible stillness. This quiet. Only bee songs and white light. I have no prayer. What use is poetry here? I garden, pull up the weeds that are choking the flowers, remove tinfoil from rotten bouquets. Out of sight, a bell calls children from classrooms. Their play sounds the same in every country, every time. I leave a pebble, stolen from Top Withens, at her head. Her voice is not with her bones, that travelled oceans, held her pen. Here, no wind-song of hope. The dead cannot speak unless we listen. A crystal vase holds rain and dead heather, a bee is skating on the algae, a drunk dancer, dipping down, she can’t keep her face above water. I scoop her out with one finger, she doesn’t sting. I have no faith, but the world keeps handing me miracles. EE
by BUSÉ TOBIN
by JESSICA ALLEN
I want to live in the back pocket of your favourite yellow jeans or in the white stitches on your navy culottes. I want to take the train to the seaside again and drink wine in a churchyard. I want to prepare a meal with you – and eat and be glad. Afterwards, we can do the dishes together and I will rejoice in the fact that I can know you and love you and on winter nights I can watch you wrap a scarf around your head to keep the rain off. When the river bursts its banks and the big flood comes I will remember how we were gathered together like stitches in a wound drawn tight that, when healed and scarred, you can run your fingers over and listen to it tell you a story without the ungainliness of words.
Haiku by JESSICA ALLEN
Forgive me - sometimes I get so very lonely, And it helps pass time
A Tuesday Afternoon by PENEL NORMAN
In the end, there will still be row housing, standing there made of brick from a time too quaint to relate to. In the end, there will still be leaves, scheming on the sidewalk, waiting to make someone trip, tumble, fall. In the end, there will still be LUAS cars, parked somewhere quiet, still too cramped, still not safe. In the end, there will still be pigeons, rats with wings using our tombs as footstools. In the end, the sun will rise and fall and seem to paint the clouds every colour. In the end, the tides will turn, dragging our mess out to sea. In the end, the statues will lumpen, if they haven’t been torn down already. In the end, the roads will fracture leaving confused mosaics. In the end, no flags will remain up on our special poles. In the end, all of our nations will reduce to life and death. In the end, our old canals will become our only lifelines. In the end, our greenspaces will transform to holy ground. In the end, the earth, unshaken, will still continue turning daily. In the end, there will be nothing worth observing but that turning. In the end, there will be no more oceans. In the end, the word ‘ocean’ can never be said. In the end, all of the Real will bleed out from the shadows. In the end, nothing separates pebble from rock. In the end, nothing can stop creation from building. In the end, all our endings will seem like new dawns. In the end, there is still one principle standing, that In the end, infant silence is the only sound.
Bullying Poem #18 (Someone your Own Size) by MATTHEW TALLON
Guy #1 (to Guy #2): look at this piece of shit. i hate u man, i hope u fuckin die. Guy #2 (to Guy #1): Hey buddy, why don’t you pick on someone your own size? Why don’t you pick on someone your own exact size, with your exact weight and dimensions, who also has very similar features to yours and looks entirely like you [Guy #2 is a mirror]
A love letterbox flowers
by ELLIOTT MILLS
It had been Dougal’s job to transcribe Wagner’s deepest of outpourings to his one true love, Gillian Peters. ‘Sir?’ Dougal meekly spoke. ‘Yes?’ ‘I think there has been a problem.’ ‘A what?’ ‘A mishap, sir.’ ‘A problem?’ ‘Yes sir, a problem.’ ‘Has been?’ ‘A problem, sir. Yes, sir. There has been one.’ Dougal was nervous. He tested the ground, defending himself partially before admitting his wrong. Dougal had copied down Wagner’s words alright. He had done so word perfectly. ‘About your love letter, sir. Well, I copied it down word for word, sir. Nothing went wrong with the wording.’ ‘Good, Dougal.’ ‘But then…’ ‘This was important, Dougal.’ ‘Yes, sir…’ ‘This is important, Dougal. Don’t make me worried.’ Dougal was worried. ‘I’m worried Dougal. What is it Dougal?’ Wagner rustled. ‘Sir, there was a problem with your love letter.’ ‘My love message?’ ‘Yes, your love message. In a sense.’ They were striding through long grass on their weekly scrumping trip, wearing short Aussie rules style shorts, ill-chosen for the
sharpness of the meadow’s blade. Midges buzzed at their ankles. A basket-each of over-ripe apples weighed them down. This was meant to be a happy, romantic, yomp. It was turning out for the worst. ‘You said you got it right, Dougal. You swore you got it word for word.’ ‘I did, sire.’ ‘This is a very important thing, Dougal. You said you got my love message word perfect. You promised you did.’ Wagner creaked. Wagner moaned slowly, painfully. ‘What have you done, Douglas? What has gone wrong with my lovely letter to love-bright Gillian?’ Dougal had upon accident emailed his master’s precious outpourings not to Gillian Peters but to Gillette Promotions. There was an uncomfortable pause. Dougal looked exactly like Rudyard Kipling. He suspected that Wagner was annoyed at him for messing up with the email thing. Dougal had asked Wagner if he would like the love email to be sent to Gillian correctly. Wagner had said it had been sullied. ‘Sullied, sire?’ ‘The whole thing tarnished, Doglas. Sullied, yes.’ Wagner snapped. ‘But sir?’ ‘But nothing! It won’t be the same now.’ ‘Sir? Neither of them knew very well how emails worked. Wagner and Dougal needed each other. Dougal considered raising the topic of his resemblance to Rudyard Kipling so as to focus his master’s mind onto something else. ‘Sir…do you…’ He faltered. Now wasn’t the time. The Kipling gambit only worked (maximum) twice a day. ‘You could do with a shave, sir.’ Dougal ventured, affecting a Geordie accent. ‘If I had a big sharp sword, I would have half a mind to garrote you. Do you know that?’ I do now, Dougal thought. ‘What does garrote mean, captain?’ whispered Dougal. A cow nearby dumped, with thoroughness, with generosity. ‘I don’t know, Douggie. I think it’s something to do with capital punishment. Which as you know’ ‘You are against, sir.’ ‘I am against.’
by RUAIRC O’LEARY
Awake, suddenly. Outside, a half-hearted storm. Two men at the lights share a cigarette and come to terms with the end of Halloween night. It’s freezing at the window and you’ve managed, somehow, to acquire an unreasonable percentage of the blanket in your sleep. I wake you while trying to level the playing field and you ask if there’s been any spiders round tonight. Before I can conjure some half-truth, your eyes close back over. 38
Tears now up at the lights. I wonder are they lovers, these men? The angling of their torsos would suggest as much. I think yes, I think it’s a finale of sorts that’s unfolding here, or at least the beginning of an intermission. Shhh. Shhh. Enough of that now. Time to return to the deep, to make another play for the blanket’s consolation. There’ll be plenty of room for life in the morning. 39
That’s the Tweet by MEG-ELIZABETH LYNCH
In this light, the crimson of the lace is heavier than the red alert of movement (And I, like all the best film stars, know to dance in the right lighting.) So here we are In the moonlight Beneath the crimple-spread of sheets and I forget my injured neck until the last second, The final flutter of mascara-parted lips The backward arc de triomphe This always happens and is always, A jolt. I would tell you that the endorphins cover it but this is not true, it does hurt. I simply care less when the world feels warmer Sex is cool and allAnd sometimes that’s it. That’s the tweet.
for Maria by MEG-ELIZABETH LYNCH
There is a vocabulary of magnets Here, on the door. Right now, I am topless Heating water to pour. I am after a bath And a gently-stemmed glass Chopin is playing Too slow and too fast. Smacked pink and by -wow the ‘hereness’ of nowthis age, to be young yetSo ostentatious and loud. Kettles and music and the quick minds of othersThese are the causes. My words are latecomers To the bouncing bright tight-rope Of my pin-prick desires. But it’s true that I LOVE YOU ONE THOUSAND SKY SPIRES.
(In #rhyme thanks to MERLAC baby)
featured: EVA GRIFFIN
Watched at a late night screening of my second chance as I was finally cool enough to enjoy being on the phone There — see as I spill out niceties like a warm glass of milk hello, how are you, nice weather we’re having, bye-bye now It is useless to turn down feeling a certain way so I’ll tell you: I wanna be head over heels in a rom-com I wanna be a baby gurgling in daytime TV I wanna be a doe-eyed collapsing timeline On Saturday I spent 10 hours with some junk food feeling all mythical I am the hottest smartest saddest thing to come out of my hometown I told my therapist that I’ve been lusting for some fire in the sky You know, the burst of setting something mansion-ridiculous alight There’s a message hidden in the glimmerdark of my bathroom tiles It says that everything is happening all at once: My beautiful indie-rock tears on video My heart pulsing a summer swarm of bees My hand holding onto sweaty extravagant sleep My car crash lover asking me if I’m hallucinating My fantasies pouring out of his right eye, his long ear, his breath Man, I love this film — the one where I see death in a dream and wake up in a bedful of ash
featured: EVA GRIFFIN
you told me that your middle name was jackrabbit that you shot him in the eye with your daddy’s gun it’s halloween again it’s sparkling like before like the sweetest background noise to a dream I keep having in front of the tv what to do when your room becomes a burrow? so it’s halloween live a little / die a little the head is already a plummet what is one more scoop of sugar? you mistook the gun for the soft length of a rabbit’s foot mistook the rabbit foot for something useful I find you in the background drowning into the tv looking so sweet on screen like fizzy water in a glass like swallowing a 99 cent sparkler you told me that you had stepped out of last month to try living I take a little gun for my head and catch you by the foot of your rabbit by the soft scoop of your daddy oh look, let’s just call it sugar see it plummeting down into your eye a big room I keep burrowing out of to wake up
The blue coming out of the blue
featured: EVA GRIFFIN
I always try a smile the same way I wear a dress to McDonald’s the same way I keep a routine of content a mending of relationships a box of medication Currently: pondering making art so that you will like me I accomplish the opening of curtains the talking about feelings the getting through days I balance a video of plants taking in sunlight over a tipping trash can under the slivered moon I crack immediately but only slightly like a small wave like a summer breeze Me, falling into a fiction of good dressing of flossed teeth Me, cool in my existence in my being up to something in my having nothing to say
I wake up battling a research paper like a coping mechanism I wake up under a downy blanket in an umbilical room Everything is excessive like sleep like language Sometimes I hear you on the other end going to bed so I turn the volume up to so pretty to my horrible loneliness The heart aches in the same spiral The head edits like a new year Currently: experiencing a self-imposed underrating like a mild chorus I wanted to say that it’s been longer than usual Like a lot of people I wanted to say that I feel overwhelmed Instead: my life is easier now like a raging recurrent like the blue coming out of the blue Me, leaving my home Me, getting over god I’ve been too busy and now I find myself without tears I’ve been at the kitchen table been silvery like minnow been counting on getting caught I don’t care about anything but god I am glittering for you
I want the keepmereallyclose the everysingleday of life I should wash my hair I should watch some videos I don’t regret running in circles I was too deep to look into it I am ignoring everything I am my mother cheering myself up I am thanking myself like I thanked you mouth open not sick of me yet I want it: the coping the fluency the everythingisfine Something that feels so good is being beautiful like one of those plastic pastries behind the glass like one of those fake cakes all icing on cardboard in the window staring at the sun Your globular face shines morning for the quiet shop front marvels at the impression of delicious laughs at the impossibility of the next best thing Your laugh sounds like some answers to some questions like some alwaysloveyou
Anthurium Prints 2 by CATHERINE DING
by ALEX MOUNTFIELD
tell your mother about your hunger like river ghost filled with sewage, fish, plastic, ships through the river kish flotsam hiss on rusted grill / crickets make the dusk seem shrill try to be like a blow-through sand dune like the wriggled slivered glass wire eel like stacked up pallet iron, steel rain peels off in shimmer sheets / draining out from winter streets nowadays wind won’t come through this town you’ll pass through fine black sieves like wildflour like massive white panoptic tower sunbeams bleach your linen towels / scarab tongues braid brassy vowels
overture for the birth of adenomas in my small intestine by ALEX MOUNTFIELD
(blind old mole)cule; wake up on the floor of my room i’m sweating into the carpet and my jaw’s stuck a new warm substance across my skin: an oil, water will not embrace it bio(degrader); barium sulfate; rock salt; white wine potion pulls the color out from me renders the flesh into foil a slippery translucent plastic, a ligation clear enough to ga(u)ze through see the contents of my bowels see what needs to be done to me to divine the next steps auto(surgeon); the world swells, bruiselike grits of metal sand rolling under my skin - embroiders the belly they’re breaking bread together black meat is being cooked nearby, fragrant, and i’m itching prince con(science); watch my hands work watch them do their part my hands are workers’ hands, washer’s hands they’re washing out the alembic let us be sprayed clean by peace!
Having a Doke with you
by AOIFE KEARINS
I already knew What it would be like to have a Coke with you Long before we ever met. Frank O’Hara was quite explicit about it; There was no room for innovation or interpretation, To reinvent ourselves in the shadow of San Sebastian. The prescription for having a Coke with you - although beautiful - was rigid. It’s not worth lingering on. Having a doke with you, however, Is something quite different. Something O’Hara didn’t account for. It makes it more exciting and yet more mundane somehow, A sort of acknowledgement that Maybe, on one level, having a doke is quite dull and uninspired But then on the other hand, there aren’t many things I’d rather do than have a doke with you. It’s unchartered territory, this, breaching the realms of poetry into the lived and the not-yet-lived. I look at you, and I would still like to look at all the portraits in the world, But I’d like you to be there too and tell me what you make of them, And let your words fly around me And inhale them and let them drip metallically down the back of my throat. I’d like to always expect to see you at every bus stop or train station, Even when I know you’re not going to show, Because even when you’re not around, I make sure to carry you – Only the least honest parts of you – And that’s how it’s always going to be, I’m afraid.
And I want to give you the moon, and all the smaller planets I don’t know the names of Ever since I decided astronomy wasn’t cool enough And I would get into techno instead. I would build a ladder tall enough to reach anything you wanted, If I knew I could be safe in the knowledge that when I got back down, You’d be waiting there, doke in hand, Pretending that you just happened to show up at the right time. Of course, you already knew this. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. But All the same It’s important to write it down. It’s important to make these things explicit.
by KEEGAN ANDRULIS
The Quadrangle Blues
an extract by CÁIT MURPHY
Classes resumed in the leftover heat of August. Introductions would be simple, and Julian knew what he was about now. In earlier years he fretted himself, thinking innumerable things. Tone. Strictness. Patience. Friendliness. Do they trust me? Do they like me? Eventually, such questions left his mind and his thoughts concentrated not on what the students viewed him as, but on what he himself viewed himself as. Perhaps a simple thing to imagine, however, Julian had plunged before into solipsism, rudely awakened at times by the knock of a challenging or precocious student. Knocked down senseless he was by the back-talk of a student who challenged him on his tormented reflections on the wrongs of British settlers in Ireland, turning him rouge in the face as though she had killed him. Exacting like a scythe. In bed, he’d turn the light back on and read over his notes to see if he had made an error, or sat up, cross-armed, and pained by the thoughts of a banality he couldn’t see in himself, but that others could needle at if they tried. These deep blue nights, when the day’s heat seemed to saturate into the wet leaves of the ancient elms and form a sweet, flowery cloud, were quiet, only for the notes of poetic laughter, hyperbole, and soft, living jazz escaping from the student houses in vivid cacophony. On a day in September, not particularly eventful in the College calendar, as much of the Freshmen’s parties had subsided the week before, Julian, holding thick books in his hands, felt the cold shade of the cloisters somewhat welcoming. ‘Wicked hot it is today,’ the gardener with a shears, whom Julian had known for some time, exclaimed, holding his arched elbow above his head, wiping sweat onto his glove. ‘Pity we can’t study outside more,’ Julian replied, passing the lilac and blush hydrangeas underneath the archway.
‘Oughtn’t you take the students out for class? Couldn’t imagine myself in those rooms all day. Wicked hot.’ Julian had no proper answer, thinking of the possibility of such an excursion. It would be frowned upon and perhaps banned in the College constitution. ‘Awful pollen in the air these days. I’d rather swelter than catch cold.’ The gardener looked back at him, blinking his eyes in the court. And Julian thought then of his answer and felt terrible. If he were a gardener he would have to bear the pollen, swelter under heat, weed the paths, and tend to the Provost’s bushes. The gardener chuffed a laugh and continued his business, slicing the dead heads of the hydrangea. Julian climbed the echoing stairwell, so cold and dark until he heard the warm murmurs of students. ‘Let me get my keys,’ Julian muttered, fiddling in his trouser pocket. Above his head the words, ‘Dr Julian Clarke’, hit him with a subtle embarrassment. Julian set the books down on his desk and shoved the small, square window upwards. Gazing out briefly, he spied the gardener smoking silently by his wheelbarrow. ‘Wicked hot,’ Julian muttered under his breath, fixing his tie and unbuttoning his blazer before sitting down. ‘Welcome. I’m Julian Clarke, though you may call me Julian, depending on the tone of your voice. Never Jules.’ A contained chuckle emerged from four now sitting before him. Julian sat backwards in his chair and folded his arms behind his head. ‘In this class you’ll broaden your understanding of what power means, and the ways in which institutions use and have used various methods of control, known and unknown to the individual.’
by CONOR DUNNE
The estate’s hilltop houses Frame a flamingos wing Smouldering with purple embers. Our little bones vibrate As we stomp out games Among dark waxed leaves. His tears chiming in their Royal sheath. Fragments Of heaven’s vista, Caught on Crawford’s bush; Mouths splayed open ready To suck the chilled pavement.
*Deora Dé is the Irish name for the fuschia plant which translates as tears of god.
by AISLINN SHANAHAN DALY
ways to death throughline: tried to kill the worm once under a red cinema couch cushion for all it was saturday and i thank you. Looking down on me I step on the worm, Bring the matted carcass to supermarket mash on meat tray So look what I are buying “a sylph-figured creature who changes her mind” They have to see the id. couldn’t you see my dripping soles? keep going because life is breath buried in the cocoon. It starts exciting born in submission, for up to I to be all of worm in one day home make cups and stains so know we’re alive, all love.
C O N T R I BU TO R S JESSICA ALLEN Jessica Allen is from Kildare. She likes dreams with a strong narrative and maintaining eye contact when she sneezes. Her goal in life is to elope with a University Challenge contestant KEEGAN ANDRULIS Keegan is a third year Philosophy and Economics student, and loves to ferment. ANTHONY BRADLEY Anthony Bradley is a third year student of English Literature and Modern Irish. He has previously had short fiction published with The Honest Ulsterman, Sonder and TN2. FREYA COOGAN Freya Coogan is a Middle Eastern and European Languages & Cultures student/radio station manager who wants to remind you that what is not there cannot be counted. AISLINN SHANAHAN DALY Aislinn is a 4th year sociology student, always agitating. @multislice for vagaries CATHERINE DING Catherine is a first year studying English Literature and Film. She was born and raised in Hong Kong, and is loving Dublin so far and how invested it is in the arts scene. She loves to read and paint with oils while listening to 80s Jpop or Ms. Lauryn Hill. CONOR DUNNE Conor has his grandmother to thank for this poem. A Falcarragh native who taught him cúpla focail. CATHAL EUSTACE Cathal is studying Joint Honors film and English in 1st year. He has been experimenting with sticker art since moving to Dublin and has been plastering the traffic poles of the city centre with images of insects, portraits of writers and messages in ogham, so keep an eye out
C O N T R I BU TO R S
FERDIA FOLEY Ferdia Foley is a fourth year English Literature student living in Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath. This is his first published work. KATHRYN GLEN Kathryn Glen is a SS History and Political Science student from Dublin. FEATURED: EVA GRIFFIN Eva Griffin is a poet living in Dublin and a UCD graduate with an MA in Gender, Sexuality & Culture. She is a founding member of Not4U Collective where she hosts events, facilitates workshops, and publishes zines. Eva was chosen as a Dublin Book Festival Young Writer Delegate by the Irish Writers Centre in 2019, and in 2020 she was selected as a Poetry Ireland Introductions Series poet by Vona Groarke. Her work has been published in Abridged, Anthropocene, PERVERSE, Poethead, The Ogham Stone, Ghost City Review, and elsewhere. Her debut pamphlet ‘Fake Hands / Real Flowers’ was published by Broken Sleep Books. AOIFE KEARINS Aoife Kearins is a final-year maths student from Sligo FEATURED: ALICE KINSELLA Alice Kinsella graduated from TCD in 2016 with a BA in English Literature and Philosophy. Her poetry publications include Banshee, The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, The North, and Multipoetry Project Krakow. She has received residencies/bursaries from SICCDA Liberties Festival, John Hewitt International Summer School, Cill Rialaig Artists’ Residency, and The Arts Council of Ireland. She has read her poetry in Ireland, the UK, and France and her work has been performed or screened in Australia, Greece, USA, and Iraq. Her work has been translated into Polish, Arabic, and Greek. She is editor of Empty House (Doire Press, 2021).
C O N T R I BU TO R S
HOLLY LOVEDAY Holly Loveday is a recent English Literature graduate of King’s College London. She has jumped her east London ship and landed in the inky waters of the TCD psychology department. Wish her luck. MEG-ELIZABETH LYNCH Meg-Elizabeth is a final year Philosophy student. She writes mostly memoir based non-fiction and poetry. She has spent all of this year in love which, in fairness, has been lovely. You can find her as @MegElizabethABC on most platforms. ELLIOTT MILLS 3rd Year PhD English Flann O’Brien Missy Elliott Myles O’Nolan Etc ALEX MOUNTFIELD Alex grew up in Washington, DC. He studies political science & sociology at TCD, and works as an administrator at a regional nonprofit arts organization. In his free time, he enjoys baking bread and nurturing those manky pots of herbs that you buy in supermarkets. CÁIT MURPHY Cáit Murphy is a final year Film Studies and English student. She’s a filmmaker and writes too. She’s discovering a voice in writing short fiction. She finds the beauty in short fiction to be its poignant brevity, and yet its ability to encompass so many things. She’s inspired by Katherine Mansfield and filmmakers like Claire Denis. Although cinema and short fiction are very different, She’s interested in how both can emphasise temporality, materiality, and “looking”. PENEL NORMAN Penel Norman is in their second year of English taking a minor in the History of Art and Architecture.
C O N T R I BU TO R S
RUAIRC O’LEARY Ruairc is a 23 year old recent graduate of PPES, currently writing poetry and plays FIONN O’SULLIVAN Fionn is a third year neuroscience student whose favourite colour is and and favourite word is yellow (they’re the same). You can find him in halls cooking celiac food and politely asking first years not to scream near his room at 3am each night, or @fmosullivan - “we can meet again for the first time when it’s over.” ZOÉ ORFANOS Zoé Orfanos is pursuing an M. Phil. in Creative Writing at the Oscar Wilde Centre. Originally from the U.S., she has curly hair, many Greek relatives, and enjoys writing with fountain pens. Her dream is to have a proper home library, in which this magazine will be kept. ROBERT QUINN Robert is from Naas, he studies English and Sociology and likes football. MATTHEW TALLON Matthew Tallon is a novelist, essayist and philosopher. Born in Moscow, his work is influenced by the iniquities of Tsarist society and the time he spent in a Siberian prison camp. His writing explores morality and the dark recesses of the human psyche, as seen in his seminal Crime and Punishment, Demons and The Brothers Karamazov. He died in 1881. BUSÉ TOBIN Busé is alive. Isn’t that nice?
Editor: SOPHIE FURLONG TIGHE Sophie is a drama student who doesn’t act. You can find their work in Variant Lit, Wax Nine, and the moleskine they left on the 123 last week. At the time of writing, they are absolutely fucking exhausted. Public Relations Officer: AOIFE CRONIN Aoife is a final year English and Sociology student. Her hobbies include making posters, writing tweets, and feeling a confusing mixture of admiration and jealousy towards those who can write good poetry.
Icarus acknowledges and thanks Trinity Publications for making this issue possible. Icarus is a fully participating member of the Press Council of Ireland. Serious complaints should be made to: The Editors, Icarus, Trinity Publications, Mandela House, Dublin 2. Appeals may be directed to the Press Council of Ireland. Information concerning copyright and permissions can be found at www.icarusmagazine.com
Thanks again, seriously.