[ Icarus ] issue i
[ Icarus ] issue i
| vol lxii | mmxi
trinity college, dublin
Editor: Deputy Editor: Copy Editor:
conor leahy michael barry sinĂŠad nugent
Icarus is funded by a grant from the DU Publications committee and is supported by alumni of the College through the Trinity Annual Fund. Icarus is a fully participating member of the Press Council of Ireland. Serious complaints should be made to: The Editor, Icarus, House 6, Trinity College, Dublin 2. Appeals may be directed to the Press Council of Ireland. firstname.lastname@example.org
In East Park
Excerpt from Grain elizabeth o’connellthompson
Overflow john dodge
Child cathal wogan
Protest annemarie ní churreáin
Clippings from The Diaries of Arsene-Elijah sam coll
when icarus first began circulation in the early 1950s, The Bell was perhaps Ireland’s most influential literary journal. Its then editor Peadar O’Donnell did well not to patronise that first post-war generation of student writers: ‘For Icarus we hope to see a rich soil of mediocre writing out of which great Irish writing can grow.’ There’s a very measured compliment in there somewhere. Rightly or wrongly, the default setting of many Icarus editorials is to make immediate and extraordinary claims for its contributors. What worries me, however, is a certain brand of Magical Poetry Talk that is liberally deployed in defence of such claims. False mystification does no one any good. It acts, rather, as a lame substitute for what poetry and fiction lose when they are not read but simply afforded vague respect for no real reason. For this volume, therefore, my only hope is that my staff and I will be able to exhibit work that is self-evidently worth reading. On a different note, I recently took it upon myself to scan and upload many of the early, historic back-issues of Icarus, with the first ten years (1950-60) already available online at http:// issuu.com/IcarusTCD. I’m sure Peadar O’Donnell was not disappointed with the ‘rich soil’ of that decade, amongst which one may find juvenalia of former editors Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, and Brendan Kennelly. Lastly, I’m delighted to welcome David Wheatley back between the pages of Icarus, which he edited in 1989-90.
Conor Leahy October, 2011
In East Park by david
By day, in the pool, where the teals splash, the hottentot teals, to the sound of the peacocks, peacocks in heat, and the curassow, the firework bird going off with a bang, it happens, all of it happens, and I will not say what, while the guinea pigs scatter, their necks and backsides as one, decide itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worse over there and come back, envying the orange
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bishop his perch, and how to him too it happens: but why spell it out, what with the peacocks in heat, the curassow’s screech like a whoopee cushion deflating, and the llamas tossing and trotting, happens too freely and indistinctly for misunderstanding, the one thing necessary, whatever it was; that guinea pig has it, he’s getting away, and don’t expect help from a peacock in heat,
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but now I remember, it all comes back now, and if only the curassowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s song would leave me in peace, or I could just see you (are you still there?) through the peacockâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fanned tail, there is nothing, nothing, I would rather discuss.
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Summer Lettings by david lynch
iernan died shortly afterwards. I never found out how he managed it. I copied his house number out of the phonebook but, reckoning that gesture sufficient unto the case, made as many folds as the paper note would tolerate and used it to steady my table-leg. I imagine he went like he’d exit a crowded room: anonymously, unmourned, strewing in the flickers of his charcoal eyes half-apologies to no taker. It was Gerald who rang with the news. I listened and looked at the wall and thought of violence by blade and looped belt, picturing the thin grey wrists veined with dribbles of watercolour blue, the larynx wobbling in the throat like a broken doorknob. ‘If I was a man of less tact I’d ask the obvious question.’ Gerald cleared his throat before answering. ‘Actually, I don’t think it’s that. The notice says they’re putting him in St Enda’s Cemetery. That’s consecrated ground, if you know what I mean.’ ‘So Nature it was that did for him in spite of all.’ To adjoin ‘Tiernan’ and ‘death’ and leave the notion of agency unaffixed struck me as foolish. ‘You sound surprised.’ ‘No. Although. It’s just that…’ It was just that if ever there was a fellow to contrive, manoeuvre and finagle to die unintentionally, Tiernan was the one. Tiernan was the man for the job. ‘I suppose I know what you mean.’ I didn’t care whether he did or not.
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So we got speculating. ‘That last day on campus,’ I said. ‘Lovely fucking day.’ ‘A cracker.’ ‘A blinder.’ Late May, very hot, almost noon, cuts of cirrus going crisp in the neon air, white light making fire in my water-glass, Tiernan on the sofa watching the fan. ‘You’d finally asked him about the blood.’ ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘How long had it been happening at that point?’ ‘Maybe a month. Three to four times a week. About two, three a.m. The witching hour.’ In the room I shared with Tiernan there were no blinds. Passing car lights and security flashlamps made a tumbling amber kaleidoscope of it after dark, filled with the sounds of feet and voices from flats above and below. In the plush heat and smells of boxed-in breathing, arranged beneath the duvet’s stiffening plaque as under glass, I’d watch his shape unfurl from the opposite bed and coalesce in the bathroom’s glow. ‘Often, but not that often. And always at night. The stuff seems shy of the sun.’ So Tiernan had told us that day as he sprawled and watched the fan and waited for his parents to come and fold him back to the bosom of Castlebar. His eyes, watching, revolved like corkscrews. He’d never wanted, he said, to be a nuisance, and apologised to me if he had been. ‘But it was almost like he wanted you to find out.’ ‘Oh, he did, I think. And more than that, I think he wanted me to make him talk about it. He never seemed concerned about covering his tracks. I told you how the en-suite would look in the aftermath.’ Rubbery clots plugging the sink, tissues crumpled like Valentine’s roses in the bin, droplets scattered as though a
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shirtfront had burst open in a spray of glossy red buttons. ‘Nosebleeds,’ Gerald said. ‘Chronic, constant nosebleeds. I wonder what that’s a symptom of.’ I’d ask Tiernan to get the mop from the kitchen and he’d look through me, or try to, while I washed his blood from the floor. He’d attempt no excuse or explanation. I’d say nothing. He watched the fan. ‘On the balance of probabilities I’d say there’s something very wrong with me.’ Gerald and I sat hunched at the table and looked at our fingernails. ‘Wouldn’t you?’ Gerald looked up and shrugged. ‘I would be inclined,’ he said slowly, flexing his thumb, ‘to take myself to a medical professional. Yes, that’s something I’d be inclined to do.’ I got up and went to the fridge, crossing a rhomboid pane of sunlight that felt denser to my skin than glass. I found one bottle of beer. ‘There is one bottle of beer in the fridge,’ I announced. ‘And nothing else. This is the last of it. Everything else on the property has been packed up, consumed, or cast into refuse. Once this bottle of beer is gone the place is definitively vacated.’ ‘Except for ourselves,’ said Gerald. I went to the sofa and handed the beer to Tiernan, who never drank. ‘You know I’m not going to take it,’ he said. ‘You know the only thing I’m going to do with the beer is establish your full entitlement to it by signing it back to you, gratis.’ People were going to and fro in the courtyard, carrying bins, wheeling suitcases, trailing black bags slowly rupturing on the scintillant stone. I went back to the table with the beer and opened it and swallowed half. ‘Don’t worry,’ I said to Tiernan.
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Tiernan shut his eyes. ‘I’m not,’ he said. ‘But I’m trying to.’ There was a predominance of girls outside, many of them in a state of tearful embrace. Accompanying males regarded each other’s shoelaces. The car park was almost full. The bodies of mothers and fathers and aunts and uncles were beginning to appear among those of the residents, the young, in a creeping, vaguely cancerous irruption of grizzle, paunch, crumpled slack, glimpse of grey-white sock. Tiernan had transferred his attention from the fan to the window. ‘When are your parents arriving?’ he asked. Without waiting for an answer he said, ‘I think it’s just my father coming for me. I think my mother probably stayed at home. But I don’t want to talk about that.’ My phone rang. My father wanted to know where he was and how to get where he wanted to go to. I told him to try someone on the street, and hung up. ‘I’d hate to think I was a nuisance,’ said Tiernan. ‘With the nosebleeds. I’m sorry if I was.’ I shook my head, mouth full of beer. ‘I’d hate to think I disgust you.’ ‘Mm-hm.’ ‘Thanks for helping me clean it up.’ ‘It’s alright.’ ‘I’d have also helped you, you know,’ Gerald volunteered. ‘But… you know. I wasn’t the one sharing your room.’ ‘I know,’ said Tiernan. I finished the beer. ‘There,’ I said. ‘Huzzah.’ ‘All done,’ said Gerald. ‘All out,’ said Tiernan. ‘All out.’ Two smiling mutant Geralds knocked on the window. ‘And that was the last time I saw him,’ said Gerald. The electronic buzz of his voice was needling my ear by now. The
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phone had grown moist and feverish in my hand. ‘Remember, when my parents arrived and I got my bags and went. I didn’t even know then that he wasn’t coming back after the summer.’ ‘He told me after you’d gone. Something to do with his mother.’ ‘My mother’s in a bad way,’ said Tiernan. ‘Oh. I’m sorry. What’s the matter?’ ‘My father can’t work and look after her at the same time so I think I’m probably going to stay in Mayo next year.’ ‘What about college?’ Tiernan shrugged as well as one can shrug when sprawled on a sofa. ‘I’ll go back at some point,’ he said. ‘Just not next year.’ The sun was kindling the dust motes and making soldered joins between the walls and ceiling and floor. ‘What happens to the flats in the summer?’ ‘They let them out to tourists and so on. They put a big sign up out the front.’ ‘Oh,’ said Tiernan. He climbed out of the sofa and staggered, light-struck. ‘It’s nice to know they won’t be empty, anyway.’ ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘And then my parents arrived,’ I told Gerald. ‘I left him in the kitchen and headed off.’ ‘Right.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘I’m not really sure what to think about it.’ ‘Me neither,’ I said. But the gently receding absence that represented Tiernan in my mind had merely been braced, shored up, like an empty tunnel on the verge of returning to earth. I supposed that the most that was expected of me was to go and stand at the window, perhaps, to wait for the dying of the light, and send up a
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dutiful invective or two to the gods. For the injustice. Maybe. ‘It sucks, anyway.’ ‘It does.’ ‘Makes you think.’ ‘Yeah.’ No. ‘Gotta happen to the best of us at some point.’ ‘That’s true.’ It’s not. I won’t have it. I won’t believe it. Gerald hung up as soon as we’d agreed, tacitly, that there’d be no westward passage for the funeral. There was some little talk of what we were going to do for housing next year, and what I had planned for my twenty-first, and whether or not he should Facebook that girl what’s-her-name or would that be a bit weird. When he was gone I threw the phone onto my bed and leaned back, hands extended and splayed so that the veins thrust up like ivy on the branches of the bones. With a small, hot shock I realised that I was, in actual fact, immortal.
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Sea-Hawk by eileen casey Diving osprey, silk ballet shoes spear the air, hands splayed for the white fingers of the catcher. Trapeze artists know everything depends on these split seconds and, like binary stars, circle each other above sawdust shavings, smells of elephants, creaking boards, rows of upturned faces. The last thing you want when out on a limb is that heron stood in inches of ice or the water-hen pecking at her frozen surface not making much of a dint, riding it out until itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s over. You want the sea-hawk in ballet shoes pointing towards you when you leave that metal strip, the ground rushing up.
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Lids by eileen casey A row of slanting rooftops, porcelain skins of teapots soothing sleeping genies, dream spells, liquorice-sweetened wild guilder rose, rain-shaded. Fragrant days have splashed the cobbles, stacking clouds of steam over a city’s soft sachet heart, blending flows of love with the ebb of regret. Here the smell of lavender, there, a woman’s marigold brightness pools into her body’s warm crevices. In this city, Ayurveda opens her eyes, gathers chamomile, lime, elderberry leaves, stirring breezes with her rhythmic breath as the ocean too infuses, receives, pours into the white china of morning.
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Excerpt from Grain by elizabeth oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;connell-thompson
and in hand, the little boy and girl took the long way back to her house. They left the main road, which would have taken them past the deli where all of their classmates with pocket money were stealing handfuls of candy while those without checked payphones and storm drains, pooling their pennies. They walked along until the breeze from the crossroads met them at the corner and threw dust from four counties over at their bare legs, then they headed into the woods behind the firehouse. If the rookie fireman inside had looked out the window of the canteen, he would have seen their figures slipping into the trees and wished them luck, but he had been out late fighting one of his demons the night before and was taking a nap on the pool table. The water tower was only just past the tree line. During the walk, the two had discussed how they would climb through the hole in the chain-link fence, careful not to catch their clothes on the sharp edges. Then they would climb all fifty-two rungs of the ladder up the side of the water tower. The water tower was old, so when flakes of paint and rust came off on their hands they would have to shake them off into the wind and pray to St Otis to protect them from tetanus. And at the top of the tower they would swear their love to the treetops, and the dimming sky, and any angels or birds who might be within earshot. And they would kiss, and their kiss would carry the news of their love four counties over on the breeze from the crossroads. Unfortunately, the water tower was where the rookie fireman had gone with his demon after they had shared a bottle
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and the demon suggested that they, ‘Take it outside.’ The demon was talking a big game that night and bet the rookie fireman that he could burn down the woods with an unkind word before the fireman’s piss hit the ground from the top of the water tower. There was some agreement about souls and leaving, depending on who won, but both were hazy on the details. The rookie fireman, who was sick of the demon and desperate for a leak, accepted. They climbed up together, the demon in front, and each one took a moment to scold the stars for dancing so. Looking down at the treetops and smokeless chimneys, the rookie fireman had a moment of clarity. He said to himself, ‘This is a town of shadows. Until your eyes get used to the dark, you can’t see them clearly. You have to give it time.’ As he was very drunk, he thought this very profound. The rookie fireman and his demon shook hands and counted to three. But before the demon could let the unkind word out from his throat, the rookie fireman grabbed him by the back of the neck and cut out his silver tongue with a utility knife. The rookie fireman then threw the tongue over the railing, undid his fly, and won the bet. The demon spat once and, having nothing to pack but a couple of CDs he could buy anywhere, left. Nine unlucky rungs got a few drops of the demon’s blood on them when he spat, and melted away, leaving only forty-three. Back on the ground, the rookie fireman picked up the tongue and polished it against his pants, dreaming about what he’d buy when he hawked it the next day. The gap left in the ladder made no difference to the rookie fireman, who had done all of his growing up, but proved too great a gap for the little boy and girl to clear. So, the two stayed on firm ground, keeping their heads well out of the clouds, which there were none of anyway. As the wind from the crossroads could not reach them in the trees, there was no chance of their love going very far. They contented themselves to hold
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hands and stare at their shoes while they made pledges. Their words went straight into the ground and through the topsoil. The blind grubs down there did not know what to do with it, and went on squirming around in the dark, as if the world had not changed forever. Their love travelled down until it hit groundwater. It did not know that it was so far from the sea, and made itself very comfortable. Then the boy and girl got up the courage to look at each other instead of the ground, though the patterns of pine needles there were very beautiful. And they kissed until the first of the eveningâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fireflies told them to go home.
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Intimate Fiction by conor linnie Soda bread trails on the pavement Spelled you were here. Afternoon betting Slips strewn like confetti along verges Might divert a passerby from the absent Scrutiny of his shoes. Pennysweets You handed to schoolgirls through the railings or Drunks regaling how you called him â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The Fucking Devil Incarnate.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; I follow your trail Now turned to cold print, determined To kindle a sense of you, to make you an intimate Fiction. I find you somewhere between That savage horn-rimmed stare And the tender play of a sonnet, light And fabulous as a Panama hat.
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Child by cathal wogan Placenta drips a slow three four one two, under an exhaled three four one two, and an inhaled second let go for a second three four, unhindered. The mother in a bin, cumulus done, sharp shark gills puffing out and reading back in, an exalted three four, to a drum, baiting him in like kicking against the navel one two, commanding the rain outside in. Smacking a smack one hundred times three four, on a wet pane to bring him soft beat and mushy rice from a small paddy on steps, or a little office of cubes, down in the grove of willows.
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They swing with the cold gale, but scrape up helpless as if a gasping cliff were giving out or crying out, giving one to Waterhouse’s implicit, the necessary but unfortunate. Treble trembles under, and a high string guts through the man as his birthing clings to his brow and an unwieldy growth from his belly, four four, threatens all for the wave one two, could take, beyond the wings of a sprightly lemon lady.
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Overflow by john dodge
arry Kolbe stood on the corner just down the street from his apartment. He was wearing a medium grey suit – his only suit. It was laundry day. Cars were speeding by and flapping his flimsy, synthetic poly-blend trousers around his wiry legs. For the first time without a sturdy pair of jeans on, he felt exposed, vulnerable. He was sure the car parked in front of the restaurant was his; he had never seen a Bentley in person before. Grooming his thick head of dirtyblond hair, straightening his tie, and raising his heels in his new, stiff leather shoes, the sign above the door of Baxter’s – his regular spot – had an unfamiliar and ominous tinge to it: Hope Yer Hungry! He hadn’t heard from him in over ten years, since graduating. He had tried to sound sober over the phone last night and was taken so off-guard that he agreed to everything. It was just lunch. But it was lunch with a man whose absence from his life he had happily taken for granted. Last night he put the phone down on the coffee table in the middle of a modest collection of beer bottles. With a mouth wide open he watched as a ubiquitous late-night television commercial promised discounts on already affordable prices. You’re going to love how you look, the bearded man guaranteed. Larry had never owned a suit before, never even borrowed one for a job interview, but that night he set his alarm clock for early. He eased himself slowly down the stairs into the chatter and clanking of Baxter’s like it was a cold pool. His leather soled
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shoes tapping on the stairs reminded him not to slip at a time like this. He knew the lay of the place well. It had been open since before he came to town. The cuisine had reliably and steadily declined over the years, but he had sat at every table. Shooting a quick glance to every corner, there was only one guy sitting alone. He didn’t recognise him; it had been ten years. Straightening his slouch and filling his suit with confidence in the last few steps, Larry watched the man sitting at the table look up and beam with recognition. It was him. He still had that talent to put his whole face into a smile; it used to be contagious. But the years had taken a dislike to him. Now his face was swollen and blotched with red, and his hairline was in an all-out rout. ‘Have a seat Kolbe,’ he said as he rose to give a painfully firm handshake. ‘I haven’t been called by only my last name since –’ ‘Well, we have the same first name, I don’t like confusion,’ Larry said as he finished off a scotch. ‘Yeah, that’s what you always used to say.’ You never had to wait long for service in this place. The staff uniform was a red shirt, short-sleeved and collared, with Baxter’s written over the heart. And when one of them arrived she mortified Kolbe by asking if he wanted the usual. ‘I’ll have that too,’ Larry said, ‘and a beer too, please. So, you’re still coming here.’ ‘Sometimes.’ ‘It looks different, somehow,’ Larry said, looking around. It only looked different because it hadn’t been touched. The walls had advanced several shades from white with a geologic pace. Kolbe hadn’t noticed. ‘You never left town after college. How’s that treated you?’ he continued. ‘I’ve been alright, but what brings you back?’ Kolbe said,
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gaining a drop of confidence at having redirected the questioning. It was soon drained, however, when he noticed not only the obvious superiority of Larry’s suit and tie, but also when he realised he had forgotten to unbutton his jacket when he sat down. As he slid the black, plastic disks through, he could hear the salesman: Medium Grey, good for anything from a wedding to a funeral. To which he had only replied: I’ll take it. The beers arrived and Larry gleefully raised his, saying, ‘Beer after Whiskey, mighty risky – or is it, Whiskey before Beer, you’re in the clear? I can never remember.’ His face eased out of a smile when Kolbe knocked his glass against his with a transparent grin, missing the joke. ‘Well, you’re obviously a busy man, Kolbe. So, I’ll get to the point.’ Two double cheeseburgers with onion rings arrived in the hands of a Red Shirt and Kolbe said his own private grace at now having something more to do than fidget with his plastic buttons. ‘I lost my job.’ Caught in mid-chew, Kolbe’s ears perked. ‘It’s more than that, I’m losing it all.’ It looked like someone turned out the light in Larry’s face as he sank back in his chair; he hadn’t touched his food yet. As if they were tied together, Kolbe leaned in over the table still munching his burger. ‘I’m supposed to be on a business trip right now. I’ve been running out of places to go, honestly. It’s been almost a year. I’m sure you remember Diane. We’re still together – married; she doesn’t know.’ Kolbe was tipping the carafe and when he heard her name he spilled over with old memories just like Larry’s water glass. Kolbe dabbed the spill with his napkin, but Larry just brought his hand back over his bald head making it a little shinier and continued unfazed.
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‘I’ve got a couple credit cards left. But credit is all I’ve got now. Her birthday is coming up, you know. That should cover that. But then, next thing you know it’s Christmas. Some people have started hiring again. I’ve been looking. But the longer you’re out, the harder it is to get back in. I just can’t tell her.’ While he drifted away, Larry was making a desperate inventory of his high-priced accessories. Looking at the face of his gold watch without checking the time and clicking his silver cufflinks open and closed, just to make sure they hadn’t disappeared. ‘I even took her to Italy on credit,’ he said, flipping his silk tie. Kolbe ate up every word as he chewed and stuck another onion ring into his full mouth. It was a glimpse into a whole different world. He had never experienced what he thought was the luxury of loss. ‘He’s looking for sympathy in the wrong place,’ Kolbe said wryly to himself. Larry paused, coming back to himself. Moving his glass of beer closer, he wiped the condensation off with his thumb as if it were dust. Making it shine like new, he remembered: ‘You used to love her. I remember how everyone used to joke with you about lying awake at night shaking with a case of the D.T.’s. Diane Thompson – D.T.’s! Ha!’ ‘Ancient history, Larry. Haven’t seen her since –’ ‘I know. But seeing you after all these years and after what I’ve been going through, I can’t help but wonder if she ended up with the wrong Larry. You seem to be doing very well for yourself – I never had a doubt. Why don’t you give me some good news?’ As soon as Kolbe popped the last bite in, something deep inside him, as if it was trying to beat his mouth to answering, dropped, bubbled, and curled. The sudden onset was far from troubling; Kolbe didn’t have an answer. ‘Hold that thought, Larry. I’ll be right back,’ he said
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pointing to the restrooms. As the door swung slowly closed behind him, Kolbe let out a deep sigh of relief. Opening his eyes, he walked through a second door marked Dudes. He took two steps past the sink when the electric hand dryer switched on – like it always did. But this time it had something to say. Hot air was flapping his flimsy trousers as he bent down to read: ARiDiZE – made in the U.S.A. His eyes grew wide above a nascent grin. ‘That’s it,’ he thought, ‘CEO… no, he won’t believe that. Manager – no, Finance Manager – at ARiDiZE.’ He passed through the third door, closed and locked it. The din and clank of Baxter’s was gone. Even the hand dryer switched off, its good work done for the day. And a great feeling of ease and security flooded over him as he undid the three buttons of his trousers and sat down. The small chamber brought his horizon hurtling in. He forgot about his suit, about his wiry legs, about his body. As his body emptied itself downwards, his mind was pouring and swirling up around the single 60-watt bulb lighting the dingy, far off-white walls of the sanctuary. He was being drawn apart. He pictured his company logo, the two little i’s on either side of the big D. He thought about Diane. The last time he saw her was the weekend of graduation. Her sea-green eyes flashed through her brunette hair as she turned and walked away, hand in hand, with Larry. Kolbe had been on a few dates with her. When campus got the news that spring that Larry had been accepted to a top MBA programme in the city, a few weeks passed, a few unanswered phone calls, and then that day when Diane left with him. He thought about getting back in touch with her. Things were different now. Bringing his hands down across his face, he thought, ‘God.’ And the meditation drew back in to a close. The air shook with the sound of the flushing toilet. He dressed himself quickly, not wondering this time about the two
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extra buttons on his trousers. The Finance Manager of ARiDiZE was already on his way back to the table, when Kolbe realised the door hadn’t opened. He tried the handle again, pushed: nothing. The flushing sound had died down and the steady and normal drone of flowing water took over. Feeling like he was approaching panic, he made himself appear perfectly calm and composed, as if someone were watching. He sent his eyes up and down the door jamb. Laughing to himself, as if someone were listening, he thought he had discovered the embarrassing fact that the door was still locked. It wasn’t. Pushing, pulling, and kicking: nothing. He was about to hurl himself against the door when the sound of trickling water stormed his attention. It should have stopped by now. He turned to see an opaque meniscus towering high above the porcelain rim of the toilet bowl. As his eyes grew wide, so did the angle of a cloudy V on the white rim. The V grew wider and wider – wider than Kolbe’s eyes could – and soon the contents were flowing out over the whole toilet onto the floor. ‘Shit, Shit!’ Kolbe shouted as he was chased away from the door by the expanding pool. The toilet paper roll on the wall, the toilet brush on the floor, the light switch – he made a desperate inventory of the room’s sparse contents. Thinking of nothing else, he thrust the toilet brush down into the dark well. Lunging and stabbing violently at some obstruction, some thing, that had to be hiding in the murky water. Horrors of all sorts were churned up, splattering him from his hair to his stiff leather shoes. Opening one eye he saw the price tag of his suit dangling and flapping up and down with each thrust and repose at the end of his jacket’s sleeve; it had been there all along, and it wasn’t white anymore either. ‘Shit, Shit!’ Kolbe shouted again. If someone had been watching they might have thought he was conjuring the stuff.
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He struggled to keep his footing above the diabolical fountain; his shoes reminded him again that this is not the time to slip. As he shifted weight or shuffled his feet, he felt a faint suction; the water was rising. Throwing the toilet brush to the floor, he backed up in a panic away from the toilet, thoroughly splashing his new trousers up to the knees. With his back firmly against the wall, he looked again up at the 60-watt bulb. He wasn’t thinking about ARiDiZE or Diane. The ceiling and the light seemed storeys higher than they had before. Then, like he had never had to before, he cried, ‘Help!’ The tiny room had become sweltering with exertion and he was being overwhelmed and suffocated by the not unfamiliar stench. His drenched trousers clung to his legs, and the buttons of his new suit jacket were drawn apart from their button holes each time his chest heaved. He couldn’t hear over his own heavy breathing and he couldn’t tell if he was sweating or if his face was covered with what was now everywhere else. Whatever it was began to drip through his saturated eyebrows and the sensation of the small horrors crawling down his face was too much to bear. He threw himself at the door. With a crack and a metallic ting, it burst open. He was immediately wrapped in cool air. A dark wave surged behind him as he stumbled forward. He flung open the door marked Dudes and finally the door that led back to Baxter’s. The clanking of glasses, silverware, the chatter dropped dead. Kolbe, still heaving, shot a glance at every table, each full of wide eyes and mouths. Larry looked the most shocked and, even though he didn’t like it, confused. Kolbe stumbled towards the door, his new shoes squishing like old sponges. He lowered his head and dragged his fingers back through his hair collecting soaked bits of toilet paper which he flicked to the floor. He wasn’t reminded that this wasn’t the time and as soon as he put his weight on the first
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step, he slipped. He caught himself on the handrail and steadily made his way out without looking back. It was a short walk home and the cool air made it all seem far away. He got undressed carefully, stuffed his entire suit and shoes in a double-lined trash bag, and took a long hot shower. He reached far into the back of his closet for the only clean clothes he had. It was a red shirt, short sleeved and collared, and it had Baxter’s written over the heart. He managed to dig up a half-clean pair of boxers and he spent the rest of the day building a modest collection of beer bottles on the coffee table. He was just Larry. His brief stint as Finance Manager of ARiDiZE was over, and the other Larry never bothered him again. He didn’t even have to worry about going – or not going – back to his regular spot. The next day there was another sign hanging outside Baxter’s: Health Code Violation: LL05.1c – Liquid waste not being disposed through an approved plumbing system and poses an immediate health risk to the public. Toilets were observed overflowing with raw sewage and toilet paper. This violation has resulted in the closure of the facility.
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Protest by annemarie nĂ churreĂĄin One cut and the hair worn since childhood fell upon the floor dead soft. A spear-thistle; her new, bald skull refused order. She belonged to heather and in tail-streams cupping frogs, delighting in the small, green pulse of life between palms, not here: at the dark centre of reunions, separations, starved of air.
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This was a protest of love, against love demanding sun, rain, wilderness. From a finger, she slid a band placed it underfoot, pressed down until the stone made the sound of a gold chestnut cracking open.
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Clippings from The Diaries of Arsene-Elijah by sam coll
e grew up in China so the Rhino said â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and how can you convey it, the fool then meant â&#x20AC;&#x201C; as he drooled and rambled and felt sadder and sadder for only some of the spluttering time when curtains were torn and a learning of a metal stair jangling in an emptied and lonely house too large for my maintaining this pose of pissing so still and riotous with scarce a crowd in the den of charades when popcorn plays or toothsome leaves are chewed and shooed and brushed down again to set you off on another day when Ma fell off her stool since she was fatter than you were and the gamblers laughed and sipped again from cup of clay in the roaring park of tangos in the morning and touching the Qi in the laughter soon of laziness and how to get along by singing a song of drones and tames for freeing bird from a gourd in which you kept some other cricket whom you overfed and nearly destroyed in the twilit corridor when you heard his chirping and searched him out and seldom found him since lost in the cellar where the dryness lured him and kept us cured while we waited in vain again for the whistle to nudge us toward and forward yet you stumbled down half blinded by the flashlight your friend had found to shine in the darkness for a scary mask that glared for soot and putty to help him along dead and dry Barnabas baked in the basement or lost among costumes all coarse from the dust that caught or bought the weaning gown that drowned me form in the recording now for pressing a light and a switch was bitched while Giorgio did grumble when only the larger grasshopper topped that and the eyes were burning in the dark bars
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of the coil behind which one kept him still and safe and quiet with not a noise to disturb the toys of rumbling below in the Fluvian bash of a toilet flushed by the pipes of healing sounds and noises for where was that creature you seldom helped as he yelped all helpless in the drowsing place where chunks of apple were fed him bit by bit and tidier piece for please until he growled when the bit turned to yer finger and how that scared you for a while when a mile of rushing came dinning your ears as the howling stopped as the peach was dropped and juice all scrambled fell and thudded in the shuddering night of noises as I waited and he watched and scared me off from the eyes that glared like the slowing down of a chord gone wrong and the stencil for utensils all packed in and cackling few for the boot is loose and the ways for ye are naught for me, so some INSECT implied. It makes one want to do it yourself, when you see a randy lizard creeping on a beach over the yard somewhere, snaking his trailings like the dragon once he maybe was, shrunk from wings of coils and toils of shrinking and shedding the skins of serpents in a darker place outside of the sunshine when an atticâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s skylight smashes with the brick been thrown by the bulkier builder scanning the ladder he must climb, before the planking and the rusting scaffolding is dropped and smashed, and stars of glasses in particles fall in rain of silver to mash thy mother, whose brain the deluge missed, whose sole the shards gnashed to mince and the leaking blood the tongue of a komodo cat comes curling wide and unfurling forth to lick and stick to the scales of bitter or salty or sweet or fluff or grainy or sour as smiles one sees in the grin of the crock who beds the dials in the watchman factory where the camera waits to grind and clank while she waits for her take, humbled in the shadows like pillars of bollards who line the cobbles on which the farts and flakes will scoff to sit and balance their bills before the cues are
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snapped and the game of billiards the better begun with snooker crooks who will caress their chips and lay them down with all the clues, no laughing nor no snuffling now when money and glory will be won and a bed provided for the champion cheater who tastes his stash of tips for cruising on the sidewalks where the buzzards will be wait to snort as vultures skiving to town where flesh is picked while the bankers slash the thrill of stocking or keeping clear the coast of descending hollers in markets where dollars will be scooped from buckers to be kept or ripped when the wind of sailing turns to retailing what was lost when the play was costly or the boxes failed to be filled and seats were ripped when a stooge was drying or dying for a lien unsung or a stop and start or never begun when the begging stormed the stalls hassling bards for better than testier things and tomes they could not steepen nor deepen not even then when dimes had rung and the chimes were desperate for the pen for pads and slow or hollow footfalls fell in the old and murkier hallway DOOR. Cast off like the carcass of a dolphin to be spooned and delved and discussed within a fairer view of mighty trust without which our lives are naught but certain states of breathing outwardly towards a sky we see or smell or sweat underneath when the weather is kindlier warmer as summer steals again upon our attentions which drift from all prescribed so as to imbibe such sounds and skis we cannot operate before we topple down a melting hill in lights of daisies wafting haze to wetten eyes for crying glum in helping selves along the grasses where cattle dare to lie and say nothing more than chopping stems for chomping allows when bales get lifted or bound in parcels to be toppled when boys clamber higher to pound fish against clouds of scudded edges for seagulls to nip their beaks among bloody dabbled suns among moons and starrier yesterdayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s show of hail or glowering comets whistling with the rain that dries as
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we ponder which three among these questions ours are not to be dispensed whiles the rest can shatter the casing and be lost to blanks in cartridges for scent of inks and paints to blotch and speckle diamonds for emerald lashes in thin and dreamier strokes such as we never tried with fists weaker yet than we cared to work by lifting heavy things for sacking and padding the staging of a zone of greenness where goddesses can play and betray what failings are justly theirs and too early to be ours for the lawns get mowed and seeded when the gulls posture and peck for clouts in cycling over centipedes who are crushed with every spoke of bikes that wanted clamping sooner than the wheels of cars breaking down already in marshier islands off the coast for waiting longer in stalls of queues or pews as churches when meekly we wandered among the pillars whose shades could drown or frighten the mousier dice in the game of cubing trios with compass points and tacks to settle down the long night of endless accounting that awaits the tamer manager of nooses and neckties to hasten from his kittyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s locksmiths to badger the provider for better service on behalf of the invalids within who choke when their moans are unheard by failing carers who could not give a flying or a farthing less than the cent of bronze in the rattling tin whose lid is also dented by dint of constant prods and pets as the jangling seems to settle in drops by plops of leaking from the peg into bowls for baring the offspring of our fries which dwindle down the tubes within to squirt or squeeze into the lumps emerging victoriously with window ajar to hear better the birds who chirp and egg on the exiting whiling away for airs of elements to tame and try the glaring mass of breakfasts and dustings and snacks and brunches we call for filling to file our teeth on meat in lumps oppressing the slimmer types of appetites who cannot abide a bone of shard of shell to sully the wobble of eggy gleam in jellied droplets smeared in bread to burn and shudder when we
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heave and starve for lately basting biscuits to serve for starters in our eleven dreary hours of boring chores to do and slouch before the team is tried and we are alone with only our body to fasten to earth. If the Devil’s horns can be melted perhaps only then and after all hours of warning can he be tamed before the flies get on our nerves to suck sweat from hooves so steeped in the festering drek and deposits left by minions of punier demons who lick and chew the pimples gracing all the spotty livery of their elder’s addled belly so bloated from the fishwives and snails who steer a course of slime all and under the cause of thundering bursts from farting clouds of steaming pus and mucus leaving shallow brays in lieu of donkey’s honest neighing and saying what cud or kernel there is left to chew in so rank and gross a desert of serpents who coyly leave their trailings of skins from which the sand is formed when the siren rings to call home the robbers from the next best castle they have plundered with not an ounce of skilful drilling down the boards and doors the hordes have raised to darken lights of fire with not a gainsay of mercy for the pious miser who shrugs and hugs his rattling wooden heaps of sculptured prayers of boons for one above a dovetailed window of scarlet golden greenish beads embroidered all by shaking hands with not a shiver to cool down the pulsing brow that frowned and tripped with nerves on beetle’s backing from horses tripping in the darkness soon to be shed or dissolved from the prating mission down among the yeoman who lives in plurals for fear of dreaded nouns that carry the test of ultimate weights to be seen in murals of grave and decent craft fortnightly hoovered to gather dust from every cranny and pore left open to the tics of the fleas who niggle and nudge and serve the greater judge’s drudge. You have massive boobs! Her father runs the funeral home on my nearby favourite local street. Her boobs are amazing!
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Oh, I don’t know why I did that. Guys, you have to learn your lines! Yeah, I kind of expected this response from you. Go to the Dart. Two little boys will make it happen. The tot told me. I just like your face! I want music in every bit of it. I’m not an intellectual. Did Merkel teach you how to be so funny? Belvedere Noddy-quilted defunct cunts. Emotional vapidity. Chronicles stewing from their own rapidity. Better try the lapidary. Poised on cliff. Some uncle has a skiff to sail in. Less than spoiled for millions of mumbles in tones of dolour. Kebabs for every doner who flocks. And now and finally his status reads: ‘I love myself.’ Divine deflation be thine now! Oriel gallery said the man in the purple raincoat, a graduate. Embarrassed was clumsier old Derek when he saw barmy Victor poke his finger into the thickness of the painting. Wants examining. My Sean also did that. Years ago in Nationwide Gallery whose halls are always echoing with treads of the tourists haunting now. The resemblance is pretty persuasive. For a while. Before more naturally innate reflexive social awkwardness pops up and drops the heart a stone below what pounds one tried one’s anvil best to gain for want of brain. But dream now of sleepy room where Mr Mac locked the both of us inside his cell. Loaded with popcorn PORN.
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kathi burke (Contents page illustration) Her portfolio can be found at: www.fattiburke.com
has had poetry published widely in outlets such as The Moth, The Sunday Tribune, Books Ireland, The Stony Thursday Book, Poetry Ireland Review, among others, and has work upcoming in The Jelly Bucket (An Eastern Kentucky University Anthology) and The Ulster Tatler. Drinking the Colour Blue (New Island) was published in 2008 and From Bone to Blossom (AltEnts Publications), a collaborative work with visual artist Emma Barone, in 2011. She is the 2010 winner of a Hennessy Literary Award (Emerging Fiction).
sam coll is a background artist and film critic. Please make all payments in small, untraceable bills.
john dodge is from Denver, Colorado and is currently pursuing an M.Phil. in Creative Writing at the Oscar Wilde Centre. Previous publications of short stories and essays include Blue Crow Magazine, volumes 1-3, and www.matchbooklitmag.com. Contact: email@example.com
isadora epstein (Cover art; pp. 6, 18-19, 27, 40) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
recently completed an M.Phil. in Irish Writing. He has an unhealthy obsession with the poetry of Louis MacNeice. Contact: email@example.com
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is a Senior Freshman studying Single Honours English, late and unlamented of TSM English and Philosophy. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
fuchsia macaree (Illustration, p. 50) Her portfolio can be found at: www.fuchsiamacaree.com
annemarie ní churreáin graduated from TCD in 2011 with an M.Phil. in Creative Writing from the Oscar Wilde Centre. Originally from the Gaeltacht in Donegal, her poems have been published widely in Ireland and abroad. She currently works on a number of Arts and Health projects, promoting the value of creativity for communities. More information at: email@example.com
elizabeth o’connell-thompson is a Senior Sophister English Studies student from New Jersey. She hopes to one day make something of herself. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
is a former editor of Icarus. His most recent collection of poetry is A Nest on the Waves (Gallery Press, 2010), and his Flowering Skullcap is forthcoming from Wurm Press.
writes poems and stories. He is currently working on a more substantial manuscript. Contact: cathalwogan@ gmail.com.
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The editor wishes to thank last year’s Icarus editors, Joanne O’Leary and Sue Rainsford; everyone at DU Publications and the Trinity Annual Fund; Adrienne Foran and everyone at Brunswick Press; Diane Sadler and the Trinity School of English; Fuchsia Macaree, Martin McKenna, and Catherine O’Keeffe for their advice and assistance with layout and design; as well as Karl McDonald, Kevin Breathnach, Alex Towers, Neil Mooney, and Fiona Hyde.
trinity college, dublin