NOT4U PRESENTS: FROM HOME A COLLECTION OF POETRY & VISUAL ART COLLECTED DURING A PANDEMIC EDITED BY EVA GRIFFIN & JESS MCKINNEY
CONENTS Laura-Blaise McDowell
Aifric Leonard Kyne
Alicia Byrne Keane
Dominic Mac Suibhne
Fiachra Ní Bhriain
Laura M. R
COVER ART ‘cloudbusting’ & ’Wild Flower’ by Fiona Burke
Feels like schooltime summer, bored, blossoming aches in legs, heart, bickering parents, wind slammed doors, dusty bedroom sun bleached and silent Same walls watch same life go, talking on phone, CDs skip if step too hard on boards, finally cleared bottles out, unused pregnancy tests, seventeen again Took the posters down, regret it now, bluetack stains kiss walls, cobwebs draped like lace. You are spider, gently weaving life Hard to love when no one touches, just lie down on floor, but ground is firmer beneath weight, deep breaths more within your reach, silence different to the soundlessness before
FLOWERS / STARS MONA ATKINSON 5
My lunar plight calling u a softboi and meaning it as a compliment sending u clown emojis in the middle of the night announcing to world: im off now at least once a week. I once had sense; grew it in my herb garden put it in salads brewed it in tea but I overwatered it eager to please and now its roots have mulched.
DIVE IN JOHN TINNENY I Could Be Dead So Many Years Ago After Hera Lindsay Bird
This landscape resists routine Each day I leave to search for frogs, the everyday in cherry blossom carpet, giant herons against the steel North Shore And they won't turn to wallpaper I'm never not appalled by my own grey hair Death cults march the streets and I'm The Empress in the maples Rain makes the willows TV static on the lake I wake to watch the ocean break in waves along your stomach I wake to the pacific, to you cursing cackling geese You throw a bath bomb into water from the hallway, pink daisies, red cedar, magnolia petals You switch a light on as you fall over bald eagles, black squirrels, brown bats Bring the outside in then, the pigeon's getting braver on our balcony This is what was waiting for us, every time we got home safe 7
A background wash of birdsong, seagull squawk streaks, Shuffling and fussing short feet above our sun-stirred bedroom. Spring drifts in on frilly-bloomer-ed blossom breezes And I no longer recognise the worries that beset my night. The hexagonal coffee pot chokes into life bringing a bitter buzz of contentment; The daylight grows tall with possibilities
SUNFLOWER JOHN TINNENY
Alicia Byrne Keane
I am going to have to really think about this: the pulse of blood in heads. I canâ€™t see the light hold itself in crescents in the lettuce bed or locate my eye within the shell-like corner of the garden without the rapidly cooling dustsurface, the warmth in the chest, the grime of a sloshed meniscus curve. Some coffee makes you happy and some coffee makes you sad, some empty tangs reveal themselves as tides of milk soften. Sometimes youâ€™re just killing space, waiting for some other noise to cause a headrush. Each hour of the morning can be held stingingly by its ceramic handle, avoiding the hurt places. Eventually I will run out of new taste buds to singe, eventually I will run out of stuff to take pictures of in this garden. So there are dark sips uncurling themselves, expanding the length of a sternum, and there is a strategy in place like all my other strategies, janky and leaning into its own bones. For now coffee is good, for now the tins brim with a fine swish, a silence that unsettles itself, and wind fills the eucalyptus branch canted at its happy angle. I watch a twig hold light at a furthest edge and think about heat filling up a metallic sentence, and think about a pause that starts inside the crossed apex of a willow, expands, includes us.
Softens my heart to know
youâ€™re up this late too.
That I am not the only one unsure of to
with daylight. You and in
me and be-
Not quite morning, and yet
the sky too to
Sits close blush tones
this state of mind
this is how to stay safe
a. you wash your hands with a saviour & wear a window across your face for every face is a placard of fear b. i.e, everyone wears a face half-eaten by anxiety, like mumbai park torn by taj mahal & peopled by overnight nurses c. an old woman wrong-worn her mask & a masquerade invaded the world d. our bodies became the negative sides of magnet: the closer we come to one another, the distanced we become. e. this is how a lover sees his beloved as an overnight zombie f. every morning the world counts dead bodies like the beads of a broken rosary g. in the beginning, it was pride to scale seven oceans away from home, h. now, to announce your arrival is to say â€œmy body is a leaf exposed to rodent's cold bite, cloak me in the warmth of quarantineâ€? i. at times my mask protects you, not me j. & isolation is to be fine for you, for the world k. for a land withering under the hands of inept gardeners soiling the anther l. is to prevent you from lying in an hospital bed that does not exist m. my heart no longer beat, it murmurs the name of my friends; one at a pulse. n. it becomes a serenade, a lead in the band of cicadas and crickets;
j. & isolation is to be fine for you, for the world k. for a land withering under the hands of inept gardeners soiling the anther l. is to prevent you from lying in an hospital bed that does not exist m. my heart no longer beat, it murmurs the name of my friends; one at a pulse. n. it becomes a serenade, a lead in the band of cicadas and crickets; o. & in the morning joins the fellowship of birds to chant aubade, chorusing: friends are my skins. friends are my skins p. this morning i remixed my mixed feelings q. melancholy slips into merriment as i hide my urge behind smiles, r. behind screens of video calls s. this is how we daily ease ourselves onto the stool of social media t. hoping for days when the sun of our mingling will rise again. u. hoping our supermen will gain weight again v. hoping their sleepless nights will worth it w. hoping they'll be relieved soon of the DF-6030 Medical Mask, Rubber gloves, 404 Ă— 749 - Kimberly-Clark Kleenguard A30 protective suit with white hood. x. stay home. stay safe. y. this is how to stay alive z. isolation is an eggshell we'll come out an immortal fledgling 14
POSITIVE TERI ANDERSON
Not a waste of time
My numbered hours drown in pools of light That shift shape and crawl on the floor I haven’t cleaned in months, sinking Heavily at the sea-bottom of the day Under layers of dust. In a million years, archaeologists will dig Up bones of heavenly creatures, Fossils of my doused daydreams, Moulded in form of things I didn’t do And assemble them upside-down. In a museum, a golden plaque will say It fed on nighttime secrets told by strangers And the vermilion flowers of Japan. They will wonder: was it mass starvation That obliterated them? Or was it vertiginous flight prices? Was it that they couldn’t find each other Roaming in the blinding glare of time? I leave these bones to rest. The message carved in them is Nothing is in vain. Someone will always excavate Remains. I plunge into The light-pool before tomorrow Is too far gone.
Banana Bread Economics
In these times of store cupboard survival when flour is scarce and comfort needs primal We practice capital allocation with overripe forgotten-abouts, as baking powder bail outs give loaves rise to inflation Fiscally stimulate with skewer until clean â€“ gross domestic product fuelled by caffeine The baking phenomena gripping the nation â€“ praise be for bananas our lockdown salvation
COMMUTE SOPHIE BRADLEY
Dear April Matt Kennedy After Frank; O’ Hara & Ocean Dear April I took two buses, I presumed you’d have to do the same I was afraid we would see each other on one and I wasn’t ready to see you Part of me wasn’t sure if you would turn up But strolling towards me with your hands in your pockets I couldn’t have imagined the force entering my life There was nothing And then there was you There were wooden floors The carpet in your room The layers it took to get to you Undressed And undone I can’t sleep now There’s light coming from somewhere outside It’s artificial Dear April I’ve spent all my life waiting to get through you Excited to bask in the pre-summer warmth of my birth month Still mild enough for a jacket April are you poorly? April are you feeling heavy from how many people you’re holding in you? April are you light years away? Dear April It would take me 37 hours to stroll to you now with my hands in my pockets There are 552 hours left of this It’s Friday, April I’m in love Dear April I could walk to you 14 times What would I do with the remainder? I would stop and wash my face in water that I shouldn’t taste I would unlace my shoes I would lace them up again I would bite my nails I would call and call and call I would eat a black banana I would try to do a handstand I would masturbate I would shave my head I would cut the grass again 19
Dear April I’m sorry I am rushing you I know there will be a moment when I will call back for this time When I want another moment in the sun saturated room with you And I’ll be sorry I wished away your moments April Dear April Please be quick I’m lost in the waiting
ROOM 1 FIACHRA NÍ BHRIAIN
That field behind
The field behind the house Descends to the water And rises to the horizon Where a dog lies buried My dog Where the grass once grew tall And we ran arms out In Julyâ€™s setting sun Because we had the urge And were young enough Not to fight it Where frogs spawn filled a cattle drinker And turned to tadpoles Descending with the earth down to the water And me as an overseer on the wall Looking for answers In Golden leaves And muddy wet hoof prints Searching When out crawled a shrew And frightened me With its oversized claws I think of it often Never to be seen again Where we tried to make butter From the fieldâ€™s golden blossoms Shining in the sun The sewage pit We shoved nettles into Picked up by the stem Brave as we were With dockens a plenty In the field behind the house Where we rode fast as the slope On our untrained horse Ripping up the dirt on the quad Where we adventured Lost to the hedges and overgrowth But close enough to be called back From a dripping window The steam of pots and pans running down With mashed potato and peas inside Where dad knocked and rebuilt sheds That his dad knocked and rebuilt too 21
The field where fireplace ashes are dumped And cut grass too Where I stood when she died Crying and heart broken Catching my breath Looking out on the field behind the house.
BED-NATURED ÁINE O’HARA
Tonight the air is still, thick It will take some time for sleep to find me And when it does it will curdle around my body Like hot milk Stirring I want the black to lick over me But it hangs haughty in the sky Too far away to taste I want to feel the heartbeat of the earth Through the grass into my toes Up through the concrete and the stone I want to be made of glass For you to fear the cracks My lips wonâ€™t stop bleeding And I keep burning my mouth With impatience Tonight I yearn for November
Not4U presents: 'From Home', a collection of poetry & visual art created during a pandemic. Edited by Eva Griffin & Jess McKinney. Featurin...