Art, Design and Literature
Welcome to Issue W
e are delighted to announced that Outburst is well on its way to becoming a household name. Recent polls suggest that we are now more popular than Dr. Dmitri Yamakov’s plutonium based face creams, and have a greater readership than the formidable Kent Miller’s ‘1001 Jokes to tell at a Funeral’. Looks like it’s all plain sailing from here.
This month we have another burst of excellent and previously unpublished short fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. ‘Indoor Castaway’ pits an
experienced writer against the most bizarre antagonist imaginable; ‘Old Memories’ is a bitter-sweet tale of loss and the cost of remembering the past. Our third short story for May is ‘Dry’, a thought provoking consideration of Irish culture through the lens of an empty pint glass. Our poets for this month offer reflections on unrequited love, life, human aspirations, and Keats’ last days, in ‘Red’, ‘Days’, ‘Window’, and ‘Rome’. Rounding out this month’s issue is ‘A Prayer for Ireland’, a critique of contemporary Ireland.
We would like to thank all our contributors and wish you, the gentle reader, an enjoyable stay in our domain. See you next month.
Issue Two, May 2010
Old Memories Dry Poetry A Prayer for Ireland
Indoor Castaway Armel Dargon
Indoor Castaway Armel Dargon
f you come across this strained scribble, it is that I am no more. If you find these painful words, they have served me well, and fulfilled the duty I entrusted them with – to be the witness of my last living moments, and bring to the world the news of my passing away. So hearken, you, whoever you are, who by some whim of Fortune has found this sad sheet and has, foolishly, started reading it. Hearken my story, and how my end came about. As a young and fearless writer, I dared everything, any plot – no character was left unturned. I wrote miles upon miles of pretty lines, which despite filling my pockets with more money than I cared for, left me unsatisfied, still thirsty and looking for more. Until one day. One day, like a miracle descending onto me, I had the vision of what my very next work would be about and, in a flash, I saw the first sentence: “Taimo always wakes up with a big ball of fluff stuck in his belly-button; it doesn’t
last though, for he plucks it out and in no time slips it in his lint box.” It was obviously to be my masterpiece, the one achievement whose magic would propel me to the top, make me one the greatest. Surprisingly, however, I soon found that I was having trouble making any proper progress in my masterpiece. Everything was there – the idea (of pure genius) of the fluff in the belly-button, the Promethean hero who endures his daily rape and performs it himself... and still, I wasn’t making any headway. That’s when I decided to act. I would jumpstart my inspiration, boost it with facts. Research – that’s what I needed. I had, myself, a certain tendency to find, in the morning, a small lint residue in my navel (a fact that will probably surprise my most loyal readers, who cannot help but know that I am not one of these socalled writers who only write in, as in some accountant’s ledger, the miserable account of their small life and sell it as fiction). In my eyes,
this completely fortuitous similarity between my hero and myself only served to magnify his utter greatness and fundamental truth. Anyway, to assist my natural sway towards fluffy morning navels, I took all the necessary measures and bought heaps and heaps of jumpers and blankets, pickily, as only the fluffiest could do.
And it worked, my dear reader, you my last friend and confessor, it worked devilishly well. In the morning, I could get up and pluck out of my belly-button a little fluffy ball, the size of a small blackcurrant, only softer and of a more hazy roundness. And it worked, and I wrote with renewed fire and sharpness. Just like Taimo did, I plucked my navel crop, and stored it in a large wooden box very much like, as it is, the one he used. As I say, it was quite a large box and some outsider might have laughed at me, at my presumption, but I knew better and soon my magnanimity was vindicated. Days went by and one morning, before the sight offered by my box full of fluff, the bulging, swelling lint, I just dropped the fresh cloudy ball on the floor, without so much as a thought. However natural it seemed at the time, I now think of that very instant as the start of it all, the beginning of the end. From then on I would just get up in the morning and, almost ritually, drop my morning lint production on the floor in the general area where my box, the original recipient, was lying in the corner, its lid unclosed. The writing was still going well, and fluff seemed to take more and more room in Taimo’s life. In an eerie coincidence, which I strive but struggle to explain, my daily lint output seemed to have increased. Soon, the box in the corner of my
small room was buried under a heap of the cloudy stuff. Oh! Here, reader, I beseech you not to grudge me my forgetfulness – I’m under great stress and duress, and omit even the most basic rules... How was that fluff, I imagine you, rightfully, asking? What colour, shape, character did it have? Well I can tell you it was (and still is, God help me!) a dark, dirty black – no matter the colour of the garment I’d worn that day, it would still come out that evil shade. As for shape – I could see it as a big black cloudy heap, an ensemble, and the moment I dropped a new fluffberry onto the smoke-like mount, it would melt into it so that it would have been impossible to tell the newcomer apart from older additions. From the desk at which I wrote my life’s work, and this final missive, I would sometimes turn around, and see the waving heap flutter at the other end of the seemingly breezeless room, as if moving by a pulse of its own. I would turn back around to face my blackening pages, half wondering why I felt that the heap was up to no good while unsupervised, and half wondering what it was exactly I feared it would do. Time passed and writing was as easy and fruitful as ever, and the fluff crop even better. Then one non-particular morning, as I was writing at my desk as usual, a shiver shot, freezing, down my spine – something had come to tickle my bare foot. I looked down and saw, amazed, that the plume of fluff had swelled up to such proportions that it reached the legs of my chair – it had also started ascending the
‘The writing was still going well, and fluff seemed to take more and more room in Taimo’s life.’
side of my bed, and seemed to be launching an attack up the windowsill as well. Now, I am no stranger to being sometimes slightly inattentive and it does happen, now and then, that I don’t notice a change in my surroundings for several days. Nevertheless, this significant offensive had caught me off guard and I could hardly begin to understand how it had happened. My writing had taken a turn for the worse as well – I was still as prolific as in the beginning, but somehow I wasn’t satisfied with any of it any more. It seemed I had got lost somewhere on the way; I had set out to draw this beautiful, ultimate modern hero struggling with the daily hassle of a pecking, petty life and instead, I filled pages after pages with fluff and lintballs. In a nutshell, I was surrounded – three quarters of my room were buried under a threatening cloud of fluff, and my desk, about the only mountaintop above the storm, was cluttered and disappearing under a heavy coat of pages, written under what I now know to be the spell of the fluff. By then, my daily output had soared to a big, dark ripe cherry-sized ball which bulged out, and stretched out the rim of my belly-button.
My clothes, when I could dig any from under the soft mass, were completely covered with lint and eventually I simply gave up and got into the habit of grabbing some cloud bits and staticelectricity-stick onto myself these rags of decency. I saw it coming, of course – the same thing happened to Taimo. The fluff never stopped. It grew and grew, creeping up the walls and blocking out the window, until I was sleeping and living in it, comfortably though resentfully curled up – resentful because of the dark, unmoveable and evil force of that cloud... As I write these lines, on a stray paper I found floating around, on a corner of my former desk which I miraculously came in contact with, I have no hope. I know I won’t get out of here, it doesn’t want me to. I couldn’t say where the door is any more, nevermind the window. Whoever you are, however and wherever you might have found this letter, know that burning the whole lot down is the only way. Make the cloud go up in actual smoke. I won’t last much longer. It has a will of its own.
Old Memories Daniel Kaye
he box was heavy as I lifted it down from the top shelf of the cupboard. I placed it on the old table next to me, smiling to myself, excited at my find. After all these years what secret did this box hold. I took a deep breath and blew the dust that covered it, little particles danced in the sunlight like fairies under a moonlit sky. I placed a hand on either side and with care opened the lid. Oh, the joy, a toy train set, would it still work? I replaced the lid, gathered it up and made my way downstairs into the dining room, and headed for the table. I reopened the box and picked up the engine, the beauty of it and in such excellent condition; someone had cherished this magnificent toy. As I held it up to the light, to examine my find, I could see the detail of the workmanship that had gone into this masterpiece.
I started to assemble the track into a large circle; I couldnâ€™t wait to see this old toy back in action. With the engine in place, I attached the coal wagon and the two remaining carriages behind it on the track; they all linked together perfectly. I found the key to the engine, which was in a small envelope, so as not to get lost, and placed it in to the engineâ€™s small keyhole. I held my breath and turned it; after all these years it would have been a shame to have broken the mechanism. Everything turned, as though it were new, and as I pushed the little lever on the side, the miniture train burst into life and began to pull its companions along behind it. The train rounded the first bend and began to pick up speed; the joy of seeing it move along the tracks was fantastic. Faster and faster, it started to make me feel dizzy; it felt as if the room was spinning in the opposite direction. My stomach turned and I placed my hands on the table in front of me, to steady my balance. Through my blurred vision I looked down at my hands; they no longer looked like mine, they appeared younger. The light faded, the room spun faster, and I closed my eyes to fight off this dizzy, sick feeling. When I opened my eyes, the room was
no longer spinning. The light had faded and as I looked across the table, I could see a glow. As my vision slowly returned I could see that it was coming from lit candles on a cake. As I looked up, the glow illuminated the most beautiful face ever; it was that of my mother. Standing behind her was my father, with a hand rested on her shoulder; both were smiling fondly. As the tears filled my eyes, I continued to stare at them; it was my ninth birthday, just before I had lost them forever, in that fatal car accident. The light in the room increased and the vision of my mother and father began to fade; their smiles were never-ending right up to the point where they were no more. I stared at the empty spot where my parents had stood; tears rolled down my cheeks. When I wiped them away with the back of my hand, I saw the hand of an old man. I dismantled the toy train and its track, I could no longer see the trainâ€™s beauty, only this thing that has saddened me. I replaced the lid for the last time and remembered the painful memories it held. I swore that I would never look upon it again.
Dry Max Learner
he gentle pounding of chords on the guitar resisted the drunken singing of the pub, as he grabbed a seat at the bar. “A Guinness,” he exclaimed over the throbbing notes across the room. The fiddle shot up, demanding its place in this drunken temple. He was a rover, a traveller. Ireland had awakened the drinker in him, the land of Guinness and glorious oppression. “Alcohol, to Irish blood of Christ.” Sanctified by the consumption of a tenant glass, a tenant people. In 1759, Guinness was born. It was the same century that the Ross Errilly Friary closed its monastery doors. Even the Franciscans, in their fields of Galway, could not survive until the end of the occupation. As the monks died with their spiritual wine, the dark maroon of Guinness spilled onto the land. It stole the sociability of
“One beer, and I’m buzzed; travelling has corrupted me,” the Irish and placed it here. In the pub. The drinker had a part of the friary. He fished it out of his black slicker, the water dripping off his sleeve, and hunched. The notes of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” reverberated through the dim mahogany of the walls, like sap. He fingered the mix of mortar and sandstone. “Speak to me,” the desperate said. The Guinness dripped down the glass, a grain of white against muddy red. The man took a sip of the beer as he gripped the cement. His knuckles were white as he attempted to squeeze monk’s blood into his.
All he wanted was a link. He placed his mite of stout down on the pub wood. “I lose more with every thought,” he said, unconsciously loudly. Nobody could hear him anyway, in this hot, stifled crowd. In this quaint town. As he dried his pint glass, he released the stone, ready to sleep and begin again. The drinker stood up as the crowd consumed and exited through the back door. He wobbled against the brick wall. “One beer, and I’m buzzed; travelling has corrupted me,” he thought. Pushing off the wall, red once again invited itself within his retarded survival. A drop dripped from his hand, into a weed in the cracks of the concrete. One of the bartenders exited the pub as well, a minute behind him. He just stared, as every sober does, as if passing by a brick wall. He walked by the drinker, but turned slightly to address the tourist. “If you place a creature out of its natural bounds, it will struggle and bleed. It will drip, and it will flail. But should it live?” A light snow had begun to fall. “You don’t have to die to live. Fury leads to adaptation too.” The tender shoved his hands into the pockets of his green Irish Rugby jacket, and loped out of the alley, a tall man with a kettle due to brew. As the rover took his first step, snow had covered the blood. He placed the stone next to the weed, took a piece of brick from the pub and knelt. As he did so, he pulled out a cigarette and a lighter. Lighting the cigarette, he stood up, took a pull, and whipped out a small, black, paperback journal. He wiped his finger on a page, and wrote of the sensation of the frigid, moist snow on his flushed cheeks.
By Francis Reilly
I bought a big red balloon today And tied it around my right wrist, It was my friend to talk to all day, Red was there when others were not; I took Red to the seaside for a walk, We had a heart-to-air as the tide Came in and the people pushed out Toward the nearby ice-cream van; We got some funny looks from Those beach folk, who just did not understand us And the way our friendship worked,
By Eamon Cooke
We returned To the coach In the fevered heat. I drank more water Reflected on my visit To the Keats Museum. The small room, Narrow bed Part of his hand written letter:
That single white string the only bond we needed;
The doctors have told me
She turned out to be a guiding light my friend Red,
That I cannot go out.
Offering sound advice as she floated innocently by, The only problem was I found myself watching her glisten In the sunlight rather than listening to her words; You see, an epiphany struck me late in the day Like a car on the motorway - in those hours we spent together, Walking the coast, I had come to really like Red, And all I wanted to do then was kiss her inflated body; So I leant into Red, really thinking she Felt the same, but she had untied herself From my wrist, and floated straight up, High into the sky above, where she burst into shreds.
What light In winter dies To be born again in spring?
By Francis Reilly The one window that allows stars to watch me sleep, The mattress, weightless, falls away, making me fall too, Bottomless, into the trap of being too comfortable.
By Eamon Cooke They wink, candles of the night sky, lulling me to falsity, Hanging there, unmoving and unwavering to thoughts or wishes, Actions are impossible in this suspension of all drive. Lead filled lids crash and grate with every forced re-opening, With dreams tantalisingly close before I take them away, Open eyes fixed on those unreachable stars, that unreachable space. The only time in my life they watch me while I gaze back, No curtains, no roofs, no street lights, no clouds, no moon, no obstruction, Just our sightsâ€™ lines, meeting, overlapping, crossing and telling. Telling me to forget their existence, and to just travel the distance.
All the days of your life A boundless treasure Sufficient for the day Godâ€™s kindest measure
A Prayer for Ireland W
as there ever a time when people felt so low, so grey, a time when helplessness and loss became the norm? My friends, we are now not just the fallen generation but the super fallen, as the stories mount and the scandals pile up. Political celebrity that nurtures complete incompetence. A church that is rotten to its very core with the trusted ones raping children while their hierarchy lifts the rug to sweep it all away. Not to mention high prices, low confidence, and no self-esteem and of course, no money… But there’s always plenty of X-factor to keep us distracted. The spin doctors grin while pitting the people against one another, public Vs. private, tax payer Vs. unemployed, rich Vs. poor, me Vs. you. Why? So a small few at the top of the castle can escape blame while the people scream for a bit of peace, a small bit of ease. They ache for some stability and, maybe a sunny day. They pray for reasons, some common sense and fair play, when reality shows us that such things have left this once fine land. A lot of people never prospered from the boom, some like me wished for a life with a little more meaning and purpose than just the procurement of money and shiny things. Others who didn’t prosper were just unlucky and couldn’t get in on
the action because as we all know, the gates are guarded by the captains of industry and pride has no place in business when there’s money to be made. I remember during the boom years, shaking the head in disbelief when I saw teachers and nurses weren’t economically viable; they could not afford a home in a country that was awash with new homes. I told myself, “What hope have I when the best of us struggle to survive.” The prices kept rising and rising and overnight it seemed, everyone was buying and buying but no one was thinking of tomorrow. Then it came to an end, but not without warning. The wise and perceptive among us were on the rooftops shouting at the top of their lungs about the impending crash. “Crash” they said. “Soft landing” the leaders said. “SHUT THE DOORS” the banks said. However I, like many others, felt no crash simply because I made no false gains from the false economy. I felt no pain until the 2008 budget that is. On the 14th of October 2008, while I stood watching my television like most of the country, I realized something. I shuddered at the thought of it. You can call me naïve, but I have seen what drives and motivates our so called leaders. I realized that greed and self-interest is what
holds Ireland’s elite in the position they are in. They stamp on the faces of the people while apologizing with a sly grin on their faces; they talk of pain when all they know is how to dish it out. They take and suck and drain to keep their lives plush and ours empty, and as I extend my gaze to the wider world around me, I see the other “western, consumer-driven, so called civilized” nations and see that they are all the same. The minority of people own the majority of things, the people struggle while the elite soar, but in Ireland we have a new motto which is, “we take from the poor to give to the rich.” Words cannot describe how wrong all this is. A world driven by greed, selfishness, and fear is on a road to impending destruction. The system clearly does not work. How much more needs to go wrong before this is seen and believed? Even seeing and believing doesn’t automatically mean that things will change. Why? The answer is simple; those who control the game like the way it’s played. When the church sold masses to so called “sinners” there was change and reformation. Where regal opulence stole the bread from the mouths of French citizens, there was revolution. When systems fail the people rise up to fix things. The people change the system, for without them there is no system. The people are the ones who drive noticeable change. They are the ones who hunger for a better way for
all and not just for the few. The people are the ones who eject the tyrants from their sight. The people are the ones with ALL the power. But, the Irish people, it seems, have lost their collective voice. Also, it appears that the establishment has learned from its past mistakes and uses these lessons to outsmart the masses by confusing the issue until there is no issue to debate, or by singling out the most unimportant point to debate over. It’s a mockery of the whole notion of change and debate. I think the Irish government is not a part of this country’s people. They cannot carry out the will of the people and protect the most vulnerable, because they are protecting the most powerful in this land, namely, the banks and themselves. The speak but say nothing. They listen but hear nothing. Their thoughts are not on the citizens but on themselves. They have no moral authority. They do not understand the damage that has been caused, simply because they run their government solely for economic reasons or should I say in a self interested, greedy, jobs for the boys, contempt for the people kind of way. Our country is under siege. The factory rats are running every thing into the ground, and a fatalistic government is a dangerous government. They plunder the pennies of the masses to feed the depraved, monstrous, and unimaginable greed of the few select masters of the universe. I repeat myself because no possible word or combination of words can ever describe what has been done in this country over the last
So a small few at the top of the castle can escape blame while the people scream for a bit of peace, a small bit of ease. while. My crass and unimaginative repetition will have to do. I feel this in my bones and wonder if the rest of my fellow citizens feel as strongly as I do. I also feel that there will be more unbelievable things to come… and then, even more. I wish with each breath that nothing more happens in our small country, but that doesn’t take away my fear. I also feel that we are being desensitized to the point where corruption is just part of political life. Election promises are offered, but never followed through on with no accountability. Long hours spent doing nothing equates to hard work, and high wages must mean that a job has been well done. Then there’s real life, a place where the government do not live. A place where kids receive an ever decreasing standard of education, where people go to fewer and fewer jobs. A world where families stick together to see off the hard times, and a place where knowing your worth is proved by who you’re with rather than how much you have in your pocket. To all I’ve mentioned so far I have no answer to my shame, only observations. But maybe observation is the necessary beginning of change and healing. How can we know
what’s wrong if we bury our head in the sand and ignore it. How can a government serve its people when the people don’t watch for mistakes, and how can you hold disgusting decisions and behaviour accountable with secret enquires! My point is simple: I love my country, my home, and I care for each and every person who wants something more and something better for all of us in Ireland. With every vibrating string within each atom of my saddened and tired being, I wish and pray for the people of Ireland to find their collective voice. I wish for no more greedy, selfish politics; they are the past, the people are the future. I wish so much to be proud of where I come from once again. I wish for the people of this land to stand up for themselves instead of being beaten down by the tyrannical system set in place to make life easier for some at the expense of other. I wish for us once and for all to set aside differences and realize that we are all in this together and no amount of power or money can make any man or woman better than anyone else. We all know things need to change. It’s up to us to stop them; it’s not too late.
Armel Dagorn was born, lived and studied in France. He has been living in Cork, Ireland
for the past few years, where he indulges in the innocent pleasure of reading and writing in his adopted (and beloved) language, while making a living in different, variously successful ways.
Daniel Kaye lives and works in Charleville, Co Cork. He is a relative newcomer to the world of writing and has been working on a novel for a number of months. Daniel also writes short stories; his first published story is ‘Guilt’.
Max Learner is originally from San Francisco, CA and goes to school at Villanova University
outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His favourite authors include James Joyce, Philip Pullman and Michael Crichton. Frequently, his soul attempts to leave his body, meaning he is always thinking of new things to learn and usually needs to hear things twice to fully absorb them.
Francis Reilly is a reluctant final year Journalism student in DCU. Once he has completed his
degree he intends to do everything in his power to not become a journalist, while still finding a way to get his writing out to the world. He and his poetry can be found here day and night, waiting for somebody to strike up an interesting conversation: http://peaceinacrackden.blogspot.com/
Eamon Cooke has had work published in several Irish journals. His collection ‘Berry Time’ was
published by Dedalus in 2002.
About our contributors
While Ed Tierney is better known for his lyric writing than his journalistic skills, the essence of his words are always the same: to give a voice to the imbalances in society and to exorcise some of his own demons. He is the songwriter/lyricist of the rock band, Culture Vandals. http://www. myspace.com/culture_vandals
for reading Issue Two of Outburst Magazine
utburst magazine is currently accepting submissions for the third edition. Our focus is on short stories (up to 2,500 words) and poetry (up to 40 lines); if you have written a longer piece, we may be willing to publish it in serial form. We like to keep an open mind, so we may publish articles/works beyond what has been mentioned. Feel free to get in touch, or send in your work to: