Ode to Trifle

by Liam Wrigley

Custard, sponge, cream and jam,

Some of my favourite flavours,

Custard, sponge, cream and jam,

A portrait is made out of layers.

 

There are fires over the Nile,

And dreams pile up during the night,

But I can’t see them and so I smile,

This kitchen is musty and bright.

 

Custard, sponge, cream and jam,

I lift up my spoon and know who I am.

Happy

by Fionn Rogan

I was enjoying the crackle of the loose-packed tobacco being pursued by the dull orange burn drawing down the shaft of the cigarette when I noticed the light. The sun beamed down through a frothy morning sky pregnant with promise. Hanging through the aluminum window, the cold dew of the windowsill felt damp to my elbows and I savoured the gentle nipping of the breeze on my naked chest. 

Starlings chirped, sung and frolicked in the bare branches of the beech tree in the back garden and I thought between the sixth and seventh inhalation, 

“Fuck. I’m happy.”

It crept up along my calf. Skipped along my thigh. Erupted across my back, gripping my neck and reefed my head back forcing out breathless heaving guffaws. I was throttled by the joy. I surrendered to the crippling glee as sheer optimism and hope for the day thrashed me and threw me to the ground. Powerless to resist the smothering grin being painted across my lips I realised that if I didn’t share this feeling it’d kill me.

Strangled by delight, writhing upon the ground I wrestled my phone from my pocket. Dragging it before my face I brought up Facebook with trembling fingers and posted, ‘I love you all.’

The message’s delivery to all my friends confirmed by a tiny tick, I collapsed against my bed with a sigh. Feeling the unbearable happiness lift from me a soft contentedness glided into its place. Warm and bathed in light I hummed and let my limbs float softly down by my side. Calmed by the red haze behind closed lids I was shook awake by the shrill ring and clattering call of my phone.

Three Facebook notifications. Friend x, y, and z have commented on your status.

“Fionn, are you ok?”

“Is everything all right man?”

“What happened?”

And then my mother called.

Butterfly

by Anna Martin

“This house is Western style,” says Naoko, my hostess. I remove my shoes in the genkan and put on slippers she provides. Inside, small dishes are stacked in glass-fronted cabinets and on the table chopsticks are laid on their rests. I am invited for dinner. On the wall are postcards behind glass: Michelangelo, Botticelli, Raphael. One incongruous Degas. Abstracts from a continent unvisited. The Degas is a sketch of a woman, nude, sitting amongst messy blankets in bed and drying her hair. Her belly is soft and folded, her spine curved, her thighs fleshy.

We eat raw fish with basil and balsamic vinegar. “I always cook western food,” Naoko tells me, as if sharing a confidence. She produces a lasagne and I don’t quite recognise its flavours. I am served four different kinds of wine. “We buy it in an import store in Tokyo.” A yellow Chardonnay, a Riesling, a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Beaujolais nouveau. Her husband produces the bottles and pours. He is a heavy-set man whose face will turn red and sweaty as he drinks. He moves warily around me as if he considers me unpredictable, like a skittish cat. He says little as he uncorks one bottle after another. My head will ache tomorrow.

After dinner, they show me an album of photographs of other Westerners they have met. It’s a catalogue of frozen poses, brittle smiles, two fingers aloft in the Japanese V. A red-headed American, a tall, long-haired Jamaican, a suited Russian. One woman from Trinidad with the nametag “Luisa” rendered in katakana. Face after unknown face offered for my inspection and admiration. “Here,” says Naoko. “Look. My first Western friend.” On the wall near the postcards hang framed photos: a woman in a wedding dress, a faded bicycle trip, a picnic table surrounded with young smiles. I think of butterflies pinned and fading under dusty glass.

She produces the camera towards the end of the evening. I hold up two fingers and stretch my mouth into a smile.

 

I am in the entertainment district. The last beat of life in a dying town, where girls in short skirts totter in the cold and boys with spiked hair hunker by walls and talk closely, their gazes flickering now and then, catching on us, then back down. The smell of ramen and cigarette smoke rolls out from restaurants and the din of karaoke boxes punctuates the streets. A crowd of men flows around us on the pavement and we hear the word gaijin spoken with the oblivious volume of the drunk. “Hallo-how-are-you,” someone calls. We make our way to our regular bar where we’re less of a curiosity. Inside it’s dim and murmuring. The karaoke screens silently flick through song choices, though no one is singing. I sit between Jason and Feliciano and we order beer.

“It’s Japanese relationships,” says Jason. “Like, these guys, they treat women so badly.” Behind him a tattooed man thumbs his cigarette against an ashtray and talks earnestly to a woman in a black dress. “I knew this guy, he treated his girlfriend like shit. They’d just got together and he was already checking out other girls. Really obviously, right in front of her. It was disgusting.” He doesn’t look at me when he talks, his gaze flicking from woman to woman, seeking out those unaccompanied by men. Always his restless conversation, circling, circling. “She was so pretty, too. Why would she settle for this creep?” He sighs and drinks deeply. “Hey,” he says to Feli. “Are you dating Risa Nakagawa?”

Feli nods. “Yes.” His eyes are steady behind his glasses. He offers nothing more.

“I asked her out once,” says Jason. “She said no. Way to go, man, on succeeding where I failed.” He holds out his hand for a fistbump and Feli bemusedly complies.

Jason orders another beer and drifts off towards the dartboard. “Come on,” he says to us. “Let’s play.” Feli joins him. I stay at the bar and watch. I can tell by the cock of his hip that Jason wants eyes on him now. Thunk. Thunk. He throws fluidly, but Feli beats him all the same.

 

I teach at an elementary school where the children crowd around me and try to touch my skin. The young ones reach out for me, undisguised and carnivorous. The older ones feign a lack of interest, though now and then I catch them staring at me, maybe in some contemplation of my high nose or light hair or my watery blue eyes. Or maybe they are wondering how this foreign creature ended up here at the end of a city’s life. From the top floor of the school I can see across to the old, rusting paper mills and coal refineries. Down at the port, waves lap hollowly against fishing boats, and racks of squid and saury are set to dry in the pale autumn sunlight. I can see the old town with its boarded-up streets and crumbling ramen alleys, empty echoes of more profitable times. Broad avenues cut through ancient, cross-hatched streets are half-abandoned now. A sprawl of strip malls clamours around the routes inland. The city is slowly crawling from the sea.

“Snow,” says Wada-sensei, standing beside me at the window. He points across the valley. On the other side of the city mountains rise, young and jagged, already white-topped. Winter creeps down the slopes. He tries to say more but I don’t understand and he doesn’t speak English. We break off with apologetic shrugs.

Today we have a tsunami drill: at the sound of the alarm, the children file out of their classrooms, textbooks on their heads, and climb the stairs to the top floor. I try to imagine a wall of water rushing towards us. “Why textbooks?” I ask Wada-sensei, miming the little ones.

“Glass,” he replies, mimicking the explosive shattering of windows with his hands. The children climb up, up. Up is safe. This is not a fire drill. On the top floor they huddle together to be counted.

Later, after they’ve returned to their classrooms, I pack my books and papers to leave. I am familiar with the rituals of coming and going. Excuse me for leaving, I say to the room as I head towards the door. Thank you for your work comes the reply. Call and response. I change my shoes in the genkan. The wind is cold and I button my coat as I walk to my car. In the distance the sea looks dark and restless. “Goodbye!” shouts a second-grader from a first floor window. I wave. He stares at me until I drive away.

 

The snow comes and is silent. It sits roundly on rooftops and strung black wires, it feathers balcony railings. It buries footfalls and muffles cars. And then the skies clear. Ice forms like lace on melting edges. The ground becomes treacherous. I no longer know where to stand.

Again and again, blizzards roll in from the mountains and hunker us down in solitude. Then comes the ice, stratified like silt, like rock. I struggle along frozen streets enwrapped in fleece and wool and still I feel the cold testing my edges. It seeps into my fingertips. It needles through my veins. At night in dreams I splinter into the wind and scatter through the ruined places and car-worn streets. I whistle through forgotten fire escapes, I eddy in cold corners of rust-stained concrete and flurry around the coal train by the white-sheet lake. Foxes turn and watch and then trot on among the rushes. In the day I feel the shatter of ice beneath my boots. I count out change with cold-clumsy fingers. My thick tongue mangles delicate syllables and conversation is jagged, misaligned.

 

I order at the counter with half-words and gestures. “Here you are,” says the girl behind the till in her high school English.

“Arigato,” I say to her, and we both smile at the sound of familiar words.

The place is a franchise, lino floors and formica tables, tiny seats cramped close together. I take my chocolate donut and coffee to a table by the window. Outside snow is falling unhurriedly, as if laying down a blanket with care. Cars drift quietly through the car park and beyond them the hills rise, covered in cedars and bare silver birch. The clouds hang heavy overhead.

Later Feli and Risa will come, but for now I’m on my own. The coffee mug is warm in my hands. Around me people read and eat and chat. A few lone students have brought their textbooks and laptops. Children choose cupcakes through the glass at the counter and hold tumblers of melon soda in small hands. I’ve brought a book but I’m finding it difficult to concentrate, so I sit beneath fluorescent lights and drift. The coffee cools a little and after a while my donut is gone. My book lies butterflied on the orange table top. A student in a grey beanie asks me if he can take one of the chairs from my table. I tell him yes.

“Arigato,” he says.

“No problem,” I reply, and he bows a little and smiles.

There is something different now. I hold out my cup for a proffered refill and I feel the warmth in my fingertips. Words coalesce in the clamour around me. I find that I have become accustomed to this place, that I am even fond of it. I catalogue its sounds and smells: the clatter of plastic tumblers on formica table tops, the sugary aroma of donut glaze, the squeak of snowboots on linoleum. Behind it all, like a well-worn backdrop, the thin, familiar smell of franchise coffee.

Outside, the snow is still falling. The sky is dimming and the pale pink glow of streetlamps suffuses the low clouds and pools on the snow. The world fades to a soft patchwork of light and shadow. I sit by the window and watch until Feli and Risa arrive.

Moscow

by Liath Gleeson

From September 2012 to August 2013, I was in a complicated relationship with the city of Moscow. Initially connected by a common language, I had gone to spend a year with her, hoping to come back fluent, and thinking no further than subject, object, case, clause and tense. My image of the sprawling siren herself, when I bothered of think of it, shuffled limply and left the room after a handful of words: snow, cold, big, bold and then a fade-out into grey. At the beginning of our relationship I was the heroine of the story and she was the trusty sidekick, waiting to make me look good, throwing up a glitter of sunlit snow to highlight my chiselled cheekbones as I bent the evil Cyrillic alphabet into submission around my razor-sharp English-speaking mind. It turned out that wasn’t the plan. While the two of us experienced plenty of snow, a fair amount of sunlight and the odd chiselled cheekbone here and there, our relationship was never one of hero and helper. It went deeper than that, as all worthwhile exchanges do, blossoming into multiple layers of meaning between teacher and student, local and stranger, a pseudo-Stockholm scenario in which I was the captive but never the victim.

What she taught me I remember in a series of scenes. Each one has an image, sound and particular smell, sometimes kalaidescoping into a dizzying round of colourful chaos, sometimes as clear and sharp as a mid-October frost. On our first night together I drove from the airport, watching the smoke-stacks go by, go by, go by, go by, and listening to the shrill warning noise the car made at my chaperone, who refused to wear his seatbelt on some sort of fatalistic principle. Our first home, a squat Soviet obshezhitie where I breathed in the comforting must of the lodgers before me and the family upstairs sometimes played gypsy music on the accordion in the afternoon and I once kept my door locked for an entire weekend. My college, where the true meaning of the word isolation welled up around me in a wave wherever I went, parting the sea of young Russians up from the country, so alien to me in their dress and speech and social codes that I would have floundered like a fish even if my tongue hadn’t tripped me up in every conversation. My first joyful trip to ASHAN to reacquaint myself with the language of food (which is spoken the world over), and my subsequent adventures in keeping body and soul together: the sharp, fetid punch of kefir, the delicate flake of salted fish, value-brand novelty packets of caviar, ruby-jewel pomegranates that burst like a broken heart, tiny sour apples from the trees in spring, and pilmeni, dumplings, always dumplings dumplings dumplings.

As we settled in together I showed her my sense of adventure, venturing further and further from the cosy depression of my krushovka paradise. She offered me the Kremlin, which asked me if I knew who it was as it pouted like a gold-leafed diva behind impenetrable brick walls. Then Arbat, a neon knock-off Hollywood strip that showered me with flashing lights and failed ambition as I devoured a sickly box of Dunkin’ Donuts (where the waitress actually smiled) and imagined myself on the set of a socialist-realist Bladerunner. I journeyed out to Moscow State, bowed my head at the Church of Christ the Saviour, and found myself standing in small-eyed awe at the feet of Yuri Gagarin, blasting brazenly into Soviet space with his comic-book go-faster stripes attached. When she felt we knew each other well enough she decided to dress up and take me out on the town. Decked in an immaculate gown of deep, fresh snow she led me, swaddled in my thick winter coat, to a place where my senses had never been. Each morning began with a deep thrust of ice down my throat and a burst from my lungs of the warm air it replaced, dissipating out the opening window in the wake of sleep. My fingers thrummed, then stung, then burned as I walked to school, abandoning gloves to let my hands understand the cold. In the evenings I took advantage of the dark to crack the glassy crust on the heavy snowdrifts by the side of the road, sticking my waterproof boots in to see how far down my footprint would go, something that Muscovites know only a crazy girl would do.

As the spring came, my desire for a warmer intimacy grew. I met five South Africans, themselves as foreign as wildebeest to me despite their familiar accent, who were looking for a flatmate, and so we set up house. On the fourteenth floor of a honey-comb tower block in the Western suburbs I shared my bed with a tall Capetonian, and I began to shut out my other partner, filling my head with everyday English where my growing Cyrillic had been. But she didn’t forget about me, and the snow stayed. Standing on our balcony with a view towards the city I could count three of Stalin’s seven sisters, dark grey points against a lighter grey of falling flurries and a silent down of whiteness covering everything from them to the welcome mat of our front door. And the closer I nestled into my safety bubble of cultural familiarity, the more I realised that I had not left our relationship at all. As the only Russian-speaker in the house, I became official ambassador to the Outside World, and I found myself making excuses for my surrogate family, apologising to the air, they’re trying their best, they don’t understand you like I do.

When the snow melted I had found my feet, and both of us had changed. I knew my way around the city with enough confidence to stride, and the daily metro commute of Molodozhnaya, Imeni Lenina, Tverskaya, Tverskaya, Imeni Lenina, Molodozhnaya was completed on satisfying autopilot. I worked my way as a teacher into the city’s wealthiest houses, watching the twin daughters of oligarchs squeal with delight as the gardener pulled a catfish, still wriggling, out of the private lake, the whole scene overseen by a twice-lifesize professional photograph of their mother dressed up like a cabaret singer. Moscow, for her part, brought the storms: huge, thunderous squalls that rammed into our house like a wall, breaking the stifling afternoon heat in two and turning the sky a milky green. Once I stood on the balcony in only a vest and gym shorts, the youngest flatmate, an evolutionary biologist from Stellenbosch, smoking behind me, and felt the perspiration condense on my collarbone as we watched the drops of water drive into the pavement beneath us. 

Featured Writer: Rob Doyle

Rob Doyle’s first novel, Here Are the Young Men, was published in 2014 by Bloomsbury and the Lilliput Press. His second book, This Is the Ritual, will be published in January 2016 (Bloomsbury / Lilliput). Rob’s fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in The Dublin Review, The Stinging Fly, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Business Post, The Irish Times, Gorse, and elsewhere. Rob studied Philosophy and Psychoanalysis at Trinity College Dublin. Having spent years living in London, the US, Sicily, South America, and Asia, he currently lives in Dublin.

The Thirty-Nine Heteronyms of Barry O’Brien

By the age of seventeen, Barry O’Brien, who lived with his mother in the Dublin suburb of Kilnamanagh, had published several poems in online journals with low readerships and dubious quality-standards. A sufferer from a rare form of Asperger’s Syndrome, Barry was an awkward, taciturn young man; the internet was his refuge. Poems such as $ccounter.spism and heerinmus PP-scretom earned Barry a minor following among readers of /lit/, the web-journal connected to 4Chan’s literature forum. The poems were baffling, evocative, and often funny (or just ‘total wank’, as one commenter insisted.) They contained no recognisable human subjects - no pronouns at all, in fact - and seemed like fragmentary impressions from other dimensions or unknown universes, where alien laws prevail.

After failing his Leaving Cert, Barry stayed at home, disqualified from the workforce by his illness. Having retained no friends from school, it was rare that he ever left his bedroom. His mother, a cashier at Dunnes Stores in the Square shopping centre in Tallaght, rarely saw him. Barry stayed up each night until seven or eight, and slept through the daytime. On Saturday afternoons he was visited by a social worker as part of a state-funded friendship scheme. The social worker took Barry to see films, play table-tennis, eat ice-cream in the Square, or throw a frisbee in Tymon North park. This was Barry’s only regular social engagement in the months following his Leaving Cert.

He began concentrating his creative energies on Twitter. He created first one fictional persona – a reflexologist from China’s Jilin province named Guozhi Lau – then another, and then many more. Each persona – or heteronym, to adopt the term coined a century earlier by Fernando Pessoa – had a distinct personality and biography, and was represented by a profile photo pulled from an obscure Google Images search. The heteronyms – which numbered thirty-nine by September – interacted with tweeters from all over the world, and with one another. The most popular of Barry O’Brien’s heteronyms was Kinuka Murasawi, a beautiful 24-year-old poet from Osaka, Japan, who divided her time between Rome, New York and Tokyo. At the height of her popularity, Kinuka had over 18,000 followers. She regularly tweeted literary quotes, and sometimes posted links to poems of hers that were published on literary websites. Her followers (the majority of them male) were charmed and beguiled by the poems’ chaotic syntax and incomprehensible imagery, so at odds with Kinuka’s gentle, nurturing, flirtatious persona.

Often Barry’s heteronyms would tweet one another, trading compliments or insults, and sometimes developing friendships. One of the most verbose was Derryl B, a black man in his late twenties from south Chicago who bragged of links to organized crime and hip-hop. Despite his brazen come-ons and incessant braggadocio, Derryl B was highly popular with female Tweeters. To the alarm of Kinuka’s admirers, Derryl B began a campaign of flattery and teasing clearly intended to seduce the delicate, cultured poet. His tweets to her were often brash and lewd, but sometimes chaste and tender. For weeks Kinuka ignored him. Eventually, she began to respond; before long, she appeared bewitched. After a month of public foreplay, Derryl B and Kinuka arranged to meet in New York on a weekend when they both happened to be in town (this coincidence aroused the resentful scepticism of Kinuka’s male followers.)

The following afternoon, Derryl B tweeted a succession of brazen, graphic boasts concerning his conquest of Kinuka, several of which Kinuka retweeted.

By the end of that day, Kinuka had lost over 1,700 followers.

Other heteronyms that Barry O’Brien dreamed up and set loose on Twitter included the following:

  • Sergei Dimitrivic, an earnest, 18-year-old Russian, fired up on Tolstoyan ethics and the promise of Modernism. Fumed and raged about the vulgar materialism and ‘spiritual coma’ of Putin’s Russia. Tweeted frequently on chess.
  • Peter Moran, an overweight, unemployed, depressed 30-year-old from a village near Mullingar that he had hardly ever left. Followed 539, had 39 followers (one of whom was Kinuka Murasawi). Tweeted lugubrious impressions of his own dreary life, and half-hearted attacks on local politicians.
  • A jovial Sardinian market-gardener named Lucenzio Vito D’Abruzzo, with a fondness for tweeting quotes from Leopardi, Gandhi and Chairman Mao.
  • Lucy Jones, a sandy-haired folk singer from San Francisco, questioning her prior life choices as she drifted into middle-age.
  • Alistair Lochhead, a bitterly racist Glasgow taxi-driver who tweeted images of warzones from around the world, and pictures of his daughter Chloe.
  • Larry Paravidino, an amateur Finnegans Wake scholar from a teeming Italo-Irish family in the Bronx. His tweets often consisted of incomprehensible neologisms and hip-hop lyrics.
  • A female jihadi named Aqsa Khaleeli whose tweets located her variously in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt.
  • A self-described misogynist called CT Bell who never tweeted, followed no one, uploaded no profile photo, and disappeared from Twitter without ever having broken his silence.

As he invested ever more of himself in his heteronymic progeny, Barry O’Brien’s own personality, vague and inchoate to begin with, was all-but effaced. He ate his meals in his room, no longer left the house – not even for excursions with his disappointed social worker – and spoke to no one. His thirty-eight heteronyms (the thirty-ninth, Peter Moran, tweeted his own suicide), can still be found on Twitter, where few are aware of their fictitious nature.

Purple Bee of Brie

by Karl Peters

1.

A road less travelled bumps and lumps can throw less crafty travelling chums but bee and brie with cornflake three rode on astride a cosmic tide through all the wild and curly highs and all the dumpy frumpy sighs until a stump where ferrets meet to speak of all the troughs and peaks that level mighty with the meek. A ferret squeaks we’re all unique and all agree except the bee who sees three ferrets facing three as mirrored matches in a sea of drops that think to be unique a drop must be apart and free while bee could feel the truth of seas that only waves could be unique. On to climb a peaky Hill sharpened to a sneaky point by priests who felt that ample hills misled their flocks who blamed their groins for finding in such ample hills the valleys and the hidden trails the only test by which all men are always ever doomed to fail.

2.

The pointy priests pointed their anointed piste and greased the peak with grease released from geese obese from feasts of streaky bacon treats. And when the Pilgrims from beneath climb the peak to seek relief the priests retreat to caves beneath and out they peek without a squeak to watch the weakened freaks compete to mount the pointed greasy piste. And so it was that none could pass the sharpened peak to promised lands and so it stood and so it passed, so long lived priests, so long their mass, so long to sultry summer streaks where men and maid could live like beasts, so long the growing greener grass that lay untouched beyond the pass.

3.

A walnut whip a skinny dip the grip of thick hypnotic hips luscious lips and bloomers stripped heartbeats skipped and slippers slipped wicks long dipped no sooner lit as Bacchus sips from sewers rich and brewers slip upon their drips the few are they who strip to pip and fewer they who dip their bits though Baptists claim it trips the switch and artists famed for flaming lips swear by dipping in the nip then skipping swift the green grass whips the itches from your weary bits then lying bawling in a ditch you wish the sky would only blink and when it does you wonder did it blink or did it chance a sneaky wink? Oh greener grass when shall we pass to taste such fruits that never last and pass from this ungodly fast so said the sinner to his ass whose answer passed in sighs of gas.

4. 

Blue as sea and green as tea Brown towns drowned in summer heat pointy priests atop their piste neutered dogs they found in heat until the day of yeasty beasts who Rose to stop the pointy priests. Here we are the beasts of yeast flouring forth and bread to breed of seeds released when easter breezed to seize the weak on bended knees and raise their gaze from priestly feet to feel the prospect of the free. The beasts abubble scooping thoughts from rubbled dreams led the free to pastures Green through a sea of parted priests whose toenails failed to brave the yeast. Bee and brie and cornflake three passed the priests and passed the piste behind a flock a waked in trails of pungent plumes of beastly yeast.

5.

Bee was wombed within a bloom abloom with flame set light through roots that strained so far they gained unstained the troubled core of worldly pain and craving more, strained with force and gaining more, reached the doors that roots had never reached before, the roots then bored beyond the doors where souls worn sore without remorse are torn in two and then in scores and here the flaming flower sourced a well of pain yet full of force, to fledge and forge from molten gore a bloom to buzz of purple ore attuned to gusts of booming storms and buried farts of feral worms and every zephyr ever formed of breath or breeze to freeze or warm the purple ore absorbed them all until the day the perfect storm bore upon the sleepy world and woke the bee within the ore to bare his wings and soar adorned in purple torn from roots that scorned to lose the fruit but keep the core.

Scrambled Eggs

by Jenny Moran

Gold-haired little girl, jewel filled

and in polka dot pink,

 

your gaping stare pleads with me –

the mouth of a starving calf.

 

I should hold, rock and sway you

and yet my arms are limp.

 

Tiny moons roll from your lids.

I orbit you, tissueless,

 

‘til your wince has imploded,

your egg –yolk eyes glazing,

 

your inner jewels jutting

daggers through your cradle.

 

Tissueless, when metal claws

lacerate your flesh.

 

I have smeared them in your blood.

Never call me Mother.

Everyday Riddles

by Rosa Campbell

I.

I am wax on the water, wave-pilot,

night-thane. My reign is pale and wan

next to my star-sister, and so I shrink,

and daily abdicate the inky throne.

 

II.

Scour the skies for me when you need

a single helping hand. For I am a bright

battle-light, last stand in a fight and

my arrow will guide the way to glory.

 

III.

Look for me in king-lists: ninth father,

founder-prince. Wooden world-watcher

with one eye trained on the other and

weather overflowing my meadhall cup.

 

IV.

You’ll find me in the fields, friend. I am

hammered steel, homegrown Hercules.

Or else out in the dust of Thunder Road;

goat-towed, a hot-rod hometown god.

 

V.

I am an act of love and a violent death;

blood-gold spills free from my eyes. I

have shares in sisters, milk-magic,

there for half a soldier’s homecoming.

 

VI.

Interloper I, liberated from Latin and

golden age guest. I keep the Sabbath

in my own tradition: shackles slacken

and we will reap in time’s ripeness.

 

VII.

I am southern-born, but look for me

in the northern midnight, moving

slow as a petulant child sent to bed.

I am flash-flood, flare-gun, flame.

Two-Eyed Glen

by Will Fleming

Your eye must have been

the lens for purest sunlight:

otherwise you would be

lost, swallowed in forests

    profound as yours;

 

drowned beneath those

twin white lakes: distillate

    of higher worlds;

 

the anomaly

amid a wealth

    of spruce;

sour seed embedded

    in the sweetness

        of the earth—

 

but somehow, you are not.

 

In some way

your hermit’s perch

seems glacier-scraped

for you alone—

    that rugged throne whereon you 

    survey and seek out the Glen’s every subtle nuance.

 

When solitude likewise

sought you out;

    stole you clean,

Time pulled hard her reins on you:

    halted silent in your tracks—

 

there,

    in her place,

the doe takes up your footfalls,

    each oscillating under-hoof

    to re-emerge

        crescendos below the lakes.

Poetryspeak

by Ronan Murphy

The evening tilts

its blue towards me. I laze

at the café table like a strained

and overworked

simile.

 

Out-of-body words proceed.

Reflection blurs itself 

on my Evian bottle. 

A metaphor adjusts

its halo.

 

I bloodlet the language

for a few lines. And finish up

with a sentimental

or ironic

observation.

Nightingales

by Jacob Agee

in the olive meadows,

seraphim of the night, 

with their shrill erratic trills,

a sweet needling 

in the land’s duvet, 

comforting deep darkness.

The flowers woven out from

Penelope’s ear-loom.

London

by Aine J. Tyrrell

thick gustfull carpets ratmusty with 

speed and darkness drape mazed tunnels

 

neon light clouds haze over concrete islandthrong

where screetches foam

 

work-drowned shades blank 

careening sparkgush of squealgrind as beast stills

 

thunksquelch as orfices vomit suits

exude mapzombie stragglemass

 

mindfull soar         THE        GAP

forcep push through bowels appealfrosted and ad-iced

 

pitchyblear and whooshrattle shut

rouged lips press shuttight

– itchysweat pause.

 

jostlebump of commuter drones

as Piccadilly waves prettily.