Volume 68, Issue 2
E D I T O R I A L
‘Put your woolly earplugs in’ much of this comes down to our dreamt
font baby and
I suppose ‘I know only one person / equal to me in strength’.
The time it takes to respond politically is the time it takes to sweat this out
every sound I make a prayer
in this, our bear pit fruitborne, this ‘anything / but itself ’.
It seems we haven’t left the horizon to hell,
as of our circular tunnel vision
‘like all them kings you read about.’
Thomas Merton says ‘I hope we will be together in Paradise’ and where else could we be together? - Embodied zero, where I, I, I speaking words written illegible sounds small alarm a question of our collective emergency exit.
-- ‘These are suspect places’
-- I hope that we can be sweet.
It takes a keen eye to speak without a string that is thick:
-- one prayer at a time.
-- This is exposure.
A pleasure to give a space for pre-attention,
I love you.
endurance for our pink flamingos and rioting lawn
- Sophie Fitzpatrick and Sean Pierson
seventy-four pages & cover
CONTENTS CONTENTS CONTENTS CON-
TENTS CONTENTS CONTENTS CONTENTS
CONTENTS CONTENTS CONTENTS CON-
by ADAM BOATE
Art Not Sorry
by MICHELLE NICOLAOU
we broke bread together on this street
by IMAAN BARI
FEATURED: AENGUS WOODS
FEATURED: SHEILA MANNIX
Birch Bark Diary, August 2017
Cover: seaside home
by DAVID BOYD
Cover, vol. 9 No. 29 ed. by Brian Osman
“The Boar Hunt” was written just after the August 24th, 2016 earthquake in Central Italy. I was in Santa Maria degli Angeli about 100 kilometres away. It happened just before 4am. I knew immediately what it was. We came out into the piazza. It was still dark. Cars were driving down from Assisi, circling the fountain in the piazza, and leaving town. A few days later I went up to Mount Subasio, part of the Apennines, the spine of Italy so susceptible to earthquakes. The tremors continued for several months. It was the boar-hunting season, and the sounds of the hunt rose from below, ringing the horizon, all day and all night it seemed.
“In the Arena” addresses Catullus, having in mind the conventionally untranslatable (unprintable) “Carmen 16.”
“Poem In Which I Play A Bit Part” is just about watching the sun rise, morning after morning, from a terrace on the Janiculum Hill above Rome.
“I Am Looking at a Horse” was written in Alaska.
Before I left Ireland in 1994, a poet said to me “You’re not a lyric poet, are you?” I suppose I nodded dumbly, took a drag of my Sweet Afton, and agreed. But it struck me like a thunderbolt: I’m not a lyric poet. I better emigrate. You can be more than one thing. I have always tried to make form do the job of content. When I got really desperate in life, I would grab any form I found. At the time I wrote these poems, I wanted to do penance but a hint of the lyric came towards me and I embraced it.
What is moving is movement itself,
so far from language to be readable only through rupture.
One part, miles down, wanting to move and moving;
another part, not compelled in that way, breaking.
Doors open, stay open. Sable night
In the valley, we edge a bit closer
is airbrushed away, imperceptibly,
holding our phones. Pack up our cars,
like the strain on people’s faces or how
if we have cars, watch other cars, headlights fuzzy
voices are restored, like children plucked from the rocks
lurch soundlessly through, and out.
are returned to usual shores.
We barely have shoes, the soles of our feet
embassy with the ground.
In the hills, the incessant sound of the hunt.
The dogs, at ten or eleven o’clock,
lay on the hump of the horizon
their fine prosciutto.
Arpeggios of yelps inside of which
a more visceral music
extends like a tongue
The worst sound of all.
Like the bells of the basilica
announce themselves suddenly modern
one Sunday, unclothing a music
that stuns, breathtakingly secular
inside its light jacket of ave
and vale, unbuttoning
with clear fingers
a last note, no, yes,
there it is.
Or how perspective may help us re-frame
seven thousand aftershocks.
Ouroboros of hounds, cartwheeling
down, becoming undone
like rags, nose and paw tumbling
into that green that is all in a rush,
becoming bells, turning
to flush—like barrels float the raft—
into the clearing.
Like a scene you might find on a vase
or a stele, in a tacuinum,
actually better described by
a tension, an absence of motion,
and a motion, a discharge of tension,
and a motion, and a motion
behind grasses in motion, and a stillness
and a motion, and a parting of grass.
But if you could see you could smell.
Feel the particulate, be inside
the bells of the dogs as opposed
to this apprehension
giving my day a rocky
sediment, under cold
water, restless in its own way
as the uneasy nights.
It does that, knowing things
are being lovingly
in the sun.
Establish a narrative arc:
On the first night.
On the second.
On the third.
Chawing tunnel of bark.
Boxed tocsin. Rubber corridor
with one squeal inside.
Or now that I think of it like saws
to saw the whole forest down.
Or not like, as you will.
Or you could say: Everything is crying
It doesn’t have to add up,
Tridentine corona caterwaul.
It doesn’t mean or does it that I’m on the wrong path
or the right or that I am or am not relevant,
insouciant, walking the hills puzzling
What is the geometric shape of howls?
Some questions have only one answer:
Plunge where? Down.
While I am free to climb, to mount the track,
grass bristling down its neck and back,
something to cling to as I move
between the gully and the toppling slope—
imagining what it’s like—
afraid of what might burst out
from the brush.
Black butterflies batter accidentally
across my path—embers of course,
and I ascend, balancing my coronet
of gnats, my pompadour of flies,
my arm a scimitar—
I am important to them.
But still I cut them down.
Hounds chase, tumbling in their parasail.
Boars die. Men wait, stock to cheek,
each with his portion of innocence—
how the hunter can come to believe
the hunted enjoys the sport—
replete with the satisfaction of hunting a thing
that just wants to run.
Tremors go on. The hunt goes on.
And I descend the mountain slung
beneath my captors, in a net.
They swing me homeward and I go,
half stumbling and half swung and half
in the way of things afloat—
to meet my boar or eat.
Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo,
Catullus, really? You jackknife into view.
To say your ave atque vale poem
gave me the wrong impression is just to say
I like saying ave atque vale as we do
like to try out languages,
except in Rome.
So I thought Lesbia died,
after her sparrow, and now I find that no,
turns out that she’s Clodia, who broke the groins
of her trecentos moechis, and that this passer
may have the pet name tender button,
and wear a hood,
like a much fiercer bird,
which makes you
a bird-lover, something of an ornithologist
of your time—I like you better
as a sister than a brother and so did
Lesbia, I’m sure, while she was your tutor,
and her sparrow, pushing its slick head
against your hand.
And the poem
a hall of mirrors, zig-zag box, or camera
across the mobile lens of which you steal
surefooted, in your soft tunic, on your toes,
one hundred thousand kisses swarming round you,
net-fighter, with your stones and trident snarling
Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo.
Into this empyrean thinned to the lightest blue
nicked here and there by orisons of jets
wiggling like silverfish to the molten other side or
showstopping stage right to left
like a veteran dressmaker who
locks your eyes while cutting, pins in mouth,
straight across the sky,
rolls the sun, secreted from
the jaded cleavage of the hills, loosed
like a yolk that breaks its borders on the pan—
a disappointing egg crack—struggling to detach,
climb, to become a real thing, intact,
which it can and does, in three difficult minutes
ungluing from the old dame’s clavicle,
glowering between the elegant umbrella pine-
shaped clouds and the adamant dark green
of the actual pines, rude with birds,
a real thing parachuted from a derived thing
like the birds, whether
ball of sparrow lobbing through the air,
gull static on the vane or arrogant
in its wingsweep below the beetling plane
or crow clad head to toe in vetoed black
or like the sun, cohered, snaps into its opposite,
leaning so hard against its own circumference it flames
but holds its outline, like a saint, withal,
its rise total, sphere distinct, its dominance
unmatchable (we know nothing
is like the sun), stacked though it is
within the banded spectacle, the jumbled hierarchies—
empyrean, the planes, the clouds, the trees
as aerial as rooted things can be,
the birds plaiting their waxen plainsong
like a lot of fingers slipping
on rubber a lot of times
like always or someone cranking
a huge handle, churning
music into cubes,
or dice, our solus dominus,
and the storied city like a braid across the horizon,
a start or finish line ignored, begins to break
like surf delivering its jetsam
ever larger, closer
to the gravel at our feet.
The night’s junk scattered on the terraces, nothing much
—a clutch of wineglasses, red metal chair askew,
mostly just a deal of emptiness people left,
along with some shade.
A face lifted for a splash of rosy sun.
The African brother on his hunkers heaving
over and over water from his guts
onto the bridge.
Americans making sure that they get theirs.
And I, in Monteverde, after five weeks
keeping the city at arm’s length like a woman
who can’t even satisfy herself
but still getting off on the aroma,
find my sprezzatura, topple
from the kerb and cross,
while the traffic’s still coming,
like a Roman.
I am looking at a horse
and going Awwww
when I begin to think
That horse is very big.
And lumpy. That horse
is a moose, two calves
in tow and she
is walking toward you.
I’m walking at a clip. The hill-crest
spills out SUVs and pick
an eagle hunts the Golden
Snitch. A stand of trees obscures
what happens. Next
thing: two raptors hover
flat-winged overhead. My heart in hiding
prays for planes.
I watch a float plane coming in
to land and landing
on Beluga Lake. It’s plain
where the ideas
come from though the names—
Goose Beaver Cessna Piper Super Cub
concede the mix
that makes cacophony an agonistic
synonym for these
big stiff birds.
A sandhill crane steps right around
the outside of the house.
It’s stop and start, the stops so still
are like still photographs—
my photos don’t disclose
the bird at all, folded between grass
and reeds. But still my eye—
and heart—can catch
the moment when
the fluent wings unfold and beat
the fewest times for lift
and she’s away,
across my cheek.
by AISLINN SHANAHAN DALY
a democracy of goods
a torn hole, in hanging skin a fishing
the postcard dream of anti-personnel
scabies and peeling skin over blonde
a green tarp wall to taste blood in and
outside to shower in
peeling extremities revealing impotence
mankind is surrounded by many useless people
no many crisp bodies how many exclamations
soothed with atomic emollient
He says the rock of personhood is perennial freedom of choice
tensile, peeling and marred groat
a bond for the autoimmune carapace
We’re in a boots advert and I spill my coffee into you no you bike into me and your like ahh
I’m so sorry and I’m like it’s ok
You are my friends fuck buddy and you annoyed me gradually more and more
His mouth annoys me but he seems like he has a Life Direction
I’m gonna fuck my friend’s crush but disappointingly so
It’s tracey emin’s tent so I left a space 4 u
I finally made a meal that didn’t taste mediocre is it because I love myself or I learned
something from being shit
I’ve travelled before and met a dog
Self picture with the dog
If you have cuffed trousers I can deal but don’t let me win arguments
Stop doing what I have done or want to do
You are a teacher
I’m bad at maths
A different man is always challenging and I paint myself ashamed
I can’t understand and that makes him sit on dirt piles proud
I saw her and I turned into the boy
At least it’s like a tumbling white sheet and the men leave searing wounds for years
And even if I don’t want to fuck you all you do it in your own way
And I fuck myself into mockery
A Trauerspiel-Performance Poem for (4) Voices
NARRATOR: Cast. Tedaldo/Ted, first gentleman. Aldobrandino/Dan,
second gentleman. Ermellina/Mella, a smart woman.
Stage. On right, a fireplace, an armchair, a rocking cradle, a front door. Left centre, a table and two chairs. Backstage centre, a bed.
Spotlight where scene is taking place. Rest in darkness.
Scene one. Ted and Dan stand at either side of table. Both wear suit and tie. They trade insults
NARRATOR: Enter Mella, wears skirt suit. Ted nods at her.
NARRATOR: Mella kicks Ted in shin.
NARRATOR: Exit Ted, clutching injured leg. Mella and Dan flirt,
moving toward bed.
NARRATOR: Mella eyes Dan up and down.
MELLA: Leadbeaters Cockatoo?
MELLA: Lion Cock.
NARRATOR: Mella pushes Dan onto bed.
NARRATOR: They hump energetically.
DAN: Cougar! Tigress! Wildcat!
MELLA: Stag! Stallion! Ram!
NARRATOR: Scene two. Ted at table, wears black polo neck,
drinks whiskey, writes morosely in a notebook.
TED: Swan. Salmon. Raven. Bull. Wren. Crane. Hound.
NARRATOR: Scene three. Dan in armchair, wears tweeds, reads a
thick letter of gargantuan proportions. Enter Mella,
pregnant, wears red dress and pearls.
NARRATOR: Dan peers over top of letter.
DAN: Ladybug Badger?
DAN: Elephant. Harpy Bat.
NARRATOR: Babydoll, a baby doll, drops from under Mella’s dress,
wears a nappy. Dan jumps up.
NARRATOR: Dan picks up Babydoll and hands it tenderly to Mella.
DAN: Minnow Kid.
NARRATOR: Mella baby-talks to Babydoll as she places it in cradle.
MELLA: Puddle-duck Parrot! Dinosaur! Unicorn!
NARRATOR: Mella sits in armchair, rocks cradle and sings lullaby to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.
MELLA: Harpy, Satyr, Minotaur, Ape Coyote, Roadrunner...
NARRATOR: Dan kneels before her, kisses her feet.
DAN: Mare! Fawn!
NARRATOR: Mella leans her face lovingly toward Dan. They rub noses.
NARRATOR: Scene four. Ted sits in lotus meditation posture, wears long black robe.
TED: Monkey. Dragon. Rooster. Crow. Wolf. Bear. Horse.
NARRATOR: Scene five. Dan and Mella in bed. They fight over duvet.
DAN: Ringneck Dove!
NARRATOR: Scene six. Ted leans over cradle, wears long black robe, punches Babydoll with each word.
TED: Louse. Maggot. Weasel. Worm. Mouse. Chicken. Slug.
NARRATOR: Scene seven. Dan stands at open front door, wears suit and tie, carries briefcase. Mella can be heard, but not seen.
NARRATOR: Dan sighs.
MELLA: Bee Beaver.
NARRATOR: Dan, angry, slams front door.
DAN: Toucan Bee Beaver, Duck!
NARRATOR: Dan passes Ted meditating at front of stage.
DAN: Praying Mantis! Marabout! Yellow-bellied Marmot!
TED: Ant! Sheep! Donkey! Lemming! Dik-dik!
NARRATOR: Exit Dan. Enter Mella. She kneels before Ted.
MELLA: Eagle. Owl. Lion!
NARRATOR: Ted embraces her.
TED: Lamb. Doe. Shag!
NARRATOR: Scene eight. Dan leans over cradle, wears military uniform, punches Babydoll with each word.
DAN: Raptor. Viper. Cobra. Falcon. Weevil. Jackal. Vermin.
NARRATOR: Scene nine. Mella lounges on bed, wears pink cocktail dress, flicks through fashion magazine.
MELLA: Leopard, Pony, Calf. Alligator, Crocodile, Ermine, Sable - Swan!
NARRATOR: Scene ten. Dan and Mella seated at table, he wears black tie, she wears pink cocktail dress. They toast champagne.
NARRATOR: Enter Ted, wears white medical coat. He carries bloodied
Babydoll in his arms.
NARRATOR: Ted slings bloodied Babydoll onto table.
NARRATOR: Mella, horrified, picks up Babydoll.
NARRATOR: Dan stands up, draws a gun and points it at Ted.
NARRATOR: Ted draws a gun and points it at Dan.
NARRATOR: Final scene. Mella sits in armchair, wears bloodied
pink cocktail dress, rocks empty cradle and sings lullaby to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.
MELLA: Harpy, Satyr, Minotaur, Ape Coyote, Roadrunner.
Tortoise Hare, Lion Mouse, Wolf Kid, Ant, Grasshopper...
NARRATOR: She pauses, unable to recall rest of verse. Quickly invents
MELLA: Firefly Squid.
Ah-shoot! Heroes/identity after one smoke of white widow.
Pondering the significance of the name of the drug. Le mot.
D’escalier: word on the stairs. Words arrive as you depart.
A conversation. Thinking of what you... Ah-shoot! Gesundheit.
Should have said. Should-cut-wood thinking is verboten. We’re all
Punsters and Zen phenomenologists now. In the charity bookshop.
Earlier. I left behind S. by Slavenka Draculic. I didn’t want details.
Of a woman in a rape camp in Bosnia. I remember Bosnia.
I didn’t get on a truck leaving London with supplies. Or.
Direct Godot in Sarajevo. Che said you wouldn’t act.
“Until the suffering of others makes you bleed.”
I picked up S. I flicked through it. I recall.
Muslim women tortured in Bosnian rape camps. I swore to stop.
Reading about ISIS. I went to bed with the flu and watched War.
And Peace. I read Marxism and Modernism: An Historical Study.
Of Lukács, Brecht, Benjamin and Adorno. I couldn’t afford a PhD thesis.
I wanted 10 years ago. The Exile of James Joyce bye Hellene-sick zoo.
Hélène Cixous invented écriture féminine: feminine writing. She applied it.
To writers like Joyce and Genet. Bowie sang All I have to offer.
You is my word on a wing. Rhizomes are also called rootstocks.
A rootstock sends out roots and shoots from its nodes.. Ah-shoot!
Gesundheit. David Bowie is dead and we are grieving.
There’s a track on YouTube that didn’t make Young Americans.
The track is called I Am Divine. Divine is a heroine in Genet’s book.
Our Lady of the Flowers. Divine starred in Waters’ Female Trouble.
Bowie didn’t want a funeral ergo he is divine. He is the king.
Who requested a paupers’ cremation. This is not a medieval fable.
David Bowie was real. “Shoot, coward.” Ah-shoot! Gesundheit.
at the dinner with a linguist
who/whom is not the relevant question to
the killed deer in the bush listening
listing into pure phenomena
be men now, hold your body
to the wind’s opened door
before birth she was a fish
she was a jpeg of a monk in milk
brazen on the monitor
pushing through her body
fact refracts in a fishbowl
as on the closed laptop lines
threnody becomes alligator alley
beach towels of blood was and will be
i was supposed to start my birth control today
instead i heard mortality as strength
the invertebrate aleph
a furnace where our parents met
precedes the motion in the mother
a bowl of dormant intersection
louis contends the ease of the lamb
behind an adjudicated window
I believe I too am alienated
in the year of the dog
eyelashes deadbeat presidents fentanyl
iguanas freeze and fall
there are consonants that are voiced
and those other ones
the limits of morning and evening to give
red emmer yet of the glorious
wedding a bath in the ritual milk
of the beautiful and good, you, playing with reeds
on the bed among fishes,
a black bull returned home:
the moving keel of pain.
a bowl of briars a place
to put the grief into
consider me a transfer of bird
everything coming by rhythmic weight
to rest in the earth
through circle and gyre
a bull bellows all day
I (you) express intent
make a swollen-bellied brine-child
of a soldier. you take your fill. For [my thinking
an interplay of doors not thus
turning fevered horses] this gentle coast
is arranged towards water
deathless return not the shame of swimmers
nor their dishonorable raiment
all night long I (you) am aware
of the blood-price of a body
of evildoing in the fish-filled waters
I (you) hold onus to the bridal bed
or other moons of lineage and legacy
our minds one urn
by nature of the red birth
blessed ones in the earth’s turned waves
i am now at a six wisdom tooth disadvantage
in writing my debut novel
though my mother told me when i was on the painkillers they gave me
the sixth doesn’t count
because it looks like a dog tooth
i thank the surgeon on the way out
for finally curing my bitch face
If you want to stop your child from becoming mean
and selfish then you ought to buy them an animal.
If you buy a child an animal, it will learn what it is
like to look after something that is not quite itself.
This information is taken from a manual on
Animals almost always feel themselves, however.
When I was younger I watched a documentary on
I got really scared that I might become a serial
killer and my father told me that even if I had killed
hundreds of people he would still love me and
would still come and visit me if I went to prison.
He also said that if someone else killed me he
would go and kill them because he loved me that
He does not understand the difference between
revenge and love even though these are two very
different things to do to someone.
Let’s talk about the naked mole-rat now.
The naked mole-rat has been voted one of the
ugliest creatures in the world.
It is nearly blind and has no hair and has really
frightening front teeth.
Its skin doesn’t feel any pain.
Naked mole-rats live in colonies under the ground.
They are very sophisticated socially.
They have a caste system, which is apparently a
sign of social sophistication.
I hate them.
They make me feel like I want to throw up.
It is difficult to tell how you ought to feel about
someone who gets killed by an animal.
It’s not exactly tragic because an animal won’t kill
a person in a vindictive way.
An animal will only kill a person if the person
really annoys it or if they need to eat the person for
Both these reasons are justifiable, in a way that
murdering someone rarely is.
Ironically, the people who are most likely to be
killed by animals are the people who love animals
Do you remember the film about the Grizzly Man,
who loved bears so much that he went to live
among them and then got eaten by one of them?
His disfigured head was found later.
Before he got his eyes scratched out he was
probably watching the bear open up his stomach
with its claws.
The bears were not fooled about the Grizzly Man.
The rangers found the bear that had eaten him later
and killed it.
Should he have lived he could’ve felt Sad about
this, because he really Loved that bear.
I wish that my parents had bought me a naked
mole-rat for Christmas so that I could look after it.
I swear I would feed it snacks straight from my
hand and wrap it up tight in hand-knitted blankets
and sing it lullabies and stroke its lack of fur.
It is not exactly that the Grizzly Man wanted to be
eaten by bears but that he didn’t really mind.
If you are going to die being eaten, isn’t it better to be
eaten by something you love?
This is why I would be a better person than the
Grizzly Man if I let a naked mole-rat eat me.
I don’t think that my father would come and visit
me in prison if I did murder hundreds of people.
It will not be very easy for him to love me when my
head is shaved and another hardened inmate has
knocked out all of my front teeth.
He will look at all the crimes on my record and
think ‘oh shit’ and go home and think about how if
he’d bought me an animal all those years ago I
would understand what it means to love things that
are not myself.
I would understand that this is very important.
I would not be mean and selfish.
Like a clothed mole rat.
The man of the house is the carver of the meat.
After we burned my grandfather my grandmother got on her knees
and handed the knife to the only surviving male heir.
He sticks it in the chicken carcass and slices.
Would that I had been born a boy
and might be carver of the chicken.
I used to hunt the animals for us to eat.
Now there more than five supermarkets in the town
so I don’t have to.
When I’m feeling spiteful
I still put mice corpses in the beds of my rivals.
There are lots of cars in the driveway.
None of the cars are for me.
The only heirlooms I have are skin rashes and a penicillin allergy.
It’s how I know I’m not illegitimate.
I started out so promising.
I used to fit into all the hand-me-down clothes.
Now all the skirts are too short and I can’t wear them
because I’m really insecure about the shape of my knees.
You spent four hours cooking me dinner and I ate it and spat it out
semi-chewed across the table as a statement.
You cried in the kitchen when you thought that I couldn’t see you
but I could because I was standing on the stairs.
Did you think that you had disappointed me?
Did you think that I’d make you fall on your very own carving knife?
My grandmother has a pond.
She bought a plastic heron to ward off the real herons
who want to eat the fish.
The fish are called koi.
They cost twenty pounds each in the pet shop.
I speared her koi with the carving knife and cooked them up in lemon and butter because that is the easiest way to cook a fish.
I told her they were trout from the fish-monger and then snickered so much
I had to throw up in the bathroom.
Crying is so girly.
Last night I thought that you stole into my room
picked me up carried me outside dropped me
in the koi pond.
I turned into a fish bigger than the pond.
The sides of the pond broke and the flood reached the kitchen.
At 6 I am at the river. Like little black cats
with opposable thumbs, they hide in shoots
at the river’s edge. October petrifies the best of us.
Everybody seems to want a pet disaster: memories
dried & refashioned into fur & flesh to nuzzle at night
while the stars all around hold a happy green tea
over respective revisionist histories of light
& of sound & of family & language, chronology
& texture, invasion, machinery, garbage,
kids & other things that float.
I am calling for the children of cats & stars
with outstretched hands: A total domination of the zodiac.
This, is in part, why I’ve never owned a cat: I do not know
if my mother ever truly was a child. I am told I am
my mother’s childhood critter reincarnated: Goodie.
I am told he was a good cat. I am told he’d disappear
but return, always, bearing gifts. The visible noise of time.
By the name of I-Am-that-I-Am:
if you were to steal this painting
you would be cast into a burning
portrait of a wet fox. Why would
a wet fox? A word is worth a thousand pictures
but nobody talks in this gallery. Like paint
the quiet makes for nausea, not conversation.
Nobody shivers like a wet fox would
at the sight of itself in paint. The piece on the wall
like the wall.
The artist would never have it any other way,
as the artist would never even have it at all.
Maybe that’s why the thing is here
in the first place.
Maybe it’s the namelessness of the thing
that gives the gallery
an air of security—insurance
that nobody actually wants to be the thief
who stole a nameless portrait
scrambling headfirst into the alarms
like a wet fox, grumbling: “I’m the one!
I’m the one
with the audacity to kidnap god!”
sing my ear off across the knife-
glint of the eyes on yr left boot
here southward sloping
stunned light faded it is
here there are only thrifty thieves and all
with a tooth of mine around their chicken-necks
on this battlefield at the dinner party
for my delicate father figure
sing in the form of blue
i’m sorry if i were blue-blooded
i wd make u cut every tree down
at the stump what of blue-ness
the metaphysics and what makes it in “the poems”
High powered high
I don’t know what any of this means,
I don’t think I have met any of these people.
Lots of enthusiasm,
Trappings of sophistry.
On rails suitors,
Power stance. Many Caesars:
But professional mumbling.
Maintain eye-contact, smile
Close the deal,
and then go home to your four walls.
At the end of it all
Do your stretches,
Walk the dog,
Talk to your wallet, and
Tend to your blender.
James Seaton said in 2004: penitent art is art that deliberately refuses to
make use of the full range of devices made available to and by earlier
literature, as it is not as confident or unapologetic about the enterprise of
representing reality as artists once were.
Between the length of the light and the depth of the ground, lies the quantum pit.
Please step into the full range of your devices and be mindful
of the precariousness of the refusal of your history.
Concentrate your efforts to giving an END TO PENITENT ART.
We have to dance for this.
Dance for me,
To all of me.
What are you doing?
I'm regarding you.
I am re-seeing you.
Becoming is the true apocalypse
Reality is re-empathising with itself,
Almost and Always.
Almost because this process must
go on and on and on and on
in order for love to be abundant.
Our eyes are freshly opened,
it may sting a little
but we will get used to it.
Trust this is real because we made it.
I’ve never done anything like that!
But all the more reason, to all the more sensibility.
We are emotional imprints
and if they were staring, it is because I am bodacious.
I am embodied as fully as yet.
i see the light through you
looking for exit points the lighter is better outside
cold night sky smoke me
your silence is floating down my skull down my back
let us sit here and speak words through each other
your thoughts comforted my tired eyes
with warm cups and purple clouds drown out the painful sighs
we can help each other with our love projects
nap time is always nice
you vacuumed and video gamed while i slept
sounds that soothed me to sleep
where is the vacuum option on my sleeping sounds app
i dreamt of words of writing me too
which methodology is going to help me
breathe comfort and grace
when you are sad and tired
does everything remind you of wombs
deteriorate into baby state
consciously whine and strew about
i look to you and nothing
here is my paper for you eat it and be grateful
i grew it myself
i did not your mother:
i wish i could give you more
reading my poem
you read me
i won’t open my eyes
you can read the words on my eyelids
if i ran out of lids
i would bring you my kitchen
buy herbs and make bread for your friends
break bread with friends
good for your heart good for your soul
well intentioned yeast growing
while we talk about hot water and bureaucracy
one is good for your metabolism the other
sells the kettles
you are a fragile boy
i believe you
stomping up so many stairs
stomp stomp stomp
this is how i express myself
i push you you hug me
will you still love me when i try push you
down the stairs
staring at you you smile at me
so sweet little hen boy
i can stare for so long at you
i know you love it because you stare back
you can’t wink at me anymore i didn’t
consent to this
why do i smile around you if i hate you
if i close my eyes then you can’t see me
your cold hands on the back of my neck in front of everyone
sending chills down my spine my cheeks were still warm and then burning
this public gesture exposes my shyness
as if everyone can see how worried i am
this intensifies the burning
look at me
i can’t be cool right now
why do i dance with you if i hate you
we share whispered confessions of what we missed
it feels easy and effortless
flutter in chest settle into my stomach and my lungs swell and heart sinks
fiction dance high
we’re bad for each other
we’re bad for each other
why won’t you listen to me
i can’t help but touch your face when i am with you
the silent exchange with this stranger is more energetic than my entire
we exchange our eyes for each other
transaction of eyes TRANSACT MY EYES
let me seduce you with my bargaining skills
sway my eyelashes on your nose
little wind sprites dance
to the pulse of my temple
i’m not your adopted mother
don’t flirt with that foetus
~i want you mom
need to stop carrying that book around
i’m feeding you the wrong idea
why do you think you can touch my hair
i don’t know you
tell me i am beautiful and insult me too
it is a bad taste in my mouth
you found cigarettes in the bathroom and they tasted better
you make me whatever you want me to be
take your pick i guess
which ethnic origin is my best me
no really it’s fine deny me
ambiguity suits me better too
i could be italian for you
i hope i offend you when i tell you my lover is the girl next to me i caress her she kisses my forehead
my gaze may be innocent but
do not be fooled
i am trying to burn a hole through your face with my wide eyed stare
big brown eyes of fury and disgrace
you smile disappointed and victory is mine
my eyes are closing i am so sleepy
you lead me through the 4am streets
we sleep for an eternity
you insist it should be top to toe
our sleepy treaty of faith
redeem me by me helping you
i caught you reading my words back to you
exposing you was painful for me too
you don’t want me to beat myself up over you
it is better that you know i will abandon you
i don’t want to
i will stay with you when you show me your scariest self
i don’t deserve the tenderness of you
you let me cry when i hurt you
holding up your bones
i wish i could give you more
The craftiest way
Imaan thinks you can refer to her previous bios to understand what’s what. She doesn’t have time for you right now. You can also read her poem.
Adam Boate is a final year PPES student. He has previously been published in the Spring 2016 issue of Icarus.
David likes all the colours to the left of red.
Maya is a Senior Fresh student of English Literature and History of Art and Architecture. She believes in bread and roses.
FEATURED: MAIRÉAD BYRNE
MAIRÉAD BYRNE emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1994, immediately upon completing a H.Dip.Ed. at Trinity. She earned a PhD in Theory & Cultural Studies at Purdue University and taught at the University of Mississippi before coming to Rhode Island School of Design, where is Professor of Poetry + Poetics, teaching courses in Sound Poetry, Visual Poetry, Digital Poetics, Material Poetics, and Contemporary Poetry. Her six poetry collections include Famosa na sua cabeça (Famous in Your Head), selected and translated by Dirceu Villa (Dobra Editorial 2015), You Have to Laugh: New and Selected Poems (Barrow Street 2013), and SOS Poetry (/ubu Editions 2007). Collaborations with visual artists include Jennifer’s Family (Schilt 2012), with photographer Louisa Marie Summer. She runs couscous, a once monthly now occasional performance series in Providence (and sometimes in Cork), which mixes up everything that can be mixed up in poetry.
On what it turns, these big seas, some bathos database. She says hello,
say hi from me. The space here — a field — has just been opened.
Gilad Jaffe is an undergraduate Written Arts student at Bard College in upstate New York. He has been both an Editorial Assistant at Conjunctions and the Manager of New York-based record label, 100% Electronica. His writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in Fugue, Post-Trash, Bard Papers, YST and others.
FEATURED: SHEILA MANNIX
Sheila Mannix lives in Cork and works part-time as a research administrator in the French department at UCC. She had two poetry chapbooks published in 2017 – female corpse (Smithereens Press) and Dual Poet Reader: One with Nathan Spoon (hardPressed poetry). Her second chapbook with Smithereens Press, Lashed across the Skies will be available free from March 27th at: www.smithereenspress.com Acknowledgement: Phoenix! Dodo! appeared in Tears in the Fence (UK) No. 61 Winter/Spring 2015.
Michelle Nicolaou is a Senior Freshman in English. She just wants everybody to sit with themselves sometimes.
EDITED BY ADMIN
AISLINN SHANAHAN DALY
Now is the time of monsters according to Ais.
FEATURED: AENGUS WOODS
Aengus Woods is the author of DIWIF: Demonic Interventions With IKEA Furniture (New York: Printed Matter Inc., 2014) and a co-editor of Other Edens: the life and work of Brian Coffey (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2010). His writings have appeared in About Trees by Katie Holten (Berlin: Broken Dimanche Press, 2015), Critical Insights: David Foster Wallace, edited by Philip Coleman (New York: Salem Press, 2015), Winter Pages, the Irish Times and the Dublin Review of Books.
Editor: SOPHIE FITZPATRICK
Sophie wants to sail several seas. She is saving up for a ship: HP ENVY. Throw a girl a bone!
Editor: SEAN PIERSON
Sean just wants a name to take. Take his time PLEASE for me. He thinks everyone is so nice.
Editorial Assistant: PHELIM Ó LAOGHAIRE
Phelim was looking to find time and will not get there yet. I will apologise for the delay and hope to have met you and be sooner or later. Where have you been and when you leaving?
Archivist: SORCHA NÍ CHEALLAIGH
Sorcha’s practices put forth a generosity of sound. She is personal assistant to Sophie Fitzpatrick.
Public Relations Officer: FLORENCE HEAP
really good at assisting and also studious
The Icarus staff acknowledges Trinity Publications and the School of English, as well as Digital Print Dynamics, for making this issue possible.
Icarus is a fully participating member of the Press Council of Ireland. Serious complaints should be made to: The Editors, Icarus, Trinity Publications, Mandela House, Dublin 2. Appeals may be directed to the Press Council of Ireland.
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