Frances Browner; Minefield in Korea 1953

Minefield in Korea, 1953

We came upon boots and bones

Heels and toes together

As if at attention.

As if this Unknown Soldier,

Grown jaded of War,

Had wanted to sleep it off.

 

While Sergeant went for help,

I lit a Pall Mall and reached

For a small bone, a finger

Perhaps that resisted.

Pried it from frozen ground,

Cleaned it with my bayonet.

 

As I cleared more mud away,

I discovered bits of rotting fabric

Rusted with blood,

An arm band, tattered and dirty

Bearing the Medic’s Red Cross

One of our own was he.

 

A second trove turned out to be

His wallet with Army ID,

A driver’s licence from Minnesota,

Pictures of people in front of a

Sturdy, red-bricked house

And a letter I did not read.

 

How long would it be before

They learnt that their son

Was no longer MIA, but KIA?

Their hope hopeless, prayers wasted?

I nodded at my skeleton

For, he was mine then.

 

Imagined him heeding screams for help

Stumbling and crashing down the hill

With no thought for mines.

Did he die instantly, or linger fatally

Wounded, calling Medic, Medic,

To himself?

 

I gazed over the valley

At the hills all covered

In an icy white-blue frost

Nothing stirring

A Christmas scene

In this killing field.

 

 

Why don’t we?

Wade across the valley to meet in the rising mist.

Share cigarettes, swap souvenirs, admire family

Photographs. Find a common language.

 

Why don’t we?

Walk away together, wherever our hearts take us

So that when the call to arms sounds on the battlefield,

There’s no one there to hear.

*

Biography

Frances Browner was born in Cork; grew up in Dublin; spent twenty years in America, and now resides in Wicklow. Her short fiction & memoir pieces have appeared in magazines and short story anthologies, been short-listed for competitions and broadcast on radio. Poems have been published in the Examiner, the Ogham Stone, Poems on the Edge, the Limerick Poetry Trail and Skylight 47.

Thos Maher; Winter Scene

Winter Scene

A fall of snow loves a winter night

and lovely is the night when snow intrudes,

capturing ground, casting all in white

and liking dawn to fit a winter scene for joy.

*

Biography

Thos Maher is Dublin-born and now resides just outside the city. He reads and occasionally writes poetry for his own pleasure.

Morphine Epiphany; Sonata without continuity

Sonata without continuity

In the middle of a score,

the resignation in your eyes stayed.

A pronunciation that silences, just blowing,

moment, your lips were twisted and dried trees

a music that dissipated by half, without flowing.

 

Half rain, it does not deafen me with lightning,

the accuracy disappears when drafts existing.

Half winter, does not scare me with glaciers,

the uncertainty kiss me when your half is the wind.

 

That sonata without continuity, writhes

no piano can transpose the pause in one almost

no vibration shakes me behind the static of a silence.

 

Hide me in the incomplete song, there are no steps

the stamps are extinguished

and they let me prey in a wave of statue.

*

Biography

Cristiane Vieira de Farias or Morphine Epiphany was born in 1987. Brazilian writer. Graduated in Production of Electronic Music. First place in a competition Japan Haicai. Participate in the following magazines: Avessa, Subversa, LiteraLivre, Criticartes, Horus Cultuliterarte, Bacanal, Diversifica, Mais de Um. Finalist in the competitions: I Concurso de micropoesía Palabra tras palabra, I concurso de poesía El color del invierno, I Concurso de micronarrativa Mirando hacia delante, I Concurso de micropoesía Mirando hacia delante, II Concurso de minipoemas Por una sonrisa un cielo”, II Concurso de micronarrativa Amando se entiende la gente”, II Concurso de micropoesía Amando se entiende la gente”. Her book of poetry ”Distorções” was launched in 2015.

Faye Boland; Gorseland, Mystery

Gorseland

(After Ann Tuohy)

 

Before fair day she’d

scrub his pants and geansaí

on the washboard

with carbolic soap

pray he’d get a good price

for the sheep, enough to buy shoes

to stop the children’s feet

blistering.

She loved the honey’d smell

of laundered sheets left

to sun-dry on tufts of furze

was grateful for her humble home

on mountainous land where only

sheep would grow.

 

Under her bed

she kept a tea-chest

a treasure trove of linen and lace

relics of her time in America

before she was matched

to her husband – high-necked blouses

swooshing skirts, dancing shoes,

dainty as a dolls.

Every now and then she’d

lay them out on the bed

revive each garment

then fold, tuck it back in place.

Perfume her tea-chest

with fresh mothballs.

*

Mystery

She’s a mystery to him

like the bermuda triangle,

the immaculate conception

aliens.

 

The time she fritters

on the phone, at the hairdressers

haemorrhaging money,

her monthly moods.

 

She’s the wrecking ball of

a man’s freedom, her duster, hoover

bulldozing the peaceful enjoyment

of his tv. An inferno

filling him with an insatiable thirst.

 

For the slightest transgession

he’ll pay. Freezing him with bitter

eyes, he’ll face her gargoyle grimace,

and in her voice,

that sounds like breaking glass,

he’ll hear his mother.

*

Biography

Faye Boland is winner of the Hanna Greally International Literary Award 2017 and was shortlisted in 2013 for the Poetry on the Lake XIII International Poetry Competition. Her poems have been published in Three Drops From a Cauldron, Skylight 47, The Yellow Nib, The California Quarterly, The Galway Review, Literature Today, The Shop, Revival, Crannóg, Orbis, Wordlegs, Ropes, Headstuff, Silver Apples, Creature Features, The Blue Max Review, Speaking for Sceine Chapbooks, Vols I and II and ‘Visions: An Anthology of Emerging Kerry Writers’

Aziz Dixon; Visitor

Visitor

You are

the serenade I was composing

when you woke me

 

the sunlight seen from below

in the trout stream, before the pike came

 

the ghost of a meteor, desert

dust-bowl a mile wide;

dust-tears trickle

from the rim.

 

You could be

a moon crater for all that I can

reach you now, but

one day

I will be with you again.

*

Biography

Aziz Dixon draws on local Pennine and Welsh landscapes and life experiences. He has been published in ‘Pennine Ink’ and online with Irwell Inkwell and Algebra of Owls. He launched his latest collection, Poet Emerging, with a reading at the Burnley Literary Festival 2016 and on Radio Lancashire, England.

He has recently published in Grapevine (Lampeter), Moon Magazine Panoply and Perspectives (Ontario), Strix The Fat Damsel and Light, no 4 (Departure: Fall 2017).

Poems forthcoming in Best of Bolton (November), The Curlew and again in Perspectives. Aziz recently read at the RS Thomas Festival, Eglwysfach in September, and at the Burnley Literary Festival in October.

Ann Egan; The Astoundment Of Fuamnach, Fuamnach And Midir’s Obsession

The Astoundment Of Fuamnach

The eyes of that moth,

damselfly, whatever it is,

truly astound me.

They’re as bright as gems

 

in the waters of the Barrow

when the sun is at its height and

salmon sleep beneath its bank

where no shadows fall.

 

They shine like amethyst

in the pitch of night when

hazel twigs burst into flames

and red and gold sparks

 

light silence in shadows.

Her wings beat, hum a song

more melancholy than lays of

the harpist at Samhain’s feast.

 

Her wings thrum as lightly

as the dance of an only child

tapping to meet another in

childhood’s lost gallery.

 

The fragrance of this fly

is like being in a garden of

wildflowers and elderberries,

perfume wafting sweetness

 

of a peaceful summer’s evening.

Around here they say she has

a cure for all ills and hardships,

and can create any world

 

the mind ever dreams about.

Look at my husband, Midir,

in search of no other, at home in

himself and a damselfly’s company.

 

*

Fuamnach And Midir’s Obsession 

Midir can’t be parted from her,

wherever he goes, she goes too.

She’s always hovering around him.

If he gallops across the moors

 

on his white horse, the damselfly,

Etain rests on his shouder,

purple of his clothes and her wings

make her appear a royal decoration,

 

the two look like they are one.

When he sleeps at night,

she watches over him from

the bough of the silver birch

 

he’s had replanted in his chamber.

He checks she has all her needs,

dew of the rising sun,

folding sigh of the night star,

 

flutter of the homing swallow,

sweetness of the rowan berry.

She is as well tended indeed as

the baby I dreamed of, never had.

 

Can you imagine a grown man,

one in his position, castles, servants,

fields, plates of gold, silver,

plains, forests and secret terrains,

 

and all he wants by night is

the hum of her wings as

she folds herself in slumber

on the silkened bough by his bed.

 

His eyes close, gently, peacefully

for she will awaken him at once

should the thoughts of an enemy travel

to disturb the sanctity of his sleep.

*

Biography

Ann Egan, a multi-award winning Irish poet, has held many residencies in counties, hospitals, schools, secure residencies and prisons. Her books are:  Landing the Sea (Bradshaw Books); The Wren Women (Black Mountain Press);  Brigit of Kildare (Kildare Library and Arts Services) and Telling Time (Bradshaw Books).  She has edited more than twenty books including, ‘The Midlands Arts and Culture Review,’ 2010. She lives in County Kildare, Ireland. 

Lucie McLaughlin; Palm

Palm 

There is a gap

opposite

it is where Orpheus

used to be.

Yellow diggers carve into

rubble pits

the long pendulum

of a crane sways

slightly from

side to side. 

 

I filmed a part of

Orpheus

before the final

destruction.

The legs of a beautiful

brass staircase 

open to the air

gulls let in to the 

inside of the

stained glass heights.

The lost affair; 

a hard drive broken, 

where once I placed 

the mutilated limbs. 

 

Other films remain 

the flashes weakly 

flickering 

writhing along 

white sides 

of buildings

the ends 

of trees. 

 

Vocalising across 

the forecourt 

and onto the grey storm 

of the Lough.

Smoothing over or 

pressing down

 like the palm of 

the wind does.

Indentations

depressions

caressing the 

surface, 

the flat grey.

 

I touch my lips 

with the tips 

of my fingers

not knowing where 

the texture of 

paper

will take me. 

 

Into the well of its 

disgrace I fell.

It sees good in the 

rain and the space 

of the writing, 

where a voice 

sounds a work

undoes these paths

branches

rivulets

at the lowest ebb.

  

And turning

the crest and swell 

of incalculable waves

there’s a seal’s head 

gawping at me.

When the seal slips, 

wordlessly, under the

robe of invulnerability 

the smooth 

wood of the desk, 

bone dry. 

Within a 

glass walled temptress

shuttering up the 

poured concrete

walls of late,

stairwells whistle 

and shake

*

Biography

Lucie McLaughlin speaks, performs, makes and writes with a fervent rhythm, symptomatic of a way (and multiple ways) of thinking through poetry. She has performed her poetry in London, Paris, Berlin and Belfast and her recently commissioned poem Slime was released by AQNB in 2017. 

Kevin Nolan; Rubious

Rubious   

I fantasize about you, sometimes, 

 fantasize that you are happy, 

realizing yourself 

in a way that was not possible back when  

each morning your eyes thrown from darkness opened to the sunlight  

and gazed, gazed, gazed into mine.    

 

I hope you are in love 

I hope it’s new and dramatic 

and I hope it makes you smile when you’re on you own,  

hanging out the clothes  

or broken down on the roadside, kicking tyres, your mind desperately holding on to  

itself for dear life, suddenly, effortlessly and like in some self affirming salacious  

dream, lets go.     

 

I fantasize the most perfect act of love I could commit  

was to set you free,  

let you grow natural, unbarred,  

let the sunshine warm your skin  

without thoughts of anything else but being you in the world.    

 

I also fantasize that someday we’ll meet haphazardly, we’ll have out-grown our  

difficulties and very, very, very slowly we’ll fall in love again.    

 

Forgive me, I know this last fantasy is just the little bit of you left in me,  

warming me, still believing in me, still wiping tears and whispering I love you into my mouth.  

*

Biography

Kevin Nolan, Dublin born, holds an honours degree in Pure Philosophy from The Milltown Institute, also received a Philosophy through literature diploma there all in all he spent six years studying Philosophy. He then Studied fine art in the National College of Art and Design in conceptual art and film.  His writing has appeared in, Colony, The Galway Review, Skylight 47, Bard, The Shine Newsletter, Studies,Decanto Magazine / Anthology (England), The Jack Kerouac Family Association Newsletter, Yareah Magazine (Italy), among other journals.  Nolan is also a singer/composer and has been played predominantly by John Kelly on The JK Ensemble. His debut album Fredrick & The Golden Dawn on which he deuts with choice award winning singer Julie Feeney received highly acclaimed reviews both in Ireland and abroad. www.kevinnolan.info

Owoh Ugonna Alexander; Our Journey to the City of Light

Our Journey to the City of Light

And the night was a saddened tree in the Amazon, where streets

sang to the rhythms of bullets and bombs.

On a vague street, came a tremendous flock of men, greeting

their bodies with violence.

Because the night was an enemy; mothers fought fears in

darkness; Father kissed their guns cheerio,

Babies filled their beds with tears.

Joan said; we shall set to a place where the gods doesn’t feel naked,

“Where water running over pebbles was the tears of wildness”.

Maybe it became a night when we threw our staffs into the Caribbean, like shepherds of the hilltop.

As daylight kissed the land, so laid a street of death,

As men became cockroaches whose bodies fell into rotten carcass,

And as the morning kissed our bliss, so laid the silent night as it went to bed with several corpses.

Maybe water is a way into love; where seas shall dance to our thirsty throats.

Three days, as we set our path for a virgin land, as nightfall had kissed our blossom, and as the eye of the gods brightened our morning, so shall we found our sweet manner.

And as we set to a land where shelter finds us, lay we crossing the tears of the Nile, as we filled our masque baskets with water.

The border cries for our departure, but we shall never lay in the blossom of perplexity.

Whereas, we shall consume the fires of the mountains, as they baked our bread.

Because we drew across the Kilimanjaro, came the short nightfall; a city of light, where our mysteries shall be found, where our stories be told.

And as daylight kissed our bliss, came “my dreams; A reality” as our feet consoled the lands.

Yes we did arrive to our fantasies, where breads were given to us by eagles, where water kissed our throats and light; our dreams.

And as we kissed the street, came a town of laughter, as men drank their ginger beers to the rhythm of music,

Where women were charitable sellers of gossips, as they gave signs to their lovers, where birds sang lullabies to babies.

Yes we did arrive to our dreams of laughter, our joy and consolations,

And as we sort a place to lay our heads, came I kissing the moonlight with a loving embrace, as I rose by hands to its coldness.

And so came sleep, kissing my eyes “nighty night”, as I laid in happiness to a city where my ears weren’t scared of bullets and bombs.

*

Biography

Owoh Ugonna Alexander is a prolific writer, poet and playwright. He has written many poems, stories, anthologies, articles, and essays. He is a romantic poet who believes in nature as a pious and tremendous creation of God. Born in south eastern Nigeria, he is the author of “ocean of love.”

Neil Slevin; Sewing the Sea, The Storm

Sewing the Sea

Fishing for water,

sewing the sea,

you sit at ease

on a swept, beaten quay,

passing no heed

to time, tide nor

in the distance, me.

 

Shimmering

is your joy,

the sun speckle

bobbing your face

and settling like stardust

in your golden hair embrace.

 

You are at labour, lost

in your working world,

another day’s laissez-faire,

your legs sway with the freedom

of the water’s flow; and where

splashes freckle day’s outlook,

 

life’s all moderate to fair

because you’re free

to stitch your ties,

ones that will exert

their own force,

not now, later,

in due course.

 

And so, unmoved

you return to your post,

fishing for water,

sewing the sea, almost.

*

The Storm

We sheltered from the rain

beneath the diving board

while teenagers watched us

become them, their smiles

knew before we did.

 

I stood between us

and the wind, moved you

from their stares, and saw

how you looked at me,

like you’d never look away.

 

We retreated, hid for hours

in a crowded room

and let our bodies say

what we couldn’t mean

with every breath and pulse.

 

My mind kissed every inch

of you; its fingers traced,

parted your lips, hands

lost themselves in your hair.

The storm raged, us its eye.

*

Biography

Neil Slevin MA, BSc is a writer from Co. Leitrim, based in Galway, Ireland, whose poetry has been published by various Irish publications and international journals, such as Scarlet Leaf Review and Artificium: The Journal. His flash fiction appeared in The Incubator. Neil co-edits Dodging The Rain.