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.

Natalia Godsmark; Da Capo

Da Capo

Sarah

I sit in the church hall, listening. The soloist is singing over the hum of chattering guests: “Ave Maria…gratia plena…”

My heart is racing like the staccato beat of a metronome. But it’s not from nerves; my day has finally arrived.

I close my eyes and take in a long, deep breath. The scent of wild flowers woven through my hair fills my nostrils.

A choir joins the soloist and I open my eyes, blinking back the brightness of the day.

Linda hands me my glass of champagne. “One more sip for luck!”

I take a gulp and the bubbles fizz on my tongue.

“Are you ready?” Dad asks. He holds out an arm and I take it, pulling myself up and giggling.

“As I’ll ever be,” I say with a wink. He guides me to the huge wooden doors and they open with a percussive bang. And as the Wedding March begins I see my Jonathon turn, and a warm, happy smile spreads across his face.

 

Jonathon

             Married… My goodness. Married! Well if that doesn’t draw a line under things, I don’t know what will. 

I had allowed myself one final glance at her before Sarah arrived. One peep. Imagined it was her walking up the aisle. That it would be her wrapped in my arms tonight. She was wearing scarlet lipstick – she knew I loved that. And a dress that fit her curves so snugly I had to avert my eyes, for fear I might give myself away.

            The choir was silenced and the organist began to play the Wedding March. Sarah looked beautiful, of course. But it was never her looks that I objected to.

She just…wasn’t Isobel.

I got through the vows, a Cheshire cat grin plastered across my face. You proposed, I remind myself. You set all this in motion.

I remember her face when I told her. Remember the blink of surprise and then the smile, all teeth and red, juicy lips.

“I hope you have a very happy life together,” she had said, without a hint of hurt, regret, or anything to suggest she didn’t mean exactly what she said.

So that is what I plan to do.

 

Sarah

            The crescendo of the babbling guests is broken when my husband stands to deliver the Groom’s speech and the best man tings on a glass with a teaspoon.

“Thank you all for coming today, to join my wife (ha ha!) and I on this very special day. Those of you who know us well know we met studying music at Nottingham Uni. Those of you who know me well know singing is my strength; speeches have never really been my forte (ha ha!) Probably because my jokes always fall flat (ha ha!)…”

            Jonathon’s face is the picture of happiness. I hope when we have children they favour him in looks; his smiling eyes, his square jawline and his wide, handsome grin.

            When the speeches and wedding breakfast is over, he pulls me from my chair to cut the cake with him. His eyes glisten as he places his hand over mine around the handle of the knife.

            And then it’s time for the first dance. My friend, Maya, sings ‘The way you look tonight’. Jonathon chose it. Said it would describe how he knew he was going to feel on the day; that I would be beautiful. Hand in hand, we glide towards the stage and begin our slow dance. The pools of his deep brown eyes lock on my own and I feel as though I am the only person in the world that matters to him.

            “I love you,” I say, and he kisses me softly and slowly on the lips. Our guests cheer wildly, dragging me back to the moment.

            In music, there is a term ‘da capo’ that means ‘from the beginning.’ It is written as a directive to return the musician to the start of the score and repeat what he has just played.

If this day was a piece of music, I would write da capo here.

*

Biography

Natalia Godsmark recently resigned from her day job as a Compliance Officer in an Asset Management organisation (but she’s a much more interesting person than that makes her sound). She has a one year old and is currently trying her hand at writing flash fiction and short stories. In April this year, she was longlisted for the OhZoe Rising Talent Award with two children’s story manuscripts.

Brian Dunster; The Tangram Enigma

The Tangram Enigma

It began with a retired astronomer discovering a comet on a direct course for Earth. He never really retired but officials really wish that he had after identifying the ball of fire and doom. Over the many days the world leaders were presented with very few options on dealing with the crisis at hand. Fearing they would make the wrong decision they decided to let the public choose. They swore to honour and uphold the people’s vote, no matter the outcome. But this was a world that thought “Boaty McBoat Face” and “Trainy McTrain Face” were great names for transportation vehicles. If the politicians had any mercy they would have just blown up the planet then and there. At least that way it’d save a major embarrassment.

Three options where put before the population of our once round planet.

Option One: Send a team of highly experienced, highly skilled, astronauts to the surface of the comet, plant an explosive device deep inside its belly, and detonate from a safe distance. This plan was given a sixty five to seventy percent chance of working. And was suggested by the Hollywood elite.

Option Two: Send several nuclear warheads into space and blast it to pieces. If it didn’t completely destroy the comet it would limit the damage to the planet. Some planet was better than no planet at all. This plan was given a meagre thirty three percent probability of success. But of the three options it was voted the second most favourite.

Option Three: Calculate the precise point of impact of the comet, dig a massive hole to the other side of the planet, then simply let the comet fly through. It was nicknamed “Holey McHole Face.” It had a minus infinity chance of effectively avoiding disaster but won by a staggering three quarters of the vote. The voting turn out was the highest in the world’s history and all the experts agreed that they wish it hadn’t been.

Before the hole had even reached the core of the planet (which they never fully figured how to bypass) the comet struck. Its destructive power was amplified by the giant crater we had provided it with. It caused the core to erupt and the Earth shattered into pieces. Billions died. It was absolute chaos. At least, that’s how the elders tell it. I wasn’t even born then. All I have ever known is this flat piece of rock we call Plana Petram. You can see the edge from every direction if you’re high enough. But I’ve never been that high. There’s only one building with that kind of view and if you’re smart you’d avoid it completely.

We were never told any other story other than the one the Governingmen taught. They tell us Plana Petram was formed by The Goods and gave Manly Men the power to rule. One Manly Man in particular, President Comfort. People forget what he looks like now. He’s not one for making appearances. But he has been in charge for as long as I’ve been alive. Before even. He resides in the tallest building at the centre of Plana Petram inside The Ministry of Stuff and Things.

It is here Governingmen deal with all the important issues that face our world. We’re not quite sure what they are but we’re told it’s extremely tedious and that there is seldom time to worry about the problems of the people, such as hunger and medicine.

But there has been a growing distaste towards our Governingmen as of late. People are sick and tired of the lack of attention they receive. But they better be careful for what they wish for. The Governingmen may not care about the everyday woes of us common folk, but they do have an interest in what we are up to. Those who were caught preaching tales of a round Earth were either mysteriously murdered or suspiciously killed. But those who managed to survive and are brave enough to tell their stories to whomever will listen, do so because they believe that we are only but one Plana Petram. In fact, they believe there are seven in total. They call this The Tangram Enigma.

I have been around for three hundred full moons. This world is the only one I have ever known. But the idea that there are other pieces of rocks like ours fills me with excitement. I can’t stop imagining them out there, floating about in space, perhaps thinking the same things we are. I wonder what their world looks like? Are the people a somewhat similar shape? Do they

tell the same stories of a round Earth? Do they worship the same Goods or different ones, or none at all? I have a dangerously curious need to find these answers. But I need to do it quietly, and away from the ever watchful eyes of the Governingmen. That is why, as of tomorrow, I start a new job inside the Ministry of Stuff and Things. There is no better place to find the truth and no better place to stay under the radar, right under their very own noses.

*

Biography

Brian has an itch… A mighty big itch. But it is no ordinary itch, oh no. It’s an itch for storytelling. Brian creates for a living. He can not see himself doing anything else. He has spent the last ten years building a portfolio of work, producing short films, music videos, and short stories. Brian studied film and television in IADT Dun Laoghaire and since graduating in 2011 has been evolving and honing his skills ever since.  He has won awards for his work, winning Best Student Film at the Kerry Film Festival ion 2011, and has showcased several other projects in numerous festivals across Ireland, including the Jameson International Film Festival and Cork Fastnet Film Festival, to name but a few. Keep up to date on his Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/dunsterpictures and check out some of his work on Vimeo – https://vimeo.com/briandunster

Marc Nash; Exege(ne)sis

Exege(ne)sis

In the beginning was the word and the word was God

In the beginning was the wor(l)d and the word/world was go(o)d

In the beginning was not the world, because God was supposed to have created it. Not in any procreative, progenerative way, since there was no conjoining of the sexes in reproduction, unless you buy into the male-female polarities of light/darkness, earth/sea, sky/ground.

The word or the world could not be good, since there was no other moral being yet extant to judge and pronounce upon it thus. If the Divinity is pronouncing his own work as good, it’s a little unbecomingly arrogant of such a numinous Being to do so. Blowing his own trumpet as it were and we all know where trumpets and the number seven can lead don’t we Jerichoans?

In similar vein there could not have been the word in the beginning, sine there was no one around to utter it (other than the Divinity uttering a ‘shezam’ or similar conjuration word). In certain Far Eastern theologies, there is a primordial sound, the moment of its first striking being the act of creation itself, from which all life and energies with their vibrations stem.

And God said, Let the earth bring the living soul after its kind; the beast and the thing moving itself and the wild animal of the earth after its kind; and it was so.

There is no capitalisation of ‘earth’ gainsaying the investing of gender in the manner of a Gaia and yet this is followed by an immediate polarity of the (higher) living soul and the (base) beast. ‘After its kind’ suggests the generations reproduced through sexual procreation and this is of course the (spare) bone of contention in The Garden Of Eden. 

The word ‘after’ has been interpreted as ‘according’, that is within its delineated phylum, genus and species type. Genetic groupings are demarcated, yet allowing for theological prohibitions on ‘pure’ and ‘unclean’ animals that seem to cross several classificatory elements and forms the basis of the Jews’ Kashrut dietary laws. They wouldn’t eat animals that seemed to diverge from recognised groups in no matter how superficial a manner.

‘The thing moving itself’ undermines its own theological dialectic. One interpretation has this being worms and other legless creatures crawling along the ground (the snake of course was not thus shaped until God ripped its legs away in Eden). Modern science also suggests the primary existence of single cell creatures, clustering together into slightly larger aggregates. So something that superficially resembled an eye, though of course lacked for a developed retina and cortical and synaptic brain to function as oracular, clumped together with some cells that provided a degree of locomotion across the ground. Incrementally in time, the aggregation grew in sophistication and the eye was able to link up to specialist cells to facilitate it to ‘see’, the brain and central nervous system wired up the muscles so that the animal could walk and the rest is Natural History.

But what of language? That first word? In the beginning was the word and the word was Gravity. G-Force.

Of course the first enunciated word was nothing as complex and intricate as ‘gravity’. Yet without gravity there would in all likelihood have been no first language, no opening gambit, no referential system at all. For as mankind evolved in among that confusing welter of sense experiences in his environment, there were a few things he noticed followed rigid patterns.

rain always fell down on their heads

mountains always pointed upwards

their spears and rocks would always eventually touch down on the ground

as would their urine (men only)

trees grew vertically

while their shed leaves tumbled back down to earth

birds flew higher than men’s heads

scorpions crawled at men’s feet

avalanches and waterfalls crashed deafeningly descendently

volcanoes belched their fire and smoke ascendantly

Ergo a brace of things man could stake his tongue with. Up was skywards and down was plunging towards their feet. From this they were able to extrapolate words such as here, there, right, left, near, far, under, over. Me and you as in a spatial configuration. Us and them. “My God good, your god no good”. Heaven and the abyss. They didn’t just admire mountains, now they scaled them through shared language enabling co-operation and teamwork and preparation of resources. Upwards ever upwards. Eventually they would tunnel and mine beneath the earth and quarry metals and powering fuels. And all thanks to gravity establishing a few regular ground rules.

In the beginning was the logos and the logos was G-d.

If the Greek word ‘logos’ means the unifying principle of the world, then it cannot truly be translated as ‘Word’. For words partition, categorise and define. Words undermine the monistic, the belief in the one, for they introduce and encourage relativism.

In the beginning was the end of the world. And the world was begun (conceived) and ended (divided and dissevered) by the word.

Sheelagh Russell-Brown; Time Was

Time Was

            A lilac bush still grows upon the spot, its roots dug deep into the rubble.  If you look closely, you’ll see some tiny cogs and wheels, some bits of gilt and glass.  Look closer still and fluttering in the breeze but pinned down by the stone are ivory pages, covered with words in crimson ink.  It seems this is not fertile soil, and yet the purple blossoms scent the air.     

            The purple blossoms scent the air where once the builders worked, placing stone on stone until a house grew from the ground, its roots deep in the soil.  They worked each day from rising sun until the sun had set, and yet they did not know for whom they worked.  Only that each Saturday there was their pay in envelopes of ivory with their names in crimson ink. 

            Stories grew up as well with each layer of stone that was laid.  Stories of its beginning and of its predicted end.  Of who had been the first to clear the spot, the first to build up a city round it.  Of why this little piece of barren land had since then stood empty all those years until the builders came there with their tools.  Of how a pile of stones had then appeared, a pile that seemed to grow no smaller till the last stone had been placed.

            But no one knew how long it had been there.  No one knew when it had begun.  They had no “once upon a time” with which to start their tales, nor any “happily ever after” for their endings.  The stories grew like the lilac bush whose first budding no one could recall.  As if the stones had waited in the earth for the first to fit their edges side by side, to fill the seams with caulking that would hold them all together, to make a tale that grew so seamlessly no one could see the builder in the end.  The stories piled upon each other as if digging down into the earth and reaching for the sky.  The days passed into nights and nights to days, but time stood still while the stories were being told.

            It grew tall as a tower.  A clock was placed upon its top. Then it was done.

            When it was done, they came.  The people who wished to live inside though no word had gone abroad outside the little corner of the town in which it had grown.  Grown like the lilac bush that suddenly appeared beside it in full spring bloom though it was almost winter.  Two people took the rooms that day, one to move in and one whose story awaited her leaving, and all the floors above stood empty.  Empty like hours waiting to be filled with inspiration. They were not to be let, it seemed, but just to stand as if in expectation.

            Two people came and took the rooms.  A woman with skin like ivory parchment, the veins beneath showing like crimson ink.  Her eyes, though wide and seeming open on the world seemed also not to see what was all about her, no flicker of awareness in them.  No sign of noticing until she was inside and sat herself at the desk that had suddenly appeared, growing from the floor as though rooted there.  There were some notebooks on the desk, a set of pens, a well of crimson ink.  No one knew just when they had appeared or who had put them there. She sat and then she wrote.  But the stories stayed inside the earth and floated in the sky that changed from day to night and then to day again.  They waited in the purple blossoms outside the glass.  The branches of the lilac bush tapped against the window above the desk as if asking for admission.  And still she wrote.  Her eyes were fixed upon the pages that filled the books, the books that then were set aside, another in their place, waiting for stories that would not come.  Only the names, the seeds of stories.

            She sat and wrote through all the seasons, the lilac tapping at the glass as blossoms and then leaves fell to the ground outside, as rain and sleet and snow traced paths upon the glass and winds rattled the panes within their frames.  And then the door stood open, and she was gone.  Some leaves of ivory rose upon the wind, with crimson tracings on them.

            A little man appeared a few days later, a little man round as an egg, whose spindly legs could hardly hold him as he toddled through the door.  He carried a clock in his chubby fingers, along with a bag of tiny tools for working with tiny gears and cogs.  Inside, some shelves were set, growing from the walls like lichen on a tree.  The windows had been shuttered, the only light from lamps set about and their reflection in the glass of all the clocks that were brought into the room and then were carried out again as men and women, and children too, would come and go and take their stories with them.  The lilac still tapped against the glass, asking for the shutters to be opened.  The shutters remained closed, the tapping competing with the sound of ticking and of chimes, of chains being pulled up, of wooden cuckoos calling to wooden mates.  Like the sound of a death watch beetle, it persisted in its pleading for admission.  Until the door stood open once again.  

            The birds made nests inside the branches, inside the cracks between the stones, above the clock set in the roof.  They lined the nests with bits of ivory paper, traces of crimson words upon the scraps.  They picked up tiny shining cogs and decorated the nests that sparkled in the sun with all their glitter.  And springs and summers, falls and winters passed, till loosened by the wind and rain, the stones that held the room within had fallen one by one.  The only sound the ticking of the death-watch, the scratching of the lilac branches against the glass.  The stories that rose upon the wind as it whispered among the stones.

*

Biography

After having taught at an international high school in the Czech Republic for seven years, Sheelagh Russell-Brown is now a lecturer in English literature and a writing tutor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  Her research interests are in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British and European literature, the portrayal of the Roma in art and literature, and the foregrounding of marginalized female roles in neo-Victorian literature.  She has been published in The Fem e-magazine, in Abridged poetry and art magazine, and in Tales from the Forest e-magazine, and will have a short story published by TSS in November of this year.  She has also won second prize in the first Irish Imbas Celtic Mythology Short Story Contest, and was shortlisted for the second Irish Imbas contest, as well as for the 2016 Fish Publishing Short Memoir Competition.  She is a contributor to Backstory e-magazine, to Understorey e-magazine, and to Historical Honey.

Mitchell King; The Fairy With The Turquoise Hair

The Fairy With The Turquoise Hair

Our father and I live in a house full of goggles. Goggles on the couch, the counter, the floor, the chair, goggles on the stairs. Our father purchases a new pair every week. Some are heat seeking. All are night vision. In his spare time he tinkers with magnets and forked willow branches. At night he takes these and walks along the cross-roads. He always finds water, he never finds the dead.

On the existence of Dreamed things after the Dreamer is deceased there is little scholastic work. There are reported cases of Dreamed jewelry lasting upwards to a hundred years after the Dreamer has passed, but that the thing has ceased to exist or that it has been lost to time is indeterminable. In Maine there is a woman with turquoise hair. The locals claim that she has lived in the same house for at least 60 years and has not aged a day over 35. She is a Living Dream.

“Do the hands look familiar to you?”

“It’s singular.”

“What?”

“It is the same hand every night. So it is the same hand just…repeated.”

“Do you recognize the hand?”

“No.”

“That’s strange.”

“Why?”

“Because I do.”

I left the table and looked out the window. It is spring and some of the hands are finally rotting. Butterflies are attracted by the smell.

*

Biography

Mitchell King is a runaway witch living in Kansas City. Someday he hopes to colonize the moon.

Fiona Perry; Circumnavigation

Circumnavigation

“How much longer will I be allowed to stay here?” I asked myself before shooing away the question in favour of surveying the scene before me, savouring it like satisfying sips of sweet, hot tea. It was the well-organised, tidy bedroom of a new mother. A fully stocked change station rested against a wall and the air was laced with the carnal scents of breast milk and waxy cradle cap.

I could see my daughter, bathed in the bluish light of early dawn, sprawled across the bed, all postpartum plumpness and flushed cheeks. More mature and rounded than I remember her, she looked like a big brazen, unfurled summer flower. Her baby daughter lay nestled in a standing Moses basket, arms beautifully outstretched and bent at the elbow, fully surrendered to sleep. She was fascinating; stark white skin, mini aquiline nose and hair as black as rook feather. Our family blood was coursing luxuriantly through her minute veins. I cast my eyes over her long fingernails and the small patches of dry skin on her hands. Overdue. Reluctant to leave the sanctuary of a warm womb.

I heard the click, clap and whoosh of a boiler flicking on. Water trickled into pipes and moaned its way into concertina radiators, filling the room with dusty heat. The child’s legs jolted for a second before she squirmed and settled, chewing toothlessly at her fist. 

*

The electric element hissed as the potatoes boiled over, spilling snowy froth onto the stove top. I sighed as I turned off the ring, grabbed a dish cloth and mopped up the mess. I am not fit for this today. As I squeezed the sponge free of starchy sludge under the running tap, I fixed my gaze on Geraldine. She was sitting, staring open-mouthed at the wall mounted TV, a newspaper open in front of her on the table. She had been extravagantly ignoring me for the last twenty minutes. I strode over and turned off the TV before returning to the kitchen area. She began reading.

            I banged the fry pan on to the stove, dropped in a slice of lard and watched it turn from white solid into colourless liquid before adding sliced onion.

            Our usual cosy kitchen ritual, which involves my hovering over Geraldine and giving her lots of detailed instructions, had been disrupted because she had walked off, unceremoniously, as I was asking her if she could slice the onions thinner and into crescents rather than circles.

            “The Church is in some trouble,” she piped up, tilting her head towards the TV, referring to the last news article.

            “It’ll take more than a few bad apples to harm the Church,” I said draining the potatoes over the sink, “it will weather the storm alright.”

            “But it’s more than that, isn’t it?” she said, rubbing the back of her head in a small circular motion with her middle finger as if massaging the words out, “terrible crimes were covered up. Even now, those poor people continue to be abused by the Church’s denials.” Observing her closely, I thought, that barnet could use a hairbrush, she looks like she’s been dragged through a hedge backwards.

            “It’s not in our gift to judge these things. We trust in the Holy Spirit at work in the Church. It’s the best we can do,” I said, vigorously mashing the potatoes. I bashed the masher on the side of the saucepan to release the remnants of potato clinging to it and replaced the lid on the pot. I was momentarily distracted by a small twitch that had appeared on my upper cheek.

            Geraldine opened her mouth trout-like to respond but then seemed to think better of it. She drew a long, loud breath instead and changed the subject, “What’s the step ladder doing in the hall?”

            “Your father is going to have a look in the roof space when he comes home. There is a dripping sound above the spare room, even on dry days.”

            “I’m surprised you can hear anything over the racquet of the knitting machine.”

            “I hear it when I’m seaming,” I said, in an unintentionally shrill voice. The sound had been a source of irritation for a whole week and Lorcan still hadn’t made time yet to look into it.

            She turned her attention to the paper again.

            I began to slice a cabbage on the bench which divided the kitchen and dining room so I could take surreptitious looks at her. She had lost weight. Her long face was pale and blank, it depressed me. She wasn’t the vivacious, robust girl that left here after Christmas to return to University. Her shoulders were slightly rounded. Had they always been like that?

            It dawned on me that tertiary education was transforming my daughter in peculiar ways. Merely thinking about this caused a hot throbbing pain behind my eyes. It didn’t help that her ludicrous words from last night were also churning over in my head; “Well, I have a bit of news. I would like to drop out of Medicine and read History instead.” Just like that.  She said it in the same tone of voice a normal person might say, “I think I’ll have the Battenberg instead of the iced finger.” I knew we should never have let her study in England.

            Now she was even questioning her faith. I wanted to scream at her that life is not supposed to be easy. Every temporal problem is not easily solved. It’s is not a perfect institution but the Church is our only chance of salvation.

             None of this was to be discussed- yet. I had been given my orders by Lorcan before he left for work, “Say nothing. We’ll talk about it when I get home. Leave that child be,” he instructed, followed by something about ‘too tight a leash’ and ‘live her own life’.

            I hadn’t fully grasped it all. I had switched off while he was still talking, as I do, when he gets all high and mighty. 

            I placed the cabbage in a colander and gave it a good wash.

            This is the fear and hurt you face when you have an only child. All of your eggs are in one basket.

*

Biography

Fiona’s short stories and poetry have been published in The Irish Literary Review, Spontaneity Magazine, Into The Void, Dodging The Rain and Skylight47 amongst others. She grew up in Ireland but has lived most of her life in England and Australia. She currently lives near a volcano in New Zealand. Follow her on Twitter @Fionaperry17.

Ann Egan; Fuamnach’s Pool

Etain Is Fuamnach’s Pool

Why do I feel around me

is turning into a lake

in this room of circles where

I, a guest am left all alone.

 

My eyes stay closed.

I barely breathe as shards

invisible as jealousy, crush me.

Light as butterfly’s wings,

 

powerful as silken bonds,

they bind me prisoner.

My heartbeat slows yet

I am flying moonwards.

 

All is spinning so fast,

I cannot look on its kind face,

nor delight in yellow folds

of smiles and welcomes.

 

Now I’m being flung about

like a hurt in the wind,

back to the clouds,

a dark one grasps me

 

in arms like tentacles

of disappearing threads.

They imprison me, then

throw me across the sky,

 

plunge me  to the shallows

of water I think is me –

my eyes, my heart, my head!

Earth, save me from me.

*

Fuamnach’s Pool

Logs burn so brightly,

hiss and spark their way.

Silver spruce are piled high,

flames fill their sorrow.

 

Footsteps, I see no being.

Some power clasps me.

I Etain, new wife of Midir,

I am water. Must I live so?

 

I pray I’ll float to a stream,

beg a wind to hurry me

to a good river’s heart, there

I’ll crave the gods within

 

to restore me to my form.

I hear the fall and sigh again,

timber is consumed by

red hungers of flame.

 

This room fills with heat,

water that is me, disappears,

I cannot grasp it to be still.

Changes from a silver self,

 

vanishes as warm dew

to the air, flees from me.

Flames crackle at me.

I bow to their words,

 

my head is water, barely.

Drop disappears by drop.

Soon silence of spent fire

will be my mind’s darkness.

 

I cannot find my way.

I must succumb for flames

drink water that I am.

*

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. 

Faye Boland; Home, Lost On The Kerry Way

Home

is a field, stretched over red sandstone

overgrown with ferns, prickled with gorse

where my father dreamed a bungalow would sit

on which stands a peak-white mansion.

I painted its fence tudor black,

varnished floorboards I mop and wax.

 

is doorstep where an aged dog dozes,

rising on stiff legs at the sound of my car,

A view of a clothes line where tiny trousers kick

and frilly dresses swing. Where trumpet-like flowers,

resplendent with colour, peer in from window ledges.

 

is the waltz of garlic and onions

a six seater table, scuffed, with white rings.

The wail of a violin not quite in tune

the hum of a fridge while everyone sleeps.

*

Lost On The Kerry Way

We start our walk at Rossacussane, join

a narrow lane where wren and finch chirp,

shaded from the sun’s rays by beech, birch.  

On exposed hills we follow signs through

struggling lowland grasses speckled with wildflowers:

cowslip, purple star-flowers like edelweiss.

Sheep and horses graze, ignore us as we

snake up and down hill after hill, over

and over again. We take in the azure bay below

cushioned by mountains till the piercing sun

cracks our lips.

 

Hours later, bellies roar with hunger.

Highland ghosts of bogcotton quiver, we stumble

past the charred remains of gorse as ancient rocks

watch us with a wary eye. We are haunted

by the leafless skeleton of a wind-burnt rhododendron,

crimson flower-clusters hanging from its limbs,

startled by a pheasant bouncing from the scrub. 

 

Hearts leap as we see the church spire, relieved

that town is within reach. We clamber across

the last rocky summits, begin the breathtaking

descent into the chocolate box town. At its fringes

foxglove dressed in purple stands dignified while

ragged robin flaps torn petals. With wiry hair, dirt-crusted

toes, we glow with sunburn, two tramps just in time

for a gourmet dinner, long-awaited chilled sauvignon blanc.

*

Biography

Faye Boland has had poems published in 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 and Speaking for Sceine Chapbooks, Vols I and II. In 2014 her poetry was included in ‘Visions: An Anthology of Emerging Kerry Writers’.
 
Her poem ‘Silver Bracelet’ was shortlisted in 2013 for the Poetry on the Lake XIII International Poetry Competition. 

Kevin Nolan; Flavescent,Flammeous

Flavescent

A colourable moon perspires down

on a foreign country.

 

A road surrounds an Anglican church –

the door swings open and a distant high pitched sound gets higher.

 

The air is wet with Ave Marias, a solitary singer searchingly fingers her

 soul and moans low while city foxes dash by dizzy and wild-eyed with

 questioning snouts.

 

Sitting near on footpath

are two people, in love, smiling at each other, knowing each other

emphatically.

 

In one beats a heart:

Its drawers swing open and shut in slow motion, catch imaginary

snowflakes, which melt and leak down to collect in the swells of her eyes

opening like butterflies.

 

The other’s heart

is wet with vitality, desperate in its countenance

opening and reaching out to her like a legousia flower to the heat

of flavescent moonlight.

*

Flammeous

tonight it became uncontrollably obvious,

so I accept it

like a vampire victim

giving in to the blissful pleasure of a death kiss

we’re fucked

 

its happened

 

we’ve fallen

 

so far down

into love

 

effortlessly it took control of you and me

 

no effort could have stopped it

no effort was made

to expose it as it hid

 

biding benign inside us

 

and by making no effort

to stop it

we became its accomplice

 

in the darkness and the heat,

in the trembling, and the suffocating

in that quenching intimacy

where

 

so far down

 I found you

 

in purest form,

uncontaminated state

 

buried

so deep

a part one can never find in isolation,

for each forever standing

in the way of ourselves

till

someone comes along

finds it in us and gifts it to us

*

Biography

Kevin Nolan, Dublin born, holds an honours degree in Pure Philosophy from The Milltown Institute, and 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 duets with choice award winning singer Julie Feeney received highly acclaimed reviews both in Ireland and abroad. www.kevinnolan.info