Featured Writer

Karl Parkinson

The medicine you gave me was a Mitsubishi driving on my
green pyramids in my palms, left stigmata stains,
but my feet were clean,
and the day was an enemy
that cut out our eyes and
rolled them like marbles down the drain.

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Featured Artist

Conor Walton

Irish Artist

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A Figure

in a vaulted cell
on a slab on the peel tower
hacked off
buried up to her neck under a yew tree
entirely obscured
sitting upright
bedded face downwards
flanked by two animals
covered with lichen
called Kathleen Owen
a series of punctures in the abdomen
now missing
now preserved
now mutilated
in the bed of River Cashen

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Penduline Irish Performance Poetry Showcase

A special audio broadcast showcasing some of the very best performance poets in Ireland today. Hosted and selected by Kalle Ryan, performance poet and curator of The Brownbread Mixtape variety show in Dublin, Ireland.

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Eyes in the Walls

God rest her soul.

Poor cratur was one of the ones left who hadn’t gotten a new house yet. Once the country went broke, the regeneration work slowed down. I heard they told her she could move to another council flat where she’d know no one and be miles away from her mother and sisters. People said they turned the heat off in the Tower to make her and the few others left move out. It’s hard to know what to believe.

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Rotting in a Horse-Box

I waded over to the back of the horse-box and let off the latches. I wasn’t prepared. The inside was full from floor to ceiling with rotten fruit and veg. It was fermenting. Flies piled off the surface and around me. I held my nose and went over to the driver’s window. The boss had the newspaper open on his lap but he wasn’t reading. I knocked. He looked and let the window down a scratch.
        ‘In the horse-box.’
        I shook my head.
        ‘The boot then.’
        The window closed and the boot popped. I went and had a look. There was an old edition of Horse and Hound, a pair of shoes and a riding crop. Not a single other thing. Fuck it. I went back over to the horse-box and looked in. Fuck it, fuck it, fuck it. A hundred times fuck it. No shovel.

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Fulminates / I Find

I’m on my way to you, tutelar
shabby and locked, if there’s single malt
in your nostrils you don’t need it
in your mouth
              last time I got laid
someone else’s bacon
was frying up the stair combined
with spermicide it smelled like olives
steeping in brine
              I would say Turkey
but others would say Greece
and be no less wrong. One day this whole
mentor/pupil thing will have to end
in the sack
              or throwing delft
but not yet, o my lord, not yet.

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        So, that was it, the finger went in. She stopped the blood by herself and bit down hard on her lip to keep herself in the room. She left the pot on for a good long while to soften it up, made sure the flesh fell from the bone and the nail had time to dissolve. Added some margarine to put a film on the top, so the bread would have something to stick to. Then she served up seven steaming bowls and waited. Nobody said anything, except for Nadger, who complimented her seasoning during an ad for Entemann’s cologne. “Stay classy, gents. Douse liberally and give the ladies something to smile about”. The lads loved that ad, three or four of them said it along with the announcer and high fived afterwards, laughing like hyenas.

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Public Announcement

there’s fiction in Braille
is a non-seen fact there only
if faced by staff within the confines
of our clock

information makes citizens join
crime promptly
staff with regard to policy
are served charged
with bulletin change three times
an hour

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Nothing Ventured, On Holes

Logic of the pronominal shifter
pyramids blood stains all the hes and shes
indecipherable collectives half moons
ashtrays promises punctum refugee
I said to her and she said back to me
enduring thought of a pair of ankles
what is remembered and what forgotten
life’s sad litany of objects accidents
bumps on the road events traffic lights
that word called love that word called hate
clichés comments caught like falling leaves
a woman I once saw on a tube train
spite so hot it dogs you to bed
like Nietzsche training himself to vomit
incommunicable diary of death

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Five Poems

Give love
an opening –

a piece of flesh
in full flush
for love to circle
and peck and devour;
love is hungry
to the bone.

To the bone,
love speaks words
to yield the marrow;
to the bone, it speaks
the language of vultures.

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This year’s seminar will open with a bang: the University Building (campus zone F) will be blown up. The seminar will take place in secret: it will be, so to speak, a secret seminar. Invitations, wrapped in red and gold ribbons, will be sent out at random during the summer (RSVP).
        Preceding the official opening, a preliminary session of the secret seminar will be held the previous Friday at Heathrow Airport, Terminal One. Upon arrival at Heathrow, the invitee, who will wait at the entrance to the Men’s toilets across from Departures at fourteen hundred hours, will receive instructions from the screaming child sat in the buggy nearby. By the screams of this hazel-haired boy, aged a year and a half, guttural continual screams, precise instructions will be conveyed regarding the University Building event. He who is party to these sweeping screams, reverberating in the Men’s toilets, dispersing in the Departures hall, will understand, by the boy’s cries’ contours, their changing timbre and intensity, how exactly the secret seminar is to be enacted. Thus will end the preliminary session.

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She appeared more relaxed and had an easy smile like a bird’s wing unfolding.
      ‘You’d better hurry if you want to see the exhibits,’ I said.
I watched Laura’s long slender back and the swing of her hips in that red summer dress as she walked around the museum. Before I locked up, she came back up to my desk and said:
         ‘You’re Dr James O’Flaherty aren’t you? I read your book, Pieces of Consciousness.’
      ‘Long out of print,’ I said.
After thirty years diagnosing sleep disorders and a commemorative gold pocket watch for Outstanding Work in Lucid Dreaming, I now spent my time pottering around as a part-time curator and amateur naturalist on the island.
       ‘What you said about the dreaming was really interesting,’ she said.
I’d speculated that some experiences were outside a scientific viewpoint.
     ‘I’m retired,’ I said.
     ‘I sleepwalk,’ she said, ‘all the time.’
As she had come so far, I wrote down my address on an old business card and handed it to her.

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Two Poems

Others call it wide-eyed, but who could not recall your colors?
You blend into the heather, bleed into the hawthorn.
Fluent as the night rain, lapping at my borders.

Composition: not a sail, but the wind. No guillemot,
but its wings. Years, you’ve been at my bed side,
yet I still can’t see where you end.

Nights, you ghost the Connacht coast, tending to what needs.
In a thicket of gorse, I find you, inhaling the sweetness
of earth. You look up to see your face walking towards you.

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Freedom Fighters / Tír na nÓg

Listen! The beat of this city is rattling;
Nerves and tablets, nerves and tablets, nerve tablets
And teeth gnashing.
Your old tome is beginning to crumble,
Your young army tumbles from the bridge into the river
Without ever thinking it suicide,
And how they cried when they woke up to find
Their lives were just bullet-proof vests for their idols
And no closer to the greater good.

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Found Poem II – Endangered Species / Rimbaud and Verlaine in Camden Town

that winter you found a wolf
hiding in the ladies
he spat blood
you gave him everything

he came prepared
to be your dream wolf
        he slept between us
like the future
smelling of wet dog
smelling of blood
and who knows what else
in the long nights he was love

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An Evening Prayer

Lolz for the impoverished of good fortune
young men drunk, passed out on carpets,
shirtless, penises, spliffs and slogans
mapped out across their torsos.

Lolz for the streams full of kittens
that meander, twist, and transmit invisible
through offices, streets, and sleepless nights
like threads loosed from a yarn of wool.

Lolz for the young women undressing
on our monitors, in our bedrooms:
their hearts are brittle like the ribcage
of a songbird, flattened by cinderblocks.

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Two Poems

Under another tree, later, by his College room
recollecting: ‘and I imagine it myself at this
time one of the finest places in the world….’
Optics and new theories of vision, ‘a man somewhere
near London was made to see’ having been

blind, from birth, for twenty years.
University matters,
Reason, fellowship, disputation, all
to zero tend in the clear sight of a child’s smile
on a broad May day near Churchtown.

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Hopperville / Poem In The Manner of The Late Kevin Higgins

I am not the walrus, but the sausage
you couldn’t be bothered to eat in St. Louis.
I’m the massage lounge at Cleveland Airport
you didn’t have the courage to visit.
If I was an article in the New Yorker
I’d mention Leon Trotsky at least
seventeen times and you’d read me
(but not to the end) at a motorway stopover
near Stevenage. I’m General Pinochet
with what appears to be a smiling face.
I’m the man who lives in a broom closet
with no doors and a broom only he can see.
I’m the ashtray it’s now illegal to use.
I’m the game-show host
with the terrible green sweater
who years from now will be bundled
into the back of a police car
with an Aldi bag over his whitened mullet.

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Everywhere I Turn / True Love / Kings

At the trial
the judge twirled his moustache thoughtfully,
but he fell off his chair when he heard her repeat the filth
she had said to me.
Where he lay, his black, pointy shoes pointed to heaven
and we had to douse him with water to revive him
before he passed his sentence on me.

When we sent her to the chair
she was given no last meal
and she smelt of petrol and feral blood.
Her prison clothes were sexy as hell
and she didn’t look a day over sixteen.

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Final Email from P Cranley

let me tell u i

i came here 2 san francisco i checked into v cheap & v grimy hotel on colombus street which is bad-energy area where u will find titty bars. d guide book say ‘this area is okay by day but can be dangerous at night when it is often d site of drug deals and also cannibal hordes roam freely feasting on christians and yes d policemen have red SATAN eyes and truncheons of fire. with d truncheons they impale u anally in their HQ which is d COCK FORTRESS.’ but i stay in at night i pray i write i have to meet the angel at 3am tomorrow thursday out at d panhandle. this is dark strip of grass and benches where homeless wander nocturnally with shopping trolleys stocked 4 d coming holocaust. i pray i write i reread d lives of saints. st theresa of avila her story is my own.

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A Few Frictions

Innocence got kidnapped on a camel but hear this, if I could spit green I would too. That’s my confessional and the Casbah in Agadir is half concrete half mirage. Away from the concrete black-sand seafront, things were different. It was raw meat hanging, sun induced squat architecture, white exteriors and indoor shadows, billboards decked with pictures of royalty and elaborate double doorways leading into courtyards. The house though, the women, the henna, the bus journey where we thought we were being kidnapped. Gillian tense, and me doing a half screaming idiot-woman bravado.

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From under the counter
little by little
five plain boxes
stacked and floating
flat on my upturned palms.
Our procession facing
the shuttered changing
room; my mother & Miss O’Reilly
hovering; the prickle of white
padded nylon, the deep pink rose
sewn on where the cleavage
should be. A pink fog
closing in, its crimson pall.

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from Terminal Wound Ballistics

One message a year is sent to an individual acting as a placeholder for an Other in the mind of the subject. Language thus gains the upper hand and maybe referred to in any or all encounters taking place at times other than those of the sending of the message. The Other is maintained; the placeholder is astonished. Yet in ethical terms the hypothesis is that if the language-use is entirely non-confrontational, the vulnerability of the subject in leaving defences down, initially incurring losses, will repay annual dividends. Words have no banisters. Come back in five years and we’ll let you know how it goes.

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all wrapped in pjs      we are as if strapped
to ourselves camouflaged not daring to breathe
among seventies fibres     carpet that looked
insensitive      felt like grass but was not
harbouring battles up up the steps to where
secretly the children -us- struggle for sound for a glimpse
through the banisters of adults perfumed
at the front door being led     following
bleating into the dining room

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Two Poems

Paper dreams within the cover of a book,
book binds itself with the glue of a spine,

spine weaves together — dovetailed
by the grace of words — words of passion,

words of grief; words of love, hate, wisdom.
Paper crafts its papyrus origins

journeying from tree to table
through clefts, wefts, contours, textures —

transforming from wood to sheet —
white sheets born of unbleached

natural shade — a tabula rasa waiting
for ink, graphite, or sable-hair touch.

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Between Plates

Morning unpacked itself so neatly. Everything in its place. The stifled napkins, the crystal water jug, a little dish for salt, a miniature brass mill for pepper – what civility!

And then breakfast began, in the old sequence – the rim of me was touched, moved even, and yet in some remote compartment an oppressive sensation was reinstalled – now and then, between plates, I watched my fingers move and thought about driving the fork between my knuckles. A traditional breakfast, with no variation or twist, each item served separately and no two dishes overlapping. The egg first, with its impeccable white surround. Then one sausage, horizontal, leering, leering a little I thought. A cluster of small splitting tomatoes followed. Bacon, then, two strips. Criss-crossed. Of course the final dish was the dish I like the most – black pudding.

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Anthony Wigglesworth

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Interview with Anthony Wigglesworth

I haven’t seen many people working with the medium in contemporary art but if you go back a bit into Irish history some of the most famous Irish artists worked with ink. One of my favorite Irish artists is Harry Clarke. He is well known for his stained glass pieces but I love his ink illustrations. They are gothic and magical and really quite dark. These illustrations can be considered the polar opposite of the work that I’m executing. Clarke’s ink works move from dark to light with predominantly black areas, whereas my works contains large areas of white with the black used to create the detail.

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Ireland Unread: Dave Lordan Interviews Seven Irish Authors

There is a widely held assumption that, beyond the holy trinity of Joyce, Beckett and Flann O’Brien, and the work of a few less celebrated writers such as Aidan Higgins and Desmond Hogan, twentieth-century Irish fiction is bereft of experimentalism, parochial, and ploddingly unadventurous. Certainly, none of the great European avant-garde conflagrations ever gusted onto our shores. Yet, Killian Turner, an oddly neglected Irish author, has always struck me as an avant-garde unto himself.

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Dave Lordan’s Interview with Karl Parkinson

Well, coming from an Inner-City Ghetto background, I had to look more to American and French writers to find what could be termed street or city writing. People like Henry Miller, Bukowski, Miguel Pinero, Gil Scot Heron,The Beats, Celine, Genet. These were writers who spoke about, drugs, sex, violence, drinking, poverty, crime. Then there was the other side, what I would call ‘Spiritual,’ ‘Visionary,’ ‘Prophetic,’ ’Revolutionary.’ The best example of this is William Blake. Others:  Whitman, Shelley, The Beats, Rimbaud, Renaldo Arenas. And of course hip-hop/rap, spoken word that came up from the city streets of the black/Hispanic slum culture of America and took over world culture.

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Interview with Conor Walton

Sometimes I’m asked why I have to ‘ruin’ a picture by sticking a monkey in it. If it were done as a joke they’d be right, but my intention is serious. The ‘surprise’ is intended to effect a shock of recognition: that the viewer is not looking at an ‘Old Master’, but a picture of our time, expressing living issues and concerns. If the viewer shares these concerns the relationship between viewer and painting is altered; each becomes implicated in the other’s world. You might look on my traditionalism as a form of camouflage, a ‘trojan horse’ tactic that relies on our complacent veneration of ‘classic’ art to get past the usual intellectual defences; to reach and grab and hold the viewer where they least expect it.

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Interview with Celeste Augé

Ghostgirl’ came out of the time when the Health Service Executive – who are responsible for children in state care in Ireland – had started to publish reports on the deaths of minors in their care. And what came out of that seemed to represent the voices and opinions of everyone involved except the children. Certainly, whenever the death of a minor was reported in the media, they were depicted either as tearaways or victims. I thought that the truth must be neither, that we all have hopes and dreams and possibility, even if we don’t get the opportunity to live them.

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Editorial Interview with Dave Lordan

I think that the interesting thing about spoken word in Ireland is the different combination of influences, local, national, global, biographical, folk, rock and roll, avant-garde, traditional, stand-up. shamanism etc., you find in each unique practitioner. Irish spoken word is far less slam-oriented than American spoken word seems to be and I think this allows diversity and individuality to be the ruling principle among us Irish.

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