Listening to Howlin’ Wolf...

The 1970 Sessions featured the best That the British had; they threw it all at him. He was a big man, with shovel hands, Held the harmonica like it were a rare bird; They didn’t know quite how to play Little Red Rooster So he showed them with his acoustic. When he died they laid him out, His hands crossed on his breast. He looked like he’d pop out and scream: Even in death he was hollering – Howlin’ Wolf, from Chicago Illinois He’d so many friends there, Nothing could hurt him. R.H....

He Stands Alone with his Mask by Sean Keating...

He stands alone, with his mask adjusted tightly to his face; He wears it when he wakes up, takes it off for bed. He seems unbeatable, with his clean-cut look and nicely-placed Ace Up his sleeve, his care-free attitude of his own hands, blood red.   He stands alone with his mask, hiding his own worst fears He locks away the negative that rests in his heart. The only escape is a vigilante in a red hood: that is his art; No one sees the pain, the mask hides his tears.   He stands alone with his mask speaking for him; They say he is okay, they say he’s never been happier; That loneliness suits him fine – never been more sure; Yet it doesn’t hurt any less the tears down his chin.   Now all he does is stand alone Locked into his...

The Mind is a Castle by Sean Keating...

We are the Kings and Queens of our promised lands That we are born into; We build ’em up and we build ’em tall; All the work done by you, Your citizens are your memories, your kin, your feelings And your guards are your beliefs – All the while trying to guard your heart from thieves; But evil empires always arise In an attempt to break you down. You build up your walls, and ready for war. You say you’re ready to drive them through Hell’s door But the battles within the castle’s walls Are the worst of all; The destruction of the castle is Your greatest...

The Majesty of Clouds by Osama Shammary...

I In you I see the Earth. When others are cold and indifferent & I am bitten by their harshness & the repeated slips on the fragile ice that is friendship I turn to you, a solid foundation! You support me & give me a fresh start Giving me a place of solace where life is the point. II In you there is the Majesty of Clouds Large and uncontained, yet defined in shape; You part gracefully & the sun falls on my face & I am given wings to join you on your Heavenly Throne Where I feel like I belong & I cannot turn away, mesmerised. III In you there is the moon, always there Longed for yet out of reach; The beauty holding me spellbound Under your luminescent gaze. You are always there for us to turn to As we often do, to admire The serenity and beauty of this celestial body – That is the moon – You are the sun, Giving warmth & life to those who are lucky to be struck By the dazzling rays full of love and care Nurturing good in every son The centre of all that is fun, authentic and loving: That is what makes me fall in love with this world Which is lucky to have you in it Lucky to have your smile Lucky to have your laugh. With your gifts you replenish our stock Of brilliant...

An Angel in Pain by Osama Shammary...

I I feel numb, Walking on autopilot; Suddenly I hear a ring & answer hesitantly, & your angelic voice fills my head. My mind fumbles & trips over itself In an effort to be of interest, in hope of hearing your laugh: I succeed & am rewarded with a chuckle: If love had a voice this would be it. Not even the phone Can distort that melody. II You tell me about yourself & I am filled with wonder, Brimming with excitement Curious & expecting to hear more. You describe your pains to me & my chest constricts At the thought of an Angel in Pain I feel a pain in my heart: Sharp, yet dull & malevolent. I say something To make you laugh & ease the pain You apologise & I laugh to forget the...

The Girl at the Car Wash...

One morning, early and cold I sat waiting for the place to open; There was a blue hue to the day dawning And the attendant smoked For something to do. She was there again, that girl More a woman, with the demeanour of a teen – And I wondered about her father And if she’d been a daddy’s girl. Now she seemed nobody’s – Always solitary Her leather jacket Like protection from her own Head wind....

“This Sideways Creature” by Hassan Baker...

Constricted and stabbed to life With poison this Sideways Creature Was born to suffer And love it; He sung like a crow that became a raven. With his singing he conceived a painting The currents in his brain, alternate And go from “sane” to “extremely sane” To “I just don’t care.”   A cigarette instead of air And feathers for hair.   For a flightless man he soars too high, Hoping to burn and crash, he can never die distorted; In this closed circuit of life Seeing a reflection with closed...

The Darkness Left Behind by Anon...

He held the flame An inch from his face Watched it dance And lick the match With its destructive kiss He inhaled Exhaled Then closed his eyes And wallowed In the fleeting warmth And the darkness Left behind

Monologue: A Postcard from beyond by Conor MacCarthy...

Been in college for a couple of weeks now. Been a lot of fun, to be honest. With a lot more free time and an inability to save money to do anything worthwhile, there have been some boring bits. There’s been a lot of good bits as well. I’ve joined several societies since starting college. My favourite is the Japanese Society, where we get to celebrate elements of Japanese culture. Obviously, I love Japanese culture (especially anime and origami) so it’s great to meet like-minded people. They’ll be having an EGM next week and hopefully I’ll be elected as the first year rep for that society. Wahey! What else have I done? Well, I’ve dyed my hair. Finally! Everyone seems really friendly and I’ve made a lot of new friends here. Of course, when you’ve got substances down your throat it’s always a lot easier to be out-going. And the studies themselves have been unreal. We got to see a live-screening of Othello for Drama class. It was my first time at a live-screening and my first time seeing Shakespeare performed. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried at the end of it. Living in the moment. Italian’s the easiest of languages to learn and English is, well, English. We’re studying Beowulf at the moment which is fascinating. So what’s next on the plate? Well, as I said, next week JapSoc will be having its elections. And there’ll be auditions for the play I’m directing. And who knows what the later weeks will have waiting for me. I really do think that college is my...

Life on a Platter by Len Ahern...

A mess Is made only by the best, For those of us who Detest The jest of the clean and tidy room. The clean And its unfathomable sheen, For those of us who are Keen To be on top by far. The average And its unnoticed heritage – For those of us who Abridge Every task set as an...

Cheap Tricks: Marsh Alley...

Clapboard denizens of Marsh alley clatter together where they overlap and bang in the wind. A fouled sheet of newspaper (tabloid) splats flat and adheres. One end to the other is no more than fifty metres but there’s no metric system chic here; we’re a long way from France or anywhere else worth being. A boxy space inveigles itself into the consciousness and there are soiled pallets and plastic, amorphous wrappings from long-gone industrial times, the era of Stealth Steel and hope in man and future. Now, there’s just threadbare, ashen expectation of more-of-the-same; hump away, you fallen chirpers…hump away....

Wedding Ring

And there, amidst the houseplants, The clipped and neatened leaves, Variegated velvet: The lifebuoy soap and rubber gloves, Shirts hanging off chairs, Half-ready, humble: There, beside the cutting board, A squared-away, box-shaped tower Of wayward, wayfaring CDs: The tell-tale glitter of a smartened sink And an airiness that heralds A refreshed (for now) and brightened kitchen; There, among the items of measure The wedding ring sits patiently, Awaiting rescue. R.H....

The Path by Osama Shammary...

The old man was always there upon the path The people stood bewildered guessing at his thoughts It seemed that there he always remained Staring silently at the Almanac His demeanour never changed except at the sight of young whose brimming energy left marks on the stones.   Years passed and people went away, he always remained – The young grew old, the old died but he kept counting the stones Still there at the crossroads on his moss-covered path Where he was reflecting on his thoughts Or so it seemed to the young Where he sat ans stuck to a tree was his Almanac   So the stories passed about the man on the path Staring at the now almost grass-covered stones And there trying to get his attention were the young Passing by every so often to compare their jokes from the Almanac And as he on the path remained Only God himself knew his thoughts.   Nobody knew if he always stayed on the path Or for how long will he count the stones From child to child varied the thoughts About how such a man could have an Almanac? Little things pleased the minds of the young And this was how it always remained   And so the situation stayed on the path For ever subtly counting stones. Endlessly reading the Almanac – He was ignored by the young, So he will always remain: Or so everyone thought   Until that one day on the path When his tear clattered on the Almanac And his body fell on the stones; There gawped the surprised young Looking where the vault of memories and thoughts Rested on the stones and forever remained....

Barcelona #1

The Gaudi monuments of Barcelona Slipped under my radar; I flew down Sardenya on a rented bike instead. The beach is straight ahead, I think. The city map makes the west seem north with the sea at the bottom instead of at the side. No matter. I like getting lost. and finding little cafes where I can practice my Spanish. R.H....

Monologue: Imagine you meet a guy…...

Imagine you meet a guy and he introduces to you his wife. She stands beside him and she looks directly at you and she smiles and you know instantly that she is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in all your time on earth and that, regardless of what ensues, whether you’ll make love to her over and over or have her just once, or never lay your eyes on her again, seeing her has changed you and now you will forever feel a gnawing ache because she exists, because she came out of the world and will go back into it and you’ll know that it happened and rue the day it did. The mythologising will come: every desultory gesture, every object she touches, her name, her smell, the way she phrases a feeling or recounts an event, shares a memory, the way she looks at you and the peculiar timbre of her voice and how she says your name- all of it makes you feel so agonisingly alive and conscious of her that you want to cry heavily just to be able to go another round. Is this love? You develop murderous thoughts about her lover. You’d prefer it were otherwise; you don’t really want to harm anyone, not that it would ever happen; it’s just a silly fantasy that he could be removed somehow. Your mind splits in two: the real and the imaginary – the latter begins to feel more real....

Monologue: Rossmore Drama...

Two picturesque girls are standing three feet apart with their backs to the red-curtained stage: the first with a thick mane of blonde hair and full lips; the second very different but no less intriguing, more like a greengrocer’s daughter. We’re on the hill at the back and people are filing in and going up and down the aisle trying to find a coveted perch from where they’ll get an advantageous perspective on proceedings. My father and our guest are looking through the €3 programme, wondering where Moyne is. There is a troupe from there performing tonight. A man in the row in front turns through 30 degrees stiffly to tell us it’s near Thurles, Tipperary. There are a lot of bespectacled drama fans and bald- headed men. A girl walks along with a clear Tupperware box selling raffle tickets. The two girls at the door are offering the programmes; the prettier one has a badge saying “Usher”. I was disappointed that it didn’t reveal her name. On the way here the conversation began with warfarin, a heart disease drug discovered in Wisconsin when farmers found their cattle were bleeding from the stomach. They managed to extract the vital ingredient from the cattle feed and test it on rats and make rat poison. Our guest takes it for his arrhythmia. It thins the blood and in the right concentration will kill rats or treat your heart disease. He remembers the dying mice in the floor when he lived in Tomes, a small village near Macroom. Whatever it was they were using to kill them made them writhe in agony, shriek and cry. Then the car stops and my father points to a farmhouse about two hundred yards away in the middle of a green...

“The Clouds Arrive to Weep” by Hassan Baker: Aftab Poetry Winner...

Between being half dressed and dressed, the clouds arrived to weep, A lost head, and the other is running, Quickly brushed with the olive comb, Fully packed before the hail could strike; A family of birds awake, A last feel of the old brass handle And a leathered figure steps out. Between home and the car The rain drums on his coat, and the thunder claps his...

“I Sit Here, Watching” by Aaron McCarthy: Aftab Poetry Runner-up...

I Sit Here, Watching I sit here, Watching, Watching. Chrysali open, Open, Victims of their own emergence. The waves whip against the rocks, Biting, Biting, But the rocks do not move. The fernery is grazed, Abolished by its master. I sit here, Watching, Watching, And then I...