Haiku by Aaron McCarthy...

To write a haiku, Is to damage your IQ, Don’t write a haiku.

The Tom Crean Diary of Polar Exploration Mar22

The Tom Crean Diary of Polar Exploration...

Dear Thelma On Monday, which we now call ‘1’, Tawny Owl suddenly stood, albeit crouching, and like an Indian chief crossed his forearms over his chest and made a face that only Scott could have matched and said, “I’m going out for a while; don’t eat all the figs.” “Where’s he going?” Browny asked everyone in turn, starting with Cooper. Cooper said he didn’t know; Scott said, “I can’t possibly imagine; no where good anyway,” while Palmer just shrugged, too busy with his hewing. Cooper’s aunt has developed a strange twitch in her eye and now none of us are sure if she’s winking at us, if it’s the twitch or if she’s winking at us at the same time as having the twitch in a kind of coincidence or something. We ate the last of Horace this morning, I mean the last, if you get my meaning. Poor old Horace. He was a faithful friend. How noble, how ardent in his endeavours. He pulled Scott’s sled for the first few weeks and never really complained or asked for anything in return except for a share of the scraps and a summer vacationing home in the Lake District after we got back. Fat chance now. “Damn fine fellow,’ Scott asserted, eating the last of Horace with his molars gnashing, “tender and yet very meaty, all at the same time.” Palmer wanted to know who’d have his beard. “It’s going on the dog,” said Cooper, “just the funniest thing, honestly. Go on, have a look.” It was funny. The dog – who we’ve named Scott’s Dog – looks like Theodore Herzl when he was watching the whole Dreyfus thing, kind of shocked and yet resolved too. The combination of the cold, blue eyes and the...

Sorry Sight for Sore Eyes by Peter Fagan Mar22

Sorry Sight for Sore Eyes by Peter Fagan...

“BILLY I BET YOU my bottom dollar you ain’t got the guts to nick that ole slingshot from Mr Nickleson’s store, ” exclaimed Otis. “I beg to differ. I could, just my pop’s got business with Mr Nickleson, he owe him 30 Benjamin Franklins so it just wouldn’t be right me stealin’ from Mr Nickleson,” I replied. “Jarvis was right about you Billy, you’re just a chicken…you’re…you’re like a bull in a china shop,” Otis said, as a grin crept across his face. “No I ain’t, I gonna show you I’ll be slicker than snot on a glass doorknob,” I barked. With that I marched up the dirt path towards Mr Nickleson’s store, the only one in our lone village besides the bar of course where my pops spent most of his days gettin’ as drunk as a monkey. My ma and I struggles read bad because pops can’t stay off the sauce, that’s why we owes Mr Nickleson so much money for rent of the land. Mr Nickleson basically owns all of Dayton, our village, located in the sweltering heat of the southern State of Alabama. As I crossed the desolate dirt track composed of signature Alabama red clay and dirt that gave it a dusty auburn look I spots the slingshot with my own two eyes. It was made out of the finest all-American pine wood and carved to perfection as if by a man I heards about called Michelangelo who’s supposed to be real good at carving. It had teh finest elastic string which chould fire stones right across the cotton fields. I stood there looking at it through the dusty window pane for quite some time. I glanced back at Otis who was grinnin’ like a opossum shitting peach seeds....

The Kook Mar22

The Kook

The phone call came at just after midnight. I answered it on the first ring, sitting in bed reading with the TV on. I heard Walter on the other end but we didn’t have a conversation, not as such. I listened in stunned silence while he berated me for the interview I’d given on Lenny Davis. “I’d just like to disabuse you of this notion you seem to have that I was a coward in the ring. You of all people should know why I lost that fight. You know what it was like for me. Why the hell are you going on TV, and on the Lenny Davis show? I mean of all the lame things you’ve done this one’s earned you first prize.” Walter was on a rant. I didn’t get an opportunity to respond he was talking so fast. Eventually, after what must have been a full five minutes he hung up. I lay there with my book in my lap and the TV on mute. I must have sat like that for the whole night. In the morning I rang Maria. “He said that?” she gasped. “That’s what I’m telling you. He was livid. He said my performance on the TV last night made him seem pusillanimous.” “Look, I didn’t see Davis last night. What exactly did you say? You didn’t mention the Kook did you?” “Of course I didn’t mention the Kook. Do you think I’m crazy?” “Then why is Walt so peeved? You must have said something.” “You know what he’s like, he’s so temperamental. All it takes is the suggestion of a smear. I just happened to say that the welterweight division is for a certain kind of fighter, Walter’s type.” “Well what does that mean, ‘Walter’s...

Jeezny Horrorshow Mar22

Jeezny Horrorshow

Lexicography Lexicography is all about words and their meanings but more importantly knowing how and when to use them. The best words are the insightfully chosen ones. Take this quote from William F. Buckley Jnr: “We face a concrete problem in Europe given the tergiversation of Helmut Kohl on the modernising of the remaining nuclear missiles in West Germany.” This demonstrates that the word “tergiversation” meaning “the reversal of one’s opinion; backsliding” is a real one first of all and can apply to real-life situations. When are you ever really going to need the word “arachibutyrophobia”? One I like, which was vaguely familiar to me, is “callow”, an adjective, defined as “Lacking in adult sophistication, experience, perception or judgment.”  Buckley Jnr., William F. The Lexicon: A cornucopia of wonderful words for the inquisitive word lover, Harcourt, 1996. Remembering stuff Remembering things like the order of the cards in a shuffled pack isn’t necessarily considered a required skill by most. But “mental athletes” compete to see who can retain the most information. Besides, remembering things is useful, very useful. For example, waiters and barmen need to remember long lists of orders; students may need to commit whole poems to memory; keeping friends can sometimes be a memory game, as anyone who’s ever forgotten their lover’s birthday will probably know. Skilled memory theory argues that continual, habitual practice can improve memory: K. Anders Ericsson argued that exceptionally talented “memorizers” are made, not born. Michel Siffre lived “beyond time” in a cave, without any of the usual items or routines were rely on and found his memory deteriorated. Eventually he couldn’t remember what happened the day before. Foer, Joshua, Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Penguin 2011 Primitive man was more talented was...

Caimiléiri san Coláiste by Cormac Larkin Mar22

Caimiléiri san Coláiste by Cormac Larkin...

It was a fine day in late October and in Coláiste Ghobnatan serious business was underway. A dare contest was unfolding between two very different lads. One, Liam “Booter” Lynch, so called because of his GAA exploits, was the cockiest fella this side of the Lee, but was probably the finest corner forward that Naomh Ábán had ever produced. He was playing Junior B at only 15 years of age! The other was a timid wee boyeen called Johnjoe Murphy. Booter, ever the gentleman, let Johnjoe go first. He dared Booter to yell “I’m stupid” at the top of his voice. As you may well imagine Johnjoe didn’t get out much. He was a bit of a nerd. In fact he owned the first ever computer in Ballyvourney. Anyways, after Booter unceremoniously complied with his demand, he laid down an equally idiotic dare. He dared Johnjoe to declare that technology was nothing but a load of bullshit, which Johnjoe didn’t particularly fancy for previously explained reasons, but to preserve his dignity he made the declaration. This type of headbanging was continued by this pair of dodgers, escalating until Booter made the ultimate dare (in Ballyvourney at least). This was to break into Coláiste Íosagáin on Halloween, and spend the night there. Coláiste Íosagáin was a derelict former boarding school that had been defunct for over twenty years and was now dilapidated. The source  its infamous reputation was a rumour that a pupil was beaten to death by one of the brothers in the fifties, and that the boy’s ghost haunted the school. Many others had attempted to spend Halloween night in there, but every time it ended the same way, with a group of terrified teens fleeing the building in the wee hours of...

James Vincent McMorrow’s “Early in the Morning” by SwagDaddy Mar22

James Vincent McMorrow’s “Early in the Morning” by SwagDaddy...

James Vincent McMorrow is an Irish folk singer, probably best known for his song Higher Love that featured on the LoveFilm advertisement in 2011. His debut album Early in the Morning was released in 2010 and reached 23 in the Irish charts. Early in the Morning is, to say the least, a fantastic album. It is deeply rooted in folk music with its use of loudly plucked acoustic guitars, banjos and a sprinkling of piano to round out the warm, rural album. It is immediately very easy to understand the comparisons to Bon Iver’s Bon Iver from 2011, in their sound and in both having recorded their albums themselves during voluntary seclusion. Regarding the lyrics, McMorrow is a natural storyteller although he dabbles in abstraction in several songs. His clear love of earth is comparable to that of Wordsworth; there’s a poetic quality to many songs on the album. On occasion, his songs slip in to the territory of ballads evoking epic, sweeping tales of nature and its beauty. McMorrow has a voice that is far removed from his aesthetics. The pock-marked bearded Irishman sounds like the love-child of Michael Kiwanuka and the aforementioned Bon Iver. His music has a quality that encourages listening without hearing the lyrics, despite their profundity. It has a raw, emotional tone to it that could bring a Gurkha to tears. The crooning singer wouldn’t be out of place in the American Midwest and his falsetto voice adds a magical feel to the album. For what it lacks in originality, Higher Love is one of the stand-out tracks on the album as it represents one of the more stirring performances as McMorrow wails through the track, bringing his own twist to Steve Winwood’s (1986) single. We Don’t Eat is...

Rear-view Mirror Love...

I have a rectangular world It hangs like a sleeping bird I live there, that moment Them girls on the sidewalk, Sachet, sachet. I see you in my mirror. Get in my life. R.H.

From Stephen King to Stephen King by Daniel Dilworth...

Stephen King is an American writer known primarily for his horror stories, which include The Shining. The Shining was made into a film, directed by Stanley Kubrick, and starred Jack Nicholson. Jack Nicholson also appeared in the 2006 film The Departed. Leonardo DiCaprio starred in The Departed as well. He also appeared in Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi hit Inception alongside an array of actors, including the young up-and-coming Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Gordon-Levitt appeared in The Dark Knight Rises as a young cop, who is revealed in the end to be Robin. This character appears previously in the Batman movies of the 1990s, such as Batman Forever. Batman Forever features Val Kilmer as the Caped Crusader himself but, in 1984, he featured in the 1984 film Top Secret. Top Secret was made by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker. Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker made the famously hilarious Airplane and The Naked Gun, which both featured the late, great Leslie Nielsen. Nielsen’s character in The Naked Gun, Frank Drebin, was parodied in the opening to an episode of Family Guy. Another episode of Family Guy features a spoof of The Shawshank Redemption, an adaptation of a novella called Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption which was written by Stephen...

Monologue: School Toilets A Crappy Experience by Michael Soderlund...

So, you’re bursting to go to the toilet. Personally, I never use the school toilets unless it’s an absolute emergency, as going there alone is enough to make you feel sick. But, I’ll make this short: School toilets make Mc Donalds’ ones look like luxury suites. We start by walking into the toilets. The smell hits you like a bullet train at full speed. You would think that with a large open door, the smell would escape, leaving it smell somewhat tolerable, but no. You literally have to hold your breath. You could breathe through your mouth but you fear that would be as healthy as eating sewage. Then it’s time for the most important decision, Which stall do I use? It’s usually a case of examining each and picking the lesser of the four evils. The obvious choice is the one with the least amount of excrement adhering to the rim; but see if there’s any humorous graffiti there too, as it might take your mind off the horrible smell. If you’re lucky you won’t have to deal with the misaiming of others, or their inability to press the flush lever, but unless you want to end up EVEN MORE unhealthy, you may have to wipe the seat, or hang above the porcelain bowl slightly, grabbing the walls (Just hope they’re not covered too). A good way to describe the stalls on a bad day is imagine going into one of the cells from the Dirty Protests. Maybe not THAT bad, but still disgusting. So now you’re done, and you’re ready to wash your hands. Again, let’s hope someone hasn’t put anything in the sink. Best case scenario is toilet paper. You can probably guess what I would imagine the worst case would...

Innocence and Guilt by Daniel Dilworth Mar22

Innocence and Guilt by Daniel Dilworth...

I stared at the cold grey floor. It was dull and made me feel depressed. I had been staring at it for the best part of an hour when I heard a key rattle in the lock of the cell door. It was the guard, with the chef, who put a plate on the table in the corner.     ‘Lunch time, you bloody asshole,’ the guard said, spitting at me. It landed on my hair. I ignored him.     The guard continued. ‘I said it was lunch time, you bloody, ignorant asshole,’ the guard shouted.     I looked up at him. ‘As if I give a shit.’     The guard took his baton and stuck it in my stomach, causing me to double over. Then he hit me a few times just below the back of my neck. I hollered.     The guard grunted. ‘Now you’ll eat your food,’ he said. ‘Come on Clifford.’ They left the cell. As he locked the door he looked at me. ‘I hope you burn in hell,’ he hissed.     The sound of their footsteps dimmed as they receded along the corridor. I stood up and ate the meal. My legs were aching so badly. What a bastard!     The food – dinner – consisted of the usual: cold, mashed potatoes with a mushy carrot and a miserable piece of boiled beef. If you behaved you would receive an extra helping of meat and possibly some mayonnaise.     The average day was boring. In fact, the most exciting part of my life in prison to date was when I was called to court to give evidence, or more recently to appeal the court’s decision.     My lawyer abandoned my case following one witness’ evidence. It all went downhill...