Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Submissions, please!

AvantAppal(achia), a new ezine for the avant garde, was founded by Sabne Raznik and Kodi Mullins. They are currently looking for experimental visual art, short stories and poetry from around the world. The deadline for the first issue is May 31, 2016.

Submission details can be found at  http://www.avantappalachia.com/submissions.html

With the wonderful objectives of bringing Appalachia to the world and the world to Appalachia, I wish them every success. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

In an old bar

All afternoon a fly dragged its buzz,
a clock its tick,
and the sun, dumped on the counter,
had the dust swimming silvery.

A white-shirted barman,
herring-boned temples,
glinting ginger down his arms,
was deep-buried in the Independent.
I sat behind my pint, followed
the fitful buzzing below the ceiling
while the city traffic guffawed
outside and beyond.

I, the centre of contentment,
seeing beauty in this cosmos of small things,
was God: all seeing, all knowing;
all that and more: nothing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Unwelcome Meeting

I wish I could remember who inspired this small poem. In fact, I've no recollection of writing it at all.
Many years ago, when I  first started writing and submitting poems for publication, I was told by a friend that I had a poem published in the magazine Cyphers. I  had no memory of submitting a poem, and did not believe the report. But after one or two other people mentioned it, I  went into a shop to check. I remember quite clearly reading it and concluding that it was far better than anything I could write and concluded that there was another Michael O'Dea writing poetry. In fact, I concluded that the gulf  in the standard of the writing was the reason that I would never be published. Later I realised that the subject matter was very familiar to me, and, that all things considered, it had to be mine.
A drink too many, I think, and so it seems nothing's changed; and I'm not sure that Cyphers would publish this.
Unwelcome Meeting.


my bracelet snaps.


chicken bones.

                             a dusty rug for shaking.

Saturday, March 19, 2016


At One End Of A Bench.


At one end of a bench

an old man wearing Winter clothes

regards the fountains and Summer

through melt-water irises.
He needs my ear to be a conch

so that he can call to the past
down these auditory canals.

And when he calls, his wife and son
will resurrect, return, reverse
like filings into a family.

It is mid-morning in Stephen's Green;

the usual sounds: clacking fowl
and fountain symphonies, and beyond

the thrash of traffic and voices. 

In that moment: two strangers on a bench
are travelling backwards to Mayo;

elsewhere a beggar has recreated himself
in a bank window and somewhere,  in a kitchen,
a woman is conversing though the voice
that answers has not been heard for years.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Surprising Image

A number of people have commented on how the chance arrangements of  magnetic words on a fridge door have prompted fresh ideas or modes of expression that they could use in their poetry. Indeed, maybe as good a way as any to come up with a new poem.
Images too can have unexpected origins. I was surprised when burnt larks arrived into the poem below. It came from an old cook-book, Mrs Beeton's; somehow it had stayed in my head  from childhood. (My mother had the book). I searched online, but couldn't find it: a roasting tin or dish with an array of roasted larks on it.
I found these instead,  there just might be a poem our two lurking somewhere in  these delectable-looking pies. If you find one please send it here for posting.


Mrs Marshall’s The Cookery Book (London: 1885)




tired words

burst like plastic footballs.


Waiting on this sand-paper plain,

I am no more than a skull

propped up.


With biro for harpoon,

I remain still

in the little pool of my shadow,


turning questions over

on the spit of my mind;

I have burnt larks on my plate.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Historic Walk around Rathmines and Cathal Brugha Barracks

If you’re at a loose end this coming Tuesday (March 15th) afternoon, you might really enjoy the free guided walk around Rathmines, including the historic Cathal Brugha Army Barracks, which is leaving Rathmines Town Hall at 2.15 pm. The event is sponsored by Rathm ines College as part of its Proclamation Day, (a special day in which colleges and colleges commemorate the 1916 Rising), programme of events.
It is particularly poignant to stand in the small exercise yard behind the barracks guardroom where Francis Sheehy Skeffington was murdered on April 26th 1916. The brick below, now part of the National Museum Collection, is embedded with one of the bullets fired by the firing squad on that day.
Today the guardroom is a small museum with some very interesting artefacts, particularly some memorabilia that belonged to Michael Collins.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Child with Gun

Footage of child soldiers is always frightening.  Such barbarity.  Do a search in Google images, ‘arabic child with  gun’ and be appalled.
Now search  images of ‘american child with gun’. Be appalled. ‘But they’re not killing people’, you might say. Of course not, the US is not in a war zone, which makes some of these pictures even scarier.
The Washington Post reported  in relation to the  U.S.: “ At least 265 children under the age of 18 picked up a firearm and accidentally shot themselves or someone else with it in 2015, according to numbers compiled by the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety……………………………That works out to about five accidental shootings by children each week this year. Of those, 83 ended in death…………..”

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Moment Certified by Lovers


It's a certifiable moment

a punch-drunk second

a pulse's high tide.


A dog eats grass

a water drop shivers

a barrel fills to its brim

an apple falls           

a body drifts 

a face buckles

a lover screams.


At the tip of an orgasm

passion powders;

the creek turns to dust.