The Non Herein- by Michael Mc Aloran

The Poet As Minotaur In His Post-Catastrophic Citadel, The Non Herein- by Michael Mc Aloran.

 Published Lapwing Publications, Belfast, 2012.  

Acrylic by Michael Mc Aloran

Michael Mc Aloran’s (third) collection of poems , The Non Herein-  is published by Lapwing Publications, Belfast. Lapwing Publications will be familiar to readers of contemporary Irish poets,  Helen Soraghan-Dwyer, Desmond O Grady and Eamon Lynskey. Michael Mc Aloran’s work has appeared in The Recusant, The Medulla Review, Heavy Bear, Ygdrasil, Muse, A New Ulster, and other literary Journals. Mc Aloran owns the Bone Orchard Poetry blogzine which hosts an eclectic list of contemporary poets whose works of poetry and flash-fiction are rolled out on a regular basis.

The Non Herein- is a complete book of some fifty nine stand alone poems which exhibit an inter-relatedness in theme, a poetry of the body. More distinctly a poetry of the skeletal system, of the architecture that maintains the body.

There is a body hidden beneath and within The Non Herein- . It is, or more properly, was, a huge biological colossus or entity, and it has been left out to the elements. Or part of it has been left out, vultured. Its revealed head, teeth, death-grin and spinal column hint at what the poet guards in his broken citadel. The reader is simultaneously invited to ponder the catastrophic events that underpin the book and told ‘this far and no further’ by Mc Aloran.

I sensed a vastness of hidden architecture below Mc Aloran’s tenacious use of colour, and in his use of symbol in the poem/s. Colours are identifiable as amber, molasses, tumour smoke, and black. The mythos of the once-living entity pervades the atmosphere of The Non Herein-. The pervasive symbols in this book are of the skull (decapitated and separated from the hidden body), the teeth, the eye and the spinal-column,


Of The Traces Of - (10)


‘Ashes ashen traceless

Of the locked till wind

Speech ever

Slivers of

Trace of the without

Knocking upon


(Never entering)


Ever the traces of it ‘


Whilst Mc Aloran consistently attempts to reduce the size of the colossus hidden beneath and uniting the poems of The Non Herein- , he never quite succeeds in his venture. The reader gets to wonder at the catastrophe that has led the poet to the speaking of it,


Till Headless Asking - (18)


‘The Shadow of

Ice of a pyre’s silence


Asked of

The meat of it ‘


What has been left out are parts of an organism that is bleaching in the sun, or had been stripped by hoar-frost. The stripped body left out is near the pyre. We are left in no doubt that the pyre isn’t sacred,


Doused - (15)



In a flame of naught


Hissing upwardly

vacancy of none


Embers embers

Doused by final piss ‘


Mc Aloran’s vigil is maintained in order to decipher the language which the necropolis offers him. This is evident in his absolute control of symbol throughout the book, mentioned already in his use of colour, image, and even weather, where rain is monsoon /deluge and where the elements are merely functional symbols without physical heat.


Silently (All The…) - (22)


‘ The bone ash of

Listless as the sky unlimbered


Lingering dice of loss

Breaking upon the shore’s



Silently all the bloody while of it ‘


In The Non Herein- Mc Aloran’s vistas are stripped-down to bare elements. They are concomitantly built up from the selfsame elements to suggest a limbo or no-place. Humour maybe subdued, ebbing-away, or indeed humble but it is always there. Here is a victory-song for life pushing up through human-remains, detrius, stink and bone.


The Night’s Claim- (41)

‘Smooth yes the stone of it


Gathering no moss

Yet ever

The shit

As the night’s claim exhales


Rats in a barrel

Blood-shot    silences ‘


The actual colossus appears in Circumference Of - (pp 54-55)


‘Until again


Carousel of shadow

Blind fingers


Dead searching of the course

Night and limb


Gathered to the pulse

Stricken of


Echoing out of one dead hand unto a vacant sky

Absence of the one


Dreaming all the while

Yet never of the sleep of it ‘


The skull, bone, the eye-socket, the open hand, and the spinal column form this book’s overt symbolism. Mc Aloran’s landscapes are sometimes Dali-esque backdrops for the outplay of the drama of loss, upon which straggled flowers appear then disappear as quickly as a candle-flame caught in a breeze. The machine in which the poet is caught is huge, a huge animalesque architecture, a tracery of deadened nerve-endings and frozen capilliaries. But it once lived.

Mc Aloran narrates this once-living necropolis with a curious tenderness that sometimes emerges momentarily but is often quelled and left unexplored. Whilst Mc Aloran has mastered the symbols which he uses so effectively to both camofluage and decipher the unnamed catastrophe which he has survived, he has created a prison of infinite proportion which has reduced things to symbols of. Hence he becomes the guardian of the images that he allows himself to reveal to the reader who must discern the map that s/he is offered in this book.

The geography of The Non Hereinis phosphorescent, over-exposed, a lansdcape of shapes, tongues, lungs, bleached wood, stone, and the knives of the butcher. Flowers are momentary and related to organs, organs are momentary and not related to human-life, but to human-function. This is not however a utilitarianism in his vision, but a sheer mastery of image which has a vertiginous effect on the reader.

Yet, within this post-apocalyptic Dreamtime there is a super-structure, a very definite exso-skeleton of mute and disbelieving support. The poems do not hang straggled and bone-whitened like rags in the bleaching sun. Mc Aloran’s use of words to define and subsequently defy the bleakness of his vision are assured, neat and despite possibly his best intention warming, warm.

Here may be unnameable catastrophes just happened, survived, but the poet will sift through it all and have his triumph. His engagement is with a burned and ruined corpse left out to dry and fossilize with its rag-remnant of torn flesh and chilled bone, an empty jaw-bone, a leaving from a physical life.

Creative Commons License
The Poet As Minotaur In His Post-Catastrophic Citadel by C. Murray is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

World Put to Rights, by Kelly Creighton

World Put to Rights

The dream that burst riverbanks
held you; blackstrap molasses,
antidote for your poison.

Your plummets spraying wetness
like a coin in a cascade
woke no-one, not even us.

The church spire grew legs, scaled bricks,
ran to your side, spotlighted.
I put glass over that glow.

Quiet-huff of your refuge,
flailing arms, spluttering snores.
Ungainly crooning tunes

to the realms of purity;
I found too sickly-sweet. You
fought the humdrum, from your seat.

You would sleep outside, would sing,
stand on ledges mollified.
I won’t sing, no matter what.

Float on, keep your whistles of
booze-hounds. When I awaken
I will join you, watch for me.

World Put to Rights is © Kelly Creighton , all rights reserved.

You can read more about Kelly at the following

Kelly Creighton/ Ceallach O Criochain is an Irish artist, writer of fiction and poetry; born in Belfast in 1979 she writes about contemporary relationships and local landscapes. Kelly has previously published poems and short stories in anthologies and magazines.Currently her poetry is in literary ezines including A New Ulster, Lapwing PublicationsRecently her work was feature of the week in Electric Windmill Press.Kelly is editing her novel Yielding Fruit, a historical fiction set in West Yorkshire, she is also compiling her first collection of poems.

‘We Protect the Weak’, Kimberly Campanello


We Protect the Weak

We protect the weak and call it love or ethics.
For the safety of our students this door
must remain closed at all times. Ani yalda tova. I am a good girl,
I tell the Israeli jeweler who is impressed with my Hebrew.
Someone nearby says, Fuck Israel. I offer, I am a bad girl. Ani yalda ra.

To dance is a kind of paralysis. Muscles contract
in a certain way and we call it beautiful.
The men on the beach made me think
they were dancing tango, but instead one
was helping the other will his feet to remember

walking. If I had withered hands and always gave you
your pen with my teeth would you think it beautiful?
For the continued safety of our money
these checkpoints must remain closed
at all times. For the quality of our progeny these legs

must remain closed at all times. These minds.
This mouth. This heart. Why don’t you substitute
your for these and this? See how it feels. Ani yalda ra.
Feel that. Feel me feel you. Tell me I’m good
and bad. Tova and Ra. Let us be both…

© Kimberly Campanello

Kimberly will be reading at the  National Concert Hall, on Thursday, December 6th 2012. Kimberly will be read her poems on the sheela-na-gigs in Strange Country, a new work by composer Benjamin Dwyer for uilleann pipes, tape, and poetry. More information and booking details can be found at

We Protect the Weak was previously published in the pamphlet, Spinning Cities (Wurm Press, 2011). Kimberly read this poem at Catechism, Readings for Pussy Riot, in Dublin.



Kimberly Campanello was born in Elkhart, Indiana. She now lives in Dublin and London. She was the featured poet in the Summer 2010 issue of The Stinging Fly, and her pamphlet Spinning Cities was published by Wurm Press in 2011 . Her poems have appeared in magazines in the US, UK, and Ireland, including  nthposition , Burning Bush II, Abridged , and The Irish Left Review .

Pic by Brian Kavanagh

‘Pussy-Riot Forever : The Body’, by Philo Ikonya and Helmuth A. Niederle

Pussy-Riot Forever : The Body 

 I riot, You riot, We riot.

The body riots.

Arterial riot
Breast riot
Cheek riot
Eye riot
Finger riot
Gall bladder riot
Intestine riot
Jaw riot
Knee riot
Liver riot
Mouth riot
Nose riot
Prick riot
Palate riot

Riot in Queues

Renal riot
Stomach riot
Testes riot
Thigh riot
Tongue riot
Umbilical riot
Vagina riot

Vocal cords riot
Waist riot
Wrist riot
X-ray riot
Yin Yang riot

Zeee riot 

Dictators Never : Roll-Call

Aferworki Isaias riot
Ben Ali riot
Bashar al Assad riot
Castro riot
Duvalier Jean-Claude (Baby Doc!) riot
Ershad Mohammed Hossain riot
Franciso franco riot
Ghadaffi Muamar riot
Ghasmi Ahmad riot
Hugo Chavez riot
Hitler Adolf riot
Hussein Saddam riot
Idid Amin riot
Jean Bidel Bohassa riot
Kim Jong II riot
Lukashenko Alexander riot
Mugabe Robert riot
Moi Daniel Torotich Arap riot
Noriega Manuel riot
Ortega Daniel riot
Pinochet riot
Pol Pot riot

Putin Putin Putin Putin Putin Pussy Riot !

© Philo Ikonya and Helmuth A. Niederle.

Thanks to Philo Ikonya and Helmuth A. Niederle for permission to reproduce their two poems from Catechism for Pussy Riot. The book is available for a small donation via the English PEN website, here.
I read it Wednesday 21/11/2012 at the Grand Social as part of this event, and which I have linked in this blog, here. I read a new poem of mine called, Precarious Migratory Spectacular.
Philo Ikonya is a writing colleague of mine from PEN International and the PEN International Women Writer’s Committee. I am linking here to her website and blog.

Catechism; a reading for Pussy Riot in Dublin

Poets across the UK and Ireland come together to mark the nine-month anniversary of Pussy Riot’s performance in a Moscow Cathedral by reading from Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot, English PEN’s anthology for the group.

This link gives the list of locations and readings in the U.K and Ireland. Ireland’s readings are organised by Christodoulos Makris & Barbara Smith.

Participating poets are: Kimberly Campanello, Sophie Collins, Sue Cosgrave, Anatoly Kudryavitsky, Christodoulos Makris, Máighréad Medbh, Paula Meehan, Alan Jude Moore, Christine Murray, The Poetry Divas, Sam Riviere.

DUBLIN 21/11/2012

6.30pm, Wednesday 21 November
The Grand Social
35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 

Admission free

Further Information at Irish PEN and at  English PEN