Mike Begnal’s review of ‘Three red things’

Three red things

Three red things

With thanks to Michael Begnal for his astute reading of my 2013 chapbook, Three red things (Smithereens Press, 2013)

The chapbook is readable here, Three red things

From, Murray & McCardle, Smithereens chapbooks

One section I particularly like is “reed songs I-IV,” set at Trá an Dóilín in the Connemara town of An Cheathrú Rua. Trá an Dóilín is a coral beach that is often also covered in maerl (reddish seaweed/algae). A beautiful spot. Here, the colors of the beach in one section merge into the colors of a horse in another:
She had tumbled down the stone walls in flight
in frenzy
the men caught her
amongst the strife the orange flame
the yellow strife
the white
white grey and cream : her
mane and tail is against the wall
There are so many ways to read this; it suggests something about oppression, specifically in the gendering of those involved. Also running through it are themes relating to the muse in poetry, music (“your double-flute’s song”), the Famine, and the “noise” of mannered civilization. (Michael Begnal)

The review in its entire can be read here.

Michael Begnal

Poetry collections: Future Blues (Salmon Poetry, 2012), Ancestor Worship (Salmon Poetry, 2007), Mercury, the Dime (Six Gallery Press, 2005), The Lakes of Coma (Six Gallery Press, 2003). Anthologies: Avant-Post: The Avant-Garde under “Post-” Conditions (Litteraria Pragensia, 2006). As editor: Honeysuckle, Honeyjuice: A Tribute to James Liddy (Arlen House, 2006), The Burning Bush literary magazine (1999-2004).


Poems from ‘Of Dead Silences’ by Michael McAloran

Of The-

Head of death

The seasons dissipate as if they
Had never collected tears

A dissolving sky
Soil sieved through fingers

The silent laughter of the blood

Nothing More-

Ruins of the foreign sky
From which point all are dead

Smears of dying animals upon clear glass
The flies will gather, nothing more



A blindfold of congealed earth
The dead drown of inverted tears

Lacking the light
By which the night ignites the living


Brute flesh shocks the nothing back
Into resolve

And is then pissed upon



Heart of desolate
In a vice of flesh

Nowhere else/ nowhere/ nothing less
The winds erased having tasted ashes

Echoes of non-being
Inexplicable silences


Dark hollow
The sky unearthed

One final breath to champion the infinite



Haven to begin from
Scarlet striking out striking the dirt

With liquid hands
As if it could have ever begun otherwise



Echo within echo within shadow of…
Absence/ walls/ flames/ still breath alone

Pantheon of carousel/ of vertigo/ of absences

Night’s undoing was never night
Hence the laughter forever ceases to be


Danse of polka winds…night undone/
Night flourishing…

Silent retrace of bone/ vapours/ memories

Immense sky of non-death/ nothing lessened
Razor absences/ peeling away the bloodlessness


Hollowed tongue…winds dealt/ silenced
Dread lest the fingers break/ (only the elapsed)

Sing elixir of non-speech/ mouth full of dry sands
Leaving behind the drapery of skinned tide


Adrift…a visage of mists…(dead unto breath)/ arbitrary
Vault of wasps/ colours/ discoloured skin/ emptily

Night of vague breathing/ unheard voices/ voices heard

Stillness of forgotten sky/ there or here again/ cast aside
Buried sun/ sky/ sun of ashen waste/ teeth of nothingness


Waste ground/ flies of haste/ silver voices/ decay
Black tongue of…wasted wounds of…soundless again

Arise dead/ so much the/ dread/ silenced/ birthed
Evaporating tongue of/ erased/ better never/ never to have been


All the images accompanying the poems from Of Dead Silences (Lapwing 2013) are © Michael McAloran (Acrylic on unprimed canvas, 2012)
Michael Mc Aloran was Belfast born, (1976). His work has appeared in various print and online zines, including Carcinogenic Poetry, Calliope Nerve, The Recusant, PMI, Sex & Murder Magazine, Full Of Crow, Media Virus, In Between Altered States, Horror, Sleaze & Trash, Negative Suck, Graffiti Kolkata, Pratishedhak, Prathamata, Danse Macabre, amphibi.us, The Plebian Rag, Full of Crow, Gloom Cupboard, Gutter Eloquence, 1000th Monkey, Fashion For Collapse, Fragile Arts Quarterly, Clockwise Cat, Sein Und Werden, Peripheral Surveys, Milk Sugar Literary Journal, Psychic Meatloaf, Cannoli Pie, The Medulla Review, Counterexample Poetics, Heavy Bear, Indigo Rising, Widowmoon Press, Nothing, No-one, Nowhere, Mastodon Dentist, Gobbet, Ink Sweat & Tears, Ygdrasil, Establishment, Stride, A New Ulster, Primal Urge Magazine, Can Can, etc.He has authored a number of chapbooks, including ‘The Gathered Bones’, (Calliope Nerve Media), ‘Final Fragments’, (Calliope Nerve Media), & ‘The Death-Streaked Air’ (Virgogray Press), ‘Debris’, (Erbacce-Press),‘The Rapacious Night‘, (Calliope Nerve Media),’, & ‘Unto Naught’, (Erbacce-Press). A full-length collection of poems, ‘Attributes’, was published by ‘Desperanto’, (NY), in May 2011, & ‘The Non Herein’ was published by Lapwing Publications in 2012. An ekphrastic text/ image book, ‘Machinations’ was published in 2013 by Knives, Forks & Spoons Press (U.K). More recently, two further collections, ‘In Damage Seasons’ & ‘All Stepped/ Undone’ were published by Oneiros Books. Lapwing Publications also recently published a collection of imagistic aphorisms, ‘Of Dead Silences’

Previews from ‘In Havoc Lights’ by Michael McAloran

Image by Mick McAloran

image is © Michael McAloran

Michael McAloran is a writer, artist, and the poetry editor for Oneiros Books (U.K).
Abattoir Whispers


…vertigo ice/ what said/ yes/ said/ it follows/ the clasp-knife breath that lingers/ in the rat deep of vermin obsolete/ of the night’s claim/ shadowed by meat/ in the presence of the none/ a blind man’s cane tracing the brail sheets of nothing left to be/ inherent dice of the unknown/ till failure/ terror of/ asking then of the what till else/ semblant/ dissipatory/ click-clack and the roundelay of ashen promises/ so speaks the silence filled with a grandeur of displaced light/ in the laughter of confrontation with the hope that never was/ as so swings the light bulb in a deserted room filled with scarlet dust with scarlet vapours/ till a-dream in sun lights/ hence the spectacle/ the a-breeze block smashing out the remnants of the ongoing/ here alack/ vibratory tone/ perhaps/ else/ till foreign once again/ [we all fall down]/ drag of the pelt of skinned longing/ here or there a vibrant echoing/ voices/ the voice grasping for nothing/ vagrant the ice subtle as the dawn growing upon the unearth-ed flesh/ breath no/ violet no/ synergy/ some distance of/ collapse of/ said without spoken/ glacial the tide consumes the lack of air/ lung-lack/ spitting out the teeth of pissoir abnegation/ furtive/ in the silence of ever having been/ as if…sudden as if…back then to fall upon the crest the wave of it/ oceanic as a cadaver’s wonderment…


…undone/ travail yes or no/ till absentee/ a colourless distance to bear/ as if the given speech were other than/ spit polish and the ashen weight of never having been/ the silence of never having been/ in retrospect/ hard pushed/ give or take a day or naught/ settling/ settling/ throughout the given dissipate of the mock sun’s spun/ in havoc lights where claim is disrepute/ scarred the air melds in a circus dislocation/ given yes to fall/ here or there a rhythm/ a calking of features marred by ongoing finality/ snap-snap the fingers cracking/ through the delve into/ of the fragrance of/ silenced by night/ one step to take above all others/ it says/ it murmurs/ as if some encore were possible in the bleak thin air of some foreign beginning/ given to task of/ all around/ beyond/ step non-step then back to the outset of commence/ here a ruptured breathing/ such is/ what known/ nothing of/ the fingers search the lie/ a mercury tear/ given to speeches unheard/ in the collapse of all/ where mimicry shadows break upon cylindrical walls/ unearthed prayers of the dead/ none to follow/ merely to gaze upon/ through cataract eyes bound by ennui/ hence the laughter never ceases to be/ and the rot of light or vapours/ posits and henceforth yet of the given lapse in each motion of the un-primed/ and so/ step/ retrace/ trace yet following on from the none that came before/ yet still the breathless pace of haven lest to fall/ sudden then to ask/ as if the voice were never more silent…


…no shelter from the ragged taste/ of excrement/ till trace composed/ figment or no/ haggard blood set till ember of/ scuttle of dead vermin tears/ this is sun light’s breath/ stillness of cadaver’s shine// head buried in the glimmer of the eye/ till obsolete passage/ imprint of none/ mocked spun of passage in the depths of silence/ echo of veranda/ cleft yes/ subtle yes to fall/ and so the emptiness of boned meat/ a meat hook stylus and the caress of nothing/ sneer speech/ absent speech/ traces yet to divulge/ (echoing laughter)/ the skyline it mocks it does not mock/ the earth sucks upon dead bodies/ and so in this/ the earth mocks the frozen words/ graceful to trace lies all lies it echoes/ and so forth/ breathe/ inhalations of razors and the spit of blood/ of cum/ vibrant the nocturne makes nothing of/ the eyeball sliced/ caressed by tongue/ what wounds/ effortless/ salient/ nocturne of spit speeches/ prayers to the none of/ from the none of/ walls paper walls and the skeletal starched/ back-light of a room filled with nooses/ give or take an inch/ enough to go around/ these are the dead lands/ these are the cactus lands/ spread out like a patient/ etherised upon an operating table/ in the skull of there ever having been/ stone knocked upon this is the salvage/ the nerve struck/ till dark/ all is dark/ the bone break of winter fathom and the blood struck fathomless/ given as if to cross the passage inwardly/ the voice is forever embers of what is no longer imminent/ unless/ and so the light fades/ so it burns let it go/ scraps torn away in a dressage of sight/ petals to dust/ nothing ever touched upon…


…swaying meat/ an overture of silenced/ the dried blood of wounds and the clasp of nothing/ vibration/ yes/ as if it once/ the syringe beauty of the skulled ice/ vermin air/ the asking of as if it were other than/ null/ void/ pennies upon the eyes/ time’s passing/ absence of time/ the stain of bloody words in sands the sands of which devoured/ yet of/ so it is said/ hands dead the virus effigy/ and so it carries/ there is breath through the sneer of teeth what matter what have you/ in an elixir of silence/ (only then/ only there)/ ah the grace is enough it is not enough/ skeletal signs/ the traces of the seen/ bring out your dead your living/ nothing is all// …the fingers bite the skyline/ hence bled there is no other laughter/ collapsed/ collapsed/ head-struck the distance traced/ life no answer/ and yet the burn is this/ given to replicate/ repeat/ echo yes there will be echoes/ such is the lie of having been/ as if recalling were to recall/ in-step/ (laughter)/ the bare foot skeletal skinned of flesh makes impart in dirt// vacancy all/ dead spaces/ the hands absent the voice absent/ the shiv cannot collect the dawning/ drunkenly the whispers of teeth skin the collective waste/ there is none/ naught/ dispersed the collapsed longing for/ in the haven of desire/ till drag of obsolete returns/ voices/ voices/ the hiddeness thronged/ blinded by something that can never be spat out/ will never trickle away like piss/ and so …

 These previews are © Michael McAloran , from In Havoc Lights, first published at Poethead at Open Salon

the bird-keepers by C. Murray

the bird-keepers

I know three places that they go,
and the birds wait in congregation
on pitched roof, tottering lamp-post
in the tree-chorals. They wait mute,
gull and urban-pigeon, rook, starling
wood-pigeon and magpie, all wait.
Sparrows await the later crumbs,
the blackbird desires garden-apples.
I saw a bird-keeper once.
With her bird-eye. Her empty bag,
her melt into the crowd anonymity.
I saw her just leave a squake of gulls
in her wake tearing at the good bread.
She directed her gaze onto me and
I thrilled with the recognition. Each day
at the right time she had walked to
a reach of grass at the four roads
opposite the park where herons. Her
bag later stuffed into her ordinary jacket
her streaked hair, her impassive gull-eye.
I lost her image in the crowd. Those others,
the bird-keepers of unlikely corners at
the meeting of roads, and roundabouts
carry a backpack, a trolley. One a man,
the other a woman. She is old now.
the bird-keepers is © C. Murray , first published in Skylight #47 2013

The Cézannization of what wasn’t left, an excerpt from ‘Machinations’

untitled oil on canvas by Michael McAloran

untitled image , oil on canvas by © Michael McAloran 2003

histology slice 3

[ a tissue cloth so delicately coloured in mauves and purples indigo
and ivory cells become tissue whereas this isn't at all the case
all is one in febrile disequilibrium not excluding momentary states
of euphoria and relative equilibrium the macabre beauty of histology
like a travelogue along enlarged detailed drawings of funghal spores
or sporoform zoophytes white exquisitely and hypersensitively drawn
by haekcle against a black CSO corps sans organes the hubris debris
humus against which lines flightlines maps nomadologic trails micro
politic events pointillistic gestes rhizomatic ghanaean junglean infra
branchings dadaistic or ba'akan pygmee refrains establish unfold
glare and disappear amongst glacis' of ice basalt slate sapphire or
northsea grayness and mist histology is that : the slice with obsolete
or ephemereal or contingent a truth to leave the observor with her's
his's own ponderings of carcinogenic intimacy or clean tissue missive
towards the ones receptive the ones donating slices out of their body
to be mapped navigated coloured in mauves grays deep purples
to indigo ]

Text is © Aad de Gids