A Preview of My New Book ‘She’.

The first edition of SHE will be published by Oneiros Books in 2014.

82 Pages

Perfect-bound Paperback.

The cover painting image is © Anastasia Kashian, with great thanks to David Mitchell for design, and to Michael McAloran for accepting the book on behalf of Oneiros Books.

Two poems from The Island Sequence of ‘She’

sea is a womb

sea is a womb
dip and flow the small boat

rock and rock,
rock the black black

gold lace a-glitter
and rocks – the
rocks scrape her timbers

beneath the carved wave
lie monsters clawing at her base

black the inky waves lap to

black the inky waves lap to
and black they suck the shale

and if birds swoop
they are the mere shadows of birds

there are hands there to disembark you
to hold you over the rocky black

those hands that will arc you onto the comfort of stone

this is the sea/
      this inky black

it does not smell of sea

the gap between the boat and the shore is awesome
the wood laps the water dragging it out /

bobbing it back again
the chasm at the heel
and one step forward
to land to stone comfort.

Poems from The Island Sequence of ‘She‘ are © C. Murray

black the inky waves lap to was published in The Burning Bush VI

Contents Page

(i) A letter found in the box that contained this narrative, being addressed to the cousin of former patient, Miss Constance Byrne.

(ii) A note attached to the file of Miss Constance Byrne (now deceased).

Part I

Standing Stones
Serpentine The Alleyway
A Ruined Church at the Precipice
Burnt Hill

Part II

The Island

Cousin – ,

The narrative that follows here is a faithful rendering of my wanderings from the time of my retirement to the dawn. It is always the same. I do not expect anyone will believe me, but I know that my dreaming life is as real as my waking life.

Indeed, I have learnt not to call these sleeping narratives anything other than a different part of my reality.When I first encountered the entity that appears on the towpath I was afraid for She seemed hardly human to me. I had gone little by little into this dreaming place over the course of twenty years, and I had explored it wholly in her company. I do not know what my encounter with this lady means, I intend to find out. In my exploratory times there I have never yet met another person. Although there were signs of life (or of creaturely habitation).This landscape seemed to me to be ruined by war and by heat. What else could make marble of glass shards?

It is bleak there. At every dawn there occurs a throb of colour and I know that somehow I am back here in this world. I do not believe that my nightly explorations are a dream, for I have found tears upon my slippers, and a rend in the lace of my dress.She wants to show me something. She has indicated for me a bridge. I intend to cross over it, and thereby to continue to explore the geography of its unknown terrain.

I travel now alone. I am unencumbered by family, nor by tradition. I leave to you this letter and some small tokens of my esteem. Know that I am safe, and although I undertake this journey with trepidation, I remain always your,


Cover image by Anastasia Kashian

Cover image by Anastasia Kashian. Cover design by David Mitchell at Oneiros Books.

Poems from In Between Angels and Animals, by Emily Cullen




I lie on the bed in darkness,
wary of sudden toddler jerks
(your innocent, erratic strength).
Instead, you lay your head upon my cheek
and in that momentary tenderness,
a universe of visceral wisdom.
I am held by this intuition:
free of all condition.


We grasp each other.
Words surrender
to spoor of pore.
You kiss my collarbone.
Sacred contours
quibbles and stresses.
Our limbs recall
a geography
of catharsis;
the lee of my back,
the lie of your land.
Embodiment is © Emily Cullen


We take the damp for granted here.
Blinds draw back to reveal
colonies of galaxies:
tiny black holes
in our new collective space.
‘It’s only condensation,’
Next Door concedes,
‘the weather’s too wintry
to open the windows.’
My wooden bangle by the sill
slips into a mildewed coat of green.
For fun, I bought you mouldy cheese.
Last night, it took revenge on me,
inducing a vivid dream
of a white chandelier of mould
that slowly lowered
through our kitchen ceiling:
a lichen lantern,
till its lattices became milky spores,
mouths that started to open and close.
Then I awoke, vowing to spray
our wall of condensation,
diffuse for good my fascination
with Galway mould.
Galway Mould is © Emily Cullen


Wisps of opium:
boa constrictors
curl into curtains
of late afternoon.
Milky ribbons tantalise
like the soft, deliberate motion
of the belly dancer you admired
in Turkish solitude.
I remember you burning sandalwood
in Illinois to set the mood.
Now smoky arabesques
tease then evanesce
while broken trails of ash,
like fossilized worms announce
seduction as but a crumbling dream:
brittle, grey, ephemeral.
Incense is © Emily Cullen

Incense’ was published in No Vague Utopia (Ainnir Publishing, 2003) ‘Galway Mould’, ‘Embodiment’ and ‘Playing House’ were published in Emily Cullen’s second collection, In Between Angels and Animals (Arlen House, 2013).


Dr. Emily Cullen is an Irish writer, scholar, harpist and arts manager. Her first poetry collection, entitled No Vague Utopia was published by Ainnir in 2003. In 2004 she was the national Programme Director of the Patrick Kavanagh Centenary celebrations and was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions series. Emily was awarded an IRCHSS Government of Ireland fellowship for her doctoral study on the Irish harp. She is a qualified teacher of the harp who has performed throughout Europe, Australia and the United States. A former member of the Belfast Harp Orchestra, she has recorded on a number of albums and also as a solo artist. In addition to writing poetry, short stories and feature articles, she publishes widely on aspects of Irish cultural history and music.

Out now! Emily Cullen In Between Angels and Animals (Arlen House, 2013) 
ISBN: 9781851320790  Paperback 96 pp 12 EURO
Available from Kennys Bookshop, The Book Depository and many good book stores.
More Information:


Regarding the void through the lens of The Zero Eye



In the realm of suffering, affliction is something apart, specific, and irreducible.’

                                                                                  Simone Weil.

I equate Michael McAloran’s use of imaging in The Zero Eye with the concept of necessity propounded in Weil’s essay on affliction which I have quoted above here. There occurs a layering of image in The Zero Eye which explores at once the dissipation of language and the voidal space wherein a voice explores the themes of perception and the stripping down of conscience. In typical McAloran fashion a structural element is inserted into the book which undermines the preceding text,  in this instance he uses a coda at #10.


the zero eye fails/ cannot/ can or cannot only in/ barren vice of obsolete/ of film upon eye in glimmer tide/ of cataract projectile upon/ itches to be gone in eye of/ absurd of/ zero else of black/ no nothing of/ zero eye not feel/ unblinking black/ gallows none/ razor none/ (+0)/ skeletal as if/ no not infinite/ yes infinite

Weil describes affliction through her construction of the image of a hammer hitting the nail in the exact dead centre of the wood, that the reverberating echo would traverse all space and time. McAloran’s dead-centre is the black lens of the death-eye, over which pass worlds. Eye’s monologue occurs in a space peripheral to where voice’s bodily humanity lies.


crafted in absence of voice/ here or there a nothing of/ claimed yet ever-fading/ yet silenced ever/ still yet/ breakage upon rock of night’s forever distance/ motion of which feeds flame of/ yet ever to rage against/ shift unto/ remnants in midst/ shadowed by final yes/ once absence births/ hands cold/ search through weight of cold/ silhouettes of/ cannot lacks cannot or cannot/ hence proliferation of/ sound upon distance/ and of echoing/ undoing…

The Zero Eye is 24 pages long and it represents a step away from the grief-scape that McAloran created through his recent books, none is closer (or further) from his present  intent than the Lapwing Press published ‘The Non Herein-’. The created space developed in that book has given way to intimate space, be it a shack,  a room, or the artificial space of the stage.


in shed of flame that was never light/ better yes never of it/ bite down upon edge-solace of/ trade anguish for oblivion/ yet naught as ever/ final as/ less or more/ ever was/ remnants of then or nothing left to/ no/ no breaking forth/ no never again/ let it/ decline of/ yes death of/ yet will not/ clings unto/ as if to say/ the zero eye/ un-scattered none/ falls unto or not/ utters without pause for/

McAloran’s instinct as a writer is to bring the reader into the created space, and then to turn their expectation on the head by radically altering the pace of the piece,  which he achieves in his coda.

The major carrying image of this book is the eye/I. The eye/I occurs as symbol throughout McAloran’s work, but in this case it represents a shift in focus from the universal to the particular, or the intimate.


the zero eye will ever be/ shape without form/ density of rind branded by sting of inescapable/ rots through unto/ until/ yet given to silence/ scatters breath of nocturne/ clasp of weight/ says nothing more of I/ clean break/ subtlety of design/ crafted in absence of voice/ here or there a nothing of/ claimed yet ever-fading/ yet silenced ever/ still yet/ breakage upon rock of night’s forever distance

There is a subtextual violence throughout The Zero Eye, which I read as lament. Words occur and re-occur, they voice a violent out-rooting of the sense of moment, spliced, rixt , marrow of spliced, ….translucent carrion ,  density of rind, deformed, empty, shadowless, rupture.


zero black pupil of/ of what/ (question once in text/ believed)/ no matter/ erase/ recommence where there is naught/ raging blindly/ hop-scotch…

Here voice, or voice’s echo is knitting together themes in a manner that prepares the reader for the coda, where a nihilist rejection of the almost sweet lament that occurred in the preceding ten pieces is shot through with a clownish repetition and cut-up technique turning the book onto its head and abruptly ending it.


(…text no/ this is not a/ this is not/ not this/ is/ a text not/ not this a/ this/ this is not text/ not a text/ text not this is not/ a/ this/ not a/ text no this is a/ not a text this/ this is not a/ this not a text is/ this not a/ not a this a text is not/ not/ not this/ a text/ not a/ text not this is a/ this is not a text this is not a text this is not a text this is not a text this is not a text this is not a text/ text no this is not a/ text no/ a text not this/ not a/ text not this is not a…ad infinitum).

Kicking to the kerb of the subtle beauty of the lament, McAloran forces the reader to remove herself from the hypnosis of the previous text, and address the worthlessness of human-suffering. The Zero Eye represents a culmination point and a watershed in McAloran’s work as a writer. His use of structure and symbol is highly developed in all his recent books, yet inherent in this book is a cool limpidity not heretofore noticed by me.

McAloran’s excavation of his psychic depth in books like All Stepped/Undone and The Non Herein- led to the creation of a huge internal landscape. Here there occurs a reduction of the claustrophobic element of  his previous books, and a movement towards a smaller and more intimate space, wherein voice in the form of soliloquy or monologue is given freer reign.

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’