‘Words Like Stars’ by Roisin Ní Neachtain
How they flow unformed
Then fix themselves like the stars
Shivering and held up
Staggering and squawking
Sweating and squabbling
Night and day
Wrought to a stain
Stain the water to the earth
Hold these shapes in stasis
Their lungs sooty and quivering
How they wake songs in the trenches
And beg for absolution
© Roisin Ní Neachtain
Roisin Ní Neachtain is an emerging Irish poet and artist with Asperger’s. Her work is held in international private collections and she runs a blog featuring monthly interviews with women artists. She is currently working on her first collection of poetry.
‘Cegenated’ by Anora Mansour
Here is the dusk baby plucked
for the reading of luck
the tumbledown tarot rhymes
menthol and black stubbed grime.
Here is the child indigo
whose mumbled tale is Esperanto
paid for with a slap and a diva’s shriek.
And she a frozen caste freak
watches the blind elephant dream.
While the deaf guard chews gum
to the clap of a shoe
so now she only nibbles nails for her food.
Here is the child too mute
to point to the clues
the horseshoe in the kitchen
spent salt and the sang-froid within.
Shouts on the line and gunpowder cops
black telephone cord snips
by Mother raving “Tis I who am the plot!”
Here is the child
a ruin inside.
Here is the child
who stops growing
© Anora Mansour
Anora Mansour is a graduate of the University of Oxford. She lives between Oxford and Dublin. She has been published in a collection of Jazz Poems, various online sites, and has her own published collection of poetry and blog. She is African-American and Irish.
‘Old Lives’ by Emily S. Cooper
Perhaps if things hadn’t turned out
The way they did, and I hadn’t left
Eight years before, jumping in beside
Daddy in the car, placing the flower
My boyfriend had given me on the dashboard
Perhaps if the waves had been more violent on
The Irish Sea that crossing, if perhaps
I had taken that as a sign and turned back
Commandeering the wheel
Pushing the captain aside Get out
Of my way and sailed back to Scotland
Taken up a job in an allotment
Worked things out with the Greek
Then ditched him later for a tall Scottish
Fella called something like Reuben or
Robin who played in a folk band
Perhaps I would have been happier
Perhaps I wouldn’t have gotten that stomach ulcer
And Daddy wouldn’t have confused
His cancer for a matching ulcer
They’d just cut it out in time and
We could have gone to the Venice Biennale
That year, like we talked about
Me laughing at his conservative tastes
How he figured craft was of utmost importance
Not this conceptual drivel
Cast a cold eye
On life, On Death
Horsemen pass by!
He’d chant as we walked along canals
Missing the dog at home
That would not jump in a river
And stove its head in the next summer
Perhaps we would all finally learn
How to get along at Christmas
To sit down and eat in peace without
Someone breaking a glass or shouting
About the unfairness of it all
And I’d go back to Glasgow to my empty flat
Get my cat back from the catsitter
Open the window and
Drink a glass of cheap French brandy
To bring in the New Year.
© Emily S. Cooper
Emily S. Cooper is a graduate of Goldsmiths and the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s. She has been published in Stinging Fly, Banshee, the Irish Times and Hotel among others. She has been awarded residencies by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Greywood Arts and the Irish Writers Centre. In 2019 she took part in Poetry Ireland’s Introductions series and was a recipient of the Next Generation Award from the Arts Council of Ireland. She has been shortlisted for the Mairtin Crawford Award, North West Word Poetry Prize and was highly commended for the Patrick Kavanagh Award. She is currently writing a monograph on solitude, a collaborative collection with Jo Burns on the muses of Picasso, and her first poetry pamphlet will be published by Makina Books in 2020. She lives in Donegal and is represented by Harriet Moore at David Higham Associates.
‘YOU|OUY’ by Jade Riordan
© Jade Riordan
Jade Riordan is an Irish-Canadian poet, an undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa, and a selection committee member (poetry reader) with Bywords. Her poetry has appeared in The Blue Nib, Cordite Poetry Review, Corvid Queen, Eunoia Review, Noble / Gas Qtrly, Room, and elsewhere.
‘The Moment Daphne Survived’ by Maria Karapish
First, it was my legs that went shooting down
below the known world that knew me.
As they reached further and further
and continued to extend until I touched
upon something safe and nurturing and
secretive but liberating all at once, as my lower half
was shielded from your hungry eyes.
Second, was the fear as I continued being engulfed
by not just my final resting place, but by a new vessel if
I was to continue living on in a way that could be considered living.
Without suffocation from your paralysing advances
Yet you still reached for me one final time and at that moment,
I couldn’t even scream, my mouth was the next to go.
Next, came the pain no longer anesthetized by shock,
accompanied by your own screams of anguish and perverse tragedy
at what was being made of my mortal self as I seeped into the soil.
Oh, my steadfast arms splintered away and upwards as I grew those
bare branches in turmoil.
The strain so searing became the numbness of absolutely nothing
as my transformation allowed me to assume the shape of a new self,
Here I am Apollo,
a newly formed loathsome laurel.
As now I would never again have my windows,
the light would someday be welcomed in other ways.
I left the world I knew in those moments, this new
sentience only took seconds to understand, unlike the painfully earnest
consternation you felt while watching your desire’s demise.
© Maria Karapish
Maria Karapish is an Irish-Ukranian poet and artist, her main project includes the In My Orbit zine that contains her original poetry and illustrations. Her poetry focuses on themes of mental illness and how that affects everyday life and relationships along with pieces that stew over those many ‘what if?’s that refuse to leave your brain.
Oh Night, oh calm and mythical night,
Have you not seen the moon? How bright!
‘Tis not the sun but the twilight,
To the earth holding tight.
How soothing! Cool and warm in winter’s night,
Calling it the noon, ‘‘tis all right’’
See the stars twinkling at height,
A moth gently flying around a streetlight.
The trees singing in a soft breeze,
And their shadows dancing in sweet harmony,
Tomorrow night all trees shall freeze,
But tonight listen to the crickets humming their lullaby in melody.
© Asma Zulfiqar
Asma Zulfiqar is a secondary school student who is dedicated and persistent about achieving her goals. She expresses her innermost feelings in poems that are otherwise hard to convey to others. She shares her perception of the world and her experiences through poetry.