‘the goldberg variations’ by Chris Murray

scene 1: the goldberg variations


a kiosk at the end of a dark train in an abandoned travelyard:
two shadowmen ravel orange round about their nothing much

the magician in his moth coat appears in a vaudeville flourish.
your piano balcony is high above the narrow stone street,

your piano plays the rescued Goldberg,
plays, and plays through its charred pages,

– their black edges.

it is the gothic quarter
men move in their coffins.

 their coffins are white with crosses on (red)
 their coffins are on narrow shelves of (stone)

aside an archivum (shades of gray):
    a shady tree
    an etched stone
    a skull and crossbones

Scene 2 : the goldberg variations

that indestructible piano!
the undestroyed Goldberg is playing (again)

wending its tones above a skatepark of bullet-glass

(the melody plays, yes).

I see that:
 the romans left their life-size eggs and urns below the city
 stitches pull and sting on the underside of my elbow (pain)

softening the blow here and here
there is no stitching (as again) there was no magician –

he is always the hanged man (stasis)
  or as you (may have) whispered, mercury

Scene 3: sphinx

cat properly addressed as ‘riddle’ is a sphinx,
toothed warm fur claw(ed)

nobly in-dreaming he (of heads ?)
or of mice maybe (and not silently)

lover (‘not’ properly addressed)
dreams too (elsewhere from here).

he dreams gold or red heads (emanant)
for their reddish auras are tumbrelled
he fingers red…


sphinx cat lies on my egyptian cottons,
I find the heads.

& my lover’s red
is a wish-tree

the goldberg variations are © Chris Murray and were first published in Poetry Bus Magazine.

‘the goldberg variations’ by Chris Murray

AND AGAMEMNON DEAD : An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry

Christine-Elizabeth Murray:

Thanks to Michael J Whelan for this post on ‘And Agamemnon Dead: An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry’ 

Originally posted on Michael J. Whelan - Writer:

And Agamemnon Dead An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry Edited by Peter O'Neill & Walter Ruhlmann And Agamemnon Dead
An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry
Edited by Peter O’Neill & Walter Ruhlmann

Hi everyone, I’m really happy to announce that a brand new anthology of contemporary Irish poetry has been published today (St Patrick’s Day) in Paris and I am also delighted to say that I have five poems included in the collection alongside a number of exciting and interesting new voices coming out of Ireland in the these early years of the 21st Century.

And Agamemnon Dead An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry, Edited by Peter O’Neill & Walter Ruhlmann is published by Muavaise Graine (Paris 2015) –

see https://www.facebook.com/mgversion2datura

and among its 187 pages you will find poetry from

Michael McAloran — Amos Greig — Dylan Brennan — Christine Murray — Arthur Broomfield — Peter O’ Neill — Rosita Sweetman — Michael J. Whelan — Anamaría Crowe Serrano —…

View original 227 more words

AND AGAMEMNON DEAD : An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry

‘Making Monuments’ by Christine Murray

Making Monuments

The whole of the waiting stone is beige coloured.
It is hiding its silica, their minutiae. Although I
have found dashes of it left as glitter on things,
things like tables, chairs. My own face glitters with it.
I gather up the gaudy granite slivers, they flake like
brittle lizard skin mottling in my hand, there.
I can hold this smooth round pebble, and warm
it through. It is stone silent not budding from, to
but I can feel it’s waiting.

I cannot get into them. Laying the flakes out onto a table,
or holding the fragile layers in my hands, peeling them back
layer from metallic layer.
They are big as skin, bigger than. They’re stone cells,
the living and the not living tissue of stone.
They are the skin cells of stones. They glitter in the
black muck, the wet and humus muck of my garden.
They decorate the bones of the nestled reed music,
the flares and tubes of the bamboo that was hacked to
death and tied with meat string,
and I remember how bamboo’s music changed when the
poison worked down from leaf to root, and still, they
stilled their rushing noise until it bubbled underground,
it’s hollowing sound.
It is impossible to dig the tubes out, they generate,
make their generations, gardens away.
All round the hurt tubes are glitters of stone cells.
Moon caught, or sun, they fight with dew to blade my eyes.
Stone remnants. I lick my index finger and glitter them.

Their crystal greys are almost invisible,
littering the paths where colour is,
a blue bird is stone dead,
nesting season is vicious. Wind lifts
his blue,
minutely investigates the small
corpse and moves on,
the blue against the grey
and the crystal beneath,
not the sun, not the moon exposes
the glittering of this new fossil’s making.
‘Making Monuments’ is © Christine Murray

Brain of Forgetting is a journal for creative work that engages with archaeology, history, and memory. Based in Cork, Ireland, the journal publishes original work by both new and established writers and artists from all over the world, and also takes an interest in the creative work of those who make the past their profession. Issue 1 called for submissions of poetry, flash fiction, creative non-fiction, photography, and artwork on the theme of ‘Stones’. The resulting collection spans geological time in exploring the human relationship with natural stone, prehistoric megaliths, stone objects, and architectural stone, revealing that stone is no more dead nor silent than the powerful voices within these pages. IN THIS ISSUE: POETRY by Karen An-Hwei Lee, Milton Bates, James Bell, Lindsey Bellosa, Martin Bennett, Mark Burgh, Paul Casey, Dawn Corrigan, Caleb Coy, Joseph Dorazio, William Doreski, Chris Murray, Morgan Downie, Paulette Dubé, Keri Finlayson, Siobhán Flynn, Pat Galvin, Richard Hawtree & moreChristine Murray is a graduate of Art History and English Literature (UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4). She is a City and Guilds qualified restoration stonecutter (OPW). Her chapbook Three Red Things was published by Smithereens Press in June 2013. A collection of poems Cycles was published by Lapwing Press in Autumn 2013 . A dark tale The Blind was published by Oneiros Books late in 2013. Her second book length poem She was published in Spring 2014 (Oneiros Books). A chapbook Signature was published in March 2014 by Bone Orchard Press.

‘Making Monuments’ by Christine Murray

‘Sufferance’ and other poems by Rebecca Foust

Prayer for my New Daughter

with lines by Audre Lorde and William Butler Yeats

A soul in chrysalis, in first agonized molt,
must choose: LADIES, or MENS.
For some—for you—these rooms are fraught,
an open field where lines are drawn: think of
the White-Only signs. Or Serrano’s Piss Christ
and Duchamp’s Fountain, pitted with acid
and icepicks, de-faced. As for restrooms called
“Bathrooms with Urinals,” no, his words
will never dismantle the master’s house.
For an hour I have walked and prayed,
musing on icepicks, how they’re made
to fit a blind hand; how kept so well honed.
You are soft as sown grass and fierce as cut glass.
You pack your new purse with lipstick, and mace.
First published in North American Review, Fall 2014.
[Note: written after an attack on transgender college students attempting to use a restroom with a sign that said “Bathroom with Urinals”]


1,123 reported killings of trans people worldwide within the last five years.—Examiner.com
Transgender, as in counterfeit, as in someone appearing
or attempting to be a member
of the other gender, as in equated with transsexual
or cross-dresser or pervert

as in a term used by ugly girls as a defense mechanism
against prettier girls
. As in

the only solution lies in psychology or religion or,
until 1960, an icepick lobotomy
done without drugs. Sufferance means passive permission
from lack of interference

as in tolerance of something intolerable, the teen set on fire
at the back of the bus, the way the world
daily scathes you, my fear for your safety a daily sufferance,
as in endurance, as in [archaic] misery,
as in Middle English or Latin equivalent of suffer, akin
in its way to suffrage,
the right to vote. As in vote for, support—child, I am trying
to support you in this—
as in Ecclesiastical, a prayer, an intercessory prayer or petition.
Intercessory, come between.
Intercede, yes—my body—between yours and theirs.
First published in the Bellingham Review 2015 (Finalist, 49th Parallel Award)
the olive tree that dropped its great gout
of dark fruit onto asphalt for the swerve
and spinout etched in fresh virgin press;
blame the natural law that made helpless
bodies attract and collide then come to rest
in the acacia-treed canyon. The driver sat
behind the wheel, his side not pierced,
not yet. Yes, he was drunk, but only
with joy for the lovely, lithe boy
now fused with the car, shrinkwrapped
in leather and steel, and veiled
in the webbed windshield; the boy
who sang backup Gospel like a bruised angel
and was the hope of his whole Bronx block.
Blame the last bright note that opened
his throat and sank into pollen and dust.
First published in The Seattle Review, 2010.

Gratitude for an Autistic Son

He speaks, and when we speak, he understands.
Not like my friend’s boy, who tap-taps the board
behind his bed, sucking on both his hands.
Who taps the wood with his forehead, in a kind
of mandarin code. A light’s gone underground:
no speech, but he can gesture and understand
—better off than the steel-cribbed child, blind
even to pain, left at the Home. Whose eyes are wide
and blue. Who also began by sucking his hands,
then his teeth came in. What’s left of his hands
are mittened in gauze and bound to his side—
our son speaks. He talks, we talk. He understands.
And this is the crux: he talks; we understand
when he hungers or thirsts, is sad or scared.
He’s not left in his shit, we put food in his hands.
He’s not wild pinned in a trap, chained
to his own spine, gnawing the only way out.
He speaks. He holds a pen. He understands.
He has all of all of his fingers. On both of his hands.
First published in North American Review, 2013, Second place for the James Hearst Poetry Prize


O Heart, this happened, or it did not.
In a room with green walls,
my son was born. The cord was torn
too soon, so his head
was cut off to save his heart. He lived
for a long time.
For a long time there was no breath or cry.
When finally he spoke,
he spoke the wide, whorled leaves of corn.
He spoke the crickets
in clusters beneath the sheaves, he sang
the soil in. He sang the wind
in the dune and hush of ebb tide. Some say
he died. Some say he died.
First published in The Hudson Review, Summer 2013.

Rebecca Foust
Rebecca Foust’s most recent book, Paradise Drive, won the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry. Foust was the 2014 Dartmouth Poet in Residence and is the recipient of fellowships from the Frost Place and the MacDowell Colony. New poems are in the Hudson Review, Massachusetts Review, Mid-American Review, North American Review, Omniverse, and other journals, and an essay that won the 2014 Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Award is forthcoming in the Malahat Review.
Rebecca Foust Website
‘Sufferance’ and other poems by Rebecca Foust

‘Lament’ Recorded at the Smock Alley Theatre

I received this morning the sound files for a performance of Lament that occurred at the Smock Alley Theatre, as part of the 2012 Béal Festival. My thanks to Elizabeth Hilliard and David Bremner for programming the piece.

Friday Afternoon – part 3.wav


Christine Murray: Lament (for three female voices) (performed by Dove Curpen, Réiltín Ní Charthaigh Dúill and Emilie Champenois; also with thanks to Rita Barror for organising and reading-through) (first performance)

‘Lament’ Recorded at the Smock Alley Theatre