JR Clarke

A Train; A White Balloon Over Bristol

try as i do

to be a poet

try as i do

there is too much

to get through

to write this poem.

i don’t know where

to start

or where i am going

perhaps this poem is it

perhaps this is all it is

perhaps there isn’t any of it

like mother

or was it grandmother

with her cupboards

of thick glass jelly moulds

that didn’t get used

but kept free from dust

because sometimes

it’s just easier

to eat it

straight from the packet

& wash it down

with milk

or whiskey

whichever comes easiest.

But try as I do

there is too much to get through

so you have to start early

which is a shame

because i wanted to read War & Peace

before i went to bed

but i guess

there is always

Time

the day after

tomorrow but

quick

before it’s yesterday.

It can’t be too hard

I once read Wuthering heights in full

on the train from West Yorkshire

to Bristol

on Ketamine

but just small bumps to

keep the flow

of narrative

passing towns

madness

jealous of reality

which switched itself

at New Street

when people looked

at my nose &

not been able to

shunt

the small wheels

on my suitcase

in parallel lines.

Here I was doppelganger

stretched

into an escalator.

so I re-boarded

& continued the story

literatures lovetorn moorland burning remains

Cathy clinged to side

of the train window

scratching like a dream

but it was sealed off

completely air tight

I could see a little green hammer

to break the thickened glass

but i wasn’t about to bring

attention to myself

for an hallucination

of a fictional ghost.

So it was me & Cathy

staring

screaming in each other’s mind

bleaching the whites

cut

& we just hung there

begging for redemption

begging for a destination

begging  for safety

until the death of her character

in moors that scar

in wind that builds

in dark where stars go to die

& poor lass

bet she’d never even seen

the likes

of a train before.

The way I recall

it was just before

my departure

that I made my arrival

at the place

where I changed my

perspective

emerging from

doe-eyed slacker

cross-legged & gormless

with bibles on top of piano

school assemblies.

Then to get out

of those

conveyor belt towns

I sat straight

in interviews

former polytechnic

now rising university

and attempt to wake

before 12

so I can get

elusive bus home

to be domestic

& cook cheap lamb

in Spanish red wine

marinade of life

slaughtered

delicious.

It’s in the irony

of that bus driver

choking gears

to get home

a load of academics

with hearts full of

fact & lead

when the bus driver

has a spit & spirit

of a poet

Coleridge

Larkin

Armitage

passing by compassion

of Neruda on bicycles

ferry master Whitman

& Sylvia

who is constantly baking

unleavened bread

in the underground kitchen

of my head.

I got off at my stop

as this apparently

was my destination

it seemed familiar

familiar

so it must

be here.

Do you ever

get the feeling

that even when

you’re outside

you are completely

surrounded

by windows?

As this thought

exhilarated

through my head

some out-of-town

black shoe

pressed shirt

pointed face

asks for directions.

I am weary as

he looks like

he knows his

destination

but he sees me

& asks for directions

it’s confusing

when people

mistake you for

someone

you didn’t even

realise

existed.

& there against

this

overcast evening

no sunset sky

I spot

a white balloon

lost

but looking

looking but

lost

but floating

floating

above me somewhere

dragging my pupils

across the sky

twitching for something

they didn’t even know

they ever wanted

or needed.

I stop

& look

pull out the

trick of prayer

I pray to slowly

move me

move my essence

into

fire of whole expanses

to be mad

on never-ending

angular

angular experience

of the world

it took me away

quickly

but not frightening

having the

adjacent touch

of breath

of time

of my ghost of power

there is no sorrow

in amongst

the clouds

O spaceman

spaceman

spaceman

who caught me

as I fell off

a rainbow

and let me

wander free

photographically

for hours across

mortal map of dreams

immortal juxtaposition

of life & lust

holding my hand

just like

toddler brothers

in free emerged

splish-splash

paddling pool.

Then you

levitated me

Peter Pan

over spread out

fields & streets

of Bristol

up hills

into deep valleys

cut by

violent oscillation

of slow water

where I stand

suspended

on a tightrope

& like an acrobat

trapeze into

perpetuity

over

gorge-dweller

imagination.

Hear JR read this poem.

jr clarke is a poet – poems he has written have appeared on t’internet, sewn into the back of bus seats, & in his spare time he is an amateur hermit.

ampersandwool.wordpress.com/

joysemana.tumblr.com

The February Issue

In January, we asked for submissions to our February issue on the theme of [ANTI-] Love. The response was impressive and varied. We have work that tackles the theme head-on and with subtlety. We hope you enjoy it.

The February Issue features:

– James Patterson

– Doireann Ni Ghriofa

– Ariel Dawn

– Eamon Mc Guinness

– Yatu Yoga

– JR Clarke

– Hayley Ray

– Claire Hennessy

Info for March

Dear Readers,

In tribute to International Women’s Day – which is marked on March 8th annually – we here at The Bohemyth have decided to dedicate our March Issue – which will be published on March 7th – exclusively to women.

In an attempt to showcase some of the very best creative talent this generation has to offer, we decided to initially solicit submissions from women who we read, admire, and are excited about seeing what they will do next. The response and enthusiasm for the idea was fantastic. Our line-up is stellar.

But.

We at The Bohemyth are greedy. We’re greedy for *new*. For promising. For great. For poetry. For fiction. For photography. For essays.

And so we have decided to open our submissions, in the hope that unfamiliar names will submit work we think deserves to stand alongside the already amazing pieces we are receiving from our confirmed contributors.

Our normal submission guidelines still apply. All that we ask from any prospective submitters to our special March Issue is the following:

– be a woman

– have something to say

– say it in a way we cannot ignore

Alice Walsh

2am

His voice saying ‘Can I see you?’

And something inside of me dies.

‘Just tell me where’.

A desperate whisper.

It’s 2am and I’m all the way in. Deep in the darkness. He’s calling me back. Saying he’s sorry. For the things he said and for the things he didn’t. And I go to him because he is the deepest ridge inside of me. And he’s calling me back. From the brink of the smallest end.

We were meant to save one another but all we did was kill the flicker. Now neither of us knows if this is how it was meant to be. So we grasp at the line with feeble fingertips that never knew how to hang on to what we found and feared in one other.

I thought I could see through the cliff of his rib cage to what lay beneath his marble white chest, all covered in scribbles. Our sadness matched in aches. I was devoted to holding the pieces of his sacred heart together. We ran ran away with one another and left the whole world behind. We lived warm in the circle of ourselves for thousands of days. But then it changed.

*

The bar is empty and dark. A bored barman sits behind the counter turning pages of a yellow paper. There’s a jukebox dead in the corner. Two beers. We ramble around in small talk for a while, shy. Then we break through the ice.

‘How are you? You look good.’

‘Thanks. You look older. I suppose I do too.’ A ten day pause. ‘I’m good though, I cut down on the drink and quit all that other shit.’

‘Really? That doesn’t sound like you.’

‘No. It got so as I had to. I guess when you spend too much time looking at the world from inside a bottle, it starts to look all warped. Gets so as you can’t tell what it is you’re looking at any more.’

‘Yeah, I’ve been there.’

I say nothing.

‘What am I saying? Look at me, I’m still there. I’ve tried to stop but there’s nothing else.’

He pulls at the tiny bristles of his beard. It tries to hide his gaunt face. His pallor yellow. His red eyes shot through, two sallow hollow holes. The skin of his sockets clings to them thin as crêpe paper. My drug addict Jesus. He still wears the silver bracelet I gave him just before we died.

‘There could be something else, I think you could do it.’

‘Yeah, somehow I can’t see that happening. This dog’s too old. No, I’ll go out like this. You never did too much of that other shit though, did you?’

‘Not too much no, but enough to be dust.’

We’re grasping at flaws. We both smile smiles that ache our cheeks untrue so I say what I came here to say.

‘You were the only one I ever felt that way about, you know?’

I look around the room casually because I can’t look at him to see the weight of my words falling on his face.

‘Don’t say that. It just makes it worse.’

I look at my shoes. I look at his. They don’t belong together.

‘But I want you to know this. I want you to know what you owned in me. I’ll still keep a piece for you and a piece for me too but I’m going to find someone else to give the rest to.’

‘And you will.’

‘And I will.’

*

We go back to the ruin. Everything inside is made of stone. We soak the dead wood in diesel. We burn and drink whatever we can find. We lie in the corner and we lie about the past. We lie that it is the end. He is the other side of me. His lips on my neck. He is inside of me. Everything rushing down. The look in him like he’s sorry for all that we cannot be.

We’re slow and sad at it. We don’t want it to end. I have to hold him against me so I can look over his shoulder because I can’t look at the regret of him seeping into his hopeless eyes. We break through to the other side of ourselves. We lie stacked on one another in front of the fire. Looking into it and away from each other.

‘Did it seem very long? When you were away I mean.’

He takes years to answer. I think about how every time I saw a bird I’d ask it to bring him my need. Did it ever reach him I wonder, as I stare at the blue ridge of vein on the soft back of his hand clasped in mine. The gathered scar of skin on the other side.

‘The worst part was living inside myself. It felt like forever. I thought I’d never be free.’

‘You are now.’

‘No. I don’t think I’ll ever be.’

‘When we cracked you said you never loved me’.

‘I lied. It was better that way. You would have stood still with your eyes closed forever. Tell me I did the right thing.’

He kisses the side of my forehead and doesn’t take his lips away until I answer. I slip inside the blue and green of the flame and lie.

‘You did the right thing. And how are the other people that live in your heart?’

‘Some are good. Some aren’t. Some are gone. But you know that. How are yours?’

‘They’re not the same ones they used to be.’

I move around into something else.

‘The last place I expected to be when I woke up this morning was anywhere near your shoulder blade. Have you found someone new? Find someone new. Have kids. You always wanted that.’

I can feel the crack in the fault line of my heart widen with those words. He says nothing. Silence thickens the air. I try to think about something other than those words hanging there then I notice I’m holding my breath.

‘Why does so much sadness live in love?’ He crosses his arms out in front of me so they’re an x and I’m looped inside them.

‘I don’t know, maybe it’s not that way for other people. We were both [indecipherable] long before we found one another. Maybe that’s why we found one other.’

He stares at the space between my elbow and the wall and I wonder what he’s thinking. I know I will never know so I bring him back to something I do know.

‘Do you remember that first night we kissed? Do you remember us with our hands in each other’s back pockets dancing beneath the stars? We were beautiful for five minutes before we fought. You said if I loved you I’d walk away. You said you’d hurt me.’

‘And I did.’

I want to tell him that it wasn’t his fault. Every moment in time built us into this corner. There was nowhere else to go. Even if we ran we still would have ended up here. It doesn’t matter how you move the scenes around the end of us is always the same.

We burn what is left. Outside the light is returning to the world and so must we.

Alice Walsh lives and works in Dublin. Her writings have been published in The South CircularwordlegsNumber Eleven MagazineRoadside Fiction and The Bohemyth. Doire Press published one of her stories as part of the wordlegs presents: 30 Under 30 anthology.

James K. Flanagan

Corporate blue skies

Corporate clounds

Tree scape

James K. Flanagan – During the last ten years James has had the good fortune to work on some really interesting and well-paid consulting projects. This has allowed him to travel throughout the world under favourable conditions and given him the time to experiment with things other than work, primarily photography and writing for business magazines.

Breda Wall Ryan

Goodnight Sleeptight

commotion in the walls again

the smothery hand slips round the door

brushes brown three-faced roses

switches on the treacle dark

afterburn drops a light-stunned moth

butterfly key winds alarm-clock spring

Goodnight Sleeptight

COMMOTION IN THE WALLS—TIME—swing—TIME—swing—

 

                                                          DING  dong  DANG  dong—

quarter-past-the-hall-clock

TIME—swing—TIME—swing—TIME—swing—TIME—swing—

a    breath     held

m  o  t  i  o  n  l  e  s  s

the smotherer slides through treacle dark

COMMOTION IN THE WALLS

three-faced roses whisper a paper song

     swing-swong—the day is long—the cuckoo and the sparrow—

loose rattle     brassy squeeeak     hinge-swivel

lock-snib     click!

rose-giggles rose-titters rose-sniggers

Toolate! Toolate! Locked in!

COMMOTION IN THE WALLS

don’t tell won’t tell never tell—tell tale tattler—

                                                          DONG  dang  DING  dong —

half-past-the-hall-clock

TIME—swing—TIME—swing—TIME—swing—TIME—swing—

breath     held     &     held

m  o  t  i  o  n  l  e  s  s

coat button tap-taps     squeak-creak-swivel-rap-rap

mousewarning!  mousewarning!     COMMOTION IN THE WALLS

     the little piggy burnt his tail—and we’ll have beef tomorrow—

carpet leaves shuffle     feet bump     in treacle dark

the smotherer loud-breathes     treacle dark

CIGARETTE-SMOKE-SHAVING-SOAP

redcloudbellyburst breath S W E L L S

&  S W E L L S     belly     chest     redcloudhead     B A L L O O N S

                                                DING  dang  DONG  dong—

quarter-to-the-hall-clock

TIME—swing—TIME—swing—TIME—swing—TIME—swing—

balloonbreath held     held     held

m  o  t  i  o  n  l  e  s  s

hard hand traces hair     foreheadeyescheeks

portrait in nicotine     CIGARETTE-SMOKE-SHAVING-SOAP

clampnose clampmouth     redcloudbreath     in     in     in

cold air ups over legs & up & UP &

COMMOTION IN THE WALLS     rosechatter! rosechatter!

three-faced—Toolate! Toolate! Toolate!

TIME—swin g—TIME—swing—TIME—swing—TIME—swing—

breath     held     &     held     &     held

m  o  t  i  o  n  l  e  s  s

redcloudhead balloon free-floats up—up—up—through the crazing

     step on a crack—break your back—never come back

     the smotherer don’t know you’re leaving—

TIME—swing—TIME—swing—TIME—swing—TIME—swing—

clamp-hand falls with a groan—a groan—a moan

redcloudballoonhead—flitter-flutter hither-tither zig-zag down to the pillow

creep-feet-muffle carpet-leaves smother-hands

paper rose-scoffs     rose-sniggers     rose-sneers

     not because you’re dirty— not because you’re clean

     because you live on Town Wall and eat margarine

a creak—a moan—a clockwork whirr

DING dong DANG dong—DONG dang DING dong—DING dang DONG dong—DONG dang DING dong

!ONE! cigarette-smoke—!TWO! commotion—!THREE! treacle-dark

rose-mumbles rose-mutters rose-whispers

LIE STILL     Lie Still     lie still

Goodnight Sleeptight

TIME—swing—TIME—swing—TIME—swing—TIME—swing—

a     breath     held

m  o  t  i  o  n  l  e  s  s

Breda Wall Ryan was awarded Joint 3rd place in the Patrick Kavanagh Awards and won the iYeats Poetry Contest, Poets Meet Painters Competition, Dromineer Literary Festival Poetry Contest and Over the Edge New Writer of the Year 2013. A Pushcart nominee, she lives in Bray.

Mitchell Grabois

Transcript of the Sign Language Translation of a Speech Given at the Nelson Mandela Memorial

Let burden

smoke me in the twilight

in China

here and there

and on the Staten Island Ferry

crossing the water

landing at the dock without incident

the ferry bumping the pylons softly

Let burden smoke me

like a fat Cuban cigar

in Guantanamo

here and there

Let angry Arabs return

to their camels and oil wells

Let them embrace

those metal insects

bowing to Allah

and Allah again

Let burden smoke me

in the hinterlands

in the ragged rurals of northwest Michigan

where a Mennonite fixing machinery

accidentally injects a tablespoon of grease

into his thumb

Let burden smoke me at dawn

when the world is peaceful

and a family of Sand Hill Cranes

feeds on soybeans left over from the harvest

and cares not

about the dangers posed by a grease-filled thumb

Let smoke burden me at high noon

in Pretoria

and in the middle of an American tornado

here and there

Let burden smoke me

Let smoke release its burden

in China, in Siberia

here here here here here

here and there

and let Nelson Mandela rest in peace

forever

Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois was born in the Bronx and now splits his time between Denver and a one-hundred-and-twenty-year-old, one room schoolhouse in Riverton Township, Michigan. His short fiction and poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and internationally. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012, and for his poem. “Birds,” published in The Blue Hour, 2013. Grabois’s novel, Two-Headed Dog, is available for all e-readers for 99 cents. Click for Kindle. Click for Nook. Click for the print edition

Jose Luis Carrasco

A NEW KIND OF PUZZLE

 by José Luis Carrasco Sánchez-Algaba

 Translated by Marco Fernández

He didn’t mind the voices. Not at all.

The child left the Rubik’s cube on the usual shelf, in the usual spot, complete, the solid white side towards him. He was a very tidy child. He studied tirelessly.

His parents waited downstairs, the electric car’s engine running silently. He took his seat and with a soft push, they floated onto the road.

A comic book and a cool puzzle were all it took to keep him entertained until they reached their destination. He needed nothing else, moreso this time. Nothing better than the echo of the cube and the voice to cradle his thoughts.

Dad and mom were always there to talk, listen, and seldom judge, but on this occasion he preferred to keep a cautious silence, and this wasn’t for lack of words. Tales, with their myriad fantasies, had accompanied him since before he was born. Every complex term the child learnt and repeated was attached to a tingling memory, the memory of having heard and conceived them from his mother’s womb. Through the comfortable darkness, outer life filtered like light through silk.

He hated math. Games, however, were something else. The subtle mechanisms of a complicated component, disassembled to the very last tiny cog or microchip, were his travelling companions until he went to bed.

Mom had a quiet pregnancy. Obviously, she suffered the classic textbook nausea and insomnia, but nothing else. Dad sold everything they owned, and they bought a house in the country, with a garden. Mom devoted her time to thinking. In their photographs, the young parents were pictured reading by the newborn trunk of a willow tree they had planted when she had become pregnant. It was now an adult tree that gave the child shadow to read in.

He signalled and named the sharp peaks of the mountain range. His father had been repeating them to him ever since he was being bottle-fed. He associated them with the promise of ice cream and jelly beans.

The child was not a genius. He had swiped the psychologist’s report. Disappointment – all normal. “IQ within average levels.” He cried when he read it. He wanted to possess the light. He wanted to inherit grandpa’s vision. Even with its drawbacks. He decided to become it, to laugh in the face of evolution. He decided to learn everything, and to live with his eyes open from day one.

He made a note to himself – Rubik’s cube solved, number of minutes and moves. Age, a few years.

They were a happy family. Dad and mom had become older with the willow tree. In photographs, they napped, joked, and hugged him. The child came from that garden. Laying on the lawn, the voice came to him, and while it told its story, the pieces flew about.

By the time the voice shut down, Rubik was biting the dust. He now needed a new, more difficult puzzle. According to the willow tree, he would find one, since the universe revolved in a spiral motion. He asked it what that meant, but it remained silent on this.

They drove off into the highway, and, as the car accelerated, things took on an uncertain turn, as if one could harbor doubts about their pulse. If he concentrated on the objects in the car without losing sight of the landscape, reality out there scattered about, turning into watercolor traces.

Dad and mom would deny it, but he knew for sure. A baby and a willow tree. Two living beings growing, maturing at the same time, twined in their sensations, why not? He imagined a hundred different re-enconters with his tree brother, after two weeks of what seemed an eternal absence, and he projected his life years, decades into the future.

Dad adjusted the rearview mirror to frame his face in it, and asked him if he was all right. Yes, the child was all right. Just as the willow tree, whose image glimmered in his mind.

At the first stop, the child took his soda out of the bar and sat beside the car, by a leafy chestnut tree. Maybe it was the damp and suffocating heat that made him sleepy, and as he drifted into slumber, a white veil swallowed up the parking lot and the cars, and planted a path instead, with luxurious vegetation on the sides. He heard the sound of horses’ hooves. He finished his drink and waited until, on the contour line of dawn, he spied a numerous army, made up of light and heavy cavalry, some sections of regular infantry and fusileers, and a half dozen of cannons, mounted on carts. Above the soldiers, clad in 19th-century uniforms, waved the French flag.

The child recognized the Napoleonic uniforms from his dad’s books. When he looked at them, a freckled-faced soldier of barely eighteen looked back at him.

He didn’t have time to speak. Dad’s voice beckoned him back into the car, and the order banished the vision into retreat.

‘Arrêtez-vous!’, said the soldier, and his voice was clear and vivid, free from the trappings of a dream. From this moment on, he would have to stay sharp.

He predicted, as he observed the complex shape of every tree along the way, the way their branches rose towards the sky as in full prayer, that the next summer he would find those chestnut trees a bit closer to Madrid, little by little, fully determined in their centenary travel, and he would dream again of the French army’s fanfare, imprisoned by leaves and branches, ready for conquest and bloodshed, in an endless, yet never repeating cycle. In a spiral motion, like the willow tree said.

He dreamt of having that encounter every night. With the only balanced and fair way to stop the silent advance of the troops. Seeking in parks and woods the soldiers of the rival army. He already knew the mechanisms. He knew the rules. Mom and dad would be proud.

He had found a brand new puzzle.

As a spanish science fiction writer, Jose Luis Carrasco has published short stories and novellas in online and print magazines from Spain (Futuroscopias), Argentina (Proxima), Cuba (Korad) and England (Schlock). He has been awarded for best story in a public libraries competition in 2009, and has been finalist in several others, including one for best short story anthology. He blogs about literature in his own site, linked below.

elbosquedeboole.wordpress.com

Jack Ferencz

saturday night in boys town

 

had a dream in which i told a girl “pick a card any card”

and then started laughing uncontrollably

woke up confused, wondering what it meant

last night i went to two parties with Paul

drank two 40oz beers

ignored text messages from everyone

everyone hated me at the first party

because i drank quickly and silently and looked angry

everyone hated me at the second party

because i drank quickly and felt angry

and insisted on listening to pop music from 2011

i got kicked out of a restaurant for bringing a 40oz beer in with me

when they told me i couldn’t have it i muttered

“i’m going to go on a killing spree”

and then quickly and angrily finished the 40oz beer on the corner

i sat on the train at 5am and watched the sun slowly rise,

sad and soft over slumbering chicago,

mumbling “pick a card, any card” to no one in particular

i am stoned at a party on a saturday

 

and i’m convinced my friends don’t like me anymore

i’m sitting in silence in a chair on the other side of the living room

drinking a beer and thinking about basketball

i am listening to gabby drunkenly talk about her dog

i like her dog

her dog doesn’t remember me

his name is frankie and he has human eyes

do i have human eyes

i drank six beers and now my head is lolling back and forth

i like my friends

i want my friends to like me

i have the phrase “selfie nation” stuck in my head

i’m not sure what that means

i don’t have a driver’s license

when i lost my virginity the girl cried

she said i didn’t like it enough

is the moon lonely?

jack ferencz lives in chicago. he tweets at @jackferencz 

Nicholas Murray

A Town Called C____

 

It was like living in a goldfish bowl. Beyond the houses on all sides was a whole expanse of nothing. Dust. Then mountains. Then sky.

It was a crossroad town. Well, it was almost a crossroad town.

It was too small to be called a town and it was just next to the crossroad. Not on it.

From one end to the other you could count, in total, six streets in C____. Five of them joined the main street at one end and trailed into the nothing at the other. Pristine and perfectly smooth tarmac soon became stone, loose and loud underfoot, and just as soon that became dirt, dust and sand. Only the main road (main only by name) was connected to anything that led anywhere. Sometimes cars would slide through, without stopping, having lost their way on the long journey west.

The crossroad, about a quarter mile north of C____ was the point at which the 818 (North to South) met the 88 (East to West). It was also a rail crossing. For a few dozen miles in either direction, the highway ran alongside the train tracks. So, to continue West, vehicles making their temporary migration would often have to wait while a train thundered by, heaving carriage upon carriage of coal or oil or grit or whatever they needed at the other end of the country.

Though this diesel thoroughfare brushed right up against C____, covering it with the smell of burnt fuel and the promise of industry, no one had ever deemed it necessary to build a railway station in the town. All day we would hear titanic engines thunder past with no hint of slowing. Drumming home the insignificance of C____ to the outside world and seeming to impress upon us all the apparent difficulty to leave.

Nicholas Murray is a writer and artist based in London. He is the founder and editor of publisher and live literature production house, Annexe Magazine. His written work has appeared in publications such as inc. magazine and the Jawbreakers anthology. His prose installations have been displayed in the Sites of Alternative Publishing exhibition and on the Electronic Voice Phenomena tour.

 

www.cargocollective.com/nicholasmurray

Kelly Creighton

The Drawing

In the tree that grew, between us,

A mother made her nest:

In your armchair you watched

And made those days about birds.

You hung the good grapes over my border:

At first, you wanted the tree away.

The length of the street you wanted to see,

To be able to open a window

To shout you’re a-wanting for your dinner;

Calling children…

called after cities –

Those birds were all killed;

It upset a knotty eye – dry as coal.

Crumbling bark: a cat.

A nod to the nest saw it was empty

And still you sat; it was time.

Men with the right tools for the job

Worked round the corner, dusting trees

Off their spots, and so,

I nabbed them for the job: toothless,

The land changed –

There was space to do anything

And an opening for manipulation.

The leaves, it turned out, had

Absorbed all sound: you never made

The children squeal with laughter.

I had to look at tears on the drive

And quickly learn why quick-grown trees

Were planted in that spot;

Where schoolbags were thrown on stones

With the books exploding in crisp white leaves.

Uncreased: unread: unwritten.

Wanting a blueprint…

wanting not to feel

Like a wasteful demolition of a tree.

Crumbs

The woman in your life wants to make everything out of bread.

She wants to make her own bread, from scratch, and have you

out-of-pocket for the machine to put it into.

The woman in your life carries slices from corner to corner,

casting crumbs all over the floor which, lucky for her, no birds

will come inside to take; so she can find her way back without

the worry. She’ll make do with shop-bought but she’ll insist on

seeded and brown and say the other stuff just lies on top of

your bowel. You want to eat without thinking about bowels

and birds, but the woman in your life always says things

about the two when you have your mouth full and can’t reply.

She says eat your crusts, she says she doesn’t want your crusts,

she tells the children crusts will make their hair curly,

and you don’t want to hear the line about what they do for

the hairs on your chest. The birds will appreciate her,

the woman says. She’s bought a little house hung by rope

on a tree; it knocks in the wind. You are yet to see a creature

go into it. The house is empty bar the crusts: titbits for blue tits

or whatever else it is she watches out for.

The woman in your life once lined your bird cage with confetti

and you remember that because the air was a breath of

September incense, and the heat was still in it enough just

to solder off the dust; then, you made your own piece for work,

telling the joke about Paddy Irishman, throwing himself

from a crane because his sandwiches were always the same,

and yet he made his own, it turned out. You remember that

now, when the woman in your life has turned you into a child

and makes you a batch in cellophane; same as the kids’.

You recall that, last night, you looked out of the window;

a chimney-wolf was parting your clouds with his aerial broom.

He was distant enough for you to watch without realising.

The woman in your life puts your bag before you, her smile

letting you know that although you’re no longer her type

of anything, she wouldn’t see you without a crumb of everything.

Kelly Creighton is a poet and fiction writer. Her poetry collection Three Primes was published by Lapwing, Belfast, September 2013. She was awarded a grant for creative writing by Arts Council NI.

 Kelly’s work is currently and forthcoming in literary journals The Stinging Fly, Long Story Short, Wordlegs, Ink Sweat & Tears, Skylight 47, Boyne Berries, A New Ulster and numerous other places.

 She is writing her second novel and came second place in the Abroad Writers’ Conference Short Story Competition judged by Robert Olen Butler, and long listed for The RTE Guide/Penguin Ireland short story contest.

http://kellycreighton.webs.com                       @KellyCreighton

Stephen Totterdell

Origin Point

Rapid staccato whistles sound from the Hauptbahnhof. Fyodor steps off a carriage and onto the platform and, with an extended intake of breath, scans for signs that will lead him to the S-Bahn. Moments later, it seems, he is standing outside a tall office building. A placque outside the door reads: ‘Doctor Jürgen Dodd’. Fyodor rings the buzzer. While he waits, there come a proliferation of English speakers on the street; many noticeably drunk, many shuffling guilty out of underground cinemas, before rejoining their respective groups and engaging in a cover of bravado. The buzzer sounds, and Fyodor opens the door – the handle is almost at eye-level. Out into the brightened corridor steps Jürgen. „Fyodor!” he exclaims, “welcome to our home.” Jürgen extends a hand, but Fyodor is embarrassed by the gesture and refuses. “Of course. You’re a man now,” Jürgen glances away, and scratches his temple, „Come in. I’ll show you to your room.”

The smell of meatballs fills the kitchen. The TV has been positioned to face away from the table. Fyodor watches his father eat slowly, too meticulously to be natural, and regards his own plate with only mild interest. “I’m going down to the shop.” he tells Jürgen, who smiles and says “Of course! Great idea, Fyo.” It’s dark out, and the lights of the neighbourhood businesses glow almost ceaselessly. Fyodor slips through crowds of tourists, always keeping a steady eye on the record shop at the end of the street. Suddenly the crowds siphon out. The street is quiet. Only a single encounter remains – a man and a woman exchanging pleasantries. The man, whose tie is undone, pleads pressingly with the woman, who, meeting his nerves and engaging, wears long white boots and a leather jacket. They talk a moment, then the man’s eyes catch on Fyodor. His gaze returns to the woman, but with each glance backwards he grows colder. Eventually he thanks the woman and hurries around the corner.

Each day in Jürgen’s surgery waiting room, Fyodor tells the patients “Herr Doktor Dodd will be with you momentarily.” Today, a woman with long red boots and a leopard print jacket sits sprawled with a magazine in the tattered armchair which Jürgen has dragged in from the living room. As Fyodor notifies her, he runs his eyes across her clothes, across her dyed blonde hair, and across the smile forming on her purple lips. “You’re working for your dad now, ja?” says the woman. “Yes, he’s teaching me the business.” says Fyodor, his voice crackling, and the woman coos in a way Fyodor has only heard in movies. “Well,” she says, “he’s running a very good business here, don’t forget it.” As she leaves the waiting room, her fingers run through  his hair. He clasps his notepad, then ticks her name from the list.

While Fyodor waits for the next patient, he hangs from the reception desk. It is empty; his father acts as receptionist and the desk, eternally unmanned, is an unfinished gesture. A door down the corridor opens, and the red booted woman exits. When she sees Fyodor, her muted expression transforms into a beaming toothy smile. She waves goodbye as she passes. He smiles. With a click, the door closes. Fyodor rushes to his father’s office, halting a few inches from the entrance. He peers though the small opening at Jürgen, who is preparing notes and filing papers in drawers. Fyodor watches for a moment, trying to glean something from his father’s face, and then, finding it empty, returns to the waiting room and notifies the next patient.

The floorboards in the side corridor creak, so Fyodor treads lightly. He knocks on a door, and hears a kettle whistling inside. When Ben opens the door, he looms over Fyodor. “Hi Ben,” says Fyodor, before noticing that Ben already holds a brown envelope. “How are you?” he continues. “Good, thank you.” says Ben, “And you?” The distance between them closes a little. Ben holds up the envelope, “You want my rent?” Fyodor nods, “Yes, thank you. I’m good, thank you.” Ben opens the envelope and points, “I give here an extra fifteen. That I owe. Tell your father thank you very much.”

Packaged ham, which curls up at the corners, and fresh baked bread are laid out on the table in front of Fyodor. Then, a knock on the door. It’s Ben, who leans in and hunches slightly to avoid the sun. Jürgen is already laying out another plate, and says “We’d be delighted if you’d join us.” The table is casually silent, until Fyodor asks about a new movie. Ben says “I haven’t seen it. The pictures are not really my thing just now, I’m afraid. But have you seen the old movie, from Morocco, Tastes Cola? My favourite.” Jürgen points to Fyodor, „Didn’t you say you’d seen a film from Morocco? Fyo loves the cinema.” The silence returns, more pressing. “Yes,” says Fyodor after a moment, “I saw Tastes Cola, and some other films by the director. Is he your favourite filmmaker?” Ben holds up a hand, begins to speak, stops, then says “He is one of my favourites. I like the German cinema, too. Do you like, if I’m pronouncing it correctly, Schlöndorff?“

A panoramic view of the street can be observed from Fyodor’s bedroom window, lending itself to close study of the neighbourhood’s inhabitants. When Ben leaves the table for work, Fyodor runs to the window. On the street stands the woman with red boots – her hair now coloured orange. She catches Ben’s eye. Unlike the men in suits, their demeanour is casual. The woman laughs at something Ben has said, and then he continues on his way to the garage. Fyodor launches himself toward the front door, down the half-flight of steps, and onto the street. “Hallo!” the woman smiles warmly, “How are you today, Fyo?” Her jacket is stained with small mustard-coloured blotches. Fyodor says “Are you Ben’s friend?” Her face relaxes, “Yes, but I can be your friend too, if you’d like?” Another suited man approaches tentatively from behind. Fyodor, quietly, says “I’ll come back tomorrow.”

Stefan Totterdell has had work published in Dublin-based zines The Runt and I Don’t Belong Here Either, as well as performing editing duties on several small publications. He graduated with a BA in English, Media and Cultural Studies from IADT and is currently living in southern Germany. He tweets @StefanChinaski

Stephen James Smith

Enchanted

The half-light conjures shadows.

A kernel, curving. I wish to caress,

trace-touch, then on towards a tickle.

’till all shapes are charmed, a mess,

of you and me and light-spell riddle.

Stephen James Smith is a poet.  

www.StephenJamesSmith.com

@SJSwords

The January Issue

Hello + Happy New Year from all of us here at The Bohemyth.

The response to our ‘Relaunch Issue’ was fantastic and we wish to thank everyone who submitted, read, recommended, or otherwise supported it. The enthusiasm generated meant that we had an increase of submissions and, even better, many were from new submitters. We hope this trend continues: with that in mind, we would like to see submissions for our ‘February Issue’ that follow or are inspired by the theme of [ANTI-] LOVE. Do feel free to interpret that theme however you see fit.

However, before you get carried away in submitting to next month’s issue, please do enjoy the varied treats we have on offer for you this month.

The January Issue:

Photography by James K. Flanagan

Fiction by Nicholas Murray + Stephen Totterdell + Jose Luis Carrasco + Alice Walsh

Poetry by Stephen James Smith + Breda Wall Ryan + Kelly Creighton + Jack Ferencz + Mitchell Grabois

Editor – MNS

Steven J Fowler

Poems

from Incidents of Anti-Semitism by Steven J Fowler

 

#57

money was a hard arm, a death intoxicated nanny

a surrogate breast

clouds of guilt offer a glimpse of hell

then guilt, then a report on torture worldwide

from land onwards, we must fight to stamp it out

for this is the first time I saw people burning

the men stripped to his chest and stood in the aisle

the train just pulling out into golders green station

he was thick, softly muscular and wore

an equally muscular wooden cross around his neck

he began to tell us the real reason that we did not yet know…

 

#5

the son of a.spear stuck into the foot of the stairs talking

the wonderful glass table with gold inlay and her squatted across

gushing like a balloon for a child is cooing a divide coming

a purple lipped pouting and hiding likes its mother

I told her to get rid of it, for she’s so young to be under with out a kid on her

it is hard enough to be ethnic Russian jew of Kaunas

odd father of the fatter path blurred softly into a climber

whose hour left worn to count hairs on her belly

not laid chase to hair that is itself red grass

that’s where branches unbended land long the heir

& seeing love I ran from matchmakers & love

looks like a frightened  notch on a walked stick

shy   it looks a tiny strip of unperforated, beneath

where an oyster went garland, she is a red haired

laid down a path blurred in the eye or on the film of things, lens of seeing

restless late  ends missing swimming princess    common before, womb royal

sawn beyond the flesh a butcher in the mirror  eating lop

kosher leopard meat unskinned on the weekends

the tiny sparrow creature hiding in her head

the bellow she sits upon and wasting breath saying he is just trying to keep you!
out and that I joked when I said every poem

would be dedicated to your burn and my exploration of it
by which I meant and said art, to which she turned her lip

and laughed her head back and pointed ‘this is the arse

he is talking about’ what a shame to have a baby

to clog the passage of the dim light, but light,

were it not she fights a horse, dipping cat impressions

and putting on a first brick laid, drowned in smoke, sucking it in with tongue

then calling me a black con (in Russian) a hovering hand

who tried to kill her child with good advice

SJ Fowler is a poet, artist, martial artist & vanguardist. He works in the modernist and avant garde traditions, across poetry, fiction, sonic art, visual art, installation and performance. He has published five books and been commissioned by the Tate, Mercy, Penned in the Margins and the London Sinfonietta. He is the poetry editor of 3am magazine and is the curator of the enemies project. 

Maire Morrissey-Cummins

Poems 

by Maire Morrissey-Cummins

Rosy Apples
The patter of rain was constant

on the galvanised roof

drowning out the Royal show band

on the radio.

It was a Saturday in summer,

your baking day

and Sean and I

were on the dining room table,

a sheet of brown paper

and box of crayons between us,

colouring our dreams.

I drew our house

with a curving avenue,

an apple tree

at the bottom of the garden.

Chubby fingers struggled

with a thick red crayon

circling shiny apples on the tree.

I watched you measuring flour,

iron weights balancing the scales.

I could hear the click of the latch

on the door beneath the sink,

twiddling of a bottle top

clink of glass

swish and swallow

in rhythm with the rain.

Caught,

our eyes locked,

your caustic glare

darted the pit of my stomach.

I clasped my crayon

gouging the winding path.

You snarled my name,

snatched me from the table

bruised me up the stairs

to my room.

I knew that atonement

would be my only route to your love

and that the entrance to our home

was not blood red

by accident.

Bird Formations

Winter morning
passing flooded fields,
a skein of geese
surged in formation
crossing sleet skies above,

and it sparked a memory
of a younger brother
scurrying upstairs,
a flash of blue

cupped in his hands,

his secret stashed
in a rusty tin,

He had a collection of eggs,
speckled, coloured and sized,
separated by cardboard wedges.
He fumbled in nervous excitement
producing a handbook on birds

from the lining of his coat.

I instinctively knew it was wrong
and told him so,

just a hobby, he said,
only collect the eggs,
blow them empty

but the mother in me
was awakened.

I wept for all those dead babies

Máire lives in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.  She is early retired and has found joy in poetry and art. She frequently gets lost in words or paint.  She has been published with Every Day Poets, Wordlegs, The First Cut, A New Ulster, Open Road Review, Your Daily Poem, Bray Arts, The Galway Review, Verseland, Notes from the Gean, A Hundred Gourds, Lynx, Sketchbook, The Never Ending Story, Chrysanthemum and many online and print magazines worldwide. She is a member of Haiku Ireland. She was listed in the top 100 European Haiku writers for 2012.