Cycling

Last year, I had the poem Fishing published by Paper & Ink zine (https://gilipollez.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/fishing/); this year the inaugural issue of Eye Flash contains my poem Cycling, on a similar theme…

royal canal

Cycling

 

Tracing the cycle path from Drumcondra to Kilcock,

I decant a steaming lake of piss on the tow path;

seven pints of Dungarvan Helvick Blonde.

 

Unkempt grass and weeds don’t hide my task.

I crouch behind the bike,

diluting gallons of oil crusty water.

 

Tarmac moistens from the agitation,

while boiling slash pours through my fingers

all along the banks of the Royal Canal.

 

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Hard Brexit

The very wonderful Hi-Vis Press have just launched the stunning Low Light magazine. It is simply a sensory feast of words & images. I really strongly urge you to buy it, not just because I have this story printed therein -:

 

Tony reckoned the best thing about living in Shields was the fact the bookies opened at 8.00 on a Saturday morning. Free bacon sandwich and hot drink for the first dozen punters as well. He was always there in good time for that little bonus. Also, the early start meant he had a reason to get out the house sharpish and enjoy the fresh air, especially as Linda was always at graft. Ever since he’d took bad and got paid off,  Saturdays were his only treat; spending hours in the bookies while he had a bit coin in his pocket. The rest of the week, he plugged the work shaped hole in his life on line; getting his head round important stuff on You Tube and Facebook .  Stuff that his new mate Glen from the NE33 Loyal recommended he take a look at. He’d met Glen last year and they clicked immediately. Caught up at least once a week. Generally Saturday mornings over a breakfast freebie and The Sporting Life.

Before he got sick, Tony’d not been bothered about politics or any of that shite, but now he’d time on his hands, he realised the world was changing. So was he. Maturing intellectually. Ready for the impending conflict Glen had told him about, between the West and the Jihadists. The New Crusades. He’d learned a lot about current affairs from articles Glen sent him by Britain First and the like. He’d accepted friend requests on FB from patriotic heroes like Jayda Frandsen and Tommy Robinson. Felt touched and a bit proud they saw through his problems and valued him for the man he still was underneath it all. A nationalist soldier who’d taken a stand outside the Mosque on Laygate the other month with the rest of the lads from the NE33 Loyal. Defiantly drinking cans on a Friday afternoon, even if it was so cold he’d had to wear gloves.  You had to show the Muzzies who ran this place. So fuck if the Yemenis had been around since the 1890s or that Muhammed Ali had his marriage blessed there in 77, this was a town for white Christians. Linda’d not been happy like, partly because he was drinking and partly in case people saw his face in the paper but so what? She should have been proud he’d made his point. Drawn a line in the sand against the invaders.

Linda and Tony were struggling. Money was tight. Care work. Every shift imaginable. Six days a week. Eight quid an hour for microwaving ready meals and changing piss-wet bedding. No travelling time included. Chewing her nails on a delayed bus. Fretting about smelling of ammonia. Him; DLA transformed into PIP. £80 a week. Barely paid the electric. Three monthly medical assessments. See whether the malignant time bomb in his head was ticking faster. Gets worse and Tony’s in the departure lounge. Gets better and they’ll knock him down to ESA. Stays the same, there’s the next 13 week check-up on the horizon. The results for the latest one were due any day. Linda had set a reminder on his phone. He didn’t use it much now. Buttons were too small, though he kept it about him to stop her going radge.

She’s anxious all the time. Shattered from work and worry. Texting him on the hour, every hour to make sure he’s alright. The stress doubles when she’s back indoors. His memory’s shot. Doesn’t remember what they talked about an hour ago. Even worse if he’s been on the lap top all day. Worn out as bad as her. Angry and frustrated. No sense of decorum. Broken emotional handbrake. Hundreds of tweets and status updates about Islam destroying the British way of life. Stuff slagging off the EU. Corbyn. Phrases about gays she couldn’t ever have imagined him thinking, never mind saying when he’d been in proper fettle. Mood swings when she complains how it makes him seem to the rest of the world. A thug and a bully. Tony won’t listen to her.  Can’t accept he isn’t the normal bloke he’d always been. Disproportionate response. Boiling rage and harsh words. She sits on the back step; chain smokes and cries. He watches telly; forgets their row, asks for his bait. Battered prawn balls with curried chips for him. Endless cups of tea with double sertraline for her. Tears on her pillow. Drool on his.

Another Saturday. Sunniest one of the year. Linda’s on the 7.22 bus to Whiteleas.  A blanket bath and a mixed berry Oats So Simple for some old lass with vascular dementia. Tony’s on the back step with a Lucozade and some Hula Hoops. She’s given him a tenner for his bets. Weekly pocket money. Curls it round his phone in his left front pocket. Won’t need to buy food if he gets to the bookies for opening time and his freebie breakfast. Rest of the week she leaves him a couple of Greggs pasties. Works his way through a multipack of crisps and a big bottle of fizzy pop on top of that, with the curtains shut and the radiators on. Cloudy sickness sweats fill the room. Sunday, always a roast at her mam’s. Eats it with a spoon because the knife and fork are no help these days.

Linda used to love their Sundays, back in the good times. They’d drive for miles, talking about the future. Laughing. Sometimes a lazy drink. Sometimes a quick one in the sand dunes of a secluded bay. Then, once they’d shacked up, they’d collect her mam and dad. Take them out for dinner. And now, her dad’s gone and Tony’s no relation to the bloke he once was. Car went when the job did. Now they try and walk down to her mam’s. Slow steps. The odd stumble. Two miles an hour, but you can’t risk putting him on the bus in case he starts. Injudicious comments.  When he first came out of hospital, he was forever getting thrown out of pubs and shops for saying something outrageous or offensive. Now they avoid the risk, though her heart stops every time a Polish registered car or an Asian shopkeeper crosses his sight. Tony just can’t help himself. Or doesn’t want to.

Sun’s cracking the flags on the back yard. Going to be a hot one. Summer apparel out the wardrobe. Ditches the Help for Heroes hoodie her mam got him for last year’s Armistice Day Parade. Lyle & Scott cap instead of the Diesel beanie. Tony always covers up. BNP hijab. Hides the post-operative scars on his funny shaped head. Chemo killed his hair. Made his skull swell. Can’t manage laces now, so it’s K-Swiss slip-ons that were her old man’s. Lonsdale shorts and the North East EDL polo Glen gave him as a reward for heroic conduct at the Mosque demo the other month. Tony knew his country was fucked, so is his health. Docs telling him the thing in his head was inoperable. Fuck did they know? Born in Karachi. Over here planting bombs. Their family taking jobs from the white worker or benefits from the workless class. Tony deserved his bit. He’d grafted for it in the past. Now he was poor and poorly, someone should have cared for him. The government didn’t and sometimes it seemed Linda didn’t, working all the hours to avoid him. That’s why being a warrior for his race gave him an identity. A purpose.

Feet slapping on the pavement and the back of his neck getting burned. Down the bank to William Hill’s. Before he became politically aware, he often used Paddy Power. No more. Fenians. Principal financial backers of the dissident republican movement. That’s what Glen told him. Anyway, Tony got barred for pulling down an Irish tricolour in the PP shop at The Nook when his Cheltenham bet flatlined back in March. The manageress was just opening when Tony arrived. First among unequals. In the door and the young lass who worked weekends had a trestle table with a pile of bacon sandwiches and a pair of jug kettles. He got a big cup of milky coffee and his regular breakfast roll, then perched on his usual stool bottom left corner to check the form.  Writing was getting hard these days. Hands couldn’t grip the pen properly.  That’s why Glen was so good, filling out his slips. Split his stake 50/50 between horses and football.

Tony could see alright, so reading was no bother. In fact, his eyes were still sharp, which is why he noticed a trio of beguiling purple beauties tucked into the top of the pen dispenser above his head. Three twenties. Sixty fucking quid. Nobody could have dropped it this morning. Probably left overnight by a flush punter on a roll. Fair game. Spoils of war.  Illness and political awareness denied Tony a conscience. The manageress and the Saturday girl blathering about some soap opera shite, so he acted quick and careful. Palmed the notes into the hip pocket of his shorts. Inconspicuous, he manoeuvred off the stool and lumbered to the door, mumbling about not seeing anything he fancied and was away. First time in years he’d left the bookies with more coin than he went in with.

Slogging it back up home was tough, but concentrating on putting his feet down in the correct sequence stopped Tony thinking how he’d have to explain the cash to Linda. Halfway back he stopped for a breather. Took a pew on a bench opposite the One Stop on Marsden Drive. Five minutes of dry heaves through his mouth before he felt normal again. Hot and thirsty from the bacon sandwich. Hadn’t had time to drink the coffee. Ditched it when he made good his escape.

It was one of those accidents of fate when Glen came round the corner at a bit of a jog. Running late for his gambler’s nutrition, he eased off the gas when he spotted Tony and slid down next to him. Usual pleasantries exchanged, though Tony was baffled by the Staffordshire bull terrier puppy on the raggy length of rope wound round Glen’s wrist.  Leaning across in his skunk impregnated Superdry with the hood up, like a White Power niqab, Glen confided he’d bought the dog from a bloke outside The Ship last night for £20. The pub had a No Dogs policy and the canine vendor needed to get pissed. What’s a fella to do?

Tony told of his secret good fortune. He thought it a shame he couldn’t treat himself to a proper bevvy for a change, to celebrate. Glen was able to explain how they’d have the best of both worlds. Spend some of it on drink and take the rest home. Fuck the consequences. Tony smiled. Long time since he’d done that. Fished in his back pocket and peeled off a twenty. Glen tied the dog (he’d called it Churchill as it was proper English and hard as fucking nails) to the bench and came back with a box of Carling each (none of that foreign shit; a patriotic British beer). Tony still had forty quid winnings left as well. That would please her. Linda was always worried about money. Sixty hours a week and half her coin went in tax to pay for asylum seekers and nonces to get their teeth done. Not fair. Hard working white people like them should be rewarded by the state. Glen always told him that and Tony knew he was right.

The day grew on and the two of them sat, drinking, discussing, sweating. The docs reckoned Tony shouldn’t touch alcohol, not in combination with his medication, but they were only saying that because of Islam. He wanted a nice lager. Deserved one. Deserved as many as he needed. And the more he sloppily poured down himself, the more distorted and blurred the sounds and sights of Shields and Glen became. Tony’s head was heavy and he grew weary in the dazzling sun. He needed sleep, but still had cans left. Maybe a little rest would give him the strength he needed to finish things off.

The buzzing of his phone jerked him awake. He’d fell asleep face down on the bench. Patch of piss at the crotch of his strides. Phone and tenner for the bookies damp in his front pocket, but not ruined. Slowly he came round. Text from Linda saying she was finishing work early and would be back soon. She was bringing back his favourite from the Golden Pearl. Drink had sharpened Tony’s appetite and the thought of battered prawn balls made him salivate. He turned to tell Glen he had to get home, but Glen and the cans were gone. Only the Staffie remained. Subdued and whimpering.

Tony couldn’t leave it behind, so he patiently untied the rope and coaxed the puppy to its feet. Just past noon and he’d already been pissed and was now badly hungover. Linda would be furious. No she wouldn’t. He had a dog as a present. They could take it for walks. Teach it tricks. Also, there was the money he’d found. Tony was an earner again. In vain, his hands rummaged through his other pockets for the magical twenties. They’d gone too. Only the now yellowy tenner she’d given him that morning remained.

At the house, he went round the back, where Linda was sat on the step as usual. Biting her bottom lip. Cuppa and smoke in one hand. White A5 envelope in the other. Looking up, her eyes betrayed neither love nor recognition. Only fury at the sight of Tony shambling home with a snapping stray who immediately took a slash against the back gate. His slurred apologies only made things worse. Linda tore the letter from the envelope.

“No discernible change in patient’s condition or prognosis,” that’s what the Consultant says. You’re going to be like this forever. No tragically early death or blessed release. This is the new normal. This is the future and I can’t fucking stand the thought of it.

 She came at Tony. Screaming oaths.  Belabouring the baffled drunk with tiny, puny fists of impotent rage. It was only when she turned on the cowering Churchill and launched a kick to the dog’s midriff that Tony reacted. Grabbing her by the wrist, he tried to make Linda see sense. Calm things down. It didn’t happen, so he pushed her away. He’d forgotten how light she was. Feathery bones in a paper sack. She fell over the dog like it was a meat tripwire. Went full length. Landed head first. Banged her temple on the concrete driveway.  Didn’t move. Blood trickled and mixed with the ageing remnants of motor oil stains that remained from the good times.  Linda was still and quiet. Tony took Churchill inside and shut the door. They shared the battered prawn balls, but Tony kept the curry and chips for himself. Satisfied, the two of them dozed on the settee.

Around six o’clock the emergency services finally came. An ambulance for Linda. The dog handler for Churchill. A pair of burly coppers in short sleeves for Tony. The weather was still gorgeous. Tony blinked at the sunlight, then laughed when told to mind his head when they put him in the back of the van.

hard brexit 2

 

 

 

 

 

Brave Men Run

Issue #3 of glove will be out on October 1st. It costs £2 from me, or via PayPal to iancusack@blueyonder.co.uk £3 UK, £4 EU & £5 Rest of World including postage. The new issue contains the work of 33 different contributors, 24 of whom have never appeared in the magazine before. To give a taste, here’s the back cover photo by Cliona Hensey & a piece of short fiction that I’ve contributed -:

glove 3 back

It was a cold dark night in 2017. The MAN had just finished his late shift and was walking through town to the station when a thought came to his mind that it was really quiet and no one was around. The MAN thought this was a bit weird because town is always crowded and loud, especially on a night time when everyone is going to night clubs.

The MAN carries on walking through town when he comes across a Thomas Patterson in a dark alley right ahead of him. The MAN thinks that the Thomas Patterson is hurt so he walks into the long dark alley to check if it was alright. The MAN doesn’t want to get too close so he stops half way down the alley and shouts over to the shadowed Thomas Patterson; “hey there; are you alright? Do you need any help?” The Thomas Patterson slowly turns around to face The MAN who realises what the Thomas Patterson has in its hand. An axe with blood running off it. The MAN turns rapidly and sprints around the corner with the Thomas Patterson on his tail.

Brave men run in my family

After running for some time The MAN finally gets away from the Thomas Patterson, but knows he has to get his train fast. After a little breather The MAN starts running again. After The MAN finally gets to the station, he discovers all of the trains have gone and he has no other way of getting home.

The MAN walked up the stairs to get out of the station when he heard a raw roar of shouting, screaming and cheering. The MAN peaked his head over and saw a crowd of Thomas Pattersons. There was hundreds with one standing in front of them all, holding a microphone. He must have been the leader. The head Thomas Patterson said “today is the day we start the Thomas Patterson apocalypse. LET’S KILL!!!” All the Thomas Pattersons screamed and shouted, then ran off rioting and smashing all of the shops up. The Thomas Pattersons were armed with axes, baseball bats, knives, golf clubs and stuff. The MAN whimpered and ran back into the station to hide.

Brave men run into the setting sun

The MAN knew he had to find a way out of town as quick as possible. After about 10 minutes thinking about a plan to get out of town without being spotted, The MAN heard talking quite close to him. He realised that there was a group of Thomas Pattersons coming down the stairs into the station. The MAN quickly jumped over a wall to try and hide but unfortunately for him there was a tin can on the other side that The MAN hit and made a noise.

The Thomas Pattersons heard the noise and slowly walked over to the wall that The MAN was hiding behind. The MAN had basically no time, so the only thing he could do was run. Just before the Thomas Pattersons got to The MAN, he jumped back over the wall, barging his way through the Thomas Pattersons, pushing them over and running out the station quickly. With the Thomas Pattersons right behind him, he turned swiftly round the corner into an alley and came to a dead end.

Brave men run into captivity

The Thomas Pattersons have The MAN cornered in a dead end with nowhere to go. As the Thomas Pattersons are slowly walking up to The MAN, he discovers a rock on the floor. The MAN slowly reaches down to pick it up and throws it at one of the Thomas Pattersons, hitting it in the head.  The Thomas Pattersons run at The MAN and take him to the ground, then start beating and kicking him. The lead Thomas Patterson is just about to hit The MAN with an axe when he hears someone shout “oi.” The Thomas Pattersons turn around and see Three MEN walking down the alley with guns aimed at the Thomas Pattersons and shouting “get on the floor now.”

Brave men run in my family

The Thomas Pattersons lay on the floor with their hands on their heads. Three MEN handcuffed the Thomas Pattersons and arrested them while The MAN was stretchered to an ambulance and taken to hospital. The next day The MAN woke up all battered and bruised but relieved that it was all over. For now.

Brave men run away from me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

glove #3

glove 3 cover

Contributions to glove #3 are now open via email to iancusack@blueyonder.co.uk & the following points are intended as a guide for those interested in sharing their work.

 

  • The guiding principle for glove is that the maximum possible number of writers is included in the 40 pages of text; consequently only one poem or story per writer will be included.
  • Work must not have been published elsewhere; in exceptional circumstances previously seen blog posts can be considered.
  • Your work remains your copyright; once glove #3 is out, do what you want with your words.
  • Writers should send a maximum of 2 stories or 3 poems.
  • Stories should be a maximum of 2,000 words in length & poems 40 lines; only in exceptional cases will longer work be accepted.
  • We are really keen on flash fiction.
  • Contributions should be sent either as Word document attachments or in the body of an email.
  • To save space in the magazine, no writer biogs will be included, but a Twitter handle & / or website address will appear alongside names in the list of contributors on the inside cover.
  • House style is 12 point Cambria for body text & 16 point for headings.
  • Editor reserves the right to change minor details of punctuation.
  • It is intended that the magazine will appear in September 2017 & all those included will receive one copy in return.
  • There is no set editorial policy or ideology, but anything right wing & / or discriminatory won’t be published.
  • If you hope to be published by glove, there is an expectation you will have seen issue #1 or #2 so you know what we’re about.
  • If not, copies of #2 are still available via PayPal to iancusack@blueyonder.co.uk for £3 UK, £4 EU & £5 Rest of World
  • The twitter account @GloveLitZine will announce when our deadline is up, as well as making other relevant announcements about the mag.
  • We’re really, really grateful for your interest; all contributions will be acknowledged.

 

 

Thanks,

 

ian cusack

editor glove

Hair (from glove #2)

Issue #2 of glove is out now. Containing 40 pages of some of the most challenging & inspirational writing from outside the mainstream, this issue is even better than the debut one. It is available for £2 from the editor in person, or by PayPal to iancusack@blueyonder.co.uk priced £3 UK, £4 EU & £5 Rest of the World. As a little taster, here’s some flash fiction the editor vanity published -:

Glove 2B

Badly in need of a haircut, I headed to town. It took over an hour and a half to get there due to traffic and the fact I needed to murder a couple of people on the way. I know the barber’s times, so I thought it wasn’t a problem when I arrived at 17.05. However as soon as I walked through the door he said “sorry mate. This bloke is my last cut of the day.”

I referred to the 17.15 last cut sign and the 17.30 closing sign without success. I dug out my wallet, showed a clutch of twenties, offered extra cash. He still said no. I screamed “YOU BONE IDLE CUNT!! I’m on time!! You’re breaking the rules!!” Kicked the seats. Kicked the walls. “You fucking twat.”

I ran outside, stripped naked and started tearing out fistfuls of my hair, screaming “you fucking bastard I NEED a haircut!! I NEED ONE!!” I sobbed to myself in rage, then stood in front of the window and began a process of transferring every fluid within me, from every orifice, with malice, onto the glass. I besmeared it with my essence. I rubbed myself all over the shop front until pain and suffering and bleeding caused me to stop. Then I turned, re-clothed and walked off, smiling at all the onlookers. Including children. Especially the children.

I hate children.

Glove 2A

Kinnegad

April 12th is the 30th birthday of Paper & Ink editor Martin Appleby. Don’t send him a card; buy his latest issue, number 10, instead. It’s the best one yet. You can get it from https://www.paperandinkzine.co.uk/shop where you’ll discover I’ve got this short piece in, which I’m really rather proud of -:

kinnegad 3

Long, long time since you were in these parts. An age. More. First thing you notice is the roads. So much better now. Motorways and dual carriageways replacing single file crawling behind ubiquitous tractors. You get off the boat, down the tunnel to the M50 and then your foot’s most of the way to the floor on the M4. Toll plazas and smooth blacktop instead of axle breaker pot holes is the modern way. EU money of course.  On the road anonymity as you watch salaried commuters pulling an early swerve on a Friday tear past you, while you smooth past overstuffed family SUVs heading west for the holiday weekend.  The exit is on you in minutes. No longer the half hour wait to crawl down into the town, listening to the river slip by, anxiously checking the petrol tank warning light, before the traffic broke and you nosed onto Main Street. Cars are a different breed this weather. Unrecognisable compared to years back. Computers like something from Cape Canaveral do all the thinking. Cruise control. Optimum fuel consumption. Wifi. Ipod shuffle. Estimated time of arrival. Far too early. The microchips don’t lie. Just over an hour from the North Wall. Less than half the time than when you took your leave.

kinnegad 1

You’re parked up outside Tesco. Yawning, eyes watering. Early start, 100 miles of good road and a sea crossing catching you up. Leafing through The Westmeath Examiner. Parish notices, court reports and GAA club news from Mullingar and Athlone. Places you’ve not been in half a lifetime. Shoppers come and go. Wheeling full and empty trolleys. Maybe clock the English number plate, but don’t give you a second glance. The wind shakes the leaves. You kill time. Waiting for the pyroclastic flat white from the Insomnia stall to cool. Waiting for the tolling of the Angelus bell, so you can book in soon as it’s turned six o’clock.

Half eight and you’re drying your hair on a monogrammed towel.  Capital Hs everywhere. The Hilamar got flattened in the boom.  Rebuilt as Harry’s in time for the slump and they didn’t ask your permission. Credit card room key from the Spanish fella on reception. Back in the past, he’d have been a language student. Spending the summer. Now, who knows? More his home town than yours. Second floor. Twin room. Street facing. Functional. Drop your bag on one bed and body on another. Two hour blackout. Bolt upright to the sounds of young ones roaring outside the window. Minor disorientation. Complimentary peppermint tea as you flick through the channels. Advert for the Late Late Show. Gaybo. Retired twenty years now. Shake your head and make for the shower. Tepid not boiling. Full power. Rinse away the sweat, the past and the present. Chemical fragrance barrier. Hair, face, mouth and pits. Get the kit on. Ralph Lauren. Paul & Shark. Middle class. Middle aged. Smart and safe. Golf casual.

Deep breath. Out the door. Light click and it’s closed as you skip down the stairs. Busier now. A few booking in. Loads more sweeping through and into the main hall. Distant sounds of 90s pop. Beautiful South; Don’t Marry Her and the next bit gets sung like Amhrán na bhFiann at Croker, third Sunday in September. Squeeze through the crowd. On the street. Cars outnumber people. A hundred steps closer to Connacht for the cash machine. Euros. Puint Éireannach long gone. James Joyce and Douglas Hyde forgotten.  Drop into Coyne’s for a pint. A dozen punters watching Sky Sports News. Nobody talks. Nobody recognises you. Dungarven Helvick Gold; 4.9% IPA from Waterford. Take it to a stool by the window. Watching night fill the empty sky.  Laugh at the memory of burnt coffee porter and bubble-gum lager. Hand over another €5 for a second pint. You could stay here until all hours, but it’s time to go when the text arrives; where you at? Fire one back to say you’re en route, drain the glass and leave, ignored.

Linen shirt flaps in modest breeze. Brisk walk back. Bound up the stairs. Scoot through the place and into the function room. Packed out. Sweltering. Loud. Helium balloons everywhere. Above the tables and hanging off the roof. Eyes grow used to the blue, UV gloom. Over the water they’d say Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials all partying together. That’s there; over here old fellas in suits and Dunnes Stores v necks look bored, swallow flat pints, ignore their smiling wives who sip on Powers and white. Their day has gone.  Ones your age in stripey shirts and slacks. Coming out the other side of a decade long NAMA induced, post-bankruptcy hangover. G&Ts. Corona. Discreetly, you get a place at the bar. In the shadows. In the long grass. Sipping a Black Donkey Sheep Stealer; 5.6% Saison from Roscommon, feeling the lingering citrus, tart on your palate. Not bothered at the sideways stares and baffled glances you’re getting.

Focus your gaze on the young ones.  The future. Better dressed than in your day, but still going for it. Raging full on. Drunk and happy. Singing and not caring about tomorrow. The Whole of the Moon. Jesus you hated The Waterboys, but the under 30s are near crying as they belt it out on the dancefloor and in the garden. The patio doors pulled wide open. Air comes in; cool and smoke dirty. Loads going in and out for fags and joints and dabbing. Forty and fifty somethings tag along. Scrounging blow and toot to look glamorous. A load of them. All ages. Inhaling the helium, then singing The Fields of Athenry like Donald Duck and collapsing in a heap on the damp lawns.  Eejits.  You’re laughing at the word. Not used it since you left, after Hillsborough and Tiananmen Square, but before the Wall came down or we’d qualified for Italia 90.

And now you’re back and she’s seen you. Stepping in from the garden. Waving. Your little girl. Aisling.  Radiant and tall. Her hair long and garlanded with tiny flowers, yellow and blue.  Slim like her mother. Smiling.  A simple dress. Cut loose and natural. Barefoot. Coming towards you. More beautiful than the fading polaroids taken on the day she was born. You got sent them months later, but they’re in your wallet, always.  More beautiful than the album Aisling brought to you after she left home. Pictures telling the stories of starting school, First Communion, Coralstown GAA team photos and the Leaving Cert school prom. More beautiful than the framed phot on the living room wall of her begowned and beaming at graduation or the drunken selfies snapped in Melbourne bars and the posed tourist shots in the shallows of Lake Rotorua.   Still waving with the left hand and her right arm round the waist of her other half, who you’ve not met before.

She reaches you and there’s a blurred, teary hug and a kiss, then more hugs and she’s introducing you to Lydia who she loves more than anyone in the world and is almost as beautiful as Aisling. They’re showing the wedding rings that make them Mrs and Mrs and you’re laughing and crying at the whole world, as you get two bottles of Dom Perignon in a bucket of ice and  you head out to the garden with your beautiful daughter and her beautiful wife. You’re drinking and shouting and roaring at the memory of the pursed lips, disapproving stares and twitching net curtains because you’d got her mother up the stick. The moralising and judgements that made her mother give Aisling away, then run off to die with the drink and the skag in a kip off Dorset Street. Long before Aisling had grown, but long after the scorn and obloquy that sent you away to England and kept you there until now. The knowledge of the ignorance and hatred that drove her parents apart and away sent Aisling to the Southern Hemisphere to find love and acceptance.

kinnegad 2

Now you’re all here where it began and so it ends. In Kinnegad. On the riverbank.  Among those you love. That’s all that matters. Fuck the begrudgers.

“glove” #2

glove 2 pic

Contributions to glove #2 are now open via email to iancusack@blueyonder.co.uk & the following points are intended as a guide for those interested in sharing their work.

  • The guiding principle for glove is that the maximum possible number of writers is included in the 40 pages of text; consequently only one poem or story per writer will be included.
  • Work must not have been published elsewhere; in exceptional circumstances previously seen blog posts can be considered.
  • Your work remains your copyright; once glove #2 is out, do what you want with your words.
  • Writers should send a maximum of 2 stories or 3 poems.
  • Stories should be a maximum of 2,000 words in length & poems 40 lines; only in exceptional cases will longer work be accepted.
  • We are really keen on flash fiction.
  • Contributions should be sent either as Word document attachments or in the body of an email.
  • To save space in the magazine, no writer biogs will be included, but a Twitter handle & / or website address will appear alongside names in the list of contributors on the inside cover.
  • House style is 12 point Cambria for body text & 16 point for headings.
  • Editor reserves the right to change minor details of punctuation.
  • It is intended that the magazine will appear in May 2017 & all those included will receive one copy in return.
  • There is no set editorial policy or ideology, but anything right wing & / or discriminatory won’t be published.
  • Ideally, you will have seen issue #1 so you know what we’re about.
  • The twitter account @GloveLitZine will announce when our deadline is up, as well as making other relevant announcements about the mag.
  • We’re really, really grateful for your interest; all contributions will be acknowledged.

Thanks,

ian cusack

editor glove