Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Older by Daniel Cloney

There's a clock in this room,
I swear I can hear it.
There's a clock in this room,
Just can't fucking find it.

Keep finding pictures of me
From your younger days.

Something's chasing me through
These streets, and I'm losing;
When the fire dies, I hear
It stepping through my veins...

I found a picture of me
From your wedding day.

Keep seeing you in the mirror, and it scares me.

Train (time fades away) by Kevin Kavanagh

Train (time fades away)

The train pulls away,and I enter my carriage.
It's filled with the same piercing silences that fill
the halls of home. For now,I fill my seat.
I have no destination,possessing barely a thought
for that notion.

Leaving was easy. Daily the white noise came,
crushing in its monotony.

But the noises here are real. The cups and cutlery
clatter as the tea trolley passes my seat,drawing
interest from the woman opposite me. Her voice
fills the carriage for the first time,feeding my
anxious mind with thoughts.

The polite code of silence is otherwise adhered,
save for those children who knew no better.
Everyone sits,silently judging and painting stories
of what one would imagine of another's life.
Each of us unable to face ourselves

The train swallows the land,as time fades away

Monday, March 7, 2011

At the Window by Eamonn O'Neill

At the Window

            It’s okay during the sunlight. Just about okay. Night is when everything starts to shift. Inside changes with the out. Heart beats a little faster, air feels a little tighter. Like my whole body is playing a trick on me. My creator laughing at me. Like he made me defective so he could laugh on the lonely days. If he’s anything like me then there are lonely, lonely days. But they can’t hold a torch to the night.
            “CBT or cognitive Behavioural Therapy may have better results than medicating. It’s a kind of exposure therapy that retrains the brain. To be honest, sedatives really shouldn’t be used the way you’re using them.”
            He waits for me to reply. I don’t. 
             “There’s an article I read recently by a peer of mine that says if nychtophobia isn’t faced it grows. The Chinese call this kind of anxiety a hungry ghost. They say the only way to neutralise it is to learn to face it. This is what the exposures would aim to achieve. The same article states that the phobia has been known to be extremely disruptive to adult patients and incapacitating if it is constantly blanketed with medication.”
             Ray Johnston BSc. (Psych.) looks at me after he says his piece. Am I supposed to be enlightened? Am I supposed to be relieved? Am I really, truly supposed to give a shit anymore?
            “What do you think James?”
            “It’s been about twelve years now. People just figured I’d grow out of it, I guess... I don’t know what do you want me to say? That I can see myself retraining my brain? I can’t.”
            “See James what I don’t understand is how it started when you were thirteen. For example people who have been attacked at night, especially in their homes exhibit symptoms of nychtophobia. Was there any kind of trigger that started this? Remember what you say here is confidential.”
            He looks at me. I look at him. Directly in the eye no less and I tell the mother of all black little lies.
            “Look James...”
            Doctor Ray grabs the bridge of his nose with his thumb, index and forefinger. He closes his eyes tightly and sighs as he says my name. This makes me feel about as good as the shit that sticks to the toilet. The unclean, odorous smear on your otherwise pristine porcelain. The one that doesn’t flush.
            “I’m going to be completely honest. The kind of fear you have of the dark at twenty five years of age is rare. Without a trigger even more so. I know all the self help books tell you you’re a good, normal person but you aren’t normal. This fear is preventing you from having a normal life.”
            “I don’t have an awful lot of luxuries Dr. Johnston. I know it must be frustrating to understand but these sedatives are the only thing that really help me.”
            “Have you tried any forms of psychotherapy? I know most psychiatrists are very pharma friendly, most overly so but I really think some form of exposure therapy would benefit you. I’m not against medication James, most of the people that come here need it. They have severe chemical imbalances but you don’t. Simply put; you’re sane. This fear of the dark has been learned. You need to unlearn it.”  
            “It’s not that easy... I...”
            “It’s not as easy as living your life as an over-the-counter drug abuser?”
            People have called them moments of clarity, revelations and epiphanies; I suppose that’s accurate enough. All I know for sure is for the first time in a long time I feel I should cop on and stop feeling sorry for myself. I stand up and Ray can’t hide the half smile from his face.
            “You’re right.”
            Dinner passes slowly. No one talks at the table. It’s just me, my father and my mother listening to each other eating.
            “How was the doctor?” my father manages.
            “Goodish, I’m not going to take my meds for awhile and see what happens.”
            “That’s good” my mother says. She hasn’t listened to what I said but at least she pretends. We all go back to eating. I listen more intently than before.
            The light is on. I’ve closed every door that leads out of the hall except the door to my room. Inside is illuminated. There is the main light, a night light, three lamps and an array of candles. I figure if a bulb goes out I should be okay. Even a power cut and the candles should burn until it’s at least dusk. Worst comes to worst and everything goes I’ve got three flashlights. They should keep the room bright enough.  I get ready for bed, I can feel the darkness at my back. Pulling across the curtains becomes something of an epic melodrama. I close my eyes approaching the window but something in Dr. Ray’s makes me open them. Exposure therapy. I think of the homeless in Iraq sleeping peacefully as another car explodes. Shadows creep around the garden like wooden snakes. The contrast of black on black, the noise of the wind and the sneering shadows watch my every move.
            The wind dies down. I can’t figure out if this is more or less jarring. A coldness descends on me and melts on my heart. It drips anxiously into my stomach.
            It started when I was thirteen. A film about a madman, a butcher’s knife and a mask. The mask was a metaphor for trust, how could you trust what you couldn’t identify? The knife was a metaphor for a surgery of sorts. For changing something that was already fine. Marketing out humanity. Pornography defiles love. The law defiles truth while upholding it. Beauty is taught with billboards and silicone. We smile at each other then spit behind backs, shake the hand of neighbouring countries with ever growing armaments. Twist the meaning of our Gods to let us do whatever we want. Denying those who worship him a veto on our dogmatic putrification of His purity. I’m not religious but it’s only because I understand God’s message. Sometimes I wish the darkness of humans scared me as much as the darkness of night.
            The film ended and I went to bed a little jarred. At the time not reading so much into the subtext. I highly doubt the writer or director ever have. I knew those sort of things didn’t happen to people like me. Knew my parents would keep me safe from the outside. And then as I thought this and started drifting to sleep something knocked on my window. It knocked four times, then a pause, then four more.
            I wasn’t afraid of what I saw initially. But twelve years spent thinking about it. That changed things. Behind the glass a person stared back at me. The lips contorted as if they were torn. Four knocks- pause. Four knocks- pause...over and over. You’d think I would have called my parents, maybe I should have. But I didn’t. The person was about my height. My weight. It didn’t hit me until I saw his eyes.
             He was me.
            The imposter stopped knocking at my window and frowned. He tapped his nose four times and faded into the night. I would lie in bed waiting for the knock but it never came. In time I convinced myself it was all a dream. Then one night a terrible thought occurred to me. The reason my imposter didn’t knock against my window was because he was inside. He didn’t need to knock anymore.
            I began seeing abstract images of myself in the darkness. I was standing at the edge of my closet, the foot of my bed or peering from inside the television. Sometimes stray clothes curled into the foetal position and took my form. The imposter was everywhere in the darkness. Smiling his twisted smile. He was safe inside and I wasn’t.
            I went on medication once the ‘night terrors’ interrupted my parent’s dreams. They have been sleeping soundly for twelve years now.
            The first night without the medication was less intimidating than I expected. I slept for a few hours and even turned off the lamps. Only the candles and night light remained. Being inside the belly of the beast couldn’t live up to the twelve year prologue I had given it. Maybe it was all childish delirium. I looked for myself in the room. Months passed and I found no one. The exposures were working. Nothing to fear but fear itself, the phrase had never made as much sense to anyone as it now did to me.
            The darkness has become a kind of peace. It soothes me. The abyss in my eyes is a welcome break from the vibrant city lights. I rest easily tonight.
            “Knock, knock, knock, knock...”
            “Knock, knock, knock, knock...”
            It’s not the sound of banging, not this time. This time it’s just a voice. And somewhat unsurprisingly it’s my voice. I’m not afraid, I’ve been waiting for this for twelve years. If my imposter is behind the glass then he is not underneath my skin. I don’t turn on the light. I open the curtains and stare at myself. I stare back. It’s cold outside. I have to keep rubbing my arms just to keep the heat inside my body. I start to wish I’d worn a hat. I open the window and leave it on the latch. I lean out and look at myself. I look tired. I light a cigarette.
            “Can I bum one of those off you?” I ask the imposter, “It’s really cold out here.”
            “I hand the imposter a cigarette “what are you doing back here? It’s been awhile you know. Haven’t exactly had a great time these past twelve years.”
            I walk into my room wearing my trademark smile and stare at myself talking to myself. How many of these imposters are there? This is all getting very interesting. I laugh inwardly. I see someone walking into the room behind the imposter with the cigarettes. It’s so cold out here.
            “You think I could come inside with you two? Really is cold.”
            “Two?” I turn around and there he is. Twelve years. My heart pangs for a second. I will not be afraid of this imposter. I am not afraid of myself anymore.
            “Yeah come in.”
            I climb through the window and feel the heat as soon as my feet touch the ground.
            “Don’t smoke in here though, I don’t like having a smoky room.”
            “Me neither!” I say. The one who just came in the window doesn’t laugh but the other imposter grins a little.
            “Why are you always smiling? Twelve years of smiling must get a little tedious?” I’m not afraid. Not afraid. Afraid.
            “Bad things happen in life James, can’t be helped really. Gotta just smile your way through. When life hands you lemons...”
            “Make lemonade?” I interrupt. I’m still a little cold.
            “Well, if you want yes, but has life given you the water and sugar?” I’m probably smarter than both these imposters.
            “Life can’t give you everything. I get it, well done you’re clever.” I hate people who think they’re smarter than everyone else.
            “So I suppose you want to know why I’m back?”
            “I’d prefer to know why you came in the first place but yeah, why are you back?”
            “Milestones, well that’s what I think anyway. You pass a milestone, knock, knock blah, blah you get it?”
            He’s wrong. Everything hits me, it all makes sense now. He was never an imposter. I turn around to the quiet one rubbing his arms by the window.
            “How do you feel today?”
            “Huh?” Why is he asking me this? I don’t really feel like talking.
            “How do you feel? Life wise like?”
            “I dunno a little down I guess, life hasn’t really worked out the way I hoped it would you know?” Why is he smiling at me? Condescending...that’s so condescending. I just opened up to him. Everyone thinks I’m stupid now...
            I laugh. It’s all so simple!
            “You guys have been thinking I’m the imposter right?!”
            “Well yeah, I know who I am but I don’t know who you are. You just look like me.” I frown a little.
            “Same.” I hope he doesn’t laugh at me again.
            “And of course I feel the same about you guys!”
            “So none of us are imposters!”
            “I get it...that’s sad...I’m gonna stay depressed forever and he’s gonna take over when we’re happy. And you’re gonna take over we’re enlightened or something right?” Depressed forever, that’s awful. I hope the suicidal one takes over soon.
            “But we still feel. How can we feel if we’re the feelings?” Unlucky imposter. You aren’t as smart as you think!
            “Think of something sad happy James!”
            “Like what?”
            “Like the time granddad died.”
            I burst into tears. They’re gonna think I’m really stupid now.
            “See! You’re not crying sad James is!”
            “Hmm, good work. I think you must be stable James. Sad, stable and happy, that makes sense right?” This one isn’t as stupid as I thought. 
            “Yeah but that can’t be it. There must be more of us.” The sad James is starting to annoy me now. It’s like he’s looking for attention or something. I can’t believe that’s what I’m like when I’m miserable. No wonder the mother doesn’t pay attention.
            I want to go home. I want to be alone.
            “You’re right ‘cos we’ve been angry, and frustrated and horny. Heh heh you know how I feel about curvy blondes... of course you do hahaha!”
            The happy one is a bit annoying too. Is that really how I act when I’m happy? What’s wrong with this one he doesn’t laugh just smiles. He’s boring as hell. And that sad one’s a pain in the ass. I hate both of these people. I want to go home. I want to be alone. I’m so stupid.
            “So who’s in charge now?”
            “I dunno I guess we just wait and see what happens.”
            Knock, knock, knock, knock...

Art by Ben Hennessy

Friday, February 18, 2011

Poems by Nicola Fortune


I want the choice to decide
Not only by your words must i abide
I regret but am happy to tell you
I live for me and what i do.

Whispering in an ear you shouldn't
 Living deadly dreams knowing you couldn't
With foolish eyes that led you on
To defeat the purpose of that song.

I tell you i quit to have hope,
Release this, to have ability to cope.

I wish I hadn't heard the voice that spoke
Wrap your words around my neck
Learn to efficiently choke.
Grievances of a past scar you know is there
Guilt of a past love you know wasn't fair
I no longer know what I'm trying to say
So I'll leave it for today...

I'll leave it for you to ponder this way.

Heaven At My Feet

Heaven is so far away
And I'm loosing my will to stay young
The story She told me would, has begun
And as the wind blows, it sings the song i gave to the sun.

Heaven is so far away
And I've no morality left to defend
Because of that, do you except the only gift i send?
Promising to perfect it infinitely before it's end.

Heaven is so far away
Yet here I am standing with my Heaven at my feet
Hearing a voice softly telling me
'' I've kept you a seat''
Come sit along side me, feel relief
Smile at defeating defeat.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Explanation by Nicola Fortune

Explanation of what I've witnessed
There's no purpose of it's persistance
Voiced worries over a common heart
None of your replies fit the questioned part
Why say all the things you've said?
While dumping motives innocently in my head
The coincidental stench was leaving
Until your heart and soul gave up believing
There's nothing now i can say to change the bad
Although puzzled by a face that looks so glad
Sometimes it's best not to ponder on the things we could have had.

How long lasts this imprisonment
Depends on yourself and your own temperment
Believing in what's meant to take place
Gives fate it's never ending changing face
Don't let the sand fall through the cracks in your hand
Acting as your heart, you will die if it touches land
Listen to the child who has so profoundly something to say
It will change the process of your every waking day
There is no greater tradegy than your own idealisation
With it, it does not bring any worthy gratification
And with no way further to a full realisation
There goes yet another wasted explanantion.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Poems by Shane Hurley

Letter to Home

You will never understand the shallow thoughts I dismiss.
Your way into heaven will never bring upon you bliss.
You can march up the stairwell 'til your whole body is sore.
See the world there not accepting your angels anymore.

I took a walk towards the city last night,
In my damp and sweaty clothes, as high as a kite.
The buzz off the students once excitement in the air,
Reminded me how much, these days, I don't care.

So now I'm back in the world where the first is the last,
And finally release all that shit from your past.
I've seen a man disappear and a nurse loose her mind,
I'm just about at the end of being patient and kind.

Paying for a lie by living by your side,
Drown me when the tide comes in.
Paying for a lie the old persona died,
It's too late now but I still cry sometimes.

Feeling so sick now, 
Have to give up sometime,
Thought I saw an angel,
But she was just in my mind.

Substitute For Love

Incapable of love,
Unable to love,
Long to love and be loved,
Substitutes don't exist.

Not suited to drink,
Not suited to eat,
Not suited to drugs,
But I am addicted to all of them.

Always wondering and searching,
For something that can't be found,
It flaunts its stuff to tease me,
I see it here and living on the town.

Even the one's who are worse you wear,
Don't seem to cry, I guess they're unaware, 
Of the things that are bad, but they keep them together,
If I could trade all my friends I wouldn't think twice to sever.

Will someone come and just take me out,
Or put something worthwhile to say in my mouth,
I've even again tried to look up above,
But no one ever owns or substitutes your love.