Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Poetry by Donal Mahoney

Signs in Windows

In 1920 he came on a boat 
from Ireland and found
his way through Ellis Island.

He found a room 
in a boarding house
catering to his kind and

went looking for a job
but found instead signs
in windows saying 

“No Irish Need Apply.”
A cemetery asked him to
dig graves and lower the dead.

In America today
there are no signs like that.
Black and brown 

apply and whites 
sometimes hire them.
My father was white.

But in 1920 his brogue
was a long rope that
almost lynched him. 

- Donal Mahoney 2017

Donal Mahoney, a product of Chicago, lives in exile now in St. Louis, Missouri. His fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications, including The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The Chicago Tribune and Commonweal.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

New Story by Abigail George


My dad is one of the lucky ones. His voice merges alongside mine like beautiful scraps of material. This is a story about a man but not about any man. It is a story about my father. Fathers are special people. Mostly they encourage you. You tell them about your list of goals and in return, they inspire you to fulfill them. They are the ones standing on the side lines. They are the ones who give you that standing ovation. They are the ones who mouth the words ‘I love you’ and ‘I think that you are brilliant’ when you feel like you did not do as brilliantly as you should have. They are the first ones you go to when you feel sad or when you are happy. All my life that is what my father did. He was not all of those things all of the time. Sometimes he was sad and as a child, it made me feel very angry and confused when daddy cried or was upset. Now, I imagine him as a young adult as a hunter. A lonely warrior whose head was bursting out of his skull, his brain cells tormented by the Periodic Table, smashed up against elegant words like bilateral symmetry, biology, anatomy, dissect, zoology and mitochondria surrounded by a mountain of books, hills and green valleys of physics and chemistry textbooks. My father was like a beautiful shadow, my beautiful shadow that always lingered in my presence. We will talk for hours on everything and nothing at the same time. I do think that I am a poet because of him, because are not all writers poets at some stage in their lives or at least have the potential to become poets within them? He is a writer and a teacher who wanted to become a medical doctor but life had other plans for him. He has been writing all his life to get to this point in time and even now, he is always in pursuit of something or other. He believes in many things and most of all his spirituality, the nature of his soul is like that constellation beyond the trees. Primitive, ancestral, universal and that of a dream catcher. My father is a funny and sweet man. Understanding my love for this funny and sweet man who in his own words has had a curious relationship with his hair on different continents and with the pencil test, whose life story reads like a book of secrets, claustrophobia, vertigo, therapy and it has set my life journey on a trajectory that is (simply put) out of my hands. Human beings do not know as children whether they are truly destined for great things. Whether or not they will be the follower or the leader but all children have the potential for greatness. What unlocked my dad’s greatness? I really do not have an answer for that question. Maybe that surprises you. Maybe you expected me to say that perhaps it was his depression or the fact that he had a mental illness. Most of all, I want your life to be changed by this man’s life and the people who came to love him when he was at the crossroads of the depths of despair, isolation and rejection (and don’t we all fear rejection?) and the edge of hypomania. I think that every person who suffers from a mental illness has a hidden life. When you are depressed, it is another habitat. You are closed off from the rest of the world. Shut off from the rest of normal (what is normal anyway humanity?). You are in that void, that black hole separated from the people who love you the most and there is nothing, nothing that can bring you back from that brink. People tend to think that people who suffer from a mental illness cannot recover completely from it (I think people who think like this think that recovery is the furthest thing from their mind).  Depression damages people and that is a fact. The ego has a mind of its mind here when it comes to chronic illness and the road to recovery. I have seen my funny, sweet, generous and forgiving father happy and unhappy. Seen lucky him, my best friend, through laughter, tears, and the grim winter of depression.

After her bath Anita hung her underwear and stockings up in the bathroom pausing for a minute to study her reflection in the mirror. She smiled to herself. I am a likable person, she thought to herself. Lovable. I am lucky too. I have everything going for me. I am a beautiful person inside and out. Any man would be lucky in his boots to have me. I have a wonderful heart. I am giving, and gracious. Don’t you remember, Kwame? Those are the reasons that you left me. I was too wonderful. I was too giving. You left me because of your wandering eye. Your wandering hands that could leave me feeling hot and cold all at the same time. I could read you inside and out. You could cry in my arms at night but you’re not here anymore, and I don’t have to pick up your wet towels on our bedroom floor anymore. I don’t have to listen to your rock music pumping out of your car stereo as we went to visit my father at the frail aged home. I knew you then as I know you now. That you are a very unforgettable creature, you, you psychiatrist. You could read your patients at the government hospital so well. There was a pill to medicate this and that. You were full of fatherly concern and advice, you baby. I remember how you lit your Camel cigarettes. You called yourself ‘the ultimate Camel man’. Puffed your cheeks up and blew the pale smoke out. You said, I can’t see you anymore. It’s not right. There are boundaries.

Doctor. Patient.

- Abigail George 2017

Pushcart Prize nominee Abigail George is a South African writer of short stories, flash, plays and a poet. She briefly studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg. She is the recipient of two grants from the National Arts Council, one from the Centre for the Book and another from ECPACC. She blogs at

Saturday, March 11, 2017

New Poetry by David Ades

The Dictionary of Obsolete Words

swells fat
with words discarded like dead skin

except where

stoic keepers of language
gone underground

whisper obsolescences to each other —

remember kindness one might say
such a lovely word

once there were even random acts of kindness

and respect another might venture
sounding out its strangeness on the tongue

r   e   s   p   e   c   t

was even a kind of anthem for women
heralded in song —

and on and on through long nights

furtive      reverential
whilst they labour in their burrows amongst

reams of definitions

expansive meanings
embalming words to preserve them

antiquities to be saved

lest they become unspoken
muted      lost forever

- David Ades 2017

David Ades is an Australian poet recently returned from a long stint in the United States. We could be unkind and suggest that he got out just in time.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

New Poetry by Jonathan Beale

What is this architecture and from whom? 

God’s child: yes or no? 
Just playing with Plasticine
Making this metropolis
before language and form:
and of course architecture
before architecture?
This whitest, white, diamond white.
all shape and form
all answers lay below
always just below
never revealed
and always out of reach 

- Jonathan Beale 2017

Jonathan Beale has poems published in many journals.  His work can be found in such books as ‘Drowning’ and ‘The Poet as Sociopath’ (Scar publications). His first collection of poetry ‘The Destinations of Raxiera’ is published by Hammer & Anvil. 

Jonathan's work has recently been published in Anti Heroin Chic, Dissident Voices, Red Fez, Sheepshead Review, Aphelion, Linnets Wing, aaduna, and Horror Sleaze Trash.  He studied Philosophy and lives in Surrey.