Issue 4: Connor O'Callaghan
I believe in the classifieds’ sepia first thing.
I believe our southern persimmon
houses a northern flicker. I believe in wind-chimes,
economy rentals, the silt of old dreams.
I believe in lakeshore overviews mid-afternoon,
my son’s sneakers beneath the ottoman,
pylons, shadow puppets, the gravitational pull
of goosepimples in the half-light of an instrument panel.
I believe in upping sticks and losing touch,
the matter in hand perhaps, evensong at a push,
even meteor showers thrown from a truck ahead
on a good night, and yet I draw a line between god
and ghosts. Snow’s coming. Asheville’s up to its neck.
We’re next. I step out late to check
the stationwagon, chanting Tenebrae factae sunt
under my breath that an acquaintance burned
to disc as “Darkness enveloped the lot.”
I could buy that.
The Peaks were so beautiful,
out loud. A moustache opposite
England were friendly with Brazil
that night. A Russian in a VW
dropped me at the airport hotel.
I left a bar half-full on the table.
The carpark was late and greeny blue.
It started about there.
The stars out even looked made up.
Between every boom a gap
and rooks you could hear
until watery black fell, or rose
more like, like a name told once
and wished away on a month’s
afternoon’s heaven’s bruise
or some open mouth
bubbling its last of loads of ‘I am’s
or the pair of flooded arms
that still can’t catch my breath.
That arts & crafts still for sale,
shutters all always shut,
is the safest place to park.
Blaming the market, they shipped north.
Who’d have thought a year
would find me stalking our old selves
while neighbors wheel their trash
to the sidewalk for the morning
and try to memorize the reg
of the navy wagon back again?
Mostly I mark papers
by light run off the alternator.
Though lately I’ve been praying, lady,
that whatever kingdom come there is
is a street we owned a place on
where the life we meant to love
and ran screaming from mid-stream
completes itself without us
and it’s evening over and over again.
A piece of Plantation House chandelier
is dismantling the last bar of sun
into bit and bobs of iris.
In the yard each lost wish still chimes
even though there’s no wind.
There is a barometer stalled on ‘Fair’,
a slow air remastered on the squeezebox.
The sea, gone miles out of its way, is there
as a screensaver reflected in the screendoor.
And our heirs are there in the ping-pong
and hip-hop of the garage’s murk.
And I, in some shape or form,
am there as well. And you are there.
Conor O'Callaghan was born in Newry, Northern Ireland, in 1968 and grew up thirteen miles away in Dundalk in the Republic of Ireland. he has published three original collections of poems. The most recent, Fiction (2005), was a PBS recommendation. A comic prose memoir, Red Mist, appeared from Bloomsbury in 2004. He teaches creative writing both in Sheffield Hallam University and on the distance learning MA at Lancaster University. He lives in Manchester.