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An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.

Issue One




In the presence of the presence
that's been present all along,
some things are terribly right
and some are terribly wrong.

Some things are terribly clear
and some are still subliminal.
They're singing the same old song
from the new Higgs Boson Hymnal.

The octopus dreams of the fisherman's wife.
The sea is a gift and an affliction.
The trees outside my window
are bare without exception.

The dishwasher's gulping water.
The world is brought to its knees.
A full moon has shown up among
branches' intricacies.

Angel Hour

This morning I thought of the angels
I saw in a pre-dinner catnap
some years ago in Istria
and the tremendous crack
of thunder that same day
in a village where we lunched
on our way back to the coast.
I remember how they stood
in rank with their backs to me
on a road of golden clouds
that climbed into the sky
from our holiday bedroom.
Luminous, light as whispers,
I fancy they appeared
at the equidistant point
between lunch and dinner,
and wonder was that the point
of fasting in the old
church – vision's possibility,
the deeds of saints and martyrs,
the heights of Alvernia,
the desert and the voice
that cried in the wilderness?
The dry thunderclap
started me from my soup:
what I'd read about the war
came to mind though it never got
to the bistro we sat outside
on the borgo's single street.
I had ordered a second glass
of Pinot Grigio when bang!
a mortar shell behind me
blasted the afternoon.
But everything was OK,
the thunder merely a warning –
two glasses are enough
and then the angels showed
in the stretch of abstinence
before the night's renewal
of appetite and glut.

Token, Elephant

The woman in the token room
was giving out their tokens
to men without employment
whose grip on life was broken.

And a few token women
in an hour free of hardship
were there collecting tokens
for their couch-potato partners.

The token woman sat
at a metal desk, beside
an elephant no one noticed –
it seemed easier to hide

an elephant than a token
from their eyes. How ever
could that happen? I wondered
and asked the token-giver

'Do you not even notice
an elephant's strong smell?'
'Of course! It's inescapable.
It stinks the place, and still

I do not see an elephant.
But there's a whiff,' she said,
'like the odour of some elephants
I saw in Berkhamstead.'

I asked the token women
among the mainly male
visitors to the token room,
I asked to no avail

if they had seen the elephant,
they told me take a hike.
I asked the jobless fellows
and they answered alike.

To this day, in the token room,
the token woman doles
to men and token women
tokens to ease their woes,

and there's an elephant standing
beside her in the room
and no one sees the elephant,
or so I must assume.

Ciaran O'Driscoll  lives in Limerick. A member of Aosdána, he has published eight books of poetry, including Gog and Magog (1987), Moving On, Still There (2001), Surreal Man (2006) and Life Monitor (2009). His work has been translated into many languages. Liverpool University Press published his childhood memoir, A Runner Among Falling Leaves (2001). His novel, A Year's Midnight, was published by Pighog Press (2012). His awards include the James Joyce Prize and the Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry.

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