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by Carolyn McGee


The Montreal Review, August 2010




Into the Darkness


My mind is like a subway ride

Barreling forward into the great depths

Taking turns  


                 into my soul

Occasionally forcing myself back into reality

Arriving at Castle Frank,   

                                         Castle Frank station.

Lifting, gathering up bits of the world

each with their own minds,   




And then, content that I have played the part for long enough,

I submerge myself back into the darkness.

Only faint lights lead me.

A vague direction--only intuition

tells me where I am

As I take        the         pieces

that people my mind

into the ropey channel of my thoughts

Each time knowing that

there will be light.

eventually, there will be another stop  

             another brief brush with reality          


every time I'm in the dark

I can't avoid despair

--Even though I know, somewhere   

the bright lights  

                 imitating sun, happiness

will be there, with the flamboyantly dressed characters that board to be carried away,--

each darkness brings fear, and a plummet

an anti-gravity  

       following the twists   

                 and turns  

               I have followed   

for so long

I still get lost.

Maybe, after dozens, fortnights of stops

There will be light, (real light)

but only once we burst through these tunnels into open air  

     There will be light

Not the one created by sub par human hands

No longer the artificial happiness we have tried to impose. 

This train will be going out of service. 


Beeswax Vocal Chords


We sing, voices together

feeling the resonance with our blind sight

one that comes only with sweet harmony.

all traces of pretension

    --the ill that rampantly plagues musicians

   left behind;

   or held back

And yet, nothing else held back

not just not held back

but th r o  w  n    f   o    r    w     a     r      d

Voices thrown with surging joy


thrown forward

into the fresh mountain air

to feel the resonance.

and that deep love, that joy

        joins the sonic waves

bound in sweet union.

the union is one long told

The One of voice and love

--from romanticized images of the past

Oft forgotten and cast aside, that combination.

words go awry

waves lost, dematerialized in insincerity

        lyrics broken into rubble

                     rubble into dust

when with bitterness; apathy; a disconnect

a man puts froth into song.

So sing!

voices bound with love

driven by the force of sure-hearted antiphony


by the desire to pour our beautiful wax of soul

onto the cold linoleum floor

of lost ears.


Spinal Wyrttruma


Joe sits

firmly planted

in the seat in only the way

after a hard worked day

of planting.

Perhaps a farmer

             a lonely man

                     with one, lone cow

             perhaps a tree planter

                     young and robust

and perfectly peculiar.


his spine

extends downward

like roots into the ground,

having planted, and he himself planted

and secluded in this great clearing

       sometimes, sits

       say the vowel of my vicissitude

       say the comfort

                           of dawn.


Sleeping in misery


This sleep is like no other

where dreams can eat your soul

and the dull, long prong of the devil's claw may pierce your heart.

Go; anon,

roll in the grasses of his imagination

until the soft dew soaks your skin

before the thistles grow and curl around you

tightening their thorny grip

with each breath of respiration

Soon, that time will come

and you'll have o find another pastime

lest you go without grassy rambles for the rest of your days.

This sleep is just like another

Another that aint a sleep no more:

has morphed to a crystalline state

and bin' crunched between the teeth

of that tiger's gristly jaw.


Ink and Pen


Testing to see

whether this pen

will work

whether this hand

sophisticated motor skillage

can break the skin of time

and let ink flow like blood

onto the curmudgeonly page,

who, after waiting too long

to feel the stroke of the letters

and let those letters pour into its poor soul

like they were

pouring out of the penholders soul.

Fast, feather this page,

tether this page feather of the quill of old


so as to wick away moisture

as if that ink

had forever been a part of that page

(as if anyone, everyone

would believe such sly claims)

So, find if the hand will move they way you'd like it to

see if it draws you out, old papyrus

from your withdrawn state

with its stroking

to sponge the dew of a fresh mind;

the slow breathing milk of an elder's wisdom

always in fine hand

however unintentionally so.


Battle of the Brows


I hear the far off rumbling of the train

And the mournful moans of the klesmyr violin

The air being forced through the tunnel

And the sweet reverberation of taut strings

crying out as the bow caresses

One sound feeding in to each ear

                 I'm put in the middle of a fight

The violin crying out for it all to stop

The speed to great

                 the air too objecting



The train growling with guttural heaves

                 the sound too sweet

                     the beauty out of place; purposeless

I mediate the battle with my separate ears

                 both drinking in

                 both pushing out

An ear may not make a sound

                 No air to manipulate

                     to knock around

But it can give the sounds a nudge

                 reject them as pitiful

                 rejoice in it as freeing.



Illustration: Iain Faulkner -(b.1972). Faulkner was born in Glasgow and is a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art.

"Faulkner's works often incorporate multiple mediums, including gold leaf, wax, pastel and collage, creating surfaces that are layered and complex. In technique, imagery and texture, his paintings convey a sense of timelessness, as well as a remembrance of times past."

-- Eleanor Ettinger Gallery

Iain Faulkner's paintings are about capturing calm and contemplative moments, intimate exchanges, solitude, sometimes melancholy, heightened in their resonance by the use of chiaroscuro.  Faulkner's use of this technique gives a stark contrast between the light source and the often dark tonality found in his paintings. There is a stillness in the everyday themes which conveys a sense of inner reflection. This is accentuated by the formality of his young self-engrossed characters and emphasised by the light and shadows reinforcing their emotional detachment.

His works can be purchased at Eleanor Ettinger Gallery (119 Spring St., Ground floor, New York, NY 10012, USA) and Albemarle Gallerie ( 49 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4JR, U.K. )


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