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Sunday, 9 November 2014



Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Introduction by Christine Murray to The Bled Sun--Michael Mc Aloran (Oneiros Books)


 Seething in the dark spitting dragonfly seeds into crimson mists head snared the body limp skeleton of mud ashen blessed skyline of the fall there was nowhere else

(Ah to the shithouse…going on and never returning… better for less…) from ever unto

Michael Mc Aloran’s selected prose, The Bled Sun, is a departure from the thoroughly developed symbol use that is inherent in his poetry and poetic prose. Those familiar with Mc Aloran’s themes and poetic voice will enjoy his selected prose. New readers will find an energetic anti-poet of sure economy.

One of Mc Aloran’s prose protagonists is the HCE[1] of feral drug-addiction, whose swansong is a lingering and desperate thing in final fragments. While the seedy underbelly of the drug-raddled and nameless city of dissipation mirrors the voice of its protagonist.

The Bled Sun is almost beautiful in its sheer repellence. Affliction goes beyond our necessity to speak, it is a state from which the writer and reader both know that there is no return.

I sit and drink, the rats scratching behind the skirting boards briefly entertain me…The room is filled with cigarette smoke, and fading, vague light…I refuse to entertain the memories that have brought me to this point, sustained me throughout the rages, unto this utter desolation…I snatch up a bottle and smash it off the wall to silence the bastards…The silence, returns…I clasp tightly at what glass remains, it bites, the blood flows, the pain elevates me… (from  final fragments)

These then are Mc Aloran’s works of prose necessity. Here is both the  swansong and screaming hope of one who has seen too much casual death through final fragments, dissipation, and ever unto. The final section of the book, from nowhere, is a novella in itself

The Bled Sun is sometimes nauseating in its expression and yet the reader cannot look away, the nadir of the human condition is just a burning hit into a collapsed vein away.  If we do not speak its hellishness, how then are we to recognise the most unmapped zone of the human psyche ?


From the Notebooks of __________ )

closed flesh, a wound seared by the closure of the scream, in my death-dreaming skull a closed fist of madness: I was alive tearing at the limits of the sky…a prism through which the facets of nothingness, discoloured as bruised flesh: I long for the heartless wonder of death, for the absence I may never know…in my translucent skull I fade out of laughter unto the intoxication that is non-being…time has no essence, here, where, where the fuck ever…I am waste unto my becoming, I will be waste in this…as if to spray the sky with blood cum and spit were not enough that I might fall back upon that which I cease to erase…

 (from dissipation)

Jean Genet put images of serial killers on the walls of his prison cell, he masturbated onto his pages,  he worshipped these men with their blank and appalling gazes. Here were the pimps and demons of Paris in endless and narcissistic display. Our Lady Of The Flowers was torn up by a prison guard, Genet rewrote it. In the masturbatory filth and human desperation of his prison cell Genet wrote a great classic whose influence reverberated like a hammered nail through the work of future poets and writers, especially the Beats.

We don’t want necessarily to recognise the nadir of physical desperation, because it is worlds away from what we project about our cities, their literature. What hides in these alleys and torn up bedsits is not the business of the book club really. We avert our gaze from poverty and desperation because it illuminates what we think we have rejected. How stupid we are!

The final chapter or section of the book, from nowhere, is an entire novella in itself. Here, the writing has coalesced into a story about a man on the verge of suicide.  from nowhere is stand alone in many ways, looser in theme and less experimental than ever unto. There is a likeability about the protagonist, or maybe his resignation is compelling,

…Ah the whores, they were out tonight on the promenade, I almost choked on my laughter. An auld fucker like me, staggering, half-lost, they’d have robbed me blind and the Caribinierri, well, they’d have probably laughed until they shat themselves at me and the condition of me, drunk and dishevelled, and not a note in my wallet, smeared with lipstick from some gristle bone and flesh. No I just kept walking, that was enough to contend with. Back to my shadow upon the wall and the half-light of the candle and the headlights searching the walls and then across the ceiling. 

( from nowhere)

The reader has in The Bled Sun an extensive selected prose  of diversity and intensity by Michael Mc Aloran which holds interest and is unencumbered by the necessity to fit into traditional publication structures.

Simone Weil writing on affliction describes a hammer driving a nail through wood, its echoes circling the globe, still,

In the realm of suffering, affliction is something apart, specific, and irreducible. It is quite a different thing from simple suffering. It takes possession of the soul and marks it through and through with its own particular mark, the mark of slavery. (Simone Weil)

The thing about creating such a vibration is that it can be incredibly difficult to sustain it, and such a writer who does must answer to it and develop his theme outward can become lost in attempting its expression. These are large themes that require the lived/livid approach to their verbalisation. This book is not for the pussy reader.

Not here, the rag and bone shop of genteel horror at coming age[2], but the wound of necessity making itself known to those of us who may have watched in blind helplessness the transmogrification of the human to the feral animal during the course of heroin addiction.The masked face, the bottomless black pits that were eyes. The emptying of the human being and his replacement with the salts and metals of addictions. That.

But McAloran would laugh at my simple attempts to place his work in a literary context, it is his own. The Bled Sun is lived/livid with despair, scorn, deep anger, the voice of necessity. This book had to be written or vomited- and we are the better for it.

An Irish society that is so terrified of its own shadow that it deliberately denies human experience and puts on this mismanaged and terribly trite front that permeates the too-pretty, too genteel literature that clogs the shelves and pushes out the Genets, the Batailles, the Chars and anything that gives a whiff of being a bit too dark, a bit too cadaverous, maybe a bit too chiarascuro or baroque.

I don’t give a shit really about critics here. A lot of  current critique is pattern book, as if there were a mean. The glorious technicolor of the self-affirming seeks only to alienate a generation of young and radical writers who will find their material through the independent presses or online. Questioning the established modus operandi is the work of the writer and McAloran does so extremely.

--Christine Murray

                 H.C Earwicker / Here Comes Everybody /Humme the Cheapner, ESC,/  Huge Chain Envelope al
                Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.

                 Yeats The Circus Animals’ Desertion

The Bled Sun is available from Oneiros Books, here

The Bled Sun--Michael Mc Aloran (Oneiros Books)

4 narrative prose novellas, 217 pages:

final fragments (2010)

dissipation (2010)

ever unto (2011)

from nowhere (2011)

'The Bled Sun is an exhibition of decay,the decay of mind and flesh. Throughout these set of narratives, the narrator is a dissolving self; the perception of dissipation – the combat of disintegration and the destruction of self; an unorthodox self-analysis that even the likes of Gherasim Luca would detract from. The language itself distorts and contorts with a voice of dishevelment. If words were ever to be scars they would be perfectly perpetrated by the mind of Mc Aloran. This is heat his most vitriolic; he vents pains like dissonant choirs on isolated plains poetic and ardent as so. His form(s) like bleeding cadavers in a vacuum; its body, its apparatus will indeed summon you into its void of ashen perils. The narrator does not express himself quietly, The Bled Sun screams at you with a discontent of provocation. Debatably, it’s an existential book of qualms however;the idealism of existentialism here is in itself, dying a slow death. There is immense vocal abnegation, an evaluation of annihilation; the experience of woe is illustrated in Mc Aloran’s words with an explicit power…yet, these words are the very marrow of its brilliance. '

--Craig Podmore


Michael Mc Aloran's new collection is a series of stunning prose poetry novellas that foreclose on the debt where the lesion was, the small scars in the places where meaning was torn from the broken body. The broken bodies are left to console themselves with alcohol, ejaculation, damaged words. Names do not apply to temporary fragmented things & love is a wound; wherever consolation is, it is not to be found among humans. It is not made of words. Get this book, it is not there to console you for anything or to render the night less murderous. There is no catharsis here, just the naked asshole of a dead god nailed spreadeagled across the sky to remind you of the nothing. & that is the only valid purpose of art."

--David McLean

The Bled Sun is available from Oneiros Books here

Friday, 18 July 2014

Christine Murray


gold-bodied a beetle dives

into muck and dirt a silica
of glitter on his porch,

his wing.
there is no evidence of his home now
it is vanished,

small soil tabernacle
he carried in the sun.


this is the point where colour comes in

a slap of blue/ the wooden baker's palette
hits glittering concrete

city of silica, its bedrock trembles a bit

glossy/ the blackbird’s sunbath/his beak
goldened almost/yellow


  the crystal greys are almost invisible
they litter the paths where colour is

a blue blue bird is stone dead shocked
nesting season is vicious/ wind lifts

the blue.

wind minutely investigates the small
corpse and moves on

the blue against the grey
the crystal beneath

not the sun/not the moon exposes
the glittering


the nest

not met

unreached :

a mess

of opalesescent white
dark blood /in a forest of shell

reds mostly:

a jewel
old oxblood lid

the hem of a

skirt needing

a papered jar

with needles in,
some coins.

from 'the silences' (series)

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Introduction by Christine Murray to 'the king is dead' - Reuben Wooley (Oneiros Books)

songs of the redwet bones / the king is dead by Reuben Woolley

mountain poem

that idea here
safe. hold
on to it . your life
on the next word

the king is dead is a Promethean gamble that pays off for Reuben Woolley, a book that seems to be absurdly minimalist in its expression manages to body-cage and reduce universal themes to striking symbols that set into balance the agonies of existence along with a patient longing for death. Death is a transformative process that has some inherent physical repellence. Its leavings are everywhere, and can destabilise one for moments, or for eternities,


death came early this morning
I know . I saw her
she came strafing
quiet houses . slashing
infants with shrapnel
gutting the sick with bayonets . she said
I am only here
invited . I limit damage
remove pain . I am
the final cure

The body lets us down all the time. It is the site of the vagaries of coming age that Yeats may have hinted at, although he hardly put the cartilage and the blood-bag into a poem. He put a tattered coat upon a stick and allowed us to derive what symbolic meaning we could from it.

Woolley alludes to medical processes and to bodily experience and perception at the elemental level of being. Necessity advises the theme and subtext of this book. the king is dead is imbued with physicality,

I collect
the redwet bones
of recent unbuilding.

from prey

Here, an Egyptian longing to fuck everything and transform here and now into a sacred and simple animal that does not have all these complex nerve-endings and crosswires. I think of Hughes’ dung beetle symbol,

These bone-crushing mouths the mouths
That labour for the beetle
Who will roll her back into the sun.

From The Dogs Are Eating Your Mother, Ted Hughes (Birthday Letters, 1998)

Transformation from the plane of physicality is explored at an elemental level in the king is dead,

we eat
the hearts
of kings we kill . a
curious transformation . are
alchemical gold
black veils
become us well.

The eponymously titled series at the heart of the book explores the rage of human wastage and the necessity of physical and psychical transformation. There is a psychic economy to how mythos and ceremony are presented by Woolley,

& then
the final procession through all these changes
fast & lethal . a song for dawn
when the singer was elsewhere
wasting his stinking mouth
& from his back
the ritual firebird
in the sunshine crack

from the king is dead (iii)

Woolley discusses his approach to necessity and economy in the beautiful mountain poem, there is little left for the poet but the words that form images of phantasmagoric death queues and unearthly processions.

These are of little consequence when the stumbling bird, the carcass, the news-media act as revelators of the mystery. One need not look far because your death walks beside you at all times, best become his familiar, after all there is no eluding him/it  in the final moments of a life,


my deaths sleep with me
I shall not forge · I
do not step lightly
through bones · I name
all the faces
they are my necessary
ghosts · they fall
like fruit sweet
plenty · putrid
beds of richness · I am not
guilty · I just
survive · just
breathe and sleep

This is an excellent debut from a writer that I have become familiar with on social media. I have read some of his poetry and collaborative work on different media strands. It's excellent news that Reuben Woolley now has a first collection. Expect more and interesting work from him over the coming years.