Featured art by David Sussberg.
Five. She’s been awake twenty-two hours.
Seeing too many things she’s seen before,
The dawn shakes her husk, she has to work-
She must- but lust for anything has lost her.
She makes coffee.
He straightens his tie. Six.
His wife pretends she’s not woken
He thinks he should kiss his kids goodbye-
She’d definitely kill him this time.
He leaves the house in a dampness of deodorant
and drives towards the city.
The city winds him in like a spool.
She flosses her teeth with the threads of her worker bees
Expelling egg from her tongue
Morning peeps from a cracked shell hoping to be an omelette
City is ravenous.
The Sun rises again at seven-thirty, whirling
Out of bed in flame yellow as peach, she
Is helium only fourteen revolutions old.
Beams downstairs, coaxingly pulls little ones from soft lands
And older ones from sleep
They rise sloppily, follow blindly
Her light will be waiting in the kitchen with toast and the radio
God they love her.
But Jesus it’s early.
The moon sinks at the crack of eight.
Corralled to the kitchen by the whip of his mother’s tongue
Big soles pad back upstairs and want to die
Gawkish hands pick at acne
He stares down the drain at the suds bubbling away from him.
Who cares anyway?
Across irked, stirring houses and the slow pull of traffic
Babies wake and scream
They babble at the table and dribble mashed banana
Running ring-a-ring-a-rosies around their parent’s grey eyes
Who wouldn't trade it for anything.
Nine. Late. Great.
He honks his horn and curses
Neck veins strobing and Sure Men can’t help him now
“Why aren’t you at school??”
He screams at a cyclist
The sun is whizzing through City's traffic without grace or a helmet
One eye on the road, the other in her brain’s back pocket
Thinking about Venus,
The morning star.
Venus is on the 65 as it rumbles through the roads
It’s nearly ten-
“We’re bloody late again!”
She wipes her name from the window and draws her elbow closer
“I know! These strikes are mayhem. And I’ve an exam first thing”
“Me too- what subject?”
“He looks like a spud.”
City tugs them all through her
Just like this
Her blood clogged with cars, her lips licking smog
From the chug chug chug on tarmac scars
Her face marred with the Big Idea-
She likes it that way.
At far-too-close-to-eleven the 65 stops and gives a wheeze
Before cresting the motorway hill. Finally.
Light can flood the bus with amber
Strands of its flowing waves spill
Like treacle, leaking through every Commuter’s shield
And it all just
Stops and sighs and
Smiles for a second.
The sludge of folk relax.
And the Sun
Just pedals on and beams.
God they do love her.
In this brief respite.
At noon the streets are a burst football
On the quays an old woman feeds a fat gull her crusts
They flap about her like the white rings of Saturn
The Liffey lulls in azure
Throwing diamonds in the eyes of passers-by
Some catch and keep for later
Saturn’s pockets fill with this glitter
(It’s only glitter)
And it won’t be long before the wind takes her,
At one it's lunch
“I am STARVING”
The offices release like steam
The fleets of elite
Kicking heels off concrete and loosening ties
City is awash with coffee scent
A stretch of the legs
Her parks paced with
Pale cheeks bare the air like a brother
For just a while. Thank God it’s Friday.
Back to work at two.
City’s cells are cubicled to the cuticles and hived
The hum is dull and foggy as face after face
Stare down the glare, and the pitter-patter
Of little font across screens
Outside clouds turn and through glass
We peer in at City’s young
Strung-out and staring back
By three City’s walls weep and run with rain
Her streets bleat with rubber and red lights
The blink and crawl of it all
Water pounds leaves into ground until
They’re squeezed of themselves and chlorophyll stains the sidewalk.
Nearing four these carcasses are squashed by the stampedes of feet
Trampling their way on and off buses
Huffing with the weight
It’s all school bags squeaking against coats
And they’re soaked to the skin anyway
This afternoon barrage of burgundy and blue
Venus at their helm,
Slapping each other on the backs of their heads
Howling, hungry young
Gleam with laughter
And push the driver’s buttons
They clutter the corners and shove
The Moon out of the way
He's got his earphones in and he's blaring city out.
At five the Sun is shivering under an umbrella
Waiting for Venus
The Moon plods the cobbles alone
Saturn tucks herself in,
The evening is hinting
The m50 is filling
City rids herself of the visitors
Back to Meath, back to Wicklow, back to
House and Couch. The air is afire with texts
“I'm on my way.”
“I’ll see you soon.”
At five past six Venus shyly waves
The Sun is euphoric- it's been a week too long
They get burritos and warm their bones
They fall in love near the GPO
Saturn has a friend around for tea,
And remembers what Fridays used to be
And Mercury takes back his name today
Buys a new smell, flowers for his wife
His life is his tonight
A meadow all the way home.
By seven the dinner’s on
City empties and slowly swells
Like a blister, boot-worn is she
Grooves carving into her body deeper than the lifelines upon lifelines here
A symbiosis she hosts
She's not sure why.
Navy drools on her roof like he always has
And powders her lids with dusk
She lets him like she always has
And breathes in that familiar musk
“Hunger is not always good I think”
“So you say every weekend. Come Monday you'll be bloodthirsty as ever darling.”
“I know. I know love.”
City is dressing up for the night
She's applying bass and lavish neon
She gets a babysitter
It's time. Train doors open to a fresh wave of stampers.
They're looking to fill a different kind of empty.
They greet each other like dear friends
And hunt the night for stardust
Kids hide bottles down their trouser legs and whoop down O'Connell Street
The clouds go up and the moon is unveiled
His face is radiant
He sways like a song for them on his pole on the sky
Old friends sing their lungs out in tiny basement rooms
Until the roof shakes and the glass drops
They feel young now, and
Over their heads Venus kisses the sun goodnight
And over their heads the moon reigns alight
He bathes the town in a white they don't look at
On the crux of night City becomes liquid
She whisks and thrusts her subjects around
Want and need flick flame between her fingers,
She invites the flush of another's mouth
Laughs and knocks a glass
A bubbling cauldron of felicity
She throws the best parties.
Outside there is someone hunched into a niche
Trying to sleep her away on the pavement
To get this close to City.
While Mercury and his kids are watching warm screens,
Far from this place
And the Sun is dreaming in a duvet of gold,
Saturn wakes and circumnavigates her whole home
Feeding owls and nightingales that nest about her head
They sing to her sweetly of stars outside her flat
Of the foxes and badgers and the cubs asleep
She needs to check on them, each
Or scavenging or wagging its tail
She goes around again. Around again.
The Moon watches her do so
At two in the morning he’s practically electric
He's swooping around the world
See he’s got an idea-
A new one, this one,
He's been up all night on it
Since he can't know when and when
He’s composing he just gets it,
It's just fire between his teeth
It's just a planet of roses
(The poets are starting to notice)
Three am rolls into the station
Running fast and
The town is dead. It won't come to meet you.
City sits on her rooftops
And watches it all. The Moon on fire.
Venus, watching over the dreaming Sun
Saturn in her flat with her rings of feather,
All the tiny people
Littering her alleys and houses and trains
She's been their war. She's been their wedding.
She blows smoke at the sky and shakes her head.
At four another one wakes before the day.
At five she's counting, six hours of sleep
Since the previous morning
She leaves the house at dawn
As City blends her shades of grey
And bulbs blink through the witch-light
Across the water.
She's sitting on the river, where it runs to the sea
Too chilly for comfort.
She lets a single shiver stir her
Before the birds return to song
Before the souls retrieve their bodies
In the crisp morning air.
Seirce Mhac Conghail is a student of English and Irish at Trinity College Dublin. Their work has been published in Dodging the Rain, The Phare, ODD Magazine, and Tealight Press, among others. They are an accomplished egg scrambler.
Raised by a riveting river, running through ravines of crumbled red rocks that hug the blue oak and pine forests of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Since childhood, David Sussberg cultivated a deep reverence for Nature and the power of written words. David continues to grow his love for culture and the Holiness of Nature through writing and creating art. David has lived and taught in several magical places throughout Latin America and the U.S. His soul’s purpose has been forged from perspectives different from the land he originated from. David is inspired to write about how culture is not separate from our natural world. This past year, David published his first book on Amazon titled, Poetry Medicine. Currently, he is earning an M.S. in Science Education. Education is David's calling and is passionately motivated to teach and write!