New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

Poetry by Mike McNamara and David Susswein

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Mike McNamara was born in  Northern Ireland but living in S. Wales,  Mike McNamara has had a collection of poetry ‘Overhearing The Incoherent’ published by Grevatt and Grevatt  in 1997. Mike is lead singer with Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band.  His poetry has been published in Envoi, Orbis, Tears in the Fence, New Welsh Review, Acumen, etc. Mike also had a selection of poems published in The Pterodactyl’s Wing (Parthian, 2003).




Once I Lived


Once, I lived in a mansion but it was cold,

the servants whispered day and night.

In this hovel the avocado stone sprouts

on the windowsill. the silence

folds softly around me like

a shimmering sylvine cloak.



That Unstruck Breve


 That unstruck breve, soundless,

mocks the moon. A guttering candle

on a wrinkled Corsican sea.

The undrawn breath,

a beatless conquistador heart.

Stay the moment.





David Susswein

I am a writer from the South of England, right at the bottom. I have tried all my life to write well, to communicate, to talk to others; I cannot understand any other reason to write. Envoi, DreamCatcher, Picaroon Poetry, ShotGlass Journal, Tuck Magazine, Dissident Voice, an anthology in Farsi/English ‘Where Are You From?’  and others have heard my plea and answered.




Eighteen Characters


-some are so silent they are missing still-


Wrapped in the birthing blanket


a middle age man clings his comforter to his face sitting in the backseat of a stationary car

listening to the radio, a young man bites the feathers from a chicken flapping in his hotel room

watching a tv with the sound turned down, a housewife thumbs thru pages of a pornographic magazine


all trying not to heard by the outside, by the outside


an old man watches the American flag flap in the breeze at the end of television programming

laying on a couch a man retells the story of his childhood to a therapist listening, with empty notepad

a mother recites the verse of cleaning up your room, to a teenage daughter in the garden sun


all trying to be heard, from the inside, from the inside out


with headphones on, drumming out the world

hooked to the ‘net reading messages from strangers to be

sick and tired the young women, vomits into the toilet bowl

fish finger, peas, asparagus tips,

another room the soothsayer charts the course, tea leaves and furrowed palm

waiting for a train, the approaching glass mirrors his face, staring back into the waiting


running out running out, the tape machine clicks clicks, the computer screen fades off


looking up into the heavens, an astronomer keeps secret

his love of his wife, doubt of his children, the still active remnant

of a million year old supernova, with pressure of gasses, gamma rays

pulsing his eyeball still, still she lays motionless as he lays over her

thinking of a god, a religion, a country, a mother sleeping

a macrocosm of consciousness, watching over, mumbling forms


slowly as the realisation seeps in, marrow turns to fossil


watching naked a football game, the lovers seek

a myth they heard as children drifting to sleep,

a princess and a towered gardenscape, a dragon with the teeth of virgins

a necklace for his green fiery scale, a ladder to the tower

or a rope of her hair, laid out before, the prince in gleaming metal

his sword as strong as sun, his heart locked in muscle beating, climbing


gardeners tend the soil, surgeons tend the broken bone, remaking in a new image


the prophets of Mohammed reap a country from the soil,

St.John the Divine with a pebble in his sandal,

burning the Gaul in his own land, burning the witch the martyr

wrapping up a thousand histories into a moment

always to face the dark in the hour of the wolf,

a saint and martyr, a tyrant and murderer watches the dark


the original sin of murder carried on the head of all the blessed


I have wanted to believe,

we have all wanted to believe

we the brittle bones of ancestors

we the living flesh of past crimes

pass the chalice on,

to drink the blood of a saviour


a vain image, self-glorification, of seventy odd generation

of dying sweat and toil, a hard baked ground of half-truth

a salesman’s notion of eternity, the unloved heretic hermit returns

to his sacred cave, a backwards glance he may shine

on the man and women left facing, the wreckage of their lives

on the unlived promises and broken dreams of our race,


Naked savage, suave cosmopolitan, philosopher and dreamer all, to lay broken



a pride of lions


shame is in a flame

shame is in the beating steel of a knife that throbs unused on the table

shame is in looking in the mirror

shame is being afraid to look in the mirror

shame is being spat-on, begging in gutters

shame is wedding a bottle more than your wife

shame is not looking into the sky,


cloudless, a pretence when it’s blue it’s a trick of the human eye,

it’s just a field of chemicals preventing the sun from burning us all to cinders

taking in just enough genetic mutation to create us,

but not enough to undo us,


shame is breathing

when others can’t/

shame is spiting blood on a white page, unemptied

and making a difference when your shame makes you stop

shame makes us turn our back on our-pride

shame makes us war unintelligible with other prides’

shame makes us stop,

shame makes us grovel to a power we don’t understand

shame borders my life in actions I do not want to entertain



shame stops. starts. causes my.

writing, acting. feeling.

shame has sunk into the marrow of my bone

shame has made me write this,

shame has made me stop.



Where The Moon’s High.


-for two women that have to remain anonymous.-


where the dark room

where the dark forest

when the moon’s high

where she sees fairies

where the gown is mounted


her father swore oaths, covenants / broke bread with strangers at his table / taunting her / worshipped pretend gods / hid his erection until the time is right / for sacrificing hamsters in a golden vessel / blood as paint / and mounting pigs with concubines in the room next to her /


childhood fractured


the hidden obscene

to supplant your own hate

with father’s lusty dream

upend sex with loneliness


a borsondörf grand piano sits / waiting patiently to be played / blood is always the payment / for playing well / for living passionately / two women of differing natures whom never met, not once / two confused fantasies of creation / music and sex / delusionally wasting sleep of /


where the dark sells dreams

when the moon is high

where rationality, instincts collide

crushing lives to slowly burn

to never be able to, let go the past.




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