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09/09/2019 / Harry Browne

The Inkslingers on Stage

We are delighted to announce the presentation of a readings of four tiny plays in the Irish Writers Centre on 3rd October at 6.30.

The Plays are by Geralyn Rownan, Claire Galligan, Pat Rourke and Eimear Grace.
The evening promises to be a memorable one and, as seats are limited bookings should be made as soon as possible.
Tickets, priced at €10.00, are available from Harry Browne at <hbrowne4@gmail.com>
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19/08/2019 / Harry Browne

Upcoming items of interest

Sandra McCowen will be exhibiting her sculptures called @The Beauty of Maths’ in smalllogoinspire11.pngon lower Gardiner Street on On Thurs 5th Sept 2019 at 6.00 pm and will run until Sun 15th Sept 2019. See link below for location

http://www.inspiregalerie.com/en/

And Arthur Riordan who mans the desk in the Writers Centre will be appearing with Fishamble Theatre in The Alternative by Michael Patrick and Oisín Kearney at various venues during the next two months. See link below for further info

http://www.fishamble.com/the-alternative.html

12/08/2019 / Harry Browne

Ever Moving Clay by Cheryl Vail

The weather didn’t know what it wanted to be today
neither did I – moving from under sunny shawl to cloak of grey
buffeted by gust of wind, until standstill, the man on the corner
proselytising his time away, asks me who I am
in between raindrop and sunbeam, rainbow arching over the frantic weekend scene
I respond, I’ll not know who I am until I die.
we are not fixed points, we are ever moving clay
not kiln fired, taut, or staid
we shape and reform, are torn, bent, rent apart
then remade in the guise resembling what we might eventually be
to the street preacher as he gapes at me, I say
You are not the self that you are, that you will always be,
until you stand looking Chiron in the face, coin in hand
glancing back over your shoulder, you see who you were
as the remnant body becomes ember then ash.
No, I’m as changeable as the weather
multiple women in one day
sometimes in the rain, sometimes a sun ray

06/08/2019 / Harry Browne

I Shouldn’t Have Eaten It! by Angelina Kelly

“Eat it” … they said, …“It will be good for you” … they said.
“It has vitamins, minerals, proteins and even trace elements, so your body and mind, and even your soul, will benefit” … they said.
Ah! But, I knew otherwise, tofurkey has always been the undoing of me.
Once in my mouth I feel my stomach object, before I’ve even swallowed it. Then, when it gets to the stomach … the trouble starts.
Oh no! – here we go! The rocking … the rolling … the tumultuous waves, like a stormy sea.
Heave ho! Heave ho!, the song of the pirates resonates in my head.
And then … “the fun” begins, when it reaches … “the lower deck”.
Oh God! Oh God! I’m … “a lady” … so I’m not going to describe what happens next. Anyone with a bit of imagination can guess.
“The storm” rages on for a while longer and I wonder what will happen when I go … “overboard”.
Will it be quick and painless? Will I float for a long time with no help or rescue?”
Will I freeze to death hanging on to a loose floating door … like that guy in the Titanic movie?
O God! … Oh God! … Someone make it stop!!!
Just when I think I sunk … and about to draw my last breath, … an angel taps me on the shoulder, hands me a cup of clear liquid and bids me -“Drink”.
With shaking hands I take it and sip it … it seems Ok! … My insides aren’t objecting or boiling. So … I sip some more.
Oh! Wait! … is that relief? … Do I feel “the storm” abating! … Is the sea getting calm?
Ah! Yes! … There it is! … The relief I was looking for!
Slowly everything settles and I can breath again. I seem to be alive … so that means I have survived.
With shaking legs I move to my trustee place of rest. Take a deep breath and … as I sink into gentle, restorative oblivion … I exclaim:
I shouldn’t have eaten it!

28/07/2019 / Harry Browne

Perspective by Shea Walsh

From the Planet Autism
Not only a long way from
Where you are from
But a greater distance from
Your point of view
I see the world in a different hue

Even hear different sounds than you
Can’t understand your changing demeanour
Facial expressions from
Happy to a mean one
Facility of kindness
Transforming in an instance
To a blankness
I see the world in a different hue

How you categorise everything
Into convenient groups
So you understand them better
Or are able to feel more comfortable
Now that they are designated
To fit into a safe place
I see the world in a different hue

Male Female Black White
Asian Arabic Latino by religion
Or geographic location
Somehow we got a different interface
Baggage that you accumulated
That I someway escaped
But I am supposed to learn
To be like you
I see the world in a different hue

Don’t want to seem an ingrate
Learn more about me
May be you’ll do better
With a little education
You will be able to see
The world in a different hue
©Shea Walsh 2019

16/07/2019 / Harry Browne

The Devil, Wednesday Night. by Stephen Brady

There were only two of us left, and it was four minutes to midnight.
The party hadn’t exactly been a success. Only twelve people had turned up, and I’d found, once it got going, that I didn’t really want those people in my house. I’d managed to get rid of most of them: now, as the witching hour approached, there was no-one left but Tom.
“What are you at?” I groused, as I filled a bin bag. “You’re supposed to be helping me clean up.”
“Relax the crack, amigo.” He actually spoke like that, which made me wonder why I’d invited him in the first place. “You got some doozies in here, and no mistake…”
He was going through the vinyl. As I watched, he pulled an album out and tossed it on the floor.
“Watch it!” I said. “I told you, they’re not mine.”
“No?”
“No.”
“Whose are they?”
“Paul’s. And if he comes back and finds one out of place, it’ll be my ass.”
“You don’t say.”
“I do. He’s like this monumental tight-arse. He didn’t even want me throwing a party. And I’m trying to conceal the evidence here, and I’d appreciate a bit of help.”
“Look at this!” He held up a record sleeve. In the dim light of the living room I could just discern the words ‘Fleetwood Mac.’ “This one’s a classic.”
“Put that down.”
He’d flipped it over and was studying the back. “Hey! This is the one with ‘Black Magic Woman’ on it.”
“Which…?”
“You know the one. ‘I got a Black Magic Woman,’ she’s gonna make a devil outta me…'”
“Oh. Yeah. So what?”
A strange look had stolen across his bleary features. Almost… a thoughtful look. I should have known it meant trouble.
“Hey, Martin…”
“What?”
“Guess what I heard?”
I flopped into the armchair. “I don’t know, Tom. What did you hear?”
“I heard, right, that if you play ‘Black Magic Woman’ backwards at, like, the stroke of midnight… the Devil will appear.”
“Tom, that must be the dumbest thing I ever heard.”
“Naw, man, it’s like, an urban legend! Like the way Dark Side of the Moon is timed perfectly with The Wizard of Oz.”
“Yeah, that’s bollocks as well.”
He was looking at the clock on the wall. It was two minutes to twelve.
“Will we try it?”
“No.”
But he had already pulled out the record and slipped it on the turntable. Now, he was fiddling clumsily with the needle.
“Hey!”
I stood up, and was hit with a wave of dizziness. The room was swimming. I tried to focus on the figure of him, skinny and ginger in his Stereophonics T-shirt, bent over the turntable. “The player is Paul’s as well! If you break that we’re both dead!”
“Relax the cax, man.” He moved the needle to the place he wanted. Then in a a low voice he said, “Turn the lights off.”
“This is stupid.”
With a sigh, I flicked the switch.
The room was plunged into darkness. He became a shadow, hunched in the corner. The clock on the wall stood on the stroke of midnight.
“Here we go,” he whispered.
He dropped the needle on the end of the track. The darkness was filled with a moody, Latin-tinged outro. Then he started dragging the record backwards. The speakers issued an alarming shriek.
“Hey, be careful!”
“I’m doin’ it, shuttup!”
He dragged the disc backwards along the needle. Stange sounds emerged. First, it was a kind of hiccuping. Then a series of warped moans, like an incantation.
“Enough,” I said. “You’re wrecking it, take it off.”
“You’re no crack.”
“No, I’m not.”
“You used to be Party-Marty.”
“No, I didn’t. Take it off.”
He lifted the needle, and the room was plunged into silence.
“Whoa,” he breathed. “That was a bit spooky, wasn’t it?”
“Shite.”
“You were scared, admit it.”
“It did sound a bit weird.” I realised that I had begun to feel a vague sense of unease. “But anything does, if you play it backwards.”
A loud POP! sounded in the darkness.
“The fuck was that?” he yelped.
“It was just the speakers,” I said. “They do that. Turn the player off.”
“Can’t see the switch,” he muttered . “Pitch dark in here.”
“Wait a second.” I groped for the lightswitch, and flicked it.
The room remained dark.
“Turn the lights on,” he said.
“I did, you thick.” I tried the switch a few more times. But darkness prevailed. “Must be a power-cut. Fuck it anyway.”
“It’s not a power-cut.” By his voice, it sounded like Tom had sobered up. “The record player’s still on. How can it be a power-cut if the record player’s still on?”
That stumped me, I have to admit.
“Look,” I said. “Maybe we should-”
BANG!
We froze. The sound resounded through the darkened house.
“What the fuck was that?” said Tom.
“I don’t know.” I licked my lips, which were bone-dry. “It sounded like the front door.”
“Uh… what do you think it was?”
“Could’ve been the wind.”
“It wasn’t the wind.” He had moved closer to me, and was speaking in hushed tones. “Not a breath of wind out there tonight, aimgo. Just… dead air.”
We waited, listening.
“It was nothing,” I said. “We were hearing things.”
“Jesus..”
“Yeah.”
“Do you think-”
BANG!
The second noise was louder. And it definitely came from the front door. Tom grabbed me, and at the touch of his clammy fingers I almost screamed.
“Get off!”
“There! Again! D’you hear it?”
“I heard it! Let go o’me!”
“Wait. Sssssh.” He was standing still now. And even in in the dark, I could see the gleam of sweat on his forehead. “Listen!”
“I don’t hear anything.”
“Jesus, Martin! Listen. D’you hear it?”
I listened.
At first I heard nothing, but his ragged breath and my own, glutinous heartbeat. But after a minute I became aware of another sound. It was coming from the direction of the front door. It was a kind of low, bestial wheezing.
“Jesus Christ,” he said. “There’s something at the door.”
We were staring down the dark hallway at the front door of the house. From behind it, came the sound of guttural, slobbering breath. There was something there, alright. Some massive thing, panting on the threshold.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Three slams on the door. It shook it on the hinges.
Whatever was out there, it was losing patience. And I had no doubt that, if left unsatisfied, it would smash it’s way into the house.
“What are we gonna do?” Tom whimpered.
I leaned close to him. “I’ve got an idea.”
“Yeah?”
“I think you should answer the door.”
“Fuck you, amigo. It’s your gaff. You answer it.”
I was struggling, in all my cold terror, to marshall an argument.
“You put that stupid record on. The whole thing was your idea. Your fucking urban legends. Whatever that it out there, you fucking… summoned it, or whatever. So go on. Answer the door.”
We were at an impasse. Then a new sound came, from outside the house.
I can only describe it as a grunt. But it sounded like the thing that made the sound was bigger than the house itself. Some hot beast, whose blood was rising.
“Do it!” I shoved him. “It’ll be worse for us if we don’t. That’s how these things work, I think. You have to, like… face it.”
Miserably, he began to edge his way towards the door. He was shuffling, like a man on the deck of a ship. Halfway down the hall, he stopped.
“Problem?” I asked lightly.
“I have a question.”
“Yes?”
“What exactly are you going to do?”
“I’m right here, Tom. You have my full support.”
He wasn’t reassured. But, all credit to him, he stepped up to the door. Whimpering, he put his hand on the handle.
“That’s it,” I said. I was crouched, tensed to run. “Good man yourself.”
“Martin?”
“What?”
“Grab something, will you? A lamp or something. If it gets in, hit it a slap.”
“I will, yeah.” Such heroics were the furthest thing from my mind at that moment. “Listen, I think we’re… running out of time. You’d better open the door.”
He was muttering something, rapid and precise, under his breath. It took me a moment to realise that he was praying.
“Too late for that,” I muttered. “Do it.”
His supplications done, Tom turned the handle and opened the door.
At that moment, I shut my eyes tight. And I waited, for what I could not even imagine.
But there was nothing. No crash, no scream, no sound of rending flesh. Nothing. And I knew, even through my clenched lids, that Tom had opened the door to find there was nothing out there.
Thank God, I thought. Thank God thank God thank God. God, I am going to start believing in you again. Forget all that stuff I said about you in college. You do exist. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I opened my eyes.
Tom had come back into the room. He was standing in front of me. The open front door admitted a little light from the street. Just enough for me to see him by. He was standing there, head bowed, arms limp by his sides.
“Tom?” I said. My voice was small and lost, the voice of a child. “What’s going on, my man? Hey! We all good?”
He raised his head.
Something had removed all the skin from his face. I was looking at a skull slick with blood. Naked muscles worked around the lipless mouth. His eyes had been torn out and in their place were ragged holes, black
pits that showed me only the coldest, most impersonal version of Hell.
It stared me in the face, the thing that used to be my friend. And in a voice that sounded like the grinding of rocks beneath the Earth it said:
“YOU CALLED?”

28/06/2019 / Harry Browne

My Four Year Old by Eimear Grace

Walking along, her hand slips into mine.
She does it without saying anything.
Her tiny hand fits mine so perfectly,
so small, so soft, so comfortable. She’s
looking for a sense of security
in my grip. I can offer her that. I
can keep her safe, for now anyway. I
know I will dream of her delicate hand
firmly rooted in mine, for years to come.
When I pick her up she wraps her little
legs around me, making it effortless
to carry her. More supported I am
for having her straddle me, arms and legs
tight. She’s the one who provides me with a
sense of belonging and I become the
child, clinging on, feeling safe in her hold.