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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

'Un-Sight/ Un-Sound (delirium X.)--gnOme books--reviewed by Christopher Brownsword



(gnOme Books 2014)

130 pages

In an age where the author has become just another marketing tool whose name is of greater importance than what they might have to say (perhaps a sign that ‘we’ value not so much the content of a book as the brand itself; moreover, that too few writers actually have anything worth saying and are therefore capable of little more than self-aggrandisement), it is refreshing to encounter a publisher such as gnOme Books whose project is the production of clandestine works by anonymous writers; and in the case of the unidentified M., it is almost as if a process of dehumanisation has been required in order that one is again able to approach the question of what it might entail to be human, to stand naked rather than be dressed upby corporate profiling, and to turn away from the absurd cyber-dream of a Singularity so as to accept the irrevocable frailties and limits of the body:

‘ stun light of bled ember embark viscid endless

...marked trace of scar scar’s out-breath of reach emptier than

...dead spark of wound collapses headless viper taste attrition.’

        So begins this impressive sequence of prose poems, and what follows evokes the feral shriek of one of Francis Bacon’s figures whose pitch remains at a nerve-jarring constant throughout while here and there gritting teeth against a starkly exquisite image: ‘a lung locked suitcase full of carrion.’ For the most part, however, the tone is one of harsh alliteration (‘voice no longer rapture closed fist slash breath lack endless collapse vicious’)or the type of jagged repetition which brings to mind Gertrude Stein’s Stanzas in Meditation (‘of the eye extract it cannot detraced no it not a of the eye’s detract it cannot be detraced’ or ‘locked bone nothing severed ever nothing none of nothing less than none that is or of the naught said without’).Elsewhere, as in the second part of the book, ‘It’ sequence, in which abrasive vowels swarm around a nexus of incantatory permutations, Samuel Beckett is recalled: ‘ it will/wills/it will eat you alive/wills not/it has or does not it will and can/it will cease/resent/it returns it will forever be/yet no/never was given the benefit of lack/in the redeem still it exists yet spitsblood from a mouth full of broken teeth.’

      Eden, Eden, Eden by Pierre Guyotat, Kenji Siratori’sBlood Electric, the post-Poems output of J. H. Prynne, the early novellas of Kathy Acker, the almost untranslatable final poems of Paul Celan, and the dissident texts of the original L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E movement are allconceivable referents, but the sequence itself directs the reader to Georges Bataille, William Burroughs, and, indeed, Francis Bacon. It is interesting to note that in speaking of his portraits, many of which inspired nausea and loathing in their subjects when they were at last revealed, Bacon related something to the effect that he found it necessary to distort the image in order to bring it back to reality. Likewise, there are moments in Un-Sight/Un-Sound where it seems as if the hold language has over our perceptions is being, if not broken, then at least distorted enough for us to catch a glimpse of the world that lies behind our makeshift descriptions and definitions - ‘the dogs devour the tears shed as of skin sanguine in lapse of momentary lack of resolve cast out into negate of the redempt’: redemption here is denied, for without the Christian belief in the fall of mankind there is nothing for humans to be redeemed from, that is, we are no longer strangers thrown into the world but only an ephemeral contingency of it.

      Nonetheless, for all its dissonance and fragmentation the sequence cannot help but now and then assemble itself into an almost melodious refrain (‘sound simulations gripped by breathless/soon to dissipate/songs of un-being/traceless violet songs in bloom/distillate to point of never having been/all purpose shredded/white lung till breakage’), as if some kind of tenuous equilibrium is straining to be recognised amidst the chaos, even though, as the reader is reminded, where by chance it appears, this harmony is ‘soon to dissipate.’ Yet the fact that this brief intercession of musicality appears to arise by accident rather than by design somehow makes it all the more fragile and beautiful.In its condensed form, the passage mirrors the Japanese haiku poet Issa, who wrote: ‘Never forget:/we walk on hell,/gazing at flowers.’

       Appropriately enough, the sequence ends in a squall of disjointed ‘shards,’ after which we ought really to be rendered mute to appraise it. After all, to search for meaning or reason, while among the strongest of human impulses, is to neglect the possibility that life is there simply to be experienced, nothing more. So, too, is this book to be experienced, for like the human organism itself, it seems to have no core, no cohesion; rather it is composed of strata and detritus, bits and pieces that by the purposeless drift of evolution happen to work together while forever exhibiting a tendency towards disintegration: ‘...the naught cancels all,’ runs one particularly exceptional passage, ‘glimmer hope and I/else the retraced footsteps seeking outward step/words drained in dissipate/sands blown across erasing the tidal of...’

It is available here

Thursday, 27 November 2014

'Un-Sight/ Un-Sound' (gnOme books) reviewed by David McLean

Michael Mc Aloran
Un-sight / Un-sound
130 pp. gnOme books
review  by David Mclean

The latest by Michael Mc Aloran is one of his better works. It also treats abortion & the shit-smeared eyes as its subject matter, it tells of the deficiencies of structure & the empty that is not waiting, but always already here,

Francis Bacon is quoted as noting that we are always a potential corpse, a dead thing, which is the glory of meat, it might always just as well be me. This is not an invitation to some limp-wristed condemnation of the cruelty of butchers, it's a good thing. The eternity of our condition as possible corpses should be relished. People who are of a “spiritual” bent should not read Mc Aloran (& it is sheer politeness that makes me call them “people”).

Mc Aloran's project is to reveal the terrible tenacity of  words that stubbornly persist in meaning when we deliberately set about using them as weapons to torment the angelic cadavers strewn about where the happy holiday camps of the mindlessly grinning flowers & summer brigade used to poison the mind. These corpses would praise their feculent gods when they weren't busy raping children. For some reason writers like Michael Mc Aloran (or myself) are accused of being nihilists, usually by people who only have a tenuous grasp of what the word “nihilism” actually means.

I cannot say what Mc Aloran means with this book, it always strikes me as the mark of an arrant dickhead to explain what a literary writer means, but the text questions the possibility of assenting to any given meaning, of believing.

Words, we are told, are “like abandoned pissoirs”. Around us should be silence. All the words that are spoken, that are repeated on the TV with all the insane arrogance of a defective child screaming in an asylum, all these words are empty if they are not used like weapons, like whips to thrash corpses.

Daniel Dennett said that all philosophers want to find the perfect argument, one that would work as a weapon, that would set up a vibration in the mind that would kill an opponent who failed to assent to it. I don't know about Mc Aloran, but I feel that the perfect poem would be one that instantly made all the fatuous “flowers, sun & summer” motherfuckers instantly commit mass suicide.

Probably never going to happen, I don't think they read very much outside of Fakebook, but this book is on the right path. I can strongly recommend it.

The preview of the book can be found here

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)