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Thursday 26 June 2014

Abattoir Whispers(Oneiros Books), A Reading by Gillian Prew



Yes, we are the human slaughterhouse, our voices barely audible if anyone were ever to listen. And what of it?

“…I die, and in this death I see nothing, I see that I am nothing…” (Untitled #1)

 This is Michael Mc Aloran…or his narrator. One could assume that they are interchangeable if not rigorously identical. As interchangeable as life and death, life being a continuum of dissolution, a collection of loosely associated, absurd fragments which the narrator does not care enough to embrace nor reject. Yet, there is care. There is care in the creative outflow of inner dialogue: a man transforming his idea of self, his troubled place in the world into a voice traversing darkly surreal landscapes – his verbal and pictorial wounds.

“…no I do not want to leave, yet I do not want to stay, either, something has shaken the fruit from the razor tree, they sparkle upon rent soil in the moonlight, I laugh because I cannot believe myself, that this is, I subtract from death’s irrelevance, with some sense, deepening the wounds, I am the skyline, I am the aborted sun, I am the disfigured sneer…”

(Untitled #1)

 Mc Aloran makes his own sense of the failure of objectivity and, ultimately, meaning. But sense is transience. The moment of understanding is also a moment of confusion where neither lasts beyond the expression of itself and all is ultimately emptiness.

 “…we spit dreams like sparks that fade into emptiness, and ever the return, ever the return to this perpetuating emptiness…” (Untitled #2)

 Existence is trauma. We are born alone, and so it goes. An inhospitable world is our cradle and our attempts to thrive are idiotic and self-defeating.

 “…I ejaculating into the void with streaks of dissipating words, my death, my death my starry death I am alone, no not else, ever else, the violence of existing, the ferocity of birth, a cold stone hearth in which the bone’s of a child rot unto idiocy, I too am that idiocy, that murder, that abortion, the time taken to unlearn, to forget…” (Untitled #3)

 In this world of Mc Aloran’s there is no definitive suffering. One accumulates scars like years; not always aware of each day, each slice into flesh. It is both an accumulative living and dying; a horror and a wry smile at the ongoing absurdity and meaninglessness of existence.

 “…I observe my scars in wonder, I cannot then see, I suffocate on the bile of my dying, something grips me, viciously and I expire, void of my ineptitude, I am this flesh, this meat, this absolution, this waste…I smile…” (Untitled #4)

“…At what point, in the striking of lightning does the flesh awaken, once death has awakened in the eyes the clamour of the silence, having no recourse beyond the filth of decay, the brutalizing winds, ejaculating spent bodies emasculated, birthed, into endless nothingness, as if a dream could suffice? I laugh yet I am ice, I see nothing else, penetrative scars, the implements of foreign dreams, and the skill by which such dreams are dissolved, in the cancer of final night, in the shifting parameters of lunacy, cutting the teeth upon the rock’s of bleak mortality, as if to speak were enough, as if to convey were enough, as if this were enough, unto that final line, dressed up for the kill, my head in a vice, skull-dust, heavenly teeth…” (Untitled #11)

In Mc Aloran we have an artist living as a poet living as an artist living as a man. In short, he cannot be separated from his work. His verbal skills translate to disturbing visuals yet one wonders, given that Mc Aloran also has considerable talent as a painter, whether it is the visuals which he finds necessary to articulate in words, as if neither medium can suffice on its own, that his thinking, his interpretation of the world is too complex, too insufferable to be expressed merely in one dimension.

 “…Meat petals and the slashed eye, a clock face smeared with blood, the shadow of a death knell, ice in the veins of the death of air, mocked by the crumbling walls of dissolution, a trinket, a casket full of rotting teeth, the death of air is a flock of diseased birds sprayed across the ashen sky, the waste and the frugality of tears, nothing changes, no, not ever more, I am a dream, a figment in all of this, the shadow pierces like none other, echoing, drunk upon the intoxication of blank stone walls, at which were stared in starvation, hallucinogenic, some kind of dreaming, yes…” (Untitled #21)

His tone, his surreal landscapes, put one in mind of Beckett and Bataille, where his inner dialogue cannot rest with itself. There is a lack of decisive punctuation where most everything is a continual struggle with conclusion to which a full stop would be an almost be an act of hubris. The sun, the eye, decay, shattered bloody skies…Mc Aloran has interminable versions of these all beautifully and disturbingly visual. Here, again, his pen would almost be substituted for a paintbrush.

 “…A chain of metallic petals, dragging along the spine of all living, beneath the teeth of the sun and throughout the breath, lingering, like a shimmering of cloud in a womb of black sky, the tips of the fingers licked clean of blood, ice shatters, something between to the to and fro-ing, the hands quivering with dislocation, chewing glass to make the smile more opulent, there is no darkness, static absurdly weeps, leeches upon the breast, the heart fades to murmurs, where joy advances like an unwanted drunken lover, a singular butterfly smashed offhandedly upon a white-washed wall…”

(untitled #29)

 Michael Mc Aloran is a fractured soul living as best he can in the brief pauses, where the in-breath meets the out; where the comma is the most fleeting of respite. The rest is almost an impossibility; one filled by poetry and art, where apparently contradictorily, the process of dissolution is one of creation. His work is dark, disturbing and compelling; a fractured version of reality. When Beckett remarked of Joyce, “His writing is not about something. It is the thing itself.” he could well have been referring to Michael Mc Aloran.

 In a world of existential paralysis, where there are few authentic voices, I would recommend attention be paid to at least one – Michael Mc Aloran.

---Gillian Prew
(Author of ‘Disconnections’, ‘In the Broken Things', ‘Throats Full of Graves’ & 'A Wound's Sound')...

It is available from Oneiros Books, here

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