The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Literature from Mexico City

4 Poems Published

Turns

By Martina Evans (Ireland), Featured in Issue 22.

 

My grandmother forbade my aunt to court John.

The Lynches and all belonging to them have bad chests,

you’ll end up nursing him to his grave.  TB was still the

the executioner in the forties but it didn’t stop Helen.

Two boys and one girl knocking on their shop door

the other boy taking Helen’s arm, the other girl linking

with John - swapping back when they were out of sight

a Shakespearean comedy or a couples farce. Luminous

eyed, stigmatized TB patients were rare in the sixties but 

it was cancer who took one of John’s lungs.  A child, I lay

awake holding my own breath as his suffocated breathing

filled that small house like a hunter. During the day my aunt 

was always watching for smoke, the guilty blue spirals

signaling out of the shed as he stole one more puff.

 

My First Confession

 

A thunderous drumming

on the sweet smelling incense-infused wood

like something you’d hear about

out of The Exorcist maybe

or a Protestant Black Mass.

Father O’Shea’s shy stutter asking

What’s that? from the other side

of the grille. At seven

what sin could I have been confessing?

What made me lose control?

No clue - only to this day the sound

of the Niagara roar of my urine

on the boards and a new dazzling list

transgressions - defiling concentrated ground

the grievous Sin of Omission,

answering the timid priest,

with a transparent lie,

I don’t know father.

Studying the Green Catechism

alone with my conscience, it seemed

at best, an Imperfect Contrition,

at worst, a Sacrilegious one,

The clear outline of the wet

footprints I carried all over the

grey and white and red church tiles -

my conscience as heavy as the velvet

curtain that muffled out

the sound of people’s sins

the darkness that hides

the details of my original sin.

 

 

 

 

 

The Tinker Girl

 

 She came alone on foot

and straight away they noticed

she was a rebel, before Punk

before Rap she had streaked hair

orange and black

and a loud transistor radio

that blared through the village

that hot day drowning the sound

of the insects in the grass.

She didn’t say ma’am to anyone,

she said, I don’t want your fucking

ould clothes or your ould fucking

soft apples.

She said she wanted money

and she went to every house

repeating her request, kicking foxgloves

rejecting every other thing that was

offered and no one produced money only

everyone said that the world had gone mad

and it was only now they realised

weren’t the old tinkers lovely

and quiet compared to the cut

of that big one with her transistor

radio bawling under her arm like

a terrible fuck-you voice from the future.

The last place she called was Mikey Dorgan’s.

He gave her a half dozen eggs

out of the goodness of his heart

not realizing that she meant business

it was only when she’d left

he found that she’d pelted the six of them

and they were running in yellow streams

down the back of his gable wall.

 

 

 

Martina Evans is an Irish poet and novelist. She grew up in County Cork in a country pub, shop and petrol station. Martina began writing in 1990 and has published four books of poetry and three novels. Her first novel, Midnight Feast, won a Betty Trask Award in 1995 and her third novel, No Drinking No Dancing No Doctors (Bloomsbury, 2000), won an Arts Council England Award in 1999. Her fourth poetry collection, Facing the Public was published by Anvil Press in September 2009 and has won bursary awards from both the Irish Arts Council (An Chomhairle Eiraíon) and Arts Council England.

Her poetry has appeared in many magazines and newspapers both in the UK as well as Ireland and the US and she is a popular performer of her work, giving readings in Ireland, the UK and elsewhere, including the Shanghai Literature Festival in 2011. She has frequently spoken and performed on BBC Radio and Irish radio. In 2011, she was awarded the Ciampi International poetry prize by the the Premio Poesia Ciampi Committee from Livorno, Italy.

The Navy Blue Suitcase

 

I woke up every night at 4am

seven years before Mammy died.

They say it’s when the soul leaves

the body so when they woke me up

that night in Mallow, I wasn’t

 surprised. We’d been prepared.

Everyone relieved and shivering

in the grey-beige County Hospital

corridor, with Pad the porter

who’d fed us for ten days,

with the small purple Cadbury snacks,

you can’t get in England,

Pad showing us the clip-on

tie that saved him from the death-strangle

of a Mad Polack in Casualty.

For a moment I thought we would

have peace -  then I saw

the navy blue suit-case

so small in my brother Peter’s hand.

Someone had packed that for her

nightdress, slippers, washbag

soap, - things for the short

stay and I was plunged into ice

in the buzzing night-time

fluorescence,

the navy blue case

she would never take home

again.

 

 

 

 Rostro bajo el agua 1
acriclico sobre madera
122 x 122 cm
2001

 


Catalina Aroch Fugellie

Catalina is a Guatemalan born Mexican artist who studied at the National Centre for the Arts (CENART) and the Academia de San Carlos, both in Mexico City. She has exhibitied her work all over Mexico and in London.