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Sixteen magazine volume 1


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Sixteen is a free online magazine that aims to use the 1916 centenary to help emerging and professional writers craft new work based on the 1916 Easter Rising. We are deeply interested in how Ireland has changed in the last 100 years since and want to explore how the events of that week in 1916 have shaped us as a nation today or if they did at all.

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Sixteen magazine volume 1

  1. 1. A collection of short stories and poems inspired by the themes of the 1916 Easter Rising.
  2. 2. About Sixteen Sixteen is an online literary magazine that used the 1916 centenary to help emerging and professional writers craft new work based on the 1916 Easter Rising. We are deeply interested in how Ireland has changed in the last 100 years since and want to explore how the events of that week in 1916 have shaped us as a nation today or if they did at all. Over a period of sixteen months, submissions based on sixteen different themes were sought. Each month, a featured writer was chosen by the editors. The following pieces of writing are from the featured writers each month. We hope you enjoy reading these wonderful poems and stories. Simon and Rozz Lewis
  3. 3. Erin’s Story – Clifton Redmond I used to see her face, natural beauty, her lonely portrait in geography books, on the cover of history books, staunch complexion, standing out from the crowd; wearing a gown of clove green, honest, unique, innocent, now I see her on the cover of glossy magazines, photo- shopped, fake, ravaged. Her grayed threads hanging, under headlines of corruption, lies, manipulation. She sells herself to the highest bidder, a tarnished whore, dragging herself, begging, through the open market streets.
  4. 4. A Terrible Beauty’s Birth - Hugh A Tague Walking up and down the cobblestone way with no sign of change in their expression I know now, what their lives are worth with death has come a terrible beauty’s birth. I just couldn’t see what the others held dear the teacher and his friends knew their destiny though I share the light of who we are now their children sleep in the cradle of their vow. Most gave up everything for the cause when is it all enough? when may it suffice? as they walk up the street, in their faces I see the sacrifice of Life’s waters that run so deep. All that is lost in the Living Stream has come back to us solid and strong the breeze is free to come and go but it must blow around a pillar of stone. Walking up and down the cobblestone way with no sign of change in their expression I know now, what their lives are worth with death has come a terrible beauty’s birth.
  5. 5. The Leading Lady and the Rebel Leader – EM Reapy The big band swung. A singer in a pin striped suit jazzed his way through the number. The music filled the room and imaginations of the guests. They forgot about the bleak Depression outside. They drank hooch and ate deviled eggs, salmon loaf and Waldorf salad. He noticed her. It looked like she noticed him too but he couldn’t be sure. He checked behind him, but no, her eyes were on him. Her sultry eyes. One of the most famous actresses in the whole goddamned town. Her blonde curls set tight, her green silk dress clinging to her curves, her mouth full and inviting. He placed his fedora by the chocolate fondue fountain, took her hand and spun the leading lady around. * The boy, well over six foot and strapping, having already spent a term in Gallipoli, stood beside his father. He was fearful of a ploy as the leader approached, injured, beside a caped nurse. ‘Father, what if we’re being ambushed?’ he said in an almost whisper. ‘We’re not. He’s done. He seems to be a fellow with a deep conscience. Terrible qualities for a soldier. There’s too much blood on his hands. I would be rather confident that he is done.’ The Dublin air was still and quiet except for a far off fire consuming a building. The crackled breezy sound of burning. * ‘Do I know you from somewhere?’ she shouted over the music. He shrugged. ‘Possibly?’ His British accent was distinct and debonair. ‘You starred in some pictures?’ she asked. ‘Some European, some talkies. Waiting for my break.’ ‘Ain’t we all.’ She smiled. He smiled. He couldn’t believe his luck. * ‘I lay down my sword,’ the rebel leader said. The boy kept his hand on his pistol, sweat glistened on his back.
  6. 6. ‘Surrender accepted,’ his father said. ‘Shall I bring word around?’ the nurse asked. The rebel nodded mournfully at her. ‘Don’t despair, Commandant. Don’t. This will come to something.’ ‘It’s over, Elizabeth.’ ‘Or maybe, Padraig, it’s only beginning.’ ‘Silence,’ the boy’s father said. ‘We are arresting you on her majesty’s honour and under martial law shall imprison you. Do you understand?’ ‘I do,’ the rebel said. His face was paler. ‘William, take his arm.’ ‘Yes, father.’ The rebel gave it willingly. He was calm, morose. They walked in a near silence towards Kilmainham. * ‘I’ve seen a couple of your flicks. I used to act in Germany too, Berlin. Tremendous fun but seems to be veering too far right. I’m no Communist. I do, however, know when a situation is boiling up.’ ‘How’s that?’ she asked. Her eyebrows drawn in a surprise. ‘I’ve been in situations.’ The band played on. He could smell a faint sweet sweat from her, under the lavender. His fingers traced her back as they danced. She was soft except for a small bump of a mole, which he was drawn back to touch, to circle, the way it lifted off her skin. ‘You can’t say something like that without giving me an example?’ she asked. ‘Very well, but only because, madam, you requested.’ * ‘There are many casualties,’ the boy said. The rebel grimaced. He muttered a prayer. Looked around at the destruction of the city. Buildings crumbling. Glass shattered on the roads. Bullet holes. Black smoke darkening the grey skies. A misty rain began to spray.
  7. 7. ‘It is like being cleansed,’ he said and turned his palms outwards. The boy sighed and wished he had spent his leave in his mother’s place. A large house in the countryside. He could have hunted deer or played cricket and read some Shakespeare. Caught some new shows in London. Snuck some alcohol and opium with the troupes. Instead, he was a skivvy to his father in this dirty town. * ‘You were there for that?’ she asked. Her eyes wide. ‘In Ireland?’ He nodded. ‘And why did you come to Hollywood?’ ‘When I was a boy, my father was my hero. The way I saw it, he used his strength and tact to protect people. But I wanted to help them in a different way. War changed everyone. It changed me. We need escape from the misery of life. The pain of it. The pictures help do that. Get one or two hours out of the world, out of our minds. You know?’ ‘So you’re saying I’m a hero, Mr. Loder?’ she asked, a glint in her eyes. ‘Exactly,’ he replied. He looked around the room, felt the whole place watching them as he leaned in to kiss her. * The boy’s father was stopped by some officers. He explained the situation. Word from General Maxwell was that execution would be imminent for the rebel and indeed for all his aides. ‘Brutal, perhaps. But swift and the only way to show that treason to the Crown will not be tolerated.’ The rebel was calm. ‘So it will come to something.’ The boy thought he saw the rebel smile, the corners of his mouth raised a fraction. He kept his grip on him. ‘You are very young,’ the rebel said. ‘I have already served in the Great War and shall return to Europe in the Autumn,’ the boy said. He held his head up. ‘Is that your dream?’ the rebel asked. ‘Is this your dream?’ the boy replied, feeling insulted.
  8. 8. ‘It is a version of it.’ ‘This will only ever be a story to me.’
  9. 9. Eulogy – Maria Keenan The drones of your grandfather when chewed by time – the same bites that curl his only picture – are waked in crying more blood than water and are still labelled miracles by the keen The face of his father is emblazoned on flags, his mouth curdled by eccentric blood that he laughed through, spitting a red scare during difficult, liquid prosecution All this and yet more and I am the mother favouring this funeral over a school day found bunker-deep in berated naivety, in my stooped nostalgia for our second- and third-edition history It is the new age and I its milestone kept warm by parted, quilted envelopes and boiled, lured eyes: the viral technology of justice’s scale keeps its criminals in sharp protection The grave already has a flesh-tint rust and epitaph lines from the beer-strewn passport identity he never kept pocketed always nose to tail in the delicious victory of nepotistic flatulence snorting a bubbling yaw, pitch and roll of gravitas He found a centre of gravity in the three leaves of a shamrock god I am the mother on its right hand yet he wilts first for he was the human, the light and the fragile ogham work of three crooked dashes I sat, I stood, I kneeled and fell all to learn: it is sweet and fitting to die for your father’s heart it is bitter and crushed when obliged by land Wrap your body’s thirst around the safest soul and keep it quenched before all is spilled.
  10. 10. Quarters – Safi Strand Did you see that house that they cut into four? Like the way they built us up till we divided. The way you moved through me, like hot steel through softened cement. Do you remember that night when we danced? Like a dance with a building that was never quite home, but it creaked as our hearts jumped up stairs; and even when they pulled us apart, we still looked like one. Hand in hand, brick on brick, like another fearless dance concert. Will you think of me when our quarters crumble? When the tiles slide off and the rain drips through and the wind blows in and cracks our open sides? When the earthquake comes to shake our foundations and we’re only rubble and memories? Because the wind vane in spinning and they say a storm is building and they’ve cut our roof in four. Maybe the water can make us whole.
  11. 11. Maude Gonne – Colm Scully The middle classes are moaning again, not blood this time but water. Frothing at the mouth with the thought of paying. You knew the men who paid with their lives, the four terrible fathers; MacDonagh, Connolly, Ceannt and MacBride. Did they consider the education of their sons, their daughters dowries? No, they were revolutionaries, Mad Markievicz and you, hobnobbing with them, upper class girls off to a ball. But, you were organising long before that; marching after the Empires coffin with Connolly and Yeats, casting eviction scenes onto city walls, de-commemorating Victoria’s jubilee. Do you think Maude that there’s a God, who walks among the dead, among those heroes who gave their lives? And you, you their beautiful muse, but a terrible mother.
  12. 12. Sean Connolly – Peter Goulding The week before, he’d played a valiant role upon the stage, to deafening applause, hoisting the flag up the bloodied pole, inspiring men of culture to the cause. He died upon the roof of City Hall, raising that same flag, some later said, a cracking yarn that bore no truth at all, save for the fact a sniper shot him dead. He fluffed his lines upon the greatest stage, not stooping as he crossed the parapet, a death most unbecoming of the age, disrespectful of the bullet’s threat. He raised no flag. That cannot be denied. Yet in a deeper way, that’s how he died.
  13. 13. These Children Walk Within The City Still – Geraldine Moorkens Byrne I’ve thought a lot of you recently My brave fine fellows, in ragged forms. The tattered group emerging from the dust, trusting that their ruins were destined to be the foundations of the state. Gallant lies you told, each other and yourselves – and some came true, despite it all. It’s almost a century, it’s a pile of progress. One hundred years a-coming, from your day. It’s upon us, my dears, the parades and the solemn state-sanctioned pomp. You’ll be toasted in style. You’ll be the belles of the ball. And all that fun and frolic, what you’ll make of it all. Still – one question, if you would be so kind? I wonder if beside you walks, Brigid Allen? Or little Christina (she was only two, do one Of the others carry her?) or William Mullen Or that brave wee boy of Na Fianna, John Healy? The romantically named Walter, surname Scott. The unidentified infant or the victims of Taylor – Butchered butcher boy, Christopher? And the rest? Who will mourn them, poor children of the city murdered, massacred, or shot by accident, collateral damage of a new-born State? The fuel that turned the Dublin crowds from outraged loyalty to rebel force – a wave of sorrow as the dust cleared The British brought the worst they’d feared. I hope in some corner of our hearts We hold them still, their shades upon our streets, our parks, our avenues and hills. The Dublin they knew long gone, ours evolving. The revolution of the poets may be over; the poor still suffer and rich still feast. Remember these, our wee fallen, at the least.
  14. 14. Muirchú: The Sea Hound – Hugh A Tague Atop a yard, on Life’s river, she grew Irish sweat and blood filled her berth with steel In Nature’s name, she patrolled Eire’s shores Fish-poaching trawlers were to be her wars. The world’s skies turned a sinister pitch black Sailor’s blood streaks the coke-laden sea swells Seized by the crown, and dressed with his arms Helga thunders into Dublin killing her sons. Otherwhere, agents dance cloaked in darkness Ebon waters chase the blue from the North Sea Sir Rodger Casement’s crusade disallowed A rendezvous lost, scuttled the Libau Independence, the means to Helga’s end Thus freeing her spirit: The Hound of the Sea Countless leagues passed beneath her weathered bow Near the Isles of Saltee, she’s laid her head down. Atop a yard, on life’s river, she grew Irish sweat and blood filled her berth with steel Seized by the crown, and dressed with his arms Helga thunders into Dublin killing her sons.
  15. 15. Casement – Aoife Hynes The teacher glanced off him Her catchphrase “Moving on!” accompanied by a hand wave Waving Casement away In the student’s notebook he had one line No backstory, no prologue He didn’t have a life before or after He was one line of truth “Casement was caught bringing arms for the rebellion from Germany” He wasn’t wreathed in laurel and placed on a pedestal At the height of the heavenly martyrs Pearse, McDonagh, Mac Bride, Connolly and all the rest Those whose names adorned the Proclamation of our independence Whose voices rang outside the G.P.O. Whose ears heard the whistle of the bullets They sacrificed all for independence Became terrorists, breakers of peace Revolutionaries, patriots, warriors Nobility to some, problems to others Casement, who sacrificed all, could not be placed on that pedestal The sinful creature that he was His natural inclinations enwrapped his reputation, visible to history And reduced him to “sodomist”, freak, unnatural He lost as the others did, but he was born to lose Ireland has not forgotten his name Ireland has forgotten his life beyond that one line
  16. 16. Blue in the Face – Aifric McGlinchey My mama was like a vampire squid who uses fine-haired filaments to browse on marine snow, tiny crustaceans Breakfast lit on by long fingers and scooped onto her tongue. She always stood. She had no plate of her own. I’d leave her some phytoplankton, bite-sized, briny, crunchy. Each morning, my arms were rivers running toward her. Her arms were a cat’s cradle I’d have put to sea in. When she smiled, I smiled, then the whole house pulsed with our skip-to-the-kitchen laughter. One day he knocked and she became a parcel of tendon and spewing ink, whiplash collision. I screamed and banged my spoon. Saw through the door a man as blue as Picasso’s old guitarist on the wall. Felt her voice body to my limbs. Stared at the snow wasteland of the ceiling, until she whirled back through the door, heaving roomfuls of air, and lifted me. ‘He thought he could cock his ears and whisk his tail and I’d come running. Well, I wrung that thought right out of him.’ I gave her the full loaf of my love, stroked tendrils, crooned. Fingers in my mouth, and every breakfast, the blue guitarist.
  17. 17. Irish Declamation – Mary Madec We have divided a majority from a minority to make a nation, declared possession of land, occupation of houses to qualify for equal rights The last examples of our heritage, Irish Travellers up against the vilest prejudice, differences carefully fostered by our own government without any help from the aliens. On the side of the road two families in flames. Sedentaries looking on at how Irish society has gone to blazes, for one moment wishing there was a hell to go to, where justice might be done, a God still in heaven we might invoke upon our arms to embrace those who stand and wait on dental records. Ash scattered to bitter easterlies. Not screened off as in St. Jerome’s No, not even bones and no home.
  18. 18. O’Leary’s Grace – Nessa O’Mahony They’re reshooting the Rising up at Collins Barracks. White winnebagos line up, Volunteers form an orderly queue for the catering, Asgard safely moored behind cordons. They’ll get it in higher definition this time, take all the takes they need, apply the make-up to Pearse’s squint expertly, photoshop Dev in if the director requires. Extras lounge about, drift in and out of collonades, wander further afield, tall skinnies in hand. But Croppy’s Acre is padlocked. The Corpo turned the key when the citizens started bedding down there, sharing sleeping bags and needles, messing up the view. Right now, two of them frisk a third who hasn’t moved for hours: still-life, ready for his close-up. Cut in to Romantic Ireland blue-inked on his wrist.
  19. 19. New Republic Plaza – Gerard Hanberry I come here from time to time, my head full of puzzles to read the graffiti and mingle with the flag-wavers, the fanatics, light in their eyes unfurling like pennons as they glare on those of us who prefer a quiet life. If questioned, I retreat with shrugged shoulders, slipping away into the befuddlement of side streets where my suspicions can go undetected among those busy feathering their own nests. Here in the shadows, bundled in doorways, the children of the nation sing the old ballads their hum of despair rising like balloons, above the entire city.
  20. 20. Light – Anatoly Kudryavitsky In memory: Thomas Kitterick (1899–1977) Towards the end of his life he confined himself to a box-room in the house of memories. The blackness from inside his eyes splashed the walls with all the hues of the dark… Watch over us, Creator of Dreams, don’t let us acquire more than we’ve lost, for bags of illusions are heavier than stones. In 1916, he and his friends were 17; every road led to the horizon. Soon after the Rising, they paraded through Westport having but one gun among them. He thought: The game, as real as life itself, is precisely that: life. The future quartermaster of the West Mayo Brigade, the future prisoner of Kilmainham Gaol, he wanted to play that game properly. When the hills of Mayo issued a call to arms, he saw to it that ammunition was aplenty. Shrieks of the unspoken and the unspeakable were piercing the clouds day after day until the moment a bagpipe tune flooded all around and the argent key of freedom began to twinkle among the constellations of shiny eyes. Was he more alive than dead as an old man, or the other way around? When the century was young, the world seemed brighter… Up aloft, the keepers of timeless order store up used bodily casings. Every so often they forget to elicit the inner light.
  21. 21. A Patriot – Mike Gallagher In Memory of Paddy Bond Of a sudden, he was there, among us, weaving his way through crowds engrossed in other things, the booze, the craic, the dance. His practised eye homed in, found familiar faces, his regular clientele, cultivated over decades, forty years of trudging through the scoffing hordes, a stranger among his own, his message spurned by those it sought to salve. ‘Irish Democrat, Irish Democrat,’ his soft voice bounced off dancehall’s din, the memory of his idol crushed beneath our waltzing feet: When they murdered James Connolly the Irish rebel. Scarce the few who knew the man, a son of landed gentry stock, proud offspring of a hero of ’98, Cambridge scholar; no reason there to traipse hard, Marxist roads, only a love of justice and humanity, a passion for his native soil. Gone now as quietly as he came; and the Saturday night patriots still call for one last fling: let’s raise our fists, lets shimmy to Sean South of Garryowen. (From Stick on Stone)
  22. 22. Sixteen Magazine Volume 1 What a Difference 100 Years Make "Birth of the Irish Republic" by Walter Paget, depicting the GPO during the shelling