Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

A Story and Poems, by Suzanne Ryan.

Henry's Motter


I've got a motter: Always merry and bright!
It keeps me on my best behaviour:
a smile here, a dash of bon homie on sight—
I'm never out of favour

It keeps me famed and popular
This motter small of mine
I'm not sure how it came to me
but it keeps you on my side

But if I were to be hones
this visage it would fall; I wouldn't be merry
I wouldn't be bright
I wouldn't be here at all.



Tigress and Rabbit


Ah those eyes
Could not pierce you
They have not the strength

Wending up and inwards to a
Blue, blue river run
around us it swims to the
Rosebush and into the mind

How could they have expected a preying tiger
To feign innocence for long?


Twin Houses of Government


She wasn’t quite sure if she had had feelings at the time. Suggestions that it happened too quickly to feel were perhaps quite adequate and even true in many ways, but the nagging doubt that even in the grip of a ‘’great affair’’ she couldn’t feel as deeply as others ate away at her. 
In ways and at times she wondered if he had been merely another vehicle for her to exact some sort of revenge on the indifferent one at home. That, too, would involve the feeling of some sort of ‘deep love’ though.
Sometimes it felt as if everyone in her world were objects to keep her busy and wile away her hours. She, the occupational hazard.
She would consider for hours and make lists in her mind about if so and so were to disappear how long would it take her to get over it? Never very long, in her mind at least. She struggled with the dichotomy of her own being, she knew she was capable of great intensity but her mind seemed to reinforce to her constantly that she was not.
Still, it wasn’t as if she didn’t FEEL, no, she did. It just didn’t seem to come in the same increments as it did for the people she knew.

Most of the time she did believe that she had loved him. To this day, they couldn’t break free from one another. She had tried a million times and still they both knew that in a matter of days it would be utterly forgotten and things back to usual. In the end, she gave up. She accepted their fates as being somehow intertwined and decided to live with it. She knew they would never be together again and instead of pining she was content and happy that this was so.
She doubted either of them could have expected the outcome that happened the night they met.
Her second night away. Her second conversation. Her first fight in foreign lands. She won.
Was it this that set the precedent for forthcoming relations? She only pondered this thought long after. At the time she was herself lost in the heightened elation of a win, any win.

 They read Rimbaud and she left him. He asked her to call, to stay, to do anything but leave and while a large part of her wanted to, far larger a part sought the freedom from unity with another that she craved. So, she left. She didn’t regret it either. It was only when chance forced her to stay in the city that she thought she may as well call him.
She did, and to this day he still told her the story of the moment he received that call being the best of his life. She’d smile and try to be the typical female who melted at such a comment but really, she felt constrained again. Pleased at the flattery, but somehow choked.
They spent the next few days - she doesn’t know how many, he does - together.
Daytime was spent in bed, not even just the two of them. Night time in the soul of the city.
Everything was done under a moon of constant talking. There seemed to be nothing they didn’t or couldn’t know about each other. They had a ceaseless appetite for filling their own emptinesses with tales of the other.
Truly, if they found love, they found it in loving what in the other reflected their own self.

She remembered a particular time lying in bed in the middle of the day looking out at the shop-keepers and wondering what she was doing.
She pondered this in an unusual way; she didn’t particularly care that what she was doing was wrong for many reasons... no, she merely liked to explore her life as she lived it.
Still, it was a time when for maybe only minutes she wished he was anywhere else than near her. The constant tapping and reverberations of his voice were like a jail cell around her, with every word came another bar and she felt like a prisoner of her own making.
In escaping her traveling partners and seeming to find freedom with a stranger she had only given herself over to another gaoler.

She constantly defined and explored anything she felt at this time but still never seemed to be having any deep, lasting feelings.
She would feel intense flares of love or hate light up inside and outside of her and fade out as quickly. Not once did she question his feelings, she knew at this time she was loved and it was in being loved that she felt the most worried and preyed upon. Occasionally however she felt freer and accepted him and his affections. She had no idea what caused her such consternation. She had talked constantly for years of finding a great love, and someone to care for her and mind her.
Yet when she found it she treated it cautiously but kindly; like a newborn child to a new mother - afraid she would somehow hurt her young.

Sometimes as she reflected on their time together, she knew she loved him, she knew she loved him far more deeply than merely as a partner.
She loved him as a brother, a comrade, a partner in arms, but not merely any of these but all of these and in every way possible – as everything.
She remembered her head on his shoulder, quietly thinking about how lucky she was that he would mind her, that he so wanted to mind her.
At times like this there was no doubt in her mind that they had a bond of some great importance. Yet, now, alone… she knew she wouldn’t want to be with him again. She remembered their second trip away. A hazy few days spent in fiery screaming and shouting, biblical beatings and storming out of places… And worse, writing their address down for her in case he should decide to leave her that night.
Analysing again moments like this, moments of such selfishness and madness, she didn’t love him, but she didn’t hate him either. It seemed that whatever they did to each other they were inextricably linked and it was this above all else, above questions of love, or lust, that terrified her. She felt that now for better or worse she could never be alone again.

Their Twin Houses of Government inextricably linked made their own wars and their own diplomatic peaces and she could smile quietly to herself noting how their human relations reflected those of the major political powers.
Would they all order their hearts and their youth to war?




Suzanne Ryan is Irish, lives in Dublin, she is 21 and recently finished a degree in Politics and Art History. She works in a government body, likes traveling, animals, art and reading. She admires Henry Miller, Hermann Hesse, Richard Brautigan, Laurence Hope and Anais Nin.

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