ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

A journal for poetry, criticism, reviews, stories and essays published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998.


Poems by Noel Conneely


The Gulls on North Earl Street

The line dancers' hats blow off in the wind,
boots clatter on the path to retrieve them.
James Joyce's hat is more firmly attached.
A kid feeds bits of his mother's bun to the gulls
on North Earl Street. "They need it more" he laughs.
The birds argue over the crumbs
but the boy hears it as glad song.
An Italian student at the next table
is having a hard time with his beans
sliding all over the plate. His girl,
though sympathetic, won't get involved.
Outside on the corner, black stockings rise
into tartan minis, so short, a storm
couldn't raise them any further.
The Italian boy's beans cool in congealed egg
and he will not be consoled.
The line dancers are going back to Mullinavat
and James Joyce's hat likes the angle it's at.




My Story

When the laughing river hears my story,
it clouds over and fish begin to float.
Further downstream, the waters clear
and when joy appears, i walk by;
the way you pass someone on the street
you think is going to ask for something.
And just as twenty coughs are lost
in the hustle of the ball game,
my whisper drowns in the river's rush.
You can't count the fish old stories bring up
but your ticket runs out
and you look at soul xpress
wondering if they lost the"e".
You hitch back to the chicken farm
and hope the fox is still at home
shining his letterbox.




Where are your sisters now
as the sun goes down
and mass going women
pass by the graveyard wall?

Are they still beautiful?
How the gambler picks his way
amid thrown away betting slips.
Horses that wouldn't quicken.

Where are your beautiful sisters, boy?
A shy moon hangs above lonely lovers
that hug and hope the rug
won't be pulled from under them.

Where are your lovely sisters now?
And have they held their looks?
Does the door that opens to heroes
close on thieves?

My sisters are beside me.
They never left at all.
Beauty left without them
and i am not a boy.


Noel Conneely has published in Poetry Ireland, Cimarron Review, Willow Review, Coe Review, Chelsea, Yellow Medicine Review and other publications in Ireland and the U.S.  He lives in Dublin. 

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