Poems by Nathanael O’Reilly

v. s. Rakenduvadhana / a precarious game of the masters / in parentheses literary magazine / spring 2021

Nathanael O’Reilly is an Irish-Australian poet; he teaches creative writing at the University of Texas at Arlington. His books include (Un)belonging, BLUE, Preparations for Departure, Distance and Symptoms of Homesickness. His poetry has appeared in publications from fourteen countries, including Antipodes, Anthropocene, Cordite, Headstuff, Mascara, Skylight 47, Strukturriss and Westerly.

Artwork by V. S. Rakenduvadhana

Dear Nostalgia,

will you ever leave me alone? Will you refrain
from sliding into my bed at four in the morning
when you find me lying awake after releasing
the dog? Will you stop pursuing me, embracing
me with your brown Yarra arms and narrow Liffey legs?
Why do you insist on waking me with memories
of past geographies, decomposing relationships,
the deeds of youth? Do you think I might forget
the brilliant blues, the amber glow, the snug fug
of cosy belonging? I’m not sure I need you
anymore. Perhaps I’ve reached the farther shore,
survived the breaking surf, dragged my exhausted self
from the undertow, staggered onto a new continent.


We arrived in Cavan by bus
from Carrickmacross, walked

from the Bus Eireann station
to Sweelan Lough, pitched our burgundy

tent beneath the trees behind
the green hedges beside the cool

water, walked back into the town
centre along Kilnavarragh

Road, Wolfe Tone and Bridge streets, withdrew
punts from Ulster Bank, walked up the town past

the Church of Ireland to the Cathedral
of Saints Patrick and Felim, knelt

in a wooden pew, whispered prayers
and lit candles for my Bréifne

ancestors, strolled hand in hand back down
Church and Main, settled in for a long slow

evening in Percy’s Bar at the Farnham
Arms, sipped Guinness, feasted on chips,

soup, soda bread, potatoes and salmon,
sang folk songs with newfound friends,

warmed ourselves in the welcome home,
sank into the comfort of dark wood,

scarlet ceilings and soft golden lamps,
stumbled out the door at closing time

with arms around each other’s shoulders,
wove our way back to the tent, kicked

off boots, stripped off clothes, wriggled naked
into sleeping bags zipped together.


I live nine thousand, one hundred and four
miles, or fourteen thousand, six hundred
and fifty-one kilometres away
from my birthplace – I also live
in the present, forty-seven years
and seven months from the moment
of my birth in a country town
crouched above the Southern Ocean,
three thousand miles north of Antarctica.
Twenty-two years and twelve days after
I entered the world with blue eyes
and white hair, received the nickname
Murph the Surf from the nurses, twenty-two
years and twelve days after the local
radio station announced my birth
and played Bowie’s Space Oddity
in my honour, I left my homeland,
lifted off and crossed the sea alone
with one black suitcase full of books
and CDs, another full of clothes.
I carried my possessions with two hands
like my ancestors boarding ships
in Ireland, England, Wales and Portugal,
launched into a distant hemisphere.
I hurtled across time and space, landed
in a new station far above my past.

From the Editor:

We hope that readers receive In Parentheses as a medium through which the evolution of human thought can be appreciated, nurtured and precipitated. It will present a dynamo of artistic expression, journalism, informal analysis of our daily world, entertainment of ideas considered lofty and criticism of today’s popular culture. The featured content does not follow any specific ideology except for that of intellectual expansion of the masses.

Founded in late 2011, In Parentheses prides itself upon analysis of the current condition of intelligence in the minds of these young people, and building a hypothesis for one looming question: what comes after Post-Modernism?

The idea for this magazine stems from a simple conversation regarding the aforementioned question, which drew out the need to identify our generation’s place in literary history.

To view the types of work we typically publish, preview or purchase our past issues.

Please join our community on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @inparenth.

In Parentheses Magazine (Volume 7, Issue 3) Winter 2022

By In Parentheses in IP Volume 7

32 pages, published 1/15/2022

The Winter 2022 issue of In Parentheses Literary Magazine. Published by In Parentheses (Volume 7, Issue32)
In Parentheses Magazine (Volume 7, Issue 3) Winter 2022

By In Parentheses in IP Volume 7

32 pages, published 1/15/2022

The Winter 2022 issue of In Parentheses Literary Magazine. Published by In Parentheses (Volume 7, Issue32)
%d bloggers like this: