Design a site like this with
Get started



going backwards

to the IED –

the one by the path

not the car

not the firing-point

not the one that took a soldier’s face

so many –

a mind made of sepia


wrapped in newsprint

washed away yesterdays

red streams

through barren





Politics is just noise in my head it threatens to knock the other noises dead a noise of Irish republicans on Cullaville Road a noise of Loyalists abiding in the Highfields a noise of show parades for Sinn Féin a noise of the present the past is pain noise noise noise noise no!

silver fingers

cup stone

wrists plunged

through skins

of knives

your father lingers

on the far bank

his mouth

a cave of bitter blood

god abides within

water rises



a mother’s grace

her hands


in prayer

a river flows from sides

foresight pierced

to join other rivers


until each wave


another’s dying sigh.

Published by Writer of fiction about Irish terrorism and the lives it damages.

This trilogy of novels will be set during the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’ I always wanted to read. Having changed an aspect of ancient history (Constantine chose Mithras over Christ in 312 CE) this ‘butterfly effect’ freed me of the fetters of recent history and able to craft a counter-factual novel. A tale of working-class lives caught up in the deadly maelstrom of sectarian violence. While the focus is on characterisation, ‘The Bitter End of Dreams’ explores internecine violence, as well as the beliefs and fears which drive ordinary people to murder. Young lives seduced into joining paramilitary organisations and committing terrible acts of violence. Elements such as protection rackets, and the shadow of political and religious leverage also loom within the story. While the primary religion, and some names, is different, the hatred and violence remains very real and familiar. To date, most novels on the ‘Troubles’ have been post-conflict. My novel is set during the mid 1970s and fixes its gaze firmly upon the cramped terraces from where paramilitarism entraps young people, and, subtly, oppresses communities. I recently retired after over thirty years service in the RUC and PSNI. I was exposed to a number of terrorist incidents in which colleagues and members of the public, sadly, lost their lives. My novel began as a part of therapy to manage my diagnosis of Complex PTSD. While ‘The Bitter End of Dreams’ focuses on one side of the community, a second novel will explore the opposing community. A final novel will be written from a policing perspective. I have also written a number of poems centering on the pain and grief which continues to ripple from the ‘Troubles’. During my service I have striven to understand the ideologies of both Irish and Northern Irish paramilitaries: how they justify murder and extortion. To do this I have spoken to many paramilitaries - on both sides of the conflict. I hope my novel sheds a little light upon the dark heart of religious violence; not only in terms of the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’, but also on a global context.

2 thoughts on “ALL LIFE IS NOISE

  1. Hauntingly authentic…

    I hope you don’t mind me leaving some interpretations of my own regarding these terrible events…

    ‘He was a British agent himself and as such, his ‘legacy’ and that of a raft of other British State sponsored murderers, are currently being protected by the same UK State structures to prevent the truth from leading back to where it was all engineered – 10 Downing Street and MI5’.

    ‘A Very British State Boogeyman: The ‘MI’-RA’ (2019) 

    “The distinction between the past, present and future is a stubbornly persistent illusion”. Einstein

    ‘The lesson here is *pretext* and to truly appreciate and consciously process the Imperial *patterns* housed in centuries-long events, which are themselves the ideological-legacy weapons left behind by past leaders for future conflicts; with which, each subsequent generation of Etonians will cyclically re-arm themselves in the perennial present. Regardless of pretext, Tory militarisation of Brexit Britain is inevitable’.

    ‘Devo-Max: Ireland 1922 to Scotland 2022 – Live. Die. Repeat.’ (2022)

    Feedback, questions and objective curiosity are welcome.

    Kind regards and good luck.

    Johnny McNeill
    #GaslightingGilligan (© 2017) 
    Twitter: @GasGilligan (free download)

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: