Exercising my Demon, by Aaron Williams

I was possessed by a demon so lazy,
He left the Priest feeling slightly hazy.
He wanted some ecclesiastical action,
But this Demon didn’t give him no satisfaction.

My Priest said “you’ve got to stick it to him!”
So I took us both to the local gym.
I did some cardio and did some weights,
I stayed there until really very late.

Finally, when doing some cross-training,
My chest started straining,
And a voice (not mine) wailed like a Banshee,
“The power of exercise compels me!”

So that was how my Demon was exorcised;
Bloodless, sweaty Holy exercise.
Now I’m a major fitness fanatic
Thanks to forces oh so Satanic!

Newly middle-aged male who wrote a short ‘poem’ on a whim a few months ago and is quite enjoying writing rubbish when the whim takes him. Also, still harbour a mild grudge against a former English teacher’s cruel and public comment questioning my intellect 😂

 

Smuggled Goods, by Brian Burden

How many cigs did Cyril smuggle through?
Five hundred twenties underneath the floor
Of his old camper van. If he makes two –
Two quid a pack, I mean, he can be sure

Of a cool grand. Could Cyril ask for more?
Of course he could. He bought a ton of hash –
A hundred quid’s worth, at a legal store
In Amsterdam. He’ll sell you some for cash.

Some porno mags: they’re awful tacky tat,
Some dodgy DVDs and videos –
For his own use. You can’t blame him for that.
Have you seen his old lady? Christ, she’s hideous!

He says the human traffic pays the best,
Desperate people fleeing for their lives
From torturers and tyrants and the rest.
And most of them have relatives and wives

To swell the profits when their turn comes round.
Cyril’s a pretty enterprising man.
But after his last run, well, Cyril found
Exhaust fumes did for one young African.

Come out the back. I’ve got her in the freezer.
She looks so warm, but she’s as cold as ice.
It really upset Cyril, poor old geezer.
So is she nice, my friend, or is she nice?

You’re right, and she deserves a decent grave.
You have to show respect when all is said.
Now, on that score, could I call in a favour,
So Cyril can sleep easy in his bed?

Lots of new building going on round here,
You tell me in your knowing sort of voice.
Foundations for a library and a school,
Even a church, so Cyril’s spoilt for choice.
Just name your price. If Cyril says Okay,
We’ll bed her deep in decent Essex clay.

Hey, just a tick, do you see what I see?
I saw an eyelid flicker, I could swear.
Help me to lift her out; bring her in here.
Put her down by the fire; give her some air.

It’s all right, love, you’re in safe company.
Just swallow some of this. There. Is that better?
Should we call Cyril up on the Q.T.?
Say she’s revived and can he come and get her?

No, I don’t think so either. There’s more profit
In letting Cyril think he’s in a fix.
She says she’s grateful. Girl, think nothing of it.
We’re going to sort out Cyril’s box of tricks.

Pass me the phone, love. This ought to be fun.
Remember, your mate Cyril thinks he’s lost you.
Hi, Cyril! We’ll clear up your mess, old chum.
But we want cash up front, and it’ll cost you.

Brian Burden is a retired college lecturer. He grew up in Banbury, Oxfordshire and graduated from Oxford University. He now lives in Essex. This poem is from his self-published collection In A Green
Glade.

 

Shut Up, by Ann Gibson

Oh please shut up, don’t give me any more
small details of your life’s minutiae.
You’ve infinite capacity to bore.

Repeated ramblings of your wondrous cure;
pills taken, when, with what, how often, why.
Just please shut up, don’t tell me any more

of visits to exclusive fashion stores,
your bits and bobs, where bought, how much, what size.
Your infinite capacity to bore

includes recurrent wanderings galore
on distant labyrinthine family ties.
You can’t shut up! Don’t give me any more

inane claptrap, my hammered ears are sore;
the constant chatter makes me want to die.
Your infinite capacity to bore

is all-consuming, so hard to ignore,
lays waste my brain and melts my twitching eyes.
Please just shut up – don’t say any more.
You’ve infinite capacity to bore.

Ann Gibson lives in North Yorkshire. She has published poetry in Acumen, Prole, Orbis, Ariadne’s Thread, The Poets’ Republic magazines and various anthologies. Her poetry has also appeared online in Algebra of Owls, Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Pulsar, Ofi Press Magazine and The Ekphrasis Review.

 

Mad Old George Haunts a Happy Day, By Jane Burn

I swear to you I saw them – saw the streets lined
with chipper ants, cheery-flapping tincey paper flags
in a butterfly blur of flustered Union Jacks.

I couldn’t help but scan the streets, so many folk
as to seem them a sea, lining many deep for a glimpse –
I picked out the stones of Windsor, heavy against the sky,

Round Tower trunked from a crop of trees, the windows
where the phantom of the first Charles peeps. He’s loving
the pomp, cocking his pearly ear, gibbering on about

incorruptible crowns. The sun lights rings on show-sheen flanks –
the Greys trot merry with ribbons red upon their nodding heads,
blinkered against the spectacle, buckles brassed. Footmen,

more than Cinderella ever wished from out of lizard’s skin
going down the Long Walk, hoi polloi cleaned off. Proles
all stiff and sunburned, pride-burst, shiny-cheeked and glad –

no room today for poverty, austerity, or frowns. Homeless
swept up like leaves for today is a day of pretending, of jollity.
There will be no other news – the world is whitewashed of truth.

We’re all agog – Victoria in that lush navy sack. Her fella,
the one we’re all meant to be lusting after, I saw him bend
so his clothes rode up. I saw his arse’s crack – tonight

there’ll be underpants, skidded in the hamper wanting washed.
Someone will have cleaned his clumps of shaved whiskers
from the sink. Collected his socks. Hats, hats, marvellous hats –

Camilla’s feathered Frisbee skimming her coiff, Amal’s tilted UFO,
Queen a lemon drop. Skeins of pink, spiked heels, thoroughbred legs,
a discreetly skirted Pippa – not for today any headline grabbing bums.

I saw the wife-to-be float St George’s steps in a trailing mist, go veiled to her very own Prince. I think those boys would be wishing most for their mother – her absence the most noticeable guest.

Henry took his Jane to the grave – they rot beneath the piebald floor,
spiced and wrapped in lead. Katherine from her oriel eyrie settles
sighs upon the bride, mourns the sharp felt losses of her womb.

The ghost of Anne Boleyn takes flight above the newlyweds,
keening, riven, cradling the scabby blot of her pitied head.
She makes an anomaly, bat-seeming in the bright of day –

nobody sees, fixated as they are on the lucky pair. Anne cries
her murder out – her neck weeps. I fear the woeful blood
might spatter the snow of that perfect Givenchy dress.

Jane Burn’s poems have appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies. She recently won first prize in the PENfro Festival Poetry Competition. Her next collection, One of These Dead Places will shortly be available from Culture Matters.

 

Denis of Hackney, by John Davison

Comic craftsman, Denis Norden, gone at ninety-six
Settling into heaven, to play his verbal tricks.
Catching up with colleague Frank, two miners of great mirth,
You’ve left a joyful legacy of incalculable worth.

He worked behind the curtains, shifting props and scenery,
Ran a cinema in Watford and got a job at BBC.
Writing for Dick Bentley, and later Richard Briers,
Competing against Eric Sykes, and friends of Barry Cryer’s.

They ruled the roost for four decades, Denis Norden and Frank Muir,
You tickled all our funny bones, we couldn’t ask for more.
Enriching our vocabulary, provoking those in power,
Maximising merriment in every wireless hour.

Our descent into vulgarity you generally ignore,
You helped to archive quips and jokes from those who passed before.
It saddened me to read about your unexpected death
Now no new dialogue can flow from Dad, or Ron, or Eth.

You helped expose the fibs behind the adverts on TV,
The way commercial pressures tend to filter what we see.
You wrote some scripts for Hollywood, but never lost your touch
With families who think that West End theatres charge too much.

Alternative comedians now struggle to hold sway,
Not many have the stamina to write a film or play.
Britons watching widened screens will not forget you lightly,
But those traffic lights in Bal-ham no longer shine so brightly.

John Davison is a London-born writer of parodies, poems and lyrics, often on topical issues. He admires unusual puns and wordplay, frequents open mics in outer London, collaborating with musicians whenever opportunities present themselves. He supports a Twitter account https://twitter.com/sidsaucer

 

On Writing Poetry, by Nikki Fine

I have no inkling how to start,
And listen to these words in vain:
“Technique is just the Greek for art.”

The moment when true lovers part,
A wartime death, a drop of rain –
I have no inkling how to start.

I seek the words to set apart
A poem sure to bring me fame,
With no technique to make it art.

An idea’s there within my heart;
Thesauruses must take the strain
For I’ve no inkling how to start

And clogged up rhyme, and counterpart
Strict rhythm, make themselves the bane
Of technique, just the Greek for art!

Heroic couplets won’t impart
Enough to fool my struggling brain.
I have no inkling how to start
And technique’s all just Greek for art.

Nikki Fine is a former teacher who would now rather have some fun in life. She has previously had poems published in The Interpreter’s House, Riggwelter and the Oxford Magazine, and has been long-listed for the Fish International Poetry Prize.

 

Malacophagy, by Mark Totterdell

In a pub that overlooked saltwater,
I ate a heap of mussels,
so sweet, so soft, I never tasted better,
well worth the mess and hassle.

On the beach at Sidmouth, one damp summer,
I chewed into a whelk,
a plug of solid snot or slimy rubber
not fit for decent folk.

In a big marquee one time, in public,
I went down on an oyster.
The sea was rising, falling in my gullet
for what seemed ever after.

By the Med, with chips, I chomped on suckers
of deep-fried octopus.
I fear my smart and subtle distant cousin
was hardly well-served thus.

‘Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared widely in magazines and have occasionally won competitions. His collections are ‘This Patter of Traces’ (Oversteps Books, 2014) and ‘Mapping’ (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2018; http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/mark-totterdell/4594336680).’ 

 

A Tale of Rosemary, by Aladdin Bouhamla

By the bloody gardens of the strawberry,
Where the red sun meets the sea;
Children were playing happily and merry,
When a voice yelled “comrades come here and see”

It was the voice of the beautiful Rosemary,
Calling her friends under the ancient Oak tree ;
“A strange man with a face so scary
Is holding a blade dripping with blood”, said she

“I’ve seen his soul dead as the cemetery;
His demons are whispering, whispering to me.
In his hand, holding the cold carcass of an eyeless canary,
And in the other a bloody knife scented with the blood of girl of three.”

In fear gazed the children, clueless and unwary ,
As the man marched forward to the hive of the golden bee.
“pray with me Children”, said the beautiful maiden Rosemary,
But prayers will do the man no good if you ask me.

The Angels abandoned the forest, and so did the tipsy fairy,
Yet what to expect from man, after going on a killing spree,
screams of his victims glow with radiant light of the extraordinary;
And the man then started murmuring while he sat on his knee.

With a shovel, himself, started to bury
“if he is no longer a man, but then what is he? ”,
Said the children to the beautiful Rosemary
“he lost what he was, and what he will never again be”

And here the writer finished his work of literary,
Yet the reader may notice that the man looks like you and me;
For my story is not out of the ordinary,
But of the madness of this world, for we are no different then he.

 

Google-sculpt No.2 by Jinny Fisher

Google-sculpt No 2

Jinny Fisher lives in Somerset and is a member of Taunton’s Juncture 25 and Wells Fountain Poets. Her poems have been published in The Interpreter’s House, Under the Radar, The Broadsheet and Prole. She also gained Highly Commended in York Mix Competition and 2nd Prize in Interpreter’s House Competition (2016).