‘Trip advisor review for Hiker, Hump and Hamper’ by Hannah Stone

We’d like to commend Fenella and StJohn
for hosting our great mini-break.
They provided all you might need
to satisfy every appetite.
My companion especially appreciated
the fruit flavoured prophylactics on the hospitality tray,
and the thoughtful lamination of the dildo catalogue.
The novelty shaped cruditées made great finger food
for our picnic. On the downside, the maps to local beauty spots
best suited for al fresco quickies lacked adequate scale,
and, as a result, we came unstuck in Dogger’s Beckbottom.
We look forward to coming again, and won’t hesitate
to recommend your facility to our discerning friends.
It’s just the thing for the next diocesan team bonding exercise.

Hannah Stone has two collections of poetry, (Lodestone (2016), and Missing Miles (2017). She also teaches for the Open University, grows her own fruit and vegetables and goes for long walks where she alarms passing wildlife with expletives about first drafts that are proving reculcitrant. She convenes the poets/composers forum for the Leeds Lieder Festival. She plans to stop taking life seriously when she enters her seventh decade next year.

 

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.

 

Dr Frankenstein’s Beauty Tips for Monsters, by F.R. Kesby

You trawled through Bikini Babes. You searched in Hottest Celebs. You scoured Fitness Goal Bods. You rifled through Silky Skinned Sirens. You poured over Instagram Stars You Wish You Were.

You snipped yourself a pair of perfect legs. You chose a flawless face. You cut out a pair of breath-taking breasts. You tore out luxurious locks. You selected a set of stupendous abs.

You pick out what they tell you is desirable. Is desired. You make yourself a beautiful monster. Each hole you cut in a magazine is a hole you cut in yourself.

F. R. Kesby is a poet and storyteller from Leeds. She has headlined gigs including for Stirred, Word Club and NeurodiVERSE and her work has appeared in magazines and journals such as OFI, Laldy and Strix. She also writes for Spoons and Toons (https://faykesby.wordpress.com/) and Women’s Republic (http://www.womensrepublic.net/author/fay-kesby/).

 

The Letter I Dare Not Send To David Walliams, by Geraldine Ward

This letter isn’t an epic piece of flattery.
In fact it’s not really
worth the pain
to explain,
I am writing this on
the notes of my phone,
like a typical twenty-first century
media whore or vulture.

I think you know what’s coming next,
one of those pompous requests
for your time and services.
All I can say is I love the look on Simon Cowell’s face,
when you are locked in an embrace.
I have watched ‘Little Britain’ to death,
placed posters of Lou and Andy on my wall,
not a pretty picture in a hostel,
with comments such as ‘I don’t like it’
and ‘I want that one.’

If I were to be a ‘Little Britain’character
I would be Marjorie Dawes
because I really love cake,
but rather more than a bit of dust.

My son loves your books,
I think he has all of them now,
though hoping he won’t become
one of the world’s worst children
after reading their
delightfully naughty
escapades.

I have a signed copy of the book
about you and Matt Lucas.
My sister wangled one
for my birthday some years ago.
Well, that is a lie, her friend did,
because she was working, to do
it for her, then pretended
she bothered and chatted with you.

I would dearly love it
if you could visit
my son’s school.
The children and adults really do
all love your books too.
As a writer and comedian,
you seriously crack me up.

I am sure you are used to getting
a gazillion requests like this.
I just hope this one
is slightly different.

Hope to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Geraldine

Geraldine Ward is a mother, author,  and poet from Kent. She has had work published in ‘The Blue Nib’ edited by Shirley Bell, ‘I am not a silent poet,’ edited by Reuben Woolley and ‘Writers Cafe Magazine’ edited by Marie Lightman, among others. She plays piano and ukulele. Her twitter feed is @GWardAuthor

 

Catcht Oot, by Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Yis grindle grinder drosses off
hindneath hyst silkun ballons.
Hym telt hystself,
Nay bodies peepwatched mun plezure,
mun rod encumbered by mun tinglers.
Yis grinder trust hyst portal keyed up tootall tite,
Mae, hym discollect hyst damen’s mudder.
Herst haft ansistin unt key, ket por emgenzees.
Wist na bell-warnen ou alarums, herst cum tryst-soft
yis ink-drenched nycht. Hersta optycks largen
mosecs avaunt his staffthix spurtles y floops.
Hersta cheekles flambé, y hersta gottenfort enteer
yis grinder ist hersta suna, bie wedvow ohdidohs.
Hersta limbles lythen, hersta cardo pinds y pomps
ast herst flicks y grinds yis enshamed grindle yute.

Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon
Ceinwen lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies. She graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in 2017. She believes everyone’s voices counts.

 

Not Getting Dressed, by Frank Dixon

You can’t put your shoes on
because all the left ones
have crabs in.

Your tops all have spiders in them.

There are aliens
in your knickers.

There are beetles
in your skin.

Take your face off.
Then, you will just be blood.

Or, you can go out naked.

Frank Dixon is originally from Chorlton, Manchester. He now lives in a valley just outside Huddersfield. His poem ‘Impatience’ was published in ‘I bet I can make you laugh’ by Bloomsbury in August 2018. He likes computer and board games, and loves precious things.

 

Heathcliffe Enters Love Island, by Mark Connors

The new islander is something to behold
with his thick black hair and heavy black clothes
dressed for a winter on the wild, wild moors
but today it’s in the late 30s.
With all of the contestants already paired up,
he broods by the pool, under a parasol,
emitting nothing but the odd mirthless chuckle.
The buff boys with scar-less skin and insane white teeth
don’t see him as a threat, until the girls
huddle up, whisper, giggle a little too often,
now immune to cheap cheeky chap smiles
and made for ITV2 chat up lines.
Oh yes, some women love a bastard.

One by one, the islanders visit
The Beach Hut, but not to reveal
their coupling agendas but to talk about him.
the boys deride his inability to fit in,
be one of the lads, have a bit of a laugh.
But the girls are genuinely intrigued,
and not just by superficialities,
transfixed by his stares, smirks and sneers,
drawn to his darkness and elemental moods
like silicone and hyaluronic moths.
“A just haven’t got a clue what he’s thinkin,”
says Miranda from Birkenhead.
“Every time he looks at us, me heart falls out me arse,”
says Felicity-Jane from Wallsend.

Then come the challenges. First, arm wrestling.
Heathcliff finally strips off to a black loin cloth
and the girls get to see his old latticed wounds,
festooned behind considerable body hair.
He goes through the boys one-by-one, without
so much as a bead of sweat on his brow.
Then it’s problem solving, a general knowledge quiz
and not one of the lads can compete with Heathcliff.
So ,he wins, gets to stay in The Hideaway
and one lucky woman will join him.
He chooses a brunette called Cathy, from Hull.
“I wanted him the first tarme a saw him,” she says.
“I’ll give him the tarme of his larfe.”
But when she enters The Hideaway that night,
Heathcliff opens a window to let another Cathy in.

Mark Connors is a writer from Leeds. He has been widely published in magazines, webzines and anthologies in the UK and overseas. His debut poetry collection, Nothing is Meant to be Broken, was published by Stairwell Books in 2017.

For more info visit www.markconnors.co.uk
Twitter: @markeconnors2
Publisher: www.stairwellbooks.co.uk

 

This Poem Frets at the Side, by Beth McDonough

all shrivelly toes, won’t wet her face
needs to head right in now
worries about red itchy eyes
struggles against the flow
can’t propel her own core
nor negotiate with outerward bits
doesn’t have the courage to slice
through surface chop
simply won’t coordinate, cooperate

has lost rhythm
never left time to breathe
is scared to go out of her depth

This poem
swims like a brick.

 

Extra-Extra Terrestrials, by Colin Heaney

I met an extra-terrestrial,
Black orbs on cue.
It told me its favourite movie,
It called it Slacker too.
I eyed it with suspicion,
For the fellow was rather odd.
I asked if it paid taxes,
It said taxes were the devil’s lodge.
We laughed and I brought it to the Monty,
Seedy, beer stained seats.
It settled with a whiskey, and asked to have it neat.
It spoke of the universe, but mostly of the death of its future and creatures with many boobs.
This caused a guilty giggle, for I said, ‘I am useless too!”
Then a fight erupted, rather out of fashion.
I had asked if it liked music,
It called its favourite artist Rasmus.
I blinked, and thought that was very strange,
I expected something better and altogether more exotic.
It chuckled and said sophistication was left to Cher and Rick Astley.
I don’t remember the first punch, but it hurt nonetheless,
Then it pinned me to the table, oh how horrid was its breath.
I asked if it liked Lemsip, if only to break the ice.
For a split second it stared, slimy and incandescent, then it stirred,
And wiped away the alcoholic remnants.
I watched it leave, and yelled, ‘what are you doing?’
The alien responded, ‘I have work in the morning, and I am sick of my boss and his booing.’
I noted the similarity and nodded ascent, and went back to my brew,
Dreading the following day’s work dues, for my own boss was a right ole fool.

Colin is a twenty-one year old aspiring writer (never heard that before). He may or may not be an extra-terrestrial. He has an unhealthy obsession with coffee. If anyone should want to find his other work, they won’t. It’s scattered around the globe, and can only be found by Nicholas Cage and a rucksack.

 

Two Poems from Joe Williams

Training
Day

I have emphasised
the importance
of using
appropriate language
in maintaining a
professional veneer.

I have stressed
the significance
of the
client-supplier relationship
in ensuring
customer satisfaction.

I am pointing at
the projected screen
to introduce my
next theme,
when the fire
alarm erupts into life.

I shout, ‘Fucking
hell!’

Harrogate

In most towns the
station pub’s the worst one that there is.
In Harrogate it
proudly boasts its title.
Pub of the Year
2015.
Bloody
show-offs.

Joe Williams is a writer and performing poet from Leeds. In 2017 his debut pamphlet, ‘Killing the Piano’, was published by Half Moon Books, and he won the prestigious Open Mic Competition at the Ilkley Literature Festival.