Sigmund Freud Gets Lucky by Paul Vaughan

Lonely Sigmund dreamed of love,
id and ego dancing tangos,
unrequited lusts that drove him
to download Tinder on his ‘phone.

Dora swiped right when she saw
his sexy beard and eyes that longed;
invited him to meet for dinner,
probe his inner child with song.

They dallied over breasts of chicken,
but her intentions were not clear
until she ordered her dessert,
a Stiffy Cockee Pudding please.

Paul Vaughan lives in Yorkshire with a sneezing cat. Work has appeared or is forthcoming in Agenda, Bunbury, Message in a Bottle and The Open Mouse, among others. When not writing he moonlights as editor of Algebra of Owls.

 

Walking the Dog by Maurice Devitt

I knew he wanted a walk
when he brought in his lead,
pointed at the watch on my wrist
and started to bark.

He wasn’t particularly choosy
which route we took,
once we passed the bejazzled poodle
in number 14. They had history,

not all of it good, and even now,
she re-buffed his advances,
sitting inside the gate, checking
her nails and preening

her latest coiffure. The park,
a treasure trove of loose dogs,
was likely to offer more success,
and here he could afford to be picky,

turning up his nose at mongrels
and bull terriers, finding a shih tzu pretty
but superficial and setting his heart
on a cocker spaniel, come-to-bed eyes

and floppy ears. Coy at first,
the barriers quickly dropped and
what passed between them
was both romantic and breathless.

I’m not even sure if he caught
her name, although when we went
home, he scribbled something
on the wall above his bed,

then settled into a chair, happy to have
the rest of the day to himself.

In 2016, Maurice Devitt was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series and shortlisted for the Listowel Poetry Collection Competition. Winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition in 2015, he has been placed or shortlisted in many competitions including the Patrick Kavanagh Award, Over the Edge New Writer Competition, Cuirt New Writing Award and the Doire Press International Chapbook Competition. A guest poet at the ‘Poets in Transylvania’ festival in 2015, he has had poems published in various journals in Ireland, England, Scotland, the US, Mexico, Romania, India and Australia, is curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site and a founder member of the Hibernian Writers’ Group.

 

It’s Not Funny by Susan Jordan

‘You say you don’t do smiles.’
I’d never said, but didn’t once smile
when you told me, laughing,
how your dear mother and sister
were both electrocuted by the same table lamp,
how your father plunged into a reservoir
in pursuit of a rare grasshopper,
how your only daughter set light to herself
with the candles on her birthday cake,
how your dog was run over
by an out of control mobility scooter.

The only time I smiled
was when you said, your face
as solemn as mine was by then,
‘The worst thing was missing the last train.’

Susan Jordan was inspired by 52, Jo Bell’s wonderful online group, to start writing a lot more poems. Her work has appeared in print and online magazines including Prole, Obsessed with Pipework, Snakeskin and Ink, Sweat & Tears. Her first collection will be published by Indigo Dreams in 2017.

 

That Time Travel Paradox Thing by Simon Williams

It’s the rich who travel forward in time
and note the Euro-Millions results,
before returning to place their bets.

It’s only through a big win like this
they can afford a time machine.

Simon Williams has six published collections. He latest pamphlet, Spotting Capybaras in the Work of Mac Chagall, launched in April and his next full collection, Inti, will be out later this year. Simon was elected The Bard of Exeter in 2013 and founded the large-format magazine, The Broadsheet. He makes a living as a journalist.

 

Forbidden Swan by Maurice Devitt

I have never seen a swan
smoking after sex,
but suspect they do. How else

can we explain
the nervous pacing on the tow-path,
wings touching hidden pockets

to check for matches
or the slow draught of air
to mask a throaty cough?

So maybe
after fumbled congress
in the privacy of a hotel room

– webbed feet
snared on carpet pile –
the cob lights up,

pads to an open window,
tips a wing and looks back
to see a crumpled napkin.

(previously published in ‘In Other Words: Merida’ – Mexico)

In 2016, Maurice Devitt was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series and shortlisted for the Listowel Poetry Collection Competition. Winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition in 2015, he has been placed or shortlisted in many competitions including the Patrick Kavanagh Award, Over the Edge New Writer Competition, Cuirt New Writing Award and the Doire Press International Chapbook Competition. A guest poet at the ‘Poets in Transylvania’ festival in 2015, he has had poems published in various journals in Ireland, England, Scotland, the US, Mexico, Romania, India and Australia, is curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site and a founder member of the Hibernian Writers’ Group.

 

Thoughts on finding an old till receipt by Bill Allen

CUPPA SOUP
EMERY BOARDS
NIVEA
MINI MUFFINS
BISCUITS 400 GRAMS
SUGAR
CHOCOLATE CAKE
You were fat, Sam.
VALUE SHAVING CREAM
RAZORS
I miss the mess.
PAN SCOURERS
LOW CALORIE SOUP
OLIVE OIL
TUNA CHUNKS
BROCCOLI 0.335KG
Oh, Sam,
you should have eaten your greens.
LEEKS LOOSE
RED PEPPER 2 @ £0.78
CONDENSED MILK
You were so naughty,
Sam!
MAYONNAISE
No more little white
mountains on plates.
FULL FAT MILK
McCAIN CHIPS
BURGER ROLLS
BUTTER
FLORA LIGHT
RED WINE
ORANGE JUICE
APPLES
LETTUCE
ON VINE TOMS
YOGHURT
HALF FAT MILK
TESCO SAUCY
STRAWBERRY LUBRICATION 75ML
Oh, Sam! I miss you.

Bill Allen lives in West London and writes in retirement. Worldly wise, a wicked sense of humour, he often observes the darker aspects of life as well as the curiously funny. Likes old films, modern plays, wine mixed with a pinch of conversation. Bill has published a few poems and short stories.

 

Travellers Welcome by Maria C McCarthy

Thighs stretch nylon, skin tops stockings,
as Betty bends for the Britvic orange.

Kenneth straightens his tie,
pulls out a tenner,
fingers his fly.

When you’re ready,
Betty love, pint of bitter,
and whatever you fancy,

Later, in a single room
above the Saloon,

he cops a handful
in a crumpled hankie.

Behind Kenneth’s eyelids,
Betty’s bottom rises.

Maria C. McCarthy doesn’t write poems and stories as often as she should. She was the winner of the Society of Authors’ Tom-Gallon Trust Award 2015, and has scarcely published a thing since then.

website

 

A Tay swimmer selects a navigator by Beth McDonough

You might very well veer towards
lean, handsome lads, all matching
shorts and deck shoes. Their long
limbs have pulled
a tiller or two, and tilted
in plenty of yachts. Or those friendly-
faced girls who have paddled canoes
right the way round
St Kilda. Any one would be swell, but

I put my trust in grizzled old salts,
diesel stink bright on their oilskins,
faces the leather of torn, battered shoes. Their hands
gnarl those fenders like branches. I’ll take
old men who exhale the Tay’s brine,
and maybe a whisky or two. I need
a sailor, pipe clamped between snaggle-dark
teeth, one who peers out from cowries,
rough sunk into wrinkles,
with barnacles chewing his beard.

He’ll know which side I’ll breathe on.

Beth McDonough finds poems whilst swimming in lochs and rivers, foraging and riddling with Anglo Saxons. Often writing of a maternal experience of disability, she was Writer in Residence at Dundee Contemporary Arts 2014-16. ‘Handfast,’ her poetry duet pamphlet (with Ruth Aylett) was published in May 2016.

 

Bastard by Robert Nisbet

Interviews at Oxford, December 1959

The guide book phrase is dreaming spires, the facts
are pleasing too, the staircases and quads.
Train-loads of schoolboys shuffle in, disperse.
I’m bound for Jesus, for an interview.
Sounds pleasingly irreverent, that phrase:
“I’m bound for Jesus”. Then alas, ill-met,
here’s John the Baptist getting on the bus.

Who is this man, smile spread, grin grown so great?
He has the Bard’s Collected Works, and totes
this ammo to his holster arm, before
he fires in his first offence. Your school?

My glum, gruff Welsh response is slow:
It’s Milford Haven (‘Grammar School’ left out).
I do not ask his school. He tells me though.

His school spreads wide on England’s Southern coast.
‘Tis Beadles, Boodles? Rather good, he says.
Good little school. But so of course (he grins)
is Milford Haven. What a sizzling pratt.

And on we go. Next question. Do you ect?
Ecting? In sooth. My mind describes new views
of some foul practice known to him alone,
of buggery in Boodles, beastly boys.
And then he clarifies: In our place
we did King Lear. The monstrous grin now spreads
so far it seems to hinge half-off his head
(a large one) and he booms that he of course
was Edmund. Now, self-deprecating wit:
The Bastard Son of Gloucester. And I think,
Well yes. We read in Milford Haven too.

The bus conductor’s shout hails my release.
To Jesus. Ed’s for Queen’s. I leave him thus,
the Bastard Son of Boodles on the bus.

(Previously published in Prole Magazine)

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet with over 200 publications in Britain, as well as a number of appearances in the USA, in magazines like San Pedro River Review, Constellations, Illya’s Honey and Clementine Unbound.