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

 

Chiffon, by Alice Carter

Daffodil seeds thrived too early in the cold.
Her parents were dead, they said
But still she waited in silence of the dead.
She waited in red.

Daffodil seeds thrived too early in the cold.
They told her that she was wrong.
That something about her was wrong.
But she didn’t see that the little girl had gone.
And it was then that it was done.

Her red coat was made of chiffon.
The flames were red
And dead well before they were gone.

A girl in red and a girl dead.
The reed had seen the yellow,
Making them dead in sorrow and dread.

She was the one in the wrong.
The other girl who said.
She was the one who had gone.
The winter was dead and gone.
Gone with the little girl singing her song.

The daffodils were dead,
The timing was wrong.
It was her, the girl in chiffon;
That had done something wrong.

When the servers sounded the song,
She realised that she was wrong.
She had been too headstrong.
Burned and red,
Before it was dead and gone.

The other girl who sang her folksong,
She was the one in the wrong.
But it was her they said,
Her the girl in chiffon red,
Who was the one in the wrong.

The girl in chiffon was not wrong,
They had told her to do it or be gone.
The folksong girl had told her to do it,
But she was in the wrong.
And now her time would be long.
Spending it with others of wrong,
Others who had their own,
Their own folksong song.

Daffodil seeds thrived too early in the cold.
They told her that everything had gone.
And if she was in here for long,
Her folksong girl would too be gone,
And the daffodils seeds would too be gone.

I am a 22-year-old aspiring writer from London. I am currently working on my first children’s book, adult novel and original musical.

This poem is about a girl with a mental schizophrenic disability who on acting on the voices in her head accidently set fire to her home. She escapes but her parents do not.
It is about her journey will mental illness. Discovering that she has it, accepting it, and then dealing with it.

 

Poem, by Robert Garnham

Poem

At what point does a mess become a muddle?
At what point does day become the night?
At what point does a spillage become a puddle?
At what point does a shudder become a fright?

At what point does a brag become a boast?
At what point does a mess become a fuss?
At what point does bread become toast?
At what point does a train become a rail replacement bus?

At what point do we become middle aged?
And do we only know we are middle aged when we’ve lived
Our whole lives?
Is it only then that we can look back and say, oh yes,
That’s when I was middle aged, that’s when I had a
Midlife crisis,
The day I went out and bought a jet Ski?

At what point does a crowd become a throng?
At what point do pants become a thong?
At what point does a dirge become a song?
At what point does a whiff become a pong?

At what point does a settee become a sofa?
At what point does a look become a demeanour?
At what point does a pamphlet become a brochure?
At what point does a verbal warning become a grievance procedure?

At what point did I decide that maybe you weren’t the one for me?
Was if at the opera, or was it in the supermarket?
Or was it that time I came home and found you in bed
With a stamp collector from Barnstaple?

At what point does a trumpet become a bugle?
At what point does an imposition become an impertinence?
At what point does prudent become frugal?
At what point does a TV advert become a nuisance?

At what point does pruned become sheared?
At what point does uncanny become weird?
At what point does stubble become a beard?
At what point does a poem not have to rhyme?

At what point do we lose ourselves to the delirium of the
Beauty of the world of the planet of the people of the creatures
Of the moon of the tides of the sea of the land of the cities of the
Absolute if the spiritual of the technological or the brave of the bountiful
Of the beautiful, possibly at two PM on a Thursday afternoon.

At what point does it all become meaningless?

 

A Rustic Striptease, South Pembrokeshire, 1957 by Robert Nisbet

Intent upon a wasted youth,
we prowled the fairground: boxing booth,
squint rifles, chips, the Wall of Death.
We then approached, suspended breath,
the striptease, where a one-eyed man
(one-eyed, believe me if you can)
intoned full clear, did not dissemble,
This will make your trousers tremble.

And once within his fiendish tent,
our every inhibition went.
Beyond a glorious mist of gauze,
the object of our hearts’ applause.
We gazed upon her plump pink youth,
ogled indeed (I tell you sooth),
until, about her seventh pose
(a side-on breast, I do suppose)
a sudden dopey interlude.
Some punter, well and truly stewed,
as subtle as a blunted rasp,
called, Watch out, there’s a bloody wasp.
(In Pembrokeshire, the humble wasp
is rhymed with Cleopatra’s asp).

But interruption comes and goes.
She came unto her final pose,
described as .. you’ll not think me rude? ..
a full, uncluttered backside nude.

We lost all vestiges of shame.
as punters bellowed, That’s the game!
But just before our queen retired,
the cheering stilled, but, less desired,
that punter, very worst of men,
cried, There’s that bloody wasp again.

(previously published in The Seventh Quarry and in the author’s Prolebooks pamphlet, Merlin’s Lane)

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.

 

RelationHit.com by James Woolf

Our florist closes late at night
We girls struggle to get by
So I built a little website
To keep our spirits high

“Why waste time with flowers
When you can say it with a bomb?
Don’t sit there and cower
Choose RelationHit.com

If your marriage is a non-event
Or his jokes put you to shame
Just tick the box marked Your Consent
And we’ll take him out the game”

My wicked wit helped us survive
A website selling slaughter!
But minutes after it went live
I got a “wife pop” order

I called the bloke – his name was Sid
I told him, “It’s a jest!”
He offered fifteen thousand quid
I said, “I’ll do the rest.”

By now RelationHit.com
Was choked with user traffic
Quite by chance I’d hit upon
A demented demographic

I quit my day job selling flowers
With one or two misgivings
Now I’m knifing nephews in the shower
Shoving sisters off tall towers
Giving gramps a surge of power
Well… you’ve got to earn a living

James Woolf is a writer of short stories, scripts and adverts and occasional poems. Ambit magazine will be publishing his story Mr and Mrs Clark and Blanche in January 2017. He was shortlisted in the Bridport Prize 2016, and R v Sieger – additional documents disclosed by the Crown Prosecution Service was highly commended in the 2015 London Short Story Prize and published in 2016. Prior to this, his plays have been produced in various off-West End venues including The King’s Head Theatre, the Arcola and the Theatre Royal Margate. Two radio plays have been broadcast including Kerton’s Story with Bill Nighy, Lesley Sharp and Stephen Moore.

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No rose would smell as sweet as Bjork! by Ron Runeborg

Oh he wanted marijuana, and he said he pay me well
if I’d brought him one full baggie by this evenin’s supper bell
So I checked with all my sources, but the avenue was dry
I had to find a substitute for cannabis’ high

In the kitchen of me mother I was mixin up a storm
I tried taro root and basil leaves and ivy, for its form
but it tasted like a bag-o-shite, and smelled like da’s da Sean
I had to find a better mix, me time was nearly gone

So I chopped me up some ashbowl trash, some stubbed out fags would do
and then I searched Ma’s garden for the flavor for my stew
t’was there I found some wild mint, it smelled as sweet as Bjork
so I snipped it with the kitchen shears and shred it with a fork

At a minute to the dinner bell, I showed at Paddy’s Pub
and there was Barney Kelly near the ragged dogwood shrub
There I handed him me baggie and he sniffed it like a fop
then he pulled a badge and screamed “you’re pissed you moron, I’m a cop!”

Well I laughed like cousin Walter when his pants fell down at mass
then I shouted back “you got me bub! You’ve popped me Irish ass!”
Sure I’d wanted just to rip him off, but this was far more game
he’d busted me for wild mint, forever to his shame.

Ron Runeborg lives with his wife Linda and Montague Pierre the dog in Lakeville Minnesota. He writes poetry and short stories and currently has two books available.

 

The Cheesemonger by Leanne Moden

From Timbuktu to Amsterdam
Everyone loves Parmasan
And you know, there’s nothing sweller
Than creamy piles of Mozzarella.

See, every honest devotee
Swears there’s always time for Brie.
And you could boost your low morale
With just a sniff of Emmental.

For cubic cheese, there’s nothing better
Than squares of crumbly Grecian Feta.
Trust me now, you’ve really gotta
Taste the taste of smooth Ricotta.

The expert and the amateur
Can share a runny Camembert
While others exercise their molars
With tonnes and tonnes of Gorgonzola.

But, though this list is less than roomy,
There’s still some space for fresh Halloumi.
And, if you want my testimony,
Nothing beats a Mascarpone.

Just don’t forget (I beg you please!)
The lumpy joy of Cottage Cheese.
And, when you can, seek to pursue
Squeaky blobs of warm Fondue.

Many cheeses are critque-less,
Even so, there’s one cheese weakness:
So, in your choices, be robust –
And never eat the processed stuff!

Leanne Moden is a poet from Nottingham. She has performed all around the UK, including sets at Trinity College Cambridge, the Nottingham Poetry Festival, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, the Royal Albert Hall and Bestival on the Isle of Wight.

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Measure by Paul Vaughan

Dear Dating Profile; I’ve read about you.
Do you fancy a coffee? Or a trip to the zoo?
“So, you’re a poet? Well, how big are they?
What size do you come in? How tall did you say?”

Sighing, I wish I’d been born not at home,
but somewhere exotic, like Paris, or Rome,
and could explain that poets’ hearts beat,
and are measured in metres, and iambic feet.

Paul Vaughan lives in Yorkshire with his cat Rosie, and refuses to eat custard unless it is in a vanilla slice. He has poems forthcoming in Sarasvati, Seventh Quarry and online atThe Curly Mind. When not writing, he moonlights as the editor of https://algebraofowls.com

 

What’s the John Dory? by Susan Evans

Message in a bottle; excuse my Squid ink scroll.
To my darling John Dory, my fellow tortured Sole.

You’re in another Plaice, but I just want you to know,
I don’t think you a Pollock; I love our ebb & flow.

Monsieur Mussel, you put the Rainbow in my Trout;
I’m like Wild Salmon when we dive & splash about.

& when I’m feeling Crabby you don’t try to suck me in;
you’re gentle & protective fending off those Crayfish twins.

The world’s our Lobster in my aqua fantasy;
you & I go deep, making under water alchemy.

Playing all of your top Tuna, on your favourite Sea Bass,
I swim, you sing: ‘I see you baby (shakin’ that ass)’.

Alas, I cannot be your Mermaid ‘plenty more fish’ says head;
you’ve a Dover Sole mate; shan’t put my Roe in one seabed.

I can be a Tiger Prawn but you can see that I’m no Snapper.
Okay, I find you dishy & your swim suit’s very dapper.

But be more Monk fish; your Sole mate’s down at Eel.
I’m just a red Herring & I’ve no wish to steal.

Without you, I’ll feel gutted; be like losing a fin.
But you’re caught; could be worse, could be Sardines in a tin.

Susan Evans is widely published; online & in print; appearing in: The High Window, Ink, Sweat & Tears, The Journal, Message in a Bottle, Nutshells and Nuggets, Obsessed With Pipework, and Snakeskin, among numerous others. A Brighton-based Performance poet, Susan was nominated Best Spoken Word Performer in the Saboteur Awards, 2016.

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