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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Liaison by Leanne Moden

I wait for you all afternoon; my flesh is moist with sweat.
The sheets are silk beneath me but I cannot have you yet.

You slowly slide in close to me, our splendid limbs entwined,
And though I cannot say it, I am sure our love’s divine.

My skin ignites with perfect lust and all my fears, I shed,
And as we writhe, a voice exclaims, “Hey you! Get off that bed!”

Though love’s a gorgeous, peerless thing, context is all, I fear.
Perhaps meeting in John Lewis was not the best idea…

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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After Laughter by Mark Mayes

When oft in pensive mood I lie,
and search in vain for some light-hearted verse,
yet couplets dolour-heavy meet my eye,
and I usually end up feeling worse.

Rumi makes me gloomy and Hughes does not amuse.
After harkening to Larkin, I’ve got the metrical blues.

I didn’t grin on reading Prynne,
and Donne did not supply the mirth;
I took some Dickinson on the chin
and wonder what these Words are Worth
to one who’s feeling glum
to wit: enjambement leaves me numb
as some Sunday scribbler’s bum.

The poets of the First World War
hardly ever make me guffaw.
Even Duffy can be stuffy
and make me cry: “Never more! Never more!”

With A. Motion on the shitter,
I’m left feeling somewhat bitter;
and when it comes to R.S. Thomas,
why, butty bach, there’s ne’er a titter.

Pope was a dope; man, he could really mope;
even Shakey was flaky when it came to a joke.

Octavio Paz (born in Lima?*),
not exactly what you’d call a screamer.

That Billy Blake was off his cake,
he never did make the old sides ache.
E. J. Thribb – now there’s a damp squib.
Did Cowper ever raise a chortle with his nib?

To the Georgians, the Moderns, the Martians I’d give the boot,
for a haiku I could smile to or an ode that makes me hoot.

Then someone told me about this site
where every line is a delight.
You’re sure to find there something funny
(or if not Mr Pinnock will return your money).

The dearth of giggles had me going loco,
but now I swear by Spilling Cocoa!

*Señor Paz was actually born in Mexico City, in 1914 – but that didn’t rhyme with ‘screamer’ – MM

The author of this piece has asked me to point out that he doesn’t actually mean any of it and he loves all of the above-mentioned poets really – Ed (who is also wondering if he really meant the nice things about this place)

 

Mark Mayes has published poems in various magazines, including: The Interpreter’s House, Ink Sweat & Tears, Staple, The Reader, The Shop, and Fire, and has had work broadcast on BBC Radio. He has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.

 

Give the Dinosaurs Guns by Keith Welch

I think to be a dinosaur would be a lot of fun
all the roaring and the stamping and the weighing many tons
I think I’ll build a time machine and send them what they lack
the Triassic and Jurassic times were awesome and on track
But Americans we know what’s best and let me tell you son
What the lizards didn’t have back then was lots and lots of guns
For a stegosaurus chilling out was apt to find some trouble
Facing predatory neighbors who approaching on the double
wanted nothing more than mouthfuls of his leathery backside
Without a Glock that horny beast had little but his hide
to fend off inconsiderate approaches of that sort
but a stegosaurus strapped is thus prepared for a retort
So imagine if you will a prehistoric paradise
where Rand-ian T-Rexes live and exercise their rights
and hadrosaurs will bellow that they’re libertarian
and all the tiny raptors are concealed-carrying
Then at last the dinosaurs will know the simple joy
Beloved so well by each surviving little girl and boy.

Keith Welch lives and works in Bloomington, Indiana. His work has been published exactly once (actually twice, now – Ed), possibly in error.

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Inboxicated by Sherri Turner

It’s like a drug, the vilest kind,
that rules your life and screws your mind.
A minute passed seems like an age
since checking that infernal page.
You click ‘refresh’ and still you fail
to hear the beep of ‘you’ve got mail’
and when you do – you’re near hysteria!-
another message from Nigeria.
The craving keeps you on the hook.
You have to take just one more look
but it’s a thirst that can’t be sated.
You know you are inboxicated.

Sherri Turner lives in Surrey. She has had numerous short stories published in women’s magazines and has won prizes for both poetry and short stories. She likes to write silly poems when she feels in danger of forgetting that this is supposed to be fun.

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