My Love by David O’Neill

grumpyladyanim8

 

My love is like an iridescent hue—
A coruscating haze of orange, red and blue;
A parlous transformation certain photons rue
That face destructive interference.

My love is like a bowl of comely fruit,
Whose shiny, dimpled, waxen pericarps impute
The bitter mesocarp, that hints the more astute
Should give sour endocarp due clearance.

My love owes beauty, cold and statuesque,
In graceful poise evoking perfect arabesque
With classic virtues, recrudescing Romanesque,
In worse excesses than Octavian.

My love has feathers in her coiffeured hair—
A monstrous, non-cladistic, bird-brained hybrid pair,
Her rostral pole chimæric with the derrière
Of some denuded ratite avian.

(Editor’s note: the painting on which the poem is based is by Isobel Smerdon, aged 11, and is reproduced with permission. The animation is by the author.)

David O’Neill is a frustrated mathematician who has journeyed through a predominantly life-science-based medical landscape for most of his mortgage-paying professional life, eventually finding salvation in the Open University, too close to the end for practical application but sufficiently early for peace of mind and poetic inspiration.

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Happy Hour by Sherri Turner

This ledge is very narrow
once you get up here and see.
I hadn’t realised how small
the folks below would be.
I’m trying not to wobble
and I feel a little sick.
The evening dampness on the tiles
is making them quite slick.
It must have been the Happy Hour
that caused my over-drinking
and made me climb here for a bet.
What can I have been thinking?
I wish I’d been more sensible
and hadn’t drunk at all.
My sense of balance isn’t great,
I think I’m going to…

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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The Rabbit by Barry Ergang

Once it was in raw November...or October? Can’t remember--
I was worn and badly wasted from a long day at the store
and I dozed off, no doubt drooling (I’m not kidding, I’m not fooling:
work that day was really grueling--puling patrons, I footsore),
while my love and her big brother called on friends they’d seen before.
        ’Twas just a social, heretofore.

Next day my love told me, “Honey, I am gonna get a bunny.
My brother’s friends raise troops of rabbits, troops enough to make a corps!”
I stared at her, my vision’s habit, then declared, “There’ll be no rabbit.”
At that she struck my rib--she jabbed it--elbowed it till it was sore.
“It’s cute! They’ll give it free,” she cried. “You know that bunnies I adore.”
        Thus my plea she did ignore.

I bound the rib and, vocally heated, gazed at love and still entreated,
reminding her that rabbits breed, they spawn like grunion on the shore.
“If with pet you must cohabit, why’s it have to be a rabbit?
Why not sea-life? Hermit crabs fit...Tuna! You’ll get albacore!”
Her look spoke volumes, drilling through me, but from curses she forbore.
        “I’ll have one bunny. Say no more.”

Hence in a December snowy, when the wind was cold and blowy,
my love and I betook ourselves, to sate her antic leporine chore,
to brother’s friends named John and Tony, pleasant guys and never phony,
whilst I continued to be groany right up to their house’s door.
Up the icy path we went to house with windows rimed with hoar.
        My love was smiling smiles galore.

Then inside we were admitted, where John and Tony’s two dogs flitted--
Trev and Raleigh welcomed us with canine capers at the fore.
How they frolicked, Trev and Raleigh, greeting party ever jolly,
eager to begin the folly that brought my love back to their door.
They leaped about, devotion dogged, licking hands for their encore.
        “Dogs!” our hosts snapped. “Calm restore!”

John and Tony soon besought us, and our custom long had taught us,
to take refreshment, eat and drink--and neither grub nor glass forswore.
A tray of snacks they then extended and, lest they should be offended,
to our dinner we appended nosh and beverage furthermore.
“Have some coffee?” they inquired. “Some tea, perhaps?--Here, have a S’more!”
        My love craved harey herbivore.

So belowground we were taken, to the cellar not forsaken
by our hosts who here bred rabbits--here, I say, not Baltimore.
My love rushed forward, ever eager (penned-up creatures do intrigue her)
to rabbit cage with space so meager over which her heart did pour,
and snatched the fair and radiant rabbit whose legs jerked like a semaphore.
        We named her Twitchley, not Lenore.

Well, by gum! by gosh! dagnabbit! My love finally got her rabbit,
and with it home we hied to give it warmth from weather’s biting frore.
There encaged the bunny huddled; my love’s soul was liquid puddled,
for with quaking, nervous bunny she’d have cuddled on the floor.
“I’m your mother, baby,” she said. “Come to me!” she did implore.
        ’Twouldn’t be for two days more.

Soon accustomed and ensconced in her own room--here, not Wisconsin--
Twitchley romped and rocketed around the place--how she did soar!
She’d hide at length behind some clutter; love and I would often mutter
that she’d speed as slick as butter to hideyhole behind the door
where we discovered heaps of fibers from the carpet that she tore.
        She gnawed the carpet, never floor.

She was calm--the Bunlai Lama--distant from the human drama,
and when we moved her to the kitchen she made not a single roar.
Apples, pears and hay she munched, or tasty carrot neatly crunched--
within her cage intently hunched (the cage was made in Singapore)--
ate her peanuts, cherries, popcorn, lettuce that she gently tore--
        ate just enough but never more.

Next she spied her stuffed pink piglet, shook her scut--oh Lord, did wiggle it!--
leaped from cage and circled toy quite like a fearless picador.
Then she mounted, vibrant, humping--clutching, avid, swiftly pumping;
little rabbit feet a-thumping, rump a-bump ’gainst kitchen floor--
chieftainess atop her subject, dominant, sans pinafore,
        as dainty as a stevedore.

Twitchley’s life? A bowl of cherries or, I should say, bunny berries;
with them daily she got richer, pile by pile beside the door.
Satisfied from all her humping, Twitch withdrew and squatted, dumping.
Once again I started grumping to my love about the chore
of picking up fresh rabbit poop that unimproved the room’s decor.
        She sighed, grabbed broom and swept the floor.

Oy, gevult! They kept on coming, pouring from that rabbit’s plumbing
like cluster bombs, a mass so vast--enough to sink Corregidor!
While I trod there, nearly snapping, again I heard the faintest tapping
as of rabbit slyly crapping pellets on the kitchen floor.
“My love,” said I, “my darling...honey--get a vacuum, I implore.”
        From cork suggesting I forbore.

Thrice while love and I were talking on the phone, our Twitch went stalking,
saw the line connecting handset to the base and then made war:
chewed the wire--with teeth she crumped it--hopped away, the little strumpet.
Sudden silence made me trumpet, “You there? Can’t hear you anymore!”
Thus my love picked up extension, our discussion to restore.
        Quoth the rabbit, “Sever cord.”

Yes, I know I seem curmudgeon, that my story’s full of dudgeon,
but watching my love hugging Twitch became contentment’s metaphor.
Their snuggle sessions were terrific--love with smile so beatific,
the kitchen chamber so pacific as rabbit she caressed and more:
crooned Twitch nicknames, sang weird songs--my comic love, the troubadour.
        My love and Twitchley I adore.

So, you see, for all my drab wit, I too came to love that rabbit.
Like my love she is the sweetest daughter mother ever bore.
Whenever worries had me sweating, I’d engage in bunny-petting
and sure enough my awful fretting sailed the creek without an oar.
I had my love and Twitch to steer me from disquiet’s roiling shore.
        Precious angels--evermore.

Former Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine and former First Senior Editor of Mysterical-e, Barry Ergang’s poetry, fiction and non-fiction have appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. A Derringer Award winner from the Short Mystery Fiction Society, some of his work is available at Smashwords and Amazon.

 

Fellow of the Royal College of Hornpipes by David O’Neill

A prima lento, accelerando cantabile

When the tune starts slow, promenaders feel the magic
As the fiddler’s bow draws its opening sweep
And the melody is easing into incremental teasing
While the keen anticipation makes the spirit leap.

And with each repeat reinforcing the enchantment,
So the driving beat, in accelerando,
With its haunting incantation, musters gentle titubation
And a tapping of the foot upon the floor below.

As the masical mugicians work their artistry
From the nethermost Arena to the Gallery,
Infectious imitation of the mariner’s saltation
Spreads the tapping of the foot above the restless knee.

With the unrelenting rhythm winding up to speed,
So the gathering momentum serves a primal need;
The racing pulse is throbbing, hands are clapping, heads are bobbing;
And a Wooden bust of bronze beholds this bulldog breed.

 

David O’Neill is a frustrated mathematician who has journeyed through a predominantly life-science-based medical landscape for most of his mortgage-paying professional life, eventually finding salvation in the Open University, too close to the end for practical application but sufficiently early for peace of mind and poetic inspiration.

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The Beautiful Game by Kate Woodward

I don’t count, they think I’m a joke,
the only girl with all these blokes.
But I’m listening and I’m learning,
reading everything concerning
the beautiful game.
I follow 5Live and TalkSport
and I know who’s been sold and bought,
who’s on the bench, who’s injured
and who’s the fastest winger in
the beautiful game.
I want to share my opinions.
Was that striker worth his millions?
Should that goal be disallowed?
Was the trouble from the crowd at
the beautiful game?
I’m never gonna get heard:
a girl and football – how absurd!
To think that I could care who wins
or know the rules that underpin
the beautiful game.
And yes, I know the offside rule,
don’t treat me like a bleedin’ fool
‘cos, these days, hear what I’m saying:
us girls are on the pitch and playing
the beautiful game.

Kate Woodward has been an accountant, a farmer and a market trader. Now she writes. She’s just finished a Creative Writing MA with Manchester Metropolitan University and has published in The Ogham Stone, Brittle Star, online and on her own blog.

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Ruined by Sherri Turner

He got me into trouble
before the second date –
a lustful, careless coupling
against the garden gate.

He didn’t hang around, of course,
to see the consequences.
I had a heavy price to pay
for flirting by the fences.

It would have been a good idea
to practise some restraint.
If only I had read the signs –
the ones that said ‘Wet Paint’.

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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Smug by Fianna

Smug as a slug in a slick London club
somebody else’s grease on his chin
what’s his is his own, and what’s yours is his grub
he’s trawling in corridors under your skin.

Coddled with glee as he taps your last fat
he knows that you’re too cold to scream
he trickles it up to the city slick
where his dripping is always full-cream.

These lard-hearted self-basting bully-boys
are up-themselves ignoring pleas
their dewlaps drip tallow to mini-mes
investing in rendering ghee.

They’re self-slicking swans about geese around hens
around foie gras from force-feeding ducks
and inside them there’s twenty-four million black birds

stuffed.

(previously published in “I am not a silent poet”)

Fianna (Fiona Russell Dodwell) is from Fife and lives in the Fens. She has had about 30 poems published in online poetry magazines.

 

Mr and Mrs Feather-My-Nest by Derek Sellen

Mr and Mrs Feather-my-nest,
Mr and Mrs Thumb-in-all-pies,
they skim off the cream,
tax-avoiders supreme,
promoting some scheme,
they scam along with the best,
prying and spying like a pair of houseflies.

Mr and Mrs Put-on-the-style,
Mr and Mrs Models-of-culture;
she, charming and wily,
flirts with money-men shyly,
husband watches slyly,
till she closes the deal with a smile
but her eyes have the gleam of a vulture.

Mr and Mrs Tan-from-Bermuda,
Mr and Mrs Nobody’s-fool,
photos of her in a sari
videos of him on safari,
in Italy drinking Campari,
returning at last to their Tudor
cottage in Wiltshire or their villa in Poole.

Mr and Mrs Whiter-than-white,
Mr and Mrs Kiss-my-hem,
too cautious for crime
but if it helps them to climb,
they’ll live with the loss of a principle;
for theirs is the right
to be rich and invincible
while ours is the right to admire them.

Derek Sellen‘s work has appeared in various anthologies and magazines and won awards. His radio play, The Naming of the Animals, a sitcom set in Eden, won at the Wirral Festival.

 

Magpie by Mark Totterdell

borrow a fagpie
sneak a quick dragpie
off down the pub so there’s no need to nagpie

just an old lagpie
grabbing a bagpie
black and white stripy-topped off with the swagpie

not one to bragpie
second-hand jagpie
see what a beauty he’s managed to blagpie

don’t lose your ragpie
he’s such a wagpie
waving a black and white piraty flagpie

fancy a shagpie
any old slagpie
all on his own with a well dodgy magpie

Mark Totterdell‘s poems have appeared widely in magazines. His collection ‘This Patter of Traces’ was published by Oversteps Books in 2014.

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