the consequences of kissing the wrong gadgie by Catherine Edmunds

She knew she had to wait until the dark
or risk her substance fizzling into mist
for now the days of rising with the lark
were gone. She sighed, and wished she hadn’t kissed
the gadgie in the costume. How was she
to know the fangs were real? She touched her neck.
A little sore. She thought she’d try to see
the damage in the mirror. What the heck?
Reflection gone? She shrugged, and went to eat
some garlic bread, but shuddered at the smell.
She must remember. No more bread. No meat.
No cups of tea, just vats of blood. Oh hell!
A coffin? Cape? She had to make a list,
so dipped a quill with care into her wrist.

(Previously published in Anomalous Appetites)

Catherine Edmunds was educated at Dartington College of Arts, and Goldsmith’s College, London. Her published works include a poetry collection, four novels and a Holocaust memoir. Catherine has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her writing has appeared in the Frogmore Papers, The Binnacle, Butchers’ Dog, and other literary journals.

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Shell Shocked by Catherine Edmunds

The incubator’s light turned green. We cheered!
The wait was over, eggs would hatch tonight,
but as we watched it flickered fast. We feared
the hatchlings wouldn’t last, would die of fright.
“Not so!” Professor Zog cried, full of glee,
“Their life force cannot fail, I promise you.”
And he was right. Now all of us could see
a tiny movement; peck, peck, peck, and through
the mottled shell a beak appeared. A beak?
But dragons don’t have beaks. We were perplexed.
This looked more like a chicken. Zog looked bleak.
“Good grief!” he wailed. “I say! Whatever next!”
And thus it was, despite a heartfelt plea,
Professor Zog now works for KFC.

(Previously published in Anomalous Appetites)

Catherine Edmunds was educated at Dartington College of Arts, and Goldsmith’s College, London. Her published works include a poetry collection, four novels and a Holocaust memoir. Catherine has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her writing has appeared in the Frogmore Papers, The Binnacle, Butchers’ Dog, and other literary journals.

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Medea’s Wedding Gift to Jason’s New Wife by Marie-Therese Taylor

It was always me took care of things
– he should have remembered –
the bulls, the dragon and the tyrant kings,
and as we escaped a brother dismembered

She wanted him. She wanted this gown
a gift from the gods. A little bemused,
sweet Glauce accepted the dress and the crown,
they knew were my best. He was confused.

but for only an instant, as each tiny spore
soaked through her skin through each tiny pore
my curse distilled in the warp and the weft
each organ aflame till nothing was left.
He then thought of me to whom first he had vowed
as she lay extinguished in a black bridal shroud.

Marie-Therese Taylor draws on everyone and everything… no one is safe. Her short stories and poems have appeared in The Glasgow Review of Books, Soundwaves, Mixing the Colours, Nutshells and Nuggets, and The Stare’s Nest. She lives in Glasgow where she has also been known to perform.

 

Love Poetry by Susan Jordan

Having found you were a poet, I knew then
I had to try to get us both to rhyme.
I dedicated hours of my time
to imagery of you, kept planning when

we’d meet again to workshop our shared verse,
crafting together each well-chosen line,
our assonance and alliteration fine-
ly tuned, our diction spare but never terse.

It didn’t happen. All my metaphors
foundered on your ellipsis, hit a rock
that broke their cadence. The poetic shock
severed our couplets, left me without yours.

If you hadn’t been a poet I’d have known
I was making verbal music on my own.

Susan Jordan has always written prose but until recently wrote poetry only from time to time. Inspired by 52, Jo Bell’s wonderful online group, she started writing a lot more poems. Her poems have appeared in print and online magazines including Prole, Obsessed with Pipework, Snakeskin and Ink, Sweat & Tears.

 

Senior Sonnet Shakespeare Style by Betty Taylor

My body wilts despite the good I did–
The Brussels sprouts and suchlike I took in.
Now bunioned bones bring anguish to my feet,
Yet old appendix scar still looks quite neat.
My hip holds out now that it has a pin
And gallstones gleam within their clear glass jar.
Son phones, “Hi Ma, just wondering where you are,
The weather’s cold don’t stay outside too long.”
They fret, I know my irritation’s wrong–
Unanswered phone calls set them in a spin.
Exciting moments now a dwindling few,
Forgetfulness exhausts the will to live.

I smirk sardonically, my mood is blue,
As addled brain now morphs, becomes a sieve.

Betty Taylor confesses to habitual scribbling.  She is a founder member of her local writers’ group encouraging aspiring writers for 30-plus years.  As her dotage looms she is aware that  no six-figure publishing offer is coming her way, therefore a daily blog bears the brunt of her drivel.  She edits her writers’ group website and messes about on her beloved laptop to fill her days.

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Security by Sarah Watkinson

Look at the monitors. What babies these
holidaymakers and suited Pooters are.
My God, if they knew the whole they’d not be here
−    but it keeps them out of the Outer Hebrides.

Even these fools fear planes, though. Best they don’t see.
Distraction works. Once they’ve booked a seat
we show them toys to buy, that crap they eat
set up to draw them through ‘Security’.

Ah, what a triumph we’ve created there!
That snaking queue they’re shuffling along
obediently. Then they take off their shoes,
and jewellery, to have them passed as pure ̶
a brilliant stroke by that tame Oxford don!
They know it wards off doom. They daren’t refuse.

Sarah Watkinson is a lifelong scientist and new poet. Her work has recently been published in magazines including Antiphon, Clear Poetry, Ink Sweat and Tears, Pennine Platform, The Rialto, The Stare’s Nest and Well Versed, and has won several prizes in open competitions.

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Eleven, plus by Keith Hutson

for Freddie ‘Parrot-Face’ Davies

In retrospect, to wear a bowler hat
so low his ears bent double, then displace
each S by blowing raspberries, was not
Oscar material but, in the days
when train-impersonators hadn’t yet
been shunted off, nor musclemen in trunks
with organ music, Freddie’s speech defect
could fill a seaside theatre’s summer months.

I loved that man, unaware my laughter
led my best friend’s gifted younger sister,
who read Brontë, to believe I was backward,
until I asked her to go out with me
years afterwards, and she didn’t say no,
just looked appalled before responding You?

(previously published in Prole Magazine)

Keith Hutson has written for Coronation Street and household-name comedians. Since 2014, he has had over 40 poems published, mostly funny ones, in journals including The Rialto, Stand, Magma, The North, Prole, Poetry Salzburg, The Interpreter’s House. He’s also won a Poetry Business Yorkshire Prize.