Two Poems from Michelle Smith

A Higher Boat Crew

The crumping noise and skreek of tortured steel
announced the presence of pretend pirates.
Around the bend they barged, with trailing ropes
and noxious clouds of rank dieselly smoke.
Decked to the nines in fine suits by Smiffy’s,
yellowed round the armpits from hire days of yore,
they were an anachronistic sight to see.
They waved beer cans and tired jolly Rogers
at kids and gongoozlers on the towpath,
and sprayed obscenities from red chump chops.
No high seas for the likes of those heroes,
yet! A galleons crew seemed crammed aboard.
They hung rudely from the portholes and hatches
and lolled on the roof of their hapless craft.
The drunken helmsman found forward again
propelling boat and crew pubward for more beer.
Then the canal was as before.
A bee buzzed in a bush; a mallard quacked,
A surprised fisherman mouthed, WTF!

The Canal Boat Boggart

It’s never fussy about about who to torment,
to wreak a bit of havoc is its main intent.
It won’t leave til it’s sent you round the bend,
the canal boat Boggart is nobodies friend.

This nasty beastie is a juvenile little scrote,
it’ll stand on the towpath and chuck poo at your boat.
It’ll put mould spots on all of the clothes you wear,
and clog up the waste pipe with its curly black hair.

In the dark of night its favourite thing,
is to scamper round the gunwales and make an awful din,
and when your porta potti is full to the top,
it loves to clog the elsan* with foul and stinky slop.

It’ll pull out your pins* when you’re not around
It’ll open up the lock paddles to make you run aground
It’ll tinker with your engine so you can only go in reverse,
believe me boaters,that Bogey is perverse.

It’ll steal your bicycle and hoof it down a thorny bank,
and then put some little bugs into your diesel tank.
It fiddles with the gas when dinner’s nearly done,
then messes up the pump so the water will not run.

When think you can’t stand anymore,
it’ll call up the slugs from beneath the floor.
Then it’ll invite it’s friend, the rapacious rat,
which will chew through your welcoming mat.

So, when things are really awful and the cat has begun to moult,
Just blame the boating Boggart, it was all its fault.

*A place where boaters empty their toilets and pins used to moor boats to the canal bank.

Michelle Smith is a 38 year old mature student who studies english literature and creative writing at Bathspa university. She lives in Bath with her partner, two children and a smelly hound. When not trying to drown herself on the waterways, she writes nonsense to amuse her friends and family.

 

Now, when you’re 60, by Mary Anne Smith

Now, when you’re 60,
you don’t get your pension
but the world (within the UK)
becomes your Oyster card.

Now, you can check the box
for ‘Concessions’ on forms,
and qualify for special rates
on certain dates in certain cafes.

Now, you can make a neat pile
of all of the ‘I’m 60!’ badges
and all but one copy of ‘Now You Are Sixty’
to take to the charity shop.

And now, when you think that life
just can’t get any more exciting,
at the sound of the postman
you fall over your feet
in your new discounted varifocals
only to find an invitation
to send a poo sample for screening
has plopped through your door.

Mary Anne Smith has been writing seriously since 2011, and her work has been shortlisted and commended in both national and international competitions. She has read at events in England, Ireland and Italy, and in 2017 co-developed a poetry and music event for the Wise Words Festival in Canterbury.

 

Moon, by Dan McLaryea

Moon

I am full tonight as the moon is full tonight
I am looking at myself with the reflection casted by the moon
A thing of splendor the moon is, with so deep a texture
The moon is so beautiful, so big, yet not perfect to the human eye
To my eye the moon is the most amazingly perfect creature ever
Unlike the sun the moon never remains the same in the sky
It has days when it is gibbous and when its crescent; changing to light
The encyclopedia calls it the natural satellite of the earth as it makes time to visit each and every one of us every single day
The sun sits and waits for us to come in phase with it; the moon moves with us so it knows us best
On my darkest paths, loneliness quickened to harass me and the Moon hastened to keep me company
Look at the Moon! Wait till it gives that wink that will set you apart from everyone else
We are part of a world that is part of a bigger world that is part of a bigger world
Let nothing escape your thinking gravity’

 

With These Eyes, by Stephen Park

With These Eyes

I have seen sandwiches and their wrappings
On the roofs of moving cars,
Beacons of forgetfulness.

I have seen brightly coloured swatches of evening dresses
Caught in the doors of moving cars
Rippling like low flags.

I have seen loose dentures
Of a sleeping old lady
Moving independently of her jaw.

Once, I saw my girlfriend’s sister’s vagina when euphoric twirling
Made her skirt rise and she was not wearing underwear.
I said, “I saw your vagina”, and was asked to leave.

I have entered cubicles
And found shocking brown truth
Of other peoples’ turds.

I once saw a man,
Worse for drink,
Urinate on his own dog.

And once I noticed a conjuror’s
Absurd plastic thumb,
Which, oddly, no one else saw.

Biog: Stephen Park is a middle aged artist on the edge of Dartmoor who used to perform his poems in the South West and may do so again. ‘With These Eyes’ won first prize in the ‘Off the Wall’ comic verse competition 2003.

 

Two Poems from Rhys Hughes

I Found It

Let’s be absolutely clear
about why I joined
a Sufi community
last year. The house
was small and cramped
and somewhat gloomy

But I found it very Rumi

because we were packed
in so tight no light could
get past our compressed
sweaty bodies. It was
such a squeeze that fleas
had to hug their knees

But I found it very Rumi

I whirled with a girl
named Pearl until she got
dizzy and fell down
on the ground and then
Lizzie who used to be a
clown fanned her with
her dressing gown

and she had to take it off
to do that but it was cool
she might have been a clown
but she was no fool
and instead of standing there

to stare I did the only thing
under heaven I felt able to:
I picked up the shoddy gown
and put it on and it was far
too small for my large body
but this was a Sufi community

And I found it very Rumi

**************************

That’s All for Tao, Folks!

The Taoists are out
to get me
I wish they would leave
me alone

If I was a woman they
would certainly
run back home
during my time of
the month.

Because they always
go with the flow

**************************

Rhys Hughes has written many stories and books and quite a few poems in his life so far. His one and only poetry collection is called The Gloomy Seahorse and can be found on Amazon and elsewhere.

 

Two Poems from Stephen Daniels

Word! (Spoon Feed)

There are many words
I don’t understand
like infantilise.
Include them to exclude,
demonstrate intellect
and cleverosity,
seemingly invented.

There are many words
I do comprehend.
Used to spoon feed
the reader with meaning,
forcing each mouthful
into their mouths (?),
choking them
with simplicity.

There are many poems
I don’t understand… (TBC)

Flat-pack apology

My wife tried to divorce me
in IKEA, the ride home
put us firmly in arrears.

What remained
was an abundance of screws
clear step-by-step diagrams.

We rotated the page
until we were both peering
from opposite immovable positions.

There were no nails or tacks,
I kept track. I resisted
– with carpet burns and tender knees –

an impulse to argue
over the right flipping side*
*except she said fucking.

I flourished the instructions,
folded them precisely around my ears.

Stephen Daniels is the editor of Amaryllis Poetry and Strange Poetry websites. His poetry has been published in numerous magazines and websites. His debut pamphlet ‘Tell Mistakes I Love Them’ was published in 2017 by V. Press. Find out more at www.stephenkirkdaniels.com

 

Alan Bennett and Me, by Rupert Nevin

I know you’re tired.
But I’m hot wired.
I need to say it.
I’m feeling like – Alan Bennett

These words are wrong.
The story doesn’t hang.
I need to substantially edit.
I’m feeling like Alan Bennett.

I’ve got a typewriter, table and chair.
And – strangely – a bottle of claret.
I’m flat broke
and in need of inspiration;
so I light a cigarette.
Unlike Alan Bennett.

Who doesn’t smoke –
Or at least, not yet.

I imagine casting of actors
and meeting benefactors
who droll at my wisdom and wit.
Such insight.
Hang on – they say:
you’re the next Alan Bennett!

My agent says I have some merit
and some of my dialogue is good.
Yet my last draft was shredded.
She says to keep at it.
Just like Alan Bennett
would.

I’ve taken a preppy look
and bought some glasses
for my evening classes.
You see, I’m forever indebted
to my hero – Alan Bennett.

Rupert Nevin is a writer of pith and occasional pathos, studying for an MA in Creative Writing at York St Johns University.

 

Three Poems from Damian O’Vitch

1.

“To horse you gallant princes, straight to horse.” (Henry V)

No-one knew why he said it

but they knew what it meant

And secretly in each one’s heart

there beat a pride in all they did.

Astride, they curbed the rumbling power

from bungalow to high-rise block

whatever weather, time or order.

“1 Hour Pizza Or Your Money Back”

2.

Warmth

Given without condition

by the sinner and sinned-against

to you. Take this moment.

Feel the warmth of another’s cheeks against your own

as an embrace, a welcome, a chance for atonement.

For you who was once distant and cold

are powerless to stop your own warmth

pouring out, unashamed, unconditionally giving

to the sinners and sinned-against

outside, waiting,

unaware of the gift they are about to receive;

this fleeting, intimate, fragile epiphany.

Yet the greatest of all is your gift before you leave

“Please Wash Your Hands”

3.

Red light aardvark (for Leanne)

O Rosse Buurt Aardvark bristling under neon,

bored in latex waiting for custom.

Pig snouty, doe-eyed, unconventional beauty;

first on the list in the Pervert’s Dictionary.

Passing your window, then, in they come.

With formic acid on your whiplash tongue,

as studded hooves massage the venom

they confess “Oh yes, I’ve been so naughty

O Rosse Buurt Aardvark”.

Claws that could rip apart a mound

are stroking hairs on quivering abdomens.

Limp with fear, yet stiff simultaneously;

visceral but tender, muscular but furry;

they leave your arms, sure to return

O Rosse Buurt Aardvark.

Damian O’Vitch regularly performs at events and festivals in the South and elsewhere. He also collaborates with various writing projects and co-hosts spoken word events.
“Damian O’Vitch is like the 92’ Danish Euro Squad..but with poetry” – Elvis McGonagall.

 

Dog Lover, by Ken Cumberlidge

_____________________________

Dog Lover (aka 50 Shades of Greyhound)

I’ve got a bone to pick with you.

If you showed me ONE QUARTER of
the love you show our neighbour’s dog…

I’d be your pet, your pal, your staunch defender,
lick my own bollocks, piss on next door’s gatepost and eat Chappie.

Christ, I’d be happy!

You throw it? I’d catch it – even eat cat-shit,
then race to your face for a deep, probing kiss.

I’d pull sledges and carts… take the blame for your farts…
Just tickle me – there – ’til my back leg goes mad. I’ll be glad!

Think of the fun we could have: the long walks in the woods…
Me, naked except for a chain and a collar with studs.

Look, see? I’m begging, I’m wagging, I’m acting the clown.
I’m tired of dry-humping the cushions, being told to “get down”.

So go on: be my mistress, my owner. I’ll bring you such joy.
(You’ve seen how I lick out a yoghurt-pot, haven’t you? – Oyyy!)

You call, and I’ll come – but I swear, not a moment too soon.
I’ll be so attentive, I’ll make you howl to the moon.

I’ll snuffle your truffle, I’ll hound you, I’ll be a BAD boy…
So – for Blue Peter’s sake, love – give us a tug on me toy?

Ken Cumberlidge has been writing for 40+ years. Recent work can be seen in Algebra Of Owls, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Open Mouse and Snakeskin. Currently he lives in Norwich, where he can be seen muttering and gesticulating in the company of an embarrassed-looking dog. Don’t worry – the dog’s fine.