A Painful Condition by Susan Jordan

A while back she had the cartridge

removed from her knee. They put her

on stereo to reduce the information.

Then she had to have the cactuses

taken out of her eyes. Sadly her friend

contracted M & S and her husband

had trouble with his prostrate gland.

It made him incontinental, but his new diet

did wonders for him – polyurethane margarine.

But when she started going to Weight Lifters

that finished all of them. They had no-one

to turn to for consolidation.

Susan Jordan writes both poetry and prose. She has had poems published in a number of print and online magazines including Acumen, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Obsessed with Pipework and Snakeskin, and in Spilling Cocoa. Her first collection, A House of Empty Rooms, is coming out later this year.



Clog by Jonathan Humble


In search of worthy epithet to praise the lovely clog,

The poet’s mind went AWOL in a thick prosaic fog.

And though he searched as would the most creative pedagogue,

The words remained elusive like Idukki’s Purple Frog.


So he gave up …
Jonathan Humble is a deputy head teacher. He is the Poet Laureate for the Tripe Marketing Board and Rossendale’s Sunday Clog Market. Other than writing poetry and short stories, his hobbies include beard growing, pointing at poppies and keeping the international coffee industry afloat with his patronage.


The Rules of Salsa by Maeve O’Sullivan

The Rules of Salsa

1. Warm up beforehand.
2. Let the man lead.
3. Stay relaxed.
4. Let the man lead.
5. Take small steps.
6. Let the man lead.
7. Maintain your balance.
8. Let the man lead.
9. Tie your hair up.
10. Let the man lead.
11. Keep a straight torso.
12. Let the man lead.
13. Swing those hips!
14. Let the man lead.
15. Shoulders down.
16. Let the man lead.
17. Turn on a dime.
18. Let the man lead.
19. Never refuse a dance.

Maeve O’Sullivan has published her poems and haiku widely over the last twenty years. She is the author of three collections of haiku / poetry from Alba Publishing. When not engaged in writing poetry or performing her work with the Poetry Divas (wearing boas), she works in education in Dublin.


Two Poems from Nick Littler

Vinyl #1

It’s my latest middle class obsession:
I’ve got into collecting vinyl records.
Yeah, I know it’s such a clichéd thing
To do, but there it is. And now it’s in
This poem I wrote, for which nobody asked.
Christ, I must be such an insufferable arse.

Vinyl #2

About two years ago I stopped abusing
Torrent sites to download all my music.
I got into the habit of travelling in
To town a couple of times a month to get
The things I wanted – CDs, books – and bringing
Them back, stuffed into plastic bags. And it
Was strangely satisfying. I had a routine.
About six months ago I changed it up.
I bought a record player – a pretty machine –
And started getting 33s. I stopped
At 78s. That seemed a step too far.
But I did come to love the faintly hissing
Needle in the groove. I took the car
To town at first, but much preferred the pissing
Rain to hit me straight. It seemed more pure
Somehow, the faintly hissing sound. I heard
The voice of angels in the noise, endured
The wetness and the din. I felt a certain
Calm. I sold the CDs and the books
And then the car. I didn’t want distractions
Anymore. And though I got some looks
From strangers, who considered it an infraction
When I gave my clothes away, it didn’t
Bother me. To friends, I bid good riddance,
Left my home, and ditched my family.
I ditched the record player. I was free.


Consommé Soup by Mike Gallagher

Consommé Soup

The hardest winter since forty-seven,
they said, builders moved
indoors to the factory,
made soup,
pushed trolleys, hauled loads,
chatted up the girls.

Boring though –
till Eddy Lynch
strayed to the roof,
found the sherry,
(industrial grade),
secret ingredient
of Crosse and Blackwell’s
consommé soup.

Ah, sixty-three,
the coldest year,
the warmest year,
since freezing forty-seven.

Mike Gallagher, an Irish poet and editor, has been published and translated worldwide. He won the Michael Hartnett Viva Voce award in 2010 and 2016, the Desmond O’Grady International award in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Hennessy award in 2011.
His collection, Stick on Stone, is published by Revival Press.


The Battle Hymn of the Bowling Green Massacre by Marcus Bales

The Battle Hymn of the Bowling Green Massacre

No eyes have seen a massacre occur at Bowling Green
As non-existent soldiers met with students never seen
Where Kellyanne’s imagination lit her silver screen
Her lies go marching on.

Dilatory allegory
Predatory oratory
Don’t believe her lying story
Her lies go marching on.

Her fictional protesters faced her fancied fascist troops
Her tragic death-toll changed into a legendary ‘Oops’
As all they did was wave their well-spelled signs in peaceful groups
Her lies go marching on.

Dilatory allegory
Predatory oratory
Don’t believe her lying story
Her lies go marching on.

She said it went uncovered by reporters of the news
That stations pulled their on-air talent with their camera-crews
But worse, she’s acting pouty that there’s no deaths she can use.
Her lies go marching on.

Dilatory allegory
Predatory oratory
Don’t believe her lying story
Her lies go marching on.

She has offered up her bullshit as if lying were a sport;
Each time she moves her lips she tells a tale that lacks support.
Is there no fact she won’t traduce, no truth she won’t distort?
Her lies go marching on.

Dilatory allegory
Predatory oratory
Don’t believe her lying story
Her lies go marching on.

In the mists of ghostly silence such a massacre occurred,
It’s meaninglessness celebrated by no deed nor word —
And to find that shes not fired for this kind of shit’s absurd.
Her lies go marching on.

Dilatory allegory
Predatory oratory
Don’t believe her lying story
Her lies go marching on.


Out of her depth by Beth McDonough

Out of her depth

In a menace of goggles and tight-

fit cap, one woman strides to her first

Deep Water Aerobics Class. Breathed in

big attitude, she puffs chlorine out, squints 

for piled weights and floats. None spotted she 

plops in, tiles knees, clocks herself 

ensconced with a waft-aloft 

blue-rinsed crew. FAME!

Five minutes strapped in the spotty-dog 

dance, FAME! clap, she’s now

the woman she’d bubble mocked 

goggled from lanes. FAME! 

Six steps to the right, three 

claps overhead. She tries to wipe out

that infinite corn-plaster churn.

Beth McDonough writes often of foraging and Tay swimming. Her poetry appears in Agenda, Antiphon and elsewhere; she reviews in DURA. Her pamphlet Handfast (2016, with Ruth Aylett) explores family experiences – Aylett’s of dementia and McDonough’s of autism.


I Want to Live at Ikea by Keith Allan Welch

when I’m tired of my house
all the dust and every mouse
I start to get ideas
about living at Ikea

I would sit upon a KIVIK
while ignoring every critic
or relax on an EKTORP
eating meatballs with a spork

while with the aid of ANTIFONI
read the work of Angioni*
with my feet up on a LACK
no, I’m never going back

to house or pied-à-terre
too much bother living there
although privacy I’d lack
people walking with their sacks

shopping willy-nilly
I would hide behind my BILLY
it would be my little Eden
in the shopping mart from Sweden.

* Giulio Angioni (leading Italian anthropologist, professor at the University of Cagliari, fellow of St Antony’s College of the University of Oxford), is the author of about twenty books of fiction and a dozen volumes of essays in anthropology.


Three Poems from Ben Banyard 

Cubs, Do Your Best 

I learned knots

got tongue-tied.


Akela took us orienteering

but I was soon lost.


Cooking on the campfire

my sausages burnt on re-entry.


Promoted to seconder

I was at sixes and sevens.


When I met the chief scout

I had dog shit on my shoe.


Quid Pro Quo


I cashed £100

all in pound coins.


Went and freed

the chain gang:



trolleys at Asda.





I started to think

about how you’re

just like Pi.


Irrational, you


go on and on,


and I don’t really

understand you.
Ben Banyard likes a laugh as much as the next man. His pamphlet, Communing, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2016, and his first full collection, We Are All Lucky is due out in 2018. Ben edits Clear Poetry: https://clearpoetry.wordpress.com