If… by Howard Davies

If you can blame the problems of your nation
On the Muslims, and the Chinese, and the Jews,
On Mexican illegal immigration,
And on everyone who’s not as white as you;

If you can get the blacks to pin their hopes on you
And still be friendly with the Ku Klux Klan;
If you can get the broads to cast their votes for you
And still grab ’em by the pussy when you can;

If you can use your history of failure
As a ruse to bring your taxes down to zero;
And if, instead of thinking they should jail ya,
Folks think you’re smart, and hail you as a hero;

If you can garner roars and cheers aplenty
For a wall you’ve no intention to construct,
Then yours will be the world till 2020
And, what’s more my son… we’re absolutely f***ed.


Normal Dad by Jude Cowan Montague

for James Worse and Marlowe

Normal dad’s are nice dads,
normal dads are good,
normal dads do not have beards
and no one thinks they should.

Normal dads do not stare out
to see if there are ships.
Normal dads do not write pomes
or mess with English Lit.

Normal dads are not like you.
Normal dads aren’t cool.
Normal dads are more like them –
be normal! Toe the rule!

Jude Cowan Montague used to work as an archivist for Reuters and has written poetry about the news agency reports. She created and host a weekly radio show on Resonance FM called ‘The News Agents’. She has been an artist and a songwriter as well as a poet, since forever and you can drop in on her at her gallery in St Leonards-on-Sea which is called Montague Armstrong.


How to be an Extra Virgin by Pru Kitching

grow me slow and pick me quick
keep me hot but press me cold
taste me, sniff me, savour me slickly
handle me gentle and treat me like gold

bottle me green then screw me well in
package and label me, keep me apart
transport me safely from Italy, Spain
then shelve me and leave for some foody old fart

oh, forget it

Pru Kitching has worked at home and abroad in theatre and opera, was married to a painter, lives in beautiful Upper Weardale and is generally artsy fartsy. Her publications include two pamphlets: ‘All Aboard the Moving Staircase’ with Vane Women Press in 2004 and ‘The Kraków Egg’ with Arrowhead Press in 2009.


The Poets and the Thief by Marc Woodward

Ten poets in a room,
some imbibing wine,
when from the back a
ruckus started.

“A thief! A thief!
he’ll rob us blind –
he’s here to steal
our work, our souls,
our sacred lines!”

“Don’t be so dramatic dear..”
another replied “..and anyway – did I really hear
‘rob us blind’? good grief, oh dear!
Don’t you think you could do better here?”

“Yes..” a third spoke up
“..and to speak of ‘soul’
is over used and meaningless,
surely you agree?”

There then followed a hubbub:
much exclamation, declamation,
formal decree
and general hullabaloo

during which

the thief slipped away
with a sack of poems
he’d craftily purloined,
but, I’m sad to say,
very few were new
or freshly coined…

Marc Woodward is a poet and musician from Devon. His writing reflects his rural surroundings and often has a macabre undercurrent. He has been published widely including at Ink, Sweat & Tears, Prole, Avis, The Jawline Review and The Poetry Society and  Guardian sites as well as in anthologies from Forward, Sentinel, OWF and Ravenshead. His recent chapbook ‘A Fright of Jays’ is available from Maquette Press.


Traffic Jam Sandwich by Heather Wastie

In the heat of it
a slice of tomato
has skidded on mayonnaise
and ended up straddling the crust

Layers of lettuce leaves
are held up behind it,
limp slivers of cucumber
losing their cool

At the centre of it all
is a slow-moving wedge
of well-matured cheddar
heavily laden with pickle

In the care home’s crowded corridor
Iris is stationary, thinking of lunch.
I like jam sandwiches, she says.
This poem is for her.

Poet, singer, songwriter and actor Heather Wastie is The Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015/16. In 2013 she was Writer in Residence at the Museum of Carpet, Kidderminster. She has published four illustrated poetry collections and has a busy schedule of commissions and performances.