Hen Party, by Belinda Rimmer

Hen Party

The afternoon was hot and steamy,
made worse by all of us crammed into one room.
With open hearts and lipstick kisses,
we raised a glass or two or three
to the bride-to-be.

An artist breezed in murmuring something
about a life drawing class.
He prepped us on perspective,
shading and how to furnish stick men
with all the necessary bits.

Some of us coughed, others laughed
and the bride-to-be said: bring it on.

We waited for our life model.
Had anyone seen him?
He’d either taken a liking to the bathroom
or a disliking to us,
or else had suffered stage fright.

Finally, he appeared,
fake-tanned and on the wrong side of forty.

Our fidgety embarrassment
dripped and seeped
into curtains, carpet and settee
as we willed him to put away
the pendulous dead weight,
silvery fish-scale of a thing,
so disproportionately large
for such a thin body.

Belinda has worked as a psychiatric nurse, counsellor and lecturer. She has also taught creative arts in primary schools. Her poems have been published in magazines and on-line. She won the Poetry in Motion Competition as part of Cheltenham Poetry Festival and came second in her first poetry slam.

http://www.belindarimmer.com

 

Dating Profile Identification by Josa Young

All of
Sapiosexual
Queer
Questioning
Demisexual
Cis Man
Androgynous
Genderfluid
Non binary
Other
Single
6ft
Still just wants to climb in my pants
Nothing really changes
Sigh

Josa Young is a novelist and copywriter. Her two novels One Apple Tasted and Sail Upon the Land are out there somewhere being read. She was a decent poet up until puberty, and has taken to verse again as all the creative frenzy of childbearing has faded.

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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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Thoughts on finding an old till receipt by Bill Allen

CUPPA SOUP
EMERY BOARDS
NIVEA
MINI MUFFINS
BISCUITS 400 GRAMS
SUGAR
CHOCOLATE CAKE
You were fat, Sam.
VALUE SHAVING CREAM
RAZORS
I miss the mess.
PAN SCOURERS
LOW CALORIE SOUP
OLIVE OIL
TUNA CHUNKS
BROCCOLI 0.335KG
Oh, Sam,
you should have eaten your greens.
LEEKS LOOSE
RED PEPPER 2 @ £0.78
CONDENSED MILK
You were so naughty,
Sam!
MAYONNAISE
No more little white
mountains on plates.
FULL FAT MILK
McCAIN CHIPS
BURGER ROLLS
BUTTER
FLORA LIGHT
RED WINE
ORANGE JUICE
APPLES
LETTUCE
ON VINE TOMS
YOGHURT
HALF FAT MILK
TESCO SAUCY
STRAWBERRY LUBRICATION 75ML
Oh, Sam! I miss you.

Bill Allen lives in West London and writes in retirement. Worldly wise, a wicked sense of humour, he often observes the darker aspects of life as well as the curiously funny. Likes old films, modern plays, wine mixed with a pinch of conversation. Bill has published a few poems and short stories.

 

What’s the John Dory? by Susan Evans

Message in a bottle; excuse my Squid ink scroll.
To my darling John Dory, my fellow tortured Sole.

You’re in another Plaice, but I just want you to know,
I don’t think you a Pollock; I love our ebb & flow.

Monsieur Mussel, you put the Rainbow in my Trout;
I’m like Wild Salmon when we dive & splash about.

& when I’m feeling Crabby you don’t try to suck me in;
you’re gentle & protective fending off those Crayfish twins.

The world’s our Lobster in my aqua fantasy;
you & I go deep, making under water alchemy.

Playing all of your top Tuna, on your favourite Sea Bass,
I swim, you sing: ‘I see you baby (shakin’ that ass)’.

Alas, I cannot be your Mermaid ‘plenty more fish’ says head;
you’ve a Dover Sole mate; shan’t put my Roe in one seabed.

I can be a Tiger Prawn but you can see that I’m no Snapper.
Okay, I find you dishy & your swim suit’s very dapper.

But be more Monk fish; your Sole mate’s down at Eel.
I’m just a red Herring & I’ve no wish to steal.

Without you, I’ll feel gutted; be like losing a fin.
But you’re caught; could be worse, could be Sardines in a tin.

Susan Evans is widely published; online & in print; appearing in: The High Window, Ink, Sweat & Tears, The Journal, Message in a Bottle, Nutshells and Nuggets, Obsessed With Pipework, and Snakeskin, among numerous others. A Brighton-based Performance poet, Susan was nominated Best Spoken Word Performer in the Saboteur Awards, 2016.

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The Internet Dating Profile Song by Josa Young

Bibble bobble
Stomachs wobble
Ciggies burn
Turkey necks gobble
Men with blondes
And men with bikes
Pints of beer…
Is that a pike?
Downturned mouths
And grey complexions
Urgent words
To make connections
Sofa snuggles
Grammar struggles
Nostrils gape
And stream and bubble
Desperation leaks from screens
‘I just want love!’
They seem to scream.
And yet among that sickly crew
There is the odd exception…

You

Josa Young is a novelist and copywriter. Her two novels One Apple Tasted and Sail Upon the Land are out there somewhere being read. She was a decent poet up until puberty, and has taken to verse again as all the creative frenzy of childbearing has faded.

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Liaison by Leanne Moden

I wait for you all afternoon; my flesh is moist with sweat.
The sheets are silk beneath me but I cannot have you yet.

You slowly slide in close to me, our splendid limbs entwined,
And though I cannot say it, I am sure our love’s divine.

My skin ignites with perfect lust and all my fears, I shed,
And as we writhe, a voice exclaims, “Hey you! Get off that bed!”

Though love’s a gorgeous, peerless thing, context is all, I fear.
Perhaps meeting in John Lewis was not the best idea…

Leanne Moden is a poet from Nottingham. She has performed all around the UK, including sets at Trinity College Cambridge, the Nottingham Poetry Festival, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, the Royal Albert Hall and Bestival on the Isle of Wight.

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At The Thought Of You by Harry Gallagher

(After John Cooper Clarke)

Me lips curl up like Autumn leaves,
me insides rattle like skellington keys.
I walk like a man with jellied knees
but, like Oliver, I want more please.

I’m as jumpy as a man with fleas,
as steady as a giraffe on skis.
I’m a chocolate man at 90 degrees,
me words have all turned to mushy peas.

But me love is deeper than the mighty Tees
at the thought of you.

Harry Gallagher co-runs Newcastle’s premier poetry night, The Stanza.  He lives in nearby Cullercoats, where the locals tolerate his poetic pretensions with relatively good nature.  His lack of shame means he is published all over the place and his third pamphlet, ‘Chasing The Sunset’, is out now.

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Gloves by Neil Laurenson

We were in love.
We were like a pair of gloves
But, as often happens to gloves,
We drifted apart.

I found you
And you were smitten
With a much younger, richer and more attractive
Mitten.

(Originally published in Exclamation Marx!, Silhouette Press, 2016)

Neil Laurenson has read at the Wenlock Poetry Festival and Ledbury Poetry Festival and will be reading at The Quiet Compere at Worcestershire Lit Fest event in Worcester in June. His debut pamphlet, Exclamation Marx!, was published by Silhouette Press earlier this month.

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