‘Trip advisor review for Hiker, Hump and Hamper’ by Hannah Stone

We’d like to commend Fenella and StJohn
for hosting our great mini-break.
They provided all you might need
to satisfy every appetite.
My companion especially appreciated
the fruit flavoured prophylactics on the hospitality tray,
and the thoughtful lamination of the dildo catalogue.
The novelty shaped cruditées made great finger food
for our picnic. On the downside, the maps to local beauty spots
best suited for al fresco quickies lacked adequate scale,
and, as a result, we came unstuck in Dogger’s Beckbottom.
We look forward to coming again, and won’t hesitate
to recommend your facility to our discerning friends.
It’s just the thing for the next diocesan team bonding exercise.

Hannah Stone has two collections of poetry, (Lodestone (2016), and Missing Miles (2017). She also teaches for the Open University, grows her own fruit and vegetables and goes for long walks where she alarms passing wildlife with expletives about first drafts that are proving reculcitrant. She convenes the poets/composers forum for the Leeds Lieder Festival. She plans to stop taking life seriously when she enters her seventh decade next year.

 

The Letter I Dare Not Send To David Walliams, by Geraldine Ward

This letter isn’t an epic piece of flattery.
In fact it’s not really
worth the pain
to explain,
I am writing this on
the notes of my phone,
like a typical twenty-first century
media whore or vulture.

I think you know what’s coming next,
one of those pompous requests
for your time and services.
All I can say is I love the look on Simon Cowell’s face,
when you are locked in an embrace.
I have watched ‘Little Britain’ to death,
placed posters of Lou and Andy on my wall,
not a pretty picture in a hostel,
with comments such as ‘I don’t like it’
and ‘I want that one.’

If I were to be a ‘Little Britain’character
I would be Marjorie Dawes
because I really love cake,
but rather more than a bit of dust.

My son loves your books,
I think he has all of them now,
though hoping he won’t become
one of the world’s worst children
after reading their
delightfully naughty
escapades.

I have a signed copy of the book
about you and Matt Lucas.
My sister wangled one
for my birthday some years ago.
Well, that is a lie, her friend did,
because she was working, to do
it for her, then pretended
she bothered and chatted with you.

I would dearly love it
if you could visit
my son’s school.
The children and adults really do
all love your books too.
As a writer and comedian,
you seriously crack me up.

I am sure you are used to getting
a gazillion requests like this.
I just hope this one
is slightly different.

Hope to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Geraldine

Geraldine Ward is a mother, author,  and poet from Kent. She has had work published in ‘The Blue Nib’ edited by Shirley Bell, ‘I am not a silent poet,’ edited by Reuben Woolley and ‘Writers Cafe Magazine’ edited by Marie Lightman, among others. She plays piano and ukulele. Her twitter feed is @GWardAuthor

 

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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Walking the Dog by Maurice Devitt

I knew he wanted a walk
when he brought in his lead,
pointed at the watch on my wrist
and started to bark.

He wasn’t particularly choosy
which route we took,
once we passed the bejazzled poodle
in number 14. They had history,

not all of it good, and even now,
she re-buffed his advances,
sitting inside the gate, checking
her nails and preening

her latest coiffure. The park,
a treasure trove of loose dogs,
was likely to offer more success,
and here he could afford to be picky,

turning up his nose at mongrels
and bull terriers, finding a shih tzu pretty
but superficial and setting his heart
on a cocker spaniel, come-to-bed eyes

and floppy ears. Coy at first,
the barriers quickly dropped and
what passed between them
was both romantic and breathless.

I’m not even sure if he caught
her name, although when we went
home, he scribbled something
on the wall above his bed,

then settled into a chair, happy to have
the rest of the day to himself.

In 2016, Maurice Devitt was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series and shortlisted for the Listowel Poetry Collection Competition. Winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition in 2015, he has been placed or shortlisted in many competitions including the Patrick Kavanagh Award, Over the Edge New Writer Competition, Cuirt New Writing Award and the Doire Press International Chapbook Competition. A guest poet at the ‘Poets in Transylvania’ festival in 2015, he has had poems published in various journals in Ireland, England, Scotland, the US, Mexico, Romania, India and Australia, is curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site and a founder member of the Hibernian Writers’ Group.

 

Forbidden Swan by Maurice Devitt

I have never seen a swan
smoking after sex,
but suspect they do. How else

can we explain
the nervous pacing on the tow-path,
wings touching hidden pockets

to check for matches
or the slow draught of air
to mask a throaty cough?

So maybe
after fumbled congress
in the privacy of a hotel room

– webbed feet
snared on carpet pile –
the cob lights up,

pads to an open window,
tips a wing and looks back
to see a crumpled napkin.

(previously published in ‘In Other Words: Merida’ – Mexico)

In 2016, Maurice Devitt was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series and shortlisted for the Listowel Poetry Collection Competition. Winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition in 2015, he has been placed or shortlisted in many competitions including the Patrick Kavanagh Award, Over the Edge New Writer Competition, Cuirt New Writing Award and the Doire Press International Chapbook Competition. A guest poet at the ‘Poets in Transylvania’ festival in 2015, he has had poems published in various journals in Ireland, England, Scotland, the US, Mexico, Romania, India and Australia, is curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site and a founder member of the Hibernian Writers’ Group.

 

Intercity 125 by Joe Williams

I didn’t foresee
That carriage B
Would alter my life
In such curious fashion

And who even knew
That the 10:52
Could ever have been
The scene of such passion?

We entered the station
To great consternation
Our deeds were the subject
Of much speculation

But I don’t regret
And I’ll never forget
The good times we had
Before privatisation

Joe Williams is a writer from Leeds and the creator of Haiku Hole.  In 2015 Joe began performing on the poetry and open mic circuit to inflict his work on a wider audience.  Some of them claimed to enjoy it, so you can blame them for encouraging him to continue.

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Tell me by Finola Scott

(with thanks to WH Auden)

Tell me

the truth about sex.
Can you do it by email or text?
Is it best to stay pure
or better play whore?
Oh tell me the truth about sex.

Must I have thighs very tight
which grip for a day and a night?
And what about sweet and gentle,
what if it isn’t consensual?
Oh do tell me the truth about sex.

Tell me the facts about boys.
Do they want all their girls to be toys?
Does there need to be lots of noise?
Is it alright to google his name?
Oh tell me how to play this game.

If in leather or rubber I’m tied
does that break the rule for offside?
Can I really say no
will he ask me to go?
Oh tell me, I do need to know.

Finola Scott‘s poems and short stories are widely published in anthologies and magazines including The Ofi Press, Raum, The Poetry Shed ,The Lake, Poets’ Republic.She is pleased to be mentored, this year on the Clydebuilt Scheme, by Liz Lochead. A performance poet, she is proud to be a slam-winning granny.

 

A New Beginning by Norman Hadley

When the Wilsons judged that they were halfway through the marriage,
they hired a jobbing surgeon-friend
to sever their heads
to sew back on
but swapped around.

They spent their second twenty years
apologising for a million insensitivities
but the sex was fantastic.

Norman Hadley is an engineer and mathematician who writes poetry, short fiction, children’s fiction and cycling-related nonfiction to keep all the hemispheres occupied. He’s produced five poetry collections so far and frenetic participation in Jo Bell’s “52” project has generated sufficient material for five more.

website

 

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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