When I Come to Power, by Kevin Higgins

When I Come To Power

Spiking women’s drinks
or bums with a syringe
will be an offence punishable
by having one’s body placed
in an industrial crusher
and turned into an easily
spreadable paste.

But it will be perfectly legal –
compulsory, even –
to, at least once in your life,
drug a daytime TV presenter of the male variety,
preferably Richard Madeley,
and deposit his twitching body
on the town rubbish dump
for the gulls to peck.

KEVIN HIGGINS

KEVIN HIGGINS is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway. He has published five previous full collections of poems: The Boy With No Face (2005), Time Gentlemen, Please (2008), Frightening New Furniture (2010), The Ghost In The Lobby (2014), & Sex and Death at Merlin Park Hospital (2019). His poems also feature in Identity Parade – New Britishand Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and in The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe May 2014). Kevin was satirist-in-residence with the alternative literature website The Bogman’s Cannon 2015-16. 2016 – The Selected Satires of Kevin Higgins was published by NuaScéalta in 2016. The Minister For Poetry Has Decreed was published by Culture Matters (UK) also in 2016. Song of Songs 2:0 – New & Selected Poems was published by Salmon in Spring 2017. Kevin is a highly experienced workshop facilitator and several of his students have gone on to achieve publication success. He has facilitated poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre and taught Creative Writing at Galway Technical Institute for the past fifteen years. Kevin is the Creative Writing Director for the NUI Galway International Summer School and also teaches on the NUIG BA Creative Writing Connect programme. His poems have been praised by, among others, Tony Blair’s biographer John Rentoul, Observer columnist Nick Cohen, writer and activist Eamonn McCann, historian Ruth Dudley Edwards, and Sunday Independent columnist Gene Kerrigan; and have been quoted in The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times (London), Hot Press magazine, The Daily Mirror and on The Vincent Browne Show, and read aloud by Ken Loach at a political meeting in London. He has published topical political poems in publications as various as The New European, The Morning Star, Dissent Magazine (USA), Village Magazine (Ireland), & Harry’s Place. The Stinging Fly magazine has described Kevin as “likely the most widely read living poet in Ireland”. One of Kevin’s poems features in A Galway Epiphany, the final instalment of Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor series of novels which is just published. His work has been broadcast on RTE Radio, Lyric FM, and BBC Radio 4. His book The Colour Yellow & The Number 19: Negative Thoughts That Helped One Man Mostly Retain His Sanity During 2020 was published in late by Nuascealta. His extended essay Thrills & Difficulties: Being A Marxist Poet In 21st Century Ireland was published in pamphlet form by Beir Bua Press this year. Ecstatic, Kevin’s sixth full poetry collection, will be published by Salmon next March.

 

The Ongoing Saga of Why I Haven’t Finished my Novel, by Nikki Fine

The Ongoing Saga of Why I haven’t Finished My Novel

Reason number four hundred and three.
No, don’t go. It’s a good one. You’ll like it.
Well, maybe ‘like’ is the wrong word. Perhaps
‘appreciate’, or even ‘recognise’.

I woke up
with the final paragraph in my head,
all ready to write in, spelling, punctuation,
everything needed to complete my opus.

I was so excited, I fumbled for my
lucky pen – the one I was using when
I won a story competition at primary school,
though I’ve had no luck since –
and knocked over my glass of water.

Obviously, I needed to dry the pen before use,
but as I entered the bathroom, in search of
a towel, the cat dashed beneath my feet,
and I tripped, dropping my poor pen
into the bowels of the unit which remained
unflushed after some midnight micturitions.

By the time I had failed to retrieve the pen
hygienically, and then called a plumber
to go beyond the u-bend, the paragraph
was gone. All that was left was this.

Nikki Fine is struggling to finish a novel and has resorted to poetry in the meantime. Some of her work has been published, in such places as Spilling Cocoa and The Interpreter’s House. She has also been experimenting with selfies in windy locations.

 

The camera never lies, by Sarah J Bryson

The camera never lies

Take off your rucksack, it’ll spoil the image.
Here I’ll watch over it. Can you pull the scarf straight?
Zip up your jacket. That’s it, turn your face
so that it catches the sun. No – I can’t take it yet.
There’s a whole family in the way having their fun.
Just wait. Stay there. it won’t be long
before they are out of shot.

Damn. Now the sun’s gone. Hang on. It’ll be back soon.
There’s a strand of hair … can you pin it down?
Now. Are you ready? Look this way…without squinting?
Yes, I know it’s straight into the sun. Look away,
then I’ll give you a count…. One, two three, ready:
chin up, that’s it. Now smile.

Sarah J Bryson
Bio: Sarah has poems published in print journals, anthologies and on line. She has been a regular participant, during the Covid pandemic, in a weekly on-line arts event, combining photographs with haiku style poetry and has recently had several poems on the Poetry and Covid site.

 

Record Players are just trendy, phonographs are the real thing, by Jorge Leiva Ardana

Record Players are just trend, Phonographs are the real thing.

I have come to know people that love the old so much
they wish they could die from dysentery.
These are people who feel they don’t belong
to this world or at least to this century.

They like to handwrite letters with a fountain pen
or even worse a feather quill,
to listen to broken vinyl records every now and then,
and if they’re women they prefer to drink mercury than having to use the pill.

They miss so much the days when drinking gin didn’t involve having to study a masters degree in botany,
and even tragedies had so much flair back then
such as it was the notorious case of the huge titanic.

If they drink coffee the beans must be freshly manually ground
otherwise they moan and say the taste is not the same,
and those are the type of things they complain about
because everything now is made by mechanical means
and that’s a real shame.

They love the liturgy of going to the post office or down to their local bank, because there is no queue in this or other worlds that can’t beat the joy of getting stamps. They’re more than happy by owning a typewriter and a landline phone, and they prefer sending documents by fax than flying drones.

When justice wasn’t the annoying slow bureaucracy
we know today but something less human and more divine,
and all the problems if you ask them started with democracy because before if you acted wrongly you would end up like Lot’s wife.
There was a time when crime was smoothly dealt by a hanging
according to the quickly and efficient eye for eye law
and there would be people standing, their hands clapping
because it also was a great show and the only think to worry it was the size of the rope.

If you had a bit of dough you didn’t have much to worry about,
for a small fee you could lift your sins and redeem your soul,
because there has always been classes, there is no doubt,
and that my friend, I’m afraid hasn’t changed at all.

Jorge Leiva is from South Spain and he lived in Ireland for over eight years. Some of his work has appeared in Skylight 47 Magazine, The Galway Advertiser, Drawn to the light press, Headstuff.org, Dodging the Rain and 2 Meter Review. In 2019 he was long listed in the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year competition.
He has been on the waiting list for a tonsillectomy since he was a child.

 

First Mayor of Richmond, by Peter Kay

FIRST MAYOR OF RICHMOND

T’was sixteen hundred and six,
for legend has it so,
when, whilst out hunting all alone,
Robert Willance, future mayor
of Richmond, shattered his femur bone.

His horse, a noble steed of some renown
had always borne him well,
but as November’s dense mists thronged,
the bewildered beast bolted,
racing headlong into nothingness.

With Willance clinging on for life,
his horse plunged to its death,
two hundred feet o’er Whitcliffe Scar.
Robert lay prostrate, right leg broken,
twisted, breached, death’s door ajar.

With no prospect of immediate respite,
he slit soft belly of his beloved horse,
using a trusted hunting knife. No malice.
Plunged his leg in up to groin and hilt,
to try and keep it for his balance.

For two days he held on to life and limb,
before rescue came at last.
Alas whilst Robert survived,
his poor leg could not be saved, t’was buried
with due ceremony, in his chosen grave.

T’was sixteen hundred and eight
when brave Willance and his stump,
became first mayor of Richmond.
Eight long years, without a single blunder,
Before dying, reight well, in his slumber.

And so it came to pass that in his death requited,
Robert Willance and his leg were gladly reunited.

Peter has had two books published: A Pennine Way Odyssey, 2012. Show Me The Way To Santiago, 2020. A third book is with his publisher. He writes travel memoirs, fiction, short stories, monologues, children’s books and poetry. Three poems have been published in anthologies. His website is peterkaywordspace.co.uk

 

Apple, by Clive Donovan

APPLE

A man and a woman presented themselves to God,
Tired and bloody from their futile war,
Wishing above all to make peace and retire
Into each others’ arms.
‘For Mighty Maker we know well our purpose
‘But cannot unite.’
Well God brought out and forth an apple
(From off his special tree)
And with his jack-knife smote it into two.
‘Observe now, this browned and swollen flesh,
‘That no longer neatly meets;
‘Refresh your mind upon this cloven fruit
‘For this is how you are.’
The man looked sad, the woman mad,
But both knew what to do.
‘Oh Lord please pare us, spare us not,
‘Cut our wounds off, shave us new
‘And stick us fast together again.’
But God had gone, his pie to make
And left the earnest pair to deal
With the osmotic principle,
And oxidation, too.
‘Let us at least eat of this apple,’
Said she of the twinkling eye.
They crunched and saved the seeds to dry
And after, lay concealed, curved and curled together,
Like spoons in a secret drawer.

Clive Donovan devotes himself full-time to poetry and has published in a wide variety of magazines including Acumen, Agenda, Fenland Poetry Journal, Neon Lit. Journal, Prole, Sentinel Lit. Quarterly and Stand. He lives in Totnes, Devon, U.K. quite close to the river Dart. His debut collection will be published by Leaf by Leaf in November 2021.

 

Tango, by Trevor Alexander

Tango

You’ve heard of policemen out walking their beat,
while wearing those shiny black boots on their feet,
a slow measured march as they come down your street,
but now what if that beat was a tango?

They’d shimmy and slide to a rhythm so hip,
while lookin’ so cool the kids wouldn’t give lip;
watch out for the sergeant and give him the slip,
because he’d want to switch to fandango.

The neighbourhood hoodlums in bovver-boot shoes
come round every week to pass on the bad news,
and make you an offer that you can’t refuse
‘cause the boss man is channelling Brando.

If you’ve got the chutzpah, decide not to pay,
I’m sorry to say they won’t just go away,
because if you’re late they’ll be round the next day
to break both your legs with a Kango.

The coppers are useless, say their hands are tied,
there’s nowt they can do until somebody’s died,
and not even then ‘cause they’re all alibied
in a place where the rest of the gang go.

The gang leader hangs with the rest of his crew,
till the squad comes around and they’re all dressed in blue,
‘cause somebody squealed so that all he could do
is to scarper and hide in Durango.

 

Wallpaper, by Anne Donnellan

Wallpaper

It was no menial operation nineteen sixty seven
when the decision was taken to paper the kitchen
with walls that climbed to the sky flaking and bruised
a reek-making timber ladder from a the hayshed was used
lugged to the decorating site by a fleet of giddy relations
eager to exhibit their finer skills of smoothing ridges
they attacked the tedious of peeling scraping and filling
made festival of their chalky chore
with whistling lilting and tale spinning

our mother muttered at the makeshift paste bench
fretted over flour and water stirred in thick strictness
relieved when all was prepped to hang the sticky sheets
her elder sister plumbline dangling matched patterned strips
precision scissored like the postman’s moustache
she sponged bubbles and creases without blemish
patted the pink Victorian flora
splashed on velvet red finish

after decades of fading layers
I remember decorators no longer there
stories crawl from wallpaper

Anne Donnellan’s work has been published in the NUIG Ropes Literary Journal 2018 and 2019, A New Ulster, The Linnet’s Wings, Bangor Literary Journal, Boyne Berries, Poethead, Vox Galvia , Clare Champion, Orbis and The Galway Review. She was a featured reader at the March 2019 “Over The Edge: Open Reading” in Galway City Library.

 

4 By Bloody 4’s, by Lisa Lopresti

4 By Bloody 4’s

Huge SUV, 4 by bloody 4,
Parked right outside my front door.

In narrow Edwardian city streets,
Those 4 X 4’s like to retreat.

I can admire the metallic paint,
That the late evening sun warmly glints.

But there is no light streaming through,
My tall beckoning windows as it ought to do!

The pollution that these vehicles exhale,
Dust’s lungs and glass in dirty veils.

My city is not 4 X 4’s natural habitat,
Country lanes and tracks is where that’s at.

But what about the snow!
4 by four drivers want to know.

Well in our cities, those 2 days a year,
Mean you should stay at home and drink beer.

Lisa Lopresti (she/her)is a poet from the statue toppling City of Bristol. She has been broadcast on BBC Radio Bristol and published in magazines and anthologies. Lisa performs in spoken word events and has found this both terrifying and exhilarating. She likes to convey poems to portray, this life.
https://lisa-lopresti-poetry.webnode.com/

 

Quark, by Trisha Broomfield

Quark

Mum is on a diet, is always on a diet
today’s wonder ingredient, low calorie Quark.
‘Come on,’ she says,
wicker shopper over one arm,
‘we’re going down to Budgen’s.’
I pull on my boots

we reach the chill counter
via the Walnut Whips, Mum searches,
cream cheese with or without chives
cottage cheese, with or without most things,
Lancashire, Wensleydale, Cheddar
Edam and Gouda, no Quark

Toby, who went my school, stands
dreamily replenishing stocks of hazelnut yoghurt,
Mum approaches, ‘Quark?’
Toby, nonplussed, bends his six foot frame, silently,
Mum, thinking him hard of hearing, repeats
at volume, ‘Quark! Quark!’

Her mouth lost for words
she searches for gestures to express her need
I backtrack to Walnut Whips,
Toby’s eyes glossily imply that nothing in his brief training
has equipped him to deal with a woman
who thinks she is a duck.

Trisha has had three pamphlets published by Dempsey and Windle. She is a regular contributor to Surrey Libraries Poetry Blog and has a regular poetry spot on her local radio. Humour escapes from her work regardless of any constraints applied. https://www.facebook.com/Trisha-Broomfield-Poetry-2340859049276291