To my first boyfriend, by Carla Scarano

To my first boyfriend

You liked my loose denim dungarees
and the XL second hand chequered man’s shirts
I bought at Porta Portese Sunday market.
My girlhood knee-length skirts and matching tops didn’t fit.
I felt fat, my body rounding
shaping itself beyond my teenager’s imagination, dangerous.

But you liked my new look
you thought I was cool.
I could sit on your knees during the break,
the trousers brimming under my shoes
dragging when I walked.
The hem became ragged so mum sewed it up.

The head teacher called me one day
and asked why I was dressing in such a way
despite my good marks.
I said I felt fat, I needed loose clothes
I needed space to fit my body,
a better chance.

Carla Scarano D’Antonio lives in Surrey with her family. She obtained her Master of Arts in Creative Writing at Lancaster University and has published her creative work in various magazines and reviews. Her short collection Negotiating Caponata was published in July 2020. She worked on a PhD on Margaret Atwood’s work at the University of Reading and graduated in April 2021.
http://carlascarano.blogspot.com/
http://www.carlascaranod.co.uk/

 

What’s that?, by Judy Darley

What’s that?

I glimpsed a water vole.
You declared it a rat.
I wasn’t sure why it mattered.
One flourishes alongside
our slack species, the other
struggles amid choked rivers
in shrinking habitat.
Either way, I admire
the opportunists battling
to eke a life from scraps:
snub-nosed voles nibbling
their burrows neat door mats,
and rats thriving from dropped
chips and suspect kebabs.
Discarded snacks clog canals
and blood vessels alike.
I tell you, we’re all a little vole
and a bit rat, even if
we’d rather not admit that.

Judy Darley writes prose and poetry in Bristol, UK. She is the author of short fiction collections Sky Light Rain and Remember Me to the Bees. Her third collection, The Stairs are a Snowcapped Mountain, will be published by Reflex Press in 2022. You can find Judy at http://www.skylightrain.com; https://twitter.com/JudyDarley

 

To Whom It Concerns A Late Late After Word, by Susan Lindsay

To Whom It Concerns A Late Late After Word

Have you noticed the dead don’t pronounce their ‘ts’?
Indistinct they offend my ears. I ran a campaign, you know, down there,
the tongue to tip the roof of the mouth behind teeth.
Tutt, tutt. It’s not quite like that here. Marian dear

I didn’t expect to see you so soon.
That Brendan lad took over your gaff, I hear
not doing too bad, I believe, but hasn’t your style I think.
he has a thing or two to learn I expect. He will.

But I’m out of touch. Touch doesn’t quite cut it here.
Was it all as we were taught; Peter, the pearly gates, all that?
Yes, I asked myriad persons, while alive, on air
they were often vague in response. Of course

vagueness was the scourge besetting you and me.
Broadcasting vagueness is like inviting grey sky
it is neither limpid like mist, nor sharp as frost
but we needn’t concern ourselves with that any more.

Tell me, how are they treating you? Have you
acclimatized to your new regime? We can’t open doors
for each other here. Doors, a bygone thing.
What say us to Joe, Liveline, Ryan and the crew?

The last deadline past. From beyond,
I wish you and our listeners well, my dear.
It’s good not to talk. To no longer have need. From the later
Late, Late – cross your ‘T’s, thanks for listening, that’s it.

Note. R.I.P. Long-term Irish Radio and Television stars Gay Byrne (4.11.2019) and Marian Finucane (2.1.2020).

Susan Lindsay has had three books of her poetry published by Irish publisher Doire Press: Milling the Air (2018), Fear Knot (2013) and Whispering the Secrets (2011). Her work has appeared in national and international journals. She blogs at susanlindsayauthor.blogspot.com

 

Doing It, by Heather Moulson

Doing It

Sexual intercourse did not begin for me.
In 1973.
That science lesson when we were told
we will all Have Sex in adulthood.
What?! Every night?! Doesn’t it hurt?!
I look down at my grey school skirt.
Girl’s faces screwed up in distaste.
Sir! Julie piped up, would we get paid?!

The lesson was a disaster,
Julie was sent to the headmaster

Against a tree during the miner’s strike,
Julie was known as the local bike.
But it wasn’t true, she was taking the piss,
it never went further than a kiss.
A french one with tongues, I believe,
although maybe I’m being naïve.
But she was intact like the rest of the class.
To be honest, it just sounded a pain in the arse.

 

Recently Reactivated Twitter Account, by Stephen McNulty

Recently Reactivated Twitter Account

My name is @barryotoole12345
but you can call me BOT
if you wish.

Though we have been
seen in the same chatroom
I am no relation of
@barryotoole54321.

I will respond to your
each and every tweet
regardless of insult.

Trust me, I have the time.
I speak fluent algorithm
do ratios in my
faceless oval head.

I am a shuttlecock
of political opinion
flying from one
Twitter racket to the next.

Or at least I would be
if I was capable of metaphor.
I detest the left as they cannot afford me.

My parents were opinion polls
before I strangled them to death
with a hashtag.
Between elections, I sleep.

Bio:
Stephen scribbles poetry whenever he is not forcing a member of the public into a CT scanner. His poems have appeared in Boyne Berries, Drawn to the Light, ROPES, Strukturriss and Vox Galvia.

 

Forever and an Hour, by Patricia Walsh

Forever and an Hour

Recommending some films on back of experience,
watching same under pain of repetition,
burning poetry in a ghost of an existence
nothing comes close to having the rights.

Handling pressure, the better through the fakes,
die-hard cartoons bounce back on themselves
the smell of chocolate wafts through the confines
reading into a cough turgid with indifference.

Death, dropping slow, reads all with due care.
The academic disposal weeds out the hour
poetic gems tweaked out of other existence
some rarity of form calls for recognition.

Government fakes weigh down the reserved,
raw literature in its thousands decreed,
taking pictures of monuments capturing souls,
jealously committing to a lover in-box.

Incidental hatred, poured in the kitchen,
an omnibus realised, taken seriously, never.
Fed on this horror of worthy exclusion,
sleeping for preferment is a righteous burn.

Reading into another book like there was no choice,
cursed from adolescence to live like a freak,
falling from love and its lowly citizens
hoarding the experiential until further notice.

Patricia Walsh was born in the parish of Mourneabbey, in north Co Cork,and educated at University College Cork, graduating with an MA in Archaeology. Her poetry has been published in Stony Thursday; Southword; Narrator International; Trouvaille Review; Strukturrus; Seventh Quarry; Vox Galvia; The Quarryman; Brickplight, The Literatus, and Otherwise Engaged. She has already published a chapbook, titled Continuity Errors in 2010, and a novel, The Quest for Lost Éire, in 2014. A second collection of poetry, titled Citizens Arrest, was published online by Libretto in 2020. A further collection of poetry, titled Outstanding Balance, is scheduled for publication in late 2021. She was the featured poet in the inaugural edition of Fishbowl Magazine, and a further novel, In The Days of Ford Cortina will be published in late 2021.

 

Trial by Poetry, by Oscar Windsor-Smith

Trial By Poetry

My first time at a formal workshop:
Comes the question of poetic voice and
I’m soon stumped.
Worrying.
It seems I’m not one person
for long enough to tie-down
a single stable output;
flibbertigibbet:
north/south, east/west
mongrel that I am;
a middler;
a literal mediocrity…

But then again,
the middle may provide
firm footing
for a bridge
between divergent minds.

And what’s so wrong with that?

Oscar Windsor-Smith lives in Hertfordshire, UK. He has fooled enough editors to get fiction, creative non-fiction and non-fiction published in diverse places, in print and online, and has occasionally been falsely accused of poetry. By jammy luck he has been a finalist/shortlistee in various international competitions. He graduated from the Birkbeck, University of London BA in creative writing in 2018.

Oscar Windsor-Smith – Writer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oscar.windsorsmith

LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/oscarwindsorsmith/

Blog: http://oscarwindsor-smith.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @OscarWindsor

 

Truth, by Maurice Devitt

Truth

In my early years,
The Zebra Book of Facts for Boys
was my go-to reference;
rarely stuck for a capital city, flag
or element on the Periodic Table.
It was only when, at fourteen,
I brought it as a comfort blanket on my first date,
that I realised its shortcomings:
the conversation flowed
as I sought to impress my consort
with the range of my general knowledge,
but when I left her to her door
and she asked me
if I’d ever kissed a girl before
I didn’t know the right answer.

A past winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland and Poems for Patience competitions, he published his debut collection, ‘Growing Up in Colour’, with Doire Press in 2018.

His poems have been nominated for Pushcart, Forward and Best of the Net prizes and his Pushcart-nominated poem, ‘The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work’, was the title poem of an anthology published by Hibernian Writers in 2015. He is curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site.

 

Do dust mites eat ginger biscuits?, by Trisha Broomfield

Do dust mites eat ginger biscuits?

I did wonder as I sipped my morning tea
dark and caffeine free
accompanied by a ginger biscuit or three
it was the crumbs, you see
parent mites with little mites of their own
living on the breadline during Lockdown
but then I thought, of course not
they’d have gorged themselves on me
I know they eat people,
if only by miniscule degrees
but perhaps I could tempt them away
with my ginger biscuit crumbs, flax filled, gluten free.

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

 

Ads for adults, not suitable for children, by Carole Donaldson

Here’s one concerning my embarrassment at the conversation I was forced to have with a highly inquisitive and precocious four-year-old boy to which I’ve always told the truth …erm, except in this case. I mean, how does one start?

Ads for adults, not suitable for children

When your four-year-old is smart and bright,

and sat there watching telly one night,

Well it’s not quite what I’d call ‘night’ really,

more afternoon/early evening clearly,

then he looks to you to innocently ask,

while you look on, somewhat aghast,

about the advert he’s just seen.

And he’s like “What does it all mean?”

and in that moment it’s soon the case,

that you don’t know where to put your face

 Why so untimely the ads must show,

such intimate detail to let your child know,

that ladies suffer at a certain age,

and especially after the menopausal stage

It’s stunning these inappropriate ads

in front of young impressionable lads

without a hint of unbridled shyness,

discuss the ins and outs of vaginal dryness