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

 

You Know!, by Carl Burkitt

YOU KNOW!

The other day I was chatting to that pig.
You know, the one with the wig.
The wig that’s too big
and made of figs and bits of twigs.

You know, the pig,
he’s friends with that goat.
The goat with the tiny boat
made of dusty coats and TV remotes.

You know, the goat and the pig,
they hang out with that cow.
The cow with the eyebrows
made of snow ploughs and know how.

You know, the cow and the goat and the pig,
they’re always chatting to that duck.
The duck with the monster truck
made of hockey pucks and dog muck.

You know, the duck and the cow and the goat and the pig,
they’re buddies with that horse.
The horse with the racecourse
made of brute force and tomato sauce.

You know, the horse and the duck
and the cow and the goat and the pig!
You know what,
maybe I’ve never introduced you.

Carl Burkitt likes to tell tales. He tells long tales, short tales, silly tales, sad tales, and likes to tell them online, behind a mic, in books, in schools or on the sofa with his young family in Manchester. His debut collection What Does A Baby Think It Is? And Other Questions was published in 2020 by Enthusiastic Press.

 

Diminishing Poem Spliced with an Ovi, by Trisha Broomfield

Diminishing Poem Spliced with an Ovi

My Nan has got an iffy bladder
not good when climbing up a ladder
she was once bitten by an adder
though it came off worst

She did let out a curdling scream
and reached for antiseptic cream
I wrote it up, it took a ream
But I doubt it will ever be published

Nan quite soon lifted up a glass
she always was a dypso lass
and once rode naked on an ass,
made page three of the Daily Mirror.

 

My Other Sticker is Funny, by Claire Hadfield

My other sticker is funny.

They began as a statement, a declaration, proclaiming affection for a prime location.
I ‘heart’ New York- a harmless affirmation of warmest thoughts- just information.

Then things evolved, just a slight mutation; we began to proclaim our procreation.
Baby on board, Lil’ Princess, Lil’ Man all hail and salute the next generation.
Do we really need such information in the form of an adhesive notification?

But the worst, the nadir, the abomination is a relatively recent innovation;
Your family in graphic representation.
The mum, the dad and confirmation of their successful insemination, cartoonified in silhouette
Reduced to a ‘quirky’ simplification of hetero-normative ideation.

“So what?”, you say, “Cease your assassination!
Why begrudge us confirmation of our plastic-coated validation?”
No! Go look elsewhere for your aspiration.
There’s only one cure for my vexation: total sticker annihilation!

Twenty years of teaching teens led to a highly developed sense of cynicism, a thick skin, and the compulsory eyes in the back of the head. Now a teacher-trainer at Plymouth Marjon University, Claire gets paid to indulge her curiosity, enthusiasm and passion for words on a daily basis.

 

Alive in the Age of Stupidity, by Chad Norman

ALIVE IN THE AGE OF STUPIDITY

Here in
Nova Scotia
the party in power
overlooks
the importance of
protecting and
allowing to stand
the structures
and buildings
from the Past
(somehow still with us).
Mostly men
unfortunately
who
without knowing
each day include
their names
by believing
there is no profit
in being wise enough
to be part of History
through its preservation
and making sure
as politicians they avoid
a category of fools.

Chad Norman lives and writes beside the high-tides of the Bay Of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada. His poems continue to appear in various literary publications and anthologies around the world. His latest book, Simona: A Celebration Of The S.P.C.A., is out now with Cyberwit.Net (India).

 

Paddy Andy, by Joe Naughton

Joe Naughton has been writing poetry since 2017 which
derives mainly from memoir and topical issues.
He attends “Over the Edge” writing workshops with Kevin Higgins in Galway.
He has had poems published in Vox Galvia section of “Galway Advertiser”
and is a regular reader on online open mic platforms.

 

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.

 

Advice for undergraduates re-submitting work for this semester’s poetry module, by Emma Purshouse

Advice for undergraduates re-submitting work for this semester’s poetry module

If you see a cliché kill it dead.
Don’t use rhyme for rhyme’s sake, red.

Steer clear of obscure abstraction,
it will drive your lecturer to distraction.

Want to piss of him or her?
Then use a t’will, a t’was, a t’were.

All good things in moderation
applies in particular to alliteration

which when wildly wielded will
wind one up and make one ill.

At this point I’ll interject,
that it should only be used for deliberate effect.

As for rhythm don’t get me started
Please, avoid extra long lines which jut out miles further than the rest of the poem, these lines probably should be split and parted.

Oh and never say the same thing twice.
Don’t be an oxymoron all your life.

No tormented soul or bleeding heart,
this makes my nervous twitching start.

Show me, show me, please don’t tell.
Follow this advice and all will be well.

Emma’s first novel Dogged is now available to buy from Ignite Books.                                              https://ignitebooks.co.uk/products-page/emma-purshouses-books/