This poem hopes to find you well
I hope that this poem finds you well.
I hope that it finds you with a tall, dark stranger,
or a short blonde friend.
This poem makes no judgement.
This poem hopes that you have been keeping to the five a day,
three a week, or fourteen a month, whichever
the latest advice deems to be the best.
I hope that this poem enlivens your day,
and that some of the words are answers on Wordle.
I hope that this poem finds you in a beautiful house,
with a beautiful wife.
If the beautiful wife and beautiful house belong to someone else,
this poem hopes you have a good reason for being there.
This poem hopes that Politicians do the right thing.
This poem is too old to still believe in that.
This poem doesn’t know the first thing about you,
but would like you to answer a few questions.
This poem hopes to find you in another three months,
where we can renew our fleeting acquaintance,
before you decide that the spam filter really was the best place for it.
I’ll take a look under the sonnet, by Arran Potts
I’ll take a look under the sonnet
Tis clapped out and broken; wanting of parts,
Its paint, sheen and lustre are shed.
This wreck of a carriage will take all my arts,
I fear it is already dead.
It wails as it drives, it clanks and it ticks,
The engine is silent and cold,
I fear this is something, that I cannot fix,
Your car, I’m afraid, is too old.
Perhaps I can salvage, some cogs and the gears,
From this conked-out, rusty old nail;
You’ve had this poor thing now for too many years,
I doubt I could put it on sale.
T’would not make me much, and I would be brassic,
A miserable end, for such an old classic.
Arran Potts is from Wolverhampton, UK. He has taken up poetry as a hobby to rekindle a love for writing; and is finding Jo Bell’s ‘52 Poems’ book really useful. He recently won the inaugural Blackness on Sea Poetry Prize. He is supported by family and friends. He is hindered by his job.
Feral Dogs of Riogordo, by Hilary Willmott
Feral Dogs of Riogordo
It's three a.m and I need a pee which I have been delaying
since it takes but the slightest movement to rouse the feral dogs of Riogordo. The dog who sleeps behind the house likes to conduct proceedings.
In my half sleep I see him with a baton which he raises and with two sharp yelps has the rapt attention of all dogs within a five mile radius. They quickly reach frenzy pitch to become a canine
cacophony of sound echoing across the countryside and down into the pueblo.
Pleased with tonight's turnout the conductor discards his baton and after a perfunctory nibble on his testicles, curls into a ball and sleeps.
The choir note his absence and become sotto voce until they too
abandon the proceedings to await the next tap of the conductor's baton.
Hilary has been writing for many years and has been published by Templar Press, Bristol PoetryCan, Leaf, Velvet, The Exeter Broadsheet, Obsessed with Pipework and Mr Garnham himself. She lives close to the river in the south west of England, with her partner and a small pack of dogs.
Double Entendre, by Jeff Burd
The doctor says you’ll have to
remove your pants. You’re
there in the exam room with
him and his intern. She’s young.
Blonde. Her eager eyes sparkle
as she hovers beside him.
“Do you mind if she’s in here for this?”
the doctor asks. “She’s got
I don’t want her to miss.”
The intern clutches a clipboard.
You imagine a neatly typed checklist.
This next task looms at the bottom
next to a barren, untouched little box.
It’s okay with you. The doctor probes
and talks his way through several
tender angles and steps aside. The intern
reaches for a glove, and you realize too late
that the ‘here’ she’s going to be ‘in’
is much more than the exam room.
Jeff Burd works as a high school English teacher in the north suburbs of Chicago. Mr. Burd spends a lot of time writing and thinking about writing, and worrying about not writing and thinking about writing.
A cornucopia, by Finola Scott
of crap and delight
my spam box overflows.
Pals tell me to clear, delete
those I’ve no interested in.
Concerned, they warn
my systems are endangered,
my back unguarded -
Obedient I scan and identify.
Titan Power Spins -no, too late,
my Wonder Woman days are past.
Tooth Decay – really? People pay for that?
Harry’s Razor – he’s but a painful memory,
But maybe that Nuzzle mattress,
Tupi Tea Keep it Hard intrigues
(see Harry above)
and oh for a Contour Swan Pillow.
- I think of those nests at the loch.
Thanks to friends, I relish the surprise
of my winnings -today a Multi Drill King,
a Club Car Golf Cart, a cordless vacuum.
I can only be grateful for algorithms.
They know me so well.
Finola Scott confesses writing is an untreated compulsion. She’s grateful that her work appears in magazines and anthologies. She enjoys performing, finding the writing community welcoming. Her hobbies are chocolate cake, jumping waves, laughing with friends, tickling grand-girls. She can be heard in a pub near you!
When the Palate Speaks, by Stephen Jordan
When the Palate Speaks
In Greece I patronized cafes
they said their coffee was the best,
they’d put one next to my entrees
to sample as their foreign guest—
‘twas smoky, gritty, super sweet
and cooled too fast in tiny cups,
I didn’t say, they’d not believe
I’d rather have my giant mugs
be filled to brims with Dunkin’ swill
and then befouled with too much cream
to pat my tummy overfilled
and exhale clouds of coffee steam.
I think sometimes the palette says
enough! I now know what I like-–
so no new gustatory threats
from gastro pubs with nouveau bites.
When in New England for a time
I prompted ire to suggest
that store-bought maple syrup’s my
first breakfast choice—won’t acquiesce
to haughty east coast claims that you
must have Vermont’s elixir dream,
the syrup they insist you choose
is tapped from perfect forest scenes
with crunchy snow and birds above—
traditions held in families since
they told their kin “It’s this we love
and not that fake and low-rent spin
on our pure draught the rubes have made”,
but see I come from Illinois
a corn-fed hick like you’ve portrayed
where thick corn syrup is our ploy
to jack up east coast maple’s faint
elitist flavor, now you see
sophisticated I just ain’t
‘cause I like what I like–agreed?
I think sometimes the palette says
experimenting has to end—
give us this day our daily bread
our taste buds now need no new friends.
Stephen Jordan was born and raised in the Midwest, the son of Colombian and Serbian immigrant parents. He has taught high school English for over twenty years, taking occasional leaves of absence to live and work in South America, East Africa, and the UK.
Pissed as a Newt, by Sarah James
Pissed as a Newt
The pub garden has pools
of spilt sky; the wooden tables
are rotting, the fixed benches
as immovable as rock.
Shadeless windows glare
in the midday sunlight,
making bar-proppers blink
and call for reed shutters.
The day’s fight starts early,
with a fast-flicking reptile
tail, riling a legless lizard
lazing in the lounge.
The last newt standing
slams down his acorn tankard
and crawls behind the bar
to pour a fresh absinthe.
A force not to be messed with,
he lets the gravity of upturned
stools pass him by
and hiccups another optic.
The Newton’s Inn sign
creaks with years of rust;
two more letters fall
face-down in the dust.
BIOGRAPHY: Sarah James is a poet, fiction writer and photographer. Her latest collection, Blood Sugar, Sex, Magic (Verve Poetry Press), is partially inspired by having type one diabetes since she was six. For her, good laughter is a natural medicine. Her website is at www.sarah-james.co.uk.
Cucumber, by Susan Lindsay
Cucumber cool man
definitely, if not definitively
wears a bowler hat
like the balloon man
blown up and twisted into shape
each twist a joint
in which to fit another
one quick swirl and in no time
the bowler hat man
becomes a sausage dog
elongated body, nose
short legs and perky tail.
Not the cucumber cool man
who is only a caricature
squash that tube
and you’ll get juice
seeds for small creatures
to feast upon if left too long
it’s better chopped
sliced into a salad
thinly enough, reputedly fine,
between refined slices
of brown bread - crusts off
where the upper crusts
might remove top hats to dine
with ladies and gentlemen
of their acquaintance
for afternoon tea
at Dublin‘s Shelbourne Hotel
or other exaggerated theatre
of exquisite cuisine
or not. Twirls
of the vegetable scooped
by the latest sharp blades
more likely now, perhaps
to appear alongside
Susan Lindsay … a most compelling and unique voice in Irish poetry, Eamonn Wall, at her February 2022 Reading, University Missouri-St. Louis. Milling the Air (2018) is Susan’s third collection from Doire Press. Her work is published in journals, she has read at festivals and facilitates Conversations mediated by poetry. Blog: http://susanlindsayauthor.blogspot.com
Lukewarm, by Terri Metcalfe
I’ll forget you just like I forgot all the others.
It doesn’t matter that you’re hot
with the scent of youth, distant
as a phantom smell.
You’ll be lukewarm like lavender on an old hankie
once these stinking thieves of my attention
have faded to memories.
You’re no different.
Won’t slide past my respiratory passages any easier –
my insides stained rotten as a neglected toilet bowl.
Look, any minute now I’ll excite your molecules
back to life, so quit staring at me.
I offer the metallic tinged ting of the microwave,
or I can easily scald a new teabag.
Ode to the Best Medicine, by Phil Genoux
Ode to the Best Medicine
I take it in the morning, I take it in the night,
I take it black as the gallows, l take it light and bright.
It gets me in the belly, it gets me in the face,
It gets me out of myself and back in the human race.
Give me your nonsense, your wordplay and your puns,
Well thought out or off-the-cuff, I`ll take them as they come.
Deadpan, dry, or epigrammatic,
Any time of day, I want to be at it.
Show me your innuendo and your folie de grandeur,
Rub me up the wrong way with your double-entendre.
Slap me on the arse with some Commedia-del-arte,
Hit me in the brain with your witty repartee.
Clownish, daft or plain idiotic,
It all feels better than antibiotics.
High-brow or low-brow, adult or adolescent:
They`re all way better than anti-depressants.
Off colour, dark, blue or black,
Give it a shot, because I` m up for the crack.
Salty, snarky or understated,
If it sets me off, I`ll advocate it.
Cringe, parodic, surreal or sardonic,
Sarcastic or bombastic, it`s all a tonic.
Juvenile, slapstick or totally hyperbolic:
All good ways to cure the melancholic.
So, don`t be downcast, have a blast,
Keeping them coming thick and fast.
Being miserable? I just can`t be arsed.
Because the honest truth is: He who laughs, lasts.
Phil Genoux lives in Glastonbury. He has always enjoyed entertaining people and making them laugh. He did it for 12 years as a mime artist travelling all over Europe. Now he is using words.”