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 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
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
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.”
My morning cup interrupted
I burst from the door
A demented whirling dervish
In a pink fleecy robe
Hurl foul abuse
In all directions
A black feathered diaspora
But ever watchful
They bide their time
Never doubt their rightful return
My poor beleaguered hens
Seize the moment
Occupy the feeder
Under the protective eye
Of a garishly clad
The farmer offers
To shoot one
Hang the carcass on a pole
A warning to the others
Just say the word he says
Surprised, as I recoil
I retreat down the rabbit hole
Of internet advice
From BB guns
To hawk shaped kites
My head spins
Out of nowhere they come
A grandmother's words
Be gentle with nature
Take care of the wild things
Feed the birds
I stand, cup in hand
My unruly visitors
Disgruntled hens and trigger-happy farmers aside
Equilibrium is restored
Agnes Warren lives in the West of Ireland. She started writing poetry in 2021 and participated in a series of workshops with Kevin Higgins, through Galway Arts Centre.
TO BLANDLY GO …
In the great lost episode of Star Trek
the inexplicably renamed Captain Keir
pilots the Starship Empty Promise
on its five-missions mission to seek out
new economies, use clean energy
for all intergalactic travel (the tax-
payer still picking up the tab, natch),
expedite self-referral to Bones
after briefly Googling one’s symptoms,
make the streets of the Federation safe
(tough on Tribbles, tough on the causes
of Tribble), break down barriers
to becoming - well, not a Starship captain,
obvs, but at least a spaceport sanitation
officer - and to blandly go where every
second-rate opportunist has gone before.
Neil Fulwood lives and works in Nottingham. He has published three full collections with Shoestring Press and a volume of political satires with Smokestack Books.
It unexpectedly turned up
on a peasant cart
outside a railway station
in northern Bulgaria.
Seems it was severed from
a live one, or not, depending
on your perspective.
Blood in the straw
a plethora of fodder.
A devout looking crowd,
caped to the nines
loitered for a look-see.
A few "Yikes" and 'Yowsers!"
could be heard singing
joyfully atonal in
made up accents,
that danced on the air a bit
before being, save piety,
A misuse of fruit
It was meant to be erotic.
The strategically placed strawberries,
The cream-covered nipples,
but all I could think was
that the sheets would need changing
before I could sleep.
Anne is a poet who regularly takes part in open mic events and the occasional slam. A selection of her poems can be found in the ‘New Voices’ anthology published by Offa’s Press in 2022.
A Fleeting Glimpse
A man going about his business.
An expression asking, Alright Mate?
A three-day beard.
A collar pulled up against the wind,
like Elvis in Vegas,
replaces the bright lights.
He has Daniel Craig’s ears.
A Peaky Blinder’s hat.
A smile as wide as a piano,
missing all of its keys.
He could have been more,
like all of us.
He is happy with his life,
like some of us.
He knows his past is longer
than the days that remain.
Slippers, a Pipe and a loyal dog
await him at home,
with the peeling wallpaper,
the newspaper cuttings,
Rotherham’s Junior Disco Dance Champion, 1982.
Life isn’t all unsolved murders by the sea
gaunt detectives drown in another pint
old pains swim inside suits and bones
a savior complex walks into a bar
sits next to a gentle sex addiction
both in search of a wall to punch
mom’s eyes swallow horizon
dad sits frozen in his car
little sisters listen
at the door
a scarf washes ashore
a body floats in with the tide
we realize this is how
life comes undone.
wild turkeys cross city streets
necks wiggle in winter fog
uninterested in the price of gas
or whether a stacked Court
this December morning
will decide who dies
and when alive
Casey Jarrin is a poet, painter, and educator whose writing appears in Irish, UK, and US journals (Banshee, Abridged, Washington Square Review, Belfield Literary Review, Banyan Review, Buzzwords, Grand Journal, Perisphere). She’s received the Verve, York, Goldsmith, and Fingal Poetry Prizes, been on the Bridport shortlist, and performed as a featured poet at Lime Square and the Nuyorican Poets Café. A Jewish-Catholic atheist raised in New York who’s since lived in Dublin and Minneapolis, she received her PhD in modern literature/film, taught at Macalester College for several years, and is founder-director of Live Mind Learning. She’s now completing her debut collection, Untethered. Website: www.caseyjarrin.com