What is a marriage?, by Bridget Hynes Murphy

What is a marriage?
A marriage is the strangest thing
It’s really not that clever
To squeeze two folks together
And tell them it’s forever
The first few months of wedded bliss Are really like a dream
You walk together hand in hand
A handsome, youthful team
But then reality comes to stay
And he never plans to go
Just like the one you married
The one you really didn’t know
You fight over the dishes
Or who got two hours sleep
You wasted all your wishes
On this Prince Charming what a creep But then he does the kindest thing
He let’s you sleep in late
He changes baby’s nappy
And tells you, you look great!
He stands beside you in your darkest hour He’ll gently squeeze your hand
As you say goodbye to one you love
And softly you will land
The years go by as they always do
Time, it never stops
Your lovers hair gets greyer
But you think he still looks hot

Now you’re hot too
But its not the same
Your flushes are mean and sweaty
Hes aging like some fine wine
But you’re feeling like a yeti
Then he takes you home and sits you down
Hands you a glass of wine
I don’t care how hot you get
I’m just glad you’re mine!
If time rewound this minute Would you still pick me?
I would indeed my darling For your love has set me free.

 

She was no James Herriott . . . By Aine Kelly

She was no James Herriott……. by Aine Kelly

Síle’s favourite was the Alpaca, with its traits of the Gobán Saor,
Hygienically meticulous and much valued for their hair.
The story started in Brown Thomas, when Síle’s jaw dropped
On hearing the inflated price for a small Alpaca top.
When she finally composed herself and her heart was beating calmer,
She decided there and then to become an Alpaca farmer.

So she searched the Farmer’s Journal, found an auction in Athy
Put a loan from her Credit Union, with savings she’d put by.
In the excitement of investment, common sense failed her –
In Athy with six Alpacas – but no access to a trailer.
So she phoned up Farmer Kelly who was glued to the election.
‘Give me two hours and I’ll be there, are their cards ready for collection?

Síle waited in the carpark under Level 5 restrictions
Sipping takeout Americano , while reading a work of fiction.
Farmer Kelly drove behind her, the six Alpacas going Ga Ga
Named them Angie, Tom and Tracy, Theo, Biden and Kamala.
Well they settled in Claregalway , ate their way through all her money.
Now a six foot fence surrounds her house and the big dream’s not so funny.
So one day she packed her trailer – Tuam Mart said they’d take five.
She held on to sweet Kamala to keep her Alpaca dream alive.
But alone, she whined and whimpered now the neighbours were going Ga Ga
So she formed a small support group called the ‘Friends of the Alpaca..’
(some years later)
Pondering her investment
Years after Kamala got the chop,
Síle felt life might have been easier
If she’d just bought that bloody top!

My name is Áine Kelly and I fancy myself as having an eye for the funnier side of life! I have attended some poetry workshops and completed a creative writing module, and love the idea of getting a serious idea across either in a poem or a short story. I have had a book of short stories. called ‘Has Anyone A Set of Jumpleads?’ published in 2018, with accompanying artwork by Christopher Banahan.

 

Iron Hat, by Ed Poetastic

Iron Hat,

Come on, where the facts?
Its not under your aluminum hat?
I dont hear anything from that cat?
Wait, whats with the chaotic format?
Okay!Okay!okay, i wont do that!
There nothing wrong with the thermostat,
No No No the earth isnt fake or flat,
No im not a CIA agent, snick or a rat,
I thought we could hang and chat,
Yes, ill watch out for your mystical mate,
Ow Alright! Alright! please dont snap!
No im not doing some MKultra Crap,
You hear sounds? Tap, Tap, Tap,
Its the Tv. Have you lost it or snap?
I keep telling you, No your not on the map!!
Yes, this isnt paint, im actually black,
Yes, check my id. Careful with that strap,
Its seem common sense you lack,
Hey!Hey!Hey! Dont you smash my Mac,
Man, you only have paste but no snacks?
Yes, my electronics and shoes are on the rack,
No, Im dont have a wire or being tracked,
No, No, No this isnt a sting or a Trap,
No!! Time moves foward, there is no gaps,
I think you need a rest or a quick nap,
Prepare for combat? Are you smoking crack?
No! Your cellphone and computer arent hacked,
Im going, i hope your humanity is intact,
For real, you dont need to worry, your a huge paranoid brat,
By Ed Poetastic

 

How Papa Never Got His Guapa, by Julian Isaacs

How Papa Never Got His Guapa

As Astrud Gilberto once said to Stan Getz,
The thing about the sun is it also sets.
Then along came Hemingway in a big white Beemer,
Saying: Hello darling — are you the girl from Ipanema?
Maybe I am, she said, but that bell never tolled for me.
You’re just a dirty old man, so please go back to the sea.
I think you’re a bit of a beast,
And you’re not invited to my moveable feast.

 

Their Relationship Inventory, by Kevin Higgins

Their Relationship Inventory

He’s proof there’s nothing as loud and long
as an idea whose time will hopefully never come.
She’s the type who gets illnesses,
her own, and other people’s.
Shutting him up is like trying to screw down the lid
on a coffin full of alligators,
all in a rush to get to the airport.
His list of those who need to be taken out and garrotted
is thick as Ghislaine Maxwell’s black book,
and always being updated.
Her sulks are more protracted
than a bad summer in Kilkee.
He’s the sort who paints a mayonnaise and chocolate
Jackson Pollock
on the new furniture she spent months choosing
within five minutes;
though, about the household accounts,
he’s uptight as a pro-lifer’s under-elastic.

And when she ran him over
in the small car he bought her
for her birthday
and didn’t visit him in hospital afterwards,
he sat up in bed and announced:
he was choosing not
to take this personally.

That she’ll be back
to run him over again.

KEVIN HIGGINS

Kevin Higgins is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway. He has published five 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 British and 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 is was published late last year by Nuascealta. His extended essay Thrills & Difficulties: Being A Marxist Poet In 21st Century Ireland is just published in pamphlet form by Beir Bua Press. Kevin’s sixth full poetry collection, Ecstatic, will be published by Salmon in March 2022.

 

I am the Genie in the Jar, by Mandy Beattie

I AM THE GENIE IN THE JAR

A wee glass jar with a maroon lid
is an insect-tent, it sits
on a shelf watching the sunflower
clock’s second hand scurry
on yard thick walls of stone
the wee glass jar peers down
above, around and spots a ballerina
in a white tutu and pink tap shoes
on a white wall waiting for Genie
to lift the maroon lid
to flit and look for ladybirds, spiders
and moths to scoop them up and squeeze
through yard thick walls of stone
to re-pot the ladybird on a Hyacinth
bush and the scurrying spider
on a newel post by raised beds
of rhubarb and blueberries
but Genie lets slaters bide inside
a yard of stone to scurry
over oak and hide under knots.

Mandy Beattie, is a feminist from Caithness, Scotland with an MA in Social Work Practice & Research. Her poetry is a tapestry of stories and imagery, rooted in people, place and the natural environment, set at home and abroad.

 

Trespasses to be prosecuted, by Rebecca Gethin

Trespasses to be prosecuted

We tied string to the door knockers after dark
yanked on one and watched the lit fuse of fury
run down the street. We made all the dogs bark
at one another and then started miaowing
so they wouldn’t stop. We wrote letters to neighbours
for a secret lark in invisible ink
and told them fibs they’d never read
and then asked to search their backyards
for a dog we hadn’t lost. We climbed trees
to drop water bombs on passing cars
and swapped round the smalls
we unpegged from their washing lines.

Rebecca Gethin has written 6 poetry publications (which makes her feel rather over-rated). She was a Hawthornden Fellow and a Poetry School tutor. Vanishings was published by Palewell Press in 2020 and Fathom was published by Marble in 2021. She blogs sporadically at http://www.rebeccagethin.wordpress.com

 

Juniper Park, by Lee Campbell

Juniper Park

My mother was convinced for 30 years that Joni Mitchell sang,
‘They made paradise and went to Juniper Park’
when in reality: ‘They paved paradise and put up a parking lot’

Juniper Park exists everywhere and anywhere you want it to

Climb aboard a bus and watch Juniper Park pass you by
Wave everyone now and then to what catches your eye
Don’t let anyone convince you that you have misheard
No one can tell you otherwise. For you, there is no such wrong word

Whilst not being complacent about the effects of elision
When two letters adjacent make one hell of a collision
Perfectly embrace it, that sonic slur
When the vowel and the consonant get together and blur

Back as a teenager, Dad drove me and my friend Kundai
into the centre of my hometown Tunbridge Wells
Royal, I may add, though there was nothing royal about me, my dad nor my friend
Kundai, new to the area at that time, had not quite grasped the lay of the land
‘I can’t find it, I can’t find it in the A-Z’, she panicked at the end of the night
‘Can’t find what?’, answered I
‘Botmer Hill. I can’t find any hill on the map called Botmer.
Botmer Hill – where your dad told us he is going to pick us up from now’, Kundai flustered
‘Oh dear’, replied I. ‘Dad said ‘Bottom of the hill’’

And how can we forget the glottal stop?
Those unvoiced letters that make sentences pop
It’s the Yorkshireman’s and Cockney’s spoken aberration
The naughty little brother of Received Pronunciation

Beginner level lesson in my English as a Foreign Language classroom around 2003
Vocabulary focus: Jobs
At the start of the activity, I told students that today I was not a teacher
and asked them to guess my new job
‘Are you a chef?’ asked Miguel. ‘No’, replied I
‘Are you an astronaut?’ asked Selma. ‘No’, replied I
‘Are you a tennis player?’ asked Pierre. ‘No’, replied I
‘Are you Harry Potter’? asked Yu Lin. ‘Harry Potter? That’s not a job’, replied I
‘Job. Yes. Harry Potter!’ replied a frustrated Yu Lin
‘Are you a doctor?’ asked Jorge. ‘No’, replied I
‘Are you a journalist?’ asked Malgorzata. ‘Yes’ replied I. ‘Well done, Malgorzata!’
‘Teacher! Journalist – Harry Potter!’ shouted Yu Lin
‘Okay, Yu Lin. Please write this on the board’, said I
Yu Lin took my chalk and wrote on the blackboard: ‘Are you a reporter?’

Let’s celebrate these mis-hearings from my days teaching TEFL*
And donated by friends, by my mum and my nana Ethel

They made paradise and went to Juniper Park
I believe in Milko. Where you from? You sexy thing
One of those dames were as sexy as hell. I said ‘Ooh I like your socks’
I’ve got shoes, they’re made of plywood

If you dream of sand dunes and salty air. Quant little feelings here and there
Solitude resistor. Is there still a part of you that wants to give?
Mega mega white pig. Mega mega white pig
The trucks don’t work they just make you worse, but I know I’ll see your face again

And moustache could defend any clipper
Like a gerbil touched for the very first time
I wish I could have told him in the living room
Anna Friel like a disco home

No one loves and no surprises
Calling Jamaica. Calling Jamaica
Poppadum Street. I’m in trouble deep
Sea lions on the shore

You’re the wizard of Oz. Ooh, ooh, ooh, honey
You come to me in a submarine. How deep is your love?
Let’s get biblical, biblical
We called in a tramp

Fairies cross the Mersey
Excuse me, while I kiss this guy
How can we be lovers if we can’t beat trends?
I believe in Malcolm

Slow walkin’ Walter, fire-engine guy
This ain’t rock and roll, it’s dinner time
… move that bunch of people
… to cut your nose off despite your face

*TEFL – Teaching English as a Foreign Language

https://youtu.be/g5JZi2L6EjM

Twitter: leejjcampbell 
Lee Campbell’s poem ‘Clever at without being Seen’ was recently included in Sometimes, The Revolution is Small, Disarm Hate x Poetry’ project by Nymphs & Thugs Recording Co. UK and published in Queerlings online magazine. 
 

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.

 

Ketchup : An Obituary, by Kevin Higgins

Ketchup: An Obituary

It all started that Friday he came home brandishing
another bottle of it, when there was already one
gleaming unopened in the fridge. A mistake,
the whole house told itself.

Next week he turned up dragging
six bags of almost nothing else.
From then on, had it with everything:
on his bread instead of butter; with
his cornflakes instead of his usual
low-fat milk.

Eventually, dispensing with all else,
as his main course,
tomato ketchup with a side of
another shining blob of itself.

After which, he hardly opened the front door,
except to sign for deliveries, the vast jars of it
that arrived twice weekly in a van
marked Ketchup.

When he wasn’t golloping it by the basin load,
he used it instead of shaving foam,
toothpaste, and as an ointment
to balm embarrassing rashes.
Spent most of the day bathing in it.

By the time he made it safely to his coffin
he was the colour of it,
looked as if all you need do was squeeze him
and the perfect dip for a plate of hand-cut fries
would spurt gloriously from between
those tomato coloured lips.

Kevin Higgins was born in London. He mostly grew up in and lives in Galway City. In 2016 The Stinging Fly magazine described Kevin as “likely the most read living poet in Ireland. His poems have been quoted in The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times (London), Hot Press, The Daily Mirror and on The Vincent Browne Show, and read aloud by film director Ken Loach at a political meeting in London. His sixth full collection of poems ‘Ecstatic’ will be published by Salmon in March 2022.