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

 

Buffoon in a flowery shirt, by Hannah Kiely

Buffoon in a flowery shirt

Hannah Kiely

Bastard, you took a piece of my life, screwed it
into a younger version, razed, ripped, torn apart

Bastard, you took the piano, the silent hall
echoes torment, tears, spartan space

And bastard, I cursed you harshly at night
closed the outside light, curled like a gnarled arthritic hand

Damn you, big shot, deluded at the apex
of your own illusions, a buffoon; child seats, schools

Who are you now, living under hollow pretence
is it greener on your side?

Your flowery shirts, an over-compensation
the rise and fall of a default man

Ill-fitting skinny jeans, Gen Z or millennial
you are not, they won’t make you younger

Long hair, an ageing rocker, who never made it
your fondness for the old wedding cake, three slices so far

Unbroken, I begin to steal it back,
middle aged fool.

I secretly don’t envy you anymore.

Hannah Kiely is from Galway. Kiely completed an MA in writing at NUIG in 2020. She has been published in Vox Galvia, RTE Sunday Miscellany, Pendemic.ie and has been a featured reader on Over The Edge.

 

What the Dickens, by Julian Isaacs

Angela Merkel, reading Edwin Drood,
Said she liked Durdles the best.
Although she never found how Eddie met his end, And without intending to be rude,
She felt sure Jasper had something on his chest, And was not a faithful friend.
That night in the hookah bar,
It was just like Cabaret.
She played the part of Rosa Budd,
And was certainly a star.
She’d learned all her lines to say,
And looked like Joan Collins in The Stud.
Thus demonstrating that all the world is nothing but a stage,
Whether for Schubert’s Unfinished, Mahler’s 10th, or Edwin Drood performed off the page. That’s the thing about literature and history;
Read all you like — some of it will remain a mystery.

 

able, by beam

able
I wrote into my note app
I ate beans on toast for the millionth time
no exaggeration
I wore pink velvet trousers
I looked at myself and thought ‘’cute’’
I smiled
I fed my dog purina, carrot and peanut butter
but held onto my porkchop
I sang into my computer
I felt like the wheels of my life were moving again
I watched benjamin button become a baby
I felt cold
I wanted to be close again to gone friends
I read kevins book
I was outside
I peed
I used the magic of the internet
I forgot to connect my feelings to the mains of my friends
I warmed up and down
I used my fingers, feet, hands, body
I was able to imagine myself next year
not in a pandemic

‘beam’ is a woman from Galway who is interested in self expression, politics, art and human-beams. Her recent work includes surviving the pandemic and several disappointing sourdough loaves. You can find more of her poetry at @personalbeam on instagram.

 

The Weather says ‘Wake up’, after Dorothy Parker, by Art Ó Súilleabháin

The weather says ‘Wake up’
after Dorothy Parker

You do
nutrients flowing against gravity
through xylem to extremities
from spear to soft
brown to green
cased to unfurled
you are cloaked in a new life
dressed in a spring trousseau
yellow for forsythia
white for blackthorn
pink Japanese Sakura
multi-coloured apple blossom
but what of a late frost in April
We’re here now
We might as well live.

Art Ó Súilleabháin was born in Corr na Móna, Co. Galway and spent some years in Boston USA. He has worked in Dublin, Castlebar and Washington DC before returning to Corr na Móna. He has been featured in Poetry Ireland, Writing Home (Daedalus Press), Hold Open the Door (Ireland Chair of Poetry), Boyne Berries, Skylight 47, Salt on the Coals (Winchester) and Cinnamon Press. He has published books for children as Gaeilge. His first collection of poetry for adults ‘Mayflies in the Heather’ was published by Revival Press in in March 2021. (www.artosuilleabhain.com)

 

The Emperor and the Daddy, by Michael Allsopp

The Emperor and the Daddy

I am a Great Emperor attracted by the light of the many Moons and you are a Daddy Long Legs, are you ready to dare enter the court of man, where there are so many rooms.

Whilst I flap and flutter you just rest now on the bottom of the door and when the door is opened, just the tiniest ajar, in we’ll go and muster, dancing in afar.

But, dear Great Emperor this is not a game, these men inside these courts I’ve heard they’re not quite so tame and their children act so beastly, grab my wings, pull off a leg, so I no longer can fly, surely to enter is to be murdered and to die.

Don’t be silly, as Emperor I’ll sit majestically in the corner of a wall, these beasts if to kill me would have to be like seven foot tall. I’ll claim this my castle and my Kingdom if you break-in with me, we won’t become of fate, in fact once inside you might find a loving long legged mate.

Now I’m dancing in excitement at the thought of finding love, so glad that you did tell me, thank you Emperor Moth, I’ll float in through any window for I have such little time and desperate to find a mate and of course it’s dark now and getting rather late.

So, these beasts of these courts, to be greeted by a spindly bug and a buzzing ball of fluff turns them into murderers, sounding sort of huff. The light of their many moons, trance us into a trap, oh no what is happening as I hear a cloth being rapped.

The moth takes off again and again as the beast takes aim, circling at eye level now and seems to have lost rudder control, smacking into the walls in this deathly game. He circles lower and lower, spinning around a moon in tighter revolutions, like a soap sud over an open drain. A few times he seems to touch the light but dances off unhurt but the beast succeeded and reduced him to dirt.

Now I dance and flit and plead don’t kill me I am not full of venom and I cannot bite, I was just attracted by the lure of your lights but I can feel a leg detach and a searing sensation of pain, I was just looking for a mate and now death be my fate.

I dream of flower beds and grasslands and wooded coppice, free with all the wildlife and pretty flowers and trees. But here I am dying inside this court of man, slain a slow death as I dream of flying across the Great Gromboolian Plain.

 

Enrichment, by Katherine Noone

Enrichment

When you shake the family tree,
my branch will yield no heirs, no heirlooms.
Mired in brambles, curved
clinging to the garden wall.

Look,
a restless robin lingers there.
A wind chime tinkles heavenly tones,
in the gentle evening breeze .

Hold back the pruning shears.

Katherine Noone’s first  poetry collection ‘Keeping  Watch’ was published by Lapwing  Publications in 2017. Shortlisted Vallum Poetry Award (Montreal).Her poems have appeared in Orbis, Crannog, Boyne Berries, Linnets Wings, Skylight 47, Vallum digital edition, A New Ulster,Ropes.  Poethead. ‘Out Here’ was published in 2019.

 

You Gave me a Geranium, by Robert Garnham

You liked me enough to give me a geranium

You gave me a geranium.
I said,
‘You know I’m not into salad.’
You said, ‘It’s a houseplant.
Not even you could kill this’.

But it was your way of saying
I love you.
The geranium sat there in passive,
Filtering C02 and judging me,
Reporting back my foibles and transgressions,
Taking photographs
When it should have been taking
Photosynthesis.

But you looked at me,
Your eyes as dopey as a spaniel,
And I forgave you your hardy annual.
‘When will it flower and bloom?’, I asked.
‘When will it light up my room?
When will its scent take to the breeze,
Provide pollen for the bees,
Put me at my ease,
Probably make me sneeze,
Each one of which is
One eighth of an orgasm,
That eight of these
And I should think of you?’

That night I trailed my fingers through a box of
J. Arthur Bowyer’s Syncho-Boost Houseplant Compost,
And it reminded me of you, Pete.
The geranium made me complete, Pete.
My life so recently deplete, Pete,
Of love,
Now suddenly filled like the pot,
This upturned cranium
With the roots of the geranium,
Need I explainium?
Sorry for being a painium.

Because you liked me enough
To give me a plant
And I liked you enough
To keep it
Pot it, plant it, deadhead it,
Water it, feed it, treat it for greenfly,
I even gave it a name, ‘Dirty Liza’,
Because she liked her fertiliser.
Every time I looked she was there
And still alive because I still care
And even though you eventually
Disappeared
Like the pests I treated,
Like the greenfly,
I never did
Glean why
You gave it to me to begin with,
Suffice to believe
You liked me enough
To give me a geranium.

Robert Garnham has been performing comedy poetry around the UK for ten years at various fringes and festivals, and has had two collections published by Burning Eye. He has made a few short TV adverts for a certain bank, and a joke from one of his shows was listed as one of the funniest of the Edinburgh Fringe. He was recently an answer on the TV quiz show Pointless. Lately he has been writing short stories for magazines and a humorous column in the Herald Express newspaper. In 2020 he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Robert is the editor of Spilling Cocoa. His website can be found at https://professorofwhimsy.com

 

The Bigger Issues, by Clive Oseman

THE BIGGER ISSUES

Some people seek answers to big issues
like the meaning of life,
or what happens to us when we die.

To them my issues are small fry,
insignificant in the scheme of things
and i have to confess, that stings.
Because I may not be intellectual,
my grey cells are somewhat ineffectual
when deep thought is deemed essential,
but to me, the small things matter more.

What are wasps actually for?
They get mildly angry and it’s all out war.
You try to repel them and they sting you to fuck.
Then they do it one more time for luck.
They show no compassion, not one little bit
The barbarous pointless stripy shits.

When I want to appear clever
I step it up a level and ask questions like….

If music be the food of love,
are cheese quavers an aphrodisiac?
Is there such a thing as cheese semiquavers to give a quick thrill?
If so, toss one my way if you will.

On the subject of food,
does a fruitfly count as one of your five a day?
I have my doubts
but if it does I can ditch the sprouts.
They’re not veggies, it’s a well known fact
They are Beelzebub’s scrotal sac.

It’s not just food that fascinates me.
Other things I need to know.

Is a really hard Englishman in Australia
called a Pommy Granite?
If I wrote a book on the history of censorship
would they ban it?
Is David Icke for real, damn it?

If a group of crows didn’t mean to get together are they a manslaughter?

Do waterpolo players ride seahorses?
Are you lot bored stiff, or is it rigor mortis?

If you buy a wok on the internet
is it an ewok?
When it arrives are you in for a shock?

And here’s a thing.
Will the first non binary monarch
be called their majesty the qing?

When they assess the age of a dinosaur fossil
is it even remotely possible
to know if it used anti ageing creams?
Calculations could all go to hell
if it used those products by L’oreal.

But the question that concerns me most may come as a surprise.

If you stick your head down the toilet,
Which is not very wise,
do you get floaters in your eyes?

Clive Oseman is a multi slam winning Brummie spoken word artist,comedian, satirist and promoter based in Swindon. His third collection “It could be verse” was published by Black Eyes Publishing UK in 2020, and his debut one man show “Getting To Know Elizabeth” was first performed on Zoom in February 2021..

 

Art Students in a City Park, by Patrick Deeley

Penniless, sodden, splattered
with mud and paint,
we cling to our brushes and easels,
catch tree-bark and bareness,
the on-off colours
of January light between showers.

What we offer the world
is what the world feels it can do
without. Futility,
say the cars tail-backed beyond
the railings, futility
the wind-wrecked umbrellas,

the errant golf shots
in far green spaces, the drug deals
done on side-streets,
futility the bank executives
in tinted restaurants
laughing off their latest messes.

Here, snowdrops cluster;
a scribble of moss
resembles yellow crayon-marks
where sunlight hits;
a sleeping moth, all
but etched into an old oak trunk,

gathers us together
to chaunt the idea of it as a tawny,
inverted love heart.
The park is about to be shut.
Suppose, one of us
suggests, suppose we mosey up

to the sour-puss
key-rattling park attendant posing
as Saint Peter
and smile our Mona Lisa smiles,
will he allow us
to stand just one more half-hour

in the wind and muck?
At which we all splutter into our
aqua marines, indigos,
burnt siennas, alizarin crimsons,
behind the tall,
rusty, suffering gates of Paradise.

Patrick Deeley’s awards include the 2001 Eilís Dillon Award, the 2014 Dermot Healy International Poetry Prize, and the 2019 Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award.  Recently he has had poems published in The Rialto, The London Magazine and Staying Human, an anthology edited by Neil Astley.  His seventh collection with Dedalus Press, ‘The End of the World’, was shortlisted for the 2020 Farmgate National Poetry Award.