THE FULL ENGLISH TAKES A DNA TEST

Old Bean, Old Sausage, there are question marks.
I know you’ve had a lot on your plate.
How can I break this to you?
Your bacon is pure Viking.

Baked beans arrived here illegally
Uncle Sam wants them back
Hash browns have no right to remain
Plum tomatoes only speak Italian
Since 2006 HP sauce has called the Netherlands home
PG Tips must face up to its colonial past

Three mushrooms on your shirt
your England’s still dreaming

If you know which side your toast’s buttered
you’ll be a good egg.

Mr Full English, you are thoroughly scrambled.

John Lanyon lives in the Cotswolds. He works as an organic gardener, linguist, musician, and writer. Having failed his English Literature O Level, he came to love literature through reading it in French and German. He writes about art, the body, childhood, society, nature, the spirit of places, the secret lives of words.

 

The Yarn Spinner, by George Bastow

He sits in the corner of your local boozer 
Wearing a smile as broad as a battlecruiser
He's got the spiel of a champ and the luck of a loser
But lend him an ear and he's sure to amuse ya
He's the Yarn-Spinner, you know him

He's got a mouth that moves at the speed of light
Emitting patter sickly sweet as Angel Delight
He's as old as the hills and as young as the night
Halfway between an oracle and a gobshite
He's the Yarn-Spinner, you know him

He used to work for MI 5, but he keeps that on the low
He used to be a roadie, went on tour with Status Quo
He used to be a boxer, trained in the States with Smokin’ Joe
Plus, he played all the instruments on Enya's Orinoco Flow
He's the Yarn-Spinner, you know him

He's a world-famous artist with a masterpiece on his easel
He's an ex-Hollywood tough guy, former stuntman for Vin Diesel
He’s a lapsed circus performer with his own troupe of dancing weasels
Oh, and his wife’s a scientist who's discovered a cure for measles
He's the Yarn-Spinner, you know him

He spent decades as a TV exec, commissioning comedy and drama
He spent his work experience at the British Museum spit-polishing suits of armour
He spent seven years in Tibet as an organic yak meat farmer
And he spent yesterday as a Buddhist monk, making tea for the Dalai Lama
He's the Yarn-Spinner, you know him

He’s been known to beguile crowds with his eccentric charm
He often bewilders bar-staff with his far-fetched smarm
For a pint or three, he'll no doubt twist your arm
But everyone can agree he don’t mean any harm
He's the Yarn-Spinner, we all know him

George Bastow is a poet, writer, blogger and hat connoisseur from the picturesque wilderness of North Warwickshire. 

 

He has written for numerous publications and regularly performs at spoken word events. 

 

George also facilitates workshops for Writing West Midlands’ Spark Young Writers Programme. 

 

Blog: https://gdbastow11.wordpress.com

Twitter: @GDBastow

 

Flies, by Neil Windsor

Flies

There's a fly in my living room, in fact recently there's been quite a few
Where on earth do they come from? Last week there were only two
Impervious to spray, they've been buzzing round for days
They help themselves to jam on the worktop, and lick the congealed fat off my oven trays
They feast on last week's chow mein remains in it's foil container
Then there's the spicy orange kebab juice on the kitchen drainer

And the crumpled weekend empties stacked at the side of the bin
In the sink they flit in and out of the budget brand baked bean tin
They graze on the empty humous tub next to the two dead spider plants
And the mysterious sticky stuff on the Sky remote that's attracted a colony of ants
They're getting on my nerves now, these flies ants and other crawly pests
I don't know what I've done to deserve this influx of unwanted multi legged guests

I'm going to lose it big style soon, they're messing with my head
I've tried catching the flies in empty crisp packets, there's a few at the side of the bed
I've thrown socks at them and tried swatting them with slices of furry bread, but it's not working, I need a radical plan to get rid of this six legged horde
Perhaps my domestic hygiene regime is marginally flawed
Maybe I should empty the bin and take the bulging leaking black sacks outside
Scrape the gunk off the carpet and consider insect genocide

Anyway, more importantly on another front, I'm fed up with being single, I think I need an urgent speed dating cupid love match
I really fail to understand why I'm still not spoken for, as a modern bloke I'm a totally domesticated homeloving hunk of a catch.
I need to entice a young lady into my web, like the spider and the fly, and invite her into my home
Thinking about it, perhaps a coat of paint and some lampshades wouldn't go amiss to help set the tone
Charm her with my small talk, followed by a game of Twister....and then who knows?
Excuse me a sec but I've just spotted some maggots wriggling in the salad crisper. If I want to be lucky in love I should probably get rid of those.

Neil Windsor is a Writer of children’s short stories, Artist and Poet from Leeds who produces and performs all his work with an absolute passion and a slightly slanted off – kilter view of life.
He also plays extremely bad left handed blues guitar.#neilwindsorart

 

Waiting, by Patricia Phillips-Batoma

Waiting

The pharmacy texts to say
my covid booster is waiting
and my flu shot too.

My booster sits with her legs crossed
in one of their uncomfortable chairs,
her foot swinging in palpable agitation.

She checks the time on her new device
in a pink glitter-encrusted case
with a few choice emoji stickers.

My flu shot sits straight-backed
with both feet on the floor
and reads a book.

She slips it inside a canvas bag
to check out the reading glasses,
the new ones, with animal print motifs.

One of these Friday evenings
I’ll wander in and bring them home
one in each arm.

Patricia Phillips-Batoma is a French to English translator and teacher who lives in central Illinois, USA. Her poems have been published in Plants & Poetry, Parentheses, Offcourse, and Tuck Magazine. She can be reached at phillipsbatoma@gmail.com.

 

Not an Epic, by Terri Metcalfe

Not an Epic

With my attention span,
I don’t write long poems
hanging off the ends of sentences
veering into the weather forecast

scattered wordy periods.

I chance the occasional romance
with assonance but like snow in May,
it bewilders me so I let it melt

away. I’ve always felt
I am four stanzas average,
five and I risk an accidental plummet
into my shopping list. Boy with a mullet

on Shop Street, don’t go bringing
back hairstyles that should only ever
be fish...pie mix, juice, not from

Terri Metcalfe has been published in Abridged, A New Ulster, Green Ink Poetry, Spilling Cocoa and Skylight 47. She was shortlisted for the Open Window 2023 mentorship programme and will be a featured reader at the 20th anniversary of Over The Edge Literary Events held in Galway this January.

 

The Lighthouse Keeper, by Ben Macnair

Mr Jones, the Lighthouse Keeper,
had an ever increasing collection of masks,
finding them on Amazon,
going for a song on Ebay,
fading celebrities,
an Amazonian Warrior,
Donald Trump, the colour of desperation,
everyday waiting for the knock.
The Postman whistling his happy little tune,
handing over the packages,
waiting for the signatures,
the always offered cup of tea,
wanting to get away from the hundreds of faces,
with no eyes.

Mr Jones liked the silence,
time to himself,
with no disturbance,
no company.
So, when the four kids,
the two attractive ones,
the two unattractive ones,
and their Great Dane with his
liking for eight foot tall sandwiches,
called in, after being stranded
it all got a bit too much.

Mr Jones, tried on his masks,
finding the one with best fit,
and the worst intentions,
and scared the kids,
and that pesky, overweight dog right off,
but he forgot about the body in his back-yard,
the diamonds under the patio,
the blood on the roof,
from the previous tenants,
and the Police came and arrested him,
put him away for years.
No lawyer would take the case,
of a Lighthouse Keeper,
hiding behind someone else’s
plastic face.

 

There Used to be Nazis in Haworth, by Tonnie Richmond

There Used to be Nazis in Haworth

strutting up the hill towards the Parsonage
where the Brontë family lived,
incongruous in wartime uniforms
amongst the tourist shops
and nineteenth century ginnels.

They would Sieg Heil! past the church
where Charlotte was married,
show no interest in the old schoolrooms
where her wedding breakfast
had been laid out long ago.

They would goose-step to the Old White Lion Inn,
drink beer with a bunch of British Tommies,
accompanied by their wives,
all dolled up in vintage clothes
and unflattering wartime hairdos.

They have banned the Nazis now.
These creepy annual nineteen-forties
re-enactment gatherings,
with their unpalatable nostalgia for the war,
have become a strangely one-sided affair.

Tonnie Richmond is retired and is interested in archaeology and poetry. These days she finds writing poetry easier than digging. She has had several poems published. Y Dreich, Yaffle and others.

 

Biotechnology, by Patricia Walsh

Biotechnology

You use your paralysed hand in misdemeanour
Stating ‘all is well’ before the time does clock
Not repeating miracles for all, how liked
Cutting swathes through green grass and despair.

She’s the image of you, in the limited vision
I have already seen, resting on your shoulder
Studying for your sins, a generic degree
Writing scribble from your fingers, down to earth.

The battery is merciless.
Wishing to ring you
And offer my heart in condolence,
Something tarnishes in soul for centuries
But gold comes clear, seldom does it ever.

Begging at traffic lights, seeing the day,
When the caustic reminders take the bait
As I am, so you will be, a Catholic marker
Humbles himself for exaltion on the last day.

Warmth spills out of windows and doors
Guarded by housemates jealousy corralling
Artefacts from the stoic, gleaming on their own
Arresting the comfort of the welcoming soil.

Death can be sweet, for want of a better life,
In the next life, divested of sin
Enough to drink body and blood

Patricia Walsh was born and raised in the parish of Mourneabbey, Co Cork, Ireland. To date, she has published one novel, titled The Quest for Lost Eire, in 2014, and has published one collection of poetry, titled Continuity Errors, with Lapwing Publications in 2010. She has since been published in a variety of print and online journals. She has also published another novel, In The Days of Ford Cortina, in August 2021.

 

Silent Order, by Joe Naughton

Joe Naughton lives in Galway 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.

 

I Thought I Would Be Invisible, by Karol Nielsen

I Thought I Would Be Invisible

I was at the pharmacy and I buzzed the clerk to unlock the vitamins case. I asked him for the Centrum Silver. “But that’s for women over 50!” I said, “I’m old enough.” “You don’t look it,” he said. The extra padding in my cheeks from Covid weight probably makes me look younger. I still get hit on even with my extra pounds. A cool dude downtown kept repeating, “I’m trying to get your attention!” A man in my uptown neighborhood stopped me to ask for directions and then he said, “Can I ask you out for a drink?” My downstairs neighbor who is subletting from coop owners stopped me on the street and asked me to have coffee with him. The next day when I came back with coffee after six am he opened his door without a shirt on. He was so disappointed I already had coffee. I thought that I would be invisible by now. It would be nice sometimes.

Karol Nielsen is the author of two memoirs and two poetry chapbooks. Her full-length collection was a finalist for the Colorado Prize for Poetry. Her poem, “This New Manhattan,” was a finalist for the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize.