You Know!, by Carl Burkitt

YOU KNOW!

The other day I was chatting to that pig.
You know, the one with the wig.
The wig that’s too big
and made of figs and bits of twigs.

You know, the pig,
he’s friends with that goat.
The goat with the tiny boat
made of dusty coats and TV remotes.

You know, the goat and the pig,
they hang out with that cow.
The cow with the eyebrows
made of snow ploughs and know how.

You know, the cow and the goat and the pig,
they’re always chatting to that duck.
The duck with the monster truck
made of hockey pucks and dog muck.

You know, the duck and the cow and the goat and the pig,
they’re buddies with that horse.
The horse with the racecourse
made of brute force and tomato sauce.

You know, the horse and the duck
and the cow and the goat and the pig!
You know what,
maybe I’ve never introduced you.

Carl Burkitt likes to tell tales. He tells long tales, short tales, silly tales, sad tales, and likes to tell them online, behind a mic, in books, in schools or on the sofa with his young family in Manchester. His debut collection What Does A Baby Think It Is? And Other Questions was published in 2020 by Enthusiastic Press.

 

My Other Sticker is Funny, by Claire Hadfield

My other sticker is funny.

They began as a statement, a declaration, proclaiming affection for a prime location.
I ‘heart’ New York- a harmless affirmation of warmest thoughts- just information.

Then things evolved, just a slight mutation; we began to proclaim our procreation.
Baby on board, Lil’ Princess, Lil’ Man all hail and salute the next generation.
Do we really need such information in the form of an adhesive notification?

But the worst, the nadir, the abomination is a relatively recent innovation;
Your family in graphic representation.
The mum, the dad and confirmation of their successful insemination, cartoonified in silhouette
Reduced to a ‘quirky’ simplification of hetero-normative ideation.

“So what?”, you say, “Cease your assassination!
Why begrudge us confirmation of our plastic-coated validation?”
No! Go look elsewhere for your aspiration.
There’s only one cure for my vexation: total sticker annihilation!

Twenty years of teaching teens led to a highly developed sense of cynicism, a thick skin, and the compulsory eyes in the back of the head. Now a teacher-trainer at Plymouth Marjon University, Claire gets paid to indulge her curiosity, enthusiasm and passion for words on a daily basis.

 

Not every mushroom is safe to eat, by Jorge Leiva Ardana

Not every mushroom is safe to eat

Whenever you switch on the telly
there are always people cooking.
You come home with an empty belly,
in a blink they have finished a pudding.

They cook from home, Mexico or Brittany,
their food doesn’t burn or get soggy.
Like Beethoven composing a symphony,
while yours is rejected by the doggy.

With sharper knives than a two edge sword,
plenty of gadgets you can’t afford.
All you have is a ruined frying pan
that sticks when heating up a can.

Using fancy ingredients like tamarind or tahini,
but in the store they’ve run out of tapioca.
What’s the difference between courgette and zucchini?
why do some call it yuca and others mandioca?

Why your stew doesn’t look like theirs?
Why in yours there is always hair?
What are the benefits of Himalayan salt?
Is that flavoursome for what it cost?

Without the necessary piece of advice,
no cooking lesson is ever complete,
so you won’t end up paying the price.
Mind you, not every mushroom is safe to eat.

Jorge Leiva is from South Spain and has been on the waiting list for a tonsillectomy since he was a child. Some of his work has appeared in Skylight 47 Magazine, The Galway Advertiser, Drawn to the light press, Headstuff.org, Dodging the Rain and 2 Meter Review. In 2019 he was long listed in the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year competition.

 

Vague Notions, by Ruth Marshall

Vague Notions

Quizzical buttons, spurious seam rippers
Sketchy fabric markers, dubious zippers,
Threadbare illusions, unbiased binding,
Fat quarters, gauze, and cloudy lining,

Measuring tapes that are imprecise,
Embroidered cats and felted mice,
Bags of stuffing and hair for dolls,
Lace, as always, full of holes,

Evasive trimmings, circular cutters,
Scissors that couldn’t cut through butter,
Buckles, toggles, crochet hooks,
Yarn and paper pattern books,

Hesitant hessian, unsure curtain ties,
A loose collection of hooks and eyes,
Tassels and fringing of questionable quality,
Elastic guaranteed to stretch credulity,

Thimbles, tape, magnetic catches,
Tailor’s chalk and elbow patches,
Hazy braid, ribbon by the yard,
Needles, pins and rolls of cord,

Applique trim, and frogging loops,
Large and small embroidery hoops,
Bins of remnants, green and red,
And somewhere in there, my lost thread.

 

Cleaning Up, by Sue Spiers

Cleaning up

I’ve a hoover that no longer sucks
despite clearing out all kinds of muck:
three spiders, my hair
and John’s underwear,
So, I have to concede that it’s fucked.

I’ve rinsed out my J-cloths and duster
of grime with what zeal I can muster.
I’d rather be fed
cockroaches instead.
At best my approach is lack-lustre.

I have mopped Flash and polished my brass
I’ve grown weary to Windowlene glass.
I’ve sprayed Mr. Sheen,
got surfaces clean.
That’s enough for this year. Kiss my ass!

Sue lives in Hampshire and has poems in Acumen, Orbis and Stand magazines and on-line at Ink, Sweat and Tears. Sue works with Winchester Poetry Festival and is editor for the Open University annual poetry anthology. Find out more on twitter @Sue Spiers

 

Tuesday, by Hugh Maxwell

Tuesday

In the depths of the ocean he found it, he did, he did.
Golden hero from the deepest sea he came.
Warbled and wriggled, it did, it did,
And rejoiced at the light of day.

On a cushion of mandrakes he brought it, he did, he did,
And offered it to her on her throne all fey.
Placed it on her head, she did, she did,
And they danced with the moon till day.

Hugh is in his late sixties and lives in St Leonards on Sea

 

Tango, by Trevor Alexander

Tango

You’ve heard of policemen out walking their beat,
while wearing those shiny black boots on their feet,
a slow measured march as they come down your street,
but now what if that beat was a tango?

They’d shimmy and slide to a rhythm so hip,
while lookin’ so cool the kids wouldn’t give lip;
watch out for the sergeant and give him the slip,
because he’d want to switch to fandango.

The neighbourhood hoodlums in bovver-boot shoes
come round every week to pass on the bad news,
and make you an offer that you can’t refuse
‘cause the boss man is channelling Brando.

If you’ve got the chutzpah, decide not to pay,
I’m sorry to say they won’t just go away,
because if you’re late they’ll be round the next day
to break both your legs with a Kango.

The coppers are useless, say their hands are tied,
there’s nowt they can do until somebody’s died,
and not even then ‘cause they’re all alibied
in a place where the rest of the gang go.

The gang leader hangs with the rest of his crew,
till the squad comes around and they’re all dressed in blue,
‘cause somebody squealed so that all he could do
is to scarper and hide in Durango.

 

Precitive Text, by Nigel Lloyd

Predictive Text

I am not really a fanbelt of that predictive text
It’s giving meat loads of grief
I would steal a manuel on how to correct it
If only I was a thief.

I’ve spoken to the staff at the phone shop
Who Canterbury help me with my plight
At one point I threw the phone at them
Saying “take bacon your pile of shite”.

I know I am getting on a bit
And technology is not my thing
But I need a phone that when someone needs me
The bugger will vibrate and ringworm.

The mobiles now are very light
Where as my old phone’s made of stone
I don’t have a camera or any apps
I only use it as a phonebox.

Everything’s typed out in full
No abbreviations or emoji face
Every full stop and comma
Is in the right placebo.

Should I invest in a hands free kitten
For when I am out on the road?
I feel like going back to a more reliable system
Good old morsel code.

Nigel Lloyd lives in rural Donegal and has had poems published in several magazines
From Crannog to Progressive Rock Magazine, he also had a poem featured on
BBC Radio Ulster Soundscapes programme and was a finalist in the
Bring your Limericks to Limerick competition 2018 and a finalist in
The Piano Academy of Ireland Limerick competition 2021.

www.nigellloydpoet.com



 

I Used to Smoke, by Rodney Wood

I USED TO SMOKE

before, during and after a break, while smelling jasmine, feeding penguins,
on buses, trains, the top of church towers, in domes, at home, police stations,
prisons, crematoriums, sanatoriums, sci-fi conventions or the birth of a nation,

before, during and after sex, when wearing spandex, carrying a briefcase,
having an enema, practising yoga, in cinemas, open spaces, hiding places,
deep space, being chased, playing bass, being embraced or holding an ace,

before, during and after bugger all, measuring rainfall, drinking highballs,
at football grounds, suburbs, inner cities, digging up the grave of Andy Warhol,
in jail, under sail, playing pinball, crawling, at shopping malls or concert halls,

before, during and after a meal, when kneeling, playing with myself, watching TV,
walking, talking on my mobile, blinking, in bookshops, outside Westminster Abbey,
being filthy, looking at pornography, dancing to Bowie, having a pee or drinking tea,

before, during and after flying, when saying goodbye, beneath the London Eye,
when sitting on the loo, pruning roses, blowing a balloon under a mackerel sky,
riding a bike, circumscribing a lake or rafting down the Thames in the middle of July,

before, during and after a cigarette I had to have a cigarette.

 

Five Limericks, by Mark Totterdell

FIVE LIMERICKS

When Rick, a young workman from Limerick,
Started strimming, they yelled ‘watch that strimmer, Rick!’
When he slipped off the bank
Of the Shannon, and sank,
Then they cried ‘what a shame you’re no swimmer, Rick!’

If pigeon that’s sly does a sly coo,
And pigeon that’s shy does a shy coo,
Does a pigeon that strives
To coo 5-7-5s
From the top of a tree do a high coo?

This limerick’s started so well,
I could just carry on. What the hell,
If I reach line nineteen
With repeats, it will mean
That I’ve written a damn villanelle!

A talented poet called Nina
Attempted to write a sestina.
Her end-words were ‘bum’,
‘Bugger’, ‘bollocks’ and ‘cum’,
And then two that were somewhat obscener.

There was a young poet from Cheam
Whose limericks ran out of steam.
After four lines had passed
He just couldn’t be arsed…

Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared widely in magazines and have occasionally won prizes. His collections are This Patter of Traces (Oversteps Books, 2014) and Mapping (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2018).