The Cat Lives Rent Free, by Bill Richardson

The Cat Lives Rent Free

This black and white cat arrived in the garden one day
and I made the mistake of feeding them.
I say them because I don’t know the cat’s gender
– or is that sex? –
and who’s to say they’re not sensitive about these matters.
You have to be careful these days.
I mean: not to offend…
Careful too about feeding a feral cat.
I didn’t go looking for a cat.
I don’t love them.
But they’ve got the idea now, of course.
The habit. Calling by each day -
sits patiently at the back door
licking paws in anticipation.
I open the door, and the cat seamlessly,
at the last second, shifts to one side.
Examines the food with multiple sniffs.
There are days when only the sauce will do
and the sardines get left behind.
Especially if they’re not John West.
What is it about John West?
Is it that they get John West at the house of the other neighbour,
the other one they’ve trained…
Or maybe more than one?

Bill Richardson’s poems have been published in a number of magazines. He is Emeritus Professor of Spanish at the University of Galway and has re-engaged in recent years with his passion for creative writing. He enjoys swimming in the Atlantic and practising tai chi to the music of Arvo Pärt.

 

Camp Shangri-La by Arran Potts

Camp Shangri-La

He stopped for a quickie one night in her tent,
Made love to an egg-timer till he was spent,
The sand had run out, he came and then went;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

She lowered his zip and was so full of hope,
But all he could manage were fumbles and gropes,
So Val took the lead and showed Guy the ropes;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

They’ve put up two tents but they’re on the same pitch,
Four of them starkers, not wearing a stitch,
They’d do half an hour then partners would switch;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

Tommy was fuming and she was to blame,
Cos everyone here in the camp knew his name,
Last night Sue had screamed it out loud when she came;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

At sixty she knows how to tease and to coax,
She pulled off his trousers with two short, sweet strokes,
Just as she’d done, with dozens of blokes;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

Ronnie and Eileen at home in a yurt,
Strong green oak decking to cover the dirt,
But plenty of cushions in case they get hurt;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

Sally McNally the Shangri-La vamp,
Looking for strapping young men round the camp,
She only needs someone to sleep in the damp;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

Just rooves of soft fabric as somewhere to sleep,
The campsite is hidden, the price not to steep,
Those zips, flaps and awnings have secrets to keep;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

Arran Potts is from Wolverhampton, UK. He has recently taken up poetry as a hobby to rekindle a love for writing; and is finding Jo Bell’s ‘52 Poems’ book really useful. He is supported by family and friends. He is hindered by his job.

 

Epic Puma Fresh for Alpha Men not Boys, by Mandy Beattie

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pick-me-up roll up roll up spray under

those hairy oxters have the time
of your life sniffing our solvents can’t kill
but spurt away 15 inches in staccato

bursts in breezy rooms shut
your eyes in open doors outdoors
windows spray pecs cracks cheeks

for we don’t cause rashes itches so
it won’t matter if skin is broken
but our butane propane won’t

blow up your chances
because we odour bust for 72 hours
but even in heat waves cool

your Puma jets in fridge-freezers
no need to strike a match
when kissing companions will be

swooning with naked
flames before you combust
in grapefruit tropical pineapple twist

in cool fresh air that stuns senses
with our pro scent technology your future
smells amazing and we give fashion

tips dating advice so our men don’t do
dorky, geeky we’re more Mr Muscle and you’ll be
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amazing with our high definition odour
busting technology Puma will help you
with your Tinder

and Bumble bios but because you wear
our 48 hours high-definition
fragrance you’ll be confident iconic Puma

gives you all the tools
when opportunity knocks and women
will swoon girls will want a sniff

sniff sniff pick me up
from your local shop we’ve cornered
the market we’ll keep you going all night

all day long our fragrance is 100% epic
protection at your fingertips Puma doesn’t do
greenwashing because

our cans are infinitely
recyclable we can go again and again Puma’s
raising our A game because

there is no Planet B and our bottles
are 100% recyclable plastic in 3 years
we’re aiming to include more recycled

stuff we’re well on our way we contain
ground-breaking detectable black technology
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some UN goals tackles
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agriculture focused food security because we use
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and our latest Puma is Dark Temptation

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Biography:

Mandy Beattie frequently loses herself in poetry & imaginings. Pen, paper & words without borders are some of her favourite things. She has been published in Journals such as: Poets Republic, Dreich, Wordpeace, Spilling Cocoa, Last Stanza, Lothlorien Poetry. Poets Choice in Marble Broadsheet. Shortlisted, Black Box Poetry Competition.
 

Instructions for a Scouse Night Out, by Jenny Robb

Instructions for a Scouse night out
With thanks to the Urban Dictionary

Go into town to buy some new clobber,
have a few scoops in the spoons.

Go home and have a good scran.
You need to line your stomach before pre’s.

Make sure all your drinking mates are sound;
those who buy a round and have your back.

Listen to your best friend. If she says
the lad you’re necking is meff, trust her.

At throwing out and up time, have more scran.
You’re not bevvied enough if you go home

without a Vindaloo, or chips, or a sway
in the Hot Dog queue. Neck it!

Jenny Robb has been writing poetry since retiring. She’s been published widely in online and print magazines and in anthologies. Her debut collection, The Doll’s House, Yaffle Press, has recently been published. She lives in Liverpool with her partner and the family cat and has one grown-up daughter.

 

Sorry, by Emma Purshouse

Sorry 

this poem is pretty shit
I must apologise for it.

It has rhyme in its defence
though its rhyme, is not immense

It has no similes, nor metaphor.
I’ve no idea what it’s for.

It doesn’t seem to say a lot
but one thing it hasn’t got

(which is a plus I have to say)
is a shard, or soul, or heart cliché...

...and now it has. In that last verse.
I fear I’ve gone and made things worse.

At least I’ve got the deadline nailed.
Yesterday? Oh fuck, I’ve failed.

Yes, this poem is pretty shit
and I apologise for it.

Emma Purshouse is a writer and performance poet from the English Black Country. Her poetry is published by ‘Offa’s Press’. Her debut novel ‘Dogged’ came out with ‘Ignite Books’ in 2021.

 

English Spelling, by Sarah Lawson

ENGLISH SPELLING

Practically since the dawn of history
English spelling has been a mystery.
And everything you ever learn’ll
Not prepare you for the r in colonel.
Do not expect a tidy law
To explain the end of Arkansas.
Spelling is just a rough mnemonic
And not reliably always phonic.

Sarah Lawson lives in London, originally from Indiana, educated in the US and Scotland; has published poetry pamphlets and two collections; translates from French, Spanish, and Dutch; has also written one play, one novel, and two memoirs.

 

 

A Mossy Rock in the Forest, by Robert Garnham

There's a mossy rock in the forest
A place I always like to go
A mossy rock in the woods
I go there when I'm feeling low.

And I sit on the rock in the moss
And it's hard and it makes me forget
I sit on the rock in the woods
If it’s damp it’ll make my bum wet

There's a mossy rock in the forest
Surrounded by foliage and leaves
And big arse rhododendrons
It's a place that puts me at my ease

And I sit on the rock in the moss
And the ground it's wet and spongy
And there's mushrooms sprouting up
And other types of fungi

There's a mossy rock in the forest
Its ok I suppose it could be worse
There are badgers and squirrels in the forest
That's it now I'm done with this verse

And I sit on rock in the moss
I only like to sit here a whiles
And the rock is not exactly comfy
You wouldn't want to sit here with piles

There's a mossy rock in the forest
the branches here are terribly scratchy
I try to watch some porn on my phone
But the WiFi signal here is patchy.

And I sit on the rock in the moss
And I sit on the rock in the moss
And I sit on the rock in the moss
And then my mind wanders off.

Robert Garnham has been performing LGBT comedy poetry around the UK for ten years at various fringes and festivals, and has had three collections published by Burning Eye. He has won slams in places such as London, Edinburgh and Swindon and headlined or featured at events such as Bang Said the Gun, Raise the Bar, and Milk and in 2019 was the Hammer and Tongue featured artist for a tour of the UK. He has supported artists such as John Hegley, Arthur Smith and Paul Sinha. His website is https://professorofwhimsy.com/

 

So Surrey, by Trisha Broomfield

So Surrey

I’m tired of being Surrey
with vowels of pure cut glass
surface good intentions
and Pilates perfect arse

I’m tired of being Surrey
with legs like licorice sticks
tipped into boots, DuBarry
where obese is still size six

I’m tired of being Surrey
with hair five shades of fair
driving blind to others
volunteering just to care

I’m tired of being Surrey
sunglasses half my face
Botox, fillers, collagen
and running out of space

but being here in Surrey
it’s full of all things green
Pesto sauce and olives
and kale to keep me lean

I think I’ll stay in Surrey
though not so near a beach
I’ll take up Bikram yoga
and do my roots, so pass the bleach.

 

The Ballad of Laurel Blaney, by David Ludford

The Ballad Of Laurel Blaney



Old Tally was a minstrel
He wandered free and wild
And one day he met Annie
And Annie bore his child.

Now Laurel loved to play, she did
She loved to fool around
But went too near the river
And Laurel went and drowned.

Now if you should see Laurel
Just run away, just go
For Laurel’s now the devil’s girl
She’ll drag you down below.
Beware the deep, deep water
Beware the devil’s daughter.

Now think of young Jack, a boy
Who loved to dive and swim
Just think back for a moment
You may remember him.
Jack he was an active boy
Yes, swimming he loved most
He wasn’t scared of monsters
He’d never seen a ghost.
Jack stood on the riverbank
One lovely summer’s day
When Laurel grabbed him by the foot
And swept him clean away.
Beware the deep, deep water
Beware the devil’s daughter.

Remember too poor Jenny
Just strolling back from town
A shortcut by the river
She hadn’t meant to drown
A bully boy from school she saw
A silly girl he thought her
He rushed and pushed
She slipped and slid
And fell into the water.
No Jenny hadn’t meant to drown
Wicked Laurel dragged her down.
Beware the deep, deep water
Beware the devil’s daughter.

The purpose of these tales, my friends
That make you shake and shiver
Just beware
And take great care
When you are near the river.
For every tale, old or new
There has to be a moral
And my advice
I won’t give twice
Remember wicked Laurel.
Beware the deep, deep water
Beware the devil’s daughter.

End


Dave Ludford is a writer from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, where not many writers come from. Except George Eliot. His short works of horror and science fiction have appeared in a variety of online locations.
 

Combat Cheese, by Sally McHugh

Combat Cheese


On the shores of Lough Ree
(although not known for its Fromageries),
solidified cheese surfed through the airwaves-
a lightning strike to the head of Queen Maeve.
As she stretched and bathed in full display,
she was crushed by the cunning of curds and whey;
aged-fresh Maeve, wrinkled white to grey rind,
was struck via sling (it’s prehistoric times).
Was the chalky meteorite of creamy Camembert
or of an ancient Brie - with a buttery flair?
Perhaps it was a local fromage blanc
or a full-bodied shaving of Parmesan?
How about a goatmilk flat white from Port du Salut
or a Provolone vegan with a vodka hue
or a chewy Caerphilly à la castle cellar store
or a blue ram’s rocket filled with Roquefort?
Whatever churned concoctions prevailed
and imbued this calcium-infused cocktail,
Maeve’s aged, matured, rapturous reign
crumbled - by combat cheese to the brain.

Sally McHugh lives in Co. Galway. Her poetry has appeared in ROPES2018, The Blue Nib Literary Magazine (2019), Pendemic (2020) and Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis (2021). She also likes to dabble in art and calligraphy. Twitter:@fordofthekings