A G.P. Submits Case Notes by Beth McDonough

(Evidence of Reasons for Non-attendance at Incidents in Orchards by St Madoes)

Monday: Maggie Sinclair fell from a recent-rotted bough,
brought on by last winter’s wersh of snows.
If she bruised, sustained a twist, well, nothing left her lips.
She still won’t let me know.

Tuesday: Some creeping culprit cut up Cutler Grieve.
No-one knew quite why.
If he needed surtures, I really couldn’t say.
The family made it clear. They consider me a spy.

Wednesday: Little Oslin was wormy to the core.
I expect he festered quickly. Yes, I fear
they just suspect he’s resting, but
he doesn’t want me near.

Thursday: Rough wee Scrog was dragged off in the jaws
of their neighbour’s toothless dog.
Perhaps I asked too much.
They claimed they saw the Vet, but they looked at me agog.

Friday: Yon Scotch Dumpling was scabbed in every place.
I even mentioned maggots,
but they crumbled at my offer.
I know. I’ll never make my targets.

But, bugger me – the weekend!

What I watched the Lass o’ Gowrie do
furrowed with her burly Bloody Ploughman
may not require me quickly, but be certain
their activities and liberties will need a closer scan.

Beth McDonough finds poems whilst swimming in lochs and rivers, foraging and riddling with Anglo Saxons. Often writing of a maternal experience of disability, she was Writer in Residence at Dundee Contemporary Arts 2014-16. ‘Handfast,’ her poetry duet pamphlet (with Ruth Aylett) was published in May 2016.


Ode to a Hairdresser by Iseult Healy

He lifted her straggling hair
with the love of a musician
strummed her strands
cried over their condition.

He leaned her head back
so gently on basin’s rim
then massaged and mused
that her hopes weren’t dim.

She bit her soft moans
his fingers stroked her head
and thought of other pleasure
alone in her bed.

Move over here madam, please.
She fought the tears at the loss
of his touch, the exquisite nearness
of his tight-panted crotch.

Then he cut and fussed
admired and caressed
every strand of her hair
till she felt undressed.

She floated home and
tossed her hair
to show his beauty to those
who would stare.

Her husband asked, why so often
to cut one head of hair
at the price of adopting a child
or a new French au pair

Oh, she says,
he shows respect
my tips are dry
from years of neglect.
To stop the rot
he has to treat me

Bloody poof, I’m sure
you’re on the wrong tack
shampoo and wax
won’t turn the clock back.

Oh, she said.

Your hair’s nice, he said
stumbling into bed
after the match and the beer
his eyes close in his head

Snoring in seconds
before she can reply:

I’m worth it, she says
my tips aren’t dry.

Iseult Healy is published in several journals including USA, Mexico, and Ireland. Also Shortlisted Galway Hospital Trust Poetry Competition 2015.

She is a member of Ox Mountain Poets and A New Ulster groups, and loves Kevin Higgins’ Over the Edge international online poetry workshops.



Cosy by Jonathan Humble

You’re in a kitchen by yourself,
The cosy’s on the pot,
A little voice inside your brain
Starts badgering somewhat.
You do your best to be mature,
But then you find instead,
Before you know just what you’ve done,
The cosy’s on your head.

Jonathan Humble is a deputy head teacher. He’s worked as a painter, lettuce picker and engineer in the power industry. Other than writing poetry and short stories, his hobbies include beard growing, pointing at poppies and keeping the international coffee industry afloat with his patronage.


[As Billy Connolly once remarked, ‘Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn’t try it on.’ – Ed]


Funeral by Meg Barton

I go to people’s funerals
So they will come to mine.
Just think of the embarrassment
If nobody had a good time.

And what if the sausage rolls were off?
I’d be the joke of the town.
Or everyone laughed at the music I chose?
I’d never live it down.

I’d better prepare a detailed plan
I’d better be nice to my friends
Or nobody’s going to shed a tear
Or come to my funeral again.

Meg Barton lives in Oxford, and has been published in a few magazines including The Interpreter’s House and Lighten Up Online.


The Internet Dating Profile Song by Josa Young

Bibble bobble
Stomachs wobble
Ciggies burn
Turkey necks gobble
Men with blondes
And men with bikes
Pints of beer…
Is that a pike?
Downturned mouths
And grey complexions
Urgent words
To make connections
Sofa snuggles
Grammar struggles
Nostrils gape
And stream and bubble
Desperation leaks from screens
‘I just want love!’
They seem to scream.
And yet among that sickly crew
There is the odd exception…


Josa Young is a novelist and copywriter. Her two novels One Apple Tasted and Sail Upon the Land are out there somewhere being read. She was a decent poet up until puberty, and has taken to verse again as all the creative frenzy of childbearing has faded.



Cuckoo by Mark Totterdell

That thing that we
stuck to
your body to
track you
wherever flight
took you
was not meant to
mock you,
confuse you or
muck you
about. It’s a
trick to
plot, map you and
clock you
way south past Mo-
and in the spring
back too,
so we can say
‘look who
it is, look who,
look who
it is, cuckoo,

Mark Totterdell‘s poems have appeared widely in magazines. His collection ‘This Patter of Traces’ was published by Oversteps Books in 2014.



sex in the year 2075 by James Woolf

“hello travis – i’m elaine
we photo-eyed – the aeorotrain?
quickie text beam to your brain – remember me?”

“my dear! of course, so pleased it’s u,
those eyes, that smile, all shiny new
is there something that u want to do? – enlighten me”

“just read your thoughts about my thong
u seem to come on pretty strong
at least u turned this womb-chick on – u fancy me?”

“i marked those thoughts as – NOT FOR OTHERS
(mind-book settings clearly buggered
must get to that before my mother!) – come visit me”

“well now i’m sure u feel this way
i could atomise at yours today
then we’ll act dirty, what d’u say? – please answer me”

“suppose my dear we could have sex
but have to change my x-ray specs
can’t see through any clothes from Next! – what use to me?”

“had just the same with my last pair
could not peek at all at boys down there
only saw stray curls of hair – u’re flashing me?”

“just realised cannot play obsceners!
am not attached to working penis
my latest one is at the cleaners – forgetful me”

“that’s a bugger, travis, shoot!
could pick a prick up though en-route
know of a place that sells some brutes – u yessing me?”

“no – let’s pass on all groin-based relations
not keen on shop-induced gyrations
could we just have a conversation? – that’s suiting me”

“what kind of girl d’u think i am?
u want to talk with no wam bam?
is this some crass insurance scam? – u’re kidding me!”

“why does a natter so offend?
just want to get to know my friend
u womb-chicks drive me round the bend – old-fashioned me”

“u sleazy and pervacious prat!
‘just a natter – just a chat!’
didn’t married people once do that? – quit stalking me!”

James Woolf is a writer of short stories, scripts and adverts and occasional poems. ‘R V Sieger – additional documents disclosed by the Crown Prosecution Service’ was highly commended in the 2015 London Short Story Prize and will be published this month. Ambit magazine will be publishing another story later this year. He was shortlisted in the most recent Fish Flash Fiction competition. Prior to this, his plays have been produced in various off-West End venues including The King’s Head Theatre, the Arcola and the Theatre Royal Margate. Two radio plays have been broadcast including ‘Kerton’s Story’ with Bill Nighy, Lesley Sharp and Stephen Moore. He also write adverts for Black and Decker.



Daydreaming by Bee Lewis

I should be a better lover
and be a little thinner.
I should work a little harder,
but be home to cook your dinner.

I should grow some little people;
continue the cycle of life.
I should create a perfect home
as your loyal, dutiful wife.

I should always be well groomed;
no stray hairs or comfy shoes.
I should yield to your attention
despite the stench of booze.

I should never stop to dream
of actions without pardon;
of hitting you over the head
and burying you in the garden.

Born in Liverpool, Bee Lewis now lives in East Sussex, on the south coast, with her husband and their Irish Setter. She is working on her first novel and is currently studying for her Creative Writing MA with Manchester Metropolitan University. Bee has a number of publishing credits, including a short story, The Iron Men, in Best British Short Stories 2015, published by Salt. She compares writing poetry to solving Sudoku – fiendish, and something best left to other, cleverer people.


The Anaconda by Keith Welch

If I had an anaconda
I’ll tell you what I’d do
I’d rent a brand new Honda
and to Disneyland we’d go
at the ticket booth the
man would holler

what you got there son?

I’d produce
the anaconda and point it
like a gun, saying

gimme all your tickets man! Today is free for all!

And he’d gimme all the
tickets and go climbing up a wall
’cause no one wants to
fight an anaconda which constricts
then I’d give out all the tickets to
the spoiled little pricks
But I won’t go to Disneyland
not even with a snake
’cause all the talking animals
give me a belly ache
I’d take the anaconda to the
swamps he loves the best
where he can hunt the nutria
the rats and all the rest
You really can’t go wrong
with a constrictor as a friend
he’s the best of company
from snout to tail-end.

Keith Welch lives and works in Bloomington, Indiana. His work has been published exactly once, possibly in error.