15 Love, by Ben Macnair

15 Love

Tennis is a game,
where they talk about love,
but spare none for the ball.
The thwack of the racket,
played politely by vicars,
with more than the scriptures
on their minds.

We are left out for the dog,
when our playing days
are little remembered.
We are mouldering,
greener than jealousy.
Chewed up,
spat out,
over the line,
under the net,
one last game,
for old time's sake.


The Bible as a Haiku, by Mark Ramsden

The Bible as a Haiku

Grumpy old God: GRIM.
Hippy son hailed, nailed, prevails.
Zombie’s gang. News: GOOD!

I was a professional musician for decades, writing and performing half a hit single, which did not result in fame and fortune. I was also a highly unprofessional, alcoholic addict, who eventually dabbled in transgender sex work. Published work includes a widely critically acclaimed trilogy for Serpent’s Tail, more recently two novels for Fahrenheit Press and a story in Outcast Press’s sex work anthology Slut Vomit.


Me and Joanna Lumley, by Jennifer A. McGowan

Me and Joanna Lumley

I caught Joanna Lumley reaching
through the open window of a bakery for bagels
crisp and hot and frankly

much tastier than any dreams
that had consumed us
in our adult lives (as I said to Joanna)

and she agreed, then added, “Except for the Gurkhas.
I’m proud of that,” and I agreed,
then at the corner we went our separate ways

to stare at the sky, to dream of mountains,
of hot butter running everywhere, equally.

Jennifer spends as much time as she can in the 15th century, but comes back for hot showers and bagels.


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


Circular, by Sharon Phillips


when the exit road was blocked
and a sign said men at work
although no men were working
and I couldn’t find the diversion
and the ring road kept on turning

when my satnav turned itself off
and the map from the passenger seat
was flapping in the footwell
and my armpits pricked with sweat
and the ring road kept on turning

when I’d forgotten the address
and I couldn’t find my phone
which had vanished from my bag
and I wanted to go home
but the ring road still kept turning

Sharon stopped writing poetry in 1976 and started again forty years later, after retiring from her career in education. Her poems have been published online and in print. Originally from Bristol, Sharon now lives in Otley, West Yorkshire.


Yes, the post-op went swimmingly, by Beth McDonough

Yes, the post-op went swimmingly

May I say... an excellent job!
Elegant at the bedside, she re-examined,
re-admired her neatly-stapled line,
on yet to purple flesh.
Damned good work!
You'll be in a bikini soon!

Residual anaesthesia and brocht-upness
kept back my awful truth. I'm more
a regulation one-piece sort of gal.
I gagged my thought-reply.
Doctor, had you carved some Celtic knot
across my abdomen, I'd be chuffed.
At last the fucking cyst is gone.

Beth McDonough’s poetry appears in Magma, Causeway, Gutter and elsewhere; she reviews in DURA.Her pamphlet Lamping for pickled fish is published by 4Word.


Prayer Before Sleep, by Nikki Fine

Prayer Before Sleep

I’d like an upgrade, please,
one with an installation wizard,
so I don’t need to go through
the pain of strict dieting,
an exercise regime,
self-improvement classes (plus homework),
or hours and hours of therapy
to convince me I’m good enough already
with no need of an upgrade,
or a wizard.

Nikki Fine used to be an English teacher but has now found better things to do with her time. She also writes, sings and runs. Mad fool.

Bored, by Margaret Jennings

Bored, by Margaret Jennings

Margaret Jennings lives near Portsmouth with a dog and a cat and a husband. Her first poetry chapbook, ‘We Are The Lizards’, published by Dempsey and Windle came out just as the country went into lockdown, which was not good timing. Margaret is currently working on a novel, ‘Ten Tricks’. https://www.dempseyandwindle.com/margaret-jennings.html also available from Amazon and Waterstones


Abominable Manners, by Catherine Doherty Nicholls

Abominable Manners

Looking like a hairy yeti
Sitting sucking his spaghetti,
Bolognesey bits
all splattered on his face
I watched him gulp and slurp,
Sniff and pick and blow and burp,
When his plate was licked
he never left a trace.

She’s a winner of no Poetry Ireland Competition, or any other competition. No published debut collection, nothing printed anywhere else yet except here.
Her poems have been nominated for nothing so she’s nominating this poem to go on this page – a great place to start nominating.
She is the curator of nothing. Her anthology doesn’t exist, yet she keeps going.
She recently read some out in Charlie Byrne’s bookshop, Galway. People clapped.