What the Hell is a Peke? by Josa Young

Pekes are pugs
In wigs
But not pigs
A pig in a wig
Is Miss Piggy

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.



A Funny Thing Happened At The BBQ Party by Stella Wulf

Libidos washed up like sagging lilos
on a rasp dry beach,
we bobbed about in cozy cliques,
chattering of the doings of offspring,
plumbing, leaks.
Chewed the fat of the latest diet fad.

The men snapped tongs,
slapped meat on the BBQ,
talked of bleeding rads,
brake pads,
and we all admired the view
of the perfectly ridged new roof,

and the new roofer emerging,
unabridged from the shower,
all terra cotta brown and limber,
his lithesome man-boy chest,
as he did his best to hide his timber.

The tide rushed up that deserted beach,
in a surging tsunami of passion,
breaching the maternal shore,
shingling everything in its passage,
and I gushed in immature ejaculation,
‘Anyone for sausage?’

Stella Wulf lives in France and is currently studying towards an MA in Creative Writing. Her work has been widely published and has appeared in several anthologies including The Very Best of 52, three drops from a cauldron, and the Clear Poetry Anthology. 


Wishing You Were There by Sarah L Dixon

We know where all the bins are
and the window keys
and how to operate the washing machine.

We know the quirks of the toilet,
the floorboard that creaks,
the pipes and tubes that are liable to leak.

We know where the dust gathers,
the knack to broken gates,
that the clock in the kitchen runs five minutes late.

We know our local A+E,
the nearest doctor,
that strange night-noise is the Police helicopter.

We know hours of pubs and shops,
takeouts we can trust
and which cupboard holds spray to treat the rust.

We know what the TIVO holds for us,
our spots on the settee,
my bed is memory-foamed the shape of me.

We know grubby cook-books well,
our stash of herbs and spices,
and where we store treats to feed our sugar vices.

Sarah L Dixon tours as The Quiet Compere.  She has been published in Ink, Sweat and Tears and The Interpreter’s House among others. Sarah’s inspiration comes from being by water and adventures with her five-year old, Frank.  She is still attempting to write better poetry than Frank did aged 4!



A Stoic at Birmingham New Street by Julia D McGuinness

“Though you break your heart, men will go on as before.”

His 18.36 to Crewe cancelled,
Marcus Aurelius noted only the illogicality
of the announcement coming through
at 18.42.

The queue for Train Information
snaked along the station
like Hannibal’s troops down a mountain pass,
spasmodically butted by traversing passengers,
brash as goats.
Mindful of inner strength,
Marcus Aurelius stepped back,
a neat cubit’s length.

The computer screen a fascination,
he commended the duty girl’s operation,
her agile hands, expressionless economy of
‘This is the only information I have.’
Marcus Aurelius ascertained
his next permissible train
as the 20.01.

Inside Cafe Nero, in seated position,
he mastered desire for his Chester connection;
averted his eyes from a beggar; shunned pity –
emotional giving so morally unfitting;
approved proud football fans’ swift nemesis:
brusque police escort, straight off the premises;
puzzled the sense of a passer-by’s wit:
‘These trains ‘ave gotta be a joke, innit?’

At 19.55, with measured pace,
he duly proceeded towards Platform 8.
The amber-lit board flashed new information:
The 20.01’s cancellation.
At that point,
Marcus Aurelius
lost it.

Julia D McGuinness is a writer, counsellor and writing for wellbeing practitioner based near Chester. She has written 4 non-fiction books and her poetry has been published online. Her first poetry collection, Chester City Walls, was published last year by Poetry Space.


Kissing by Josa Young

Wasn’t even her best nipple
In medical terms ‘shy’ Grade 2 inverted
No amount of hungry babies (5)
Let alone him as they flirted
Could leave it extroverted

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.



I’m Getting Out Of Dodge by David O’Neill

Boar's head erased (scottish heraldry)


Brexit stage right, pursued by a bear

I’m getting out
Of getting out;
There’s no doubt
It will be a rout
So I’m getting out of

Everyone’s now obfuscating;
Boris, Mike and Nige are waiting
Our plan.
Who’s got it?

Messages on big red buses
Now elicit oaths and cusses—
All the world expecting something
From the hollow soundbites of the
Bullingdons; oh, Bullingdon,
What have your ox-brained old boys done?

I’m getting out of Dodge—
Going down the lodge—
I’ve got more things to
Go and bodge
I’m getting out of

Everyone’s confabulating;
Merkel, Jean and Nic are waiting
Our man.
Who’ll cop it?

Promises of wads of Rheingold,
Pups and PPI were missold—
All the world expecting something
From the nibelung ‘un of the
Camerons; oh, Cameron,
You’ve gone and göt a dämmerung.

I’m getting out of Dodge—
Off to make a splodge—
The caput apri
Mocks my todge
I’m getting out of


David O’Neill is a frustrated mathematician who has journeyed through a predominantly life-science-based medical landscape for most of his mortgage-paying professional life, eventually finding salvation in the Open University, too close to the end for practical application but sufficiently early for peace of mind and poetic inspiration.



Fish Frown by Pat Tompkins

Dogs smile but fish
are serious.

Without a doubt,
sober are trout.

The gar, smelt, and crappie
thrive yet are not happy.

Glum are the salmon,
and carp tend to harp.

Piscatory life
is not without strife.

Cold and wet, stuck in schools,
baited hooks catch the fools.

Sad is the fish who
struggles with issues.

I wonder if
fish wish.

(Previously published in Thema)

Pat Tompkins is an editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her poems have appeared in Confingo, The A3 Review, bottle rockets, and other publications.


Poo Stick Parade by Heather Wastie

Striders, stragglers
Dog poo wardens
Puddle patrols
Sloshers, stampers
Tottering slitherers
Towpath tramplers
with Nordic poles

Herded hubbub
That’ll do! Come by!
Chatter pack therapy
Out with shouts
Three wide, ten deep
Clogging up the airwaves
Peace churned up
by regimented nature-loving louts!

Poet, singer, songwriter and actor Heather Wastie is The Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015/16. In 2013 she was Writer in Residence at the Museum of Carpet, Kidderminster. She has published four illustrated poetry collections and has a busy schedule of commissions and performances.