Consider now Hercule Poirot,
a criminal’s cleverest foe.
and quite erudite,
though sometimes exceedingly so.
Phil Huffy writes early and often at his kitchen table, casting a wide net as to form and substance.
From the coast road, springily square,
car-crammed, the family, bull-bumptious,
descends to the shore.
Aunt Maud mumbles a knuckle-Kyrie Eleison
of never-ending keeper-key prayers against rain.
Uncle Owen, bottle-party-bovate,
sets out drinks four-square
while Baby Ann, duck dummy
spinach-spitting, sobs on the sand.
Cousin Willy two-times-tables the sandwiches
next to Father’s drum-duchy with his
spouse-special tobacco treasury
and orange-peel organisation.
Wearing her haberdashery-handy straw hat,
Mother, nightdress-nifty, certificate chatty,
sits Empress enigma on her silver strand,
the fidgety pastry-peckish children
as they bucket-bustle, sandcastle-building.
At Bank Holiday’s end
traipsing back to trunk-road Tuesdays,
the car’s hostage-houseful returns
to minute-book miseries and ashpan aspidistras
to wait, promising-proper, for the next
Jam-Jehovah all-allowed holiday
with a sand-scattered holdall-homecoming,
leaving the darkening beach
nightwatch-noble to the bow-legged breeze.
Pat Jourdan was writing poems even while at Liverpool College of Art. She has published five collections of poetry, the latest : Citizeness. Broadcast on BBC poetry Please, Radio Eireann, Radio Norfolk, Radio Suffolk. Latest poems in Orbis, Tears in the Fence and poetrycooperative.org.
To keep the wolf
from the door
I caught a wolf
trained it up
made a killing
Two months later
with some mates
who’d heard about the training
and the upskilling
and the attendant lupine employment opportunities
They ate me out of house and home
I tried to coral them
and sell them as a pack
but lost a fortune:
it wasn’t a bear
or a wolf
Scunthorpe-born Rob Walton lives in Whitley Bay. His poems and flash fictions are widely published, and his debut poetry collection, This Poem Here, was published by Arachne Press in 2021. He also writes for children. Twitter and Instagram: @robwaltonwriter
Destination: Land of Nod
High-pitched hum of mosquito,
chant of ten green beer bottles,
bizarrely clucking chickens,
yet no sign of winged Hypnos
with his magic dust to sink me into sleep.
Lagoons, balloons, candles on cake,
endless counting of fence-dodging sheep,
tipping towards anger as I’m more awake.
Breezes, sunsets, turtles in the surf,
the whoosh-whoosh of waves,
feet downing into the plashy sand,
torso heavier, scent of lavender,
but no blasted sleep.
Jill Vance is a poet and interdisciplinary artist. Her poems have appeared in Truth Serum Press, Pure Slush, Dirigible Balloon and Green Ink Poetry. She hopes one day to have a pamphlet published of poetry and artwork.
The eve of Christmas Eve
Tills in overdrive, the carol
Of sale items no one wants
To give or receive
Cars snake into the underground
Of an out-of-town supermarket
Bulge in restrictive spaces
Swollen with purchases
Nearby at the chemist
Scripts arrive faster than FedEx
Inside a white-coated woman
Bags pills against the threat
Of rising inflammation, anything
To ease the innards of millions
Inhaling mince pies and Baileys
All to discard again
Dump from car to cistern
Via the slow mulch of bellies
Pressed against festooned tables
And now it is you bulging at the wheel
Rounding the corner on new year
Smelling of gift-boxed eau du parfum
That isn’t as nice as you had thought
But wager if nothing else
Masks the sulphur of January diets
En route to the gym again
Of retail conveyor belts
Karen Jones began writing poetry in 2019, and was privileged to be a student of the late Kevin Higgins. Born in Northern Ireland, she lives in Dublin and works in public relations.
The new Celtic Ode to the dreamed mother Nature
You are an enjoyable juniper!
You are a pleasurable bush!
You are an agreeable poplar!
You are a delightful spruce!
You are a gratifying cedar!
You are an amusing birch!
You are a diverting corn!
You are a bonny pine!
You are a lovely palm!
Your sepal be alluring!
Your petals be delightful!
Your stamens be appealing!
Your carpel be graceful!
Your corolla be good-looking!
Your filament be pretty!
Your ovary be stunning!
Your ovule be foxy!
Your anther be ravishing!
You honor starlet-like dreamland.
You admire moonlet-like mirror.
You exalt moony fairyland.
You deify moonlit enchanted rose.
You praise starry gingerbread house.
You glorify starlit forest.
You apotheosize comet-like spell book.
You magnify spherical tower.
You gratify sunny Ovidian sword.
Paweł and the Neoceltism
This poem is a dreamy manifesto of the Neoceltism, the spirit, in which Paweł has created his English poesy.
Stephen scribbles things whenever he is not forcing a member of the public into a CT scanner. His poems have appeared in Boyne Berries, Drawn to the Light, ROPES, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, Strukturriss and Vox Galvia.
CARLUCCIO’S, EALING, BEFORE CHRISTMAS
big smiling man with the puffball hair
it’s almost like we’re on first name terms
you rich old mushroom hunter
how I might adoro your pomodoro
you master of corporate rusticity.
Your customers worked all week for this
if they want to sit down
they’re going to have to stand up
it’s all been worked out
it’s so cold tonight
your red and gold wrappings and trappings
your vibrantly green beans
your snowy mozzarella
your tanned, smiling staff melt my cynicism
100g at a time.
You dug up a good one.
Sooner or later
we’ll bore of your flavours
all the window dressing
your one-stop Italy-to-go
as long as there are forests
there will be mushrooms.
John Lanyon lives in the Cotswolds. He works as an organic gardener, linguist, musician, and writer. Having failed his English Literature O Level, he came to love literature through reading it in French and German. He writes about art, the body, childhood, society, nature, the spirit of places, the secret lives of words.
Casey Jarrin is a poet, painter, and educator whose writing appears in Irish, UK, and US journals (Banshee, Abridged, Washington Square Review, Belfield Literary Review, Banyan Review, Buzzwords, Grand Journal). She’s received the York, Goldsmith, and Fingal Poetry Prizes, been on the Bridport shortlist, and performed as a featured poet at Lime Square and the Nuyorican Poets Café. A Jewish-Catholic atheist raised in New York who’s since lived in Dublin and Minneapolis, she received her PhD in modern literature/film, taught at Macalester College for several years, and is founder-director of Live Mind Learning. She’s now completing her debut collection, The Naked Dinner. Website: www.caseyjarrin.com