Ageing Process, by Jane Shaer

Have you ever looked in the mirror to reflect 
Your age
And noticed that cellulite and wrinkles have taken centre stage?
It's then you wonder to yourself
How old should I be?
What sort of a body is this to be given me?

Have you noticed the hair upon your head Is starting to thin out
When the roots underneath are turning White and suddenly beginning to sprout?
It's then you wonder to yourself
Am I really OK?
Why not have a wig when prematurely grey?

Have you ever been to the dentist and while
Lying in the chair
He's fitting you with a crown
And you gaze up his nose in despair?
It's then you wonder to yourself
This guy's a nice enough chap.
But I only wish he'd finish off
Bridging that gap.

Have you ever been to the doctor to get a Jab for the flu
And asked him time and time again
Can I make love to you?
It's then you wonder to yourself
If my senility's on par.
Why not have a man aswell
When I have a crush on my car?

Have you ever had a Garam or Tika Masala
From an Indian takeaway
Not realising the affects it has on you
For many a day?
It's then you wonder to yourself
If this stuff is going to keep on passing Through.
How much longer must I spend VINDALOO?
 

Internet Dating, by Fiona Sinclair

Internet dating

At first my ‘best side' photo is mobbed by men
so feel like Scarlett O'Hara at a ball,
until I discover lads seeking carefree cougar sex
or a meal ticket,
and from my own demographic;
inquiries after my hosiery,
and panting mobile numbers.

I search through my matches past Kray twin lookalikes,
married men wearing tell-tale dark glasses,
sad self portraits with bed sit back grounds,
for the handful of guys I might accept a drink from-

beginning to e-flirt with grin and wink emoticons,
over the week I virtual two time
men from Rochester and Deal,
who bus stop chat about work and their tea,
neither making the gear change up to seduction.
Difficult I suppose for most blokes
who barely scrawl a birthday card for mum,
to strike a balance between " Hello Sexy" and " It's raining here",
and write me into bed with Casanova craft.

Fiona Sinclair ‘s new collection Second Wind will be published by Dempsey and Windle Press, in Spring 2022. Her poems, which are broadly autobiographical, deal with the possibilities of later life; from learning to ride pillion on a motor bike to falling in love again. Fiona is also very open when writing about her health issues especially depression. Yet despite this her collections are full of humour and an exuberance for adventures when they present themselves. She lives in a village in Kent with a great many books and a feral garden that she battles with every year.

 

Waiting, by Patricia Phillips-Batoma

Waiting

The pharmacy texts to say
my covid booster is waiting
and my flu shot too.

My booster sits with her legs crossed
in one of their uncomfortable chairs,
her foot swinging in palpable agitation.

She checks the time on her new device
in a pink glitter-encrusted case
with a few choice emoji stickers.

My flu shot sits straight-backed
with both feet on the floor
and reads a book.

She slips it inside a canvas bag
to check out the reading glasses,
the new ones, with animal print motifs.

One of these Friday evenings
I’ll wander in and bring them home
one in each arm.

Patricia Phillips-Batoma is a French to English translator and teacher who lives in central Illinois, USA. Her poems have been published in Plants & Poetry, Parentheses, Offcourse, and Tuck Magazine. She can be reached at phillipsbatoma@gmail.com.

 

The Thief of Rhyme, by Sandra Bond

THE THIEF OF RHYME


One morning in the summertime
I ran into the Thief of Rhyme.
I said “Good day” and “how’d’ye’do?
I’m Sandra Bond, and who are you?”

He grinned at me, and showed his teeth,
And said “Of rhyme I am the thief;
I steal from poets every day,
And then their rhymes all go to hell.”

I found, alas, that it was so;
My rhymes were gone, I had no more,
I couldn’t make them work a damn,
And was nonplussed what to do next.

I hoped good luck might come my way;
Instead I met the Scansion Thief,
Who took away my ability to make poems scan,
And now they’re as blank as a very blank thing indeed.
They don’t even all have the same number of lines per stanza any more.
Oh bloody hell.

Sandra Bond is a Staffordshire novelist, poet and tragedian who
considers it most unfair that writing one piece of verse every month
or so does not attract a living wage. Her first novel, THE PSYCHOPATH
CLUB, was published in 2021.
https://www.sandra-bond.com/

 

Live Laugh Love, by Roise Curran

“Live Laugh Love”
-Kim Jong Un

Former housemate Cillian (from Donegal)
bought him on Amazon for £12.99
and hung him high in the kitchen/living room
for all passers-by to admire his great glory.

He looks mighty chuffed
in front of his military sub,
and, cigarette in hand,
is quoted saying “live, laugh, love”
in beautiful curly cursive,
so, all us Irish twenty-whatever year olds
can look upon his superiority
and salute while preaching
our daily affirmations.

Right before we take our own cigarette
and burn a little hole in the flag fabric,
place a stolen public toilet sign over his head,
and drunkenly use him as a makeshift tea towel.

We’re just doing as we’re told, respected comrade,
We’re “live, laugh, love”-ing

Róise Curran is a 19 year old poet from Galway who has barely published any work but will get around to it eventually. She started writing when she was 15 as a way to express her disdain for school but I suppose she’s moved on a little. Now, she writes poems about all sorts of things like moving out, mental health and a good few about her cats. You’ll likely be hearing from her soon, she never shuts up (which is a good thing!)

 

Not an Epic, by Terri Metcalfe

Not an Epic

With my attention span,
I don’t write long poems
hanging off the ends of sentences
veering into the weather forecast

scattered wordy periods.

I chance the occasional romance
with assonance but like snow in May,
it bewilders me so I let it melt

away. I’ve always felt
I am four stanzas average,
five and I risk an accidental plummet
into my shopping list. Boy with a mullet

on Shop Street, don’t go bringing
back hairstyles that should only ever
be fish...pie mix, juice, not from

Terri Metcalfe has been published in Abridged, A New Ulster, Green Ink Poetry, Spilling Cocoa and Skylight 47. She was shortlisted for the Open Window 2023 mentorship programme and will be a featured reader at the 20th anniversary of Over The Edge Literary Events held in Galway this January.

 

One’s Own, by Kevin Higgins

One's Own
after Virginia Woolf & Father Jack Hackett

My psychotherapist agrees
I need to get to a place
where I think less
about my own arse
and more about other people's.

Like most of you I've long,
on the quiet, been a keen amateur bottomist.
She thinks I should haul it to the next level
become writer-in-residence at a nudist colony
or regular weekend orgy of consenting literary theorists.

And when I retire from that
or, better still, get tossed brutally out the gate
for conduct unbecoming for even
a writer-in-residence at a nudist colony
or weekend orgy of consenting literary theorists

that I must sit by my upstairs window spying
through my hyper-sighted binoculars
the pump action thrusts of morning cyclists;
become so focused on theirs

that, to paraphrase Virginia Woolf, I neglect
entirely that one has, in fact,
an arse of one’s own,
and is indeed sitting on it.

KEVIN HIGGINS is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway. He has published six full collections of poems: The Boy With No Face (2005), Time Gentlemen, Please (2008), Frightening NewFurniture (2010), The Ghost In The Lobby (2014), Sex and Death at Merlin Park Hospital (2019), &Ecstatic (2022). His poems also feature in Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and in The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe May 2014). Kevin was satirist-in-residence with the alternative literature website The Bogman’s Cannon 2015-16. 2016 – The Selected Satires of Kevin Higgins was published by NuaScéalta in 2016. The Minister For Poetry Has Decreed was published by Culture Matters (UK) also in 2016. Song of Songs 2:0 – New & Selected Poems was published by Salmon in Spring 2017. Kevin is a highly experienced workshop facilitator and several of his students have gone on to achieve publication success. He has facilitated poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre and taught Creative Writing at Galway Technical Institute for the past fifteen years. Kevin is the Creative Writing Director for the NUI Galway International Summer School and also teaches on the NUIG BA Creative Writing Connect programme. His poems have been praised by, among others, Tony Blair’s biographer John Rentoul, Observer columnist Nick Cohen, writer and activist Eamonn McCann, historian Ruth Dudley Edwards, and Sunday Independent columnist Gene Kerrigan; and have been quoted in The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times (London), Hot Press magazine, Phoenix magazine, The Daily Mirror and on The Vincent Browne Show, and read aloud by Ken Loach at a political meeting in London. He has published topical political poems in publications as various as The New European, The Morning Star, Dissent Magazine (USA), Village Magazine (Ireland), & Harry’s Place. The Stinging Fly magazine has described Kevin as “likely the most widely read living poet in Ireland”. Kevin’s poetry has been translated into Greek, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Albanian, French, Russian, & Portuguese. One of Kevin’s poems features in A Galway Epiphany, the final instalment of Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor series of novels which is just published. His work has been broadcast on RTE Radio, Lyric FM, and BBC Radio 4. His book The Colour Yellow & The Number 19: Negative Thoughts That Helped One Man Mostly Retain His Sanity During 2020 was published in late 2020 by Nuascealta. His extended essay Thrills & Difficulties: Being A Marxist Poet In 21st Century Ireland was published in pamphlet form by Beir Bua Press last year. In December 2021 Kevin was both expelled from the British Labour Party, of which he was an overseas member, for publishing his poem ‘Tribute Acts’ in Socialist Appeal magazine and, on the very same day, awarded ‘Poet of The Year’ at the Labour Heroes Awards event at Conway Hall, London. This year Kevin received a dozen nominations for the position of Ireland Chair of Poetry – Ireland’s Professor of Poetry. Ecstatic, Kevin’s sixth full poetry collection is just published by Salmon Poetry.

 

Disco Badgers, by Neil Windsor

Disco Badgers 

What's that rustling in the trees? It's the Disco Badgers strutting their funky stuff
From their lofty perch high amongst the foliage they just can't get enough
They have a fondness for the 70s disco groove
You can tell that by the way they sway and move
They hang their transistor radio from a lower branch, tuned to retro golden disco hits
They party through the night shaking their badger bits

In the early morning light they retire to their underground homes
Clearing up their empty beer cans, burger boxes, and southern fried chicken bones
Bio diversity responsibilities matter to these funky types
As much as their chest hangin' medallions and perma tanned facial stripes.


They hold each others front paws for support as they stand on their hind legs and groove
In hip swingin' disco fashion they rhythmically move

You'll notice I've used move and groove twice now but you can never have enough
They have to concentrate and not let go otherwise they'll tumble to the ground luckily these badgers are tough
With plaintive 'eek thump eek thump eek thump' echoing in the dark, as gravity takes it's toll
They land with a wild yelled 'Geronimo!' and perfectly executed parachute roll
They traipse back homewards using the zebra crossing, road safety is their primary thought
'Now you see them, now you don't' as on the cctv they're caught

Carefully passing the convenience store the bar code faced badgers creep
Desperate not to set off the till scanners bip bip bip beep
They keep to the shadows, dropping their litter in the relevant receptacle
They recycle responsibly of course but remain global warming sceptical
They're eager to do their bit, it's what climate conscious creatures do
They're just happy the badger cull's been vetoed and banished to the back of the animal killing queue

Neil Windsor is a Writer of children’s short stories, Artist and Poet from Leeds who produces and performs all his work with an absolute passion and a slightly slanted off – kilter view of life.
He also plays extremely bad left handed blues guitar.#neilwindsorart

 

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.