A Feeling of Light-Headedness, by Simon Williams

A Feeling of Light-Headedness

It started as one of those party games; all take a gulp of helium and talk like Mickey till your lungs deflate. Only, the effect didn’t stop; our voices never dropped to their normal timbres, our heads swelled and began to swing in the breeze. This was a little disconcerting; I think it was Angela stepped up first. When her feet reached the top of the sofa, Jim had lifted off, too, then Clare and Stephen, until all eight of us were butting the ceiling. Without the Prosecco, we could have been scared. Lucy, down a bottle and a half, managed to bounce to the hall, float up to the landing and steer into the bathroom. She came to realise how difficult it is to aim from high above the bowl. The lightheadedness wore off eventually; we floated down as gently as we’d risen. Lucky, really, it wasn't a garden party. With the prevailing wind, we could have reached Norwich, at 30,000 feet.


Just Sayin’, after William Carlos Williams, by Derek Adams

Just Sayin’
after William Carlos Williams

I have chucked
the plums
you left in
my fridge

and which
you would probably
were in date.

they were disgusting
and growing mould.

Derek Adams is a professional photographer, living in Suffolk. He has an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths. His most recent collection is EXPOSURE – Snapshots from the life of Lee Miller. Sometimes he tries to be funny!www.derek-adams.co.uk


The Thirty-Five Seconds University, by Phil Knight


In The Thirty-five Seconds University
You will learn all you will remember
Thirty-five years after taking a Degree.

Supply will rise to meet the demand.

God is in us all in every land.

All forces have their opposite and equal.

Media Studies
The first film was better than the sequel.

Creative Writing
Write about yourself and what you know.

Know yourself and know your foe.

Everything gets to happen twice.

Social Studies
People really should try to be nice.

The best thing about
The Thirty-five Seconds University
Is that your tuition has been absolutely FREE!

Phil knight is from Neath, South Wales. He had poems published in Planet, Poetry Wales, Earth Love, Roundyhouse, Atlantic Review And other publications. In 2014 Green Arrow published his chapbook Dylanation and in 2015 Red Poets published his collection You Are Welcome To Wales.


Envy: So, Who made the Mouse King?, by Royal Rhodes

ENVY: So, Who Made the Mouse King?
An Apology to T.S. Eliot

A cold coming I had of it,
just the worst, assigned to the rear --
was that fair? -- for the journey:
Uriah Heep to your Becky Sharp.
Where are my gloves in this dead-on winter?
Have a Camel? My lungs are refractory,
my wellies wet in the melting snow.
But were there times the rest regretted,
in their time-share condos, floored in terrazo,
and their lackeys bringing cigars?
Then my Camels went stale -- curses and grumble --
while the Fates ran ahead with those winos & women,
and the turista hostile and toilets untidy
and the diners dirty, charging fortunes for chili.
The others had a great time of it.
At the end they made me travel all night,
snatching a nap at an old Motel 6,
while they pocketed shampoo and packets of Puffs.
In the end it's always penis envy.

Did my sore, freakin' neck get
broken or deadened for this? I lost breath, certainly;
I have evidence, not that they care. It was death,
but mine was harder than theirs; my breath
was hard, bitter-tasting. They acted like Abel,
that goody-goody boy on our block;
they stepped out to places, like the Magic Kingdom,
while I had to settle for Epcot's cheap sensation,
with those alien tourists clutching their VISA Cards.
I should be glad if they're trampled to death.

Royal Rhodes is retired and living in the rural farmland of Ohio. His poems have appeared in: Snakeskin Poetry, Ekphrastic Review Challenge, New Verse News, Lothlorien Poetry, and The Montreal Review, among other journals.


How to Write a Job Reference for Someone who Thinks you have Forgiven Them, by Clive Oseman


Thank you for giving me
the opportunity to supply
a reference for Billy, or sweaty bollocks
as he was known in prison.
Not without some justification, I'm lead to believe.

I met Billy in the heyday of football hooliganism.
Admittedly I was only doing a stretch
for ATTEMPTED murder
and playing Adam & the ants
in a public place
(sentences running concurrently),
but I looked up to Billy
for having the courage of his convictions
in his hatred of Oxford United.
Ok, he took it a bit too far
but he was young.

We became friends and
committed a few armed robberies together
when we were released,
but we never got caught
as we framed the local Tory election candidate,
who incidentally is due out
in a couple of weeks,
but I can honestly say
he has turned his back on violence
and did some voluntary work
as treasurer of the bowls club
until they went bankrupt.

You would be lucky indeed
to employ someone of Billy's quality.
With what you pay I have to
think back to the days where he would
only consider working for you
if he was eyeing up embezzlement opportunities,
to be honest.
What giant strides he has made.

On the hygiene front,
I'm told his bollocks are no longer sweaty.

I am sure that provided
you allow him to smoke weed on duty,
he will be a loyal employee.
He is intolerant of heavy handed opposition
to drug use at work,
but he maintains that
the shrooms were not his.

I hope you will give him the job,
as he owes me that five grand
I lent him to bribe the coppers,
and I want it back.

He is not an arsonist.

Clive Oseman is a Swindon based Brummie. He writes humorous poems and gets some funny looks, which he thinks is a fair trade.

I’ll take a look under the sonnet, by Arran Potts

I’ll take a look under the sonnet

Tis clapped out and broken; wanting of parts,
Its paint, sheen and lustre are shed.
This wreck of a carriage will take all my arts,
I fear it is already dead.
It wails as it drives, it clanks and it ticks,
The engine is silent and cold,
I fear this is something, that I cannot fix,
Your car, I’m afraid, is too old.
Perhaps I can salvage, some cogs and the gears,
From this conked-out, rusty old nail;
You’ve had this poor thing now for too many years,
I doubt I could put it on sale.
T’would not make me much, and I would be brassic,
A miserable end, for such an old classic.

Arran Potts is from Wolverhampton, UK. He has taken up poetry as a hobby to rekindle a love for writing; and is finding Jo Bell’s ‘52 Poems’ book really useful. He recently won the inaugural Blackness on Sea Poetry Prize. He is supported by family and friends. He is hindered by his job.


Bloody Crows, by Agnes Warren

Bloody Crows

My morning cup interrupted
I burst from the door
A demented whirling dervish
In a pink fleecy robe
Gesticulate wildly,
Hurl foul abuse

They scatter
In all directions
A black feathered diaspora
Momentarily exiled
But ever watchful
They bide their time
Never doubt their rightful return

My poor beleaguered hens
Seize the moment
Occupy the feeder
Under the protective eye
Of a garishly clad
UN Peacekeeper

The farmer offers
To shoot one
Hang the carcass on a pole
A warning to the others
Just say the word he says
Surprised, as I recoil

I retreat down the rabbit hole
Of internet advice
From BB guns
To hawk shaped kites
My head spins

Out of nowhere they come
A grandmother's words
Be gentle with nature
Take care of the wild things
Feed the birds

I stand, cup in hand
Watch, admire
My unruly visitors

Disgruntled hens and trigger-happy farmers aside
Equilibrium is restored

Agnes Warren lives in the West of Ireland. She started writing poetry in 2021 and participated in a series of workshops with Kevin Higgins, through Galway Arts Centre.

A misuse of fruit, by Anne Babbs

A misuse of fruit

It was meant to be erotic.
The strategically placed strawberries,
The cream-covered nipples,
but all I could think was
that the sheets would need changing
before I could sleep.

Anne is a poet who regularly takes part in open mic events and the occasional slam. A selection of her poems can be found in the ‘New Voices’ anthology published by Offa’s Press in 2022.


Meet me at the toilet rolls, by Margaret Jennings

Meet me at the toilet rolls

I’m tired of meeting you at the toilet rolls
where we unravel the traffic of years
that dragged us here

At the toilet rolls we’ll have a tryst
arguing about petty things
a tryst without a kiss

Yes, buy a new comb
to slick back your persona
but remember there’s a man
changing light bulbs in the eaves
who is watching you

I will buy the toilet rolls
and later you will ask
if I bought new or used

As if I would do that to you

I’m tired of meeting you at the toilet rolls

is all

Margaret Jennings is a poet, novelist and short story writer. Her novel, ‘ The Worry List’, was longlisted in the Bridport first novel award. She has been published in anthologies such as ‘The Lighthouse’ and enjoys being part of the thriving literary world in Portsmouth. Margaret’s poetry book, ‘We Are The Lizards,’ is available from Dempsey and Windle.