Cleaning Up, by Sue Spiers

Cleaning up

I’ve a hoover that no longer sucks
despite clearing out all kinds of muck:
three spiders, my hair
and John’s underwear,
So, I have to concede that it’s fucked.

I’ve rinsed out my J-cloths and duster
of grime with what zeal I can muster.
I’d rather be fed
cockroaches instead.
At best my approach is lack-lustre.

I have mopped Flash and polished my brass
I’ve grown weary to Windowlene glass.
I’ve sprayed Mr. Sheen,
got surfaces clean.
That’s enough for this year. Kiss my ass!

Sue lives in Hampshire and has poems in Acumen, Orbis and Stand magazines and on-line at Ink, Sweat and Tears. Sue works with Winchester Poetry Festival and is editor for the Open University annual poetry anthology. Find out more on twitter @Sue Spiers


Uncle Peter, by Nigel Lloyd

Uncle Peter

Uncle Peter wasn’t Elvis, but he thought he was.
Admittedly, at family parties even after a skin full
he could hold a tune, but Elvis didn’t need to be
helped into a taxi after a gig, and he didn’t have to retrieve
his false teeth from the garden the following day.

Uncle Peter wasn’t Fred Astaire, but he thought he was.
Admittedly, at his daughter’s wedding, even with indigestion
after a three course meal and several brandies,
he could throw a few shapes.
But Fred Astaire didn’t nearly get arrested
because he was running through the town centre
with a traffic cone on his head.

Uncle Peter wasn’t Casanova, but he thought he was.
Admittedly, he was married three times
and always seemed to find plenty of women
who liked the aroma of Brylcreem and Castella cigars.
But Casanova didn’t put so much Hi Karate on
that you could smell him in the next street.

Uncle Peter wasn’t a young man, but he thought he was.
Admittedly, he had read the NME since the 60’s
but you can’t be cool forever.
He started to look like he had lost it
When he thought Kanye West was a holiday destination.

Uncle Peter wasn’t my favourite uncle, but he thought he was.

Nigel Lloyd lives in rural Donegal and has had poems published in several magazines

From Crannog to Progressive Rock Magazine, he also had a poem featured on 

BBC Radio Ulsters Soundscapes programme and was a finalist in the 

Bring your Limericks to Limerick competition 2018 and a finalist in

The Piano Academy of Ireland Limerick competition 2021.


Normal Dad by Jude Cowan Montague

for James Worse and Marlowe

Normal dad’s are nice dads,
normal dads are good,
normal dads do not have beards
and no one thinks they should.

Normal dads do not stare out
to see if there are ships.
Normal dads do not write pomes
or mess with English Lit.

Normal dads are not like you.
Normal dads aren’t cool.
Normal dads are more like them –
be normal! Toe the rule!

Jude Cowan Montague used to work as an archivist for Reuters and has written poetry about the news agency reports. She created and host a weekly radio show on Resonance FM called ‘The News Agents’. She has been an artist and a songwriter as well as a poet, since forever and you can drop in on her at her gallery in St Leonards-on-Sea which is called Montague Armstrong.


Sappho Considers Her Brothers by Mandy Pannett

Meanwhile, I’ll tell you more about my brothers since you complain
my fragments are tantalising and you want the real stuff –
concrete lions not pot-pourri, the booze of stag nights not
confetti in the rain.

I am the one born in the middle. (Umpteen volumes
thrive on this theme which I’m sure you’re sick of, as I am.)
Still, they’ve got a point, those clever words, labels that peg
and wind me round a wigwam of canes like a runner bean.

Yes, I felt neglected, underrated, always
the Indian who got scalped, never the cowboy with a gun.

Yes, I was jealous and did mean things.

Baby was the worst. Whoever gave him that nickname?
Fat and forty plus, getting bald before his time –
Even his email is

It was easy to make him cry: snaffle the biscuit from his plate, add
vinegar to his angel delight, forget to put the brake on his buggy
at the top of the garden steps.

He had a girl friend once. (Mother didn’t welcome
intruders to the house, vetted them first as if filleting fish.)
This one stuck like superglue until a text, sent from his phone, called her
an ugly cow, suggested she fuck off.

Stags. You want a stag? That’s my elder brother – testosterone
on the rampage, a beer-gut he doesn’t even try to hide
(he thinks he looks so good in shorts). I could go on
but I’m sure you get the scene.

Incidentally, those fragments, do you ever wonder
why there aren’t more of them? Why the edges are charred?
Names on paper shrivel like worms tossed on a fire …

If a name can disappear, well,
the owner of it might, just possibly,
vanish too.

Mandy Pannett works freelance as a creative writing tutor. She has won prizes and been placed in international competitions and has judged others. She is the author of a novella and five poetry collections: She has edited a number of publications and is the poetry editor of Sentinel Literary Quarterly.