What’s the John Dory? by Susan Evans

Message in a bottle; excuse my Squid ink scroll.
To my darling John Dory, my fellow tortured Sole.

You’re in another Plaice, but I just want you to know,
I don’t think you a Pollock; I love our ebb & flow.

Monsieur Mussel, you put the Rainbow in my Trout;
I’m like Wild Salmon when we dive & splash about.

& when I’m feeling Crabby you don’t try to suck me in;
you’re gentle & protective fending off those Crayfish twins.

The world’s our Lobster in my aqua fantasy;
you & I go deep, making under water alchemy.

Playing all of your top Tuna, on your favourite Sea Bass,
I swim, you sing: ‘I see you baby (shakin’ that ass)’.

Alas, I cannot be your Mermaid ‘plenty more fish’ says head;
you’ve a Dover Sole mate; shan’t put my Roe in one seabed.

I can be a Tiger Prawn but you can see that I’m no Snapper.
Okay, I find you dishy & your swim suit’s very dapper.

But be more Monk fish; your Sole mate’s down at Eel.
I’m just a red Herring & I’ve no wish to steal.

Without you, I’ll feel gutted; be like losing a fin.
But you’re caught; could be worse, could be Sardines in a tin.

Susan Evans is widely published; online & in print; appearing in: The High Window, Ink, Sweat & Tears, The Journal, Message in a Bottle, Nutshells and Nuggets, Obsessed With Pipework, and Snakeskin, among numerous others. A Brighton-based Performance poet, Susan was nominated Best Spoken Word Performer in the Saboteur Awards, 2016.



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.


A Gentleman’s Guide to a Comfortable Life by Simon Williams

Wear a utility belt.
This avoids scrubbing holes
in your pockets with loose change
and inadvertently washing
phone numbers, first drafts and £10 notes
to lint.

Never take on anyone else’s fish.

Learn about cars
but also find a reliable garage
and join the RAC.

Buy cheap crap from China.

Own several pairs of trousers
and change them regularly.

Pre-heat the bathroom and
check towels before showering.

Own a Swiss Army Knife
or failing that
a smartphone with a compass app.

Grouchy is a respectable standpoint to work from.

Back up your stuff.

Perfect the appearance of being busy;
never be caught writing poems.

Simon Williams has six published collections. He latest pamphlet, Spotting Capybaras in the Work of Mac Chagall, launched in April and his next full collection, Inti, will be out later this year. Simon was elected The Bard of Exeter in 2013 and founded the large-format magazine, The Broadsheet. He makes a living as a journalist.