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

 

The Half-Starved Virgin, by Bobbie Sparrow

The half starved virgin

Mother told me not to be greedy,
to sit on my hands and wait.
‘Hold in your stomach and tighten,
you never know who’s at the gate.’

Mother always looked good in an A-line,
kept her fingers off the cream buns.
Smoked cigarettes at breakfast,
tried filling her hunger with puns.

‘Keep smiling at those dancing boys
be cheerful and do not pout.
Go walking, cycling, play games of cards
and never ever give out.’

Mother frowned at my father’s kiss,
sat straight on her stool thinking thoughts.
Did the crossword and drank fizzy water
for the little pleasure it brought.

I wore white on the night that he took it –
a boy with clean nails and a purse.
He spent longer than I thought
but during it I caught

desire is a belly full of want. Now

give me some sweet with my sugar,
give me chocolate with my wine,
give me tongues in my kisses,
give me rapture in my crying.

Give me saunas in the sunshine,
give me plunge pools in the rain,
give me sand in the desert,
give me ecstasy in pain.

‘Leave the table wanting more’ said mother,
To hell with that, I state.
Give her food when she’s hungry ,
unlatch the half-starved virgin’s gate.

Bobbie Sparrow‘s poems have been published in many journals including Orbis, Crannog, Skylight 47, The Honest Ulsterman, Cordite, and Southword. Bobbie won 3rd prize for her Chapbook in the Blue Nib competition 2018 and came second in the Saolta Arts Trust Poems for Patience competition 2020. Her Chapbook Milk and Blood was commended in the Fools for Poetry competition 2020 and she was nominated as one of Dodging the Rain’s best published poets 2018/19. She loves lake swimming and cycling downhill.

 

Ads for adults, not suitable for children, by Carole Donaldson

Here’s one concerning my embarrassment at the conversation I was forced to have with a highly inquisitive and precocious four-year-old boy to which I’ve always told the truth …erm, except in this case. I mean, how does one start?

Ads for adults, not suitable for children

When your four-year-old is smart and bright,

and sat there watching telly one night,

Well it’s not quite what I’d call ‘night’ really,

more afternoon/early evening clearly,

then he looks to you to innocently ask,

while you look on, somewhat aghast,

about the advert he’s just seen.

And he’s like “What does it all mean?”

and in that moment it’s soon the case,

that you don’t know where to put your face

 Why so untimely the ads must show,

such intimate detail to let your child know,

that ladies suffer at a certain age,

and especially after the menopausal stage

It’s stunning these inappropriate ads

in front of young impressionable lads

without a hint of unbridled shyness,

discuss the ins and outs of vaginal dryness

 

What the Dickens, by Julian Isaacs

Angela Merkel, reading Edwin Drood,
Said she liked Durdles the best.
Although she never found how Eddie met his end, And without intending to be rude,
She felt sure Jasper had something on his chest, And was not a faithful friend.
That night in the hookah bar,
It was just like Cabaret.
She played the part of Rosa Budd,
And was certainly a star.
She’d learned all her lines to say,
And looked like Joan Collins in The Stud.
Thus demonstrating that all the world is nothing but a stage,
Whether for Schubert’s Unfinished, Mahler’s 10th, or Edwin Drood performed off the page. That’s the thing about literature and history;
Read all you like — some of it will remain a mystery.

 

The Beautiful Game by Kate Woodward

I don’t count, they think I’m a joke,
the only girl with all these blokes.
But I’m listening and I’m learning,
reading everything concerning
the beautiful game.
I follow 5Live and TalkSport
and I know who’s been sold and bought,
who’s on the bench, who’s injured
and who’s the fastest winger in
the beautiful game.
I want to share my opinions.
Was that striker worth his millions?
Should that goal be disallowed?
Was the trouble from the crowd at
the beautiful game?
I’m never gonna get heard:
a girl and football – how absurd!
To think that I could care who wins
or know the rules that underpin
the beautiful game.
And yes, I know the offside rule,
don’t treat me like a bleedin’ fool
‘cos, these days, hear what I’m saying:
us girls are on the pitch and playing
the beautiful game.

Kate Woodward has been an accountant, a farmer and a market trader. Now she writes. She’s just finished a Creative Writing MA with Manchester Metropolitan University and has published in The Ogham Stone, Brittle Star, online and on her own blog.

website
twitter

 

A New Beginning by Norman Hadley

When the Wilsons judged that they were halfway through the marriage,
they hired a jobbing surgeon-friend
to sever their heads
to sew back on
but swapped around.

They spent their second twenty years
apologising for a million insensitivities
but the sex was fantastic.

Norman Hadley is an engineer and mathematician who writes poetry, short fiction, children’s fiction and cycling-related nonfiction to keep all the hemispheres occupied. He’s produced five poetry collections so far and frenetic participation in Jo Bell’s “52” project has generated sufficient material for five more.

website

 

Dressing as a Man for a Day by Rachael Clyne

Licking your lip for a last slick
of sauce, is unappetising
when mixed with bristles,

No baggy tops, let your belly flop,
assume others will be riveted
by what you say, that facts

are love tokens, when words fail.
On no account show weakness,
or gaze at other guys.

Stand wide-legged, claim space.
It really is an issue. A rolled up
sock is no substitute

for a cock, but it might
just get you better pay.

Rachael Clyne‘s work has appeared in Prole, The Interpreter’s House, Tears in the Fence. Anthologies: The Very Best of 52, Book of Love and Loss, Poems for a Liminal Age. Her prizewinning collection, Singing at the Bone Tree, concerns our longing for the wild . She also enjoys humour.