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


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.

The Sad Life of the Shared Scone, by Terri Metcalfe

The sad life of the shared scone 

It sits, lumpen like, on two plates,
severed from its non-identical twin.
A bun in the same oven, torn apart.

Everyone wants the top half with its slightly
crisp layer above cumulus dough.
No one on ‘Bake Off’ tests the bottom.

It’s a desecration commited by those without
their own teeth, or on a budget tighter
than an overproofed crumb.

You could cut between the middle top,
a knife attack through the crown chakra,
but that’s the wrong way to break bread,
this way, expect more sadness.

Cumbria native Terri Metcalfe began submitting to journals in March 2022 and has been published in places such as Abridged, Green Ink Poetry, Skylight 47 and Black Bough. She has appeared on the Eat the Storms poetry podcast twice and was invited as a featured reader for the 20th anniversary of Over The Edge Literary Events. Terri now lives in Mayo and is currently working on her debut collection.


Overhearing, by Carl Tomlinson


Out with the two-legs the other day
one of the ones who sits down to pee
asked the one who sometimes goes in the hedge,
like me, if it’d seen on something called Twitter.
“You had to say what you’d ask your dog.
If they had the power of speech for an hour.”
Why I’d need speech is beyond me.
They seem to know what I need.
And can tell me nothing I haven’t already smelt.
I’ll chew on a bone all day, but no way
am I chewing the fat with that. I’m staying stumm.
In case I fetch up in a poem.

Not too Big, not too Blue, by John Lanyon


Yes, she said,
some art
not too big
“that big”
that’s what I’m looking for
something blue
but not too blue
it's got to go with
the paint on the wall -
it’s Farrow & Ball.

John Lanyon

John Lanyon lives in the Cotswolds. He works as an organic gardener, linguist, musician, and writer. Having failed his English Literature O Level, he came to love literature through reading it in French and German. He writes about art, the body, childhood, society, nature, the spirit of places, the secret lives of words. He believes you can create complex things from simple means.

Safe Word, by Hilary Willmott


Keeping it simple is for the best
Choose nothing hard to say
Something easy, sharp and short
You'll be better off that way.

I would suggest a few words here
Such as 'North' or 'East' or 'South"
And never words that can't be formed
With an orange in your mouth.

Hilary Willmott

Hilary has been published and sometimes shortlisted over the years by Templar Press, The Exeter Broadsheet, Leaf, Velvet, Obsessed with Pipework Bristol PoetryCan and Mr Garnham.

Masseuse Musings, by Mohammad Zahid

Mohammad Zahid is a poet and translator from Kashmir, India. His maiden poetry collection The Pheromone Trail bagged the Best Book Award from the Academy of Art Culture and Languages, Jammu & Kashmir in 2015.

His poetry has appeared in many Indian and international journals. He is a translation editor for Kashmiri Language at Muse India and Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts.


Feral Dogs of Riogordo, by Hilary Willmott

Feral Dogs of Riogordo

It's three a.m and I need a pee which I have been delaying
since it takes but the slightest movement to rouse the feral dogs of Riogordo. The dog who sleeps behind the house likes to conduct proceedings.

In my half sleep I see him with a baton which he raises and with two sharp yelps has the rapt attention of all dogs within a five mile radius. They quickly reach frenzy pitch to become a canine
cacophony of sound echoing across the countryside and down into the pueblo.

Pleased with tonight's turnout the conductor discards his baton and after a perfunctory nibble on his testicles, curls into a ball and sleeps.

The choir note his absence and become sotto voce until they too
abandon the proceedings to await the next tap of the conductor's baton.

Hilary Willmott

Hilary has been writing for many years and has been published by Templar Press, Bristol PoetryCan, Leaf, Velvet, The Exeter Broadsheet, Obsessed with Pipework and Mr Garnham himself. She lives close to the river in the south west of England, with her partner and a small pack of dogs.