Human Nature, by Eric Burgoyne

Human Nature

Nearly halfway through a trans-Pacific flight, a passenger went into a seizure. It was significant and his thrashing motions alarming. A surprised traveler seated nearby leaped for his seat ready to fight off a highjacker. Steam-like condensation wafting from an air-conditioning vent took the shape of an Angel of Life fighting the Grim Reaper. A doctor and nurse rushed down the aisle to assist. The situation was tense and people wondered if the man would survive. Seatback entertainment monitors began turning blue as anxious passengers paused their movies and switched to the cobalt-colored flight tracker map to see if the aircraft had passed its point of no return. The lips of a few could be seen doing the mental math of connecting flights. A psychic in Business Class intercepted private thoughts and fervent prayers of those onboard: “Father, please save this poor man” . . . “Let him survive and live a long, healthy life” . . . “I beg of Thee, let us not be late for the wedding, P.S. Please bless whoever is sick back there in Economy” . . . “I wonder how much time it takes for rigor to set in?” . . . “What’ll they do with the body? They can’t just leave it there, seat-belted in, can they?”. . .“Hey! Where’s the pretzels and drinks?”

Eric Burgoyne writes and surfs on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. He has an MA in Creative Writing – Poetry, from Teesside University, Middlesbrough England. His poems have appeared in Brickplight, Spillwords, Skink Beat Review, Rat’s Ass Review, and elsewhere.

 

Schoolyard Memory, by Maurice Devitt

Schoolyard Memory

When I refused to share my Latin homework,
you challenged me to a fight
outside the tuckshop, first thing after school.
With little choice, I accepted,
my strategy hopelessly unclear. You had form
and news of the mismatch sparked from class to class.

The lane was choked with the cough
of cigarette smoke and the acrid smell of BO
funnelling from the knots of baying boys
heralding my entrance. You strutted around
the makeshift ring, joking and laughing
with your cabal. I was tempted to admit defeat,

but conscious that attack is often
the best form of defence, I walked towards you,
shucking school bag and gaberdine,
baited you with words of bluff bravado,
silencing the crowd and tempting you
to hit me for the first time. I flinched

but didn’t react, tried to distract you
with the recitation of random tracts of Latin
unseen and the declension of obscure French verbs.
You continued your attack, my rubbery mouth
spitting out the syllables of broken words,
until I could take no more, legs buckling under me.

Curled on the ground, I sensed the mood
of the crowd shift to hushed concern,
and unfolding myself like a deckchair into standing,
rushed to concede. You win, I mumbled,
sweeping up my school bag and disappearing
into the maw of the crowd, tears starting to fall.

Perhaps chastened by the incipient shock
that rippled through the school, you never asked
for my homework again and, when we left school,
our paths diverged, until today – I saw you in town
stepping out of a brand-new Tesla,
pristine paintwork too tempting to ignore.

Maurice Devitt

A past winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland and Poems for Patience competitions, he published his debut collection, ‘Growing Up in Colour’, with Doire Press in 2018.

Curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site, his Pushcart-nominated poem, ‘The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work’, was the title poem of an anthology published by Hibernian Writers in 2015.

 

I Have Something to Say About Crochet, by Carla Scarano D’Antonio

I have something to say about crochet

I was trained by my mother
when I was only 5 or 6
and could make granny squares and doilies
with tiny hooks and bright cotton.

She taught me how to chain first,
I made long ones coiling around my feet.
Then double crochet, treble, half treble, double treble.
They developed in patterns,
in things to use and wear.
Can you believe there are people who don’t value such a work?

The long solitary confinement of lockdown
required emergency.
I intensified my crochet work,
survival was suffused with the rituals of choosing the thread,
matching the colours, developing patterns
and creating something I felt.

How to break the sadness of isolation?
How to heal the unhappiness of lost social cohesion?
The thrill of creation, the minutiae of the stitches
were extra revelations.
I shivered with recovery.

Carla Scarano D’Antonio obtained her MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University and has published her creative work in magazines and reviews. Her short collection Negotiating Caponata was published in July 2020. She was awarded a PhD on Margaret Atwood’s work at the University of Reading in April 2021.
http://www.carlascaranod.co.uk/

 

The Poem that Got Me Cancelled, by Daragh Byrne


Daragh Byrne is an Irish poet writing in Sydney, Australia. He has had work published in various journals and newspapers, and his poems have been commended or placed in numerous competitions in Ireland and Australia. He runs The Sydney Poetry Lounge, a long-running open mic night.

 

Go on, make mine that boil-in-the-bag by the stove, by Beth McDonough

Go on, make mine that boil-in-the-bag by the stove.

God forbid, you’d think I’d want to eat it, mind!
Not that darling little clear plastic sachet,
excitingly bright with uncrystallised liquid,
which reveals a magic snap coin inside.

Oh, let me plop you in my pocket, wee friend,
as I swimsuit up, heap on so many layers.
All but forgotten as I pedal to the beach, strip,
and throughout my wintery swim, but then
I rigid-finger find you in my after-gear,
crack you into dynamic action. Fast warmth,
stuffed in my mitts, curled round my handlebars, go!
I’m always touched by your presence, dear.

 

Mr. Electable and Family, by Mark Jones

Here comes Mr Electable
He’s ravishing and delectable
His policies are selectable
It’s good old Mr Electable.

His sister Miss Debateable
Is seldom seen as dateable
She’ll kick you right underthetable
That is Miss Debateable.

Their mother Mrs Tiresome
Worked flat out to hiresome
Earplugs she requiredthem
Poor old Mrs Tiresome.

And father Mr Paradox
A man who thinks outsidethebox
Posts leaflets outside the letterbox
Yes/No that’s Mr Paradox.

Electable
Debateable
Tiresome & Paradox

Think I’ll read a book instead.

Mark Jones, performance poet, has been plying his craft over much of the South West for many years, from open mic nights to theatres and even the odd tea room and cafe. In 2014 he won the Spokes Amaze poetry slam in Exeter and has had published two collections of poetry, Humps For Fifty Yards & Beans.

 

Something Fishy . . . By Carole Donaldson

This is what culminated from a brief encounter at Sainsbury’s. It took five minutes to make up a rhyme about the extremely brief dalliance, but I think I had a close shave and dodged a bullet, yet unfortunately if the guy hadn’t been in such a hurry to ‘get his leg over’ we could have made fine music together, but I’m pleased that I usually always go with my gut feeling about things, and this guy was far too forward for comfort. Shame, really, he wasn’t bad looking but he let his mouth run away with him.

SOMETHING FISHY …

I met a man, while out shopping, at the salmon counter,
he came over quite suave and quite slick,
a few weeks on from that chance encounter,
he turned out to be naught but a fanciful dick

He kissed me and hugged me the minute we met
So charming – he addressed me “Dear Madam”
But how familiar is it right for a stranger to get
When I didn’t even know him from Adam

We exchanged our phone numbers and as days went by
I waited to hear from this Casanova
But I’d text and then wait but get no reply
So before it begun, it was practically over

He finally rang and arranged that we meet
His excuse for no contact? He preferred not to text
We went for a coffee on a posh market street
Where he wasted no time saying how much he loved sex

Well, I was appalled and quite taken aback
It was far too soon to be talking that way
But he took me to lunch, at Kings Road Seafood Shack
And when the huge bill came, he was happy to pay

(80 quid’s-worth of food was devoured that day)

Though we chatted at lunch and duly both laughed
With the same sense of humour we shared
I got a bad vibe and I thought myself daft
I could’ve been an old boot and I don’t think he’d’ve cared.

He mentioned the sex thing again I had noted
He clearly had his own agenda
He was quite up front, not a thing sugar-coated
And showed himself up to be a pretender

This encounter has taught me to be somewhat wary
This chap had manners like a pen full of swine
His ulterior motives can seem somewhat scary
But in truth that’s his problem, and certainly not mine

It’s been over a week now and he’s disappeared
At his hinted intentions, I told him where to go
Asking if I was adventurous – far too forward I feared
And on that score the arse’ole will now never know

 

Too Many Straights, by Claire Duthie

There are too many straights on telly
The situation has really got very silly
And out of hand
Wny don’t you understand?

There’s far too much prancing
On strictly come dancing

Wny wallow in the mire
And watch ” married at first sight?”
It really, really is dire.

Lionel Blair
Is no longer there

Mayday, maidez
Paul O Grady

Heaven help us
Russell T Davies

 

Bruce Wayne : Space Pioneer, by Ross Crawford

Bruce Wayne: Space Pioneer

Whit if Bruce Wayne wis a real guy?
Whit wid he actually be like?
Wid he still run aboot each nicht
Getting intae a ficht
Wae every petty criminal in the city?
Wid he?
Say ye pit him oan a fixed-term contract:
How wid he react?
Wid he sit through an annual review
Tae discuss aw the jaws he’s cracked?
Punchin fuck oot the symptom
Never curin the cause
Is much mair fun
Than trying tae change the laws
“Least ah dinnae kill,” he’d cry
“An ah’m no gonnae justify
Masel tae the likes ae you.”
But it starts tae make ye hink:
If he’s a billionaire who’s only kink
Is dressing up in aw that bat gear
And makin wee guys pish in fear
Is he helpin or hinderin?
Is he actually a guid yin?
Ah bet ye if Bruce Wayne wis a real guy
He’d prolly jist try tae get tae the moon
Like aw the ither silver-spoon
Billionaires blastin aff intae space
Auld Brucey boy racin big bald Bezos
Tae build the first galactic base
Nae cosmic threats tae fight
Fur this Dark Knight
But he still cannae forget
That his parents are deid
Instillin him wae this insatiable need
Tae dae them baith proud
And so he has vowed
That in the name ae the slain
Thomas an Martha Wayne
He’ll lead an interstellar trip
Perform a low-gravity flip
Inside a bat-shaped spaceship.

Ross Crawford is a writer/scriever based in Stirling, Scotland. He mostly takes his inspiration from the history and nature of Scotland, but his head can be turned by sci-fi and superheroes. He writes in Scots, English, and Gàidhlig. You can find him on Twitter at @RRMCrawford

 

Frames, by Eddie Gibbons

FRAMES

He met her at the Art Gallery.

Made eyes at her
across a Caravaggio.

Saw her framed against a Miro.

Watched her glide along
an avenue of Monets.

She saw him standing
like a prick
between two Pollocks.

Published in ‘The Republic of Ted’, Thirsty Books, Edinburgh, 2003.

Eddie Gibbons has six published poetry collections. ‘What They Say About You’ was shortlisted for the ‘Scottish Poetry Book of the Year’, 2011. He was a prizewinner in the inaugural ‘Edwin Morgan Poetry Competition’, 2008. He has a poem in the Bloodaxe anthology ‘Land of Three Rivers’. Twitter- @1Eddie_Gibbons