A Grudge, by Heather Moulson

A Grudge

On my tenth birthday, I got a toy horse
A party was out of the question of course
But I really wanted a Tiny Tears Doll

Gran got me Playdough, my smile
became thin
I thanked her profusely as it went in
the bin
But I really wanted a Tiny Tears Doll

Was there no end of crap presents today?!
Oh, a construction set! Cheers, auntie Gaye!
But I really wanted a Tiny Tears Doll

Mum baked a cake, the icing was pink
I pigged the lot and was sick in the sink
But I really wanted a Tiny Tears Doll

Heather Moulson has been writing and performing poetry since 2016, and has featured extensively in London and Surrey. Heather’s first pamphlet Bunty, I Miss You! Was published in 2019 She mainly hankers for a certain era and lives in Twickenham with a stroppy black cat.

 

The Emperor and the Daddy, by Michael Allsopp

The Emperor and the Daddy

I am a Great Emperor attracted by the light of the many Moons and you are a Daddy Long Legs, are you ready to dare enter the court of man, where there are so many rooms.

Whilst I flap and flutter you just rest now on the bottom of the door and when the door is opened, just the tiniest ajar, in we’ll go and muster, dancing in afar.

But, dear Great Emperor this is not a game, these men inside these courts I’ve heard they’re not quite so tame and their children act so beastly, grab my wings, pull off a leg, so I no longer can fly, surely to enter is to be murdered and to die.

Don’t be silly, as Emperor I’ll sit majestically in the corner of a wall, these beasts if to kill me would have to be like seven foot tall. I’ll claim this my castle and my Kingdom if you break-in with me, we won’t become of fate, in fact once inside you might find a loving long legged mate.

Now I’m dancing in excitement at the thought of finding love, so glad that you did tell me, thank you Emperor Moth, I’ll float in through any window for I have such little time and desperate to find a mate and of course it’s dark now and getting rather late.

So, these beasts of these courts, to be greeted by a spindly bug and a buzzing ball of fluff turns them into murderers, sounding sort of huff. The light of their many moons, trance us into a trap, oh no what is happening as I hear a cloth being rapped.

The moth takes off again and again as the beast takes aim, circling at eye level now and seems to have lost rudder control, smacking into the walls in this deathly game. He circles lower and lower, spinning around a moon in tighter revolutions, like a soap sud over an open drain. A few times he seems to touch the light but dances off unhurt but the beast succeeded and reduced him to dirt.

Now I dance and flit and plead don’t kill me I am not full of venom and I cannot bite, I was just attracted by the lure of your lights but I can feel a leg detach and a searing sensation of pain, I was just looking for a mate and now death be my fate.

I dream of flower beds and grasslands and wooded coppice, free with all the wildlife and pretty flowers and trees. But here I am dying inside this court of man, slain a slow death as I dream of flying across the Great Gromboolian Plain.

 

Enrichment, by Katherine Noone

Enrichment

When you shake the family tree,
my branch will yield no heirs, no heirlooms.
Mired in brambles, curved
clinging to the garden wall.

Look,
a restless robin lingers there.
A wind chime tinkles heavenly tones,
in the gentle evening breeze .

Hold back the pruning shears.

Katherine Noone’s first  poetry collection ‘Keeping  Watch’ was published by Lapwing  Publications in 2017. Shortlisted Vallum Poetry Award (Montreal).Her poems have appeared in Orbis, Crannog, Boyne Berries, Linnets Wings, Skylight 47, Vallum digital edition, A New Ulster,Ropes.  Poethead. ‘Out Here’ was published in 2019.

 

Openings, by Mary Lee

Openings

Henry Moore walks sideways
on the stairway down to the cellar –

keeps his eyes on the lighted doorway,
frightened of the dark as he fetches
apples for his coalminer father. Henry,
needs to find a way out,

remembering the crypt and the sun
struggling to press through the slag
heaps and the cavernous subterranean
world of his youth’s landscape. He sculpts

stone; the light enters through its
many openings.

chiselled poems– pursue precision,
may puzzle – a glimmer’s enough –
the tiniest ray, a wave, crossing
distance like sound – immensely faster.

Mary Lee’s poems have been published nationally and internationally; including Skylight 47; Orbis; The Galway Literary Review; Poems for Patience competition, (highly commended, 2018) Crannog; The Poet’s Quest for God, 2016 (anthology, Eyewear Publications, UK); Dodging website; A New Ulster website; The Wild Word website; Her work has been broadcast on A Living Word, RTE Radio 1. Mary’s second poetry collection Everyday Epiphanies is due in 2021.

 

Dr Queenie May, by Sally McHugh

Dr Queenie May | she/her

Dr Queenie May is an awful state
Hard working academic, a lot on her plate
Colleague of the Dean of Improbable Possibilities
A woman of integrity and acutely high abilities.
Dr Queenie May designs robust measures
Of students opinions, though not heeded, what treasures!
Nominated for excellence in research and teaching
Another honour for LinkedIn and some serious retweeting.
‘Assessing Assessment’ webinar, she needs to sign on
Dr Queenie May tells herself it won’t take long!
Committees on committees, all the day through
Four hour zooms with the camera on, troubling too.
‘Can you oblige? We have no woman for the panel
It’s an issue with which we must graciously grapple’
Committee-ing with the Dean of Desperate Dissertations
He suggests she produce some collegiate presentations.
Dr Queenie May devised a prototype app
For struggling academics, a clear word map
Her jargon generator runs on full poop
As she chairs the Diversity in Inclusive Communities sub-sub-group.
Dr Queenie May longs for time to renew,
When she can catch up on her writing, publications, reviews
When will they give her a free weekend?
Some yoga, mindfulness, time to mend.
With a string of publications, and a professorship in the bag
Dr Queenie May suffices with an odd quick shag
While the Dean of Wild and Wicked Atlantic Ways
Golfs his way around greens on yellow sunny days.
She knows no other life, bound to academia
No family, partner, children, just a house in suburbia
Grant proposals, funding, where is the time?
Dr Queenie May is driven to ‘doing a line’.
She needs an external outlet to let off steam
So she’s on Twitter as the academic dot queen
She vents her anger tweet by tweet
The Dean of Succulent Stoicism suggests they meet.
Dr Queenie May has just had enough
Time to set her generator to engender gruff
She sets the auto-reply on her phone and email
‘Sod off! I’m the new Executive Director of my own ship’s sail.’

Sally McHugh lives in the West of Ireland. She has published poems in ROPES 18 (2018) and The Blue Nib (2019).

 

The Bigger Issues, by Clive Oseman

THE BIGGER ISSUES

Some people seek answers to big issues
like the meaning of life,
or what happens to us when we die.

To them my issues are small fry,
insignificant in the scheme of things
and i have to confess, that stings.
Because I may not be intellectual,
my grey cells are somewhat ineffectual
when deep thought is deemed essential,
but to me, the small things matter more.

What are wasps actually for?
They get mildly angry and it’s all out war.
You try to repel them and they sting you to fuck.
Then they do it one more time for luck.
They show no compassion, not one little bit
The barbarous pointless stripy shits.

When I want to appear clever
I step it up a level and ask questions like….

If music be the food of love,
are cheese quavers an aphrodisiac?
Is there such a thing as cheese semiquavers to give a quick thrill?
If so, toss one my way if you will.

On the subject of food,
does a fruitfly count as one of your five a day?
I have my doubts
but if it does I can ditch the sprouts.
They’re not veggies, it’s a well known fact
They are Beelzebub’s scrotal sac.

It’s not just food that fascinates me.
Other things I need to know.

Is a really hard Englishman in Australia
called a Pommy Granite?
If I wrote a book on the history of censorship
would they ban it?
Is David Icke for real, damn it?

If a group of crows didn’t mean to get together are they a manslaughter?

Do waterpolo players ride seahorses?
Are you lot bored stiff, or is it rigor mortis?

If you buy a wok on the internet
is it an ewok?
When it arrives are you in for a shock?

And here’s a thing.
Will the first non binary monarch
be called their majesty the qing?

When they assess the age of a dinosaur fossil
is it even remotely possible
to know if it used anti ageing creams?
Calculations could all go to hell
if it used those products by L’oreal.

But the question that concerns me most may come as a surprise.

If you stick your head down the toilet,
Which is not very wise,
do you get floaters in your eyes?

Clive Oseman is a multi slam winning Brummie spoken word artist,comedian, satirist and promoter based in Swindon. His third collection “It could be verse” was published by Black Eyes Publishing UK in 2020, and his debut one man show “Getting To Know Elizabeth” was first performed on Zoom in February 2021..

 

Invisibility Rant, by Abigail Ottley

The young think they invented cool but they know diddly squat.
Those ankle-snappers shut their eyes to what we wise ones got.
So this old bird is set to strut and fan her tail and crow.
She’s primed to blow her cover. Here’s a thing or two the yoof should know.
This woman’s old but she ain’t dumb. She ain’t pretending she ain’t grey.
Don’t matter if she’s billiard-bald, she still deserves to have her say.
And what she says is simply this. She’s deep-down tired of being dissed.
At worst reviled, at best dismissed, if there’s a mill, then she’s the grist.
Now guys that used to flirt and stare will mostly fail to see she’s there.
One day, she’s classy, gorgeous, hot. Next morning, passé, clean forgot.
How plaintive sounds her shrill lament as she asks where her ‘sexy’ went.
Now just existing leaves her fazed. A life outside her master’s gaze.
That gaze which won’t admit she’s there and for the most part doesn’t care
but turns its back and sends no flowers. In bars, sometimes she waits for hours
before the barman can’t ignore the fact that what she’s waiting for
is to be served like all the rest. Great hulking guys with beards and chests
that press against the bar where she can’t get, can’t hear, can’t even see.
And girls with boobs and killer shoes marked out like maps with blue tattoos
and all the heartless, hip-less yoof who cruelly mock those long of tooth.
In restaurants waiters turn their heads to tiptoe round the dining dead.
In any queue how cursed is she by this in-vis-i-bil-i-ty.
I’m here to say that such as we reject this anonymity.
We won’t sit down, we won’t shut up calm down, make tea. We’ve had enough.
We’re women. We have earned our stripes our stretch marks and our right to gripe.
We’ve paid our dues, we’ve lived this shit. And now we’ve had enough of it.
It isn’t fair, it isn’t just.Where is it writ we woman must
accept our lot and know our place in short, that we must self-efface?
Back in the day when I was young my grandma said a woman’s tongue
dripped wisdom, sweet and strong as wine that, aged in oak, improves with time.
And she was right to teach me how a woman grows into her power.
A witch is but a woman who won’t still her tongue as others do.

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley writes poetry and short fiction from her home in Penzance. A former English teacher with a lifelong interest in history, she has been Pushcart nominated, translated into Romanian, and is carer to her very elderly mother. Find her on Facebook or @AbigailLaLoca on Twitter

 

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.

Www.nigellloydpoet.com

 

What I’m Like, by Kevin Higgins

What I’m Like

Lively as an elderly blue-arsed fly
that’s just been clattered by
the weekend edition of the New York Times.
About as much use in a debate about anything
as a weighing scale floating through outer space.
Reassuring as a naked funeral director
stepping into the same hot tub as you
in search of new customers.
My future smells delicious
as the used odour-eaters
I was going to send you for Christmas
until I saw the price of the postage.
My dream, that little children of every
complexion and gender
will one day gather together
to play Frisbee with stray toilet seat lids
they plucked from the rubble.

Kevin Higgins has been described by The Stinging Fly magazine has described Kevin as “likely the most read living poet in Ireland. His sixth full collection of poems ‘Ecstatic’ will be published by Salmon in June 2021.  

 

I will survive, by Dora Wright

First I was afraid I was petrified
I felt your neck to feel a pulse
I thought you’d died
then I spent so many nights
just sitting by your bed
as I watched you
being intravenously fed
so now come on, open your eyes
when you do you’re going to get
a really big surprise
I’ve got the minister here
to marry us today
I really need to be your wife
before you pass away
so come on open your eyes
just nod your head to say I do
before you die
I want to be your wife
I want your money too
so nod your head to tell
the minister you do
I’ll kiss you on the lips
I’ll whisper I love you
and when I’m standing
by your grave
I’ll shed a tear or two
I will survive
Well I’ll survive you.
And when I’m finished grieving
they’ll be no more making do
I’ll spend your money wisely
I’ll never waste a dime
I intend for it to last me
a very long time.

Dora is a member of several writing groups, has been published in anthologies and newspaper and magazine. Dora lives near Loch Lomond.