President Marcus Choy, by Art Ó Súilleabháin

President Marcus Choy

Marcus Choy was an awkward boy
all homework had a tale
teachers, it appears, he set out to annoy
with excuses, no matter how stale.

The pup ate the page, he was at that stage
he couldn’t find a pen
a budgie escaped and left its cage
the lights went out again.

He was so sick, he developed a ‘tic’
re-repeated his words
a doctor was called, he was anemic
the house was invaded by birds.

An alien landed, he was stranded
a tiger escaped from the zoo
little sister the book demanded
what was he to do?

Teachers, all fed up with his tricks
digging under their skin
a job that expected excuses – politics!
some seat he would have to win.

So, he bought a suit to appear resolute
as sharp as any pin
promises, promises, all the truth
the better to help him get in.

With so much wealth, he’d solve the health
thousands of houses he’d build
he’d change the system by acts or stealth
every promise fulfilled.

No one would be poor, he’d be a real doer
things would simply get done
Dublin homeless would be fewer and fewer
living would be fun.

But he made up his mind to be one of a kind
he’d be a poet or die
his wardrobe had to be redesigned
for ‘the job’ he would apply.

He’d develop a blog and get a dog
the voters he would dupe
decrees he’d write, laws he could cog
a saying he could loop.

Oh, what a lark, a house in the park
just like Uachtarán Higgins
in seven years, he would leave a mark
another story begins …

Art Ó Súilleabháin was born in Corr na Móna, Co. Galway and spent some years in Boston USA. He worked in Dublin, Castlebar and Washington DC before returning to Corr na Móna. His first collection of poetry for adults (Mayflies in the Heather) was published by Revival Press in April 2021.

 

Ketchup : An Obituary, by Kevin Higgins

Ketchup: An Obituary

It all started that Friday he came home brandishing
another bottle of it, when there was already one
gleaming unopened in the fridge. A mistake,
the whole house told itself.

Next week he turned up dragging
six bags of almost nothing else.
From then on, had it with everything:
on his bread instead of butter; with
his cornflakes instead of his usual
low-fat milk.

Eventually, dispensing with all else,
as his main course,
tomato ketchup with a side of
another shining blob of itself.

After which, he hardly opened the front door,
except to sign for deliveries, the vast jars of it
that arrived twice weekly in a van
marked Ketchup.

When he wasn’t golloping it by the basin load,
he used it instead of shaving foam,
toothpaste, and as an ointment
to balm embarrassing rashes.
Spent most of the day bathing in it.

By the time he made it safely to his coffin
he was the colour of it,
looked as if all you need do was squeeze him
and the perfect dip for a plate of hand-cut fries
would spurt gloriously from between
those tomato coloured lips.

Kevin Higgins was born in London. He mostly grew up in and lives in Galway City. In 2016 The Stinging Fly magazine described Kevin as “likely the most read living poet in Ireland. His poems have been quoted in The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times (London), Hot Press, The Daily Mirror and on The Vincent Browne Show, and read aloud by film director Ken Loach at a political meeting in London. His sixth full collection of poems ‘Ecstatic’ will be published by Salmon in March 2022.

 

Fairy-tale Romances, by Ama Bolton

Fairy-tale Romances

“Happily ever after”
(forgive my hollow laughter)
it’s fantasy, a figment of folklore.
Your knight in shining armour
could turn out to be no charmer
but a bully or a silly pompous bore.
Even sweet Maid Marian
may turn out to be a harridan,
and Sleeping Beauty! You should hear her snore!

Though the Prince may seem adorable
his manners are deplorable.
Cinderella’s pretty, but quite dim.
Snow White is vain and shallow
And Jack’s a tedious fellow;
he’s always at the golf-course or the gym.
Unless you’re into farming
don’t tie the knot with Charming
you’d soon run out of things to say to him.

Beauty’s a part-time Beast,
the prince, half frog, at least.
Beware Bluebeard! Beware of Reynardine!
The end of the love story
is far too often gory.
Living on your own can be just fine
with a dog or a cat
to sleep on your lap.
You can make up your own storyline.

Ama Bolton, former member of The Liverpool School of Language, Music, Dream and Pun, convenes a Stanza group in Somerset. Her poems have featured at festivals, on Radio 3’s The Verb, and in magazines and anthologies including Bridport Prize 2008. She blogs at http://barleybooks.wordpress.com/

 

Trial by Poetry, by Oscar Windsor-Smith

Trial By Poetry

My first time at a formal workshop:
Comes the question of poetic voice and
I’m soon stumped.
Worrying.
It seems I’m not one person
for long enough to tie-down
a single stable output;
flibbertigibbet:
north/south, east/west
mongrel that I am;
a middler;
a literal mediocrity…

But then again,
the middle may provide
firm footing
for a bridge
between divergent minds.

And what’s so wrong with that?

Oscar Windsor-Smith lives in Hertfordshire, UK. He has fooled enough editors to get fiction, creative non-fiction and non-fiction published in diverse places, in print and online, and has occasionally been falsely accused of poetry. By jammy luck he has been a finalist/shortlistee in various international competitions. He graduated from the Birkbeck, University of London BA in creative writing in 2018.

Oscar Windsor-Smith – Writer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oscar.windsorsmith

LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/oscarwindsorsmith/

Blog: http://oscarwindsor-smith.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @OscarWindsor

 

A Tale of Rosemary, by Aladdin Bouhamla

By the bloody gardens of the strawberry,
Where the red sun meets the sea;
Children were playing happily and merry,
When a voice yelled “comrades come here and see”

It was the voice of the beautiful Rosemary,
Calling her friends under the ancient Oak tree ;
“A strange man with a face so scary
Is holding a blade dripping with blood”, said she

“I’ve seen his soul dead as the cemetery;
His demons are whispering, whispering to me.
In his hand, holding the cold carcass of an eyeless canary,
And in the other a bloody knife scented with the blood of girl of three.”

In fear gazed the children, clueless and unwary ,
As the man marched forward to the hive of the golden bee.
“pray with me Children”, said the beautiful maiden Rosemary,
But prayers will do the man no good if you ask me.

The Angels abandoned the forest, and so did the tipsy fairy,
Yet what to expect from man, after going on a killing spree,
screams of his victims glow with radiant light of the extraordinary;
And the man then started murmuring while he sat on his knee.

With a shovel, himself, started to bury
“if he is no longer a man, but then what is he? ”,
Said the children to the beautiful Rosemary
“he lost what he was, and what he will never again be”

And here the writer finished his work of literary,
Yet the reader may notice that the man looks like you and me;
For my story is not out of the ordinary,
But of the madness of this world, for we are no different then he.

 

Two Poems from Joe Williams

Training
Day

I have emphasised
the importance
of using
appropriate language
in maintaining a
professional veneer.

I have stressed
the significance
of the
client-supplier relationship
in ensuring
customer satisfaction.

I am pointing at
the projected screen
to introduce my
next theme,
when the fire
alarm erupts into life.

I shout, ‘Fucking
hell!’

Harrogate

In most towns the
station pub’s the worst one that there is.
In Harrogate it
proudly boasts its title.
Pub of the Year
2015.
Bloody
show-offs.

Joe Williams is a writer and performing poet from Leeds. In 2017 his debut pamphlet, ‘Killing the Piano’, was published by Half Moon Books, and he won the prestigious Open Mic Competition at the Ilkley Literature Festival.

 

Pleasure, by Hilary Willmott

Like finest Belgian truffles she rolls them around her lips,
delicacies to be savoured, rotund parcels of delight.
She lets her tongue caress their secrets, teasing herself,
tracing them with her lips, backwards and forwards.
She knows it’s wrong, there will be reprisals.
But it’s too late to stop – her need is overwhelming
and as she flicks her tongue, one pouch disappears
into her salivating mouth. Oblivious to the pained cries
for her to stop, she swallows. One satisfied canine.
One less piece of horse shit on the towpath.

Hilary has been writing since her schooldays many decades ago. She sees poetry as a companion who is much braver than she, taking her to places she wouldn’t dare venture on her own. She has been published by Templar Press, Spilling Cocoa over Martin Amis, Flarestack, Leaf and Velvet. She has also been shortlisted for national competitions. She lives by the river in the south west of England.