I Wish I Were a Vicar, by Trisha Broomfield

I wish I were a vicar

I wish I were a vicar
penned by Agatha Christie,
I’d visit many well-known faces
who ‘d kindly ask, ‘More tea?’

I wish I were a vicar
in one of Christie’s books,
I’d wander round the place bemused
I’d wear befuddled looks.

And if I were a vicar,
one that Agatha had penned,
I’d find bodies in my library,
exclaim, ‘Good Grief! Heaven forfend!’

As a black and white penned vicar
I’d live on countless pages,
in many different languages,
and truly live for ages.


On taking a poet to bed!, by Rona Fitzgerald

On taking a poet to bed!

A big decision, I take my time
savouring lines images moods
metaphors. Considering palette.

Soft greens, vivid blues
maybe some orange zest
no red-hot lines or purple prose.

Yeats on tranquillity

Bee loud glade
leafy islands, flapping herons
drowsy water rats.

I’m partial to the waters and the wild, ready for dripping peace

Mind you, I like the muscularity of Robert Bly.
He’s nocturnal a walker like myself.

His lines about unknown dust waves breaking on shores
Energetic, maybe too much activity for night.

In the morning, I’m weary from pondering and wandering.

More drowsy water rat than graceful heron.

Ah, solitude, a book!

But I ‘m aware of the perils of eating alone
the benefits of sociability

I’ve read about long lasting Ikarians.
Morning rambles, herding sheep, coffee at three.
Aperitifs at 5.00.

So I ask Shamus Heaney to stop digging
to join me for an Irish fry-up.

Before you can say rashers there’s Jimmy Joyce
and Sam Beckett at the table.

Insisting, if you please they’ll both have eggs Freud!

Rona Fitzgerald ‘s poetry is published in UK, Scottish, Irish and US,
in print and online.

Recent publications include Dreich Number 8, Season 2, April 2021, Littoral Magazine 2021, The Brown Envelope Book, 2021, The Arbroath Anthology 2021, Marble Broadsheet September 21, Fixator Press September 21, Dreich Season 4 no 3 2022, A Fish Rots From the Head, Culture Matters 2022.

English Spelling, by Sarah Lawson


Practically since the dawn of history
English spelling has been a mystery.
And everything you ever learn’ll
Not prepare you for the r in colonel.
Do not expect a tidy law
To explain the end of Arkansas.
Spelling is just a rough mnemonic
And not reliably always phonic.

Sarah Lawson lives in London, originally from Indiana, educated in the US and Scotland; has published poetry pamphlets and two collections; translates from French, Spanish, and Dutch; has also written one play, one novel, and two memoirs.



A Mossy Rock in the Forest, by Robert Garnham

There's a mossy rock in the forest
A place I always like to go
A mossy rock in the woods
I go there when I'm feeling low.

And I sit on the rock in the moss
And it's hard and it makes me forget
I sit on the rock in the woods
If it’s damp it’ll make my bum wet

There's a mossy rock in the forest
Surrounded by foliage and leaves
And big arse rhododendrons
It's a place that puts me at my ease

And I sit on the rock in the moss
And the ground it's wet and spongy
And there's mushrooms sprouting up
And other types of fungi

There's a mossy rock in the forest
Its ok I suppose it could be worse
There are badgers and squirrels in the forest
That's it now I'm done with this verse

And I sit on rock in the moss
I only like to sit here a whiles
And the rock is not exactly comfy
You wouldn't want to sit here with piles

There's a mossy rock in the forest
the branches here are terribly scratchy
I try to watch some porn on my phone
But the WiFi signal here is patchy.

And I sit on the rock in the moss
And I sit on the rock in the moss
And I sit on the rock in the moss
And then my mind wanders off.

Robert Garnham has been performing LGBT comedy poetry around the UK for ten years at various fringes and festivals, and has had three collections published by Burning Eye. He has won slams in places such as London, Edinburgh and Swindon and headlined or featured at events such as Bang Said the Gun, Raise the Bar, and Milk and in 2019 was the Hammer and Tongue featured artist for a tour of the UK. He has supported artists such as John Hegley, Arthur Smith and Paul Sinha. His website is https://professorofwhimsy.com/


The Queen’s Secret Siberian Sisters, by Bryan Franco

Bryan Franco is from Brunswick, Maine, USA. He is published in the US, Australia, England, Ireland, and Scotland, has featured for poetry events in the US, Canada, England, Ireland, and Scotland; hosts Café Generalissimo Open Mic; his book Everything I Think Is All In My Mindwas published in 2021.


Jacqueline Wilson Lives Under my Bed, by Paula Gilfillan

Jacqueline Wilson Lives Under My Bed

Jacqueline Wilson lives under my bed,
eating cherries and berries as she
reads my stories scribbled on crumpled
paper. At a book signing, I
lured her into my wheely bag
with a tin of stuffed olives,
for I’m a fan as great
as any hurricane. Then, secreted her
beneath the squeaky springs and beside
the dusty socks. But every so
often, she grabs my ankle with
her ring laden fingers and pleads
to let her go. I reply,
‘One more story. Just one more.’


Paula lives near Lockerbie with her family and an overly chatty cat. She likes scientific stuff, zombie films and books, and is partial to a slice of cake. She blogs on Twitter @paula_nicolson and Facebook as DeckyWriting.


Should I Take my Bumbershoot With Me?, by Rodney Wood


should I take my bumbershoot with the crook handle pimped with a sterling silver knob
& a rainbow of Swarovski crystals?
should I take my bumbershoot that’s a sword, walking or shooting stick?
should I take my bumbershoot that covers the face of the newly dead?
should I take my bumbershoot that’s a plant pot or a vase for hydrangeas?
should I take my bumbershoot that enters the forest of other bumbershoots?
should I take my bumbershoot that’s a clumsy paint brush used with a puddle?
should I take my bumbershoot that stop drips falling on my head when painting the ceiling?
should I take my bumbershoot that’s a film screen for say Fast & Furious 27?
should I take my bumbershoot whose ribs are used for drying my large smalls?
should I take my bumbershoot that makes me fly like Mary Poppins?
should I take my bumbershoot that points to the person responsible for whatever?
should I take my bumbershoot that’s a symbol of protection & shelter?
should I take my bumbershoot that’s the gelatinous body of a jellyfish?
should I take my bumbershoot that breaks my fall when jumping from the 3rd floor?
should I take my bumbershoot that hangs from the ceiling as a decoration?
should I take my bumbershoot that’s covered with notes & phone numbers?
should I take my bumbershoot that holds rubbish & discarded poems?
should I take my bumbershoot that’s used when I’m a detective & under cover?
should I take my bumbershoot that cannot takes punches & just folds up?
should I take my bumbershoot that’s a temporary headstone?
should I take my bumbershoot that protects me from bird shit?
should I take my bumbershoot that captures the sound of clapping?
should I take my bumbershoot that frightens tigers, dogs & cats?
should I take my bumbershoot that has a crest above its ferrule?
should I take my bumbershoot that prevents anyone seeing a stolen kiss?
should I take my bumbershoot that diffuses the light in a photo studio?
should I take my bumbershoot that danced with Gene Kelly & Rihanna?
should I take my bumbershoot is a lover, friend or partner with a wedding ring?
should I take my bumbershoot that’s a boat?
should I take my bumbershoot that’s a shopping bag?
should I take my bumbershoot that deflects bullets?
should I take my bumbershoot that’s a baton I lead parades or funerals with?
should I take my bumbershoot that displays magazines like Penthouse or Marxism Today?
should I take my bumbershoot that is always under the weather?
should I take my bumbershoot that shades me from the sun?
should I take my bumbershoot that keeps me dry when it’s raining?

But today I'm going by car to the shop to buy some milk
so I don’t need to take my bumbershoot

Rodney Wood lives in Farnborough, co-hosts a monthly open mic at The Lightbox in Woking and has published two pamphlets :Dante Called You Beatrice, and When Listening Isn’t Enough.


Me and Joanna Lumley, by Jennifer A. McGowan

Me and Joanna Lumley

I caught Joanna Lumley reaching
through the open window of a bakery for bagels
crisp and hot and frankly

much tastier than any dreams
that had consumed us
in our adult lives (as I said to Joanna)

and she agreed, then added, “Except for the Gurkhas.
I’m proud of that,” and I agreed,
then at the corner we went our separate ways

to stare at the sky, to dream of mountains,
of hot butter running everywhere, equally.

Jennifer spends as much time as she can in the 15th century, but comes back for hot showers and bagels.


The Naked Lecturer of Chorlton Cum Hardy, by Michelle Diaz

He targeted Catholics, female and busty,
he donned floral shirts, his hairline was dusty.

He invited me back for an innocent drink,
when my coffee arrived I was ever so pink.

For I came eye to eye with what looked like a nose,
but noses don't dangle. It hit me. I froze.

I tried to ignore his distinct lack of cloth,
when he asked me, quite brazenly,
Do you fancy a bath?

My coffee cup fell, up jumped a splinter.
The silence that followed was worthy of Pinter.

Then he wiggled and jiggled and willied about,
turned red in the face, then let out a shout;

I'd have thought there was more chance of winning the lottery
than slicing my love sack on Portmeirion pottery.
This damn piece of crockery's stuck in my scrotum!
His penis resembled a freshly felled totem.

I wanted to help, so I looked for a bandage
to dress his split bits and damaged appendage.
But my searching was fruitless, all I found was a sock.
And what use is that to a honeycombed cock?

Defeated, I left. I suppose it was rude,
but I'd started to tire of this fool in the nude.

So beware all young things of lecturer guile.
If he asks you to dinner, just say with a smile;

No thank you professor, I'd rather be dead.
If you value your testicles, quit, while you're ahead...

Michelle Diaz has been published in numerous poetry publications both online and in print. Her debut pamphlet ‘The Dancing Boy’ was published by Against the Grain Poetry Press in 2019.

She is currently working on her first collection.


Appearances of the Loch Ness Monster, by Neil Fulwood


“They spoke ... in a desultory fashion of current events. The news from abroad, events in the world of sports, the latest reappearance of the Loch Ness monster.”
- Agatha Christie: ‘And Then There Were None’

The latest reappearance of the Loch Ness monster
was at a book launch by a sceptic
who had scientifically proven its non-existence.
The old saw about no such thing
as bad publicity was applicable here: the book
sold more than it might have
without the headlines and hasty, half-blurred photos
but the author wasn’t best pleased.

Prior to that, it had been spotted in a phone booth,
a call to a bookie to place a bet
on its own newsworthiness. Whether the bookie
paid out has gone unrecorded
and sightings of it dropping in at the Dog & Duck
on the way back for a swift half
and a whisky chaser made a minor buzz on Twitter
but remain unsubstantiated. And prior

to that, well it had pulled one of its remain-hidden-
from-the-eyes-of-the-world stunts,
decades having past since it was noticed
at a White City dog race, wearing
a trilby and a trench coat, a rolled up copy
of the local sporting fixtures paper
tucked under one fin. Some say it had a fag on,
others that it was a pipe smoker.

All so long ago it might have been in black and white.
Those were the days it preferred, anyway:
stentorian Movietone voiceovers, fleapits fogged
with cigarette smoke, bored usherettes
doing the intermission rounds. Walking back
through misty streets, the last bus
swallowed by distance. Night falling as the monster
disappears into familiar waters.

Neil Fulwood was born in Nottingham where he still lives and works. He has published three collections with Shoestring Press. His latest collection, Mad Parade, is due out with Smokestack Books in July.