The Cat Lives Rent Free, by Bill Richardson

The Cat Lives Rent Free

This black and white cat arrived in the garden one day
and I made the mistake of feeding them.
I say them because I don’t know the cat’s gender
– or is that sex? –
and who’s to say they’re not sensitive about these matters.
You have to be careful these days.
I mean: not to offend…
Careful too about feeding a feral cat.
I didn’t go looking for a cat.
I don’t love them.
But they’ve got the idea now, of course.
The habit. Calling by each day -
sits patiently at the back door
licking paws in anticipation.
I open the door, and the cat seamlessly,
at the last second, shifts to one side.
Examines the food with multiple sniffs.
There are days when only the sauce will do
and the sardines get left behind.
Especially if they’re not John West.
What is it about John West?
Is it that they get John West at the house of the other neighbour,
the other one they’ve trained…
Or maybe more than one?

Bill Richardson’s poems have been published in a number of magazines. He is Emeritus Professor of Spanish at the University of Galway and has re-engaged in recent years with his passion for creative writing. He enjoys swimming in the Atlantic and practising tai chi to the music of Arvo Pärt.

 

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.

 

There Used to be Nazis in Haworth, by Tonnie Richmond

There Used to be Nazis in Haworth

strutting up the hill towards the Parsonage
where the Brontë family lived,
incongruous in wartime uniforms
amongst the tourist shops
and nineteenth century ginnels.

They would Sieg Heil! past the church
where Charlotte was married,
show no interest in the old schoolrooms
where her wedding breakfast
had been laid out long ago.

They would goose-step to the Old White Lion Inn,
drink beer with a bunch of British Tommies,
accompanied by their wives,
all dolled up in vintage clothes
and unflattering wartime hairdos.

They have banned the Nazis now.
These creepy annual nineteen-forties
re-enactment gatherings,
with their unpalatable nostalgia for the war,
have become a strangely one-sided affair.

Tonnie Richmond is retired and is interested in archaeology and poetry. These days she finds writing poetry easier than digging. She has had several poems published. Y Dreich, Yaffle and others.

 

What we don’t know the cows know about us, by Bryan Franco

Bryan Franco is a gay, Jewish poet from Brunswick, Maine. He competed with the Portland, Maine Rhythmic Cypher slam team in the 2014 National Poetry Slam in Oakland, California. He has been published in the US, Australia, England, India, Ireland, and Scotland and has featured for poetry events in the US, England, Ireland, and Scotland. He was a finalist in the 2022 NAMI NJ Dara Axelrod Expressive Arts Poetry Contest. He hosts Café Generalissimo Open Mic, is a member of the Beardo Bards of the Bardo poetry troupe, painter, sculptor, gardener, and culinary genius. His book Everything I Think Is All in My Mind was published in 2021 by Read Or Green Books.

 

Six Cornish Limericks, by Mark Totterdell

SIX CORNISH LIMERICKS 

There was a young man from Penzance
Whose chances of finding romance
Would have risen to ‘small’
Up from ‘no chance at all’
Had he thought about changing his pants.

There was an old biker from Newquay
Whose ways grew increasingly kooky.
He would ride up and down
All the streets in the town
In the nude, on his vintage Suzuki.

A grizzled old fisher from Newlyn
Wore a hat that he thought he looked cool in,
But which all of his crew
And the townspeople too
Thought he looked like a silly old fool in.

A foolish young man from Porthcurno
Thought drinking a bottle of Pernod
With a lamb vindaloo
Was a cool thing to do.
Now his guts are a raging inferno.

When a Methodist girl from Penryn
Heard that alcohol use was a sin,
She decided she oughta
Drink nothing but water;
The tonic sort, topped up with gin.

When a careless old man from Lamorna
Came out fully unclothed from the sauna,
Then the sight of his bits
Had his neighbours in fits
And upset all the neighbourhood fauna.


Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared widely in magazines. His collections are This Patter of Traces (Oversteps Books, 2014), Mapping (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2018) and Mollusc (The High Window Press, 2021).

 

Fostering an Elephant, by Matthew Sissons

Fostering an Elephant

So far, no one has complained
about the late-night tanker truck
deliveries. She’s only a baby.
Drinks gallons of milk. We go
directly to a dairy. It’s expensive,
but who cares? I think the neighbors
are jealous.

A golden retriever or a Siamese
cat would have been ideal- we
live in a small house, with a
smaller backyard- but for the
elephant, it was us or the poachers-
so we took her in.

The kids are wild about her.
Walk her without complaint.
They promised to keep the yard
clean- My wife and I do most
of the pooper scoopering. We
spoil them.

When the constant trumpeting
began, we piled into the mini-van,
rushed her to the vet. She said
there was nothing wrong with
the elephant physically. Turns out
elephants are matriarchal- I think
she missed her family. She seems
to be settling in with mine.

I’m crazy about her too- built her
a house outback. When it’s warm,
she sleeps there. She’s smart. Easy
to train. Remembers everything-
Never has to be told things twice.

Matthew Sisson’s poetry has appeared in journals ranging from the “Harvard Review Online,” to “JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association.” He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and read his work on NPR’s “On Point.” His First book, “Please, Call Me Moby,” was published by the Pecan Grove Press, St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas.

 

Cousin Ken, by Hilary Willmott

Cousin Ken

Cousin Ken from Cockermouth Cumbria
Has a wholesome rhythm to it.
Cuz-in-Ken-from-Cock-er-mouth-Cum-bri-a.
I loved him living there.
When friends asked after my cousin Ken
I would say ‘Oh, Cousin Ken? He’s well, still living in
Cockermouth, Cumbria.’
And then he called with his new address
making him cousin Ken from Romney Marsh, Kent.
I’ll never forgive him for this.

Hilary lives in Bristol close to the River Avon. She resides there with her partner and three dogs. Has been previously published by Templar Press, Bristol Poetrycan, Leaf, Velvet, Obsessed with Pipework, Exeter Broadsheet and Mr Garnham. Still planning to submit enough poems for a collection and still finding excuses not to send them off.

 

Submit (to poetry magazines) by Brian Kelly

Submit (to poetry magazines)

It’s easier to submit under the covers
Hands shaking a hasty rhythm
Ankles trembling as you click send
Convulsions into the pocketed atmosphere.
Beware the patient person
Who lies eye wide in front of lined white sheets
Empty minds bleached between verges and soft margins,
Where thoughts are an unmanned flock of birds
From hedgerow
Over hedgerow
To hedgerow....
I clip a wing on the drive there,
Ten percent over the legal speed limit
Leaves no discretion on five-foot-wide tarmac.
How insane am I? I wonder
Undiagnosed, I respond.
Stopping, I swing the door open
Step back from the vehicle
And pick up the bird, a crow.
Bringing it home smiling
I nail it to my refrigerator.
Good, another poem.

Brian Kelly is a bean from the west of Ireland who has recently given up his dreams and aspirations in the pursuit of poetry. What were once late night drunken chicken scratchings, etched onto any surface with something preferably sharp, are slowly evolving into bipedal beings traversing dry poetic lands.

 

Camp Shangri-La by Arran Potts

Camp Shangri-La

He stopped for a quickie one night in her tent,
Made love to an egg-timer till he was spent,
The sand had run out, he came and then went;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

She lowered his zip and was so full of hope,
But all he could manage were fumbles and gropes,
So Val took the lead and showed Guy the ropes;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

They’ve put up two tents but they’re on the same pitch,
Four of them starkers, not wearing a stitch,
They’d do half an hour then partners would switch;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

Tommy was fuming and she was to blame,
Cos everyone here in the camp knew his name,
Last night Sue had screamed it out loud when she came;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

At sixty she knows how to tease and to coax,
She pulled off his trousers with two short, sweet strokes,
Just as she’d done, with dozens of blokes;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

Ronnie and Eileen at home in a yurt,
Strong green oak decking to cover the dirt,
But plenty of cushions in case they get hurt;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

Sally McNally the Shangri-La vamp,
Looking for strapping young men round the camp,
She only needs someone to sleep in the damp;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

Just rooves of soft fabric as somewhere to sleep,
The campsite is hidden, the price not to steep,
Those zips, flaps and awnings have secrets to keep;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

Arran Potts is from Wolverhampton, UK. He has recently taken up poetry as a hobby to rekindle a love for writing; and is finding Jo Bell’s ‘52 Poems’ book really useful. He is supported by family and friends. He is hindered by his job.

 

Oscar and Silicon Valley, by Anne Irwin

Oscar and Silicon Valley

Zen-like on the car roof,
Oscar inhales the autumn air
absorbing the warmth of the metal
into his marmalade body.

Languishing in his sleekness,
pristine as Silicon Valley,
he preens himself, one eye
on the chaffinch in the rowan.

Empathic as the Valley,
with its modern sensibilities,
egg freezers for the nubile,
fuzz-ball, beanbags, mindfulness spaces
for its twelve-hour-day workaholics
with no time for slackers,
he emanates serenity
while his internal algorithms calculate
the trajectory of his leap
from roof to branch.

With a twitch of his tail
a narrowing of eye, he springs
and the chaffinch shrieks its dying call.

Anne Irwin’s poetry is inspired by the glory of the universe seen in the microcosm of everyday life, and her ever-increasing family. She has three sons, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Her poems have been published in many literary journals including Poetry Ireland Review, Irish Left Review, High Window,