Jax, By Anne McDonald

Jax

You know the feeling when you want to go
And he’s enrapt in stretching conversation
You wait for hours
For pause or punctuation
And when it comes
You say politely, if somewhat sharply
“Lookit, I have to go to the Jax.”
Hoping something will hold it in ‘till you find the loo
You get there fit to burst and find
A bursting, red faced, cross legged queue
And so, we females exercise our amazing ability
Not to burst.
By various positions of the legs,
Crossed, Knotted, shifting the weight from one to the other
And your bladder feels like Friesian’s udder
When the milking machine breaks down
Or there’s a power cut.
In a brilliant attempt at mind over matter
You join in gossips delirious chatter
Of fellow sufferers
Until at last the toilet’s empty-
Rush in,
Bang door,
Knicks down
Then you notice there is no lock,
O.K.
So you hold the door with one hand
Stretched 3 inches longer than its normal length
And squat,
Never, ever sit on the bowl!
Because your jeans were tight
And your position is unnaturally elongated
(on account of the door)
Your aim deflects,
But you can’t stop
Four pints and two gins
The force of which is producing enough electricity
To do a seven pound wash on a short spin.
Then you begin
the hapless search
Under the bowl
And on the floor
And this is very difficult
When you are squatting with one hand
Still holding the door,
Your heart sinks
When you realize there is none.
Not a square,
Not a scrap
Not a cardboard holder
And so,
You almost dislocate your shoulde
As one hand still holding the door
You yank your jeans up and your knickers roll
Into a rope around the tops of your legs
Like they do when you go swimming
And don’t dry yourself.
Electric shock of a wet waistband
means the shirt you so meticulously tucked
In when dressing will hopefully hang outside
And be long enough to prevent people guessing
If you’ve wet yourself.
Now, some of us have tried to make a stand on this issue
And put off performance to march defiantly to the bar
to ask for some toilet tissue.
“Certainly Madam” the bar man says
“Will you be wanting it with ice and lemon?”
As he and his cronies piss themselves laughing
If you’ll pardon the pun
And he hands you a catering bale of Andrex.
So you take the rolls and cross the room
Trying to look nonchalantly cool
And feeling like an eejit
Until you reach it
Ladies loo
Complete with queue
Then it’s you
And then you’re in
Bang the door
Kacks down
Arm out
Paper ready
But
You
Cant
Go.
Nothing.
Not a drop.
Not a trickle.
Cold sweat,
And then a Lone Pathetic Dribble
After all that.
When this happened to me
I heard a woman next door
Grumble and fumble and feel on the floor,
“Do you want paper?” I shouted
My voice getting higher
“Paper?” she shouted
“I need a fucking hair dryer!”
Now I know that paper is made from trees
And people are genuinely worried
about the slaughter
Of the tropics
Which is affecting the ozone
And messing up the weather
But if this happens to you
I would humbly suggest
you use half a roll
for spite and badness
And put a wad inside your pocket
In case you get caught short on the way home.
So girls you might as well lash back the pints
And drown in the gin
With the jax in the pub
A woman can’t win.

Anne McDonald is an award winning writer and spoken word poet. She has performed in Dublin and London as part of a Women Of Wit collective and is a regular reader on open mic nights in Ireland, the US and the UK.
Her first collection “Crow’s Books” was published in March 2020. https://creativelythinkingweb.wordpress.com/

 

Disappearing Act, by Lucy Tertia George

Alright, alright, quiet down. I have an announcement and I hope you understand
that due to circumstances beyond the control of The Ritzy Music Hall and Working Man’s Club, tonight’s performance of Magnifico
will not go ahead as planned.

When we booked Magnifico, straight from Blackpool’s Magic-o-rama,
we had every intention of bringing you the Winner of the Most Promising Comeback Award, with all the trimmings
but without all this drama.

The last communiqué we had from the artiste said he was on the A324. But somewhere between Little Billingsdene and Crug we lost all contact. To the management this qualifies
as ‘force majeur’.

His assistant Delores is backstage, crying her eyes out, confidence cracked. She’s done up like a Christmas Tree, but her nerves are shot
and your hollering has upset the doves
they use in the act.

We regret there’s no refund but you’re not paying for nowt, you enjoyed the free buffet and the singalong with Marjorie and that, we feel, should constitute
a good night out.

No, this is not like the time we promised Night of 100 Stars,
when, in a misunderstanding that some of you felt should come to the attention of the Advertising Standards Authority,
we only had 12 people on stage
and three of them didn’t have their Equity Cards.

Of course, I’ve called his mobile phone, I’ve dialled his agent twice.
I even rang the Magic Circle, but have you tried getting information from a secret society? No dice.

Throwing anything at the stage will result in a lifetime ban.
You’ll not see the panto or get a seat for the Tom Jones tribute act where he wows the crowd with Sex Bomb like the very man himself— and I know you’re a fan.

You’re only hurting yourself if this place is trashed.
I’ll cancel Weekly Bingo and the darts team will be forced to practice in the boys changing room at the Youth Club
and that place stinks of Flash.

If you won’t listen to reason, I’m off, do your worst.
I’m taking Delores to the All-U-Can Eat at the Golden Horseshoe and if I see Magnifico I’ll have his guts for garters.
That’s if you don’t get him first.

Lucy Tertia George is an author, publisher and satirist, sometimes known as Lucy Lyrical. Her novel, Three Women, was published by Starhaven Press in 2018.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lucytertiageorge
Twitter: @Wordville

 

What’s that?, by Judy Darley

What’s that?

I glimpsed a water vole.
You declared it a rat.
I wasn’t sure why it mattered.
One flourishes alongside
our slack species, the other
struggles amid choked rivers
in shrinking habitat.
Either way, I admire
the opportunists battling
to eke a life from scraps:
snub-nosed voles nibbling
their burrows neat door mats,
and rats thriving from dropped
chips and suspect kebabs.
Discarded snacks clog canals
and blood vessels alike.
I tell you, we’re all a little vole
and a bit rat, even if
we’d rather not admit that.

Judy Darley writes prose and poetry in Bristol, UK. She is the author of short fiction collections Sky Light Rain and Remember Me to the Bees. Her third collection, The Stairs are a Snowcapped Mountain, will be published by Reflex Press in 2022. You can find Judy at http://www.skylightrain.com; https://twitter.com/JudyDarley

 

Paddy Andy, by Joe Naughton

Joe Naughton has been writing poetry since 2017 which
derives mainly from memoir and topical issues.
He attends “Over the Edge” writing workshops with Kevin Higgins in Galway.
He has had poems published in Vox Galvia section of “Galway Advertiser”
and is a regular reader on online open mic platforms.

 

Vague Notions, by Ruth Marshall

Vague Notions

Quizzical buttons, spurious seam rippers
Sketchy fabric markers, dubious zippers,
Threadbare illusions, unbiased binding,
Fat quarters, gauze, and cloudy lining,

Measuring tapes that are imprecise,
Embroidered cats and felted mice,
Bags of stuffing and hair for dolls,
Lace, as always, full of holes,

Evasive trimmings, circular cutters,
Scissors that couldn’t cut through butter,
Buckles, toggles, crochet hooks,
Yarn and paper pattern books,

Hesitant hessian, unsure curtain ties,
A loose collection of hooks and eyes,
Tassels and fringing of questionable quality,
Elastic guaranteed to stretch credulity,

Thimbles, tape, magnetic catches,
Tailor’s chalk and elbow patches,
Hazy braid, ribbon by the yard,
Needles, pins and rolls of cord,

Applique trim, and frogging loops,
Large and small embroidery hoops,
Bins of remnants, green and red,
And somewhere in there, my lost thread.

 

Doing It, by Heather Moulson

Doing It

Sexual intercourse did not begin for me.
In 1973.
That science lesson when we were told
we will all Have Sex in adulthood.
What?! Every night?! Doesn’t it hurt?!
I look down at my grey school skirt.
Girl’s faces screwed up in distaste.
Sir! Julie piped up, would we get paid?!

The lesson was a disaster,
Julie was sent to the headmaster

Against a tree during the miner’s strike,
Julie was known as the local bike.
But it wasn’t true, she was taking the piss,
it never went further than a kiss.
A french one with tongues, I believe,
although maybe I’m being naïve.
But she was intact like the rest of the class.
To be honest, it just sounded a pain in the arse.

 

I Used to Smoke, by Rodney Wood

I USED TO SMOKE

before, during and after a break, while smelling jasmine, feeding penguins,
on buses, trains, the top of church towers, in domes, at home, police stations,
prisons, crematoriums, sanatoriums, sci-fi conventions or the birth of a nation,

before, during and after sex, when wearing spandex, carrying a briefcase,
having an enema, practising yoga, in cinemas, open spaces, hiding places,
deep space, being chased, playing bass, being embraced or holding an ace,

before, during and after bugger all, measuring rainfall, drinking highballs,
at football grounds, suburbs, inner cities, digging up the grave of Andy Warhol,
in jail, under sail, playing pinball, crawling, at shopping malls or concert halls,

before, during and after a meal, when kneeling, playing with myself, watching TV,
walking, talking on my mobile, blinking, in bookshops, outside Westminster Abbey,
being filthy, looking at pornography, dancing to Bowie, having a pee or drinking tea,

before, during and after flying, when saying goodbye, beneath the London Eye,
when sitting on the loo, pruning roses, blowing a balloon under a mackerel sky,
riding a bike, circumscribing a lake or rafting down the Thames in the middle of July,

before, during and after a cigarette I had to have a cigarette.

 

Evolution of a Complaint, by Roisin Bugler

Evolution of a Complaint

Neanderthal man enters the cave
throws another carcass of deer
at Neanderthal woman’s feet.
Grunts and gesticulates towards fire.
Woman sighs loudly
throws arms up in exasperation
sets about preparation.

Always the same old meat.
He never cleans up the bones.
Not once has he covered the piss corner with dirt.
Same old charcoal for decorating the wall.
A bit of help with the babies would be nice.
He’s always out hunting with the guys.

I’d kill for a bit of mammoth
or red ochre
or a sleep on
Why can’t he just evolve and become a man?

Róisín Bugler is working on her TBW (to be written) pile.  She was the winner of Strokestown Percy French prize for Witty Verse and runner up in the Padraig Colum International Gathering competition both 2019.

 

The agony of treading on Lego in bare feet at 3.30am, by Gabi Marcellus-Temple

The agony of treading on Lego in bare feet at 3.30am

Dovchenko Bazooka Pants is up in the attic
He’s been there for years
He’s definitely plotting something
Fulfilling all my fears
Dovchenko Bazooka Pants
Is under the bed
I can hear him there sniggering
Trying to get in my head
Dovchenko Bazooka Pants
Hides in a kitchen drawer
Under old lighters and tape
Doesn’t like it there
He says it’s a bore
Dovchenko Bazooka Pants
Is down the back of the sink
For one little minifigure
He’s more active than you think
Dovchenko Bazooka Pants
Is under my foot
It’s 3.30 am
And now sleep is kaput.

 

Buffoon in a flowery shirt, by Hannah Kiely

Buffoon in a flowery shirt

Hannah Kiely

Bastard, you took a piece of my life, screwed it
into a younger version, razed, ripped, torn apart

Bastard, you took the piano, the silent hall
echoes torment, tears, spartan space

And bastard, I cursed you harshly at night
closed the outside light, curled like a gnarled arthritic hand

Damn you, big shot, deluded at the apex
of your own illusions, a buffoon; child seats, schools

Who are you now, living under hollow pretence
is it greener on your side?

Your flowery shirts, an over-compensation
the rise and fall of a default man

Ill-fitting skinny jeans, Gen Z or millennial
you are not, they won’t make you younger

Long hair, an ageing rocker, who never made it
your fondness for the old wedding cake, three slices so far

Unbroken, I begin to steal it back,
middle aged fool.

I secretly don’t envy you anymore.

Hannah Kiely is from Galway. Kiely completed an MA in writing at NUIG in 2020. She has been published in Vox Galvia, RTE Sunday Miscellany, Pendemic.ie and has been a featured reader on Over The Edge.