Mr. Electable and Family, by Mark Jones

Here comes Mr Electable
He’s ravishing and delectable
His policies are selectable
It’s good old Mr Electable.

His sister Miss Debateable
Is seldom seen as dateable
She’ll kick you right underthetable
That is Miss Debateable.

Their mother Mrs Tiresome
Worked flat out to hiresome
Earplugs she requiredthem
Poor old Mrs Tiresome.

And father Mr Paradox
A man who thinks outsidethebox
Posts leaflets outside the letterbox
Yes/No that’s Mr Paradox.

Electable
Debateable
Tiresome & Paradox

Think I’ll read a book instead.

Mark Jones, performance poet, has been plying his craft over much of the South West for many years, from open mic nights to theatres and even the odd tea room and cafe. In 2014 he won the Spokes Amaze poetry slam in Exeter and has had published two collections of poetry, Humps For Fifty Yards & Beans.

 

Something Fishy . . . By Carole Donaldson

This is what culminated from a brief encounter at Sainsbury’s. It took five minutes to make up a rhyme about the extremely brief dalliance, but I think I had a close shave and dodged a bullet, yet unfortunately if the guy hadn’t been in such a hurry to ‘get his leg over’ we could have made fine music together, but I’m pleased that I usually always go with my gut feeling about things, and this guy was far too forward for comfort. Shame, really, he wasn’t bad looking but he let his mouth run away with him.

SOMETHING FISHY …

I met a man, while out shopping, at the salmon counter,
he came over quite suave and quite slick,
a few weeks on from that chance encounter,
he turned out to be naught but a fanciful dick

He kissed me and hugged me the minute we met
So charming – he addressed me “Dear Madam”
But how familiar is it right for a stranger to get
When I didn’t even know him from Adam

We exchanged our phone numbers and as days went by
I waited to hear from this Casanova
But I’d text and then wait but get no reply
So before it begun, it was practically over

He finally rang and arranged that we meet
His excuse for no contact? He preferred not to text
We went for a coffee on a posh market street
Where he wasted no time saying how much he loved sex

Well, I was appalled and quite taken aback
It was far too soon to be talking that way
But he took me to lunch, at Kings Road Seafood Shack
And when the huge bill came, he was happy to pay

(80 quid’s-worth of food was devoured that day)

Though we chatted at lunch and duly both laughed
With the same sense of humour we shared
I got a bad vibe and I thought myself daft
I could’ve been an old boot and I don’t think he’d’ve cared.

He mentioned the sex thing again I had noted
He clearly had his own agenda
He was quite up front, not a thing sugar-coated
And showed himself up to be a pretender

This encounter has taught me to be somewhat wary
This chap had manners like a pen full of swine
His ulterior motives can seem somewhat scary
But in truth that’s his problem, and certainly not mine

It’s been over a week now and he’s disappeared
At his hinted intentions, I told him where to go
Asking if I was adventurous – far too forward I feared
And on that score the arse’ole will now never know

 

Frames, by Eddie Gibbons

FRAMES

He met her at the Art Gallery.

Made eyes at her
across a Caravaggio.

Saw her framed against a Miro.

Watched her glide along
an avenue of Monets.

She saw him standing
like a prick
between two Pollocks.

Published in ‘The Republic of Ted’, Thirsty Books, Edinburgh, 2003.

Eddie Gibbons has six published poetry collections. ‘What They Say About You’ was shortlisted for the ‘Scottish Poetry Book of the Year’, 2011. He was a prizewinner in the inaugural ‘Edwin Morgan Poetry Competition’, 2008. He has a poem in the Bloodaxe anthology ‘Land of Three Rivers’. Twitter- @1Eddie_Gibbons

 

Oh Me!, by beam

Oh Me!
I am a soggy biscuit
I am murking
at the bottom
of your
mug

I am a sang-widge
you thought you threw away…
a Summer ago

I am a surprise from a stranger
who’s known to the Gardaí
you didn’t wear your glasses
you thought I was waving
but I was wanking

beam is a 26 year old poet from Ireland. She has participated in workshops led by Kevin Higgins, read at Galway City’s Literary Organisation event ”Over The Edge” and has been published in Cabinet Of Heed, Broadsheet.ie, Impspired, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Spilling Hot Cocoa Over Martin Amos, WordCityLit, Ink Sweat and Tears & Open Skies. Recent work includes; surviving the pandemic and several disappointing sourdough loaves. She is becoming the kind of person who says the things you ”aren’t supposed to say”. You can find more of her poetry @personalbeam on instagram.

 

Iona walk of shame, by Jay Whittaker

Iona walk of shame

No minister
I did not leave
my sodden knickers
on the rocks
after semi-skinny dipping
on the Sabbath

that must have been some other pilgrim.
But there is learning here –
wet black pants
look just like kelp
strewn across a rock.

Jay Whittaker lives and works in Edinburgh. Her debut poetry collection Wristwatch (Cinnamon Press) was the Scottish Poetry Book of the Year (Saltire Society Literary Awards) 2018. Her second collection, Sweet Anaesthetist, (also Cinnamon Press) was published in 2020. Jay is widely published, including two poems in the recent Bloodaxe anthology, Staying Human. www.jaywhittaker.uk / @jaywhittapoet

 

Half an hour’s work, by Sarah J. Bryson

Half an hour’s work

The secateurs fit her hand
perfectly, as she works
to shape the form
until a thicker branch
does not yield to the blade
and they are exchanged
for the long handled lopper
which uses the physics
of leverage to exert
their power.
Four more chops
then she drops
this tool for the rake
to gather up the trimmings
then stands back
to admire the shape,
notices a stray weed
she’s missed, under the bush
grabs the hand fork
to extract the dandelion’s
long tap root, but
this one needs
the little spade
to loosen the soil
to ease out the beast,
all but the tip surrendering
to the teasing.
She stands back again,
thinking how much
can be achieved in a short time –
then sees one more stem
to trim, to finish the job.
She looks around
for the secateurs
which have disappeared-
searches for nearly
another half an hour.

Sarah J Bryson

Bio
Sarah has poems published in print journals, anthologies and on line. She has been a regular participant, during the Covid pandemic, in a weekly on-line arts event, combining photographs with haiku style poetry and has recently had several poems on the Poetry and Covid site.

 

Surf School, by Robert Garnham

Thou has the charms of a warthog.
Vile, doth your snout snuffle
Amongst the remnants of last night’s moussaka.
Has thou perchance upon my corduroy trouser leg
Upchucked?
Be gone!
Quoth my
Surfing instructor.

Upon my word did the very same surfing instructor
Not two hours previous
Raise an eyebrow or two as, with help,
I oozed into the requisite wetsuit,
Like a slug into a Smarties tube,
Thus requiring considerable tugging,
Talcum powder, axle grease, Vaseline,
Gravity and sheer luck,
And yea, for it was the closest I had come
In many months
To sex.

Unleashed on the sea thus be-rubbered,
I had all the equilibrium of a sparrow
In a cement mixer,
All the agility of a lopsided basset hound
With an inner ear infection,
All the balance of Fox News
And all the rhythm of a drummer divorced from his drum
And also, coincidentally,
Three months in the grave.
You might say that
I wasn’t really cut out for it.

Thy surfing instructor, Troy, were a frown
With a man attached.
Sayeth he,
I’ve never seen a surfboard just sink like that.
It just went down like a stone, didn’t it?
You’re rewriting all the laws of physics,
And upon my word,
Did’st thou notice the countenance of that
Dolphin?
Such a worried demeanour.
And you’ve put the fear of god
Into a porpoise.
And also,
Thou art emitting
A vast and toxic slick.

Thy wetsuit were as shapely as a
Delaminated lorry tyre,
Such that a passing walrus should deliver
A cocky wink,
And surely I would have excelled
In all my brine-soaked majesty
Were it not for a chafing in the gusset
Which brought tears to mine eyes and
Conjured
That night I spent in Nuneaton with an
Abraham Lincoln impersonator
Whose frisky appetites
Could ne’er be sated
Yet ate my buffet breakfast and scarpered
Without so much as a how do you do?

The sea were as rough as mine uncle
And it pounded on the beach like
An angry old man on the doors of the closed cafe
In which he has left his baccy tin,
And no matter how I progressed
I could stand not on that blessed board.
For when it cometh to surfing I am nought
But a charlatan, a poseur,
A ne’erdowell enmeshed in misery,
No more qualified to join the surfing greats
Than a giraffe join a coven of mallards,
That I might hang my head in shame,
And mutter, oh, when do I get to say cowabunga?
And hand in my ankle bracelet
And my coral necklace
And my flip flops
And submit to the life of a land based mammal
Such as a badger or a dental hygienist.

How vast the expression of shock on the face
Of my damp-headed instructor
When I leaned on the flanks of his
Cobbled rickety surf shack
And the whole place concertinered
Into a jumble of wooden planks.
He hardly laughed at all.

And thus began a tirade the general gist of which
Implored me to explore
Other avenues of past-time
In which my ham-fisted bungling efforts might
Not cause quite so much pain, anguish, damage
And general gnashing of teeth.
And that, dear listener,
Is how I became a poet.

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. Je has supported artists such as John Hegley, Arthur Smith and Paul Sinha. He has made a few short TV adverts for a certain bank, and a joke from one of his shows was listed as one of the funniest of the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe. Lately he has been writing short stories published in magazines such as Stand, Defenestration and Riggwelter, and a humorous column in the Herald Express newspaper. In 2021 he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and shortlisted as Spoken Word Artist of the Year by the Saboteur Awards. His influences are diverse and include Ivor Cutler, Salena Godden, Bob Newhart and Laurie Anderson.

Robert is the editor of Spilling Cocoa. His website can be found at https://professorofwhimsy.com

 

Just Desserts, by Greg Freeman

JUST DESSERTS

Even after all this time
I’m not ashamed of what I did.
Tipping a mixture of party food
through an elderly former
neighbour’s letterbox.
He’d complained to our landlord
that our girlfriends stayed overnight.
It was the Seventies. Yorkshire
was and is a backward place.

I’d moved out as quick as I could,
got a place with my girl, soon
to be wife. Was invited back
for a party by the one nice flatmate
that we bumped into in town.
I hatched the plan in advance.
Halfway through the evening
I went out with my offering
and delivered it. Rat-tat-splat.

They say revenge is sweet.
Black forest gateau, trifle,
a soupcon of tiramisu.
And a dish best served cold.
Those puddings came
straight from the fridge.
I suppose my ex-flatmates
received some feedback.
Still gives me pleasure, writing this.

Greg Freeman is news and reviews editor for the poetry website Write Out Loud. He co-comperes a regular poetry night in Woking. His new collection is called Marples Must Go! One of its themes mourns the comic heroes of yesteryear, with this cri de coeur: ‘Why can’t life still be hilarious?’ https://www.dempseyandwindle.com/gregfreeman.html

 

Errands, by Sarah J. Bryson

Errands

As novices on the ward
we students were sent to collect,
to beg to borrow –

‘nip to 15 see if they have any spare
draw sheets, and ask Sister Pink
if you can borrow a sphyg,’

‘go down to the porter’s lodge
and tell them we need someone urgently:
bring one of them back with you,’

‘take this list to CSSD
with the trolley, and bring back
as much as you can to stock up’

One day I was asked to go to
the orthopaedic ward
for left handed syringes

and a long stand.

Sarah J Bryson

Bio
Sarah has poems published in print journals, anthologies and on line. She has been a regular participant, during the Covid pandemic, in a weekly on-line arts event, combining photographs with haiku style poetry and has recently had several poems on the Poetry and Covid site.

 

Strictly Speaking, by MT Taylor

Strictly speaking…

…her shoes let them down
five inch heels and that soft kid leather
in come-fuck-me red.
Were they ever
really a pair?

He with his polished Latino click
hers a scarlet asymmetric slit
with a temper to match
his a spandex sparkle
and the macassared slick
of his Lugosi thatch

She didn’t fall, merely tripped
on his slippery charm
and her own indecision
lost her footing
gripped his arm as they took to the floor
in their downward collision.
She felt a smack from the back
of his left Cuban stack.

She’s had enough.
Through the crack of his dislocation
she remembered old scores
lost marks
humiliation

The last he knew was her impatient sigh
and the crushing sight
of her restless stiletto above his eye
the mocking cry
the samba siren and the boys in blue
(what-the-foxtrot-tango?)
lights on full
Paso doble
torero mujer
and one dead bull

MT Taylor was a librarian before retiring to Glasgow. Her work has appeared in The Glasgow Review of Books, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Northwords Now, The Lake, Under the Radar, and Poems for Grenfell. She has four children who still talk to her, and she still interrupts.