If you want to look sad,
you can't wear a Sombrero
You have to be happy.
It will catch the rain,
be its own dance floor,
you will block up the street,
become a living door.
If you want to be a happy fellow,
buy yourself a Sombrero.
Safe Word, by Hilary Willmott
Keeping it simple is for the best
Choose nothing hard to say
Something easy, sharp and short
You'll be better off that way.
I would suggest a few words here
Such as 'North' or 'East' or 'South"
And never words that can't be formed
With an orange in your mouth.
Hilary has been published and sometimes shortlisted over the years by Templar Press, The Exeter Broadsheet, Leaf, Velvet, Obsessed with Pipework Bristol PoetryCan and Mr Garnham.
Masseuse Musings, by Mohammad Zahid
The frigidity of your subcutaneous elastin requires some thaw. The lymphatic network might be chocked somewhat, depositing sediments of sloth at the intersecting nodes that need a gentle flush. Which is why you feel the way you do. Weary. Some knots need to be untangled, some pores unclogged. Some dryness in the underlying adipose layer needs nourishment, the drought needs to be watered with oil! Here we have all essential oils that heal ailments, real or fictional. Surprised, are you?
Listen, some caged entropy also needs to be set free.
Lie down and relax.
Ah! your heart beat is listening, the eavesdropping heart, eh! Trust my ambidextrous experience that has let down none so far.
The human machine in you needs regular oiling to keep the engine revving on!
Will you pay in cash or by card?
Mohammad Zahid is a poet and translator from Kashmir, India. His maiden poetry collection The Pheromone Trail bagged the Best Book Award from the Academy of Art Culture and Languages, Jammu & Kashmir in 2015.
His poetry has appeared in many Indian and international journals. He is a translation editor for Kashmiri Language at Muse India and Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts.
Feral Dogs of Riogordo, by Hilary Willmott
Feral Dogs of Riogordo
It's three a.m and I need a pee which I have been delaying
since it takes but the slightest movement to rouse the feral dogs of Riogordo. The dog who sleeps behind the house likes to conduct proceedings.
In my half sleep I see him with a baton which he raises and with two sharp yelps has the rapt attention of all dogs within a five mile radius. They quickly reach frenzy pitch to become a canine
cacophony of sound echoing across the countryside and down into the pueblo.
Pleased with tonight's turnout the conductor discards his baton and after a perfunctory nibble on his testicles, curls into a ball and sleeps.
The choir note his absence and become sotto voce until they too
abandon the proceedings to await the next tap of the conductor's baton.
Hilary has been writing for many years and has been published by Templar Press, Bristol PoetryCan, Leaf, Velvet, The Exeter Broadsheet, Obsessed with Pipework and Mr Garnham himself. She lives close to the river in the south west of England, with her partner and a small pack of dogs.
Double Entendre, by Jeff Burd
The doctor says you’ll have to
remove your pants. You’re
there in the exam room with
him and his intern. She’s young.
Blonde. Her eager eyes sparkle
as she hovers beside him.
“Do you mind if she’s in here for this?”
the doctor asks. “She’s got
I don’t want her to miss.”
The intern clutches a clipboard.
You imagine a neatly typed checklist.
This next task looms at the bottom
next to a barren, untouched little box.
It’s okay with you. The doctor probes
and talks his way through several
tender angles and steps aside. The intern
reaches for a glove, and you realize too late
that the ‘here’ she’s going to be ‘in’
is much more than the exam room.
Jeff Burd works as a high school English teacher in the north suburbs of Chicago. Mr. Burd spends a lot of time writing and thinking about writing, and worrying about not writing and thinking about writing.
A cornucopia, by Finola Scott
of crap and delight
my spam box overflows.
Pals tell me to clear, delete
those I’ve no interested in.
Concerned, they warn
my systems are endangered,
my back unguarded -
Obedient I scan and identify.
Titan Power Spins -no, too late,
my Wonder Woman days are past.
Tooth Decay – really? People pay for that?
Harry’s Razor – he’s but a painful memory,
But maybe that Nuzzle mattress,
Tupi Tea Keep it Hard intrigues
(see Harry above)
and oh for a Contour Swan Pillow.
- I think of those nests at the loch.
Thanks to friends, I relish the surprise
of my winnings -today a Multi Drill King,
a Club Car Golf Cart, a cordless vacuum.
I can only be grateful for algorithms.
They know me so well.
Finola Scott confesses writing is an untreated compulsion. She’s grateful that her work appears in magazines and anthologies. She enjoys performing, finding the writing community welcoming. Her hobbies are chocolate cake, jumping waves, laughing with friends, tickling grand-girls. She can be heard in a pub near you!
Cucumber, by Susan Lindsay
Cucumber cool man
definitely, if not definitively
wears a bowler hat
like the balloon man
blown up and twisted into shape
each twist a joint
in which to fit another
one quick swirl and in no time
the bowler hat man
becomes a sausage dog
elongated body, nose
short legs and perky tail.
Not the cucumber cool man
who is only a caricature
squash that tube
and you’ll get juice
seeds for small creatures
to feast upon if left too long
it’s better chopped
sliced into a salad
thinly enough, reputedly fine,
between refined slices
of brown bread - crusts off
where the upper crusts
might remove top hats to dine
with ladies and gentlemen
of their acquaintance
for afternoon tea
at Dublin‘s Shelbourne Hotel
or other exaggerated theatre
of exquisite cuisine
or not. Twirls
of the vegetable scooped
by the latest sharp blades
more likely now, perhaps
to appear alongside
Susan Lindsay … a most compelling and unique voice in Irish poetry, Eamonn Wall, at her February 2022 Reading, University Missouri-St. Louis. Milling the Air (2018) is Susan’s third collection from Doire Press. Her work is published in journals, she has read at festivals and facilitates Conversations mediated by poetry. Blog: http://susanlindsayauthor.blogspot.com
Lukewarm, by Terri Metcalfe
I’ll forget you just like I forgot all the others.
It doesn’t matter that you’re hot
with the scent of youth, distant
as a phantom smell.
You’ll be lukewarm like lavender on an old hankie
once these stinking thieves of my attention
have faded to memories.
You’re no different.
Won’t slide past my respiratory passages any easier –
my insides stained rotten as a neglected toilet bowl.
Look, any minute now I’ll excite your molecules
back to life, so quit staring at me.
I offer the metallic tinged ting of the microwave,
or I can easily scald a new teabag.
Ode to the Best Medicine, by Phil Genoux
Ode to the Best Medicine
I take it in the morning, I take it in the night,
I take it black as the gallows, l take it light and bright.
It gets me in the belly, it gets me in the face,
It gets me out of myself and back in the human race.
Give me your nonsense, your wordplay and your puns,
Well thought out or off-the-cuff, I`ll take them as they come.
Deadpan, dry, or epigrammatic,
Any time of day, I want to be at it.
Show me your innuendo and your folie de grandeur,
Rub me up the wrong way with your double-entendre.
Slap me on the arse with some Commedia-del-arte,
Hit me in the brain with your witty repartee.
Clownish, daft or plain idiotic,
It all feels better than antibiotics.
High-brow or low-brow, adult or adolescent:
They`re all way better than anti-depressants.
Off colour, dark, blue or black,
Give it a shot, because I` m up for the crack.
Salty, snarky or understated,
If it sets me off, I`ll advocate it.
Cringe, parodic, surreal or sardonic,
Sarcastic or bombastic, it`s all a tonic.
Juvenile, slapstick or totally hyperbolic:
All good ways to cure the melancholic.
So, don`t be downcast, have a blast,
Keeping them coming thick and fast.
Being miserable? I just can`t be arsed.
Because the honest truth is: He who laughs, lasts.
Phil Genoux lives in Glastonbury. He has always enjoyed entertaining people and making them laugh. He did it for 12 years as a mime artist travelling all over Europe. Now he is using words.”
Bloody Crows, by Agnes Warren
My morning cup interrupted
I burst from the door
A demented whirling dervish
In a pink fleecy robe
Hurl foul abuse
In all directions
A black feathered diaspora
But ever watchful
They bide their time
Never doubt their rightful return
My poor beleaguered hens
Seize the moment
Occupy the feeder
Under the protective eye
Of a garishly clad
The farmer offers
To shoot one
Hang the carcass on a pole
A warning to the others
Just say the word he says
Surprised, as I recoil
I retreat down the rabbit hole
Of internet advice
From BB guns
To hawk shaped kites
My head spins
Out of nowhere they come
A grandmother's words
Be gentle with nature
Take care of the wild things
Feed the birds
I stand, cup in hand
My unruly visitors
Disgruntled hens and trigger-happy farmers aside
Equilibrium is restored
Agnes Warren lives in the West of Ireland. She started writing poetry in 2021 and participated in a series of workshops with Kevin Higgins, through Galway Arts Centre.