Silent Order, by Joe Naughton

Joe Naughton lives in Galway 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.

 

An Ode to Monty Don and the Pet Shop Boys, by Robert Garnham

Disco in your greenhouse, Monty?
Flat cap rapping in the growbag scene.
I licked the outside of your shed window
While you were live on air,
The glass compressing my tongue into a
Flat pink slug.
It’s such a pane.
And it tasted to mallard shit.

I’ve always felt like a weed in the bedding
And I’m being hoed by Monty Don.
Why can’t we be proper mates?
I’d hang around him as he propagates.
And I’d wobble his bundle is to make
The morning dew
Rain down on his craggy Easter island statue face.
Is that a tear, Monty D?

I saw him out by the shed he was sprinkling his seed,
Tender frost-hid cuttings and I thought, indeed,
We always cut off more than we need.
Let me sniff your corduroy trousers, Monty D.

And here come his footsteps a-plodding and he’s
Got his garden shovel raised and you can tell
By the way his eyes glare as he holds it in the air
That he means to crack it down with venomous fury
On my head
And that’s when I shout,

Disco in your greenhouse, Monty?
I’ve got the karaoke set up and here’s
A parody of the Pet Shop Boy’s West End Girls
Except it’s about chocolate bars,
Do you like chocolate bars, Monty?
Do you like chocolate bars?

Sometimes you’re better off in bed
There’s a Twix in your hand
You wish it was a Flake.
You think you’re bad,
Totally incapable
The nutrition guidelines and the ingredients table
In a Toblerone
Or a Kit Kat Chunky
Call the policeman
I hope he’s quite hunky
Running down
To the shops
To get a Dime Bar
Or a Yorkie.

In a sweet shop queue with a Cadbury’s Twirl.
Whole nut boys and Toblerone Girls.
In a sweet shop queue with a Cadbury’s Twirl.
Whole nut boys and Toblerone Girls.

Too many Mars Bars
Wispas and whole nuts
Kit Kats on posters
Too many doughnuts
Iced
Glazed
Jam
Plain
Which one
Shall I claim?
If you got to pick out nuts
From a Fruit And Nut
What you got left
Is just a whole nut
It’s like a boiled egg,
Which do you choose,
The hard or soft option?

In a sweet shop queue with a Cadbury’s Twirl.
Whole nut boys and Toblerone Girls.
In a sweet shop queue with a Cadbury’s Twirl.
Whole nut boys and Toblerone Girls.

Monty Don’s face peers
From the compost heap
Like the moon rising over a
Mulched desert planet
And a sneer plays around his lips.
Come here, you bastard, he says,
And enough with the sweet talk.

Robert Garnham has been performing comedy poetry around the UK for over ten years at various fringes and festivals, and has had three poetry collections published by Burning Eye. 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 Edinburgh Fringe. He was recently an answer on the TV show Pointless and, very briefly, on Britain’s Got Talent. His short stories have been published widely.

 

Sorry, by Emma Purshouse

Sorry 

this poem is pretty shit
I must apologise for it.

It has rhyme in its defence
though its rhyme, is not immense

It has no similes, nor metaphor.
I’ve no idea what it’s for.

It doesn’t seem to say a lot
but one thing it hasn’t got

(which is a plus I have to say)
is a shard, or soul, or heart cliché...

...and now it has. In that last verse.
I fear I’ve gone and made things worse.

At least I’ve got the deadline nailed.
Yesterday? Oh fuck, I’ve failed.

Yes, this poem is pretty shit
and I apologise for it.

Emma Purshouse is a writer and performance poet from the English Black Country. Her poetry is published by ‘Offa’s Press’. Her debut novel ‘Dogged’ came out with ‘Ignite Books’ in 2021.

 

I Thought I Would Be Invisible, by Karol Nielsen

I Thought I Would Be Invisible

I was at the pharmacy and I buzzed the clerk to unlock the vitamins case. I asked him for the Centrum Silver. “But that’s for women over 50!” I said, “I’m old enough.” “You don’t look it,” he said. The extra padding in my cheeks from Covid weight probably makes me look younger. I still get hit on even with my extra pounds. A cool dude downtown kept repeating, “I’m trying to get your attention!” A man in my uptown neighborhood stopped me to ask for directions and then he said, “Can I ask you out for a drink?” My downstairs neighbor who is subletting from coop owners stopped me on the street and asked me to have coffee with him. The next day when I came back with coffee after six am he opened his door without a shirt on. He was so disappointed I already had coffee. I thought that I would be invisible by now. It would be nice sometimes.

Karol Nielsen is the author of two memoirs and two poetry chapbooks. Her full-length collection was a finalist for the Colorado Prize for Poetry. Her poem, “This New Manhattan,” was a finalist for the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize.

 

A Practical Woman, by bern butler

A Practical Woman

She used to sigh
throw eyes to heaven
push feet, irritated, into slippers
at first comedic bars of Yakety Sax

when nurses in scant uniform
came on, to buzz and bend
in frantic rhythm round
the suspect wheelchair patient,
pursue in tottering, mindless
swarm, the masquerading nimrod
in the fleeing doctor’s coat.

While we guffawed merrily,
in a fashion then acceptable
for dullards and buffoons
she made toast and tea for us
noted contents of the cupboards,
rinsed cups and spoons,
pushed home the bolt –

used Page 3
(if one snuck in)
to light the fire
in the morning.



From Galway, Ireland, bern butler’s work has featured in Force 10, Ropes Anthology, Galway Review, North-West Words, Abridged, The Ireland Chair of Poetry, Dodging Rain, The Madrigal, Gnashing Teeth, Cuirt New Writing Showcase. She holds an MA Writing from NUI Galway.
 

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.
 

Summer Pastoral, by Maurice Devitt

Summer Pastoral

The weather was so good that I left
a poem unfinished on the desk,
swapped slippers for dancing shoes
and stepped out onto the street.
As I did, every door seemed to open
in sync, disgorging a series
of flawless figures, just about recognisable
as my neighbours, dressed uniformly
in chiffon and silk – greys, blues
and powdery pinks – falling
into geometric formation.

A man passed me a parasol
and I sashayed into the swell,
toes and heels in perfect time
to the lush music that enveloped
the scene, every movement
choreographed to a jaunty rhythm,
smiles appearing on even the cloudiest
faces. When we reached the end of the street
we twirled and bowed in concert,
hats and caps erupting into the sky
as the music crescendoed and started to fade.

Conversation turned to the rumour
that a famous musical director
had bought a house on the road
and we wondered would he really fit in.

A past winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland and Poems for Patience competitions, he published his debut collection, ‘Growing Up in Colour’, with Doire Press in 2018.

Curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site, his Pushcart-nominated poem, ‘The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work’, was the title poem of an anthology published by Hibernian Writers in 2015.

 

The politics of envy, by Janet Sillett

The politics of envy

1
I am eaten up
each day waiting in front of this house
for the 24 bus to King’s Cross
twisted with it
transfixed at the stuccoed veneer
draped with wisteria
shot with purple perfuming the hallowed air
of Keat’s ‘melodious plot’

I loathe the inhabitants of the house with Heath views
Hampstead Heath once wild now as tamed as the middle class
reading beige sex in not-quite-made-it booker longlists
a city banker’s family perhaps
he looks like one
the nanny, dragging a small child
his jacket emblazoned by the crest of a school
where five year olds can learn Mandarin. And there are
no additives for lunch
a small fretful dog, pampered
by plaid rugs and vegan biscuits
sniffing at Hampstead’s rare detritus

I want that banker to be exposed
as a uber fraudster
the nanny sent back to Sweden
the poor dog in kennels
the child in state school, tieless
picking at frozen chips

the elegant façade cracked
its blue plaque smashed


11

After work in Betjeman’s Parliament Hill café
I take what counts for tea in NW3
tiny petals floating in urine coloured water
High up here with London displayed
like a Victorian panorama
a glimpse of the Shard, fuzzy in sun mist

I catch a bus, sweat smelling, to Highgate
a pilgrimage to Marx’s grave.
Would he have disowned me
if we had met on his weekly walk on Hampstead Heath
or at the meeting of the Congress of the Communist League
the Red Lion Soho
explaining the tenets of socialism
over borscht and German beer?

Yes of course he would

it’s just I crave that house
with its perfect symmetry

I am, I’m afraid,
largely
unreconstructed

Janet Sillett recently took up writing poetry and short fiction again after decades of absence. She has had poems published in the Galway Advertiser, Spilling Cocoa, Green Ink Poetry, Paws for Thought, Poetry Plus and flash fiction published in Litro. She just retired from from a think tank.

 

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 Cannibal who Came to Tea, by Arran Potts

The Cannibal Who Came to Tea

Hello I see you made it then?
I’m not too hard to find.
Between your teeth? Aperitif
Small pieces of my mind.

This spoon is finest silver
So you can gouge and pry;
I’ll never see, your love for me
As I give you the eye.

I’ll lend an ear, poke out my tongue,
If you can fit it in.
Then I propose, you pick my nose;
My gravy on your chin.

No-one knows that we are here,
I’m glad that we’re alone.
No need to cook, I’ll let you suck
The marrow from my bone.

Pull me apart, eat out my heart
Slurp up my blood and bowels.
I’m such a giver, please take my liver
Mop up my mess with towels.

Make some bacon from my back
Carve into my cheek;
Have a nibble, on my nipple
Chew me till I'm weak.

Now take my hand, you’re nearly done,
I see you have the guts.
It doesn’t hurt, and for dessert
I’ll let you eat my nuts.

Arran has friends who are poets and fancies a little bit of the glory and adulation they receive. He’ll also settle for someone saying, ‘That’s ok.’ He’s a husband, father and teacher.