Earthworms are Awesome, by Holly Conant

Earthworms Are Awesome

I mean, they literally feed the fucking planet. Take our fermented banana, yellow miasma and crap it out as wise-man’s gold. And I feel impressed with my morning turd! But that needs hours of processing, by loads of people in hazmat suits with fancy gizmos, before it turns into anything useful. I’d rather be a worm: take a shit, and boom, job done; it’s warm and ready to be laid into by a seed-bean or bulb. Maybe I’d be more fulfilled without a human brain to contradict my purpose. I’d find my way into a middle-class compost bin, spend all day eating potpourri detritus, and be a rent-free master architect, redacting common land law. I’d be humbled by my legless body, my simple ways of building, mindful of camber structure instead of grey velvet sofas and Mrs Hinch. I’d be at home in dirt, throw my gender away and bag the kinky night-time rendezvous’ amongst an orgy of grass with wet breath. The human hand would be no more risk to me than it is now, maybe even less, and mother Earth might forgive me for my flesh. I just hope being swallowed by a bird is a quick death.

Holly is a mature student currently studying at the University of Leeds. Her poems have been published since January 2021 by Ink, Sweat & Tears, Anti-Heroin Chic, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, Dreich and more, as well as appearing in anthologies. She is currently working on her debut collection.

Twitter: @Holly_C_Writer


Driven Bats, by Jim Lawrence

Driven Bats

Just 27 nautical miles
Off the eastern coast of Nowhere
Rusts an old abandoned oil rig
Where guano is piled impressively high

The bats that leave this rich deposit
When not hanging upside down
Off the western coast of Somewhere
Fly backwards like black hummingbirds

Other times they love to hover
Helicopter-wise for fun
Above the ageing public buildings
Of Nowhere’s bureaucratic streets

And when they flit through Somewhere’s skies
Bothering tourists for fish and chips
They cackle like demented demons
As they dive bomb with Stuka screams

But there is nothing they love more
Than flying over the oil rig
Cranked up on snatched carbohydrates
Shitting a mountain of minerals

Bio: Jim Lawrence is a poet, freelance editor, writer, translator and bedroom guitarist in Southampton. He likes the blues, cats, Jack Daniels, Gillian Anderson and any food that isn’t an avocado or a sprout.


Poo Stick Parade by Heather Wastie

Striders, stragglers
Dog poo wardens
Puddle patrols
Sloshers, stampers
Tottering slitherers
Towpath tramplers
with Nordic poles

Herded hubbub
That’ll do! Come by!
Chatter pack therapy
Out with shouts
Three wide, ten deep
Clogging up the airwaves
Peace churned up
by regimented nature-loving louts!

Poet, singer, songwriter and actor Heather Wastie is The Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015/16. In 2013 she was Writer in Residence at the Museum of Carpet, Kidderminster. She has published four illustrated poetry collections and has a busy schedule of commissions and performances.



Foxes Don’t Wear Gloves by Emily Koch

My shrink says that when I feel blue
what I need is a deep breath of green –
that there’s “truth in the beauty of nature”,
and besides, it’s a nice change of scene.

Problem is, I’ve got issues with trust.
I’m suspicious of people (and things)
who pretend to be something they’re not
to cover up lies, thefts and flings.

So when I went out in the country
with a guide to show me this from that,
I soon realised most plants were liars,
and their fraud sparked a panic attack.

Lamb’s Ear, Monkey’s Nose and Bear’s Foot
do not pass for the organs of beasts.
Bat’s wings are not green with red berries –
I was the fool in yet another deceit.

Cupid flies, so his car is redundant,
if a hare had a bell he would ring it,
I’m yet to see a fox wearing gloves
or a cow tease a bull in her slip.

Like hell is there truth out in nature –
plants lie just as well as the rest.
Stuff my shrink and his deep breath of green,
a stiff gin’s all I need when depressed.

Emily Koch is a writer and journalist living in Bristol. She writes short stories, flash fiction and poetry and recently finished her first novel.