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.

 

Grumpy Bumpy Poem, by Ed Poetastic

The sun too bright,
Toss away the clock,
These sheet are so tight,
My body feel like a rock,
EVERYTHING NOT ALRIGHT!!
A sound? Knock, knock, knock
Someone looking for a fight!!
The door!! Why is there so many locks!!
Mail, give me that! Forget being polite,
No Sir you can kiss my buttocks!
You enjoy that? Get out of my sight!!
Dumb stupid clock going tick tock,
I’m trying to eat with all my might,
What!! No tea or Coffee in stock,
This day is so crazy and not right,
Even my stove is refusing to ignite,
Puuufff, time to see boring sites,
It’s meh so what alright okay despite,
Why is the sky so bright, blue, and white?
Why is my jacket so little, stuffy, and tight?
Why are kids flying stupid droids and kites?
No more happy sappy activities in my hindsight
Being grumpy is my passion and birthright
I drink the bitter bad and toss away the delights
Seeing a peaceful moment spoils my appetite
I wish I can raindown thunderstorms with spite,
This sunshine, flowers, and butterflies really bites
I Love pure darkness then boring pale white
I love taking out the bulbs in everyone’s lights
I Love seeing fights, firefights, and bullfights
I love setting fireworks at the dead of midnight
Why am I so crabby, grouchy, and uptight?
why should I tell you? Have a grumpy night
By Ed Poetastic

 

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.

 

The Ongoing Saga of Why I Haven’t Finished my Novel, by Nikki Fine

The Ongoing Saga of Why I haven’t Finished My Novel

Reason number four hundred and three.
No, don’t go. It’s a good one. You’ll like it.
Well, maybe ‘like’ is the wrong word. Perhaps
‘appreciate’, or even ‘recognise’.

I woke up
with the final paragraph in my head,
all ready to write in, spelling, punctuation,
everything needed to complete my opus.

I was so excited, I fumbled for my
lucky pen – the one I was using when
I won a story competition at primary school,
though I’ve had no luck since –
and knocked over my glass of water.

Obviously, I needed to dry the pen before use,
but as I entered the bathroom, in search of
a towel, the cat dashed beneath my feet,
and I tripped, dropping my poor pen
into the bowels of the unit which remained
unflushed after some midnight micturitions.

By the time I had failed to retrieve the pen
hygienically, and then called a plumber
to go beyond the u-bend, the paragraph
was gone. All that was left was this.

Nikki Fine is struggling to finish a novel and has resorted to poetry in the meantime. Some of her work has been published, in such places as Spilling Cocoa and The Interpreter’s House. She has also been experimenting with selfies in windy locations.

 

Zenith, by Kevin Higgins

Zenith

Zenith Kane is the type of guy
who, home from a challenging afternoon
in the rat eat rat milieu that is the trade
in self-rotating slurry tanks,
lowers himself into his marble bathtub
with his pet electric eel;
makes up plans

to go, first, into politics
then the global arms trade as a lobbyist,
to familiarise himself with the menus of
the better hotels in Brussels,
Beirut, the District of Columbia;

then retire to a purpose built shed
the far end of the garden to drink
Ginseng tea through a handmade straw
and draft the twenty seventh best novel
in the history of front cover blurbs written
by critics with specialist haircuts
and names translated into Gaelic;

bathe in the sunlight of the quality press
declaring it brilliant
before it’s even written.

But last things first: those business cards,
and the professionally done head shot
all the websites say a novelist of his standing
must these days have.

For now, though, the struggle to rise
pinkly out of the bathtub while feeding
an eel buzzing its discontent
frogs and crabs by the bag load,

so tomorrow he can again be Zenith
and talk a man from Anbally or Gortlusky
into a tank with a rotating paddle
guaranteed to maintain the quality of his slurry.

KEVIN HIGGINS

KEVIN HIGGINS is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway. He has published five previous full collections of poems: The Boy With No Face (2005), Time Gentlemen, Please (2008), Frightening New Furniture (2010), The Ghost In The Lobby (2014), & Sex and Death at Merlin Park Hospital (2019). His poems also feature in Identity Parade – New Britishand Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and in The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe May 2014). Kevin was satirist-in-residence with the alternative literature website The Bogman’s Cannon 2015-16. 2016 – The Selected Satires of Kevin Higgins was published by NuaScéalta in 2016. The Minister For Poetry Has Decreed was published by Culture Matters (UK) also in 2016. Song of Songs 2:0 – New & Selected Poems was published by Salmon in Spring 2017. Kevin is a highly experienced workshop facilitator and several of his students have gone on to achieve publication success. He has facilitated poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre and taught Creative Writing at Galway Technical Institute for the past fifteen years. Kevin is the Creative Writing Director for the NUI Galway International Summer School and also teaches on the NUIG BA Creative Writing Connect programme. His poems have been praised by, among others, Tony Blair’s biographer John Rentoul, Observer columnist Nick Cohen, writer and activist Eamonn McCann, historian Ruth Dudley Edwards, and Sunday Independent columnist Gene Kerrigan; and have been quoted in The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times (London), Hot Press magazine, The Daily Mirror and on The Vincent Browne Show, and read aloud by Ken Loach at a political meeting in London. He has published topical political poems in publications as various as The New European, The Morning Star, Dissent Magazine (USA), Village Magazine (Ireland), & Harry’s Place. The Stinging Fly magazine has described Kevin as “likely the most widely read living poet in Ireland”. One of Kevin’s poems features in A Galway Epiphany, the final instalment of Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor series of novels which is just published. His work has been broadcast on RTE Radio, Lyric FM, and BBC Radio 4. His book The Colour Yellow & The Number 19: Negative Thoughts That Helped One Man Mostly Retain His Sanity During 2020 was published in late by Nuascealta. His extended essay Thrills & Difficulties: Being A Marxist Poet In 21st Century Ireland was published in pamphlet form by Beir Bua Press this year. Ecstatic, Kevin’s sixth full poetry collection, will be published by Salmon next March.

 

Fags villanelle, by Heather Moulson

Fags villanelle

Please give me back my fags
You’re a scrubber and a thief
Rifling through our handbags

You really should be wearing tags
Or turning over a new leaf
And please give me back my fags

From the sweet shop you nick mags
From Tesco, joints of beef
You’re just like the other slags

So please go and nick more swag
To be honest, it will be a relief
When you give me back my fags

Remember it was Rothmans fags
Don’t hide behind that sheath
And get some more carrier bags

You didn’t do it? Good grief!
It was your boyfriend Keith
But you were still behind the blags
So please give me back my fags

 

The love song of Sergeant Wilson, by Ben Macnair

The love song of Sergeant Wilson

I say would you mind awfully
if we went to the cinema to see one of those
new fangled films the kids are talking about?
Sir are you absolutely sure that’s a good idea?

And I say would you mind awfully if I were
to walk you home afterwards to your humble abode?
Sir are you absolutely sure that’s a good idea?

I say would you mind awfully if I told you about my sergeant’s exam?
Shall I tell you about my manager at the bank?
Or about Jones the greengrocer?
How about Fraser?
He says we’re all doomed.
At times I think I agree with him.

I say would you mind awfully if we went to one of those new nightclubs?.
I think I may be too old for them these days.
I like a good club with a bit of dancing.
Maybe they’ll have a bit of jazz with trombones and trumpets.
Or maybe I will just bring my ear trumpet.

I say would you mind awfully if we just went to a tea dance.
Or maybe we could play bingo
Maybe we should just not bother.
I see the kids are watching that new Mrs Brown’s boys comedy.
Have you watched it?
I haven’t, I am not absolutely sure it is a good idea.

 

Rubbish Love Poem, by Martin Grey

Rubbish Love Poem

Love is like a kung fu fighter.
It conducts itself with grace,
but if you let it draw you in,
it might kick you in the face.

Love is like a chainsaw.
Proper use is not a laugh,
‘cos if you treat it irresponsibly,
you might cut yourself in half.

Love is like a cup of tea
that someone else has made.
Sometimes it tastes so wonderful.
Sometimes they put the milk in first.

Love’s a bit like shopping,
full of newness to be handled,
but sometimes you’ll end up in Ikea
with a trolley full of candles.

But love ain’t unconditional,
no matter what you’ve heard,
‘cos if I see you put the milk in first
then I’ll need to have a word.

Martin is a Nottingham based poet. His first collection, The Prettyboys of Gangster Town, was published in 2020. He’s co-director of World Jam, co-host of Lenguas Open Mic and co-presents Poetry Global Network’s The Poetry News. He often wonders if people keep mistaking him for the poet they actually wanted.

 

What is a marriage?, by Bridget Hynes Murphy

What is a marriage?
A marriage is the strangest thing
It’s really not that clever
To squeeze two folks together
And tell them it’s forever
The first few months of wedded bliss Are really like a dream
You walk together hand in hand
A handsome, youthful team
But then reality comes to stay
And he never plans to go
Just like the one you married
The one you really didn’t know
You fight over the dishes
Or who got two hours sleep
You wasted all your wishes
On this Prince Charming what a creep But then he does the kindest thing
He let’s you sleep in late
He changes baby’s nappy
And tells you, you look great!
He stands beside you in your darkest hour He’ll gently squeeze your hand
As you say goodbye to one you love
And softly you will land
The years go by as they always do
Time, it never stops
Your lovers hair gets greyer
But you think he still looks hot

Now you’re hot too
But its not the same
Your flushes are mean and sweaty
Hes aging like some fine wine
But you’re feeling like a yeti
Then he takes you home and sits you down
Hands you a glass of wine
I don’t care how hot you get
I’m just glad you’re mine!
If time rewound this minute Would you still pick me?
I would indeed my darling For your love has set me free.