A Feeling of Light-Headedness, by Simon Williams

A Feeling of Light-Headedness

It started as one of those party games; all take a gulp of helium and talk like Mickey till your lungs deflate. Only, the effect didn’t stop; our voices never dropped to their normal timbres, our heads swelled and began to swing in the breeze. This was a little disconcerting; I think it was Angela stepped up first. When her feet reached the top of the sofa, Jim had lifted off, too, then Clare and Stephen, until all eight of us were butting the ceiling. Without the Prosecco, we could have been scared. Lucy, down a bottle and a half, managed to bounce to the hall, float up to the landing and steer into the bathroom. She came to realise how difficult it is to aim from high above the bowl. The lightheadedness wore off eventually; we floated down as gently as we’d risen. Lucky, really, it wasn't a garden party. With the prevailing wind, we could have reached Norwich, at 30,000 feet.


Just Sayin’, after William Carlos Williams, by Derek Adams

Just Sayin’
after William Carlos Williams

I have chucked
the plums
you left in
my fridge

and which
you would probably
were in date.

they were disgusting
and growing mould.

Derek Adams is a professional photographer, living in Suffolk. He has an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths. His most recent collection is EXPOSURE – Snapshots from the life of Lee Miller. Sometimes he tries to be funny!www.derek-adams.co.uk


The Thirty-Five Seconds University, by Phil Knight


In The Thirty-five Seconds University
You will learn all you will remember
Thirty-five years after taking a Degree.

Supply will rise to meet the demand.

God is in us all in every land.

All forces have their opposite and equal.

Media Studies
The first film was better than the sequel.

Creative Writing
Write about yourself and what you know.

Know yourself and know your foe.

Everything gets to happen twice.

Social Studies
People really should try to be nice.

The best thing about
The Thirty-five Seconds University
Is that your tuition has been absolutely FREE!

Phil knight is from Neath, South Wales. He had poems published in Planet, Poetry Wales, Earth Love, Roundyhouse, Atlantic Review And other publications. In 2014 Green Arrow published his chapbook Dylanation and in 2015 Red Poets published his collection You Are Welcome To Wales.


Why I Shall Never Invite You to a Passover Seder, by Bryan Franco

Why I Shall Never Invite You To A Passover Seder

I thought of you the other day
when the grocery store had
over a dozen jars of gefilte fish
marked down to half-price.

I remembered when I confided to you
how I drink the detritus liquid
after I finish off the fish:
it’s basically slightly gelatinous chicken broth
that is sweetened by the fishy Passover dumplings.

The next day you read a poem at an open mic
about drinking Gefilte Fish Detritus.
I felt as if my shrink was paid fifty-thousand-dollars
by the National Enquirer to reveal my dietary misgivings.

And though what you achieved
was a few cheap laughs
by our fellow poet friends
without mentioning my name,
I felt like you nailed me to a cross
and drizzled my private admission
in honey over my naked body
before taking a mallet to the glass wall
of a colony of Puerto Rican Fire ants.

Due to the triggered trauma
of your egregious betrayal,
I bought no jars of Gefilte fish
even though they had over a year till expiration.

Bryan Franco is a gay, Jewish poet from Brunswick, Maine who competed in the 2014 National Poetry Slam in Oakland, California. He has been published in anthologies, journals, and literary magazines in the US, Australia, England, Germany, Holland, India, Ireland, and Scotland and has featured in the US, Canada, England, Ireland, and Scotland. He performed at the New York City Poetry Festival in 2022 and is hosting a stage in 2023. He was a finalist in the 2022 and won 2023 NAMI New Jersey Mental Health Poetry Contest and is a Best Of The Net nominee. He has facilitated poetry workshops for Brunswick High School, Tumblewords Project, and Phynnecabulary. He hosts Café Generalissimo Open Mic, is a member of the Beardo Bards Of The Bardo poetry troupe, painter, sculptor, gardener, and culinary genius. His book "Everything I Think Is All in My Mind" was published in 2021.

Envy: So, Who made the Mouse King?, by Royal Rhodes

ENVY: So, Who Made the Mouse King?
An Apology to T.S. Eliot

A cold coming I had of it,
just the worst, assigned to the rear --
was that fair? -- for the journey:
Uriah Heep to your Becky Sharp.
Where are my gloves in this dead-on winter?
Have a Camel? My lungs are refractory,
my wellies wet in the melting snow.
But were there times the rest regretted,
in their time-share condos, floored in terrazo,
and their lackeys bringing cigars?
Then my Camels went stale -- curses and grumble --
while the Fates ran ahead with those winos & women,
and the turista hostile and toilets untidy
and the diners dirty, charging fortunes for chili.
The others had a great time of it.
At the end they made me travel all night,
snatching a nap at an old Motel 6,
while they pocketed shampoo and packets of Puffs.
In the end it's always penis envy.

Did my sore, freakin' neck get
broken or deadened for this? I lost breath, certainly;
I have evidence, not that they care. It was death,
but mine was harder than theirs; my breath
was hard, bitter-tasting. They acted like Abel,
that goody-goody boy on our block;
they stepped out to places, like the Magic Kingdom,
while I had to settle for Epcot's cheap sensation,
with those alien tourists clutching their VISA Cards.
I should be glad if they're trampled to death.

Royal Rhodes is retired and living in the rural farmland of Ohio. His poems have appeared in: Snakeskin Poetry, Ekphrastic Review Challenge, New Verse News, Lothlorien Poetry, and The Montreal Review, among other journals.


How to Write a Job Reference for Someone who Thinks you have Forgiven Them, by Clive Oseman


Thank you for giving me
the opportunity to supply
a reference for Billy, or sweaty bollocks
as he was known in prison.
Not without some justification, I'm lead to believe.

I met Billy in the heyday of football hooliganism.
Admittedly I was only doing a stretch
for ATTEMPTED murder
and playing Adam & the ants
in a public place
(sentences running concurrently),
but I looked up to Billy
for having the courage of his convictions
in his hatred of Oxford United.
Ok, he took it a bit too far
but he was young.

We became friends and
committed a few armed robberies together
when we were released,
but we never got caught
as we framed the local Tory election candidate,
who incidentally is due out
in a couple of weeks,
but I can honestly say
he has turned his back on violence
and did some voluntary work
as treasurer of the bowls club
until they went bankrupt.

You would be lucky indeed
to employ someone of Billy's quality.
With what you pay I have to
think back to the days where he would
only consider working for you
if he was eyeing up embezzlement opportunities,
to be honest.
What giant strides he has made.

On the hygiene front,
I'm told his bollocks are no longer sweaty.

I am sure that provided
you allow him to smoke weed on duty,
he will be a loyal employee.
He is intolerant of heavy handed opposition
to drug use at work,
but he maintains that
the shrooms were not his.

I hope you will give him the job,
as he owes me that five grand
I lent him to bribe the coppers,
and I want it back.

He is not an arsonist.

Clive Oseman is a Swindon based Brummie. He writes humorous poems and gets some funny looks, which he thinks is a fair trade.

The Sad Life of the Shared Scone, by Terri Metcalfe

The sad life of the shared scone 

It sits, lumpen like, on two plates,
severed from its non-identical twin.
A bun in the same oven, torn apart.

Everyone wants the top half with its slightly
crisp layer above cumulus dough.
No one on ‘Bake Off’ tests the bottom.

It’s a desecration commited by those without
their own teeth, or on a budget tighter
than an overproofed crumb.

You could cut between the middle top,
a knife attack through the crown chakra,
but that’s the wrong way to break bread,
this way, expect more sadness.

Cumbria native Terri Metcalfe began submitting to journals in March 2022 and has been published in places such as Abridged, Green Ink Poetry, Skylight 47 and Black Bough. She has appeared on the Eat the Storms poetry podcast twice and was invited as a featured reader for the 20th anniversary of Over The Edge Literary Events. Terri now lives in Mayo and is currently working on her debut collection.


Father knows best 2023 reunion show, by

father knows best 2023 reunion show

ten three-quarter-pound burgers with plain-bun no-mayo oodles-of-ketchup
Kathy if you talk while eating or eat while talking, you’re done
don’t try to upsell me take-out window dudette, just burgers, don’t fuck up

Betty if you go to the bathroom, you must come back to the table, be a grown-up
James junior eat what’s on your plate you’re not getting something else son
ten three-quarter-pound burgers with plain-bun no-mayo oodles-of-ketchup

no phones at the table, no screaming, don’t call daddy asshole, shuT-UP
Andersons can we eat a family meal together without rules, junior give me your bb-gun
don’t try to upsell me take-out window dudette, just burgers, don’t fuck up

junior put on your protector, get your shoulder-pads knee-pads, and hockey puck
Kathy you can’t eat cereal for dinner, drip salt-free soy-sauce on wontons
ten three-quarter-pound burgers with plain-bun no-mayo oodles-of-ketchup

Betty five lovers, to stay in father’s house, NOW pee in this Styrofoam cup
junior you can’t have an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle because of our budget overrun
don’t try to upsell me take-out window dudette, just burgers, don’t fuck up

junior before you eat corn, spread butter and shake salt and bite like a woodchuck
Andersons every time our family eats together without the cops we won
don’t try to upsell me take-out window dudette, just burgers, don’t fuck up
ten three-quarter-pound burgers with plain-bun no-mayo oodles-of-ketchup


Robert Fleming (b. 1963) is a visual poet from Lewes, Delaware, United States. Books: Con-Way in 4 in 1, #4, by Four Feathers Press and 11/2023 White Noir by Devil’s Party Press. Contributing editor of Old Scratch Press and shortlisted for Blood Rag Poet of the year. https://www.facebook.com/robert.fleming.5030 .


Overhearing, by Carl Tomlinson


Out with the two-legs the other day
one of the ones who sits down to pee
asked the one who sometimes goes in the hedge,
like me, if it’d seen on something called Twitter.
“You had to say what you’d ask your dog.
If they had the power of speech for an hour.”
Why I’d need speech is beyond me.
They seem to know what I need.
And can tell me nothing I haven’t already smelt.
I’ll chew on a bone all day, but no way
am I chewing the fat with that. I’m staying stumm.
In case I fetch up in a poem.