Blob-Fish, by Ben Macnair

Blob-Fish 

Some people claim the Lion as their Spirit animal,
because of its bravery.
Some people choose a cheetah,
for its speed.
Others choose a Llama,
because of its habit of spitting.
Politicians choose Ostriches
because they bury their heads in the sand.
I would choose the Blob-Fish.
Patron saint of grumbling.
The living embodiment of the phrase,
‘Cheer up, it may never happen’
because people assume that IT is always a bad thing.
Supposing though, just for a moment, that IT
is a good thing, and being told it may never happen
only re-enforces the negativity.

The Blob-Fish was never once imbued with looks or charisma,
designer fashions, or even a useful role to play in the ocean,
knowing that it will be the punch line of a joke,
happier fish will tell him to cheer up,
when it is just his resting face,
and maybe if it had a better name,
it would feel better about itself.
 

Virtual Afterlife, by Alan Garrigan

Virtual Afterlife

By 2122, Facebook VR had, grown to involve—
500 million, accounts. Of dead people—
Meta, exclusively levelled,
On figural profits. zero-sum outcomes,
Heaping currency on your posthumous avatar.

By 2122, immersive dynamics, Rylan robotics and Kuramoto model,
Brought eternal equipoise of the cell—
Digital reanimation, made possible, through VR multi-verse —
Technological singularity, deterministic ontology—
Wonderous miracle of virtual afterlife.

By 2122, Moore’s law and Deus ex Machina,
Proven right—should have heeded Engels and Marx,
Even Televangelists were correct,
Money can buy a ticket to heaven.
Logical binary control structure: defunded species designed for hell.

By 2122, loop algorithms, going berserk —
Hobbesian leviathan, Homo Futuris—death destroyer of worlds—
the novel ape’s, dystopian trick, brassbound mastery—
Mystical Markov chain, myopic, ceteris paribus, homogeneity.

By 2122, sociobiological evolution—Darwin’s curse,
Unfashions the homo sapient.
Today —commercialisation, utilitarianism, gentrification—
Tomorrow—outmoded human chondriosomes.

Money buys both respect and right—
But money means a losing side, which side are you on?
Is there a choice? —start piling cash— monetary conduit—become Homo Futuris.

Alan is a Master of Arts graduate (set to feature in the upcoming LGBTQIA+ Anthology Peace in the Valley, 2022. He has also had poems featured in Hullwrites magazine (University of Hull), Poetry during lockdown (UCD) and Washington Square Review (upcoming). He has also featured poems in Consilience and BASCE journals. Alan is also a dog person.

 

Jacqueline Wilson Lives Under my Bed, by Paula Gilfillan

Jacqueline Wilson Lives Under My Bed

Jacqueline Wilson lives under my bed,
eating cherries and berries as she
reads my stories scribbled on crumpled
paper. At a book signing, I
lured her into my wheely bag
with a tin of stuffed olives,
for I’m a fan as great
as any hurricane. Then, secreted her
beneath the squeaky springs and beside
the dusty socks. But every so
often, she grabs my ankle with
her ring laden fingers and pleads
to let her go. I reply,
‘One more story. Just one more.’

Bio:

Paula lives near Lockerbie with her family and an overly chatty cat. She likes scientific stuff, zombie films and books, and is partial to a slice of cake. She blogs on Twitter @paula_nicolson and Facebook as DeckyWriting.

 

Russian Roulette, by Aoife Cunningham


Russian roulette

We watch in horror,
This game of Russian roulette.

A land painted red,
By the political artist.
The remaining trees bore witness
to the stares of man’s darkness.
With our sons in caskets.

They served with fidelity and fought with valour.
Like lambs sent to slaughter.
Fathers and brothers fighting their neighbour’s.

History offers hindsight but it seems to duplicates with greed.

There won’t be a eulogy for this lie we call democracy.
As orders uttered from leaders,
With what they believe are sainted breaths.
But are really exhalations and perorations
Of Satan on earth here to challenge your birth
And right to breathe.
If you don’t fit their template of acceptability
Or argue their culpability in this holocaust
It will come with the ultimately cost
Of liberty.

The patriotic fabric burns.
And we slowly learn,
The regression of our progression is down to man.


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Lent in a Time of Coronavirus, by Sharon Larkin

Lent in a Time of Coronovirus
‘The Wet Market Sources of Covid-19: Bats and Pangolins have an Alibi’

A forty day diet can focus the mind
flatten the curves and trim the behind.
So, in choosing food for a modest dinner
to boost the spirit and make tums thinner,
why not just opt for tomato soup
and leave the bats to dive and swoop?

It would be best to eliminate snacks
to fit back into our jeans and slacks
but if the munchies come upon us
and we’re sick of all that hummus,
for our elevensies or for our tiffin,
let's not p-p-pick up a pangolin.

Do you want to stay asymptomatic
of a nasty virus and global pandemic?
Well, here’s some advice, long overdue,
when making casserole, hotpot or stew,
a couple of hints and easy quick wins –
just leave out the bats and the pangolins.

Taming the flesh refines the spirit,
in time for lots of Easter Eggs, innit?
So as we discipline mind and body,
to purge the flesh of all our gluttóny
and deliver ourselves from beastly sins,
let’s set free the bats and the pangolins.


With thanks to Professor David Macdonald, University of Oxford Science Blog, Jun 2021
https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/science-blog/wet-market-sources-covid-19-bats-and-pangolins-have-alibi

Sharon Larkin’s poems often begin with a visual stimulus but soon become ‘infected’ with psychosocial concerns, evident in ‘Interned at the Food Factory’ (Indigo Dreams, 2019) and ‘Dualities’ (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2020). She runs Eithon Bridge Publications https://eithonbridge.com, edits ‘Good Dadhood’ ezine https://gooddadhood.com and blogs at ‘Coming up with the Words’ https://sharonlarkinjones.com

 

15 Love, by Ben Macnair

15 Love

Tennis is a game,
where they talk about love,
but spare none for the ball.
The thwack of the racket,
played politely by vicars,
with more than the scriptures
on their minds.

We are left out for the dog,
when our playing days
are little remembered.
We are mouldering,
greener than jealousy.
Chewed up,
spat out,
over the line,
under the net,
one last game,
for old time's sake.

 

It’s Fine, by Phil Huffy

It’s Fine
A question to be answered, please:
Why do most men avoid M.D.’s?

At thoughts of office calls we scoff
unless there’s something falling off.

And if our ankle’s had a twist
we hop around and then insist

that it’s improving very well
although, of course, it hurts like hell.

Sinus pressures, nasty fevers,
failures of most pain relievers,

bellies sad and oozing sores
propel us not through clinic doors.

The answer to this riddle, though
is well concealed although we know

that such recalcitrant displays
are just one part of manly ways.

first published by Light Poetry Magazine

Phil Huffy writes early and often at his kitchen table, casting a wide net as to form and substance. His work has appeared in dozens of journals and anthologies, including Schuykill Valley Review, Eunoia, Lighten Up Online, Orchards Poetry, The Lyric, andseveral haiku publications. Phil’s other interests are cycling, camping, pet care, potato chips, moonlight, and motor trips. He has published three collections of his poems and is proud to have recorded one of them (Magic Words) as an audiobook.

 

The Bible as a Haiku, by Mark Ramsden

The Bible as a Haiku

Grumpy old God: GRIM.
Hippy son hailed, nailed, prevails.
Zombie’s gang. News: GOOD!

I was a professional musician for decades, writing and performing half a hit single, which did not result in fame and fortune. I was also a highly unprofessional, alcoholic addict, who eventually dabbled in transgender sex work. Published work includes a widely critically acclaimed trilogy for Serpent’s Tail, more recently two novels for Fahrenheit Press and a story in Outcast Press’s sex work anthology Slut Vomit.

 

Death Becomes Me, by Julian Matthews

Death Becomes Me

Hey Death!
When you come a-knocking, will you step out of the darkness and punch me in the face?
Or will you come from behind, tap me on the shoulder and say, Boo!?
Will you kindly whisper in my ear as I lay down to sleep?
Or will you drown me when I am in too deep?

Maybe I will see you coming in the distance, your long shadow growing shorter and shorter
And I will put my house in order and greet you at the door
Or maybe i will try to shut you out
And jump out a back window --

Perhaps, you will come as my breath grows shallow
Sucking the air from me at every deep pause
Maybe the grump in me will swallow up all my dry humour
And infect those around me like an angry tumour

Maybe you will chew me from the inside out
A slow, growing entity that would go unnoticed
Until it's too late -- and I collapse like a hollow, empty shell
An insidious inception into several levels of my own private hell

Hey Death!
When you do come -- early or late
Just don't bait me and let me wait
No prank calls, please. No creeping up on me!
No last-call dying disease tease!

I know I cannot change what's already fated
But it's never too late to exorcise and heal all this hatred
And Death, I have a bucket list now before I kick it
So let me go about my business and just fulfill it, ok?

I know I fear you not at this final, windy bend
As long as there's some wit left at this twit's end
Don't curse me with any "sudden unforeseen circumstance"
Instead let the last twirl of this mortal coil be a whirling dervish dance!

Julian Matthews is a former journalist finding new ways to express himself through poetry, fiction, memoir and essays. His work has been published in the American Journal of Poetry, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Borderless Journal, Spilling Cocoa on Martin Amis, and various other literary publications. He is a minority based in Malaysia. Link: linktr.ee/julianmatthews