Camp Shangri-La by Arran Potts

Camp Shangri-La

He stopped for a quickie one night in her tent,
Made love to an egg-timer till he was spent,
The sand had run out, he came and then went;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

She lowered his zip and was so full of hope,
But all he could manage were fumbles and gropes,
So Val took the lead and showed Guy the ropes;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

They’ve put up two tents but they’re on the same pitch,
Four of them starkers, not wearing a stitch,
They’d do half an hour then partners would switch;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

Tommy was fuming and she was to blame,
Cos everyone here in the camp knew his name,
Last night Sue had screamed it out loud when she came;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

At sixty she knows how to tease and to coax,
She pulled off his trousers with two short, sweet strokes,
Just as she’d done, with dozens of blokes;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

Ronnie and Eileen at home in a yurt,
Strong green oak decking to cover the dirt,
But plenty of cushions in case they get hurt;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

Sally McNally the Shangri-La vamp,
Looking for strapping young men round the camp,
She only needs someone to sleep in the damp;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

Just rooves of soft fabric as somewhere to sleep,
The campsite is hidden, the price not to steep,
Those zips, flaps and awnings have secrets to keep;
That’s love here in Camp Shangri-La.

Arran Potts is from Wolverhampton, UK. He has recently taken up poetry as a hobby to rekindle a love for writing; and is finding Jo Bell’s ‘52 Poems’ book really useful. He is supported by family and friends. He is hindered by his job.

 

Moving Day by Leah Keane

Moving Day

Every day is moving day in Galway,
but it may not always be a physical thing.

You see, we don't live, we simply nest in fear
that the landlord might suddenly decide to "renovate" again
with as much notice as a suicide bombing,
only for you to see that same room advertised one month later
at double the cost and a new door handle.

It's hard to feel like a person in this city
when you've spent so long being treated like cattle.

Once in a mouldy blue moon, they'll come along
to "inspect" the holding and appear outraged
by the number of glass bottles in the hall
or an old scrape on the kitchen wall,
all the while ignoring the leak in your bedroom ceiling
or the dishwasher that's been broken for a hundred thousand years
at the cost of innumerable cracked and brittle hands.

But the worst part about moving day
is that you know who's truly behind it all.

You see their ugly faces on TV
making speeches in the Dáil.
They pretend to know what it's like,
and some of them even have the nerve to believe it
while owning multiple holiday homes
which they leave vacant for the majority of the year.

Affordable means nothing when the scale slides
forever in their favour. They won't listen to us.

We're too young to know anything,
but should be fit enough to put up with everything.

It's getting old now, Michéal.
I would like a toupeéd lapdance for my trouble.
I would like you to feel ashamed
because the rental market is an awful lot like the top of your skull.
Unfortunate and bald.

Leah Keane is from Castlerea, County Roscommon, Ireland. She graduated with a BA in English, German and Creative Writing from NUI Galway in 2018, and is currently working as an English language teacher. Her work has previously been published in Poetry Ireland Review, ROPES, Green Carnations and The Stony Thursday Book among others.

 

Oscar and Silicon Valley, by Anne Irwin

Oscar and Silicon Valley

Zen-like on the car roof,
Oscar inhales the autumn air
absorbing the warmth of the metal
into his marmalade body.

Languishing in his sleekness,
pristine as Silicon Valley,
he preens himself, one eye
on the chaffinch in the rowan.

Empathic as the Valley,
with its modern sensibilities,
egg freezers for the nubile,
fuzz-ball, beanbags, mindfulness spaces
for its twelve-hour-day workaholics
with no time for slackers,
he emanates serenity
while his internal algorithms calculate
the trajectory of his leap
from roof to branch.

With a twitch of his tail
a narrowing of eye, he springs
and the chaffinch shrieks its dying call.

Anne Irwin’s poetry is inspired by the glory of the universe seen in the microcosm of everyday life, and her ever-increasing family. She has three sons, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Her poems have been published in many literary journals including Poetry Ireland Review, Irish Left Review, High Window,

 

Epic Puma Fresh for Alpha Men not Boys, by Mandy Beattie

All new Puma Fresh is 100% epic
skin-silky anti-sweat pore blocking
pick-me-up roll up roll up spray under

those hairy oxters have the time
of your life sniffing our solvents can’t kill
but spurt away 15 inches in staccato

bursts in breezy rooms shut
your eyes in open doors outdoors
windows spray pecs cracks cheeks

for we don’t cause rashes itches so
it won’t matter if skin is broken
but our butane propane won’t

blow up your chances
because we odour bust for 72 hours
but even in heat waves cool

your Puma jets in fridge-freezers
no need to strike a match
when kissing companions will be

swooning with naked
flames before you combust
in grapefruit tropical pineapple twist

in cool fresh air that stuns senses
with our pro scent technology your future
smells amazing and we give fashion

tips dating advice so our men don’t do
dorky, geeky we’re more Mr Muscle and you’ll be
smelling bomb.com because your future smells

amazing with our high definition odour
busting technology Puma will help you
with your Tinder

and Bumble bios but because you wear
our 48 hours high-definition
fragrance you’ll be confident iconic Puma

gives you all the tools
when opportunity knocks and women
will swoon girls will want a sniff

sniff sniff pick me up
from your local shop we’ve cornered
the market we’ll keep you going all night

all day long our fragrance is 100% epic
protection at your fingertips Puma doesn’t do
greenwashing because

our cans are infinitely
recyclable we can go again and again Puma’s
raising our A game because

there is no Planet B and our bottles
are 100% recyclable plastic in 3 years
we’re aiming to include more recycled

stuff we’re well on our way we contain
ground-breaking detectable black technology
to help with recyclability

boom
our proud parents Unilever supports
some UN goals tackles
global climate protects trees sustainable

agriculture focused food security because we use
tobacco amber oud wood vanilla
and our latest Puma is Dark Temptation

aftershave smooth on after switch
of your blade we help you use
less water less energy through lower

eco impact we cause
a stink to tackle climate change
we talk to politicians


Biography:

Mandy Beattie frequently loses herself in poetry & imaginings. Pen, paper & words without borders are some of her favourite things. She has been published in Journals such as: Poets Republic, Dreich, Wordpeace, Spilling Cocoa, Last Stanza, Lothlorien Poetry. Poets Choice in Marble Broadsheet. Shortlisted, Black Box Poetry Competition.
 

Mindfulness + Beauty, by Heather Nelson

Mindfulness + Beauty

It’s the second Monday after I quit-
five years is epic, I can rest for a bit. Indulgences are strategic when shown the exit, I’ll get no sympathy if I wear a target.
On the morning of my pedi,
I can’t find my glasses, can’t seem to get ready
I take a Xanax, try to keep my gaze steady
get behind the wheel, text goodbye to the family. At the Beauty Spa I extend my swollen foot
to the technician who kneels at her habitual spot. She’s tired and practical, I’m deep in thought- my relaxation imperative seems overwrought.
I leave with toes the color of wine
not blissed out or bitter, I’ll settle for fine.

Heather Nelson has been a student of poetry since college, where she developed her thesis project under the guidance of CD Wright and Peter Gizzi at Brown University in 1991. She returned to writing in 2011 and has since been published in Ekphrastic Review, Lily Poetry Review, Free State Review, Spoon River Review and others. She currently leads a local free-write, runs writing workshops for high school students and hosts a book group in Cambridge, Mass. She has been active in the Boston area literary scene since she began writing, and has taught classes at Grub Street, planned events for Litcrawl, organized author talks and other activities. Heather has a manuscript of poetry titled “Motherland” out looking for a home and continues to write, and is already thinking about her next book of poetry!

 

Instructions for a Scouse Night Out, by Jenny Robb

Instructions for a Scouse night out
With thanks to the Urban Dictionary

Go into town to buy some new clobber,
have a few scoops in the spoons.

Go home and have a good scran.
You need to line your stomach before pre’s.

Make sure all your drinking mates are sound;
those who buy a round and have your back.

Listen to your best friend. If she says
the lad you’re necking is meff, trust her.

At throwing out and up time, have more scran.
You’re not bevvied enough if you go home

without a Vindaloo, or chips, or a sway
in the Hot Dog queue. Neck it!

Jenny Robb has been writing poetry since retiring. She’s been published widely in online and print magazines and in anthologies. Her debut collection, The Doll’s House, Yaffle Press, has recently been published. She lives in Liverpool with her partner and the family cat and has one grown-up daughter.

 

The App, by Kevin Higgins

Available soon in the privacy of your own phone
at the tap of a sweaty finger.
Whereas others enable you to order in lasagne
or argue away portions of your life
with neckbeards in places you’ve never been –
Lima, Reykjavik, Brisbane...
about the meaning of feminism or fascism;
this will put you a click away
from a whole menu of problem solving hitwomen.

Former auctioneers who’ve decided to make
more honest women of themselves.
A few who tired of sloping about Kinvara
wearing dark glasses
in search of purified water
and decided to finally do something.
Not all the women on there will offer
a full service. A few will just dish out
what we’ll call
warnings; dangle the target
from a twenty fifth floor window
and tell them not to do it again;
throttle them in hotel rooms
but at the last nanosecond
let the target splutter some air
and promise to catch up with him later.

The standard service will include
the usual pistol to the heart
in a multi-storey car park.
Our women always insist on silencers.
There will be cases of mistaken identity
for which this app accepts zero liability.
Try our premium service and have
a woman dressed as a Serbian anarchist
blow apart any skull you choose
(even, if you wish, your own)
in front of members of the skull’s extended family
and at least one local journalist.
You can also order death by arson
and leave the target looking like Joan of Arc,
only smokier. There will be
a couple of Spaniards on here who’ll offer
the always popular garrotting, served
traditional Cadiz style.

And we’ll be introducing a special
service for those with heart conditions
who could be finished
by someone blowing in their better ear
an unexpected trombone.

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 TelegraphThe IndependentThe Times (London), Hot Press magazine, Phoenix 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 EuropeanThe Morning StarDissent Magazine (USA), Village Magazine (Ireland), & Harry’s PlaceThe Stinging Fly magazine has described Kevin as “likely the most widely read living poet in Ireland”. Kevin’s poetry has been translated into Greek, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Albanian, French, Russian, & Portuguese. 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 last year. In December 2021 Kevin was both expelled from the British Labour Party, of which he was an overseas member, for publishing his poem ‘Tribute Acts’ in Socialist Appeal magazine and, on the very same day, awarded ‘Poet of The Year’ at the Labour Heroes Awards event at Conway Hall, London.  Ecstatic, Kevin’s sixth full poetry collection, was published last month by Salmon.