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

 

Plums, by Lee Campbell

Plums

I walked into the kitchen and there was Mum
Sitting at the table with a truck load of plum
As Mum de-stoned the fruit to make it into a pud
She wrote a short verse which I thought was quite good

She has this skill of writing as if she is somebody else
Looks like the voice of this poem is that of myself

And so, she wrote:

‘My mum’s been busy cutting up plums
Her son, her chum thinks they all look like bums
Now she is glum as she is getting numb thumbs’

A few hours later she had no reason to grumble
Those numb thumbs had made way for the perfect crumble

Lee Campbell is a performance poet and regularly performs at Paper Tiger Poetry in London His poem ‘Clever at without being Seen’ was recently included in Sometimes, The Revolution is Small, Disarm Hate x Poetry’ project by Nymphs & Thugs Recording Co. UK and published in Queerlings online magazine. His poem Juniper Park was recently published on this website.

 

My Mother Said, by Sharon Phillips

My Mother Said

Always take care of your man
and try not to seem too clever.
The home is a woman’s domain;
this floor could do with a hoover.

Men like to think they’re clever
so buck your ideas up, my girl:
this floor could do with a hoover
and you’re wearing a dirty skirt.

Buck your ideas up, my girl,
make him feel proud of your looks:
you’re wearing a dirty skirt
and wasting your time on books.

Make him feel proud of your looks
and give that bathroom a clean;
there’s no time to waste on books;
cook something nice for his tea.

Go on, give that bathroom a clean;
the home is a woman’s domain,
so cook something nice for his tea
and try to hang on to your man.

(Previously published in Snakeskin, May 2018)

Sharon stopped writing poetry in 1976 and started again forty years later, after retiring from her career in education. Her poems have been published online and in print and she is currently studying for an MFA at York St. John University. Originally from Bristol, Sharon now lives in Otley, West Yorkshire.

 

Reincarnation Revenge, by Catherine Doherty Nicholls

Reincarnation Revenge

If I come back
I’ll be a flea,
A sexy flea
who’s bitchy

Throw wild flea orgies
in your bed,
and bite you
’til you’re itchy

Winner of no Poetry Ireland Competition, or any other competition, no published debut collection, nothing printed anywhere else yet except here. 
Her poems have been nominated for nothing so she’s nominating this poem to go on this page – a great place to start nominating. 

She is the curator of nothing. Her anthology doesn’t exist, yet she keeps going.

 

One to Tenant, by Peter O’Toole

One To Tenant

One house to rent
Done deal over the phone
Finally we have a place
on loan not quite our own

Two months saving up
we needed to hurry up
Got the first months rent
and the deposit
We got lucky,
There is a lot of competition out there
we nearly lost it

Three people start a new chapter
two adults one child
Days of struggling
but days that contain laughter
our first journey to happy ever after

Four in the morning
and the little one wakes up
Still half asleep as i hurry
to reach for a bottle or cup
A distant memory is 8 hours sleep
but its four hours only
Before i hear the sound
of the alarm clock beep, beep, beep

Five days a week
on a basic wage
After the rent is paid
be lucky to get a mcdonalds
eurosaver burger at this stage

Six months go by
starting to borrow money
on the sly
Even though i work
It’s hard to save
How can you save for a mortgage?
when money is tight
like chains on a slave

Seven loans to my name
cant say im the only one to blame
But living in Dublin
feels like your paying double
But down in the country
you pay less so no trouble

Eight hours overtime on
next week’s payslip
But i’ll only see a tenner
of that so i will head to
The bookies with a hot tip
Football or horses
Il do what it takes
to save for a mortgage again
And if i win
Just maybe, my saving can begin

9 attempts at a loan
from the bank to the shark
Still the chances of balance
are looking a bit stark
Chances look dark
but there is light
at the end of the tunnel
Maybe a dream of a decent life
is not so impossible

10 years of struggling
10 years of juggling
All the the times the bank
told us not a chance
during the boom and
after the economy collapsed
But after ten months
Ten days and lot of years
Something came out of
the blood, sweat and tears
We may have our keys
And can look back at the rent
and be proud to say
I served living a life on borrow
a life as a tenant.

 

Vege, by Julian Matthews

VEGE

Hey, remember me?
I am the leafy vegetable at the side of your plate that never got eaten
The one your mother insists is good for you
I lay there getting cold and soggy until the meal was over
You waited — until she wasn’t looking
Then receded on tippy toes and tossed me in the step-bin

These days, you speak of being organic and eating brown bread,
brown rice, brownies made of all-natural black beans,
fairtrade cocoa and grass-fed butter
You carry a metal straw and forsake plastic
You are an environmental warrior
A climate change defender

You do yoga and meditate and stand on your head
You attend retreats on mindfulness — to empty your mind
You go to the gym to stretch your body to its limit and call it de-stress time
You eschew coffee and prefer green tea
You drink cold-pressed juices made of avocado, cucumber, carrots, celery and pumpkin
You speak of their antioxidant properties and gloat about the anti-aging glow of your skin

I was the leafy green you threw in the bin
I still remember mum insisting that wasting me was such a sin
You are vegan now —

I win

Julian Matthews is a former journalist and trainer finding new ways to express himself during the pandemic through poetry and fiction. The Malaysian-based poet is published in “Unmasked: Reflections on Virus-time” (Heliconia Press), an anthology curated by author Shamini Flint, Poetry and Covid (poetryandcovid.com), a project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, the WordsFest Zine (Insomniac Press), Borderless Journal, Nine Cloud Journal, Second Chance Lit, Poor Yorick Literary Journal and Wingless Dreamer

 

How Papa Never Got His Guapa, by Julian Isaacs

How Papa Never Got His Guapa

As Astrud Gilberto once said to Stan Getz,
The thing about the sun is it also sets.
Then along came Hemingway in a big white Beemer,
Saying: Hello darling — are you the girl from Ipanema?
Maybe I am, she said, but that bell never tolled for me.
You’re just a dirty old man, so please go back to the sea.
I think you’re a bit of a beast,
And you’re not invited to my moveable feast.

 

Two-day soap sud death dance, by Gary W. Hartley

Two-day soap sud death dance

Cars washed. A million cars washed
Baby Shark sung without enthusiasm
In a million supermarket aisles
To juvenile audiences
Already considering it passé
We are all passé
A nation of proud plastic polluters
Big-mouthed bottom feeders
Believing we’re on top, what we’re used to
What we’re told is true
By Jeff Stelling on Soccer Saturday
And other pundits
We should do something
About that overhanging tree
We should pull up grass
And lay down the latest AstroTurf
We cannot enjoy what we have left
In fact, we flatly refuse
When it all falls
We will treat it as the longest weekend ever
WAHEY
Buy in crates upon crates of Corona beer
In deepest irony
Until we run out of that
And all the other stuff
Then what? Put baseball bats through flatscreens
Blame it on them next door
Congregate in imaginary corridors as if in queues
We’re fine, they’re fine, we all say it
And to be fair
To be honest
To never be anything other than honest
That will just have to do.

 

Golfing Heaven, by Paul Francis

GOLFING HEAVEN

I hope there’s golfing heaven.
I’m sure there’s golfing hell.
I visit it most weekends –
I know it really well.

The devils haunt me from the tee
They mock my grip, my stance.
“Should you be doing this at your age?”
They think I’ve got no chance.

I shan’t give in. Some practice swings,
I‘m made of sterner stuff.
They smile and clap sarcastically
As I blaze into the rough.

The bunkers seem to chuckle
They’re driving me insane;
The way my chip shot hits the edge
Then bounces back again.

There’s the giggling of banshees
Who devour my inner soul
As once again a two-foot putt
Goes bobbling round the hole.

So as my scores get higher
Par threes take six or seven
I like to dream of changing course –
A move to golfing heaven.

Where drives zip down the fairway
Chips always reach the green
And wedge shots from the bunker
Are the finest ever seen.

It’s hard to pick a highlight
When everything is fine;
Was it the eagle at the fifth?
The albatross on nine?

The clubhouse beer is nectar
All members are my friends.
The round is only eighteen holes
But the feeling never ends.

For there’ll be no more sorrow
In the solace I have found.
They’ll smile and say “Tomorrow
We’ll play another round.”

Paul Francis lives in Shropshire, and is active in the West Midlands poetry scene. He has won three national competitions, and in 2020 came second in the Beyond the Storm poetry competition (2,381 entries). His most recent collection is Rescue from the Dark (Fair Acre Press, 2021).

 

Sleep on me, by Enda McGarth

Sleep On Me

Sleep on me
so I can hold your exhaustion
and weariness.
Your bleary eyes haunt me.
I dream of the days
they used to hit me like a sunrise.

I made the mistake
broken trust.
In your bleary eyes
so much to regain.
I’ll be the workhorse
this time
to fix it
before I’ll proceed from shame.

Sleep on it
and decide if you’re mine
while I lay beside you
holding cold promises
In the night.