If you want to look sad,
you can't wear a Sombrero
You have to be happy.
It will catch the rain,
be its own dance floor,
you will block up the street,
become a living door.
If you want to be a happy fellow,
buy yourself a Sombrero.
Safe Word, by Hilary Willmott
Keeping it simple is for the best
Choose nothing hard to say
Something easy, sharp and short
You'll be better off that way.
I would suggest a few words here
Such as 'North' or 'East' or 'South"
And never words that can't be formed
With an orange in your mouth.
Hilary has been published and sometimes shortlisted over the years by Templar Press, The Exeter Broadsheet, Leaf, Velvet, Obsessed with Pipework Bristol PoetryCan and Mr Garnham.
Jewish Penicillin, by Jane Shaer
I am a saucepan full of Chicken Soup
Like Mama used to make.
There is no alternative.
Of that make no mistake.
For normal penicillin will fail to do
Of getting you back upon your feet
When you're feeling sick.
You see the everyday Chicken Soup
Lacks character and Finesse.
What you need Is a recipe
To get you out of this mess.
But the recipe I'm afraid is secret
Which I'm sworn to never divulge.
But it's good for adding on a pound
If you need to enlarge that bulge.
I hope that you feel better soon
And are shortly back on your feet.
Must go and feed the family.
They're starving and waiting to eat.
Masseuse Musings, by Mohammad Zahid
The frigidity of your subcutaneous elastin requires some thaw. The lymphatic network might be chocked somewhat, depositing sediments of sloth at the intersecting nodes that need a gentle flush. Which is why you feel the way you do. Weary. Some knots need to be untangled, some pores unclogged. Some dryness in the underlying adipose layer needs nourishment, the drought needs to be watered with oil! Here we have all essential oils that heal ailments, real or fictional. Surprised, are you?
Listen, some caged entropy also needs to be set free.
Lie down and relax.
Ah! your heart beat is listening, the eavesdropping heart, eh! Trust my ambidextrous experience that has let down none so far.
The human machine in you needs regular oiling to keep the engine revving on!
Will you pay in cash or by card?
Mohammad Zahid is a poet and translator from Kashmir, India. His maiden poetry collection The Pheromone Trail bagged the Best Book Award from the Academy of Art Culture and Languages, Jammu & Kashmir in 2015.
His poetry has appeared in many Indian and international journals. He is a translation editor for Kashmiri Language at Muse India and Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts.
This poem hopes to find you well, by Ben McNair
This poem hopes to find you well
I hope that this poem finds you well.
I hope that it finds you with a tall, dark stranger,
or a short blonde friend.
This poem makes no judgement.
This poem hopes that you have been keeping to the five a day,
three a week, or fourteen a month, whichever
the latest advice deems to be the best.
I hope that this poem enlivens your day,
and that some of the words are answers on Wordle.
I hope that this poem finds you in a beautiful house,
with a beautiful wife.
If the beautiful wife and beautiful house belong to someone else,
this poem hopes you have a good reason for being there.
This poem hopes that Politicians do the right thing.
This poem is too old to still believe in that.
This poem doesn’t know the first thing about you,
but would like you to answer a few questions.
This poem hopes to find you in another three months,
where we can renew our fleeting acquaintance,
before you decide that the spam filter really was the best place for it.
I’ll take a look under the sonnet, by Arran Potts
I’ll take a look under the sonnet
Tis clapped out and broken; wanting of parts,
Its paint, sheen and lustre are shed.
This wreck of a carriage will take all my arts,
I fear it is already dead.
It wails as it drives, it clanks and it ticks,
The engine is silent and cold,
I fear this is something, that I cannot fix,
Your car, I’m afraid, is too old.
Perhaps I can salvage, some cogs and the gears,
From this conked-out, rusty old nail;
You’ve had this poor thing now for too many years,
I doubt I could put it on sale.
T’would not make me much, and I would be brassic,
A miserable end, for such an old classic.
Arran Potts is from Wolverhampton, UK. He has taken up poetry as a hobby to rekindle a love for writing; and is finding Jo Bell’s ‘52 Poems’ book really useful. He recently won the inaugural Blackness on Sea Poetry Prize. He is supported by family and friends. He is hindered by his job.
Feral Dogs of Riogordo, by Hilary Willmott
Feral Dogs of Riogordo
It's three a.m and I need a pee which I have been delaying
since it takes but the slightest movement to rouse the feral dogs of Riogordo. The dog who sleeps behind the house likes to conduct proceedings.
In my half sleep I see him with a baton which he raises and with two sharp yelps has the rapt attention of all dogs within a five mile radius. They quickly reach frenzy pitch to become a canine
cacophony of sound echoing across the countryside and down into the pueblo.
Pleased with tonight's turnout the conductor discards his baton and after a perfunctory nibble on his testicles, curls into a ball and sleeps.
The choir note his absence and become sotto voce until they too
abandon the proceedings to await the next tap of the conductor's baton.
Hilary has been writing for many years and has been published by Templar Press, Bristol PoetryCan, Leaf, Velvet, The Exeter Broadsheet, Obsessed with Pipework and Mr Garnham himself. She lives close to the river in the south west of England, with her partner and a small pack of dogs.
Double Entendre, by Jeff Burd
The doctor says you’ll have to
remove your pants. You’re
there in the exam room with
him and his intern. She’s young.
Blonde. Her eager eyes sparkle
as she hovers beside him.
“Do you mind if she’s in here for this?”
the doctor asks. “She’s got
I don’t want her to miss.”
The intern clutches a clipboard.
You imagine a neatly typed checklist.
This next task looms at the bottom
next to a barren, untouched little box.
It’s okay with you. The doctor probes
and talks his way through several
tender angles and steps aside. The intern
reaches for a glove, and you realize too late
that the ‘here’ she’s going to be ‘in’
is much more than the exam room.
Jeff Burd works as a high school English teacher in the north suburbs of Chicago. Mr. Burd spends a lot of time writing and thinking about writing, and worrying about not writing and thinking about writing.
A cornucopia, by Finola Scott
of crap and delight
my spam box overflows.
Pals tell me to clear, delete
those I’ve no interested in.
Concerned, they warn
my systems are endangered,
my back unguarded -
Obedient I scan and identify.
Titan Power Spins -no, too late,
my Wonder Woman days are past.
Tooth Decay – really? People pay for that?
Harry’s Razor – he’s but a painful memory,
But maybe that Nuzzle mattress,
Tupi Tea Keep it Hard intrigues
(see Harry above)
and oh for a Contour Swan Pillow.
- I think of those nests at the loch.
Thanks to friends, I relish the surprise
of my winnings -today a Multi Drill King,
a Club Car Golf Cart, a cordless vacuum.
I can only be grateful for algorithms.
They know me so well.
Finola Scott confesses writing is an untreated compulsion. She’s grateful that her work appears in magazines and anthologies. She enjoys performing, finding the writing community welcoming. Her hobbies are chocolate cake, jumping waves, laughing with friends, tickling grand-girls. She can be heard in a pub near you!
When the Palate Speaks, by Stephen Jordan
When the Palate Speaks
In Greece I patronized cafes
they said their coffee was the best,
they’d put one next to my entrees
to sample as their foreign guest—
‘twas smoky, gritty, super sweet
and cooled too fast in tiny cups,
I didn’t say, they’d not believe
I’d rather have my giant mugs
be filled to brims with Dunkin’ swill
and then befouled with too much cream
to pat my tummy overfilled
and exhale clouds of coffee steam.
I think sometimes the palette says
enough! I now know what I like-–
so no new gustatory threats
from gastro pubs with nouveau bites.
When in New England for a time
I prompted ire to suggest
that store-bought maple syrup’s my
first breakfast choice—won’t acquiesce
to haughty east coast claims that you
must have Vermont’s elixir dream,
the syrup they insist you choose
is tapped from perfect forest scenes
with crunchy snow and birds above—
traditions held in families since
they told their kin “It’s this we love
and not that fake and low-rent spin
on our pure draught the rubes have made”,
but see I come from Illinois
a corn-fed hick like you’ve portrayed
where thick corn syrup is our ploy
to jack up east coast maple’s faint
elitist flavor, now you see
sophisticated I just ain’t
‘cause I like what I like–agreed?
I think sometimes the palette says
experimenting has to end—
give us this day our daily bread
our taste buds now need no new friends.
Stephen Jordan was born and raised in the Midwest, the son of Colombian and Serbian immigrant parents. He has taught high school English for over twenty years, taking occasional leaves of absence to live and work in South America, East Africa, and the UK.