Fostering an Elephant, by Matthew Sissons

Fostering an Elephant

So far, no one has complained
about the late-night tanker truck
deliveries. She’s only a baby.
Drinks gallons of milk. We go
directly to a dairy. It’s expensive,
but who cares? I think the neighbors
are jealous.

A golden retriever or a Siamese
cat would have been ideal- we
live in a small house, with a
smaller backyard- but for the
elephant, it was us or the poachers-
so we took her in.

The kids are wild about her.
Walk her without complaint.
They promised to keep the yard
clean- My wife and I do most
of the pooper scoopering. We
spoil them.

When the constant trumpeting
began, we piled into the mini-van,
rushed her to the vet. She said
there was nothing wrong with
the elephant physically. Turns out
elephants are matriarchal- I think
she missed her family. She seems
to be settling in with mine.

I’m crazy about her too- built her
a house outback. When it’s warm,
she sleeps there. She’s smart. Easy
to train. Remembers everything-
Never has to be told things twice.

Matthew Sisson’s poetry has appeared in journals ranging from the “Harvard Review Online,” to “JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association.” He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and read his work on NPR’s “On Point.” His First book, “Please, Call Me Moby,” was published by the Pecan Grove Press, St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas.

 

The Black Nightshade, by Patricia Phillips-Batoma

The Black Nightshade

The butterflies return
to find me stooped
among the landscape stones,
tugging out Fleabane,
unearthing thick stems of sharp Thistle.

This time of year
my neighbors side eye
each other’s yards,
fear that my weeds
might invade their lawns.

Am I at war with a side yard
I’ll never control? It’s tempting
to use Borax, sprinkle wide-spectrum
pre-emergence broadleaf weed block.

Some life forms need little tending.
I pull Oxalis, Ragweed, and Wild Violets
wearing suede gloves
decorated with flowers.

For something so aggravating,
we have the most evocative names.
Doors to little worlds begging.

Down some pricy meat at the Lamb’s Quarter bistro.
Then jingle the brass bell at the Purslane book shop.
Gobble a sundae at Nutsedge, leave with a box of fudge.
And finger the hand-knit cardigans at Velvet Leaf Yarn Barn.

But in all seriousness,
if I owned a watering hole in this town,
I’d call it The Black Nightshade.
Because that’s a place I know you’d go
to find out what’s on tap.
 

Shopping, by Trevor Alexander

Shopping

I need to get stuff from the local mart,
but then my stupid car just will not start.
I ring the garage, but they cannot come
until a week on Thursday, minimum.
The buses are on strike, so they’re no use;
I silently bombard them with abuse.
A taxi then I guess, and hang the cost,
but time goes by – I think they must be lost.
At last a car arrives outside my gate
and toots as if to say it’s me that’s late.
I gallop down the drive and can’t resist
a much relieved internal pump of fist.
My head explodes when we get to the store;
I’ve left my wallet by the kitchen door



Trevor retired in 2013, and decided to write a novel. Stalled on chapter 3, he ventured into poetry. He has been published in anthologies and magazines in UK and USA, plus his own book in 2017. Trevor has read at several Literary Festivals, and regularly contributes at poetry/spoken word groups.
 

Meanwhile, on a Sardinian Beach, by Maeve O’Sullivan

Meanwhile, on a Sardinian Beach

She could be a young writer
this tattooed woman
in a yellow bikini

with laser-like attention
she watches for activity
along the shore

scribbling her thoughts
opinions and observations
into a hardback notebook

her work comes to fruition
much faster than that
of an author however

accosting the offender
in the act of stealing precious sand
she issues the on-the-spot fine.

 

How Spaffer Johnson got his name, by Colin Day

How Spaffer Johnson got his name
(or what I learned from John Wilmot , Earl of Rochester & Catullus )

Eton is a fine and competitive place
our betters arranged in a hierarchy of testosterone,
anticipation on each boy’s privileged and gleaming face
as they wait in thrall for the annual drumming of the bone.

It’s called the masturbatorium in extremis,
held in the dark days of December
a call to arms, firm grip on every penis,
the ultimate test of any patrician’s member.

They stand in line by the fives court wall,
up and over, spectacular arc of ejaculate,
tape measure ready to mark the viscous globules’ fall
distance, height, and consistency to debate.

The record stands where, with a resounding splat,
Johnson hit the far wall, proving beyond dispute,
he’s the man to garner all the loot
indeed that self-regarding institution’s greatest twat.
 

Looming Days of Covid, by Tim Dwyer

LOOMING DAYS OF COVID

Not another nature poem!
So the world shuts down
and suddenly journal after journal
features a 21st century Wordsworth
and a Mary Oliver back from the grave
with a strong dose of mindfulness
and ecopoetry thrown in.

Goodbye gritty streets and dive bars
and meeting on the stoop in Alphabet City
for an after-dinner smoke.
Hello moon and stars, flowers, and birds.

But here in Belfast after my second jab
Titanic Station with trashed streets, cranes
and construction sites on one side,
political murals and churches on the other,
a bell chiming for a lonesome funeral,

here on the tracks,
weedy yellow flowers
push through gravel and railway ties.

I couldn’t tell you their name
as they bend below the trains
passing over.

Dear Mary and Will,
that is the beauty of nature.

(Luke Nilan is a fictional, 75-year-old poet who moved from the East Village, NY to Belfast 10 years ago.)

Tim Dwyer’s poems appear regularly in Irish and UK journals, forthcoming in Allegro, London Grip, and The Stony Thursday Book. His chapbook is Smithy Of Our Longings (Lapwing). Raised in Brooklyn, NY, he now lives in Bangor, NI. These poems are from the unpublished manuscript, Luke Nilan Writes Again.

 

Biotechnology, by Patricia Walsh

Biotechnology

You use your paralysed hand in misdemeanour
Stating ‘all is well’ before the time does clock
Not repeating miracles for all, how liked
Cutting swathes through green grass and despair.

She’s the image of you, in the limited vision
I have already seen, resting on your shoulder
Studying for your sins, a generic degree
Writing scribble from your fingers, down to earth.

The battery is merciless.
Wishing to ring you
And offer my heart in condolence,
Something tarnishes in soul for centuries
But gold comes clear, seldom does it ever.

Begging at traffic lights, seeing the day,
When the caustic reminders take the bait
As I am, so you will be, a Catholic marker
Humbles himself for exaltion on the last day.

Warmth spills out of windows and doors
Guarded by housemates jealousy corralling
Artefacts from the stoic, gleaming on their own
Arresting the comfort of the welcoming soil.

Death can be sweet, for want of a better life,
In the next life, divested of sin
Enough to drink body and blood

Patricia Walsh was born and raised in the parish of Mourneabbey, Co Cork, Ireland. To date, she has published one novel, titled The Quest for Lost Eire, in 2014, and has published one collection of poetry, titled Continuity Errors, with Lapwing Publications in 2010. She has since been published in a variety of print and online journals. She has also published another novel, In The Days of Ford Cortina, in August 2021.

 

Cousin Ken, by Hilary Willmott

Cousin Ken

Cousin Ken from Cockermouth Cumbria
Has a wholesome rhythm to it.
Cuz-in-Ken-from-Cock-er-mouth-Cum-bri-a.
I loved him living there.
When friends asked after my cousin Ken
I would say ‘Oh, Cousin Ken? He’s well, still living in
Cockermouth, Cumbria.’
And then he called with his new address
making him cousin Ken from Romney Marsh, Kent.
I’ll never forgive him for this.

Hilary lives in Bristol close to the River Avon. She resides there with her partner and three dogs. Has been previously published by Templar Press, Bristol Poetrycan, Leaf, Velvet, Obsessed with Pipework, Exeter Broadsheet and Mr Garnham. Still planning to submit enough poems for a collection and still finding excuses not to send them off.

 

Submit (to poetry magazines) by Brian Kelly

Submit (to poetry magazines)

It’s easier to submit under the covers
Hands shaking a hasty rhythm
Ankles trembling as you click send
Convulsions into the pocketed atmosphere.
Beware the patient person
Who lies eye wide in front of lined white sheets
Empty minds bleached between verges and soft margins,
Where thoughts are an unmanned flock of birds
From hedgerow
Over hedgerow
To hedgerow....
I clip a wing on the drive there,
Ten percent over the legal speed limit
Leaves no discretion on five-foot-wide tarmac.
How insane am I? I wonder
Undiagnosed, I respond.
Stopping, I swing the door open
Step back from the vehicle
And pick up the bird, a crow.
Bringing it home smiling
I nail it to my refrigerator.
Good, another poem.

Brian Kelly is a bean from the west of Ireland who has recently given up his dreams and aspirations in the pursuit of poetry. What were once late night drunken chicken scratchings, etched onto any surface with something preferably sharp, are slowly evolving into bipedal beings traversing dry poetic lands.

 

Forever Changed, by Susan Coyle

I can’t tell you anything about
the moment time stood still
as your world rearranged itself
feeling your heart silently crack
this fracture will mend
only those who really know you see the scars
you have the gift to conjure memories
hear a voice who scolds you for being sad
as refracted light on glistening tears sparkle
to know an unconditional love until the last breath
I am not exempt from the conclusion of this world
grief is a multitasking emotion
being happy and sad in the same moment
not something you fully know
until it's your front row at the funeral
there, long after the last sympathy card,
it becomes part of you

Susan Coyle is based in Galway and has been writing poetry since 2019.

She attends “Over the Edge” writing workshops with Kevin Higgins in Galway. 

She has had poems published in North West Words, Pendemic.ie and Vox Galvia section of “Galway Advertiser”