Bed of Nails – Nail Beds, by Mandy Beattie

BED OF NAILS — NAIL BEDS

​​ Before chemical spills and pandemics
​my finger nails used to be
​quarter moon Botticelli’s. Half
​ moons when I had bones of double
​ cream and vegan-inked in strawberry
moon and peridot. Once in a super blue blood moon
a French manicure with white wavelets: without
fish scales, guano, crushed beetles
and deadly nightshades they put in nail polish as protein –
Pointing the index finger a tattie bed
after tugging nettles. Middle nail has hang-nails
Ring finger a rock-stack. Peedie nail bit
between aikle’s into a sixteenth moon; an own goal
in the raffia-hoop – Thumb nail’s thumbs-up
inside the Arc de Triomphe
On the other hand
a peeling shallot. Pinkie stubbed its toe; a pitted moon
Third nail’s a salt cave
with stalactite-striations — A sign
on my nail-palm I could read in tea-leaves
when I wore a fur muff and long cloak. Toe nails
an obsessive compulsive
buzz cut. My skin used to be
slathered and seduced with calendula balm. Each hand
Rapunzel in circlets of gold, silver and semi-precious pebbles
​Now my nails are geek-nails
​in the buff
​with an edge

 

She was no James Herriott . . . By Aine Kelly

She was no James Herriott……. by Aine Kelly

Síle’s favourite was the Alpaca, with its traits of the Gobán Saor,
Hygienically meticulous and much valued for their hair.
The story started in Brown Thomas, when Síle’s jaw dropped
On hearing the inflated price for a small Alpaca top.
When she finally composed herself and her heart was beating calmer,
She decided there and then to become an Alpaca farmer.

So she searched the Farmer’s Journal, found an auction in Athy
Put a loan from her Credit Union, with savings she’d put by.
In the excitement of investment, common sense failed her –
In Athy with six Alpacas – but no access to a trailer.
So she phoned up Farmer Kelly who was glued to the election.
‘Give me two hours and I’ll be there, are their cards ready for collection?

Síle waited in the carpark under Level 5 restrictions
Sipping takeout Americano , while reading a work of fiction.
Farmer Kelly drove behind her, the six Alpacas going Ga Ga
Named them Angie, Tom and Tracy, Theo, Biden and Kamala.
Well they settled in Claregalway , ate their way through all her money.
Now a six foot fence surrounds her house and the big dream’s not so funny.
So one day she packed her trailer – Tuam Mart said they’d take five.
She held on to sweet Kamala to keep her Alpaca dream alive.
But alone, she whined and whimpered now the neighbours were going Ga Ga
So she formed a small support group called the ‘Friends of the Alpaca..’
(some years later)
Pondering her investment
Years after Kamala got the chop,
Síle felt life might have been easier
If she’d just bought that bloody top!

My name is Áine Kelly and I fancy myself as having an eye for the funnier side of life! I have attended some poetry workshops and completed a creative writing module, and love the idea of getting a serious idea across either in a poem or a short story. I have had a book of short stories. called ‘Has Anyone A Set of Jumpleads?’ published in 2018, with accompanying artwork by Christopher Banahan.

 

Iron Hat, by Ed Poetastic

Iron Hat,

Come on, where the facts?
Its not under your aluminum hat?
I dont hear anything from that cat?
Wait, whats with the chaotic format?
Okay!Okay!okay, i wont do that!
There nothing wrong with the thermostat,
No No No the earth isnt fake or flat,
No im not a CIA agent, snick or a rat,
I thought we could hang and chat,
Yes, ill watch out for your mystical mate,
Ow Alright! Alright! please dont snap!
No im not doing some MKultra Crap,
You hear sounds? Tap, Tap, Tap,
Its the Tv. Have you lost it or snap?
I keep telling you, No your not on the map!!
Yes, this isnt paint, im actually black,
Yes, check my id. Careful with that strap,
Its seem common sense you lack,
Hey!Hey!Hey! Dont you smash my Mac,
Man, you only have paste but no snacks?
Yes, my electronics and shoes are on the rack,
No, Im dont have a wire or being tracked,
No, No, No this isnt a sting or a Trap,
No!! Time moves foward, there is no gaps,
I think you need a rest or a quick nap,
Prepare for combat? Are you smoking crack?
No! Your cellphone and computer arent hacked,
Im going, i hope your humanity is intact,
For real, you dont need to worry, your a huge paranoid brat,
By Ed Poetastic

 

Attitude to Life, by Nancy Tully

When I was young and told to mend my ways
Because I was turning my mother’s hair grey

WHO ME? I DON’T HAVE AN ATTUTUDE PROBLEM

Just take a look around today
It happens in a similar way

WHO ME? I DON’T HAVE AN ATTUTUDE PROBLEM

As we progress through life
We are always giving someone strife

WHO ME? I DON’T HAVE AN ATTUTUDE PROBLEM

See that queue, well I’ll push to the front
If anyone complains, I’ll be blunt

WHO ME? I DON’T HAVE AN ATTUTUDE PROBLEM

If someone is helpful and kind to me
Do I feel I have to return that kindness? NOT ME!

WHO ME? I DON’T HAVE AN ATTUTUDE PROBLEM

I’ll drive my car so close behind yours
Do I really care about an accident and the laws?

WHO ME? I DON’T HAVE AN ATTUTUDE PROBLEM

I don’t need to drive with my seatbelt on
I don’t care if it’s right or wrong

WHO ME? I DON’T HAVE AN ATTUTUDE PROBLEM

If you drive through town at night
I’ll just walk right out and give you a fright

WHO ME? I DON’T HAVE AN ATTUTUDE PROBLEM

My children are so precious to me
When they are in the car they stand so they can see

WHO ME? I DON’T HAVE AN ATTUTUDE PROBLEM

And so we go on through our lives
Without a care and full of jibes

WHO ME? I DON’T HAVE AN ATTUTUDE PROBLEM

So when are we going to show people we care
I would like to think we could all be a little more fair

WHO ME? I DO HAVE AN ATTITUDE PROBLEM

 

The Ballad of Bertie Bassett and the Bisto Kids, by Ray Pool

THE BALLAD OF BERTIE BASSETT AND THE BISTO KIDS

This is the ballad of Bertie Bassett
And how he dealt with the Bisto Kids,
He rode into town to settle a score
And to see the woman he did adore.

He felt like settling down at last,
To put away his chequered past,
Mary was in his line of sight,
He hoped to see her this very night.

The Bisto Kids were on his list
riotous gamblers who carried arms,
Bertie now was on the prowl
And soon would face them cheek to jowl.

Meanwhile unbeknownst to them
A US marshall was on the train
Coming to put the kids in gaol,
For shooting and looting in Cripple Dale.

In the diamond X saloon
A poker game was starting up,
the Bisto Kids were always cheating,
The atmosphere was overheating.
Bertie was known for his licquorice log
And had his pick of womenfolk,
Now in the bar, his legs astride,
poor Mary nearly had a stroke.

The players all got up to leave,
as in strode the marshall, the place went quiet
all the drinkers began to burp
They thought it was old Wyatt Earp.

The Bisto Kids had pulled their guns
And theirs were not the only ones
Bertie held his weapons high
But Mary revealed a gartered thigh

Which drew old Bertie’s eyes away
when a bisto bullet hit his leg
but Billy had the quicker draw,
the Bistos fell upon the floor.

“Jack, Jack” a voice was heard,
“Jack, Jack, wake up, wake up !
You fell asleep and the dinner’s ready,
And what have you done to your favourite Teddy?

Little Jack, just shy of ten
His allsorts box quite empty, then
As the smell of gravy came through the door
Said: “Mum, I’m not hungry anymore.”

My flirtation with poetry blossomed whilst working at the BBC. I had a poem published in the Breathru Magazine run by Ken Geering in the late sixties. It is only since semi-retiring from the music business that I ventured into live poetry reading, and am now a prolific writer of poetry. I tend to choose subject matter of a quirky or satirical aspect, often read with mimicked accents and dialects. I have had two pamphlets published by Dempsey and Windle and poems in anthologies by Paradox and Indigo Dreams.

 

An Ode to Simon Reeve, by Robert Garnham

Poem

I stepped into a tropical bar.
Simon Reeve was there in a slow dance,
And I lost myself to his floppy fringe
Whose sweat-soaked flappy fronds would
Tickle my blushing cheeks,
Whose stubble scraped at the twilit skies
Like a cat’s claws on anaglypta,
Whose come-to-bed eyes betrayed none
Of the entitlement of his classical features
But a yearning for a sweetness so virile
That he could have been a treacle tart
And I ached, how I ached,
To be the custard.

Backpack merely decorative,
Naive tone a faux Theroux,
Poor man’s Palin,
Cargo-trousered doyen of sand dunes
And jungle trains,
No armchair droner he,
Riven with Reevisms, river crossings,
Barrier reef rovings,
Now gyrating for my pleasure in the aptly named
Club Flamingo.

Simon Reeve whose dimpled smile
Hauls in the night like a Titicatan net-lobber,
Whose unblemished skin betrays the
Goodness of various restorative unguents,
Whose manly chin is jutted like the
Bulbous bow of a speeding Shinkansen
And probably twice as purposeful,
Whose sensitive eyebrows are seldom parabolic,
Yet neither do they quiver intense for
Reevsie is an empathic soul,
Whose backpack is admittedly superfluous,
Whose torso is Michaelangeloian in its
Sculpted accommodation of his lean yet
Muscular frame on whose bounty I would
Willingly consume a quadruple-decker cheeseburger
Dipping a chip in a reservoir of mayonnaise
Stored for convenience sake in his belly button.

Action man for aunties.
Secret poet banging sand out his boots.
Earnest and eager though neither over with either.
Mortal enemy of Professor Brian Cox.
No world-weary Whicker he, but a clamorous compassion
And the kind of face
That would make even Vladimir Putin
Contemplate a five minute fumble
In the broom cupboard.

Simon Reeve, whose tousled locks hold
Within their definitely un-dyed verdantness
A vitality that would put Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to shame,
Whose rich deep Colombian coffee coloured eyes
Might penetrate x-ray-like beneath layers so effectively
As to pass right through the earth’s core every time
He bends down to pat a puppy.
Whose nostrils hardly flare.
Whose afterthought goatee clings on like
A countryside hilltop copse stunted
By the choking emissions from a nearby pig farm
Yet in whose branches barn owls berate the night
With their haunted warbling,
Whose luscious lips have tempted many a plastic surgeon
To bemoan the artifice of their own creations
And now before is delicate tongue-moistened plumpness,
Whose sturdy shoulders in their perfect powerful paralleogramatic
Precision
Would easily raise a live rhinoceros clear out
Of the Serengeti mud hole
Into which it had stumbled probably distracted
By the beauty of Simon Reeve’s face in the first place.

And I,
Simon Reeve,
I am that rhinoceros
And this ain’t no mud hole,
It’s the Club Flamingo
And our song has now ended
And our dance has now ended
And you’ve picked up your backpack
Which definitely doesn’t contain
Just a couple of pillows to make it look full for the cameras,
And off you go.

Robert Garnham https://professorofwhimsy.com has been performing LGBT comedy poetry around the UK for ten years at various fringes and festivals, and has had three collections published by Burning Eye. He has won slams in places such as London, Edinburgh and Swindon and headlined or featured at events such as Bang Said the Gun, Raise the Bar, and Milk and in 2019 was the Hammer and Tongue featured artist for a tour of the UK. Je has supported artists such as John Hegley, Arthur Smith and Paul Sinha. He has made a few short TV adverts for a certain bank, and a joke from one of his shows was listed as one of the funniest of the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe. Lately he has been writing short stories published in magazines such as Stand, Defenestration and Riggwelter, and a humorous column in the Herald Express newspaper. In 2021 he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and shortlisted as Spoken Word Artist of the Year by the Saboteur Awards. His influences are diverse and include Ivor Cutler, Salena Godden, Bob Newhart and Laurie Anderson.

Robert is the editor of Spilling Cocoa.

 

Playing Space Invaders, by Ann Gibson

Playing Space Invaders

He ignored empty places down the carriage, sidled
into the seat beside her, wafted sour beer, stale smoke.

‘Cheer up love,’ he leered, ‘it might never happen’.
It just had, she wanted to tell him.

‘What’s it about?’ he nudged her, nodded to her book.
‘Cartesian Dualism,’ she lied, almost spat.

He nodded again, as though he understood.
For a split second she thought she’d been sussed,

was relieved to see his sneer
dismissing her as a smart-ass.

Off the hook, (she wouldn’t know where to start
with Descartes) she resumed reading.

Ann Gibson spent her childhood in Dublin and now lives in North Yorkshire. She has published poetry in Acumen, Prole, Dream Catcher, Obsessed with Pipework, Orbis, and The Poets’ Republic, as well as online in Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, The High Window, Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Ofi Press Magazine and The Ekphrasis Review.

 

Body Art, by Jennifer A. McGowan

Body Art

Elephant face on the outside of his arm.
They tried to discourage him. Think of your kids,
they said. He laughed. Think of aging,
they said. I’ll get old and wrinkly, he smiled.
Like an elephant.

Jennifer A. McGowan is a disabled poet and re-enactor who generally prefers the fifteenth century but is addicted to indoor plumbing. Awkward. She has five collections out, and a sixth is currently under scrutiny by editors.

 

Loyalty Penalty, by John Lanyon

LOYALTY PENALTY

Dear Sir or Madam,
your Policy of Love is due for Renewal.

Wait!

It pays to shop around.
Switch now!
Whatever your offer we’ll beat it.
Comprehensive Love?
Damage to a Third Party?
We guarantee a minimum Level of Affection.
In the event of a Breakdown
we supply a Courtesy Partner
(for up to 28 days).
Choose your Level of Excess.
Suddenly kicked out by your Lover?
We’ll find you a lonely Bed-Sit.
Add European Cover? No Problem!
Add a Spiritual Dimension? Easy!

Note: we do not replace matching Items.
We do not operate a new-for-old Policy.

Indemnify your Heart!

You’re covered –
should you fall from Grace*.

*Terms and Conditions apply.

John Lanyon

John Lanyon lives in West Oxfordshire where he works as a gardener, linguist, musician and writer. He is approximately 25% of the poetry quartet www.fourwordsmen.com . He is excited by the secret lives of words, the play between the animate and inanimate worlds, the spirit of places.

 

Ageing Process, by Jane Shaer

AGEING PROCESS
Have you ever looked in the mirror
To reflect your age
And noticed cellulite and wrinkles
Have taken centre stage?
It’s then you wonder to yourself
How old must I be?
What sort of a body is this
To be given me?

Have you noticed the hair upon your head
Is starting to thin out
When the roots underneath are turning
White
And suddenly beginning to sprout?
It’s then you wonder to yourself
Am I really okay?
Why not have a wig aswell
Let alone going prematurely grey?

Have you ever been to the dentist
And while lying in the chair
He’s fitting you with a crown
As you gaze up his nose in despair?
It’s then you wonder to yourself
This guy’s a nice enough chap.
But I only wish he’d finish off
Bridging that gap.

Have you ever been to the doctor
To get a jab for the flu
And asked him time and time again
Can I make love to you?
It’s then you wonder to yourself
If my senility’s on par.
Why not have a man aswell
When I’ve a crush on my car.

Have you ever had a Garam or Tikka Massala
From an Indian takeaway
Not realising the effect it has on you
For many a day?
It’s then you wonder to yourself
If this stuff is going to keep on
Passing through.
How much longer must I spend VINDALOO?

My name is Jane Shaer & live in North London.
I was inspired by Pam Ayres to write poetry
when she won Opportunity Knocks back in
the 1970’s.
I have epilepsy & learning difficulties & putting pen to paper can be quite a challenge.