My morning cup interrupted
I burst from the door
A demented whirling dervish
In a pink fleecy robe
Hurl foul abuse
In all directions
A black feathered diaspora
But ever watchful
They bide their time
Never doubt their rightful return
My poor beleaguered hens
Seize the moment
Occupy the feeder
Under the protective eye
Of a garishly clad
The farmer offers
To shoot one
Hang the carcass on a pole
A warning to the others
Just say the word he says
Surprised, as I recoil
I retreat down the rabbit hole
Of internet advice
From BB guns
To hawk shaped kites
My head spins
Out of nowhere they come
A grandmother's words
Be gentle with nature
Take care of the wild things
Feed the birds
I stand, cup in hand
My unruly visitors
Disgruntled hens and trigger-happy farmers aside
Equilibrium is restored
Agnes Warren lives in the West of Ireland. She started writing poetry in 2021 and participated in a series of workshops with Kevin Higgins, through Galway Arts Centre.
To Blandly Go, by Neil Fulwood
TO BLANDLY GO …
In the great lost episode of Star Trek
the inexplicably renamed Captain Keir
pilots the Starship Empty Promise
on its five-missions mission to seek out
new economies, use clean energy
for all intergalactic travel (the tax-
payer still picking up the tab, natch),
expedite self-referral to Bones
after briefly Googling one’s symptoms,
make the streets of the Federation safe
(tough on Tribbles, tough on the causes
of Tribble), break down barriers
to becoming - well, not a Starship captain,
obvs, but at least a spaceport sanitation
officer - and to blandly go where every
second-rate opportunist has gone before.
Neil Fulwood lives and works in Nottingham. He has published three full collections with Shoestring Press and a volume of political satires with Smokestack Books.
Dracula’s Cock, by Colin James
It unexpectedly turned up
on a peasant cart
outside a railway station
in northern Bulgaria.
Seems it was severed from
a live one, or not, depending
on your perspective.
Blood in the straw
a plethora of fodder.
A devout looking crowd,
caped to the nines
loitered for a look-see.
A few "Yikes" and 'Yowsers!"
could be heard singing
joyfully atonal in
made up accents,
that danced on the air a bit
before being, save piety,
A misuse of fruit, by Anne Babbs
A misuse of fruit
It was meant to be erotic.
The strategically placed strawberries,
The cream-covered nipples,
but all I could think was
that the sheets would need changing
before I could sleep.
Anne is a poet who regularly takes part in open mic events and the occasional slam. A selection of her poems can be found in the ‘New Voices’ anthology published by Offa’s Press in 2022.
A Fleeting Glimpse, by Ben Macnair
A Fleeting Glimpse
A man going about his business.
An expression asking, Alright Mate?
A three-day beard.
A collar pulled up against the wind,
like Elvis in Vegas,
replaces the bright lights.
He has Daniel Craig’s ears.
A Peaky Blinder’s hat.
A smile as wide as a piano,
missing all of its keys.
He could have been more,
like all of us.
He is happy with his life,
like some of us.
He knows his past is longer
than the days that remain.
Slippers, a Pipe and a loyal dog
await him at home,
with the peeling wallpaper,
the newspaper cuttings,
Rotherham’s Junior Disco Dance Champion, 1982.
Life isn’t all unsolved murders by the sea, by Casey Jarrin
Life isn’t all unsolved murders by the sea
gaunt detectives drown in another pint
old pains swim inside suits and bones
a savior complex walks into a bar
sits next to a gentle sex addiction
both in search of a wall to punch
mom’s eyes swallow horizon
dad sits frozen in his car
little sisters listen
at the door
a scarf washes ashore
a body floats in with the tide
we realize this is how
life comes undone.
wild turkeys cross city streets
necks wiggle in winter fog
uninterested in the price of gas
or whether a stacked Court
this December morning
will decide who dies
and when alive
Casey Jarrin is a poet, painter, and educator whose writing appears in Irish, UK, and US journals (Banshee, Abridged, Washington Square Review, Belfield Literary Review, Banyan Review, Buzzwords, Grand Journal, Perisphere). She’s received the Verve, York, Goldsmith, and Fingal Poetry Prizes, been on the Bridport shortlist, and performed as a featured poet at Lime Square and the Nuyorican Poets Café. A Jewish-Catholic atheist raised in New York who’s since lived in Dublin and Minneapolis, she received her PhD in modern literature/film, taught at Macalester College for several years, and is founder-director of Live Mind Learning. She’s now completing her debut collection, Untethered. Website: www.caseyjarrin.com
Satan’s LinkedIn Status (Sponsored) by Stephen McNulty
Satan's LinkedIn Status (Sponsored)
I wrote a letter
confessing all my sins.
I mean I omitted a few things
barely enough bloody ink
to address it to myself.
But the main things were included
Dublin City traffic.
Licked it shut
Spotify's Daily Meditation Playlist
and fed it to the flames.
Proceeded to cross my hooves
inhale the misdemeanors
exhale pure relaxation
wipe the slate clean
so to speak.
crashed a car on the M50
chartered a flight to Rwanda
sponsored the FIFA World Cup.
I've never been more #productive.
Stephen scribbles things whenever he is not forcing a member of the public into a CT scanner. His poems have appeared in A New Ulster Boyne Berries, Drawn to the Light, ROPES, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, Strukturriss and Vox Galvia.
Meet me at the toilet rolls, by Margaret Jennings
Meet me at the toilet rolls
I’m tired of meeting you at the toilet rolls
where we unravel the traffic of years
that dragged us here
At the toilet rolls we’ll have a tryst
arguing about petty things
a tryst without a kiss
Yes, buy a new comb
to slick back your persona
but remember there’s a man
changing light bulbs in the eaves
who is watching you
I will buy the toilet rolls
and later you will ask
if I bought new or used
As if I would do that to you
I’m tired of meeting you at the toilet rolls
Margaret Jennings is a poet, novelist and short story writer. Her novel, ‘ The Worry List’, was longlisted in the Bridport first novel award. She has been published in anthologies such as ‘The Lighthouse’ and enjoys being part of the thriving literary world in Portsmouth. Margaret’s poetry book, ‘We Are The Lizards,’ is available from Dempsey and Windle.
Some of the Ones, by Kate Ennals
Some of The Ones
after La Figlia che Piange by T.S. Eliot
One was a news correspondent who when stocious
whispered sweet nothings in Russian and Polish.
Each word was a rasp full of Zeds and Gizzards.
His tongue used to flick like that of a lizard
clicking like a gun, whipping my neck
so, I let him escape and moved on to Rex.
To be honest, Rex was not his real name
I say so because the sex was a shame
He was very attentive but had three little pinkies
and his finger work was not very kinky
I tried to use mine to work some magic
but nothing happened. It was tragic.
My first true love was away with the fairies
a fatal attraction for a naive young lady
He sang in a band, was charmingly late
had chocolate brown eyes, but refused to say
in words or ‘lots’ how much he adored me
so, finally, I left him and went to university.
There, I met a rigid boy whose body was agile
who had thick eyebrows and the sunniest smile.
He studied the Norman, Saxon, and Viking wars
And we too, were duplicitous with daggers and swords
Happily, in the end, I was victorious
but in my conquering, he grew less glorious.
As I got busy at work, I found my loves taken
in the office, snatched from other good women.
Their men loved my zest and liked to unzip
until one such man decided to flip.
Today, after 64 years of hard love and labour
I choose words of poetry over any lover.
Kate Ennals is a poet and writer and has published poems and short stories in a range of literary and on-line journals. She has published three poetry collections. You can find her blog at kateennals.com.
Boxes, by Rodney Wood
I’ve found your secret Daddy.
What have you found son?
There is a room beneath the shed. It’s full of little wooden boxes of different sizes.
You won’t tell anyone will you son. I’ve only told the butcher and undertaker.
Why only them Daddy?
The butcher has promised to cut up my body and put away what should be in boxes. While the undertaker has promised to collect everything else, bones, flesh, skin and so on and have them put in a box labelled “Miscellaneous”.
I’ve lived my life being put in boxes, working in a box, living in a box, travelling in a box, dreaming of boxes. When I die I want to be buried in lots of little wooden boxes and not just the one to show that I’m an individual.
How long have you spent making little wooden boxes Daddy?
My life son, has been spent making little wooden boxes. I’ve made boxes for my toes, my false teeth, my heart, my ears, my eyes and well, you get the idea son.
When will you be finished Daddy?
Next Tuesday. After that I don’t know what I’ll do son.
Daddy, what if you're cremated?