Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Of Bergholz Bondage

Sam Mullet and the Bergholz clan,
Of the Gaddafi sort you understand,
Snipping the symbols of the church rejected,
As the Old Order status quo disrespected.

The breaking of the Bergholz branch,
The Federal raiding of the renegade ranch,
Dictators unrepentant too proud in fact,
To inquire of the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

© James Schwartz

Hate crime charges filed in Amish beard cutting
Poet and slam performer, James Schwartz strives for the simplicity of Cavafy mixed with modern gay wordplay. His book, The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America, was published by in Group Press in 2011.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

This Just In

Dear Hackgate-watchers, here's the latest news
About the price I've paid for your abuse.
I'm not a mafioso, heavens no:
You hurt my itsy-bitsy feelings so
That I have left the boards of Times and Sun,
In hopes that this will spike the smoking gun.
Meanwhile, as exec chairman I remain,
To keep the power and outsource the pain.
I'm sinless now as when I first was born -
Yours most sincerely, James the Murdoch spawn.

© Philip Challinor

James Murdoch resigns from Sun and Times boards
Philip blogs at 'The Curmudgeon' - He insists, "You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry." Philip is the author of a number of books.

Monday, 28 November 2011

A Sunday Outing

On finding that, yesterday,
Liverpool had at last been occupied,
I took a poem down for the young people
camped on a small, stone plateau
outside St Georges Hall
beside Wellington’s column, topped
by a statue of the Iron Duke,
so-called because he barred his windows
against angry crowds urging
the parliamentary reforms
he strongly opposed. Don’t expect
much support from his ghost then.

My poem was a black bin-liner,
containing three woolly hats
in various sizes and colours,
two pairs of gloves, a pair
of thick socks, a once-white sheet
for banner-making, some more
black bin liners for rubbish
and two toilet rolls.

Bless them, they are so young,
so full of hope and courage.

© Colin Watts

Occupy Liverpool set up camp
Colin Watts is author of four collections of poems. He works in Adult Learning and is not a millionaire.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sunday Review

We started this week with a stinging piece from Philip Challinor. For Thine is the Corporation raised a question regarding eviction notices served on protesters outside St Paul's - moral dilemma, or just old fashioned religious hypocrisy?

No matter which way we turn in these troubled times, the upheaval in the Middle-East is never far away. Lavinia Kumar considered Syria's increasing isolation, with The Bloody Cobweb, while Rosemary Collins', The New Tyrant, reminded us that revolutions sometimes need to undergo secondary phases, before true regime change comes about.

In The Kuala Lumpa Games, John Goss reflected on the symbolic war crimes trial of George W. Bush and Tony Blair, taking place in the Malaysian capital. And, following the reopening of the investigation into the death of actress, Natalie Wood, Kat Mortensen asked, Would Natalie?

Yesterday we published True Britannia by newcomer to Poetry24, Dave Viney. His poem spotlights our relationship with customer services, here in the UK. Dave is appearing with Kieren King and Benny-Jo Zahl, at the Lowry Theatre, Manchester, in January, 2012.

Have a good week and, remember, it doesn't have to be a national or international headline story that prompts a poem. Keep an eye on your local newspaper, too.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

True Britannia

The queue for the Customer Disservice desk,
takes me by unsurprise:
“Would you mind completing a customer satisfaction survey,
while you wait to be dissatisfied?”

Silently practicing a complaints speech
so dynamic
it could make the shop assistant,
take a soul-searching sabbatical to Tibet –
Seven months training in Basic Human Interaction,
a further two months in Common Courtesy,
and one week in How to use a biro,
without getting ink all over your hands

This is the complaints speech to end all complaints speeches
A  ‘perfect pauses,
SHOUTS in all the right places,
righteous riot act’ of a speech.
A  ‘left to my own devices
and with the benefit of hindsight,
I might have had a dream’  kind of speech.

But then the hypnotic voice of British sensibilities kicks in:

“3, 2, 1 and you’re under...
As the queue diminishes, so will your resolve.
You will accept the shop assistant’s feeble excuses
and a voucher that does not represent
value for money, or time that you’ll never get back
and you will thank her for the privilege.
If you attempt to go against your ingrained,
 ‘mustn’t cause a fuss’  Britishness,
I will make you buy an onion from the Food Court
and eat it, thinking it’s an apple.

Now, leave quietly
and don’t forget to smile”

© Dave Viney

British comedy and terrible customer service, a match made in heaven
Dave Viney, Mancunian performance poet has performed for BBC Manchester, currently performing in Amateur Thematics / Lowry Theatre and can be contacted at ,
while his website is being shiny-fied.

Friday, 25 November 2011

The New Tyrant

Behind every revolution
stands the new tyrant.

The slogans shouted will one day
fall back into the same silence,
where anger is buried alive under fear.
The bright banners they wave
will shrink into more lying posters.

The hero riding the cheering people’s shoulders to the palace gates
will become a burden
when he drives past them in an armoured limousine,
and they stand to attention before the guards’ guns.

And the people?
The crowd swirling along the street,
more heads than pixels in a photograph,
will divide in half and half again,
until all the revolutionaries
could not fill a prison cell.

© Rosemary J. Collins

Egyptian protesters reject military's timetable for elections
Rosemary Collins is a gap year student whose dream is to be a writer. Her main interests are reading, writing and current affairs, especially human rights issues.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Would Natalie?

Would Natalie, who feared the water, dark and deep,
Foreshadowing, perhaps, the waves where she would sleep,
Not think, not worry, as she set foot on her boat
(So bundled up against the wind, in her down coat)
Enough to place her bony fingers on her glass,
And when refills were offered by the men, to say, "I'll pass"?

© Kat Mortensen

Natalie Wood witness says she heard 'Help me, I'm drowning'
Kat is a Canadian poet, and the author of 'Shadowstalking'. Currently, her poems can be read at Kat Mortensen Poetry

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Kuala Lumpa Games

Water-boarding champion, George W. Bush,
chooses not to defend his record in Kabul, Bagh-
dad, or even US-sponsored exhibitions, hush!
to an unknown Uzbekistani gulag.
His world record of extraordinary renditions, hush!
remains unsurpassed; and his survival
is resting on a torturous regime, hush!
that eliminates the chances of a rival.
And one such rival, enigmatic Tony Blair,
has run him close; nobody can begrudge
Blair’s charismatic efforts to compare himself
to Bush. As he says himself: “History will judge”.

© John Goss

Symbolic war crimes tribunal tries Bush, Blair
John Goss has a degree in International Studies from the University of Birmingham. He is a lyricist and playwright.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Bloody Cobweb

A spider trapped in his own web,
he feeds on the bodies of men,
his machine guns squeeze hot juice,
red, from children, and he eats

till with his tanks he makes more webs,
he handcuffs men by the neck,
his cannons splatter blood on roads,
dark red, and those not dead hang

on lampposts, or they run in videos
that he cannot find or break.
So we see his coliseum,
the red floor, his anger asurge,

his face long, longing for power.
But he has wounds from each bullet,
and his long legs, one after the other,
become red jello, sticky, and stuck.

© Lavinia Kumar

Syria: isolated and losing friends
Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her family includes a variety of cultures and immigrants. Her poetry has appeared in Waterways, Thatchwork (Delaware Valley Poets), Orbis, US1 Worksheets, and more.

Monday, 21 November 2011

For Thine is the Corporation

Our Saviour, who held property in scorn,
Was fast corrected at the Church's dawn.
Although he kicked the money-changers out,
These days we find them useful hereabout;
And thus we are committed to maintain
St Paul's for peaceful profit, in the main.
We're all for talk and tea-cakes, it is true;
But if the goon squad comes, what can we do?
Wringing our hands, we let the worldly arm
Protect our takings from excessive harm,
And trust the Corporation will not shirk
The doing of Lord Jesus' dirty work.

© Philip Challinor

Occupy London: eviction notices attached to tents outside St Paul's
Philip blogs at 'The Curmudgeon' - He insists, "You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry." Philip is the author of a number of books.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sunday Review

We didn't do a Sunday Review last week, so this is a whistle stop tour through the last fortnight of poems.

Wanting to pay tribute to the civilian dead caught in the crossfire of armed conflicts, we forfeited our review on Remembrance Sunday in favour of Teaching the World to Sing - a well-timed poem by Colin Watts on the possible reintroduction of cluster bombs. 

Once again, the range of poems and styles has been extraordinary. Just in the last few days we've had Marylin Brindley's The Right Train crossing borders in a marvellous pastiche of Auden's The Night Train, and the bleak and spare 10 Seconds from Anna on the killing of Stephen Lawrence.

International news has reached us via the medium of poetry too -  Lavinia Kumar's The Bend in the River highlighted the worrying impact of a new Amazon dam, and Indian poet Vinita Agrawal celebrated veteran campaigner Anna Hazare in White Phosphorus.   Meanwhile, Libya was still in the news with Do They Really by John Goss exploring the possible fate of Saif Gaddafi and Hamish Mack gave us an ode to exploited youth in the run-up to New Zealand's elections with Factoring in the Youth.

And while we always welcome poems on the big news, we enjoy looking at lesser-known stories too - like Helena Nolan's Tears of the Devil and, from the left field, Breda Wall Ryan's whacky and wonderful Charango - our first and (probably) only poem about a vicious attack with a frozen Armadillo!

We have already published several poems about the Occupy protests around the world, but couldn't resist the angry and sobering Occupied by new contributor Angela T Carr and  Already Occupied by Colin Watts - who had the trustees of St Paul's squeezing a camel through the eye of Threadneedle Street.  James Schwartz gave us an update on the New York protests with his The Last Librarian too.

The challenge for us at Poetry24 is to keep a steady supply of quality poems - thanks to those who respond when we're running short... and please do keep them coming.


Saturday, 19 November 2011

10 Seconds

Strength in numbers,
base mentality,
oh brave men they,
sick to the core,
they surround the enemy,
marked by his black,
his youth, easy prey,
they pounce
(strength in numbers),
a punch, a kick,
that’s all it takes to snuff
a life.

He escapes,
runs for his life,
unaware that death
now lives within him,
He falls,
heart stopped,
life ceased.

Strength in numbers,
base mentality,
they watch him
flee and fall.
they leave,
as casually as they killed.

© 'Anna'

Stephen Lawrence 'killed in 10 seconds'
Anna is passionate about her world and writes about her feelings in both poetry and prose.  She lives in the UK and for personal reasons, prefers to remain just 'Anna.'

Friday, 18 November 2011

The Right Train

(With apologies to W.H. Auden’s ‘The Night Train’)

These are the passengers crossing the border,
Waiting to check that all is in order,
Passports from the rich, passports from the poor,
They queue round the corner and out of the door.
It’s a hell of a task, a mountain to climb:
Calling them forward one a time.
Then here comes one who’s somewhat bolder
To see for herself what Brodie told her,
Snorting sniffily as she passes,
The grumbling miles of weary masses,
They all turn their heads as she approaches,
And herds them into the waiting coaches.
It’s a pilot scheme and it’s set on course;
To bolster the local labour force
Whilst shortening the queues at the lowest cost,
For the minimum wage, all paperwork lost.

Theresa smiles. Her work is done.
Down towards Parliament she descends
Towards politicians at Question Time,
Towards journalists and assembled media
Waiting to hear her proclamation.
The United Kingdom waits for her:
Huddled round TV screens, computers, iPhones
Men long for news.

She’s made up her mind to close her ears,
To her loyal employee who’s served 40 years.
Denies all knowledge of collusion.
No, this is his own final solution.
He takes the hint with resignation,
Then states his case to the waiting nation.
But Theresa’s reputation’s intact,
And Brodies’s statement can’t detract,
From her kitten heels and perfect bob,
Come what May; He’ll lose his job.

And he will wake soon and long for letters,
And will not hear the postman’s knock
Without a quickening of the heart,
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?

© Marilyn Brindley

Ex-borders chief Brodie Clark: I didn't go rogue
Marilyn is a retired primary school head teacher, who now has the time to indulge in the writing she's always wanted to do and read the works of other creative individuals.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Last Librarian

As the riot gear garbed shadows,
Carted, uncaring, the People's Library away,
Did they spit on pages?
Did they perhaps break spines?

I'd like to think the shielded faces,
Contorted with ripping rage,
Knelt before a poet,
Paused over a poem.

© James Schwartz

Occupy Wall Street library books stored in a N.Y. garage
Poet and slam performer, James Schwartz strives for the simplicity of Cavafy mixed with modern gay wordplay. His book, The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America, was published by in Group Press in 2011.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


It was hot in the bar but the stranger wore his sombrero.
He sat near the door and signalled the patron for two copas
and grilled armadillo for two, served on its own shell.
When he finished he polished the carapace
with his bandana.
Oh, he was perfect, except for that.

The people stayed back in the smoke and left us by the puerta,
the skin of his face shone dark as the polished wood
of the case he snapped opened to show his charango diablo—
demon eyes in the headstock flashed firestone,
the whole bar yelled ¡Toca!
and Oh! it was almost perfect then.

His fingers closed on the neck of the little charango.
With one foot on his chair, he lifted her onto his lap,
her waist on his knee and her soundbox pressed to his chest
She was made from the hollowed-out shell of an armadillo.
Oh! how the tarsal-bone frets hurt the heart!
It would have been perfect, except for that.

I said his charango was made by a a scavenger—
surely the camel of the musical-instrument world.
He bought me a copita and put down ten bolivianos,
a bargain was sealed for one night as his shadow.
He played some off-key huyaño
Oh, it was far from perfect, without a flute.

The stranger challenged the patron to a game of stud poker.
I touched the charango’s strings with one gentle finger
and she sang in the midnight voice of the armadillo,
a melody high and thin as springtime snow,
the story she told was a tragedía
the music was perfect but Oh! the lyrics were sad.

The notes of this song hid themselves like shy Andinas.
I dreamed them on a bus going west through the Anteplano,
leaving forever the snowy peaks and the condors—
better the sparrow of gringos than a snail in La Paz
or the armadillo mestizo’s dumb wife-in-waiting—
whatever happens me now will be better than that.

Last night I slept with a man who had no hair,
the muscles down his back were ridged and hard as shell
and every room in his house rang with his laughter
except for one where he kept his armadillo wife
and his four armadillo daughters—
Oh, he was perfect, except for that.

© Breda Wall Ryan

Day of the Armadillo
Breda Wall Ryan has poems in several journals and anthologies. She was shortlisted for the Mslexia Poetry Prize and Fish Poetry Prize 2010. 

Monday, 14 November 2011

White Phosphorous

(A poem dedicated to Anna Hazare)

He led a battalion of hearts
taught them to beat as one
like the rhythm of the feet
of a million soldiers marching

His smile was their shield
His hunger strike their ammunition
His patriotism their zeal
His thoughts their direction

Strange it was to see a white bird of peace
Yell blood curling calls of Vande Mataram! 1
a clarion call for every Indian to saddle up
and blow amphibian corruption to smithereens

He sowed seeds of rightful participation
that grew into trees the very next day
trees that spewed fire not shade, assault not glade
on the immoral, unethical enemy brigade

Every kilo he lost was a shrapnel
searching and destroying the foe
his bayonet of truth made injustice thin
a waning, weakening spurious din

He was a seismic intruder
who stopped time in its track
a moral gunner, a quiet runner
with only word-grenades for attack

Now he is in every schoolboy’s satchel
every old man’s dream
he is sacrifice personified
he is a lighthouse in our times grim

He is white phosphorous
to the fraudulent and corrupt
burning malpractices, scalding dishonesty
exposing a malady to its very bones.

1.       A Sanskrit phrase meaning I salute my motherland!

© Vinita Agrawal

Note : when white phosphorous hits the skin of any living creature it burns it and continues to burn it until it has burned through the body. Water will not extinguish it.

Anna Hazare slams Chavan, says fighting elections not enough
Vinita Agrawal is a freelance writer, researcher and poet from New Delhi, India and has been published many times in print and online journals.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Teaching the World to Sing

(Thousands of cluster bombs were dropped on Iraq
by American bombers during the first Gulf War

Look, children!
Shield your eyes and squint skywards,
see that steel stork, gliding, miles high,
trailing a white ribbon and quartering the sun.

Watch, as it drives the Shadow of the Cross,
shape-shifting, across our desert sands.

Hark, how silently it sheds its stache of pregnant pods,
dropping, ladder-like, down the wind,
bursting, sky-high, in flashes of gold,
like ripe dandelions hatching hundreds of hovering seeds.

            Tick, tock, what o'clock?
            Five past twelve and counting ....

Watch carefully, as they pendulum closer,
appearing, for all the world, like so many cans of Coke,
guided groundwards on parachutes of silk.

Keep well away!
At their first brush with our sweet earth,
they will burst into bloom
like flowers in the desert after spring rains,
flicker their butterfly lives and crumble into dust.

And beware!
They will latch like leaches
onto man and woman,
beast and child alike.

They will maim and blind
and scatter blood and brains
across the hungry sand.

And, mark my words!
The shadow of that stork is long,
never more may children dance across the fields,
Nor lovers stroll, hot hands entwined,
through groves of palms,
nor hurl themselves, tormented, under trees.

For, you must know,
there are some seeds that will not shoot,
but sleep for years, half-buried in the sand,
red apple-cores of death, deep-lodged in steel throats,
waving each its little parachute and screaming, neon-loud:

            DRINK ME!  I AM IT!

And waiting only for the kiss of one small hand
to spring it back to deadly life.

            We aim to teach
            the world to sing
            in perfect harmony.

© Colin Watts

Editor's note: Colin has also sent this poem to David Cameron and William Hague. It seems entirely appropriate on this, Remembrance Sunday, to consider those killed and injured by weapons that are, to a large degree, regarded intrinsically indiscriminate.

UK backs bid to overturn ban on cluster bombs
Colin Watts is author of four collections of poems. He works in Adult Learning and is not a millionaire.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

The Bend in the River

Rio Xingu, rushes, falls, timeless song,
it bends, stretches long to luscious end.
As water flows, red-tailed catfish throng,
and peacock bass strut a swim, their fins red –
so many giant fish to strain men’s rods,
a river to carry people and they’re eating
where they live, they sing, they look to their gods
and have never felt a need for weeping.
But now Bel Monte surges hard and high
to send fish and men to a certain death,
as trees will drown, and sun burn the sky,
men and their sons will have no space for breath.
As the night is night, the people belong
till the wheels of politics will kill their song.

© Lavinia Kumar

Brazil court approves building of Amazon dam
Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her family includes a variety of cultures and immigrants. Her poetry has appeared in Waterways, Thatchwork (Delaware Valley Poets), Orbis, US1 Worksheets, and more.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Do they really?

Do they really want to try Saif,
son of Muammar, at the ICC
on a list of charges
of crimes against humanity?
They say they do but when you think
a proper trial would not bode well
for NATO or the NTC
whose rebel forces caused a Hell
that saw Saif’s father, nearly seventy,
fatally buggered with a blade.
Do they really want to expose
crimes against humanity they made?
No doubt the English-educated
Saif, with a price upon his head,
will in unknown circumstances
like his father, end up dead!

© John Goss

International criminal court confirms that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has made contact


John Goss has a degree in International Studies from the University of Birmingham. He is a lyricist and playwright.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


28th October 2011

White slab on the doormat, postmark,
a familiar china blue – the forfeit
of dignity in monthly increments -
and I’m sick to my stomach, again;
And on TV – Occupy Wall Street –
as though greed were a discovery,
injustice, a shiny toy or the new Black.

I’ve been in my foxhole for three years now,
dug in behind enemy lies - terraced walls, 
the polite exterior of war - wrestling
the slick of their machinery, bare hands ink
bloodied in daily skirmishes with quick-sand      
bureaucracy – and you, with the placard,
the ironic slogan, where the f**k were you?

© Angela T Carr

Occupy protesters plan 300-mile march from NYC to Washington
Angela has been published in an anthology and literary magazines, and Commended in this year’s Patrick Kavanagh Award. She is based at the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Tears of the Devil (Are Tears Of Laughter)

The devil is in the detail

The devil is in the clouds

Hidden there for centuries

We find him grinning now.

When we least imagine him

We see his face for real

For when we stop believing

The devil reappears.

The sky fills with his laughter

Bitter to our ears

The rain is slowly turning

Into the devil’s tears.

©  Helena Nolan

Devil's face revealed in Giotto fresco in Italy
Helena's work has appeared in anthologies and literary magazines including; The Stinging Fly, The Moth, and the Spoken Ink audio website. She is this year's winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Award.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Factoring in the Youth

Step up brave youth,
The government will provide, a chance for self expression.
Proving their conservative compassion.
And you want to be paid for that?

This is a heaven sent chance,
for you to make a start.
Learning about life and working
While we pay for lunch and a bus!

This is not about the government
or any industrial friends.
This is about at-risk-youth
and getting them back to work.

We are in favour of the choices We want people to make.
It's not for factory fodder or dropping coins into a cup
This a brave and arresting,
government mandated hand up!

© Hamish Mack

National to extend youth starting out wage
Hamish is a 51 year old New Zealander, married with 2 children. He has been writing poems for about 3 years, and has had a some published. He also blogs, at Light of Passage.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Already Occupied

Had the protestors only known, they might
have gone straight to the St Paul’s Boardroom
to find the trustees in session:

Dame Helen Alexander, DBE, deputy chair
of the CBI, director of Centrica plc, senior advisor
to Bain Capital: neutral on the grounds of her wide interests.

Lord Blair of Boughton,
former Metropolitan Police Commissioner:
neutral on the grounds of having been a copper.

John Harvey, inventor, entrepreneur,
First Vice President of the St. George’s Society
of New York: neutral on the grounds of being American.

Joyce Hytner OBE, theatre director:
neutral on the grounds of enjoying the dramatic irony
of the whole glorious debacle.

Gavin Ralston leading international asset manager
at Schroder Investment Management: neutral
on the grounds of investing overseas.

Carol Sergeant CBE, ex-Chief Risk Director at Lloyds
and similar post at the FSA: neutral
on the grounds of health and safety.

John Spence OBE, Former Managing Director,
Business Banking, LloydsTSB: neutral
on the grounds of having been a banker.

Once in there, they might have overturned the tables
and driven out the money lenders, emulating
Jesus’ only recorded act of violence.

Later, the trustees might have been found,
drunk and weeping, trying to thrust a camel
through the eye of Threadneedle Street.

© Colin Watts

Let's name those who may have decided to move #occupylondon on from St Paul's
Colin Watts is author of four collections of poems. He works in Adult Learning and is not a millionaire.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sunday Review

We started the week with a real life Hallowe'en horror of child exorcisms in the Congo with Anthony Baverstock's chilling 'The Exorcism'.  Later in the week we had another dose of religion-related abuse in the powerful 'Dumbstruck' from newcomer to Poetry24 Breda Wall Ryan. As she says, as poets we howl of unspeakable deeds,/ peel the skin off our tongues, /burn new adjectives.

But meanwhile it was the children doing the abuse to poor old Mother Earth in Jeremiah Walton's 'A Mother's Children'. But it was time to kiss and make up for those who were game on Wednesday with 'Do Ken and Ryu Cuddle After Fights?' from another first-time contributor Dominic Berry.

On Friday David Bateman offered us the jolly green The Gone-Green Gangrene Obscene Bluey Green Blues but I'm not sure there's any cure - not on the NHS anyway according to Shaun Parrin with his 'Letter Home'.

There has been a welcome rush of contributions after our recent shout out - but of course we still want your poems!

Have a great week


Saturday, 5 November 2011

Letter Home

They promised the induced psychosis would pass
upon discharge but was only to be expected
like late-night night sweats
within the queuing bedlam 
tremors at that cold but very public loo
and mother-in-law bending yours.

Food is something else, as you can imagine.
At least there's no squabbling over the last morsel. 
You can pick at it and forget the diet.
Filmed I have been, a DVD to follow
£6.99 from you know who!
But I've no rights to something they call equity.
The bosses buns are rather tasty though!

I lay blame on that pin prick of a light
the "small sharp beam" onto the retina
you know, their tests.
Consenting restraint was used but to ill effect.
At least they've not lost some of their ancestry
and understand bared teeth.
Overhead lights only work half the time
what will my insurance have to say about that?

Will miss the bygone camaraderie
the austerity measure chats with the water cooler
because they've had to outsource
into a supply chain that can only deliver
tea and coffee every other thursday.
Above all, will miss the opportunity
not to sleep in solitude.  The logic of it.

Signing me out they are
next Thursday, the in between week.
I've been scenting the air of freedom
gets more defined with each days passing.
Looking forward to less of "it's all about my mother".
Will probably miss those articulate cable shows
as the laughter from some reveals
used to hurt you know down there. 
Not sure that cute doctor knows how to
tell the difference between colour let alone shape.

See you thursday... unless, of course, you see me first.

© Shaun Parrin

NHS reforms: Audit areas to be extended, Lansley says
Shaun is a non-professional award winning photographer and published writer.

Friday, 4 November 2011

The Gone-Green Gangrene Obscene Bluey Green Blues

There once was a time when I didn’t care
That when I drove my car, it polluted the air
But now I’ve invested in an ethical share
I’m a catalytic convert & I’m eco-aware
I’ve got a sticker there
Stuck square on the screen
So that everybody knows
That I’ve gone green

I’ve got the gone-green gangrene obscene bluey green blues
      (Seen whose got those green blues)
So I can ditch my rich kid image whenever I choose
      (Been there, bought those, what’s news?)
& I put on my green make-up, & I put on my green shoes
      (Well, green wellies, actually)

You Save The Whale; I’ll go one better
Gonna campaign to Make The Rain Forest Wetter
Look, I already spent eighty quid on the sweater
& I write to my MP – Well, I sent one letter
I’m a real go-getter
You’ve seen I am
I’ve got badges on my badges
Saying just how green I am

I’ve got the gone-green gangrene obscene bluey green blues
      (Seen whose got those green blues)
I exude my eco-friendliness just like a gluey green ooze
      (Seen that green slime? That’s mine)
Emerald’s my birthstone, & crème de menthe’s my booze
      (I drink two pints
      Then I recycle it)

I’m an ozone clone full of greenhouse gas
& I can’t tell my belly from a bio-mass
But at least seeming green makes me seem less crass
As I drive to the corner to recycle my glass
I’m as green as the grass
I’ve heard the call
Ten green bottles
& I banked them all

I’ve got the gone-green gangrene obscene bluey green blues
      (Seen whose got those green blues)
So keen on green that I need to be seen in the news
      (I’m so sincere, I cry green tears)
Green forever’s my endeavour, till I find some other cuter line to use
      (Been there
      Bought shares
      Done that
      Sold out)

© David Bateman

George Osborne and the Treasury attacked for hostility to green policies
David was Liverpool Poetry Slam Champion 2007, and still hasn’t got over it. His one proper book is Curse Of The Killer Hedge (Iron 1996). He also writes stories and teaches some creative writing.

Thursday, 3 November 2011


Even our languages fail us,
blasted into silence,
nouns gutted of meaning,
Lie twisted to Mental Reservation,
titles defiled: Father, Athair,
split open
the wormy antonym coiled in its core
blind eye turned
to the rot in its heart
Sanctuary violated
superlatives we counted on torn
from their roots
verbs hard-tempered in fire
spun to cloud by their mouths
We cry out for reformation
for pages of revelations nailed
to cathedral doors
in Dublin, Ferns, Cloyne
They answer with pleas
of innocence in pulpit voices
garbed like toreros in trajes de luces,
steel concealed
beneath silken embroideries.
Our strongest words fall defenceless
as Samson shorn of his hair:
we howl of unspeakable deeds,
peel the skin off our tongues,
burn new adjectives.

© Breda Wall Ryan

Church braced for wave of sex abuse allegations
Breda Wall Ryan has poems in several journals and anthologies. She was shortlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize 2010.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Do Ken and Ryu Cuddle After Fights?

for all who play ‘Street Fighter II’

Do Ken and Ryu cuddle after fights?
They must need comfort after all they face.
Believing this might get me through my nights.

Such pumped testosterone surely invites
the kind of hug some men think a disgrace.
Do Ken and Ryu cuddle after fights?

Do lovely snuggles make them high as kites?
It’s not just brawls, its nuzzles these two chase!
Believing this might get me through my nights.

Can love and anger, both felt at their heights,
give something more than guilt as heartbeats race?
Do Ken and Ryu cuddle after fights?

In my mind’s eye I see such tender sights.
Does Ryu spurt ‘HA...DOU...KEN!’ mid-embrace?
Believing this might get me through my nights.

When I’m alone, my playstation invites
me to a violent, thrilling, frightful place.
Do Ken and Ryu cuddle after fights?
Believing this might get me through my nights.

© Dominic Berry

Violent video games hold hidden benefits

Winner of Nuyorican Poetry Cafe Slam, author of 'Tomorrow, I Will Go Dancing', Dominic's Arts Council funded poetry show 'Wizard' will tour through 2012, commencing at Manchester's Contact in March.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A Mother's Children

Lanterns hung where devil decorations strung
No source of heat but wool socks
For numb feet bright red
Power lines sag as lead white perches
Trees strike roads nature is lashing back
At its child back stabs its Mother
10000 burrows struck with the absence of light
All domestic flights cancelled
Passengers, burrow dwellers, frustrated
"Unpleasant conditions" nature's backlash
In a days time
Children back to stabbing her back

©  Jeremiah Walton

3 dead, over 2 million without power as snowstorm slams Northeast, Mid-Atlantic

Jeremiah Walton has written two poetry collections, available on his website  He is 16 years old and lives in New England and also writes short stories and movie scripts.