Monday, 31 December 2012

Don't tell me her name


{For the anonymous Indian women,
whose defiled and burned bodies
form a daily news item in the media}

Don’t tell me her name.
Let me cry for her,
let me cry for me
for I am woman born.

Let me map
my plagued body
in bruises, in burns,
in the stench
of kerosene,
in the fumes
of poison,
in the agony
of a defiled soul.

Let me write my body,
drowned in milk; my body
plucked, torn asunder
from my mother’s womb,
gasping for breath;
my body, torn apart for sins
of womb and breast.

Let me write a glorious
Motherland, where
inglorious women writhe.
Do I weep for myself
for I am lost hope, beating
my weathered  bosom
in the annals of history?

Or do I write myself
as Kali incarnate
trampling a nation’s shame?

Kali – Indian goddess of destruction
     
{Acknowledging Nilanjana Roy}

©  Usha Kishore, December, 2012

Indian born Usha Kishore is an internationally published poet, resident on the Isle of Man. Her work has won prizes in UK competitions and recently shorlisted for the Erbacce Prize 2012 .  


Sunday, 30 December 2012

Sunday Review.

Melinda Rizzo's  And They Came  started off the week, here at Poetry24, with a reminder that dogs really are our best friends.
Peter Flint analysed Christmas and it's various guises in The Many Faces of Christmas while David Mellor pointed out that The World Doesn't Sparkle.
The editors sincerely hope that the readership have all had a good time over the last week. In New Zealand we had a sunny and warm Christmas Day, which was as unexpected as it was welcomed. We relaxed with our families and had some glorious food and a glass or two of fine wine. We hope you all managed to get a space for some happiness and warmth.


Friday, 28 December 2012

Annual Review

Today we put current news on hold in order to publish a Review of the Year which has been assembled by one of our most loyal and regular contributors, Antony Baverstock. Thank you, Antony. We would like to wish you and all our readers a happy and prosperous 2013.

Anthony Baverstock is from Colchester, reputed home of Humpty-Dumpty.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

The World Doesn't Sparkle


The world doesn’t  sparkle
But we do
With each passing tragedy
Our love shows through
Although they maybe millions of miles away
Or close by
We give them a tender smile
Or message to get them through

The world doesn’t sparkle
But we do
Evil wants to  find a home
But we shine through

© David Mellor

US firefighters shot dead in 'ambush' in New York state

David was born in Liverpool in 1964. He left school with nothing, rummaged around various dead end jobs, then back to college and uni. In his 20s he first discovered poetry, starting writing and performing and has done so ever since. I has lived on the Wirral for the past 8 years.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The Many Faces of Christmas


Christmas has many faces.                
First the avaricious smirk of commerce
toy shops, supermarkets, the internet,
suspicious buy one get one free bonhomie
begins months before the turning of the year.
Next, the stern features of duty,        
cards, cooking, parties, presents,
inspiration, invitation, perspiration.
Then the flickering face of friendship.
The warming worth of lasting communion.
Guilty ghosts of folk fast fading into oblivion,
the commanding countenance of conformity,
rituals of observance and obligation.
The grinning mask of Dickensian mythology,
trees and trimmings, mistletoe and mince pies,
smiling Saint Nicholas beam of benevolence,
santas, sledges, stockings.
The glowing visage of giving and caring,
the ruddy, bellowing laughter of revelry,
golden serenity of holiness and sacrifice.
All turned to immutable truth and hope
Of life's renewal and rebirth.

© Peter Flint

Abandon hope all ye who enter here: on the trail of the fabled Christmas Furby

Monday, 24 December 2012

And They Came


I’m told they’ll stay the week.
Golden Retriever ambassadors from Chicago
to the heartbroken in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

Who like the Hebrew ancient Rachael,
or the mothers in Bethlehem, Judea,
during Herod’s reign of terror,

wept a constant, wrenching stream,
and would not be consoled.
They beheld the unthinkable.

The modern slaughter of these,
Holy Innocents, more incomprehensible
with each passing day.

I read the endless stories,
blindly weep heaving tears of solidarity
for men and women I have never met.

But still, the furry cavalry comes.
Used to offering comfort to the sick,
and profoundly sad, they come.

They come offering no platitudes,
no will of God admonishments. 
They offer nothing more than now.

Their gift comes as friendly, sweeping tail.
It comes as warm flanks offered as blankets,
 and moist kisses offered as kindness, absolution.

© Melinda Rizzo 2012

Obama calls for US gun proposals


Melinda Rizzo is a freelance reporter, poet and observer of the world. She lives with her family, and a Labrador Retriever named Caleb, in rural Upper Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA.




Sunday, 23 December 2012

Sunday Review and A Very Merry Christmas

In a week when the news has been dominated by the Sandy Hook shootings and their aftermath I approach the writing of my first Sunday review with some trepidation. Like the narrative voice in Imelda Maguire's poem of yesterday, I find myself  'seeking sharp phrases' and 'clever turns' but I am, nonetheless, humbled by the dignity of those who have suffered and, at the same time, all too painfully aware that my life continues unaffected by these terrible tragedies. For the moment, at least, I am untouched, comfortable, safe and secure. This being the case, I propose to say no more. Readers of Poetry 24 this week will already know that the poetry speaks more profoundly than I could ever do here.

On Monday, in 'Old News' , Linda Cosgriff reminded us that 'Death is an itch some must scratch' on both sides of the Atlantic while, on Tuesday, Eamon Ó Cléírigh 's deeply moving 'Unheard' spoke powerfully of the shock and grief now being felt by a small and close community in Ireland. On Wednesday, we took the unusual step of publishing two poems simultaneously: Joy France's  'Cut Back Christmas' and AfricMcGlinchy's 'Death of America's Christmas'  We made this decision because we felt strongly that, despite being very different from each other, both these pieces deserved to be published. We were aware that we were 'running out of time' before 'the end of the world' and, with a wealth of strong material to hand, we decided to bend the rules.


To make matters worse, though, we had already scheduled another poem by Afric, 'Mayan Finale', for Friday so that meant we had to break another rule, this time the one about one poem per author per week.  Never mind, I am of the opinion that any set of rules should be thrown out of the window occasionally and, anyway,  I would rather break a dozen of them than disappoint a single author who has submitted a strong piece of work. Accordingly, Wynne Huddlestone's poem, 'End of the World, or a New World Age?', also appeared on Friday. Once again, we could not decide so, in the end, we published both. 


On behalf on myself and the rest of the editorial team, past and present, I would like to wish all our readers a warm and wonderful winter holiday season and peaceful and prosperous New Year. We will continue to publish, although probably less regularly, over the festive period.


Finally, in keeping with our established practice of occasionally including an obituary with the Sunday Review, here are some lines to remind us of the contribution of a man who perhaps did more than any other musician of his generation to expand the horizons of popular music in the West.


Ravi Shankar 

A sitar may have twenty three strings
Six on a guitar
Or sometimes twelve
Four Beatles
Only one Ravi Shankar

After teaching George a few secrets
People took notice
He played the sitar
Recorded it
On Within You Without You

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Was it annoying?
As you sat there
Cross legged
Waiting for some follow up

The Fab Four never played Woodstock
But you were on stage
Looking serene
Sending out
Those magical vibrations.

© David Subacchi 2012

Ravi Shankar dies, aged 92

David Subacchi’s first English language collection ‘First Cut’ was published by Cestrian Press earlier this year. 


Saturday, 22 December 2012

December, 2012

I was writing a poem
for the end of the world,
seeking sharp phrases,
clever turns.
That devastating final line
hadn’t yet been formed
when the world ended.

In Ballybofey and in Newtown, Connecticut,
in other places too, names unknown to me,
worlds ended for mothers, fathers,
sisters, brothers, cousins.
For the janitor, the bus driver,
the teacher.
For the granny, the aunt,
the man in the shop,
the dog at the gate,
the world with that child in it
came to an end.
Will not re-start.

My world keeps turning, stays on its axis.
After a brief pause, after the shocking news,
here I am.
A different poem.
A slightly different,
sadder world.
And on it turns,
this world –
wounded, wounded.

© Imelda Maguire

Imelda Maguire, Donegal, Ireland, is a poet and a counsellor, working with young people in schools in Northern Ireland.










Friday, 21 December 2012

Mayan finale and End of the World, or a New World Age


Mayan Finale

The new gods re-line the stars,
boomerang clouds to blanket
over all the ancient myths,
hammering each with iron nails. 

A Niburu parachute snags
on one, letting its ragged cloth
sink colour into sky’s pavement
until the Milky Way is bruised to purple.

And now a humming starts; then god-bees
buzz, turn to screaming rockets,
as they discover the magnetic breath
of death across the world:

electric blankets, laptops,
mobiles piled in too-late pyres
offered to a solar flare equivalent
of a hundred billion atom bombs
  
and all the runaway leaves,
a squared-off sun, midges darting
in sprays of reckless spittle;
mountains topped with seers

and mass suicides, mosaics
of blood across cracked cheeks,
while thirteen crows line up along
a cemetery wall, and watch
the ticking clock.

 ©Afric McGlinchey
A Hennessy Poetry winner and Pushcart nominee, Afric McGlinchey’s début collection, The lucky star of hidden things,  was published in 2012 by Salmon.  Afric lives in West Cork. www.africmcglinchey.com


End of the World, or a New World Age

People everywhere are scurrying in fear
as the date draws near to 12/21/2012—the end
of the Mayans’ calendar; the stage set for doom:
World War, Apocalypse, Enlightenment, or peace
and a New World Age. Some Christians, too,
believe, perhaps, Revelations is coming to pass;
after all, the perfect number in the Bible is 12—

the Trinity multiplied by the four earthly elements
of water, air, earth and fire; there were 12 Disciples,
12 seals, and 12 heavenly gates (star gates?)
named for 12 tribes, guarded by 12 angels. Media
heightens the hysteria with themes of Armageddon,
Apocalyptic horrors, and theories of ancient
aliens. All cultures, religions and nations seem
to be drawing together, for once, in the belief
that the end of the age is upon us… but how

will it end? Will a sun flare set the world on fire,
or will a comet or Hubris knock Earth off its axis?
Will magnetic poles shift; will our last days
be spent in darkness? Will we blow up
the world with the H-bomb we designed to protect
ourselves? Will Jesus, Osiris-Dionysus, Vishnu, Ra,
and Buddha sit and argue about which one should

save us? Or will they just watch in judgment
as the world shrinks into a hot core, covering
us in gas and ash, burning us alive; or while
the world is beaten into bits like wadded up foil,
trash floating away to join other space

debris? Can humanity survive? Will a chosen few
hunker down in a secret government bunker
hidden deep in a mountainside to live for years
without sun, then emerge to plant seeds
in the frozen ark and begin civilization
again? Or is this just another hoax,
the gods’ secret joke—Look at these fools
expecting us to save them
from their imagination.

©Wynne Huddlestone

'End of the world' hysteria boosts tourism

Wynne's poetry can be read in nearly 40 publications. She is the winner of the 2010 Lifepress Grandmother Earth Environmental Poetry Contest.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Cut back Christmas and Death of America's Christmas

Cut Back Christmas

Cut Back Christmas is totally crap,
I’ve hardly got any gifts to wrap
I’m using newspaper string and scissors.
Christmas dinner is turkey twizzlers.
After, we might all share a mince pie
With some Vimto instead of fine wine.
I’ve got Pound Shop crackers that won’t crack,
No hats or toys, just jokes that fall flat.
It’s austerity round at my house
Cos I’m as poor as the old church mouse.
Our scraggly tree is a disgrace.
The fairy’s frayed and won’t be replaced.
Instead of stockings on the chimney breast
We’ve carrier bags - Netto’s finest!
The twelve days of Christmas are now ten.
Gone are the pipers and the French hens!
School nativities just aren’t the same.
The financial crisis is to blame.
Bethlehem’s all gloom and depression.
There’s room at the inn – blame the recession.
The three wise men travel from far and near
Bearing  Golden Virginia, frankfurters and beer
Poor Santa - is in a sorry state!
He’s so broke he’s not eaten of late.
Kids run away when he comes around
Since last week when his trousers fell down.
His “Ho Ho Ho” is cut back as well.
He still walks round town ringing his bell
He gets strange looks wherever he goes.
Cos of the cut backs he just shouts “Ho.”
He and his wife do the work themselves
Since they had to lay off all the elves.
Guess what has happened to the poor reindeer?
The venison pie was yum I hear!

So I’ll shut up now – I’ve had my moan
Some folk will spend Christmas all alone,
I’ll feast on love of family and friends.
It’s not what you’ve got or what you spend
But who you’re with that counts in the end.

© Joy France

Families spend £483 a week just to buy essentials

Shoppers touched by a bit of the Scrooge this Christmas

Joy writes poems and scripts and generally enjoys "mucking about with words". Although she has been published, she is mostly known for her presence on the performance scene in the North West area and for her work with young people.


Death of America's Christmas
A corridor of paintings, spattered
red; a teacher crams kids into cupboards,
tells them she loves them,
the way a mother would,
and silence will mean survival.

Children form a slow crocodile,  emerge
from the building. A brother watches
for his sister from the gate, doesn’t see her,
then finally he does, and the hug is the longest
and closest they’ve ever shared.

These are their presents this Christmas;
the lights  taken down, one by one, in a town
that is stunned into silence. Later will come
the questions, investigations, psychiatrists, debates –
for now it’s a nation in mourning.

Under the tree, no presents piling,
just fears, and rows of white boxes,
instead of lights or snow’s quilt
covering all that is dark
and spoiled in our world.

© Afric McGlinchey


A Hennessy Poetry winner and Pushcart nominee, Afric McGlinchey’s début collection, The lucky star of hidden things,  was published in 2012 by Salmon.  Afric lives in West Cork. www.africmcglinchey.com




Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Unheard

Even the darkest corner holds attraction
to those searching for silence,
a sanctuary from rushed thoughts;
suggestions that overwhelm,
lay a burden on the heart.

Secret pain seeks unseen solitude,
where shadows protect against our mundane.
That silent scream, a place beyond contact,
haunts nights where sleep remains beneath guilt.

Your light lies out of reach - one more step,
just one – once grasped there is no return,
your peace will come and we will fade
into the barbs of past.

Our cries will go unheard.

© Eamon Ó Cléírigh

Sisters in death

Eamon, from Dublin, is living in Sligo since 2003. Writing is his passion, along with life. His poems and short stories can be seen on several online journals.



Monday, 17 December 2012

Old News


Tragedy blossoms. Eyes glaze. Ears close.
Another school shooting 
in another small American town.

Death is an itch that some must scratch
with guns or knives or bombs.
With loathing - for classmates, parents, Mondays, self.

In Britain, we sigh,
remembering Hungerford, Cumbria, Dunblane.

© Linda Cosgriff 2012



Bio: Linda Cosgriff is an Open University graduate. Her poems have been published in ezines, magazines, various collections, and as art. Read Linda’s humorous take on life here

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Sunday Review


The week began with Joy France reminding us of the 32 years since the death of John Lennon with her very creative poem Sign of the Times. What was clever about this poem was that you read it from the bottom to the top like a ladder. A very mystifying piece reminiscent of Lennon's way of thinking.

Barry Woods' Urban Android was about the increasing Orwellian society we are living in. The news story pointed out certain stores were using hidden cameras in mannequins. Woods tells us in an almost prophetic tone that 'Soon even our dreams will be hard-wired directly to a command centre.'

On Wednesday we had Noel Loftus' I Think I Was Nine. This was a powerful poem and had us here at Poetry24 in certain discussions regarding the style of the piece. It's written in the voice of a nine year old so certain errors were on purpose and the animal imagery was shocking and powerful and highlighted the topic of terminal illness and euthanasia in such a different way.

We moved away from the seriousness for a while and used A Christmas Verse by Thomas Martin on Thursday. This was about the predicted white Christmas we're supposed to get over December and January.

On the same topic of Christmas and Winter we next had It Is A Winter's Tale by David Mellor. Here we were reminded that although it is a season of joy and cheer, there is also rising energy bills due to inflation which will affect households all over the country. A quick turn to the reality of the monetary side of Winter.

Like we began with an obituary, we ended the week with an obituary. This one was David Subbachi's Stargazer which told us about Sir Patrick Moore who died at the age of 89.

At the end of the week there was the tragic shooting at a primary school in Conneticut, USA. It was a terrible news story and we received some poems dedicated to it. First is Children Playing: Gone by David Mellor.

Children Playing: Gone

shoot them down over Iraq
let’s forget we are taking them down here
killing more children in our streets
defending ourselves
with children’s blood
let’s tell others be in control
when gun laws let anyone take out who they wish
defend democracy
carry little children
in our arms dead at school
but let’s remember you
tell us the rules

© David Mellor


Born in Liverpool in 1964, David rummaged around various dead end jobs, then back to college and uni. He first discovered poetry in his 20s, starting writing and performing and has done so ever since.



And secondly we have, respectively, Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre by Linda Cosgriff.

Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre

28 dead, 20 under ten
A mother and other loved ones
Presidents weep
On days like this I wish I was a dog
a bird a sheep a cow a fly an ant a deer

I wish I didn't know how evil men can be

©Linda Cosgriff


Linda Cosgriff is an Open University graduate. Her poems have been published in ezines, magazines, various collections, and as art. http://thelaughinghousewife.wordpress.com

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Stargazer


In the black and white TV days
He seemed a jolly kind of toff
But that’s what scientists were like
It went with the territory
The monocle was impressive
Especially when it fell out

School taught me to name the planets
The difference between sun and moon
And that Earth revolves on its axis
But that’s all I can remember
He was much more informative
Maybe this could be exciting

Even dad looked interested
His hand raised to command silence
When the great man’s head appeared
Speaking of meteors and stars
As we sat by the coal fire
Imagining a comet’s heat

Later despite the cold bedroom
I would leave the curtains open
Trying hard to read the night sky
But lost without my expert guide
Until slumber overcame me
And the heavens faded away.

© David Subacchi.2012


David Subacchi’s first English language collection ‘First Cut’ was published by Cestrian Press earlier this year. 

Friday, 14 December 2012

It is a winter's tale


It’s a cold night
Making this debt ridden country
Even more difficult to bear
grit is rationed
The street lamps turned off at night

And It’s a cold night….

Making this even more difficult to bear
The elderly turn down e-ons of expensive gas
Workers wake up to see that their wages didn’t last

And somewhere someone is not thinking of any of this….
The luxury Harrods candles bought and boxed off
Windows left open as the heating is put on full throttle
The bonuses on failed enterprises keep them secure and warm

But out of my window it’s a cold night
And I really think someone might not make it through this night

But I doubt it’s you…

© David R Mellor 2012

Energy bill rises to outpace inflation


Born in Liverpool in 1964, David rummaged around various dead end jobs , then back to college and uni  . In my 20’s first discovered poetry , starting writing and performing and have done so ever since . David on Facebook and YouTube



Thursday, 13 December 2012

A Christmas Verse


It’s here again, this time of year
So here’s a verse
To wish good cheer
To those who know
and those who pray
and to those who don’t...
No matter what they say.

© Thomas Martin

White Christmas on the cards?

Thomas Martin lives in Dublin. His prose works have been featured in Piranha, Figments, The Evening Press and The Weary Blues. He is currently working on his first verse collection.



Wednesday, 12 December 2012

I Think I Was Nine

I think I was nine and a bit but not ten
‘cos the hay was down when the vet came
to the barn that smelt of bleach
that inside would soon be limed again
my calf was not sucking and the harm of the year
and his ribs were actually in real life outside his belly
and I felt between my thumb and fingers
the curl on his head and I smelt his coat
and heard the adults shouting
and the vet said a word I never heard before
and he smelled porter or sweat or maybe smoke
and he shouted into the Cortina boot

bastard leaves me a gun but no cartridge
I was nudged towards the door but sneaked back inside
so soon I would understand
the laughing demand for a substitute
the grunt and the spit as he stood over
my calf and brought down the pickaxe so fast
on his curl and the blow was just excellent
for my calf had slept all morning
only his nose twitched now

soft whores like ye would lave him suffer
I heard the sound of the axe again in my ears which
made me bite my cheek to make it go away so hard that I
tasted blood and wet one welly but no one saw
and ran up to the fort on the hill
licked the rain on my lip
and heard my uncle say very loud to the vet

you’ll not get paid for that
and looked down as the car drove off
and looked down as two tall men dragged
two shovels and my calf across the yard towards the small field
(where there was no river to poison
and which wasn’t suited to turnips
and hadn’t many stones that would slow the job
‘cos we had picked them summers before
only a place for dead animals)
and begin to dig
so I took off my wet sock and squeezed it hard
and hid it in my pocket
and after that I was dizzy and spitted only a tiny sick


© Noel Loftus

Terminally ill woman tells High Court she wants to die with dignity


Noel Loftus is a member of ward9writers based in Mayo and enjoys very short bursts of inspiration tempered by long periods of work.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Urban Android


We commute under Wi-Fi clouds,
walk circuit board pavements
to our jobs
in cities that spy every corner.

Cameras zoom in,
can read print on our morning newspapers
from space. They know what we ate
for breakfast.

Minutes scroll down information feeds,
every word is saved, every mistake logged
for future reference.

And our blood vessels are fibre optic,
hearts pump with text.

Human essence is downloaded
to online prisons, soon even our dreams
will be hard-wired

directly to a command centre.

©  Barry Woods

They see you: Stores using mannequins with hidden cameras 

Barry Woods studied creative writing with the Writers Bureau, Manchester. Appin Press published his first collection, Hidden Picture, in 2010.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Sign of the Times

NB: read from the bottom up!

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa“Yes”

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaSaying

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaGiving peace a chance

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaA twinkling star

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaRemember and imagine

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaSo we follow in his footsteps

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaWhen danger waits on the sidewalk.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaLove isn’t all you need

 

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaOh No, Ono

“DO NOT CLIMB. PLEASE REFER TO HSE DOCUMENT 455 – SAFE USE OF LADDERS IN THE WORKPLACE “        

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaYou’d have seen a sign ...

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaTo find meaning,

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaTo the paper scrap

aaaaaaaaaaaaTo the dangling magnifying glass

aaaaaaUp the ladder to the top,

aaaaIf you tried to follow his steps




© Joy France

John Lennon remembered at Hollywood Star for anniversary of death

Yoko Ono: To the Light, Serpentine Gallery - review
Among a cluster of mid-Sixties conceptual sculptures is Ceiling Painting (1966), a ladder which leads to a framed sheet of paper on the ceiling, with a dangling magnifying glass, allowing you to read the word “yes”, typed in tiny letters on the paper. Alas, health and safety forbids us from doing so here.

Joy is active in the North West performance poetry scene. On January 1st 2011 my New Year's resolution was to send off some of my "page poems" to various places, It has taken me til December 2012 to get around to it!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sunday Review - and New Editors! #2

It hasn't been the most cheerful week in the world and the poems this week really reflect that, which is the whole point of Poetry24 and we shouldn't gloss over things.
These are all strong poems about confronting issues and, whilst they are not always "nice" to read, the skills and passion on display are very heartening.
Wind Up; Dead  by David Mellor puts one of the saddest incidents of the week into perspective. Since posting the poem, we have added David's YouTube video of the poem - worth a revisit!
Two Fingers of Champagne  by Kizmi Touche and Waste of Time  by Samantha Seto address disillusionment with society in general whilst Washing by Pat Jourdan relates a singular story that resonates all over the world.
David Subacchi's Climber (Patrick Edlinger 1960-2012) is an elegy to a mountaineer who had his own troubles in his life and we started off with Waitress Whore by Rebecca Audra Smith which looks at how women who work can be stereotyped by others.

 I am very pleased to introduce two more editors for the site. Michael Holloway - who some of you will already have had contact with this week - and Martin Bartels who will hopefully be joining us soon.

Michael Holloway
I'm the youngest of the new editors, 27 years old, and I'm from Liverpool, UK. I've been writing for about twelve years. I studied English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Central Lancashire and graduated in 2008 and I graduated with an MA Writing from Liverpool John Moores University earlier this year. I work in retail at the moment and I have been working there for the past four years where I've met some good friends and had a lot of ideas for writing. I write short fiction, poetry and I'm also working on a number of novels. I won first place in the Merseyside & Cheshire Writing Competition 2011. I've contributed to Poetry24 for about a year and I like how relevant and immediate the writing is and I look forward to being one of the editors.
Mike blogs at The Hyper Karma

Martin A. Bartels
Hello, friends! I live in the U.S. near Washington, DC, which I firmly believe despite evidence to the contrary is not the center of the universe. I have written poetry and prose, and produced various kinds of art, most of my life. I only became serious about a career as a creative professional recently--probably a midlife crisis! Clare and Martin gave me a great boost in that direction when they published my poem, "Landing", which was penned around midnight, submitted and published by 9 a.m. I was flattered beyond belief when Clare and Martin agreed to include me among the poet/editors of Poetry 24. It is a challenge to write truly relevant and news-inspired poetry, and I am convinced that Poetry 24 is an important forum with a bright future.
Martin's blog is Difficult River

We're still getting our heads around the fast-paced world of topical poetry, so thanks for your patience and keep your submissions coming!

Hamish Mack

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Wind-Up; Dead



I bet you came down on her
Like a ton of bricks
Sent her off site
Rubbed her nose in the shit.

No way out nowhere to run
The paparazzi at her door
Her grip on herself gone

Because a couple of DJs
Wanted a laugh
Their words would see her gone
Permanently off air.

©  David Mellor


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20645838


Born in Liverpool in 1964, David rummaged around various dead end jobs , then back to college and uni  . In my 20’s first discovered poetry , starting writing and performing and have done so ever since . David on Facebook and YouTube




Friday, 7 December 2012

Two Fingers of Champagne

(honestly)
there is nothing political in this poem
as we are all in this together
so

I am happy to settle on the wealthiest enjoying
one hundred thousand pounds a year tax cut
while the nurse

made redundant
has her welfare 
cut.



For me the spark of inspiration can come from anywhere at any hour - from people watching to the things I hear and read even in the middle of the night (events must mull in my subconscious before outpouring).

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Waste of Time


Pure high school drama at its worst.
Immature school girls whine, argue, and bitch.
“I don’t care” vibes dwell in my headaches.

Taylor Swift, Adele, Ellie Goulding pop era.
Clique time, social status, most racist in history.
Stop trying to make YOLO fetch -
it’s never going to happen.

At school we learn everything
needed to be successful at breathing.
Teachers are so insightful, almost genius.
Feeling that I belong, never listen to the past.
At least they give us a clean environment.

Indie style clothes only,
Hollywood breathes cigarettes,
fashion trends of the old ages.

The apocalypse is coming soon,
I can feel in the heat of debate,
we never realize the best times,
the level of the absurd world.


© Samantha Seto

English 'YOLO' voted top German youth word
What is YOLO? Only teenagers know for sure


Samantha Seto is a writer. She has been published in various anthologies including Ceremony, Soul Fountain, Carcinogenic Poetry, and Black Magnolias Journal. She is a third prize poetry winner of the Whispering Prairie Press contest. (@samantha36seto)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Washing


She sent her sons out every day -
easier than trying to stop them.
She washed the dirt and bloodstains out
whenever the water was let through.
Marooned indoors,
each hour punctured with
flares and shockwaves,
her blood-pressure rocketed
with each crash and tremor.
And then, the stuttering television
spurting into life,
across the world, that green spreading.
"We know. We were always here
and now you are here too."
Tomorrow's bloodstains will wash out,
bandages will be discarded
and the sky shocked to stillness.



© Pat Jourdan

www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/11/30/map-how-the-world-voted-on-palestine.html

Pat Jourdan has five collections of poetry, two short story collections and two novels. Her latest novel is 'A Small Inheritance.' Her website is: patjourdan.co.uk and her blog: patjourdan.wordpress.com

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Climber (Patrick Edlinger 1960-2012)

In days when only money mattered
They say you lived in a camper van
On a diet of water and sandwiches
When yuppies across the world
Played with stocks and shares
You slid over rocks like a graceful lizard
Hanging high above, gripping tightly
With only two or three fingers

You conquered each peak
With the body of a ballet dancer
And the golden hair of an ancient god
Illuminated by admiring shafts of sunlight
Swarming up limestone crags
With no rope and sometimes no shoes
“When I do this I feel an inner peace”
You told a spellbound admirer

One terrible fall ended it
And although your life was spared
It was never the same
Depression and alcoholism
Replacing the rocky dangers
The toughest challenges yet
But you fought to overcome them
Like those impossible solo climbs

Now at fifty two you are gone
Somewhere in the French Alps
Your handsome sinewy limbs
Displayed once again
Across the obituary columns
Of Sunday newspapers
Taken above far beyond our gaze
To continue the greatest ascent of all
Into eternity.

© David Subacchi

Climber, Patrick Edlinger dies

David Subacchi’s first English language collection ‘First Cut’ was published by Cestrian Press earlier this year. 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Waitress Whore

It is quick and easy
the food I serve, it satisfies
the itch you get for grease.

Two six ounce burgers large as bazookas.
Gherkins denting the mayo,
their pert circles.

Beef tomatoes that cover your palm,
even the hand of a man like you
would struggle to contain it.

Squash between bread and meat
and take it in your mouth.
A trickle of mayo and burger juice runs

from your lip’s corners.
Dirty boy, look at you stuffing your face.
Purge your veins of their water with Fosters,

admire the hair on your body,
blow dry it and accuse me of vanity
of screwing my smile on with lip stick.

I watch from my fleshy tent,
so contained and quiet, dog
with a bone in the corner

gnawing at you. Gnawing.

© Rebecca Audra Smith

Saudi cleric under fire for labelling waitresses as ‘prostitutes’

Rebecca Audra Smith is completing a Creative Writing Masters, MMU. She writes scripts, poetry and prose. You can see her work at www.beccaaudra.wordpress.com. She is part of Stirred collective: www.mostlynocturnalscribbler.wordpress.com

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Sunday Review, and.... the New Editors!

Many thanks to the poets who have kept the submissions coming in during Poetry24's time of transition - of which exciting news in a moment.

Not that it's been a very cheery week: do we find it comforting or depressing to dwell on the suffering of others? Either way, there's plenty of it around at all ages from Amy Barry's bleak pieta of A Boy’s Life in Gaza to  David Subacchi's no-frills old soldiers in No Country For Old Men. Also disappointed this week were Noel Loftus, whose thoughts on fractured Ireland churned like his washing machine in Fell fast asleep at noon and Abigail Wyatt's nostalgic England, My England. "I did have the world on / a paper plate; / the family silver still belonged to you."

Where will it all end? Afric McGlinchey saw a bigger picture in Existential risk: while we muse on distant planets and ancient gods, the machines might just cull 'the human herd'. Not so, says James Gordon, who sees us more as the saviours, the benefactors, who can save our Threatened heritage if we choose to do so.

Talking of saving a threatened heritage, I am delighted to say that Poetry24, on the brink of being culled, has been taken on by enthusiastic new editors, all of whom have had poems published here. Here are a few words from two of them:

Abigail Wyatt 
Hello, I am Abi. I was born in Essex but I am now based in Redruth in Cornwall. For many years, I was Head of English and the Expressive Arts at Redruth School but, in 2004, I retired from teaching following a period of illness. Since 2007, I have spent as much time as possible developing my own writing, mainly poetry and short fiction. I have been a regular contributor here at Poetry24 for about a year and I am looking forward to the challenge of becoming part of the editorial team
Abi's blog is abigailelizabethwyatt.wordpress.com

Hamish Mack
I am Hamish Mack, aged 50 mumble and living in new Zealand, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Lord of the Rings industry.
I have been writing poems for about 3 years after being eased into it by an internet friend. I have found poetry to be a great help in dealing with sudden onset unemployment and the immediacy of Poetry 24 had me hooked from the first time that I visited it. Clare and Martin surprised the hell out of me by accepting some of my poems and I will always be grateful to them. This is part of the reason that I have volunteered for this position. That and the key to the Editors Liquor Cabinet, which has not arrived yet...
I will do my best for this site and for the poets that frequent it. This is a very important time time for poets to be speaking the truth to power. Keep  it up, folks.
Hamish blogs at Light of Passage.

The other two poets who have volunteered for the editorial team - Martin Bartels and Michael Holloway - will introduce themselves next week.

I'm thrilled that Poetry24 will have this new injection of energy and I hope all you poets and subscribers will give the new team all the support you can - with plenty of quality submissions and by spreading the word. I'll probably be still hovering in the background, too, like an anxious mum at the school gates when the bell goes...

Have a great week

Clare (and the new team)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Threatened heritage

An ancient oak crooked countless gnarled quivering fingers,
beckoned to a child to explore the wildwood.

Inquisitive, the child proffered a few tentative steps, was awestruck
by a pedunculate oak's huge gaping hollowed mouth screaming age;
maybe it sang songs of joy,
or ululated howls of grief for owlets
having fledged or perished there,
its fallen leaves, tears shed.

Empathy with avian misfortune was overtaken by admiration
for this mighty symbol of England,
an affection born of a child's curiosity,
his love of Nature's gifts,
his respect for its occasional brutality.

He has seen those gifts of elm, oak and ash,
some of our Nation's most stalwart sentinels
stand steadfast against gale
and the blight of disease and decay,
has observed the transient seasons defined
by landscape's changing face,
bare and stern in Winter, become Summer's smile in May;
but this smile, no longer a child's, grimaces,
for our trees, Nature's treasures and our National heritage
face the grimmest of fates.

I, who was that child welcomed to the wildwood,
whom Nature beguiled,
who railed against Man's intrusiveness,
see Man, now, as the saviour, the benefactor
who can save our trees under assault from Nature itself,
from deadlier weapons, fungal infections,
that if left untreated,
portend a sadder fate,
though too late,
much too late
for our stately elms
and scattered ash.

©  James Gordon

Now oaks at risk: The symbol of England is hit by two killer diseases

I have been writing poetry most of my life. I have always been interested in Nature and many of my poems reflect this as well as my art.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Existential risk

The Greek and Roman gods have run out on us
leaving Makemake of the birdman cult,
only slightly dimmer than its sibling, Pluto,
and lacking – so far – in atmosphere.

Will our focus on things distant
miss the looming Pandora’s box
of  artificial intelligence?

Its very white ice is methane-filled
but at this greatest distance from the sun,
so far, it’s still frozen;

while behind telescopes, robots are escaping our control
pressing buttons, writing programmes,
deciding who lives and dies on the battlefield.

Perhaps Makemake, god of fertility
will shift axis, organics, seed the dark terrain,
create birdmen in the outer solar system,

while on earth, all that will remain
of the culled human herd, carved petroglyphs,
buried beneath bones and monuments.


© Afric McGlinchey

Distant Dwarf Planet Secrets Revealed

A Hennessy Poetry winner and Pushcart nominee, Afric McGlinchey’s début collection, The lucky star of hidden things,  was published in 2012 by Salmon.  Afric lives in West Cork. www.africmcglinchey.com

Thursday, 29 November 2012

England, My England

Grew up a child of the Welfare State,
got my free school milk
and had plenty to eat;
had the doctor come calling
with his black bag and hat;
had him sit by my bed
and thought nothing of that.

Didn't know back then
just how far we had come
since they handed out votes
in exchange for our guns;
didn't know how my grandma
blacked grates and scrubbed floors,
with half a day off one Sunday in four;
or how my old grandad,
a boy of fourteen,
survived the Great War
to be packed off again
to fight for his country,
to keep Britain free;
or how, in the end,
he was fighting for me.

I never suspected
when I went to school
how lucky I was
to be going at all;
or how much depended
on me being bright.
'Just do your best,'
was what they said,
'and everything will turn out - alright'.
But, on the day,
I knew they'd lied
and I was sick with fright.

Grew up a child of the Welfare State;
have to admit that it's true:
I did have the world on
a paper plate;
the family silver still belonged to you.
I had my eye-sight tested, yes;
and my teeth were drilled and filled;
the nit-nurse came to check my hair,
and not one drop of my blood was spilled.

I didn't scrub; I didn't fight;
and it's true I didn't die;
but I did take and cherish
the dreams they dreamed,
believing I understood why -
why  they scrubbed and scraped and bowed,
and why they fought, and why they died;
but now they are dead and so are their dreams.
Someone somewhere lied.

© Abigail Wyatt

Beveridge report: From 'deserving poor' to 'scroungers'?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Fell fast asleep at noon

Now there is a melancholy,
now there is a chill,
now some addled trip reveals
teacher took our babies years,
returned a wasted task.

So many preying letters writ, and sweet,
and more to come.
Was with some kind of geisha girl.
Couch is not so soft and.
someone stole our wallets.

Redressed the chosen few.
Washing cycles to its end,
wakes us to hang out.
This silence is resounding, pounding.
Grab the tumbling can but find

last drop flat and tastes old sweat.
Fridge looms into view.
Forehead rests on freezing things.
Hello mister always can,
and mister never could.

And age made work superfluous.
Now what a useless word.
A curious collision scythed
through a humbled mind,
saw a cruet in the thin hands of a boy. 

his house is creaking cold and old and
floorboards smell and creak.
Oil has work to do.
Teacher took our babies years
and um de dum de dee.

Three pm on Monday, they have will to run
and run and  bless them on their way.
And we would do that too if we had will.
Hid. Safe. Spouse has life beyond us,
is soothing mental friend

whose partner, they said, leaped (hunting sanity once craved).
He licked his cracking lips.
She checked his pulse and hips.
Cat has fireside bed,
puss puss.

Decades slipped away when asses
bray was eight miles loud
a cross two thousand years.
Teacher took our children,
left back a mighty task.

A mirror in the hallway
is the  stranger who resides here.
Hello mister always can,
and mister never could.
How are you our brother, sister, how are you, yourself.

Washing cycles to its end.
This silence is  resounding, pounding.
Could we begin again.

© Noel Loftus


Brian Cowen’s former running mate avoids jail for stealing €18,000

Author's note:  'This is a ... rant at the increasing disconnect in Irish society.'

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

No Country For Old Men

This man won medals for bravery
Served in a world war
Mourned for his dead comrades but never
Complained about it
Came home, collected his demob suit
Walked away whistling
Determined to make the best of it

This other man lost a limb, didn’t care
That you would notice
Completed his education then
Went on to hack it
Never asked for sympathy or help
Didn’t get any
Didn’t expect to, bore no grudges

And this man succeeded in business
Raised a family
Never dwelling on what happened
Then in the home
He sat waiting for his turn to come
Wondering only why
He had been chosen to live so long.


© David Subacchi

 No country for old men

Monday, 26 November 2012

A Boy’s Life in Gaza

My life is not supposed to be like this.
The air strike
lights up the night sky as bright as day.

Mother puts my head in her lap,
I feel her stroking my hair.
Pain rises in waves,
crashing into me.
My eyes, unable to focus,
my hearing capable only
of taking rhythm and cadence.
Slowly words begin to take
on discrete sounds,
then come meaning
and comprehension.
Mother tells me
I will be saved.

When a person dies, the people cry.
I can see mother crying.
Dream fragments
float past behind my eyes.
Life hasn’t been fair to me.

© Amy Barry

Israeli aircraft strike crowded Gaza areas, civilian death toll climbs 

Amy Barry has worked in the media industry as a Public Relations officer. Her poems have been published in Ireland and abroad. She lives in Athlone, Ireland.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sunday Supplement

It's been quite a week here at the mythical Poetry24 Towers. We have had many extraordinary, and heart-warming responses to last Sunday's announcement that we finish next month unless new editors take it up. Thanks once again for all your kind comments. We are exploring a couple of promising offers and should have news soon of developments.

We also received a poem from Anthony Baverstock - "...it will probably be the worst poem (well... ‘pseudo-poem’) ever seen on the site!" - he promises. We have published it below for your delectation, along with his excuses explanation.

But first, a quick review of this week's poems: As Poetry24 reached a turning point of its own, John Saunders reminded us in his jaunty The Bend in the Road to 'watch out for the hedgehog, rabbit and toad.' Something to bear in mind, especially when Kay Weeks suggests Eating Invasives for Thanksgiving dinner.

Care, and the lack of it, has been a theme running through the week, too, from Maureen Weldon's beautifully spare Where from? on failures in the treatment of schizophrenics to David Mellor's No 53 which questions how sympathetic we actually are when political decisions affect our neighbours. Two poems about Savita - Amy Barry's All for Nothing and Niamh Hill's The Other Side highlighted both sides of an emotive debate with a pair of powerful and very human poems relating to an Indian woman's death in Northern Ireland after being refused an abortion.

Meanwhile, a young man planning to cross the Atlantic with the aid of toy balloons inspired UP-- UP and Away! from the mysterious Pippa Sherman. Let's hope we don't vanish off into the sunset on a raft of hot air - please keep your poems coming during this time of transition... reports of our death (below) may be a little premature.

All the best, Clare


in memoriam, Poetry 24(with apologies to E. J. Thribb, aged 17½)

So. Farewell
Then
Poetry 24.

‘Where News is the Muse’ –
That was your slogan.
And we were a-
Mused.
Though sometimes be-
Mused.
Like when you didn’t publish my excellent
Limerick
About a sheep.
And by some of the clever poems.

Now you are the news.
Ironic, that.
I hope they have chip shops in cyber-heaven.
Time to call it a wrap.

© Anthony Baverstock

Author's note: 
Regular readers of the satirical magazine Private Eye at all will immediately recognize this as a eulogy in the style of E. J. Thribb (17½), as did the anonymous commenter who was inspired to write her/ his own Thribb-style lines.

In case you’re not a Private Eye reader, E. J. Thribb’s eulogies by-and-large have the following pattern:
1) A formulaic opening: ‘So. Farewell Then XXXX’.
2) The deceased person’s catchphrase + a line like ‘That was your catchphrase’.
3) Some biographical trivia.
4) A closing remark on the person’s passing which contains a pun (sometimes drawing on a word in the catchphrase).

Thribb also has a penchant for capitalising the first letter of every line and writes in ‘free verse’ of no discernible merit.

E. J. Thribb’s ‘form’ is, of course, intentionally appalling, and it is from this that its humour in part extends.