Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Hillsborough

they refuse to be buried
or mourned into the past
they walk among us
in the eyes of their families
demanding Justice

those innocent fans
interred with lies
the time codes of death
changed to suit
a version of events

while those with a duty to care
and who didn't care
about anything
but protecting themselves
live on

©  Jim Bennett

PC Debra Martin 'coerced to change Hillsborough notes'
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Author of 67 books and proprietor of Poetry Kit, Jim tours throughout the year giving reading and performances of his poetry and songs.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

State-Rape

State-rape finally aroused me,
reminded me of Hitler’s surprise
when no one would buy the Jews of Hungary
he offered for sale to pay for armies.
North Carolina, Oklahoma, now Virginia
(and seven others) misread The Handmaid’s Tale.
Dystopia is not a model.
Remember Medea’s anger?
Going postal is a postage stamp.

©  L.S. Bassen

Governor of Virginia Shifts Position on Abortion Bill
-----------------------------------------------------------------
L.S. Bassen won the 2009 APP Drama Prize & a Mary Roberts Rinehart Fellowship; 2011; She is a Book Reviewer for  brooklyner.org, the rumpus.net, and press1, and has been a finalist for Flannery O’Connor Award.

Monday, 27 February 2012

No Longer Crying Inside

Each time men direct killings, we say Never Again
but those who are not dead must continue the fight
because they know they must try again and again

against the hell of doctors trained to inflict pain
to revel in blood squeezed out by official might
over men whose agony cries Never Again.

But the doctors help torture men with broken legs,
hit them with trays, flaunt power and surgical knife,
and with eyes open they hit again and again.

They have whips, rubber straps, electrical wire
lined up in the hospital basement under Klieg lights
where men learn the feeling of Never Again.

But the doctors watch electric shocks on sick men,
pour stuff up their noses, make sure they stay alive
for torture to continue again and again.

This Never Again of the world and its grand might
watches video of kills on TV each night
of Assad ordered murders, oh Never Again
we know it is happening again and again.

©  Lavinia Kumar

Homs, city of torture
-------------------------
Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her poetry has appeared in several publications, in the US and UK.  She writes a blog for her brother’s seniorsmagazine.org, based in Portsmouth, NH.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sunday Review

When Tesco, the retail giant, dropped a 'job for benefits' advertisement from the Jobseeker's Plus website, Aaron Murdoch was quick to pen Workfare Makes You Free. The poem serves as a reminder of some dark examples of exploitation, in our past history. And the idea of social equality also becomes strained in the light of Michael Gove's remark, that the Equality Act doesn't extend to the school curriculum. Philip Challinor wrote his poem, Unnatural Acts, when it became clear that the short reach of the law allowed faith schools to take an anti-gay stance in the teaching of sex education.

On Wednesday, Craig Guthrie gave us our first poem, written in Scottish dialect. Me an That Joon, was inspired by at least three news stories centred around the fallout from social deprivation in parts of Scotland. Across the Irish Sea, the 'ghost estates' of Ireland became Wendy Nicholson's focus of attention, in Boom and Bust.

Csilla Toldy's, The Prophets, challenges us to consider the political landscape of the Soviet era, via Liane Lang's thought-provoking installations, entitled Monumental Misconceptions, and Abigail Wyatt rounds out the week with A Lullaby for Our Troubled Times, a soothing, satirical swipe at the plutocrats.

This week's offerings prove, once again, how events in the news can produce an itch only a poet can scratch. So, don't be shy. Share your work by sending it to us, at Poetry24.

Have a good week.

Martin (& Clare)

Saturday, 25 February 2012

A Lullaby for Our Troubled Times

Hush a bye baby,
in the cradle of democracy:
when the wind blows
the cradle will quake.
Hush a bye, hush a bye;
though Daddy croons a lullaby;
when the bough bends,
it’ll shake us awake.

Hush a bye baby,
we’re living with plutocracy:
capital is cool, and all
the rich are on the make.
Hush a bye, hush a bye:
we close our eyes and let it lie.
When the bough falls,
will we see our mistake?

©  Abigail Wyatt

Greece Passes Austerity Bill As Riots Spread
-------------------------------------------------------
Abigail publishes poetry and short fiction.  She lives in Redruth, Cornwall and performs her work at the Melting Pot, Krowji, The Unplugged Chameleon, St Ives, and The Be Spoken Word in Penzance.

Friday, 24 February 2012

The Prophets

Promising power and the right for work to the proletariat
Who knew then or now how wrong or right?

Without competition they become lazy,
while the race for dominance makes greedy.

Both solutions dishonest and tired. In Family Europe
Inequality is masterminded to serve  - the markets.

The safe-keeper banks falling apart with fatal irony:
Humans need Charity to improve the balance sheets, but who needs money?

House them in boxes and catapult the debris into space
let the two geniuses twist and turn in their grave.

© Csilla Toldy

Liane Lang's Monumental Misconceptions
----------------------------------------------------
Csilla's stories and poetry have appeared in The Black Mountain Review, Southword, Fortnight, Poetry Monthly, and Strictly Writing Award. For more information, visit the website: Csilla Toldy

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Boom and Bust

We Irish were lowly,
mystic and holy,
warm hearted, deprived but condemned to stay poor
then to our delight,
(and it seemed overnight),
everything changed with our future secure

old farmer Kelly found gold in a bucket
when digging up taties quite close to the dell
he said he had followed the end of a rainbow
and discovered the bounty, that’s all he would tell

folk thought it fantastic
became quite sarcastic
when his fields sprouted houses American style
and he lived in a palace
‘It’s becomin’ like Dallas!’
cried neighbouring farmers - but then in a while

they too began sowin’
the crop that was showin’
the way to get rich buildin’ houses real fine
even dingles were sold
with fields that were old
where our grandaddies farmed in time out of mind

who would have guessed
that folk would invest
so madly and badly in Irish affairs
the money was flowin’
and everyone goin’
to parties and spendin’ like millionaires

T’was nice while it lasted
but the boom it was blasted
away with the fairies and the bucket of gold
it was quick it was brutal
protestin’ was futile
old Ireland’s collapse was a sight to behold

with finances depleted
estates half-completed
we’re left just as poor and deprived as before
but the truth’s in the tellin’
I’m glad all that sellin’
is over for we are true Paddies once more.

©  Wendy Nicholson

Ireland at the end of the road
-----------------------------------
Wendy is an ecologist studying animals and plants but likes painting, and writing all kinds of poetry.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Me an That Joon

Did ye hear aboot that Joon wha bides doon the Hull,
Sh’wiz foond dade this moarnin in a bath that was phul,
Mind, she went oot wi that hoodie that wiz intae that rap,
They got meltit th’gither an thieved fae the Gap.

Sh’wiz a bonnie lass afore a that,
Now she’s left that bairn alane in that flat,
She sung at the Kirk when she wiz jist a lassie,
Far creh fae th’day when her ehz turned ah glassy.

At the Highwayman, she sung like Whitney,
Efter watchin her faither aye dae Gene Pitney.
Och, sh’hid pipes like the wind through the heather,
An she eyewiz hid time fir a fag an a blether.

Anyweh, you get back tae Jeremeh Kyill,
Yer trackie’s near dreh and yer tea’s in a whyill,
Get back tae the news an shoutin at nations,
Flickin through blame while ye flick through the stations.

Aye, an spout the twa lines ye ken frae The Man,
But treh tae remember, Joon’s life’s doon the pan,
An a parcel o rogues?
Naah,
Jist mair moths tae the flame,
Coz Agnes is fillin her bath jist the same,
Droonin her troubles an burnin her hay,
As that stream in the backgroond just bubbles away.

©  Craig Guthrie

Drunk left tot with drugs and razor blades

Scottish child poverty hotspots revealed

Study examines higher suicide rate in Scotland
------------------------------------------------------------

More poetry and prose by Craig Guthrie can be found HERE

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Unnatural Acts

Now, girls and boys, remember when you play
At public sector scroungers and physicians,
Be ever mindful what the Scriptures say
And only use the Lord's approved positions.

Yet take care and do not discriminate
Or bully or be nasty to the gays:
Until we bring back Section 28
We all must tolerate their sinful ways.

Are you confused? Can you not understand
These great and British rights you all have got?
You all are equal, save for pansies; and
The gays are equal save when they are not.

© Philip Challinor

'Anti-gay' book puts Gove at centre of faith school teaching row
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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, 20 February 2012

Workfare Makes You Free

Remember the old days?
Where you gave them the dignity
Of shaving their heads
And issuing striped uniforms?

And then there was the expense
Of building the huts
To keep them all in with their typhoid
It's great to know things have changed!

Remember the old days?
When companies in secrecy
Were allowed profiteering
And everyone looked the other way?

Today we face the weather
And fear if things were worst still
That our glorious opposition
Would invoke the spirit of Churchill
By knowing it was going on
But doing nothing to stop this

I think of the future days
Unlikely people in police raids
For writing a novel denying today had happened
"Police are searching for a gang
That in broad daylight yesterday
Sawed up the sign from 'Tesco's'
Put it into a van and drove away..."

© Aaron Murdoch

Tesco drops 'job for benefits' ad
--------------------------------------
Aaron Murdoch performs poetry around Liverpool and Wirral. He is unemployed, but looking into becoming "self employed" when his first collection "Twenty From Ten" will be published around May by lastbenchpress.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sunday Supplement

As well as our usual round up of the week's poems, today we have some quick stats about Poetry24's first year and two poems below which relate to what we are trying to do here.

We've had a record number of submissions this week - we gave up trying to choose just one on Whitney Houston and published those by Stuart Nunn, Kat Mortenson and Charlene Langfur. Syria was also leading the news, inspiring moving poems from Lavinia Kumar and E R Olsen. Joshua Baumgarten's 'This Belief' ripped up the rules to bring us a very individual response to the news at a given moment, and our birthday week wouldn't have been complete without something from our most-published poet Philip Challinor - who didn't disappoint with the bitter pill of his 'Palliative Care'.

But the highlight of our week was a beautiful poem created in film by Anthony Baverstock from lines 'found' in these pages in our first year. If you haven't yet seen 'Dawn: Year One' watch it now!

Poetry24 (in a nutshell)
313 poems in 365 days by 113 poets from 12 countries

We hope you continue to enjoy and take part in Poetry24 in its second year. (Check out our new Publicity page for ways you can help spread the word.)  Thanks so much for your continued support.

Clare (& Martin)

.... And now two supplemental poems. The first is a poem inspired by a news item ... about a poem ... inspired by a news item - but with subtle personal overtones.  The second is a moving obituary to a poet which we think says something about what poets are trying to do every time they pick up a pen.


Pinned back to the wall

Love carried more than a blade
The night you were murdered
Carrying a stench that seeped
All over the tabloids
And Sky News
But only touched on the truth.

Love that was ripped out in a beat
All the way from Well Hall Road
And Dickson Road
Before concluding near Rochester Way
Over a curtain of two stab wounds
And a mis-match of half lies.

Justice that briefly replaced hope
Crawling across the cold pavement
Of Shooters Hill and Westhorne Avenue
Before been regulated to
A barely heard rumour turned cold case
That still stank years and years later.

One version of Justice
Shivering through a mist
Of vague words and burst veins
While another’s is left to rot
Immobile in her fear,
Because it wasn’t high profile enough.

Pinned back against the wall
Like a turn of a phrase
Caught in the middle
Between a trigger and a blade
Simply because it wasn’t
High profile enough.

© Andy N

'Stephen Lawrence' by Carol Ann Duffy
'Embarrassingly Bad'

Andy N has a website, a blog and pages on facebook, myspace and youtube.
His current band is 'A Means to an End' and he has a project with Amanda Silbernagel.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

poem for a dead poet


I saw him mouth silent words
closing eyes to read some internal
aid memoir and draw the next line
from the air before he laid it out

and after this silent litany
he watched his audience waited
for trust waited for them to reach
the same place he occupied

this poem he said is for a dead poet
he placed each word carefully
in the air then watched them drift off
his mouth synchronised to each breath

the poem built itself from nothing
started to identify its subject its narrative
pooled ideas like blood used words
as hammer blows cancer pain death

his eyes strained to focus
his face twisted into an effigy
someone who used to look like him
as he fought to control the words

to contain the emotion to beat
the poem into submission once more
to entertain and not reveal the true subject
the one only he knew only he knew

©  Jim Bennett

Tributes to poet Geoff Stevens following his death at 69

Author of 67 books and proprietor of Poetry Kit, Jim tours throughout the year giving reading and performances of his poetry and songs.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Two Poems for Whitney


Beautiful Innocent Thing 

The earliest voice, the purest beginnings

It was like this at the start. You can see in the photo
the blithe young woman in the yard in Newark
looking over the fence out into the world.

On her face, complete joy, equipoise,
the softness that precedes
the grit needed for a best work

even when she already was the best
what she did in her life
an expression of singing so ebullient it surpassed being

it flew away, flew her away, flew us away with it.
A trip to the moon without a ticket back.
Like that. Exactly like that.

After wards, way  past this, the slow low pull of drugs and booze.
All the news. The insatiable, what could not be sated,
a story about the not enough,

the never enough and the more of that. Like that.
The low tow with no where to go.

In the end what remains is what began.
 The jamming, sweet-noted woman
angel faced, sweet smiling, her sounds like the sea

immeasurable, it is so, we have no measure for this
not this time, it is as fine as it gets, yes

oh my yes, everybody knew
the beautiful innocent thing

© Charlene Langfur

Houston funeral security tight, fans told stay home
-------------------------------------------------------------
Charlene is an organic gardener and a graduate of the S.U. graduate writing program.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Last Song

Do you remember when I tried to hold on?
I thought the ride was worth the fall,
then loneliness would call ...

I was livin’ in that fantasy world;
couldn't get you out my head,
now I'm dead.
Never should have met you, baby.

Ooh, I kept on losin' control!
Couldn't get enough,
 to chase those blues away—
Say you wanna dance, wanna dance ...

Bittersweet is all I take with me—
special brew put the fire in me.
I wish I didn’t like it so much;
don't let it take away my dignity.

Where does my broken heart go?
Can I find my way?

Will He take this heart of mine into His hands?

I know He loves me with more love
than I've ever seen.
Whether I'm right or wrong,
Yes indeed! Jesus loves me.

I've got to get ready—just a few minutes more.

This is my last song.

Gonna get that old feeling,
 when I walk through that door ...

© Kat Mortensen

Stars To Perform At Whitney Houston's Funeral
----------------------------------------------------------
Kat is a Canadian poet, and the author of 'Shadowstalking'. Currently, her poems can be read at Kat Mortensen Poetry

Friday, 17 February 2012

Two poems for Syria

We Are Al-Shabaab Soldiers 

we like to chase the mouse.

Weak and afraid and
much smaller than we;

it runs in the corners
so as to not be destroyed;

hungry, for we have cleared
what little grain there is--

-- -- After all, we are people
-- -- with a cause to feed.

Its pups that starve with
ever larger eyes and bellies,
are better filling the ground
than eating our corn
in their tiny nibbles.

Should they escape our door
we leave the granary

to hunt them down so that they
-- ----males, females, the young--
never return here.

God will not rid these pests
so we do it ourselves.

©   E R Olsen

Al-Shabaab bans Red Cross in Somalia
--------------------------------------------------------------

 E R Olsen writes poetry and practices law in Nevada, in the U.S., where he lives with his wife and four children. His poems have appeared in several U.S. journals, most recently in Viking.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


How do I kill you?

after Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I kill you? Let me count the ways.
I kill you with variety of might
My army shall muster day and night
For the ends of putting you in your place.
I kill all of you and will every day
Till there will be no more persons to strike.
I kill you freely, as men strive to fight.
I kill you in your homes, in a true blaze.
I kill you with all passion I can use
In my position, with alawite faith.
I kill you with a thrill I cannot lose
By God, and I’ll kill you till my last breath,
Smile, last goal of my life; and if God choose,
I shall kill and hate you even more after death.

©  Lavinia Kumar

Syria: 'Civilians dying in droves' - at least 377 killed in Homs in recent days
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her poetry has appeared in several publications, in the US and UK.  She writes a blog for her brother’s seniorsmagazine.org, based in Portsmouth, NH.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

This Belief

This belief that lies upon my skin like a winter sun burn kiss.


My consciousness
an idealist seeking beacon
searches through an overcast evening.
I curse the cloud cover and
street lights
that hide the the mystery of
the Northern Lights,
 
as I look for the illumination of reason
and the majesty of chance
amongst conflict shadows
and my continuous disbelief
dancing dying starlight
across the Aurora Borealis
of my brain.

I take a series of deep breathes,
Like rescue divers
Recovering drowned tourists
From the bottom of the Italian coastline.
Khaki wearing passengers
who bought last minute tickets
and ended up
on the wrong all inclusive cruise.
Unbeknownst to them that it
was going to be their last trip
to the all you can eat buffet.

While in Syrian side streets
Children collect bullet casings
In between democracy classes
As fathers clash draped in flags
And mothers cry inside
burning hot burkas
And tanning salons in Castricum, Chicago, and Cardiff
Are having half price winter sales.

Meanwhile in a
small town suburban Dutch market,
skeletons from a forgotten graveyard
are uncovered where
city council voted upon and approved
underground garbage containers
were to have been placed
to help promote recycling.

While an ocean away
God hovers over
southern Florida
wondering what sort of blunder
his clinging conservative followers
will make next.
Cause we shouldn't be
surprised when a guy named Newt
turns out be another self serving
christian political chameleon
in sheep's clothing.

And tomorrow I will awake and
Senegal will still be clamped down
under a dictators gold tooth
and Youssou N'Dour won't be singing
and I won't be too shocked by the report of
another stabbing
outside of a  bar in Amsterdam, New York
or London
after all the weekend warriors
have settled their bar tabs
been set loose and sent home.

While I sit here at 2:30 in the morning
Djing in a hard rock cafe in
Haarlemtown Holland,
spinning what freedom has given me
and pondering if the next track will
finally get these fuckers dancing.

© Joshua Baumgarten

Romney and Gingrich attacks get personal ahead of Florida vote

Senegal Elections: President Cleared To Run For 3rd Term, Pop Star Not On Ballot

17th body removed from cruise shipwreck

Editor's note: This poem covers several issues and, although it was submitted last week, it is a fine example of a poet finding inspiration in the different aspects of the news.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Joshua Baumgarten is an ex-pat New Yorker living in Holland. He organises the Irrational Library evenings - nights of poetry, rock n roll and casual chaos, and performs as a Standup Spoken Word artist. 


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Palliative Care

Detoxified by Dave, we shall sort out
The NHS; we're trusted one and all.
GPs support us; here's what we're about...
Oh dear! I took my eye from off the ball!

Well, anyway, the nurses are still with us,
Which certainly should make opponents think.
Peril attends the one who halts or dithers...
Oh dear! It seems we were the first to blink!

The BMA is solid and supportive.
With them on board we shall not soon be stopped.
All further trouble now should be abortive...
Oh dear, this ball! So big and yet so dropped!

But I am safe where trouble cannot find me:
Career in rudest health, for I have got
The PM and his Bullingdons behind me...
Good heavens! I've been taken out and shot!

© Philip Challinor

Cameron should scrap NHS bill and drop Lansley, says influential Tory blog
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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, 13 February 2012

Whitney Houston

Don’t get me started on Whitney Houston,
the driver says in the taped interview
I used to make my students transcribe –
Paper Two, Discourse Analysis.

The things she’d get up to in the back,
and the day it took to clear up after.
They’d mark the pauses in the prescribed way;
the best would indicate the intonation.

But in their eyes I could read her voice –
And I-e-I-e-I will always love you…..

© Stuart Nunn

Tributes pour in for tragic Whitney Houston
------------------------------------------------------
Stuart is a retired lecturer living in South Gloucestershire. He belongs to Cheltenham Poetry Society and Cherington Poets and contributes regularly to the PK List discussion group.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Sunday Review

A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep ~ Salman Rushdie

And, on the 16th February, that is precisely what poets will have been doing, here, for a full 12 months. In fact, this past week has been a prime example of how poetry can accomplish some of those aims in Rushdie's quote.

Abigail Wyatt's No one wants racism, do they? searches for some balanced opinion, and raises concerns over 'trial by media'. Yet, in a different arena, the media projects the horrors of Syrian oppression while the world looks on: thePoetGeo's Pot Slams Kettle for Veto, underlines the destructive dogmas and poisonous politics that result in unimaginable pain for ordinary people in places like Homs. I was moved to write In Homs, on my own blog. Competition for space at Poetry24 being as keen as ever.

On Thursday, Helena Nolan offered us At First Sight, a wonderful tribute to the late Wislawa Szymborska, a poet who covered issues around war and terrorism in her own body of work.

Of course, those politicians who claim they would make the world a better place, have to get their hands on the levers, first. That, as Lavinia Kumar's And the Gods Go On, reminds us, comes at a cost. Which begs the question, can a President concentrate on his agenda, when he's preoccupied with repaying favours?

Peter Flint considers power of a different sort. As the debate on renewable energy heats up faster than the world's climate, we might want to pay attention to his Invaders.

From carbon footprints, to those left by Colton Harris-Moore, at the scenes of his crimes. Harris-Moore's exploits inspired Anthony Baverstock to write the Ballad of the Barefoot Bandit. What better way to steal off into the weekend?

Keep your eyes peeled throughout the week. You never know what special Poetry24 birthday surprises may turn up!

All the Best

Martin & Clare

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Ballad of the Barefoot Bandit

They say he hails from westward way,
A bonny bandit he,
Who hops and skips across the land
As free as free can be.

It’s said by some he’s seven feet,
And others six-foot-five,
But all agree the Bandit boasts
The cleanest heels alive.

He wanders where he will along
The highways and the lanes,
And rides the scudding clouds above
The mountains and the plains.

He camps alone in wooded dells,
Is never ever seen;
A shoeless footprint in the soil,
The only hint he’s been.

He tends the orphaned animals,
The injured and the sick,
And only comes to town to seek
Supplies he wants to whip.

In Tennessee he took some milk,
In Maine an Oreo,
A blanket in Nebraska and
A bath in Idaho.

And when his work is done and all
The animals are good,
The Bandit slips away at night,
To find another wood.

But on the way he always pays
A visit to the vet,
Where any cash he has to spare
He puts upon the step.
*
The sour Sheriff Frazer sought
To end his antics, though,
And vowed to track the Bandit down
Wherever he may go.

So gravely, then, the Sheriff studied
Barefoot’s family tree,
To understand the hows and whys,
And where and when he’d be.
He found him in New Hampshire on
A frosty winter’s day,
But Barefoot took uncharted trails,
And made a getaway,

From whence our Bonny Bandit blithely
Traveled down the coast,
And o’er the sea to paradise,
Elusive as a ghost.

And yet, the wily Sheriff, as
An older, wiser man,
Had climbed inside the Bandit’s mind,
And dreamed as young’uns can;

And so it was one golden dawn,
While lounging by a bay,
The Bandit saw the Sheriff’s shadow
Pounce upon his prey . . .
*
It’s said the Sheriff tossed the Bandit
Down a dungeon deep,
To pine away for light of day,
And grass beneath his feet.

But that ain’t so, as children know,
Cos sometimes sheriffs lie,
And that’s what Sheriff Frazer did,
And here’s the reason why:

The Bandit nimbly leapt aside,
And on a bobbing boat,
And where the Bandit’s butt had been,
The Sheriff saw a note,

And on the note were scrawled the words,
I’ll c’ya! Got to run!
The Sheriff scowled, the Bandit bowed,
And sailed toward the sun.

With that, the Bandit disappeared,
To where, I couldn’t say,
And not a single soul can tell
You where he lives today.

And that is why when mothers cry,
“D’you steal the cookies, son?”
A boy can hold her stare and say,
“The Bandit must’ve done!”

And, “Missy, where’s your homework?”
“Sir, I had it – did me best!
Perhaps the Bandit ripped it up,
To line a sparrow’s nest.”

It’s also why my crafty gran
Can wink and say, “Beware!
The Bandit takes a kid who fibs,
To feed a hungry bear!”

© Anthony Baverstock

Barefoot Bandit Colton Harris-Moore sentenced again

Author's note: "I am intrigued by how people like Harris-Moore become folk heroes with 60,000 followers on Facebook, and how their exploits assume legendary proportions, even mythic status. And as Harris-Moore has been compared to Robin Hood (not to mention Jesse James, and even John Dillinger), the traditional narrative ballad seemed the best choice of form for my own little bit of myth-making about him. "
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anthony Baverstock is from Colchester, reputed home of Humpty-Dumpty.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Invaders

They are here...the invaders
Cresting the moors...breasting the waves
They stand in ranks
Metal...pinnacles of gleaming grandeur
Sails, etched sharp against sky's blue,
Turn gently like sci-fi sycamore seeds
Their mission? Domination? Destruction?
Peacefully, serenely, they harness the wind
Energising our homes...lighting our lives

Why then are they mistrusted?
Maligned, ugly, wasteful, inefficient...
They must be banned, banished, toppled!
Sign this petition...support their overthrow...
While I have your attention,
Please make a small donation
To save our historic windmill
Faithfully creaking out our daily bread
These past four hundred years.

© Peter Flint

Why Tory MPs opposition to wind power will put your energy bill up
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Peter is 77, belongs to Rossington Writers' Group, Doncaster, and writes short stories and poems  for his grandchildren. He taught for forty years...mainly English. 

Thursday, 9 February 2012

At First Sight

im Wislawa Szymborska (2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012)

You have seen someone like me, once

And I have met you too, perhaps

At the curve of an iron stairway

A junction with lights, some pause

On a railway platform, a meeting of eyes

The passing, steamed up window of a bus



We are all of us only each other’s

Shadows, foretelling of future’s past

Walking in familiar footsteps

On the city’s Google maps, watched

By the same dark satellite, I wonder

How we missed each other for so long



The years will pass, the only thing

That’s definite is time, shaping our passage

We move between the lanes

Like careful liners, watchful for the rocks

The threat of secret icebergs, we are trained

To call for help but do not like to shout



Don’t make a fuss, the days are growing longer

Spring will soon pull hope out of the earth

Do not regret the dark shroud of winter

You will forget again what was forgotten once

I will remember only the silhouette of one

Once glimpsed, the one who smiles like you did

©  Helena Nolan

Wisława Szymborska obituary
-------------------------------------
Helena's work has appeared in anthologies and literary magazines including; The Stinging Fly, The Moth, and the Spoken Ink audio website. She is the 2011 winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Award.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

And the Gods Go On

Fundamental is only found overseas
in prayer on small mats
or in temples of those gods
and it is a savage dog when off a leash.

Conservatism is only found at home
in prayer in long pews
or in churches of these gods
and it is a savage dog when off a leash.

Politicians are found in this home
on prayerful stumps
in churches of money gods –
adding a dangerous dog, now unleashed.

©  Lavinia Kumar

INFLUENCE GAME: Big money donors in campaign will have business to discuss with next president
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her poetry has appeared in several publications, in the US and UK.  She writes a blog for her brother’s seniorsmagazine.org, based in Portsmouth, NH.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Pot Slams Kettle for Veto

America beat a long winding path to my door;
a path she had travelled many times before.
Her concern seemed genuine as she angrily cried,
they have used their veto when people have died,
I urge you as a poet to join me in condemnation,
please spread the word to the whole global nation.

My eyes took in her warm and red dripping hands;
then her accompaniment of brass marching bands;
cheerleaders, drones and starry eyed false flags,
trampling on the vintage of liberty's tattered rags;
the Founding Fathers muffled in Manning's padded cell;
Lincoln  ACTA'ed offline for file sharing warnings of hell.

Glancing along the crooked path to the place where she stood,
the poets eye saw every soggy mile soaked with innocent blood

©  @thePoetGeo

Why did Russia veto the UN Security Council resolution on Syria?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
@thePoetGeo is a semi retired Zeppelin builder with the New Model Army.

Monday, 6 February 2012

No one wants racism, do they?

No one wants racism, do they?
No one wants ignorance, hatred, bigotry;
we’ve come too far, surely, for that.
But what about justice and the power of a press
that can, if it wants to, distort it;
that can bend and contort its principles
into what is ignoble and grotesque?
And what about the justice
and right-mindedness of those
who peddle their opinions on television,
who trumpet 'liberal values'
but turn down the volume
when it comes to ‘reasonable doubt’?
If we cannot know the truth of a thing,
should we not hold our judgement in abeyance?
Or does the launching of a witch-hunt imply,
ipso facto, the presence of a witch?

©  Abigail Wyatt

We don't want you! England team-mates turn on Terry as the FA ditch race case captain
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Abigail publishes poetry and short fiction.  She lives in Redruth, Cornwall and performs her work at the Melting Pot, Krowji, The Unplugged Chameleon, St Ives, and The Be Spoken Word in Penzance.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Sunday Review

Monday's poem was fair of face
Tuesday's poem told of disgrace
Wednesday's poem had an IPO
Thursday's poem had far to go
Friday's poem was sewing and reaping
Saturday's poem was fighting and weeping
But the poem that was posted on the Sabbath Day
Is this one.

Keep them coming our way!

Clare (&Martin)

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Spoiled Sport

Riots Rage at the Kick of Pig Skin

the space between
middle eastern goal posts
is combustible
flames rise higher then
religions reach
Allah ashamed
turns off the television
as the pitch is torn to shreds
and the supporters revel in chaos
the final tally of this competition
regardless of the score
left injured or dead
will always be
a draw.

© Joshua Baumgarten

Egyptian health ministry: 74 dead, hundreds injured in soccer riots
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Joshua Baumgarten is an ex-pat New Yorker living in Holland. He organises the Irrational Library evenings - nights of poetry, rock n roll and casual chaos, and performs as a Standup Spoken Word artist.



Egypt

freedom reigned in the Arab Spring,
as the government fell,
no news from Egypt,
the revolution quietly advances,
until riots and deaths at a soccer match,
the europeanizing of Egypt  almost complete.

© Douglas Polk

Egypt mourns soccer riot victims; thousands march in Cairo
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Douglas is a poet from Nebraska. He has published three books of poetry; In My Defense, The Defense Rests, and On Appeal.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Seeds

















I have a plan for the plants of the planet,
all plants, from A to Z –
four species are enough,
the alphabet is too long.

In a test tube
see me dive
straight to the heart of the cell,
see me slide down the ribbon
of the spinning spiral stairs,
with a platinum syringe
I inject a hormone,
I straighten a chromosome,
I add a brand new genome,
then I rush back up like lightning
to admire the masterpiece:
a suicidal,
colour-changing seed.

Before the seed is sown
I must first slay the fields:
here with charcoal weeds,
here with the ink
of double-dealing lawyers,
here with the agent orange
of my saliva.

In the Americas, Africa, India,
wherever there is open space,
I’ll sell the seeds in scores
with their purpose-made herbicide,
until the face of the earth blossoms
with deserts of green.

It’s not a question of luck:
with fertiliser the harvest is certain,
overflowing, rich,
with nine-month contracts
and the sole condition
that whoever keeps seeds for the following season
I will take to court.

If the groundwater becomes polluted
I’ll buy it, filter it
and re-sell it,
if the children grow warts
I’ll give them a toy
to take it out on,
if the garden of a farmer fertilises
with patented pollen
I’ll snatch away with an edict
all of his lands.

Thus every acre of the land
I will tread without lifting my shoes:
under the lens of the microscope
I’ll build an entire empire,
a cornucopia of copies –
the realm of mouths,
of stomachs,
of bowels.

In my hands the palette of the world:
gold in the soya, silver in the rice,
tomorrow I’ll submit a patent
on the dew.

Such is my patron saint,
and such is the multinational taste of my name
on everyone’s plate.


©   Antoine Cassar

Tories and Labour renew backing for GM food crops

------------------------------------------------------

Antoine Cassar is a Maltese poet and translator, recipient of the 2009 United Planet writing prize. His latest book is Bejn / Between (Skarta, 2011), with parallel English translation by Éire Stuart, Alex Vella Gera and himself.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Dauntless

I am Dauntless
on routine deployment
to the South Atlantic
I am supersonic
listen to the hiss
of my sea vipers

I am costly
one billion pounds
of type 45 destroyer
on a seven month patrol
listen to the hum
of my air defence system

I am deadly
a cricket ball
travelling three times
the speed of sound
I will shoot
from the sky

I am a deterrent
with game changing
capability
I prevent any
foolish nonsense
or unwanted aggression

I am your comforter
these islanders want
to remain British
and any oil or gas
found in these waters
will be British too.

©  David Subacchi

Destroyer sets sail for Falklands to head off any 'foolish nonsense'
------------------------------------------------------------------
David Subacchi is a civil servant who has been writing poetry seriously for just over a year. He hopes to publish his first English collection in 2012.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

FaceBook






On the Face of it,
what price
the next best thing?

The cost, glitz, glamour
of a public offering,
where sheep clamour
while genuflecting
before the Book?

Caveat Emptor
may mean much more
than current trends
or a billion Friends.


©  Paul Andrew Russell


Facebook IPO will put public markets to shame
------------------------------------------------

 Paul Andrew Russell is a poet and writer who has self published a book of poetry, Pocketful of Words, and two collections of flash fiction. He blogs at:  http://blogpaulandrewrussell.wordpress.com