Monday, 30 April 2012

Two Fox Tales

The Committal

We buried the fox cub a little before dusk,
heaving him from where he fell
to sprawl, as though in sleep,
between the dustbin and the wall.
Sharp-nosed he was, still fiery-eyed,
his flanks unflinching warm;
and the ripe earth gaped as we eased him down
where his belly blazed as white as any lie.

I found him where he’d crawled
and hunkered down to breathe his last,
a splash of red against the green
I was not used to see.
That morning he’d ran fine and free
and stared into the sun;
but he was stony dead and still
as those dull stones
you piled upon his head.
‘They’ll keep him safe and sound,’ you said.
‘No dog will dig him up.’

And no dog has or will;
he rests there still
on the lawn’s near edge
where blackbirds strut and stab.
That first night, though, when I woke
to fret and stare into the dark,
I’d swear there was a scuffling sound
a stone’s throw from the wall;
and then, across the hill, I thought
I heard some creature bark.

© Abigail Wyatt

Daring cub curls up in schoolboy's bed for a SNOOZE
Abigail is the 2012 winner of the Lisa Thomas Poetry Award. Her collection, 'Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories' , will be published by One Million Stories early in 2012.

Mr Fox Goes to Town

He took the tube from Walthamstow.
Flashed his Oyster card
and his teeth.
Sat down.
Tapped his iPhone.
Checked the birds catching the early words on Twitter.
Licked his whiskered, furry lips
and smirked to himself.

Those urbane foxes get everywhere.

© Jane Slavin

What the Fox?!
Jane is a former journalist, now council press officer, living in Plymouth. In her spare time, she is falling in love with words again by making her own stuff up!


Sunday, 29 April 2012

Sunday Review

Lavinia Kumar got us under starter's orders this week, with Bahrain Race. The money-motivated motor event went ahead, despite the pleas of thousands and the death of a protester. It may have been green for go inside the circuit, but outside, many were seeing red.

On Tuesday, the discord continued when Val Hafstad flagged up the trivial fault-finding that can form the basis for divorce suits in the UK. Her poem, Stuck, actually sprang from a news item that noted, among other things, a wife who sued for divorce because her husband insisted that dressed and talked like a Klingon. Language of the human kind was highlighted in Rinzu Rajan's , With Love, from Pakistan, following reports of a mutual desire on the part of the leaders of India and Pakistan, to improve relationships between the two countries.

Two more newcomers to Poetry24, this week. First, Mark Brophy, who gave us Pilate State, which tackled the current economic shambles, while highlighting the casualty toll of what is now officially recognised as a double-dip recession. Next, we had Good Friday, 2012  from Melinda Rizzo. She was inspired by the bizarre death of an actor, playing Judas, who was accidentally hanged during a performance of an Easter passion play.

To round out a week when David Cameron was probably still trying to work out what Nadine Dorries, meant when she accused him of being an arrogant posh boy who didn't know the price of milk, Ralph Killey provided his explanation with The Eton Gloat Song.

Remember, the news is a 24/7 reality, and therefore a constant source of inspiration. Your poems having been matching the pace of events, in the most impressive way.

Congratulations, this week, to four poets who have featured here at Poetry24!
Lavinia Kumar - In the current issue of Pedestal Magazine
Jess Green - In the Studio
Brigid O ' Connor - Novelicious Undiscovered
Helena Nolan - Shortlisted for the FISH International Poetry prize.

Don't be modest, let us know if you have been short-listed, won awards or prizes, or published elsewhere.

Please keep up the good work and remember, you can also join Poetry24 on Facebook and Twitter @poetry24blog.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Eton Gloat Song

When you are at Eton the students play tricks
So I hid the headmaster’s bike
He wrote to my Dad, “that’s my lad” said my Dad
‘Cause I was at Eton, we do what we like

When I left school I worked for a Judge
I got drunk, hung his wig on a spike
He was very polite when he sacked me that night
But I went to Eton, so I’ll be alright

So I joined the Navy to travel the World
And I met a young Russian named Mike
We sneaked into Spain sold Hash and Cocaine
‘Cause I went to Eton, we do what we like

We made lots of cash so to China we went
The journey was quite a long hike
Blue Films we imported, I was quietly deported
‘Cause I went to Eton they only jailed Mike

Then back to Britain, I hastily returned
And stood for Election at Pinner
To my Polling Station flocked friends and relations
Because of dear Eton, I was easily the winner

The time came to choose our Prime Minister
I wanted the job and the glamour
The election was done, I easily won
I’m from Eton, the rest were all Grammar.

© Ralph Killey

Tory backbencher calls Cameron an 'arrogant posh boy'
Ralph Killey worked on the Liverpool Echo for thirty years and became part owner of World Group Newspapers, Lancashire. He has a collection entitled: 'When there's Notin' on the Tele'.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Good Friday, 2012

In some portions of the world,
there are those who choose to observe
the Way of the Cross.

They bear the sting of a lash.
They crawl on bloodied hands and knees
to a place where they are carefully crucified

to embrace a token bloodshed.
Just enough pain, just enough suffering,
to taste what Christ endured on his final day

among a teeming humanity.
For one Brazilian Judas, it was not enough,
to throw the money down, before a pretend Caiphus,

then turn and run away. We know how his story ended.
For his part, Tiago, 27, must have felt the roughness
of the hanging rope against the back of his neck.

Must have wondered, am I sure about this one,
as the slip knot tightened, then strung him up
and away from the cool firmness of Brazilian soil.

Did the pretend apostles cut Tiago/Judas down,
hurriedly, perform CPR, to the Bee Gees “Staying Alive”
while Robin Gibb struggled to do just that in a London hospital.

Did someone else, maybe Mary Magdalene,
frantically called 911 at the scene,
andTiago was pronounced dead

at the Santa Casa de Itapeva hospital
where an autopsy will be performed on Monday,
because Tiago died playing Judas.

© Melinda Rizzo

Brazil actor playing Judas dies from accidental hanging

Bee Gee Robin Gibb's recovery 'confounds' doctors
Melinda lives in Quakertown Pennsylvania (USA), and is a freelance journalist, covering local and state news, human interest features, arts and entertainment. Rizzo’s work is published regularly in print and online.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Pilate State

In the shadow of a woman
he aches to emulate,
to bask in her dull glory he
revives the Pilate State.

Her baleful influence persists,
unstressed but not laid low,
privileged power wash their hands
of those they cannot know.

Compassion in a rictus mask
to fool the poor and frail,
behind the new facade of care
old certainties prevail:

"Deserving poor do not exist.
Preserve the class divide.
Protect those who don't need the help.
Cast those who do aside."

The gambler's purse was guaranteed,
no gamble then at all.
A lucky few had jackpot wins ,
the house absorbs the fall.

These moneylenders felled the walls
insisting on repair,
so that they can destroy again -
is that what they call fair?

The patients blamed for the disease,
their tonic is the cause,
the undertrained physician must
not run his course, but pause.

© Mark Brophy

UK economy in double-dip recession
Mark is a seething ball of resentment towards inequality and injustice, but rather than do anything concrete he writes about it, on his blog ( and on twitter (@mark_brophy).

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

With Love, from Pakistan

Cardboard corners
wrinkled in white
sewn at seams,
blue ink blotting
tainted with frail fingerprints
I saw my name on it
in restless ruckus
searched for the sender's.

The address read "Lahore, Pakistan"
the lull lilting into a smile
the stitches cut with a surgeon's precision
gave way to a blue gloss
galvanizing the box.

It was a riot of colours
ornate objects
in yellow, green, red and white
a pretty memento
tucked in a corner,
a kurta too
with pink edges
made its presence felt,
the smirk turned wider
till my jaw jibed like a joker's
while my eyes hurt
with a quivering question.

I wondered only if the postman
at the door didn't give a lamentable look
while handing the parcel
sheltered scorn spilling over
from his soul,
guarded by a bulwark
just like the barrage across the border
that might have been the most momentous monument
raised for the purpose of peace
I wondered why?

© Rinzu Rajan

Indian and Pakistani Leaders Encourage Ties in a Rare Visit

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


You’re in love, and your girlfriend is hot,
But think twice about tying the knot.
For a Brit it is hard to get out.
Don’t propose if you’re ever in doubt.

Once you’re stuck, you will see a divorce
Is impossible, unless, of course,
Your significant other will act
Without reason - I know that’s a fact.

She would have to cook only the fish
You declared your least favourite dish,
Leave the toilet seat down all the time,
Or be partner in organized crime.

She would have to have too much to drink,
Or have armpits that constantly stink,
Keep tarantulas next to your bed
And complain when you sleep in the shed.

She would have to breathe hard as a whale,
Or take drugs on a pretty large scale,
Be promiscuous, lazy or fat,
Or insist that you slaughter your cat.

With the carpenter she’d have to flirt,
Showing off in a much too tight skirt,
Tell the plumber her dirtiest joke,
Or say “Honey” to any old bloke.

The remote she would have to abuse,
Watching nothing but BBC News,
Be upset when you go to a game,
Call your jokes either stupid or lame.

She would have to keep mum for a year
And with post-its her wishes make clear,
Be obsessed with the fringes of rugs,
Or start spraying for telephone bugs.

So be careful before you propose.
How a marriage will go, no one knows.
In America it’s different, of course:
It’s a country of no-fault divorce.

© Vala Hafstad

Tuna Again? In Fault-Finding England, It’s a Cause for Divorce
Vala Hafstad lives in Minnesota. She writes humorous poems for children and, occasionally, their parents.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Bahrain Race

Fifteen turns around a winding track
cars race past sand covered with
sticky to stop it blowing.

The track the prince’s prize.

His people protest, march, and die
of teargas, bullets, torture.  Bodies
stuck in prisons, morgues.

Teargas, bullets, race to kill.

Formula One racers seek prizes,
fame, glory, not hunger, torture,
blood between the wheels.

The Sunni prince in Bahrain
The Shia president in Syria –
rulers with a fast formula:
kill, torture, maim the masses.

© Lavinia Kumar

Bahrain protester found dead on eve of grand prix
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, based in Portsmouth, NH.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Sunday Review

Review of the week

We've had a lot of new contributors this week, so I hope you had a chance to read them.  Philip Johnson offered us Just a loaf? due to the New Zealand Marmite shortage after we had a bite out of Lavinia Kumar's Raspeberry Pi

Other newcomers included American poets Cleveland Wall, who took on a serious case of Hydrangea Rage and Vala Hafstad, who "noticed the children were bitter. / They said so on Facebook and Twitter" about the expense of healthcare for pets in Saving Lazy. But why worry? Liverpool journalist Ralph Killey reckons private health companies like Supa Bupa will worry for you!

Linking all these subjects - health, food, anger - another new poet to us, Rinzu Rajan, shared concerns about supporters of Indian hunger-striker Ana Hazare in The Lost Sheep and their Shepherd to finish another varied week here at Poetry24.

and finally... Twitter poems

We were also sent a couple of topical Tweet-length poems which we always enjoy:

There's a race, in hot Bahrain
freedom fights, fear remains,
Bernie claims, to ease the pain,
freedom's lost, in this domain.

Farewell then, Ceefax
You have been superseded by the internet
Where people see fucks.

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more news, chat and updates... and keep those poems coming!

Clare (&Martin)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Lost Sheep and their Shepherd

Activism advances
on the carriage of change
amidst colour blindness
a battalion of buffoons
play hide and seek
as per impersonated instructions.
Cocks crow through lurid loudspeakers
candle clay drips in convulsion
as the youth proclaim a parrot's polly
reciting verses in eruptive excitement
and follow as a flock of frozen fossils
behind an ambitious autocrat,
who they have christened as Messiah
or a fairy God mother with a magic wand.

Unmindful of implications that
vilifies their vulnerability
impeaching democracy as a drab,
they launch a leap, thousands of lost sheep,
the wind blows in the westward wilderness
requiring revolution in reckless rooting
they want to cry through corrosion
but how many of them actually know
that they themselves are the rusted relics
of a rotten resolution?

© Rinzu Rajan

Will Someone Spare Anna Hazare a Copy of Don Quixote by Cervantes?---------------------------------------------------------------------
Rinzu Rajan writes in an attempt to sear away from the boundaries of cliché. Research in the field of biology and feminist activism occupy the rest of her time and devotion.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Supa Bupa

I worry, worry, worry,
All my life has been a bore
I worry about politics,
Global Warming, Tax and War
I saw this ad, in ‘The Telegraph’,
I thought, Wow! This is super.
It said: ‘We Worry For You’,
Send your details off to BUPA.

This is my salvation,
This is just divine,
They’ll do all my worrying,
My life will be sublime.
Hurray! For private medicine,
They’ve really got it ‘sussed’,
You don’t get this on National Health,
To ‘sign on’ is a must.

A brilliant plan -They urge you
To write: or use the phone.
They’ve trained this team of Worriers,
Who, mostly work from home.
The service is expensive,
Not for the working class
So I sent my uncle’s bank details
He’s rich and in Madras

I then explained my worry
To test their new techniques
I haven’t paid a penny rent
For over fifty weeks.
I head butted the bailiff
He looks as if he’s dead.
I’ve sent them this on E-mail
Now I’m going back to bed.

© Ralph Killey

How your private doctor is gaining at your expense
Ralph Killey worked on the Liverpool Echo for thirty years and became part owner of World Group Newspapers, Lancashire. He has a collection entitled: 'When there's Notin' on the Tele'.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Hydrangea Rage

Her hydrangea overhangs his garden,
blocks the sun from his tomato plants.
So he prunes the offending shrub and she
is enraged, calls him a menace—
amongst other, unmentionable things.
She is 87 years old, like Mildred,
who, when I urge her to do
the prescribed voice exercises,
tells me to fuck off, but doesn’t mean it.
Saturday afternoon with Mildred,
Ms. Hydrangea’s story crops up
on public radio news trivia. The incident
made national news in Britain. The neighbors
say they are fed up with the shrubbery
of ill-mannered pensioners
barging big, old-fashioned, blue heads
into other people's gardens, stealing
the very sunlight. Surely, they say,
those hydrangeas had it coming.

© Cleveland Wall

Grandmother in court after going potty because a neighbour trimmed her plant
Cleveland Wall is a poet, actor, and mail artist from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in Schuylkill Valley Journal, Möbius magazine, and online in New Purlieu Review. Twitter: @clevelandwall

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Just a loaf?


flat bread
might as well be
a penny a dozen loafs
all useless


fresh baked or burned
hard toast

ye cannae lick it

the marmite


stingleflumpkin complicticous
the day without marmite

makes no sense?

© Philip Johnson

New Zealand Marmite shortage
Philip's words have appeared in: The Ugly Tree; Poetry Scotland, Emergency Verse, Write Away, Caught In The Net, Red Pencil, Writer's Hood, Transparent Words;  he works in elder care.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Raspberry Pi

Yellow paint
Wood body
Lead inside

Learn how it’s made
Before you can draw

So listen
Albrecht Dürer
and Picasso

Learn how it’s made
Before you use it

A bit of sugar

Learn how it’s made
Before you eat it.

© Lavinia Kumar

A manifesto for teaching computer science in the 21st century
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, based in Portsmouth, NH. 

Monday, 16 April 2012

Saving Lazy

My illness began in November,
And then, on the third of December,
They told us the tumor was bad.
My master was terribly sad.

No reason for me to be emo.
They gave me the option of chemo.
A bone-marrow transplant, they said,
Would follow, or else I’d be dead.

„It doesn’t come cheap, saving Lazy.
The figures may sound kind of crazy.
My best guess is 25 grand.
Be ready next week, cash in hand.“

„The kids can forget about college.
The price is too high for that knowledge.
What matters is saving her life,“
Said master, and so did his wife.

My owners collected their money.
With tears in their eyes, they said, „Honey,
Why should we accumulate wealth?
The focus should be on your health.”

I noticed the children were bitter.
They said so on Facebook and Twitter.
My sickness did not make them weep.
They said euthanasia was cheap.

The hospital stay went by quickly.
For days after that I looked sickly,
But then I began to feel fine.
My owners were both on cloud nine.

But sunshine is followed by showers,
And this time the luck wasn’t ours.
One day, at a quarter to three,
It struck me that I couldn’t pee.

A tumor obstructed my urine,
According to Dr. Banduren.
To cure it cost many a buck
(Six thousand).  The dad sold his truck.

He had to find new transportation,
And quickly, without reservation,
Got used to the train ride to work.
(He worked at a bank as a clerk.)

Then, after they cured my last ailment,
There happened this tragic derailment.
The kids tried to blame it on me.
The widow, she seemed to agree.

The house was bereft of contentment.
I noticed an air of resentment
The next time we went to the vet.
It turned out that they were in debt.

I died about seven months later.
Their daughter, the animal-hater,
Engraved on my tombstone:  “A Bitch
- The Reason We Never Got Rich.”

©   Vala Hafstad

New Treatments to Save a Pet, but Questions About the Costs
Vala Hafstad lives in Minnesota.  She writes humorous poems for children and, occasionally, their parents.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Sunday Review

We've been baring it all at Poetry24 this week...

From Abigail Wyatt baring our dealings to Big Brother snoopers in her chilling Another Lullaby to the bare-faced cheek of strip searches (L.S.Bassen's What suits a nudist?) and all kinds of anti-women legislation (Invasion from Lavinia Kumar). Then we had Ralph Killey baring his soul in Alzheimer's Allegory and ... er ... rowers losing their bearings (ahem) in Blue Boats from @keyfeatures.

We finished yesterday with a haiku from Antoine Cassar which used the bare minimum of words to highlight the plight of displaced people in Syria.

The last two poets mentioned were first-timers here on the site and we're always looking for new names, so don't be shy - send in your poems... if you can bear to!

Have a good week

Clare (& Martin)

Saturday, 14 April 2012

A Syrian Boy

A Syrian boy
paints houses on the canvas
of his tent.

©   Antoine Cassar

Syrian refugees' drawings
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.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Alzheimer’s Allegory

There is a girl I used to know
She had many ways of hurting you and so
I packed my bags and left her
Though she swore I’d never go
There is a girl I used to know.

There is a town I used to love
It once contained most everything
My dreams consisted of
My babies in the basement
As the traffic trawled above
There is a town I used to love.

There is a bar I used to go
I sometimes still look in
There may be somebody I know
It’s where ‘old kings of comedy’
Mend their tattered souls
There’s a bar I used to go.

Why I’m ill I just don’t know
Just simply leave me on my own
I’ll find a friend from long ago
And ask them where my life has gone
Someone with a soul, to see
An old man sitting at a bar alone

There is this joke I used to tell
A man is granted three good wishes
He wastes them – yes that rings a bell
And ends up broke and washing dishes
I am that joke I used to tell

There is that guy I used to know
He once had everything
But that was a million mistakes ago
And now he sits here drinking
With a tale that starts, like so:
‘There is a girl I used to know’.

© Ralph Killey

Alzheimer’s Brain Scan Test Gets FDA Approval

'Dementia champions' start work across Scotland

Ralph Killey worked on the Liverpool Echo for thirty years and became part owner of World Group Newspapers, Lancashire. He has a collection entitled: 'When there's Notin' on the Tele'.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Blue Boats

There’s something moving in the water…
“Could it be a shark?”, the coxswain cried.
It’s gone quite fishy so we oughta
Restart this race, regain some pride.
That’s messed up our Joint Understanding,
Are rules our rules? It’s all fairplay -
J.G.Chambers with Queensberry branding,
The gloves are on. What’s that you say?
You need an oar to put your oar in?
Don’t be silly, there’s a good chap.
Unfair advantage? That’s a straight win!
(The Doctor’s just having a nap).
Schooled to beat you, class what schooled you,
Learned to get a nought from his
Attempts to show our breeding. Fooled you
To think rank is just how it is.
When life feels like an upstream battle,
It’s time for worms to turn the tide -
With pranks and thanks for actions that’ll
Stem the flow of fratricide.
Instead of just politely knocking,
Barge inside, throw wide the door.
Democracy? Popular flocking.
Don’t mention 1984.

© keyfeatures

Australian expat Trenton Oldfield disrupts the 158th Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race
Biography is all masked ball or epitaph. As you find me, so we are. For those who like to think they know stuff, I'm a magician's daughter. More here. Tweet @YachtNinky

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

What suits a nudist

What suits a nudist?

Warm air and obscure sun.

Absence of thorns, mosquitos,

prurient minds.

Unpredatory companions.


Best: privacy,

when surface to surface

seams self to Time.

Wear it well.

© L S Bassen

Supreme Court Ruling Allows Strip Searches for Any Arrest
L.S. Bassen won the 2009 APP Drama Prize & a Mary Roberts Rinehart Fellowship; 2011; She is a Book Reviewer for, the, and press1, and has been a finalist for Flannery O’Connor Award.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Another lullaby

Hush little baby, hush, don’t you cry;
Big Brother will rock you to sleep by and by.
No fussing and fretting, just close up those eyes
and drift off to sleep to a sweet lullaby.
Because Big Brother loves you and wants you to know
he’s always beside you wherever you go.
Big Brother will spare you the pain and the grief
of a world that’s half crazy and armed to the teeth;
No need to be scared; no, you don’t understand;
rest assured that the nation is safe in his hands.
Big Brother will bang up the drunks and thugs
and never back down in the war against drugs;
he’ll clean up the streets and he’ll keep Britain great
by breaking the unions before it’s too late.
and then there’s the police, education and health,
all in need of reform and a source of new wealth.
Big Brother can do it: the future is blue.
You voted him in, now he’ll look after you.
We’re in this together, we’re none of us plebs.
Big Brother is watching us snore in our beds.

© Abigail Wyatt

New powers to record every phone call and email makes surveillance '60m times worse'
Abigail is the 2012 winner of the Lisa Thomas Poetry Award. Her collection, 'Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories' , will be published by One Million Stories early in 2012.

Monday, 9 April 2012


Virginia, with creeping tendrils, nearly lay
down women for ultrasound invasion
of the vagina, the uterus, not too personal,
like her vagina, or her uterus.

It was fantasy – ultrasound vibration,
and not even in bed nor on an office desk,
no, the thrust came inside a pinned-down
woman on white paper sheet.

Remember, Thelma and Louise rolled down
the road, faces to the sky, daring fate, scarves
flown to the wind, chastity belts clearly not
in their convertible.

Warren Jeffs’ children, child-wives, wives,
chattels, escaped, too, down the road
at night in a white van, and thanked God
men are not gods.

Now Saudi women drive cars and take pills
to limit children. But in America women’s pills
slip them into whoredom, their red lipstick
slick, a sure sign of the squeal of rubber.

And men in green jackets knock balls in holes
that lie on warm grass. The Greek nymph
Echo shouts tales of men hunting in vaginas.
Women swing across tops of trees.

© Lavinia Kumar

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signs pre-abortion ultrasound bill

Republican Hearing on Contraception: No Women Allowed

At Masters, Anticipating New I.B.M. Chief’s Arrival

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, based in Portsmouth, NH.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Sunday Review

We started the week on a skeptical note with Cornish poet Abigail Wyatt;s take on the 'Bradford Spring': Georgie 'Porgie' Galloway and there was no surprise when quirky Maryland poet Kay Weeks wasn't buying the corporate line in Wal Mart, Organic?

But we had some surprises - L.S. Bassen reclaimed an 'unspeakable' word in her powerful Cut the Cant on Tuesday. And new contributor Isaac Black's narrative poem The Titanic and the Black Man told the story of Joseph Laroche, the ill-fated vessel's only black passenger, it's final image: "still swimming: an Olympian, your body defying / the bone chill of water."

Social media has been in the news lately: The Poet Geo brought us Data Dictator on UK government plans to snoop on our online lives. And we finished the week with Barbara Gabriel's Why Can't a Killer be Loved? with that great line: "must love rock and roll and have a sense of humor" which chilled and amused in equal measures... something we always like to do here at Poetry24.

Have a great holiday weekend, but don't forget to keep the poems coming!

Clare (and Martin)

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Why Can't a Killer be Loved?

Why can’t a killer be loved?
When an English prison holds him fast
and tight, by leg-irons and manacles and five paces each way.
Shut yer pie hole, Monster!
rings off stone walls as the night guard raps his baton on iron bars. Clang!

Alone, our killer leaves clues
to his desire: the bloke wants to chat.
Hardened hands throttled life from a lovely, now softly tap tap tap
on keyboard to woo his pen-pal: must love rock and roll and have a sense of humor.
Should a killer be kept from love?

© Barbara Gabriel

Prisoners taunting victims on Facebook

Raised along Highway 61 in Minnesota, Barbara ran away to sea, living and working around the world. She curses like a sailor and loves a well-fitting pair of boots.

Friday, 6 April 2012

The Titanic and the Black Man

"It is strange that nowhere in the copious 1912
press descriptions of the ship and the interviews
with the survivors was the presence of a Black
family among the passengers ever mentioned."

--Judith Geller, Titanic Historian

I can imagine how your eyes lifted to shrieking
stars, Joseph Laroche. You, never to be Amen 'd
(not a minute to be minstrel), were the lone black
man going down with the Titanic. You type-roped
on a hairline, dizzied, nameless--not a Rothschild--
not news worthy. We'll never see you in any wax
museum. But you were swaying every-which-way
on that Floating Palace, maybe shouting fluent
English and/or French as those angelic musicians
played, "Nearer, My God, To Thee." Here, we can
see the psychedelic fury on the Boat Deck, you
trying to find Life Jackets, the Invisible Man. How
did you get your olive-colored wife and two "Jap
babies" (that's what someone said), into a last boat?
The nephew of a Prince of Haiti, you were never
going to fly on the bow (no Kate Winslet for you),
in any mega-movie. We wonder, of course, did you
ever strut across the Grand Lobby, tell John
Aster, a valet, anyone--that you were degreed,
an engineer? That nobody would hire you? No,
the iceberg wasn't an equalizer. But we're with
you now, hear the sputter of boilers, do study
the bulkheads, see the high funnel of the ship
falling. Today, Joseph Laroche, somewhere in
the Atlantic, we would like to think that you are
still swimming: an Olympian, your body defying
the bone chill of water, giving it that full stroke--
a Glory against all odds--not sinking, ever.

© Isaac Black

Titanic tale fuses tragedy, truth

Isaac Black has poems published or forthcoming in journals like the Beloit
Poetry Journal, Callaloo, and Poetry Quarterly. He's been awarded New
York poetry fellowships.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Data Dictator

The law of unintended consequence tossed a knowing wink in my direction,
“Tyranny and political ambition are linked but fools don't see the connection;
This politician sees me not, yet for his single issue he's got a big erection.”

One quarter turn of the screw

One quarter turn of the screw

Data-dictator slowly screws you

As sentient aspects of the universe, we are born individuals in God's eternity;
You, as free upstanding citizens, have the inalienable right to cyber privacy;
He, as ambitious Data-dictator, has the insatiable wrong of cyber piracy.

One quarter turn of the screw

One quarter turn of the screw

Data-dictator screws you over

Personal information about you is private property, you own your 'me' copyright;
Harvesting and mining without consent is theft, and abuse of a fundamental right.


Snoopers charter will cost taxpayers £2bn

Even in draft form @thePoetGeo sees the proposed bill for what it is, a declaration of war on liberty and privacy of the individual. Therefore, the local Tory and Liberal offices have been informed not to come canvassing on my doorstep or else they are liable to become targets for sudden acts of poetry.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Wal Mart, Organic?

I felt a certain panic to read that
Wal Mart was going organic!
Not because they won’t do it
and profit,
--and many will get off on it--
but because I buy khaki padded envelopes,
red trikes, a t.v., one small lamp shade
and, although they are mostly well-made,
(yet employees are denied benefits and raises)
the idea of organic down the widened aisles
just screams a kind of cultural decay
and upscale begging,
profiteering by means of
applying a revered kind of name (organic)
to eggs, lettuce, apples, carrots, spinach,
strawberries, and the like,
and offering in sleazy packaged form
all that foodie, trendy stuff that beguiles.

© Kay Weeks

Is Walmart Really Going Organic and Local?

Kay Weeks. Ellicott City, MD. Worked in national historic preservation for 30 years, Dep’t of Interior, National Park Service, in the policy-setting Wash. DC home office.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Cut the Cant

Whether bully or runt
or women cowed,
Woe unto you, scribes
and Pharisees, hypocrites;
you’re called out now;
Momma’s gonna throw
you from the train.
She wears a necklace
of shining cowrie shells;
In the Beginning,
She was the Word;
tides bowed before Her.
Bullies, runts, women cowed,
cut the cant on cunt. Now.

© L.S. Bassen

Grand, Old and Anti-Woman

An Unspeakable Word Is the Word That Has to Be Spoken
L.S. Bassen won the 2009 APP Drama Prize & a Mary Roberts Rinehart Fellowship; 2011; She is a Book Reviewer for, the, and press1, and has been a finalist for Flannery O’Connor Award.

Monday, 2 April 2012

George Galloway

Gorgeous Georgie, pudding and pie,
declared that Blair had told a lie;
the war, he swore, was rightly crime;
our Tony should be doing time.
For, out to woo the Muslim vote,
Gorgeous Georgie changed his coat:
New Labour, so he loudly said,
has lost its way and now instead
of substance it has only spin
and hollow men who cannot win
the trust of those they’ve long betrayed
for deals they then denied they’d made.
Gorgeous Georgie, pie and pud,
has caused a stir each time he’s stood;
but now it seems, he’s made his point:
the times are truly out of joint.

© Abigail Wyatt

George Galloway hails 'the Bradford Spring'

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, 1 April 2012

Burmese Dawn

© Anthony Baverstock

159 Observers to Monitor Burma Election
Anthony Baverstock is from Colchester, reputed home of Humpty-Dumpty.