Thursday, 28 February 2013

Step on a Crack


Didn’t anyone ever tell you, puta
nothing in life is free?
Javier whispers hard in my ear
and I know I will pay many times tonight
because Viernes is payday for the men. For me.

You must take steps, chica, proper steps
on your climb to prosperity. Fake it!
Carolina counsels, you are an Actriz now. Makeup
is serious business. Her accent
coastal- fast as gunfire.

English! Slap. Speak English! Slam.
Javier teaches me words copied
like a child: Wanna date big guy?
Sweet virgin, sweet girl. Spanish stays tucked
silent under my tongue. American men want American words.

The sistema por cuotas
keeps me on my back
twenty five times each day
but Sunday. God sees us,
girls whisper. God is busy.

Behind locked doors, in cells
we sleep, head to foot, hand in hand.
Sometimes a lullaby
Sometimes a sharp intake of breath
Wakes me from dreams.

For I dream tonight, in Spanish. Dreams
of hope, of Mama waiting my return.
Tomorrow I will fake it: an actriz,
a super-model. Practice my runway
walk. Try not to step on a crack.


© Barbara Gabriel

Twelve arrested in US raid on Latino sex-trafficking ring 

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.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

An Education in Silence

for Julie McClure

This morning, light spilled into the courtyard
like God had opened a window.
The light is quiet and can’t be herded
from dormitory beds to morning mass –
it shines where it wants,
blushing the stained glass windows,
washing the priest’s words.

My mother doesn’t write.
It’s been three years. My hands
crack from the heat of the sheets
as we feed them through the mangle.
The high windows admit one square
of light, on the word repent
and I am silent like the sunlight.

© Jessica Traynor

Stanhope St women to get assistance

Jessica Traynor is a Dublin poet. Her poems have appeared in Southword, the SHOp, the Moth and the Stinging Fly. She has won the Listowel Poetry Prize. Her blog is jessicatraynor.wordpress.com

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Haikus

tears
cleanse stains on soiled linen--
Magdalene redress

dirty laundry--
Magdalene women get
state apology

© Máire Morrissey-Cummins

Taoiseach delivers state apology to Magdalene women

Máire is Irish, lives in Co. Wicklow and retired early from the Financial Sector. She is a member of Haiku Ireland and the Irish Haiku Society and has been published in Every Day Poets, New Ulster, Lynx, Sketchbook haiku, Notes from the Gean, A Hundred Gourds, Whirligig, The First Cut, Wordlegs, and Open Road Review.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Jack's Alright

Alright Jack? And how are you today?
Any propaganda to repeat?
No red-top headlines, green-inked bile,
that you’d like to regurgitate for me?
I’m all ears for your misplaced fears,
for the glowing generalities that glitter when you speak
for the bandwagon slander littering your speech

What about the ‘scroungers’ who live across the street?
The ones with the Blackberry and Sky TV?
Living off your taxes, lying on their backs,
according to the gospel of the right-wing rags.
If it’s in the papers then it’s obviously true!

You’re a hard-working family, a ‘striver’ to be sure,
and the ‘shirkers’ over there, they earn 20k a year!
Jack, you know it doesn’t go into their  pauper’s purse
The landlord gets the benefit, and they live on a pittance,
deflating by the day to bleed them dry

They lost their jobs a year ago, and now they’re on their arse bones,
feeding from the food banks funded by the network
of Tory boys and greedy chums with crafty plans ahoy

But there isn’t any bread, and there’s no fresh veg,
no milk or meat or dignity to dine on
Their Sky TV was cut off but the dish remains in place
‘cause Murdoch can’t be arsed to take it down
And the Blackberry? It’s dead, without a dime to call the time

But don’t let this impede the yellow mantra you repeat
as a talisman against redundancy
Just close your ears and shut your eyes
and pray your acts of Daily Fail
will help you stay a ‘striver’ all your life

God forbid you lose your foot upon the rung

© Laura Taylor

Wage war on shirkers

Laura Taylor has been writing and performing poetry for just over two years and has finally found a space in which to air her grievances with Authority. Her Writeoutloud profile is http://www.writeoutloud.net/profiles/laura

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Sunday Review


This week we began with Csilla Toldy's Danube-Duel. `This was about the rising 'rabid' right-wing politics in Hungary which had been recently attacking Gypsies with virulent anti-semitism and its xenophobi Christian Nationanalism. I particularly liked the feeling of aggressive imprisonment in this poem, ending with the ominous 'sulphuric silence.'

We then had High Occupany by Maeve O'Sullivan on Tuesday. The oddity of this story – one about a man who was arrested for having a skeleton in his car so he could use the carpool lane – caught our attention which its strange humour and a surreal blackness.

Wednesday we had Out of Their Mouths Are They Convicted? By our own Abigail Wyatt.  This was a strong piece in it appearance and form. The story was about an elder person found with rotting flesh on him. It was something Abigail felt strongly about, writing in the aggressive irony of 'The nursing home / was treating him well.'

On Thursday we had The Big Issue by David Subacchi. There were a string of murders of Big Issue sellers and this poem highlights the sad loss of them. There is the poignant, guilt-heavy line of 'There are blood stains / Spreading on the cover.'

And for Saturday we chose Her Name is Reeva by Janine Booth. This was a strong and very recent news story that we wanted to put out. It was about then death of Reeva Steenkamp who was killed by her boyfriend, Oscar Pistorious. The poem was giving the identity back to Reeva since the media had been labeling her as the dead girlfriend of Oscar Pistorious, an unnamed celebrity.

We're usually sifting through piles of poetry but as usual we need more, and as the news changes you can write more.

Remember yo send your news-related poems to poetry24@hotmail.com

Have a good week,

Michael.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Her Name is Reeva

Her name is Reeva
Reeva Steenkamp
Not ‘Oscar Pistorius’ girlfriend’
Not ‘model’
Not ‘reality TV star’
Her name is Reeva

Her name is Reeva
She was not just a model
But also a campaigner against violence
She was not just a reality TV star
But also a law graduate
The story is about her killing
Not about his fame
Or it should be
Her name is Reeva

His name is Oscar
Oscar Pistorius
And every news report calls him that
Her name is Reeva
Sometimes mentioned
But only after ‘his model girlfriend’

He slept with guns
She is one of fifty victims of homicide every day in South Africa

Her name is Reeva
She is a woman
A person in her own right
Not the appendage of the celebrity who killed her
Even now she is dead
She still has a name
Use it please

© Janine Booth

Oscar Pistorius sobs in court describing how he shot his model girlfriend thinking she was a robber

Janine is a socialist feminist, executive member of the RMT trade union, writer and activist, former Stroppyblogger, and supporter of Women’s Fightback.
Her Facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/janine.booth1
Her Twitter is: @janinebooth

Friday, 22 February 2013

The Big Issue

I used to buy The Big Issue
Then I didn’t bother
But in Birmingham
There are blood stains
Spreading on the cover

Two homeless sellers
Murdered in broad daylight
My local seller
Is from Rumania
She says “Buna”
Which means “Hello”

It’s the first time
I have spoken to her
I buy the paper
Sticky with conscience.

© David Subacchi

Man charged over Birmingham Big Issue murders

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

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Out of Their Mouths Are They Convicted?


Retired master baker dies: Cornwall coroner says care home wasn't negligent.

(Negligent | adjective | failing to take proper care)

Concerns were raised 

over rotting flesh,
an inquest heard last week

when an ambulance crew,
arriving at the scene,
became concerned 

for their patient's well being.

The patient, on being
discharged from hospital,
had been relocated to 
a Camborne nursing home.

Mr Reginald Stone was ninety-six
and he suffered from dementia;
he also had diabetes
and serious heart disease.
He had fallen 
eight months earlier
and fractured his calf.

When the ambulance came
he was in a lot of pain
and the smell from his room
was unbearable.

He had worn his cast
for fourteen weeks.
It was leaking rotting
flesh and goo.

There were pressure sores

around his knee
but a PC found no evidence

of wrongdoing.

Still, the pathologist
went on record
expressing his surprise:

There was this smell,
he told the inquest
and nobody did anything about it.

If you smell something

you have to try

to figure [it] out.

Mr Stone's GP regretted the fact
that the smell wasn't
brought to his attention.

There was, however, no negligence,
he said. The nursing home
was treating him well.

© Abigail Wyatt, 2013


Vulnerable 96year old man found with rotting flesh in Camborne

Abigail Wyatt lives at Druids Lodge in the shadow of Carn Brea in Redruth.where she writes, mainly poetry and short fiction, and tries not to get too depressed. She is a founding member of the Red River Poetry Collective and enjoys performing her work locally. She has a fine collection of axes all of which she is much disposed to grind. Her blog is here

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

High Occupancy

No, we're not going to be late
for the ceremony. Nearly there Mom.
You know I hate it when you act
the back seat driver.

Uh-oh, we're being pulled over.
What do you mean are my tax
and insurance still okay?
Of course they are, Mom!

Good afternoon, officer.
Yes, I am aware that this is
the car pool lane. No, I am not
travelling alone. That
is my mother back there...

Can't you see her?

© Maeve O'Sullivan

Skeleton in passenger seat - driver arrested.

Maeve O’Sullivan works as a media lecturer in Dublin. She has published her poems and haiku widely. Her first haiku collection, Initial Response, was launched by Alba Publishing in 2011. www.twitter.com/maeveos

Monday, 18 February 2013

Danube - Duel

Is that a boat or a coffin
bobbing up and down on the river
framed by the intricate lace of the parliament?

The country taught me hate
the tightness of place, sometimes echoed
when the gales gather and attack this island.

No escape, lie low, let the winds blow overhead,
wait, even if you are sitting on a hot spring
even if you fume vitriol.

Remembering the river’s bank
ragged lines of men and women, shot
after they were told to slip off their shoes.

Boney bare trees reach up into the sky
grab the pain - hanging on
pulling it down, draw it deep into the soil.

The Danube splits the land. From the crack
incredible amounts of fresh water, hot and clear
bubble up with the smell of rotten eggs.

Healing waters - they say -
good for the bones and joints,
the ailments that plague the core of the nation.

The never got buried float away into the sky -
in the spas soaking people play chess
in sulphuric silence.

© Csilla Toldy


Rabid right on the rise in Hungary

Csilla Toldy left Hungary in 1981. She does not wish to return. Csilla's stories and poetry have appeared in The Black Mountain Review, Southword, Fortnight, Poetry Monthly, and Strictly Writing Award. Her blog is http://www.csillatoldy.com/

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sunday Review


It has been a week of ups and downs here in the boggy marshland that is Cornwall. On the down side, the repair to my laptop which was promised for the beginning of this week, still has not materialised and I am now, officially, so far behind with all kinds of projects that I must have very little chance of ever catching up. On a more positive note, though, it has been a good week socially with two trips to The Poly in Falmouth. The first of these was to see a Valentine's Day showing of 'Truly, Madly, Deeply' (complete with chocolates and paper handkerchiefs) and the second to enjoy the music and quirky humour of the indefatigable Neil Inness at 'Another Chance to Get It Right', his current one man show.

Yes, I know the Bonzo Dogs were a long time ago but, in addition to the old stuff and the clowning around, Mr Inness offered some sharply observed humour, not to mention a handful of thought-provoking and/or heart-wrenching ditties. Many of the audience, it is true, were of a 'a certain age' but there were, too, some younger admirers and we were all treated to - and most heartily enjoyed - a spirited rendition of that old Python favourite 'The Philosophers Song'.

Why is this relevant to this week's review? Well, in some ways, it isn't.  On the other hand, as my partner and I sat in the audience, we were heartened by Mr Inness's sheer vitality as much as entertained by his actual performance. It was evident to us that he is passionately committed to creative endeavour right - and here I quote one of his own lyrics - to 'the end of the line'.

So, then, on that note, on to the poetry. Gwen Seabourne's 'Raising the White Rose' got us off to an excellent start by asking us to consider the 'unknowable' identity of Richard III. Was he, after all, a 'hero' or a 'monster'? As was pointed out by Michael Ray, the rhythm of this piece was strikingly effective as was the hissing sibilance of 'that snake-twisted spine/ and those venomous wounds'.

On  Wednesday, Maeve Heneghan brought us 'Heavenly Laundry', a response to the accounts given by survivors of the Magdalene Laundries. In the final stanza, a lifetime of loss is boldly stated:

'After that day
I pushed him into this world,
I never saw him again.
He had red hair,
just like his da.'

Thank you, Maeve, for this powerful yet disciplined poem and thank you, too, to those who took the time to leave comments on the site. It is pleasing to see that we are getting a few more of these lately since we do value a dialogue. Incidentally, we really don't mind if someone disagrees with us (as happened to yours truly very recently) since it seems to us that it is part of the job of the poet to poke his or her head above the parapet from time to time.

Thursday saw the welcome return to Poetry 24 of Noel Loftus whose 'Sky Burial' was a positive feast of wonderful lines and images. My own favourite was:

'the Tibetans will bear you to a plateau on a mountain,
shadowed by wild dogs barking your song.'

I also admired the skilful - and fearless -  use of repetition in the opening stanza and I loved the idea of 'the crows who come last'. Noel's poem was a little longer than we usually publish, though our guidelines do specify up to forty lines of verse. Please don't submit anything longer than this because we will only have to ask you to edit it down.

Finally, on Friday, E.R. Olsen gave us 'Timbuktu', a reminder of the value of 'ancient books' and a timely warning that their willful destruction 'will not do'. It seems to me that this is a poem that speaks - or should speak - to all of us, especially those of us here in Britain at a time when our libraries are under threat. Unfortunately, we have a government who cares not a jot for those who depend on the library service more or less entirely for their access to books for pleasure and study. Like E. R. Olsen, we might well 'hope to find/for culture’s sake/fate spared a few.'

Well, that's all from me for a while. Thanks to all our contributors and readers. Please keep the submissions coming and don't forget to tell your friends. Abi

Friday, 15 February 2013

Timbuktu


It will not do
The destruction
of ancient books
in Timbuktu

These were not new
or modern works
Lies of the west
Things to eschew

Vengeful adieu
Burning their own
texts and Korans
All that is true

And we've no clue
but hope to find
for culture’s sake
fate spared a few

You’ve come in view
Oh end of Earth
Like other spots
we never knew

A strange milieu
What irony
The savior’s come
Red white and blue

But wrecking crew
Will they return
when legions leave
to follow through?

© E. R. Olsen

Ancient Manuscripts In Timbuktu Reduced To Ashes


E. R. Olsen writes poetry and practices law in Nevada, where he lives with his wife and four children.  His poems have appeared  in various U.S. magazines and journals, and will be included in the upcoming issue of Naugatuck River Review.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Sky Burial

They being Buddhist,
the body an empty vessel when worn
and that vessel cold
because He has taken you from your shelf now,
and having no taste for wakes or sleeps,
or tears, or what a decent man he was,
or what a proud mother she was,
and such nonsense,
and having little wood to burn you,
no soil to hide you,
no lies to embroider you,
no basket to solicit your last few coins,
no prayers to appease you,
no child to love you, poor cadaver,
the Tibetans will bear you to a plateau on a mountain,
shadowed by wild dogs barking your song.

That song will be discordant now
because the wind is cold
and the tripping monk with stiff fingers will lay you
on the bed of rock.
Denying the worms their banquet,
denying the fire its fury,
grinning down his whiskey,
he will rend your flesh with a cleaver,
scatter your bits aside
for the griffons who come first.
He will crush your bones with a sledge
to be mixed with flour for the hawks
and the crows who come last,
who will pick the bed of rock, and your shroud, clean.

If you were meagre you become bird faeces falling
from the sky to fuse with the pungent guano of those who had station.
Together you will feed the bitter grass to feed the yak to feed the people.
Later a boy will take your shroud and wash it in the stream.
Later he will lay it on the roof of the world to dry.


©Noel Loftus, 2013




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

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Heavenly Laundry

I fell in love with a fella,
that was my only crime.
Before my belly swelled,
they had to put me away.

Eleven hours a day
I scrubbed clean
all remnants of my sin.

As tears merged
with murky waters,
sheets of fallen women,
my memories, like the stains
began to fade.

After that day
I pushed him into this world,
I never saw him again.
He had red hair,
just like his da.

©Maeve Heneghan

Maeve Heneghan is a native of County Dublin.  She has been writing poetry and short stories for a number of years now and has had some of her work published with First Cut, Verse land,  Static Poetry and Every Day Poets.

Magdalene laundry report

Monday, 11 February 2013

Raising the White Rose

Under the tarmac
in a car park
in Leicester,
the unresting-place
of a hero or monster;
medievally evil
or misrepresented:
deformed and despised
or well loved and splendid?

Some skeleton facts
pulled out of the ground:
that snake-twisted spine
and those venomous wounds
but fleshier questions
can never be answered
by bare beaten bones
from a car park
in Leicester.

© Gwen Seabourne


Gwen Seabourne teaches and researches in law and legal history by day and by night writes poems. She has had poems on Poetry 24, in various magazines, has had work on R4 Poetry Find out more about Gwen

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sunday Review

The week at Poetry24 started with a reminder that rising tides don't always raise everyone equally, so to speak, from  James Besant's 'Swallowed'. I like the mention of the "voice in the dark" which has the feeling of helplessness in the face of nature about it.
Craig Guthrie's 'Harry' gave a nicely done look at  political decisions made by governments and how it can mean that sometimes we have to take a side at a personal level.
In his second appearance in the week James Besant extracted the urine from an all too common facet of professional sport in 'Hazard'.
David Mellor's 'Pushed Over' on Thursday really hit the mark as the world gets faster and faster and workers get squeezed evermore. It's like a jungle sometimes, but, as poets, we carry the best machetes.
Abi Wyatt's 'Locked In'  followed up and re-enforced the message that we're all getting a bit more locked in.
Peter Goulding's 'Scourge the Bastard' finished up the week with a poem about decriminalizing drugs which drew attention to way that society reacts to any thought of that. Strangely enough, there are double standards involved.
A good week reflecting a few worrying trends that are emerging in the world. There must be more things that you could write about, we would even like some happy poems! So submit your poem today!!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Scourge the Bastard

Scourge the bastard till he starts to bleed
(they cry, with righteous anger and disdain)
for advocating legalising weed.

Elected democratically, indeed!
Drugs have caused such misery and pain,
so scourge the bastard till he starts to bleed.

Protect our children from this evil creed
and cut the tongues from those who won’t refrain
from advocating legalising weed.

You say that hash is harmless? I concede
that alcohol is much more of a stain.
Still, scourge the bastard till he starts to bleed.

And cigarettes may feed a dying breed
but string him up, I tell you once again,
for advocating legalising weed.

You might as well say pushers should be freed
to kill our kids with acid and cocaine!
So, scourge the bastard till he starts to bleed.
for advocating legalising weed.

© Peter Goulding

Time for debate on cannabis says 'Ming.'

Peter Goulding rails at life from the comfort of his Dublin armchair. Lured into poetry by the promise of untold wealth, his work has been rejected by editors in four continents.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Locked In

It is not until I see it on my own TV
that I perceive that we are all like him,
poor prisoners of our grief and pain
who blink at this unheeding world
and cannot bear to contemplate
that this is all there is.
He is plump and pale, yet full of fight,
and young as I am old;
too young to know he makes the news
to sound that bell of hope
that threatens those 
who lack the means 
and strength to make their case.
Their lives are led: 
a brief age past,
they would be left for dead.
So look not to find mercy
where is capital our king
and our greed becomes our coffin
since, by it, we're all 
locked in.

Abigail lives in Redruth in Cornwall where she writes poetry and short fiction and does her best to remain positive.  Her new blog is at abigailelizabethwyatt.wordpress.com. She can also be found on Facebook.
 

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Pushed Over

Pushed on and pushed on further
Those in work can feel the hairline crack
Lay in the bath completely wrung out
Drained, blurry-eyed, some deadline has whizzed by

Frontal lobotomy “what piece of shit have I got to write today”
Pushed on, pushed on blurry-eyed
Let go, let go of what kept you alive

And if by some chance
We see you slumped at your desk
With rigor mortis setting in
We’ll expect you to keep pressing the keys

© David Mellor

British men are working the longest hours in Europe

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, 6 February 2013

Hazard

Flash up the warning lights.
Switch on parental controls.
The following programme contains:
Violence
Racisim
Bad Language
Homophobia
Sexism

Take caution,
Contents are hazardous,
And not suitable for children.

May contain small parts,
Compensated by money,
And fast cars.

If consumed,
See a doctor immediately.

© James Bessant

Hazard may face longer ban

Biography: James lives in London, and has been writing stories and poems for some years. His blog can be found at www.jamesbessant.blogspot.co.uk

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Harry


I have now deleted from my life,
An army man and an army wife,
Though it sliced me like the knife,
I saw no option.

I questioned not the courage there,
Nor intent to prove a care,
Nor the man of action rare,
But blind obedience.

If I am a parcel of vain strivings tied,
It is a horse’s conscience you provide,
So friendship for truth’s sake has died,
And suffered greatly.

It was the praise of Harry’s sin,
Applauded seven seconds in,
His ominous and passing grin,
Precisely seven seconds in,
That ominous and passing grin,
Which tipped me over.

I've not the time to argue, or,
The energy to make case for,
The pulling from all foreign war,
While ignorance of this magnitude reigns.

© Craig Guthrie

Prince Harry in Afghanistan

Craig Guthrie is from Wirral, UK. You can read more of his work on his blog, Satan is Biting My Ankle

Monday, 4 February 2013

Swallowed

Time and tide wait
For no man they say
But here the tide swallows
The whole of the bay.

Where once we called home
The ocean laps high
We swam and we paddled
And we waved it goodbye.

But the waves kept on coming
And still they rise now
Oh to stem back the waters
I wish I knew how.

I'll wait for that message
A voice in the dark
To tell me that it's time
To begin on my ark.


© James Bessant

Sea Change: the Bay of Bengal's vanishing islands

James lives in London, and has been writing stories and poems for some years. His blog can be found at jamesbessant.blogspot.co.uk

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Sunday Review

Here at Poetry 24 the week didn't start until Tuesday. I am not sure quite what happened there but, generally, it has been that sort of week. Since my new laptop gave up the ghost very early on Monday morning I have been in a state of solemn and desperate mourning. Yes, I know I still have my iPad but it really isn't the same.

For one thing, I have had to rely on Hamish and Michael to keep the poems coming. (Without a laptop the necessary formatting just cannot be done.) For another, the trauma associated with the loss has impacted on my own writing. I have produced one poem and half a short story. It really isn't enough.

Thankfully, our contributors have done rather better. Maeve Heneghan opened on a powerful note with her spare and uncompromising 'Justice and the Beast', a poem which we were pleased to see elicited much comment. Our thanks go to all those who took the time to register their support for justice for women. Regular readers will know that it is a cause close to my heart.

Equally powerful and also much appreciated both by readers and fellow contributors was Philip Johnson's  'eve of holocaust memorial day' with its haunting image of the man 'wearing striped pyjamas'.  In the words of our own  David Subbacchi, it was both 'concise' and 'mysterious'.

Thursday and Friday brought us back to the story with which we started the week and it is clear that there are issues here that resonate for many of our readers. First, Amy Barry communicated to us something of the anguish that must have been felt by Fiona Doyle as, in the wake of her father's trial, she found herself obliged to continue 'Her Life Sentence'. As someone who, in her early teens had taste this kind of 'justice', what I found most powerful about this poem was its commanding physicality, most particularly the poet's representation of an anger too extreme to be expressed: 'Hot blood rages through her veins and 'she wants to thump her fists/ against his chest,/ his face.'

Then, on Friday, Caroline Hurley also had her say reminding us of some of the wider issues: for example, how 'Austerity cuts keep the people lean' and also 'the prisons full'. 'Perversities' also reminds that, even in incarcerated in our prisons, we are far from being 'in it together' as she points a telling finger at the 'fallen fat-cats in their first class cells.'

Saturday, though, struck a different note - and the pun is entirely and unashamedly intended - with Steve Pottinger's  tribute to the courage and generosity of spirit of rock musician Wilko Johnson who has recently received a diagnosis of terminal cancer. 'The day we elected...'  has something to say to us all so I would like to close this week's review by quoting  the WJ's 'simple words': 'I don't wanna be greedy.' Well said, Mr Johnson. It would be a better world if we could all say the same.

Abigail Wyatt

Saturday, 2 February 2013

The day we elected...


... Wilko Johnson president
the sun shone.
Which was a start.
He walked into Parliament with a heart
full of honest intentions
and a Telecaster in his arms
and we were one nation under a groove
under a riff. A distinctive, choppy, furious,
down-and-dirty-and-your-momma-wouldn’t-like-it riff.

The day we elected Wilko Johnson president
the Commons rocked out in a way
it hadn’t since Pitt the Younger’s solo
on a harpsichord he’d smuggled into the chamber
during the Poor Law debate
stilled the shouting
knocked the discord dead
and became the stuff of legend.
But now we had amplification
and a lot more soul.

The day we elected Wilko Johnson president
we ditched the old national anthem
for the new. Some bloke from Canvey Island saying
Well, shit happens
80 000 people roared along at Wembley
the 5 Live commentator was still chuckling
when San Marino scored their second
England lost 3-1. No-one cared.

The day we elected Wilko Johnson president
the sun shone.
Or it may have rained.
I don’t know, I was drunk for a week
singing our three-word anthem
with friends, strangers, countrymen
watching borders become meaningless
wealth become worthless
his simple words
I don’t wanna be greedy
echoing through my mind
like a Telecaster, riffing on sustain.

© Steve Pottinger

This poem was inspired by Wilko Johnson's comment - on receiving the news he has terminal cancer - that he'd had a good life, and didn't want to be greedy.
http://stevepottinger.co.uk
twitter: @oneangrypoet

Friday, 1 February 2013

Perversities


Postponing years of a life already diabolically infringed upon
By the imposition of a father’s lust on her defenceless young flesh,
She appeals over the family head: social justice is once more transgressed.

Austerity cuts keep the people lean, in line, and the prisons full;
Over-crowded, violent and drug-soaked, save for the sexual offenders,
Cossetted, apart, in clover, and for the fallen fat-cats in their first-class cells.

Restorative measures, worthwhile for inducing wrongdoers to understand and
Endure consequences of their crimes, are back-burnered; their cathartic truths
Faithfully practised only by conscientious objectors and by common criminals inside.

© Caroline Hurley

Man who raped daughter  for 10 years released on bail

Why our jails fail

Caroline's poems have previously appeared in Poetry24. Some were also published in the e-magazine, The Electric Acorn. Besides poetry, she's written a novel, short stories, and both a stage and screenplay. Clebran.org featured a chapter from her novel and some flash fiction. Her current project is young adult fiction.