Friday, 31 January 2014

The Subjective Nature of News

That’s how you bang on a wall
I thought,
To a familiar smell

It’s news if it’s on
Or The BBC

What’s news to me
my three sprogs
one with a cold
two in the bogs

My eight websites
and my lost phone number
-          my eight websites
and my lost phone number
of poetry and prose
my made-up word
that nobody knows
the can and the Carlsberg
the thousandth rung
the thousandth rung
up  the mountain of dung

That’s how you bang on a wall
I thought
That should make them
Pause for thought

©Craig Guthrie

Craig is currently the featured writer in issue 36 of Erbacce Magazine. He has recently had work published in Poetry Scotland and Sam Smith's The Journal. His work can be accessed through this link:

Thursday, 30 January 2014


There can be no poems on mornings like this
neither before nor after breakfast;
they’ve build a fake refugee camp at Davos
complete with soldiers and mock corpses
so the rich can dirty their shoe soles
so they can rough up their retinas
and call it experience,
they'll call it learning and worthiness
our world leaders can lean-in
to conflict zone chic
and they can learn something
they’ll tell us that people can flourish in adversity
sure, didn’t they visit
a very close simulation of it?
And didn't they cry about it?
Oh yes they did.

My radio is spewing indistinguishable headlines
about how everything everywhere is better now
and the rain is relentless
the streets here are sleazy from it
parents are driving their steam-filled cars full of children,
they're sending them out to learn how to be obedient citizens
in this country where people of conscience are jailed
and my bed is a pit of insomnia
where the self won’t stand up to questioning
it can’t bear interrogations like this
the self won’t get up out of bed today
and I don’t blame it,
I'll have to leave without it.

Link to an article about Margaretta D'Arcy who is in jail

©Sarah Clancy

Wednesday, 29 January 2014


You who are no stranger to vandalism –
Do you feel the hurt-smash splinter-tinkle
of panes of painted glass? Your sanctuary
has been violated – Violence did no harm
to its thick masonry. But its device is

The root of all evil prompted them.
The root of all evil has been delving deep for some time.
Would this stab at its heart or the cancerous
mutation of purpose kill you again?

In the moonlight, it grew fungal
dark and magnificent.

But there are those who would let it rot.

©Aoife Troxel

Vandals Break into Ronchamp Chapel

Aoife Troxel has been writing poetry since the age of six. Luckily, she's improved since then. Before becoming a legal adult she was already two-time winner of the Poets Meet Painters Competition youth section. She has also read her poetry in Sežana, Slovenia as Cuisle Young Poet of the Year. 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

the second half of a pair of shoes wishes me good day

the second half of a pair of shoes
wishes me a good day

sat there in his cardboard box with his big broad smile
tapping together his feet - a plimsoll on his left foot
oddly a wellington on the right

he interlocks his contented fingers behind his head 
(does this guy not realise the cost of petrol or how much 
we must now to pay for a spare bedroom)
out of touch 
this posh boy we call a prime minister actually does feel
we are all enjoying the fruits of a recovery together?

©Philip Johnson

Previously appeared in: Poetry 24, The Ugly Tree; Poetry Scotland, Emergency Verse, Write Away, Caught In The Net, Red Pencil, Writer's Hood, Transparent Words; Emergency Verse and The Robin Hood Book. 

Monday, 27 January 2014

I Hear No Music

Here I am breathless, motionless
in Fort Worth minding Texan law

The breeze gently whispers my
name across Trinity River
I am the music I’ll never hear
the Nicaragua I’ll never see
I am my brother’s raven hair
After seven weeks in limbo the
authorities concede - common
sense relinquishes my father’s pain.

 Laws about Life and Death in Texas

©Martha Landman
Martha Landman writes poetry in tropical North Queensland, Australia. Her latest work appeared in Eunoia Review, The Camel Saloon and other journals.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Sunday Review

It's been a dismal week this week, I'm afraid, with poems very thin on the ground. That being the case, we are all the more grateful to those regular contributors who did send in their work. We also send our thanks - and, of course, the gratitude of the bears - to those who responded so promptly and so ably to our call for submissions. We are pleased to  say that we now have enough material to see us over the next few days. Please, though, do not stop submitting. We remain eager to receive your work.

On Monday, our poem came from Doug Polk who sent us 'Flames', his response to the current crisis in the Central African Republic.  The poem makes the stark point that 'people dying on a daily basis' is 'not anything new' but part of 'the reality' of Africa.  Moreover, we are told that, as the violence reaches'unprecedented levels', the total number of displaced people is edging towards one million. As individuals, it is hard, I think,  not to feel helpless and ashamed in the face of such a situation. Certainly, that is my own uncomfortable position. What is there, if anything, that I can do?

On Tuesday, our thanks went to Darrell Petska for 'What's one Rhino?'. This poem is a response to a story about a hunter, Corey Knowlton, who has received a number of death threats since winning an auction to hunt and kill an endangered black rhino.  It isn't that long since my own 'Goodbye, Western Black Rhino' appeared here at 'Poetry24' so regular readers will be in no doubt as to where my allegiance is on this one. Thank you, Darrell, for drawing the story to our attention.

Finally, on Thursday, E.R. Olsen helped us out with his 'Monarch' which alerts us to the fact that we may be on the brink of losing the beautiful monarch butterfly. Like the loss of the black rhino, this would be a tragedy. Want to think about it? Here's a picture to help. Have a good week. Abigail Wyatt

Friday, 24 January 2014

Another Call for Submissions

In the continued absence of any poems Clive and the bears are entertained
by Clive's twin brother's twin brother who gives a talk about his recent adventures

Thursday, 23 January 2014


Hung from trees in
high Sierra
Rippling bark
alive with orange

Do you fall when
loggers saw?
Or fly off quick
to who knows where?

Swim the air like
Swallows returning
If you find the
Milkweed’s trail

Else you will not
come again
Else we will
forget your name

E. R. Olsen lives in Nevada, where he practices law and writes poetry.  His poems have appeared on Poetry24 and other magazines and journals, including the Naugatuck River Review.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Call for Submissions

Here the bears, distressed to find there is no poem today, turn their attentions to the
re-enactmentof Hannibal's crossing of the Alps.

Come along boys and girls, Poetry24 needs your submissions. 
Heaven knows what the bears will get up to tomorrow.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

What's One Rhino?

He's old and gray, cantankerous,
and of little use to the ladies.
His head'll prove way more valuable
harvested than left to nature's ways.
What a waste, and so painful, just to be eaten
slowly to death by jackals, lions and vultures!
The hunter'll do everyone a favor,
rhino included. Then
the 1499 remaining Namibian rhinos
will have better sex (Really! It's scientific!) resulting in
more rhinos. Hell, let's kill 30 old bulls each year.
Or 300, making Namibia flush,
the rhino population skyrocket,
and the ranks of godly mercy hunters soar.
A rhino? It's a walking gold mine.
And a dead one is so much more 
than a head, severed by a saw,
crucified upon a wall.

Hunter bid $350,000 (£212,000) for a permit auctioned by the Dallas Safari Club

©Darrell Petska 

Darrell Petska is a former university editor. His poetry appears in a variety of print and online publications.

Monday, 20 January 2014


Africa in flames,
the political and social climates,
as harsh and unyielding as the Sahara,
people dying on a daily basis,
not anything new,
only the reasons change,
the reality,
Africa always has been,
and seemingly always will be . .  
in flames.

© Douglas Polk
Douglas is a poet from Nebraska. He has published three books of poetry;
In My Defense, The Defense Rests, and On Appeal.


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Sunday Review.

This week's first poem "The Secretary Says" was by yours truly concerning the pronouncements from the UK Secretary of Education on the portrayal of the First World War by modern academics and comedy writers. Perhaps he cannot tell them apart? I'm sure that this is their fault. I apologise to all Siegfried Sassoon fans but the lines I used seemed to leap out of the air into my laptop.
Paul Crompton's poem "Emotional Sandcastles" on Tuesday, dealt with two worrying trends in the modern world. Those of unemployment and sensationalist media.
The lines: but I kill those memories
because these streets are no place
to build emotional sandcastles.
sum up the harshness of modern life under twin attacks from those two forces. 
Laura Taylor's poem "No Justice" was Wednesday's poem and an angry jagged little pill. I admire poets who can say so much in so few words. For example, from this poem, 
his life resides in a box;
confined, entrapped,
determined, defined...
brings home the claustrophobic nature of inner city living in a strikingly effective manner.
Thomas Martin's poem "The Upper Crust" outlined the growing gulf in society between an elite who do not seem to suffer from their own incompetence and an underclass who will never get a chance to make a better life for themselves and their families. The problem is summed up in the last two lines as:
They know how to take money from the people
And distribute it among themselves.
 Luigi Pagano's "Toujours L'Amour" performed a very surgical skewering of the "you wouldn't believe it in a movie" situation in France. The last lines:
Can you imagine Cyrano
- he with a large hooter-
going to meet Roxane
in a three-wheeler scooter?
catch the absurdity of the affair, perfectly.
I hope you all have a good week. My family and I are beside the seaside on N.Z's east coast, our favourite place. Keep up with the news and keep up the submissions.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Toujours L'Amour

Here in gay Paree
we are a friendly bunch;
we don’t think twice
of inviting one to lunch.
We like to entertain
as a matter of course
with social (or sexual)
We do not mind
if we hear that Jean Pierre
has installed his mistress
in his pied-a-terre.
Nor we are surprised
to learn that the president
has a spare in tow, as well
as the one who is resident.
We can make love anywhere,
in a bed or even a vestibule,
but we cannot bear
to be held up to ridicule.
Can you imagine Cyrano
- he with a large hooter-
going to meet Roxane
in a three-wheeler scooter?
© Luigi Pagano 2013

Luigi Pagano is a regular contributor to Poetry24 as well as other websites such as and

Thursday, 16 January 2014

The Upper Crust

The upper crust
Take the money from the people
And distribute among themselves
They call it ‘consultancy fees’.

The upper crust
Take the money from the people
And distribute it among themselves
And call it ‘legal fees’.

The upper crust
Take the money from the people
And distribute it among themselves
They call it their entitlement
Because they are better than us
Because they know  more than the rest of us
and they do.

They know how to take money from the people
And distribute it among themselves.

 © Thomas Martin
 Phil Hogan will not be asked to resign over Irish Water debacle

Thomas Martin lives in Dublin. His writing has been featured in Piranha, Figments, The Weary Blues and Shot Glass Journal.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

'No Justice'

Concluding a tissue of lies,
his life resides in a box;
confined, entrapped,
determined, defined
by discourse,
No Peace.
©Laura Taylor

Laura Taylor has been writing and performing poetry for over 3 years, and gets angrier by the day.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Emotional Sandcastles‏

I hit the city streets,
a fistful of shrapnel
tucked inside the pocket
of a second hand jacket.
Today the rain feels colder, heavier;
and as the slate sky starts to pour
flushing hope down the drain
I stop to sign on the dole, again.

Inside officers guard the office
in case poverty frustrations boil over;
a thinning man in cheap red jumper
sits trying to hide the tears he dries,
as if the rug of self-esteem
was pulled beneath him, when
a man the same age as his son
ended his career with a faked smile
and an attempt at empathy.

Fortnightly homilies cease, so I leave.
Down the road, outside the law courts
jobseekers in their newest hoodies
and Primark slacks blow smoke
into the air like chimney stacks,
but no one notices the irony.

I want to shout it out to fat cat city
planners, sat in their ivory towers
sipping at cups of instant coffee,

but it’s old news and no one’s listening.

I sit in café window seat and watch

single mums, shoppers and office workers
rush past trying to buy back a smile.
I want to tell them happiness is free
if you know where to look,
but if pushed I couldn’t point the way,

the map lost in the modern day divorce.
This makes me think of you,

but I kill those memories
because these streets are no place
to build emotional sandcastles,
because no one would care
if they kicked them over. 

Benefit Street TV program person in drugs raid

©Paul Crompton
Paul's  social media sites are: and @cromps

Monday, 13 January 2014

The Secretary says

The Secretary says that history
is easy.
The good guys won,
and it was just guys,
no woman did anything much.
The baddies were driven off
and it was all
just marvellous
just and glorious.
The Secretary says that historians
are all lefties
and probably spies
who have been telling lies
about the war to end all wars.
Although even he
could see
that it hardly did that.
Then the Secretary says
he won't take it back
he stands with what he said.
He looks for credibility
and for his good name.
But he did for them both
By his plan of attack.

The last two lines are from The General by Siegfried Sassoon
Gove Blasts "Left-wing myths about WW1"

©Hamish Mack

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sunday Review

First, Hamish and I would like to make our heartfelt apologies for the gremlins that have plagued 'Poetry24' of late.  Although we have changed none of the settings, we have found that sometimes things aren't quite working as they should and, moreover, there have been times when I have been unable to get into the site at all.  Please bear with us. We are doing our best to sort matters out but it may take us a while.

The fun started this week with Philip Johnson's 'same old same old' which makes a telling comment on a recent story about the 'boom industry' which has sprung up as a result of people's desire to see Detroit's splendid but crumbling buildings. It seems that we are all slow on the uptake when it comes to the concept of 'worth' rather than 'cost'. As the poem points out, it is 'two thousand years since the money lenders/ were turned out of the temple'.

On Tuesday, we went to Douglas Polk for his poem 'Egyptian Democracy' which was prompted by Egypt's military-backed government's declaration that the Muslim brotherhood is a terrorist organisation. This poem was followed on Wednesday by another by Philip Johnson whose 'the religion of humbug' was written in response to a story in 'The Telepgraph' reporting that supermarkets have been subject to criticism for stocking their shelves with Easter eggs only days after the Christmas festivities had ended. 

On Thursday, there being no other submissions, it was down to me to write something. 'Imagine' was written with a sense of great sadness and in response to reports of an eight-year old girl captured while trying  to detonate a suicide vest. I remembered my own daughter when she reached the age of eight and tried to imagine her being strapped into a suicide vest and sent off to die. How must that child's mother feel know?

On Friday, we finished the working week with James Schwartz's 'Polar Vortex Pioneers'. Thank you, James for your very topical contribution to 'Poetry24'. We hope to see more from you in the future.  In fact, we hope to see more submissions from all our regular and from some new contributors. The fact is, I'm afraid, at the time of writing we have very little in out Submissions folder.  Come on, chaps, the holiday is over. Have a safe and productive week.
Abigail Wyatt

Friday, 10 January 2014

Polar Vortex Pioneers

Here in Michigan we are pioneers,
Detroit daughters of a revolution.

Small town streets are still named,
For Lafayette.

The great blizzard of '78 is discussed,
As though yesterday.

Today the Great Lakes froze,
And Hell.

The polar vortex leaving behind,
Tomorrow's pioneers.

© James Schwartz

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

Thursday, 9 January 2014


cute kittens and big-eyed puppy dogs
and bunnies with fluffy cotton tails
fairy tale princesses with impossible hair
in floating, fancy frocks
sparkle dust,
lots of pastel pink and rosebuds
(yes I know it's suspect)
balloons too, all gaily-coloured
a picture of candles on a cake
and piles of presents in shiny paper
an explosion of stars across a rainbow
teddy bears
hedgehogs in aprons
mice in paper hats

the things is though
as far as I know
there are no cards
with bombs
perhaps you can imagine it:
now that you are 8

Abigail Wyatt

Eight year old girl captured as she attempted to detonate suicide vest

Abigail Wyatt writes poetry and short fiction. She lives near Redruth in Cornwall where she oscillates between hopes and despair.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

the religion of humbug‏

christmas past
new year has a hard head
accounts have to be

scrooge's ghost has come to restore
some faith in market forces (while
stocks last)

get your cream eggs

Stores have started stocking chocolate eggs

©Philip Johnson 

Previously appeared in: Poetry 24, The Ugly Tree; Poetry Scotland,
Emergency Verse, Write Away, Caught In The Net, Red Pencil,
Writer's Hood, Transparent Words; Emergency Verse
and The Robin Hood Book.


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Egyptian Democracy

votes counted,
and then dismissed,
brothers we can not be,
you are terrorists,
as are the people who voted for you,
we will continue to be,
more like the father we have always been,
teaching wrong and right,
with every decree,
democracy brought to you by your faithful servant,
your very own Egyptian army.

©Douglas Polk
Douglas is a poet from Nebraska. He has published three books of poetry;
In My Defense, The Defense Rests, and On Appeal.


Monday, 6 January 2014

same old same old

so now the people are buying diamonds
gold and "things"

Maggie Thatcher thimbles
owt that appears an "investment"
so much is our faith in the bank
our leaders

cold night on the high street
yet the man who found some saxon gold in a field
in staffordshire thinks there may be more
beneath the asphalt of the nearby M6 toll road
says a mole in the press
jesus christ
two thousand years since the money lenders
were turned out of the temple:

©Philip Johnson 

Detroit's derelict buildings provide booming industry

Previously appeared in: Poetry 24, The Ugly Tree; Poetry Scotland,
Emergency Verse, Write Away, Caught In The Net, Red Pencil,
Writer's Hood, Transparent Words; Emergency Verse
and The Robin Hood Book.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Sunday Review

We started the week with Clare McCotter's "Neruda's Exhumation" which has some great imagery in it and examines the connections between Neruda, Pinochet and Thatcher. There is a lovely surreal image in :
You are there on hands and knees
trying to staunch the flow
with seashells and strange-shaped bottles..
We followed this with Philip Johnson's "mad as cheese" which has elements of mining humour in it until the poem leads to the mess left behind by fracking. I have an internet friend who lives in rural NZ who is being crowded by drilling operations. It is a very sad situation and she recieves very little help from the government or environmental laws which, we are constantly told, hold back progress. The second stanza is wonderfully evocative:
yet we ask how do the holes appear 
in the cheese

coal dust gold diamond
oil we dig sprinkle salt
on fish n chips.

Wednesday's poem was David Subacchi's "Terraces" which combines nostalgia for his youth with the realisation of what happened at Hillsborough. It is a fine poem and I can't wait to hear it on line. The very last line of the poem brings the modern game into sharp focus as the very fans who love the game the most cannot afford to go and watch.
Douglas Polk's poem "The Proposal" was our Thursday poem . A short poem that speaks volumes about the sort of relationship that Mr. Putin has with many countries. It sounds like that marriage will need a lot of help to be a lasting one.
Poppy Scarlett's poem "Maybe" finished the week for us with a look at some of the issues surrounding the death of Princess Diana. We live in a time when theories gain currency just by being on the internet and the confusing bit it is that the most outlandish ones can turn out to be true. As the poem succinctly says "Maybe"

I hope you all have a good week and keep sending in your poems. there is a good level of poems coming in now but we are always get more.
Best wishes to Abi who is a bit ill. Get the rest you need and take the time you need to get better.


Friday, 3 January 2014


I was one of those, the millions
 who cried when she died.
For reasons I still can’t fully understand.
Diana – she once a Princess
seemed so misplaced to me.
Killed in the back of a car
fleeing from those who sought claim to her face.
Money, everything is always about the money.
It cost her, her life that night: 
Continually steeped in the blackness of grubby
conspiracy theories – oh how they
lined them up – then shot them down.
Tin  soldiers on the parade ground with
no where to run.
As into the matador’s arena they flung
each and every one.
Today rest assured; we can all sleep soundly again
having learned there was NO
SAS involvement – did we ever
really, think there was.
Surely, such men of honour would

never stoop so low.
Could it really be that on that
fatal night -
Two men – plus one denounced Princess
each exited this life.
Fleeing from the eyes of the world in the
hands of a driver who had 
drained the bottle dry.
Poppy  is from Cumbria and shares her life with her animals dogs, sheep and cats. She has had many works published in anthologies, magazines, websites.
More of her work  is available here.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

The Proposal

Putin at the door with flowers,
forget about the abuse,
and the repeated rapes,
the forced marriage,
the disrespect and abuse shown the elders,
and the children,
you in the West don't understand,
can't even begin to know,
Russia at the door with flowers.

©Douglas Polk

Douglas is a poet from Nebraska. He has published three books of poetry; In My Defense, The Defense Rests, and On Appeal. 

Wednesday, 1 January 2014


We were there
I never saw many goals
Being the wrong height
But I could always tell
When we scored
Because the surge
Lifted my feet
Depositing me
Several yards away
Oh it was great fun

We stood together
Just to one side
Of our goal
Saw the same faces
In the same places
Got to know them
Knew when someone
Was missing
Spotted strangers
Checked them out

At the end of each game
They would announce
The total attendance
How we laughed
We could tell the truth
By the strength
Of the crush
The smell of sweat
Pies, alcohol and fags
The ache in our arms

I packed it in
Before the barriers
Were erected
Before Hades
Came to Hillsborough
Looking at the pictures
Of the dead and dying
I felt my feet rising
My arms aching
It was no longer amusing

There’s talk now
Of bringing back standing
On an experimental basis
They have bar seats
The latest innovation
Prices could drop five pounds
But I’ll say no thanks
After all it’s not the lack
Of five pounds keeps us away

But the lack of forty.

© David Subacchi

David Subacchi was born in Wales of Italian roots. He is a well known poet in the UK especially in Wales and the North West of England. His English language collection ‘First Cut’ was published by Cestrian Press in 2012.