Monday, 31 March 2014

'sugar tax'

sneak in the night caught
by cctv
burst out of their denim
streak of fat become the norm
says chief medical officer
with a dickie bow smile
yes they say we have freedom
in our free country
just don't smoke    don't drink    don't grow old
Philip Johnson

Philip Johnson's poetry has reviously 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, 30 March 2014

Sunday Review

Kristina England's "Theories of Flight" was our first poem of the week and summed up the confusion and sorrow around the missing plane. The last stanza of the poem is a moving and beautifully written exposition of the feelings the waiting relatives must have.
Nothing to grasp.
Nothing to take in their hands,
fold, give wings,
then let go.
Noel Loftus gave us "shafted (feelin kinda fearful part 2)" on Tuesdaywhich again dealt with feelings of confusion and sorrow. This time in a family setting and with a wry slant on the situation. There's some great wordplay in this poem and it rewards rereading.
Have to finish that book report somehow written
fifty years late by an Irish man about a concentration camp-.
Jesus would have wept, but he’s surfing again.
 Afric McGlinchey's "Flight MH370" took us on board the plane and gave us a look into the minds of passengers in the final minutes of the flight. The poem fully realises the aim of good poetry, to take you inside the mind of another and the empathy of the description make it a very good and memorable poem.
She thinks of drinking rum with those fishermen
in Kuching, the music, everybody laughing,
her eyes squeezing tears.
A.J.Binash's poem "Waking up from Rigor Mortis" gives an overview of the kind of capitalism that I think we could do without. There's some very good imagery in this poem and some cutting observations.
There's strength in numbers.
(Just ask the groundskeeper at a
Westernized graveyard) 
 We finished the week with "With a Kiss" by Siobhán McLaughlin which tells the story of a very famous photo from the end of World War 2 on the death of the sailor in the photo. The poem captures the elation that must have gripped people and has a wonderful evocation of the spirit of the day. I love the "default affront" phrase. it's perfect.
No obelisk or stone statue to remember -
one man and woman’s fame
cemented by impulse, a default affront
to the rigid machinations of war.
Thank you all so much for such wonderful poems, it is a great privilege to see them all. I hope you all have good weeks. Autumn is getting underway here so we have been out foraging for crabapples and it's all crabapple jelly all week. Yum! 

Friday, 28 March 2014

With a Kiss

"When I got off from the subway, a lady told me the war was over, and I went into the street yelling. I saw the nurse and she was smiling at me, so I just grabbed her." - Glenn Edward McDuffie, sailor pictured in the iconic photograph 'V-J Day in Times Square' by Alfred Eisenstaedt, on Victory Over Japan Day (V-J Day) in Times Square, New York, on August 14th, 1945. 

Unfold the reel
in black and white bustle
a hurray of a kiss
seizes the day.

Times Square, Hollywood romance,
good news a heady current in air:
It's over! War is over!  Sighs, shouts, cries -
and everywhere
the confetti of tears.

Life resumes in revelry,
hearts swoon in applause.
Hello sailor, lost, now found.
Two people take a bow, say
love is the only how.

Hallelujah, horizons ahoy.
World can go on. Life will
go on!

No obelisk or stone statue to remember -
one man and woman’s fame
cemented by impulse, a default affront
to the rigid machinations of war.   

And like Romeo, thus he dies,
with a kiss, with this kiss,
forever on our lips.

Sailor in famous kissing photo dies.

©Siobhán McLaughlin
I'm a writer of poetry and prose and blog at :
Find me on Twitter at @siobhan347

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Waking Up From Rigor Mortis.

Children grew distended stomachs
To scream for a life from the capitalists.

In response,
A required bow.

“Up and down, proper bow
Like an oil derrick.”
They commanded.
There's strength in numbers.
(Just ask the groundskeeper at a
Westernized graveyard)
How blisters decorate
While their fingers
Perform the duties
Of a proper worker.
How rose petals
Break away from bouquets,
Scatter across the trimmed lawn
Like dead fall leaves.
It's the children,
Providing a lust for profit.
A marketable graveyard
Filled with the corpses
Of proletarians.
To keep the groundskeeper
Slaves had songs.
Revolutionaries had bullets.
Workers have a choice,
To sing,
Or take aim. 
A. j. Binash

A. j. Binash is a post-post-post modernist poet from La Crosse WI. He has released a book of poetry entitled 'Cautionary Tales of an American Boy Out Past Curfew' (Rattlesnake Valley Publishing).

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Flight MH370

            And a crack in the teacup opens
                                                –WH Auden

Their faces stare out,
pressed against the ovals of panes
as the aeroplane hastens
into radar silence.
She is sitting beside her husband, who secretly
has cancer, knows she’s having an affair.
Under that blanket, a boy is counting time on his fingers.
A girl sleeps against her mother’s shoulder,
while the man on her right
soars away, thoughts exploding:
I should have had more sex.
The angle of a wing dips
into refractions of light
as they frantically ask questions.
Two hundred
and thirty nine passengers,
texting those precious three words.
One woman turns to the stranger beside her,
takes his hand.
She does not pray, holds
on to loneliness, though he squeezes.
His face is salt. Sensitive eyes.
Touch will keep them feeling alive, until
the last moment.
She thinks of drinking rum with those fishermen
in Kuching, the music, everybody laughing,
her eyes squeezing tears.

©Afric McGlinchey

Afric McGlinchey’s début The lucky star of hidden things (Salmon) is being translated into Italian. A Pushcart nominee, she won the Hennessy poetry award and Northern Liberties poetry prize.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

shafted (feelin kinda fearful part 2)

-What the hell is that rap crap? Is that on the telly?- I walk in on my son who is spread out on
the floor with his face a foot from the screen.
-Some satellite channel I found accidentally-, he replies, changing over immediately.
-Don’t you have to finish your book report for tomorrow ?- I flick at but deliberately miss his miked-up ear.
-Yes-em-, he back-passes a Simpsons reference , - but I have to sort of find a life first, can’t face another Whinge In His Striped Pyjamas-.
So I tick off my twelve-year -old-and advise,
-Before you kick back,
being mindful of what you want for your Birthday, that it’s after ten,
pizza ready all of which I could eat myself, Goal of the Month coming up,
future social harmony at risk, fragrant teachers and stuff,
possible man-on-man peck at the school gate next week,
smiley face in lunchbox stuck to fluffy coconut cream-
He expertly races through the keys of the tv control, squeals past x factors culchie camper
pretty in pink denial for half a century, hears the oven bell call, catches my eye,
yums and rubs his belly, whines past News At Ten,  brakes at MOTD, nods me towards the kitchen.
So I check teams.
-How would you vote in a referendum? What if you had no vote?
What if you had two dads? Page-boyed track suited jeeped-up mum with weird checked apron ? Leg warmers for goalposts, not to mention the pharmacy bills and blunted razors-.
 -Yes-em!- He’s Cletus again from The Simpsons. -Dang, old timer! How twentieth century are you? My friend Blank Mc Blank’s Dad had a manicure on hols. Referendum is promised--So what-, I step on the ball, -there’s no referendums in the Bible. Only stones-.
-Really, haw haw-.
MOTD theme tune begins to boom in and I press him again, but he turns up the volume now,
suddenly impatient.
 -Daad!. Have a day off-, he blows up.
-My teacher says testosterone busted the country. She says boom boom my backside-.
-Come on now, boom out to the kitchen and get that pizza-, I threaten to substitute.
-Can’t-, he says. -Not old enough to cook. Have to finish that book report somehow written
fifty years late by an Irish man about a concentration camp-.
Jesus would have wept, but he’s surfing again.
QI tells us it’s illegal to wee in public, but not illegal to poo. Figure that one out, I kind of ole. But he’s in the jungle now.
A nineties celebrity ex model who looks a bit of a horse is eating a bit of a kangaroo.
So I go for feckin’ pizza myself .
As the door swings closed behind me the rap dude is back on.
Sometimes I think I would go back to The Rugrats on a loop.

Same sex marriage referendum will make Ireland 'a beacon of light'
Referendum on Same Sex Marriage to be held in 2015

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

Monday, 24 March 2014

'Theories of Flight'

Maybe the plane was hijacked,
derailed for several hours
without any real direction.

No, blame the pilots;
only a professional 
could vanish.

They landed somewhere.
They must have landed somewhere...

A mechanical failure?
Too simple.
Too easy to pinpoint.

Catastrophic decompression.
In other words,
they lost oxygen, consciousness,
floated like a paper airplane
through the sky
until there was no more fuel
to carry them home.

And what of the evidence?
Where is the wreckage?
Where is the oil 
spreading along water,
veins of a bird

And how does theory matter
for the wailing mother, 
the waiting wife
when all they see is empty sky?
Nothing to grasp.
Nothing to take in their hands,
fold, give wings,
then let go.

Kristina England

Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Her writing is published or forthcoming at Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Gargoyle, New Verse News, and other magazines. 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Sunday Review

I must crave the forgiveness of all our contributors if I keep this week's review short and sweet. I am on stage this evening, the last night night in the world premier run of 'Doctor Nefarious and the Girl Who Knew Too Much', a spoof detective story/ musical written by my friend, and our director and day-time fire-fighter, David Carlisle. All things considered, the last two weeks have been fun but quite exhausting, so much so, in fact, that it was only at the eleventh hour that it permeated my consciousness that it was, indeed, my turn to write the Sunday Review.

So, we began on Monday with two poems rather than our more usual one: 'A Rebel With Many Causes' and 'Tony Benn' by Luigi Pagano and David R. Mellor respectively. Sadly, this was a departure from custom that was prompted by the loss over the weekend of a truly great man.  The coverage of his death in the mainstream media was often a little less than honest. Whilst finding themselves obliged to pay tribute to Mr Benn's undoubted abilities and to his energetic and lifelong commitment to conviction politics, some journalists nevertheless did their level best to present his Socialism as being almost laughable, an absurd and amusing irrelevance to be viewed with indulgence. For my part, I do not believe that, even at the end, Tony Benn would have seen it that we. As I said, a great loss - and a great example. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends.

On Tuesday, Amy Barry gave us her poem 'The Missing Plane', a very powerful piece prompted by a story which continues to dominate the news. As usual, Amy's piece roused a number of our readers to comment. I urge you, if you missed this poem, to click on the link immediately.

The story behind Wednesday's poem was, in its own way, equally disturbing.  Kristina England sent us her 'Just Like That'.  The economy and flatness of this little poem really does hit hard. Confronted with stories like the one Kristina is responding to I cannot help but wonder how it has happened that we have come to this.

On Thursday, the poem of the day was 'Wave Hello' by Sue Norton. This piece was a response to the news that scientists working on a project known as 'Bicep 2' have recently discovered crucial evidence in support of the so-called 'Big Bang Theory'. Thank you for submitting, Sue, and giving us depth and variety in a week otherwise marked out by politics and catastrophe.

Finally, on Friday, I pulled rank and published my own 'To betray's in deepest consequence'. I am unrepentant. I was so incensed by the Tories' belief that we, 'the workers', can be bought off with beer and bingo that there was no way I was going to allow it to pass without public comment. Now, without further ado, I am off to The Melting Pot, Krowji. 'Break a leg' and 'beginners, please' and all that stuff. :-)

Friday, 21 March 2014

'To betray's in deepest consequence'

They think to win us with trifles:
the promise of prizes and tuppence off beer.
The ‘workers’, or so they appear to believe,
are simply too stupid to care.
‘Recovery’ is just round the corner;
they have their statistics off pat:
no matter our children go hungry to school
while corporate interests grow fat.
And what if there’s no work or housing;
so what if we dare not fall ill;
and what if we dolive in fear of the day
when, despite our best efforts, we will?
It surely can’t hurt us much, can it?
So long as we’ve got what we need:
our booze and our beer and our bingo -
so let’s hear it for corporate greed.

Abigail Wyatt

Abigail Wyatt was born in Thurrock in Essex. Her hobbies include collecting white stilettos and dancing round her handbag.  

Thursday, 20 March 2014

'Wave Hello'

The South Pole’s cold, dry air  
helps telescope Bicep-2
detect enigmatic images

ripples in the fabric of space
triggered by the Big Bang.
Almost nothing expanded

to marble-size, making
significant gravitational waves.
Einstein predicted them.

Scientists  hunted them.
Now, evidence!
A signal in the sky.

Such a strong, swirly
B-mode pattern is a unique
signature; this curl of waves

printed an image of
polarised radiation
across primordial sky.

Galaxies, stars, planets,
everything we see today
was imprinted at that moment

less than a trillionth of a second

indelible evidence
opening a window
into a new regime of physics.

©Sue Norton

'Spectacular' discovery hailed

Sue Norton lives and writes in York.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

'Just Like That'

Two boys kill their classmate,
drag his body into the woods,
plan to bury it.  Sidetracked, 
they emerge to cops standing 
over their car, shrug 
the truth as if they stole
soda from a corner store,
point the cops
to their murder sentence,
then casually lean back,
and wait.

Kristina England

Two teens charged with death of classmate

Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Her writing is published or forthcoming at Gargoyle, New Verse News, The Quotable, and other magazines. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Missing Plane

The air around the room
hums and stutters
with staccato of one hundred voices.

Understanding comes in waves,
rumbles at their weary minds.
It first breaks their spirits
and breaks their hearts,
then it pokes at every organ
and every limb,
shaking their bodies.
And it all comes out
through their eyes;
Scream of tears
down each cheek.

A dire time!
A difficult time!
They miss their loved ones
more than words can say.
And all together
in silence
they pray-
at morning, at noon
and evening.

Unknowable fate,
a baffling riddle-
Where to search
for the last shadow
cast by MH370.

©Amy Barry

Relatives of missing Malaysia Airlines passengers are hopeful 
 Amy Barry writes poems and short stories. She has worked in the media, hotel and Oil & Gas industries. Her poems have been published in anthologies, journals, and e-zines, in Ireland and abroad. Her poems have been read and shared over the radio in Australia, Canada and Ireland. She loves traveling. Trips to India, Nepal, China, Bali, Paris, Berlin have all inspired her work.
    She is a regular contributor to Poetry 24. When not inspired to write, she plays Table Tennis. She loves sushi.

Monday, 17 March 2014

'A Rebel With Many Causes' and 'Tony Benn'

I saw him in Manchester.
He was on the stage
to talk about his life,
recorded in his diary
that was on sale outside
in the theatre’s foyer.
An armchair and a table
were some of his props
together with a pipe
- unlit, for safety reasons -
a cup and a teapot
on which rested a cosy.
On this domestic scene
he spoke of his affinity
with the Mancunian region
when a serving officer
in the Royal Air Force.
He gave a left-wing view
of socialist democracy,
the threat of global economy,
of environmental issues
and the perils of capitalism.
He was a man of the people
who resigned from Parliament
to concentrate on politics.
That’s what he said and meant.
He argued against conflicts
saying that war represents
a failure of diplomacy.
He fought against colleagues
as well as his enemies;
he was a rebel with many causes,
the like of which we’ll see no more.
© Luigi Pagano 2014

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

'Tony Benn'
A life time banging the drum
Down with capitalism
Down with greed
He got Down to the people
Who were really In need

Didn’t turn his eyes away
Or flinch for a moment
Stood shoulder to shoulder with those
Discarded as waste in a system of greed

A life time banging the drum
Down with capitalism...
Down with Greed....
He got down to the people
Who were really In need
©David R. Mellor

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Sunday Review

Steve Pottinger's You could have had kids by now" was our first poem of the week about the results of an enquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence. It is a very poignant poem as exemplified by the second stanza.

Watching their dad getting by
getting on
maybe struggling 
to making ends meet
like we all are.
Poetry24 is about our reactions to the news and the second poem this week Nat Loftus' "shafted (feelin kinda dearful part 1)"  gave a look at the very complex reactions that can go in a place when a law change occurs that is a large step. It is a challenging poem  and I will be very interested to see part 2.
Sue Norton's "Aquatic Centre Escape" was Wednesday's poem  which is  nice perspective on floods liberating two fish and freedom in general. I like the images in this poem
red and yellow silks of his fins
fluttering like kites, exciting
 Sue Norton also provided the poem for Thursday with "Shining Star" a poem that looked at the sort of story that gives a shaft of light in the darkness encompassing people all over the world. 
Ndaba Sibanda provided the Friday poem "Please Slow Down Artificial Chaps", a plea to the robots to cut us flesh and bone folks, some slack. Speaking as so someone who is regularly left scratching his head at the weird places my computer gets to, I agree.
I hope  you all had a good week and will have a good next week. New Zealand seems to have dodged the worst of a tropical cyclone and we are looking forward to some settled weather.

Friday, 14 March 2014

'Please Slow Down Artificial Chaps'

               they say
artificial intelligence is moving faster than humans
     and sooner than later it is likely that
          robots will be smarter than us
the end of the century—not just at chess or mathematics
or engineering or science and medicine but at everything
               they say
there might be a few jobs left for entertainers and writers
     but computers will ultimately be able to sequence
and gobble up massive quantities of information and reason
in ways that we humans can only faintly imagine
               some say
we should not fear a mere darkness without leopards because
these machines are created by humans and should they fool
          themselves by trying to outsmart us at every
               corner we simply unplug them!

©Ndaba Sibanda

Computers will be as smart as humans by 2030             

Ndaba Sibanda is a Zimbabwean-born writer. He hails from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe`s second largest city. He is one of the most prolific poets to emerge from that Southern African country.A former National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) nominee, Ndaba has contributed to many anthologies including: Its Time, Poems For Haiti- a South African anthology, SnippetsVoices For Peace and Black Communion.   His latest anthology, The Dead Must Be Sobbing was published in March 2013.  Ndaba`s debut novel, Timebomb has been accepted for publication in the UK. He has just completed writing two more poetry anthologies, Love, Light and Greatness, and Time To Walk The Talk respectively. In 2005 he published his debut book of epic poems, Love O’clockNdaba`s favourite quote is: Writing is my life and my second wife. He lives in Saudi Arabia.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

'Shining Star'

Bundled back to back, shoulder
to shoulder, women and children
jolt in silence in the fugitive truck
until it stops.  Men ahead shout
Muslims out!  Fatima Yamsa plucks
the nearest Christian’s sleeve.
Please, take my baby. She tenders
Shamsia into stranger’s hands.
Her uncle’s in the next village.
Fatima, her two little sons and
all the other women and children
stumble out into the dust of this
getaway road.  Next to the mosque
and the mango grove, Christian
vigilantes, machetes, knives.

Eight months later, in the next village,
Aalaji Yamsa cradles his niece
Shamsia, shining star.  She lives
because a Christian loved her
neighbour. I didn’t even get her
name, he says, but I think of her
also, as Shining Star.

©Sue Norton

Sue Norton lives and writes in York.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

'Aquatic Centre Escape'

When February floods rose
flooding the World of Water,
the fish became interested.
Steve the sturgeon twitched
his barbels.  Light flashed on
his scutes as he manoeuvred
his metre-long body up and
out of his show tank.  Flicking 
his tail lobes, he swam past
the shop displays and out,
across the road, investigating
the murk of freedom.  When
the river retreated, they
found him a mile away,
lurking in the deepest puddle  
the car wash had to offer. 

Steve’s back in his tank, but
Chadwick, the gold sparkle
Koi carp, is still out, voyaging,

red and yellow silks of his fins
fluttering like kites, exciting

swirls of sedimentary clouds.

©Sue Norton