Tuesday, 30 September 2014

'The Up and Up'

Now things are on the up and up
we’ve no cause to complain.
Our cup it runneth over;
so let’s vote them in again.

Let’s vote for cutting welfare
and for demonising need.
Let’s vote against humanity –
and for intemperate greed.

And let’s pretend that Zero
Hours Contracts are OK,
that Workfare really is a job,
and MP’s earn their pay.

And then let’s lay the blame
for all at someone else’s door.
Let’s say the sick are shiftless –
and let’s criticise the working poor.

Let’s say they live on junk food
and that’s why their kids get fat.
(If they’d only shop at Waitrose
there’d be so much less of that.)

And, if a person wants to work,
let’s say the jobs are there.
We’ll sanction those who sleep in late
and will not do their share.

We’ll target the disabled, too:
we’ll keep them – occupied.
(We’re sure there’s something they can do –
until it can be proved they’ve died.)

And we’ll applaud the policies
of those who work for our good ends.
We’ll forgive their little foibles
and their handsome dividends.

And we won’t dwell on taxes dodged
or politicians’ perks.
The fact is, like or lump it,
that is how the system works.

Abigail Wyatt

Abigail Wyatt lives and writes at Druids Lodge near Redruth in Cornwall. 

Monday, 29 September 2014

'The Fall'

Sunlight on a snow topped mountain, 
The blue of sky mirrored by sea, 
My children's smiles,
The sounds of a stream falling over stones. 

These are beautiful in their own fashion

Yet, to my eyes they are nothing to the elegance 
Of a rectangle
With rounded corners 
And shiny aluminium and glass.  

Oh naked phone of perfect beauty, 
Status of premium degree. 
Love most profound. 
Lasting days. 

Until, alas! 
Heartbreak and despair. 
Perfection, once yours is ruined for ever, 
By the pressures of a front pocket. 
Bent, banana like. 

Must buy another. 

Gordon Nicholson


Observer of the ridiculous, coffee addict and wild swimmer. A Brummy living in Devon, working on first novel. Raising kids.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Sunday review

The first poem of the week was "NO" by Neil Fulwood which looks at the result of the Scottish Referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. It does not end on a cheerful note but the writing and imagery are excellent.
A crown of thorns
is biked up by courier, postmarked London,
wrapped in promises already broken.
Ruth Corkill's "The Conspiracy" was Tuesday's poem and examined some pretty amazing theories that are appear to be buzzing around the internet. I enjoyed the way the narrator gets a little overwhelmed with the rush of information but talks about the things the "everybody knows'
Everyone who works in the Pentagon commutes from Chechnya.
Hannah Linden's  poem "Under The Bridge" was Thursday's poem dealing with the disbelief and unconcern that is shown toward child sexual abuse.  And just this week I read an article from a woman living in New Zealand dealing with the terrible time she had to experience when seeking justice for a rape. It is extremely distressing to think that this problem is not being addressed. 
Now we can't move without getting our feet
wet and it's the same murky cess-pool that should have
been childhood. We should have been playing pooh sticks
Simon Williams' poem "Gorham's Cave" was our Friday poem and put us inside the mind of Neanderthal people and their interactions with
"the thin ones with no eyebrows"
  This is description which will stick with me for awhile.
Abi and I had a chat mid-week and are thinking of handing over the editorships to interested people by the beginning of next year. If you are interested in filling the role, at what I stress is a very preliminary stage of the process, drop us an email and we'll have a talk.
Keep safe and  keep the poems coming.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Gorham’s Cave

There really is no better way
to spend an evening than the beach.
the light on the sea is like
the insides of those shells, the ones
with the tasty muscly bits.

We sit until the sun drops to the water,
before retiring with a few good friends,
the thin ones with no eyebrows, to our cave,
and under the light of oil sticks,
play a game or two of Squares.

We’re still developing the rules,
but think there should be some moves
straight and some diagonal.
We’ve carved a board into the ledge.
The Men are keen to start a tournament.
Neanderthal cave paintings.

©Simon Williams
Simon often writes on subjects gleaned from the BBC or Wikipedia sites and also runs a Facebook group called Poem A Day which, by coincidence, runs in April and September, so he's busy writing this month.
Twitter @GreatBigBadger 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

'Under The Bridge'

The policeman had reported that we were frolicking:
it was in quotation marks: words used, he claimed, when I 
was a thirteen year old state-owned girl. He didn't expect

me to come back all these years later with a news
team. It was all so much simpler then. Water flowed
under and you couldn't ever step in the same river 

twice. Now we can't move without getting our feet
wet and it's the same murky cess-pool that should have
been childhood. We should have been playing pooh sticks

seeing whose twig reached the other side of the bridge
first – not which one arrived safely, not dragged under,
mauled and so broken up that it barely made it through

at all. And now, when I tell my story, the police authority
make a statement about how I have said nothing at all
as if even now, this doesn't add up to sexual abuse. 

They're hoping I'll be caught in the eddies and go round
and round. They still don't believe in the power of water.
©  Hannah Linden


Hannah Linden is a poet based in Devon, UK. She has work upcoming in Nutshells and Nuggets and upcoming in Domestic Cherry, The Broadsheet and  Wonderzoo. She is a very active member of Jo Bell's internet poetry group, 52. 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Conspiracy

They say that the Asiatic cockroach is going extinct 
They say Mr Putin crawls into basements and laundry rooms, into ventilation shafts to inject cockroaches with radioactive waste.
They say           that's    why      he        closed down the communal garbage shoots.
They say he wore a Halloween mask                booked out a theatre with the people inside                 wouldn't let them leave.

They say he performed Blueberry Hill over and over again                  so embarrassing

for everyone involved until he got bored                      shot the pianist with a stolen glass Kalashnikov filled with vodka.                         They say when BB King slumped against the piano he was so dehydrated that his blood oozed out of him like spawn.
They say they can hear him at night creeping in the spaces behind the walls                 where the

             rooms of their apartment don't quite meet up.

They say he likes killing            cockroaches.                 When he was a small boy in the exercise yard people said that    cockroaches were impervious

that their blood was antifreeze, that if you removed the head they survived for six weeks

even then they only died because they couldn't eat,
that their DNA was so simple and functional, such a triumph of design, that it couldn't be disrupted by mere radiation                             hang on!
that they owned Chernobyl, were thick on the ground and on the corpses,

even a pregnant one     can slip            through the gap           between the wall and the skirting board.
They say Flight MH370 was hijacked    months ago and now    finally               has been used. The bodies at the crash site are rotting and full of insects    the European passports strewn about are suspiciously new.

Everyone in the CIA is Jewish.
Everyone who works in the Pentagon commutes from Chechnya.
Roaches were hiding in Mrs Thatcher’s hair egging her on, after the nuclear winter they will diversify           to fill all the dust dulled                       empty niches and office buildings.

For now they politely hurry out of our way when we walk in                reclaim our space with a sudden artificial light               grimace with disgust at the grime                     at the tarnished surfaces and the scuttling creatures who so      quickly             conceal themselves.

Mr Putin is terrified that one day a cockroach will just sit on the kitchen bench and watch him. He will crush that one              with a Faberge egg. 

Ruth Corkill

Ruth Corkill is a physicist in New Zealand working on computer models and analysis for a geomagnetism research team. She has just returned from three months studying poetry and fiction at The Iowa Writers Workshop Summer Graduate Program and she has a minor in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters in Wellington. Her work has recently appeared or is upcoming in New Welsh Review, The Bristol Short Story Competition Anthology, The Dominion Post, Hue and Cry, The Listener, Jaam, Salient, and Landfall.

Monday, 22 September 2014

… the thistle jags our hearts,
take these roses
            from our bloodied hands.
                        - Carol Ann Duffy, ‘September 2014’
The analogy fails.

                           There are no flowers

in Whitehall. All that grows in the hothouse of Parliament

is rhetoric test-tubed under licence to Montsanto,

tendrils of falsehood pushed up from a coalition

of mulch and manure – verdant on the surface,

hard iron beneath.

                                    There are no flowers

in Fleet Street. Thrown bouquets are the business

of bride and bridesmaid; the media’s after

something harder and faster – the meaningless congress

of friends with benefits: friends, in this case,

in Number Ten.

                                    There are no flowers

in George Square, only voices united in Flower of Scotland

up against skinheads and Rule Britannia, Nazi salutes

and the Saltire burned, the knife and the boot

and mounted police. Hands are bloodied, but flowers

aren’t offered.

                                    A crown of thorns

is biked up by courier, postmarked London,

wrapped in promises already broken.

Carol Ann Duffy writes referendum poem

© Neil Fulwood

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Sunday Review

Well, David and I are just back from a very pleasant week away in the Quantocks where everything was lovely except the fact that the internet was impossibly slow. This made it harder than anticipated to get any work done.  Anyway, my thanks are due to Hamish for holding the fort in my absence.
Authors, please accept my apologies, too, if my review this week errs on the side of brevity. I have a reading to prepare for tomorrow and another for lunch time on Monday.  I did intend to get started while we were away but time just seemed to slip away.

Monday's poem was 'The Poppy' which came from a new contributor, Lynn Carr who comes from a place I knew very well as a child, South Ockendon in Essex.  Welcome, Lynn, and thank you for choosing to submit your work to 'Poetry24'. Like Little Nell, thoroughly applaud your intention to wrote more poetry and we will look out for you in our inbox.

On Wednesday our poem was 'Death Row Diner' by Janine Booth, a clever and telling sonnet written in response to the opening in Hoxton of a 'death row' themed restaurant. This is something that I find distasteful and quite bizarre. Perhaps I am missing something here.

Thursday's poem, 'Ebola-Virus' was by Fareha Razvi who is, I think I am right in saying, another new contributor. Thank you and welcome, Fareha. Your poem is a timely reminder. It is true, as you say,  there are 'No Guns, No Fire, No Explosions' but still it is 'the innocents' - and the poor - who die first.

Finally, on Friday, we ended the week with another poem about the death of innocence. Regular contributor, Kristina England, gave us her very powerful 'House of Squalor' in which she asks us to consider that:

There must be a reason.
There MUST
be something
that brought her here
a ghost of herself
floating in the headlines
haunting us all.

When I was growing up my family was touched directly by this kind of tragedy which resulted in the loss of one of the sunniest, sweetest infants I have seen in all my life. Her name was Semalie Semal and, had she lived, she might have been a grandmother by now. Such terrible sadness. Keep safe and have a peaceful and productive week. 

Friday, 19 September 2014

House of Squalor

It just happened by chance -
a kid pounding on a neighbor's door
"Help me with the baby"
a badly looking infant 
covered in feces
rats skittering about
a room full of trash
police called in
house condemned
four children freed
the four that could
three babies already dead
buried in this squalor
their cries never leaving
always heard in the back
of their siblings minds.

And what about the mother?
Is she blind?
Does she not hear?
There must be something
that brought her here.
There must be a reason.
There MUST
be something
that brought her here
a ghost of herself
floating in the headlines
haunting us all.

©Kristina England
Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Her poetry and fiction has appeared in many magazines, including New Verse News, The Story Shack, and Poetry 24.  Her first short story collection was released this year, a detective series, "Stanley Stanley's Investigative Services and Other Mysteries," by The Poet's Haven Author Series.  


Thursday, 18 September 2014


No Guns, No Fires, No Explosions,
Still the innocents are killed...
No one can be accused
No one can be abhorred
It is a natural calamity
we are struck with again!
A devil and a human pathogen
terminating thousands of lives.
It is deadly and symptomatic,
It is transmissible and incurable,
It is winning the war;
as no vaccines or therapeutics
exist to combat the battle.
Simple Quarantine is applied
to save lives.
We mourn for the departed ones
We stand beside the grappling one
We raise our hopes to the Diety-
To shower some Mercy upon us
and miraculously prevent mortality by Ebola Virus!

©Fareha Razvi

Dr. Fareha Razvi has enjoyed writing poems since school days, got published in school, college and private kids magazines. Scientist by profession, currently besides being mom of two toddlers brushing up the writing skills. 
"Research is a boat in the ocean of patience, Sinks with dismay, Floats with hardwork!"

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


May I invite you to my cell to dine? 
Is this the final meal that you will face? 
It's Dalston's newest, sickest hipster line
For those about to die salute your taste
Sit down in your unplugged electric chair
There's extra seats for people black or poor
Our bar sells lethal shots and grilled despair
Please give your racial profile at the door
Come join the fun, you hipster boys and gals
Try innocents condemned with clotted cream
We don't suppose you're counting kilo-cals
That really wouldn't fit in with the theme
- - - At fifty quid, it's cheap at twice the price
- - - It's pop-up cos you sure can't eat here twice
by Janine Booth (The Big J)
Performs poetry as The Big J, on everything from rants against injustice to the correct arrangement of cutlery drawers. Hackney resident. Lefty, trade unionist, campaigner, railway worker and author. www.janinebooth.com

Monday, 15 September 2014

'The Poppy'

A visit to the tower, a sea of red,
This one hundred year centenary to commemorate the dead.
A war to end all wars, they said.
Why then one hundred years later are so many dead?

World War Two came a few years later.
The First World War to end all wars was not to be:
Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Israel too.
What have we learnt what can we do?

Religion and greed far outweigh the seed of the poppy,
A symbol of life given to free man from oppression and 
dictation, We have learnt nothing: there’s still depredation.

The children must learn to lay down their arms, live life in 
peace. Their young tender lives should be filled with charm,
not the ability to cause hatred and harm.

Wars bring destruction, displacement and grief.
Our politicians must install belief in human kind to live in 

 Lynn Carr

Photograph by David Rowland


Lynn Carr is an ex Local Authority Councillor of South Ockendon, Essex.  She was inspired to write this poem after attending the Poppy installation at the tower of london and was moved greatly by the sight. Lynn now spends her time working on her local farm and contributing to community projects. As well as this she plans to write more poetry to channel her political views into an artistic form'

Sunday Review

Sorry about the lateness of the Sunday review. Real life got in the way a bit. Everything is fine but it was a bit busy.
Monday's poem was Burial at the Beach by Kristina England which looks at the tragedy and terror that can happen in an idyllic setting like a day at the beach. The aftermath of the event is also evoked.
Her parents dug and dug and dug. 
They are still digging,
drowned by their child’s grave,  

Tuesday's poem by Sue Norton was "Remembering James Foley"  which reminds us all of the real message of his death, not the message that his murderers want us to get.
Brother, may we remember

your passion for human rights,

not the barbarism of your death.
David R. Mellor's poem "Your So God-like (I.S)" looked at the perpetrators and demolished their justifications completely showing the vainglory behind it all.
Your bitter fame Your moment of goryIt’s not in Allah’s name
only yours
On Thursday, Phillip Johnson's poem "gloomy monday snap" pointed out some uncomfortable truth about the latest royal baby news. Philip points out the high cost of housing in London and asks who is going to pay for it.
the burdensome cost of welfare
and the addition of the spare room
Friday's poem was Rachel Gilpetti's "Oscar Pistorius Inside My Head"  which looks at the impact that this one case has had on our world. In particular the feelings of unease it can engender.
I don’t know what anyone is thinking.

Unless I’m having one of those days when I can read people’s minds.

I join the train of ants marching across a log.
I hope you all have a good week, keep sending in your submissions, there's plenty going on.

Friday, 12 September 2014

'Oscar Pistorius Inside My Head'

When I’m caught up in my thoughts,
the earth opens and eats me like an ant.
Thoughts work together to form sculptures.
What are Oscar Pistorius’ thoughts?
Oscar’s thoughts are built into a horrible red sculpture.
It is wet and always will be wet.
He will swim in circles around his horrible sculpture,
churning a red wake under the moon.
My thoughts swarm around a slice of orange.
The sun beams down like a laser of juice.
There are ants all over me, biting tiny fires.
I don’t know what the ants are thinking.
I don’t know what anyone is thinking.
Unless I’m having one of those days when I can read people’s minds.
I join the train of ants marching across a log.
We crawl into Oscar Pistorius’ ear.
My companions drown in shallow red puddles.
I crawl out of his mouth retching and crying.

 Rachel Gippetti)

Rachel is from Boston, Massachusetts, but now lives in the United Kingdom. Her poetry has been published in Shearsman Magazine, The Apple Valley Review and The Stinging Fly.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

gloomy monday snap

hear the cuckoo nark
at high rent
the patter of tiny claws

"hyperemesis gravidarum"

ponder Ian Duncan Smith
whether or not he has the balls
to visit the duke and the duchess
re: birth control

the burdensome cost of welfare
and the addition of the spare room

10 High Priced Properties in London
Philip Johnson

Previously appeared in: Poetry Super Highway, 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. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

You’re So God Like (I.S)

Ahead of the pack
Making someone’s fall
Bringing families to their knees 
Doing it for Allah ? 
No please……………….

You’re so god like

Marching people to death
You can decide who’s worthy
Of life 
And who should have …..death 

You’re so YouTube 

Your bitter fame 
Your moment of gory
It’s not in Allah’s name

only yours

UN investigators to visit Iraq

© David R. Mellor
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. He has lived on the Wirral for the past 8 years.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

'Remembering James Foley'

Freelancers take the biggest risks.
You tried to tell the untold stories,
bring home the suffering of Syrian people.

You showed us the child victims.
You spent weeks filming doctors
trying to save lives without equipment.

You were a well-liked dude;
broad shoulders, broad smile,
open and respectful to other cultures.

Brother, may we remember
your passion for human rights,
not the barbarism of your death.

You shone light into war zones
gave your life for truth
furthered our understanding.

Syria is currently the most dangerous country
for a journalist. You would want us to remember
twenty of them are still missing.

©Sue Norton

Monday, 8 September 2014

Burial at the Beach

The kids spent time digging,
their hands aching from sand.
They spent time planning
depth and length of the hole.

What they didn’t know was -
it was the perfect size for a crouching adult,
the perfect size for an avalanche,
the perfect size to sink one of them,
sand funneling into her lungs,
one hundred pounds of suffocation.

Her parents dug and dug and dug. 
They are still digging,
drowned by their child’s grave,
how it kept collapsing inward
the louder and louder
they screamed.
Nine-year-old dies when a hole she was digging in the sand caved in and buried her
 ©Kristina England
Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Her poetry has appeared at Gargoyle, New Verse News, Poetry24, and many other journals.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Sunday Review

Well, after a fraught couple of weeks, we are pretty much sorted out here at Poetry24. Apologies to those whose poems got tangled in the mess and thanks to everyone for their patience.  It was partly because of the problems we have been experiencing that I opened the week with 'I heard the man on the radio say'.  After a furious - but predictably brief - round of the political 'blame game' has gone very quiet. I just wish we could hear a bit more about how we as a society might help and support the victims in these cases. There is a need for money and resources to be sure but, first and foremost, there is a need for a commitment to a principle: that, under sixteen, the victim is a child and it is never, ever the child's fault.

Tuesday's poem 'Rage' by was on a similar theme. John Saunders' uncompromising poem makes the point with clarity and power. There can be no excuses, no extenuating circumstances:

He oversaw the rapes of altar boys,
the fondling of children like toys-

playthings of the collared paedophile,
who prayed and preyed all the while.

Thursday's poem was

Wednesday's poem, 'Mightier' came from Sue Norton, a forceful reminder that:
Thugs wield their sticks and stones. They do not care.
Kill writers. Kill thinkers. Then punch the air.
In this piece, Sue's strong and clever rhymes are admirably suited to her message. Unfashionably, perhaps, I am a lover of well-used rhyme so I am especially pleased to have been able to publish this piece. 

Thursday's poem was 'A Drop of Water' by James Schwartsz, a response to a story that we should all be sitting up and giving out full attention. How long before we are all dependent on a big corporation for our water?

 Then, finally, on Friday, we had Franciso Rebollo's 'Rubble' I don't want to say anything more about this poem but, if you missed it, click on the links. It's so hard, isn't it? Every day there are so many claims on our time and resources. Give a little to this cause if you can.

Have a productive and peaceful week. Abigail Wyatt

Friday, 5 September 2014


(for Maha)

When kids play in the dust and rubble
that used to be their home,
there is no challenge or trouble
in pouring an ice bucket over your head.

With 500 children dead
and thousands left in life-destroying pain,
I’m pouring rubble
over my bald head.

Can you raise funds for a child
who’s paralysed from the neck down
even if it’s not from ALS
but rather from the IDF;
and still call it a challenge?

I call it a duty.

With no clean water,
and lucky to have survived,
Maha’s family mourn their daughter
while she's still alive.

When children play with
unexploded ordinance,
I cannot leave it to chance
for someone else to lend a hand
to clean up their playgrounds,
their schools,
their beaches,
littered with the rubble
of human rights breaches.

Challenge or not,
I’m covered in rubble
-even before I pour-
it’s the debris of humanity;
the rubble of our collective soul.

© Francisco Rebollo 2014

 Francisco Rebollo  (aka flycisco)  http://flycisco.blogspot.ie/ @flycisco Writer, activist, pilot, surfer and father of a young boy. A Mexican living in Ireland writes poetry and is currently working on his first novel working title: 'Propdogs'

Thursday, 4 September 2014

A Drop of Water

Land of lapping lakes,

Alexis de Tocqueville,

Detroit flood,
Detroit debt,
Our kingdom for a drop of water.

© James Schwartz 
James Schwartz is a poet and slam performer striving for the simplicity of Cavafy mixed with modern gay wordplay and elements; Schwartz's poetry / slam material often deals with GLBTQ issues and affirmations of gay (night) life and love. He is the author of The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America (inGroup Press 2011).

Twitter: @queeraspoetry