Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Alternative Solutions For Bloodthirsty Lion Cub Killers

The darlings sleep on the grass carpet,
dream of the Savannah,
wind in their manes
as they roar across the plains,

bullets break the silence,
fawn coloured skin turns red,
a mother whimpers in pain,
Who murders sleep again?
snatches these young ones from their den?

A sanitary measure,
A population censor,
cold-blooded killer.

Good guests at a sister zoo,
auctioned to a millionaire or two,
a crowdfunded feed-a-cub,
beg to buy a playpen,
so many options.

Or perhaps
returned, to the land of their birth
rescued from exile,
spared infantile demise,

But who knew?
That humans could think mass murder of lion cubs
an excellent thing to do.

© N.M.Bassey


N.M.Bassey is a writer and poet who lives in Nigeria. You can see more of their work at www.thenaijawriter.wordpress.com or follow on Twitter @StNaija

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Would That I'd Have Died That Night?

I was the girl
The one with Pompe's Disease -
a neuro-muscular disorder
I became
a constellation of symptoms
I was the disease -
a disability
Robbed of all personhood
They told me I'd be dead by 21
So I tried to kill myself at 17
But as I clambered over the side of the bridge
a voice in my head told me to stop
Or maybe it was just cowardice
whistling through the wind and icy cold
Either way, had I jumped
I would have missed out on the last 45 years
Going to University, motherhood,
becoming a grandmother
I know I have defied the odds
but have I not the right to be defiant?
Now the chattering classes -
'Guardian' readers and the like,
want to give me the 'right' to die
'Assisted Suicide' they call it
Will this same 'right' be offered to the able bodied?
Or will those who suffer the pain of mental anguish
be protected from themselves...for their own good
Does this mean a disabled life is worth less? (worthless!)
In which case beware -
as prejudice comes dressed up as 'rights'

© Des Mannay


Des Mannay has won prizes and been shortlisted in 6 competitions, performed at 8 festivals, published in 8 magazines/blogs. His work has appeared in 15 poetry anthologies. Catch him on Facebook as "The stuff wot I wrote' Des Mannay - hooligan Poet". Twitter: @hooliganpoet

Monday, 29 January 2018

The Word for World














You told the story

As you saw it:

Your place and truth

Formed the world.



Time was a crucible

Where the passing hours

Ran like years

For those you loved

Some so far away

That time itself

Stood between you.



You understood that magic

Came with consequences

And you shaped fragile worlds

To show power had its price

And lessons for us all.



You reminded us that

We could have dominion

Over everything

And still be lost.

© Brian Hill

Ursula K Le Guin: US fantasy author dies at home in Oregon

Brian Hill. 50 years a poet. One-time designer and film-maker; long ago, the rhyme-slinger, cartoon cowboy, and planetarium poet; now feverishly stringing words together in the hope of making sense.
Brian blogs as Scumdadio (don’t ask) at: http://onepieceaweek.blogspot.co.uk

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Hell Ships and Hiroshima

(For Herbert James Haines)

Not many like him are left,
The Brylcreemed young man
In RAF blue, looking up proudly
From folded newsprint;
He made it to ninety seven,
He was always lucky.

But time has taken its toll
On the family of a warrior
Who survived ‘hell ships’
And Hiroshima. None
Able to attend his funeral
In rainy North Wales.

Still a standard bearer
Will be present
And the local paper
Has appealed for support
To give a hero the send off
He deserves.

Jim didn't say much
About the war,
So we only know a little;
One visitor to his home
Remembers model planes
Hanging from the ceiling.

© David Subacchi

Appeal to public to give hero's farewell to Rhos on Sea WWII veteran who survived Japanese 'hell ship' and even Hiroshima

David Subacchi lives in Wales (UK) where he was born of Italian roots. He studied at the University of Liverpool and has 4 published collections of his English Language poetry: First Cut (2012), Hiding in Shadows (2014), Not Really a Stranger (2016) and A Terrible Beauty (2016) as well as a collection in Welsh: Eglwys Yng Nghremona (2016).

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Papering over the cracks

I scroll down MSN,
weep for the thirteen
blanked-out faces
of thirteen children
tortured by their parents.

I can't stomach much detail,
need sugar-coated news.

Prince William's £180.00 haircut.
Boris's bridge over the Channel.
Harry and Meghan wowing Wales.

I stay with Meghan who sparkles,
shares my daughter's name;
read about her fashion footwear,
statement earrings, green handbag.
Learn where her jeans were made,
what she said when she ate
her first welsh cake.

Yet even here, in my comfort zone,
an evil wind
wheezes through the cracks,
splutters images of girls
in matching tartan dresses-
puff sleeved, satin sashed-
the boys in dark suits,
white shirts, red ties.

Thirteen children
with blanked-out faces,
wiped out smiles.

© Sheila Jacob

How can parents torture their children?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Cardiff for royal visit

Sheila Jacob was born and raised in Birmingham and lives on the North Wales border with her Husband. She's had poems published in various U.K.magazines and webzines

Friday, 26 January 2018

The Presidents Men

Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by*


There’s a disclaimer
welcoming us to the most un-PC
event of the year.

Bid for Boris or the Bank
of England’s ear. Imagine deals
in a strip joint;

peel monkeys
from your bulging pocket wad:
and watch them dance.

Or spice up your wife
with cosmetic surgery.
You choose

from a catalogue
of skimpy women parading
boys’ toys: casino

roll play for the night.
Down that glass, rip off
your knickers and dance,

He’s letting off steam.
You’re nineteen? Come
up to my room.

Three balance sheets to the wind.
It’s all for charity. So much
on offer. How can you
refuse?

© Myfanwy Fox

*A Smuggler’s Song, Rudyard Kipling

Men Only: Inside the charity fundraiser where hostesses are put on show

Myfanwy Fox has had a weird life and would like to make yours weirder, too. She occasionally blogs at Fox Unkennelled




PartyPartyParty


It’s hard not to brush up
against someone you know here.

Familiar faces pack the room,
quite a squeeze.

Everything at eye level
is pretty straight

but, like swans, it’s all going on
down below.

My dominant hand holds a glass,
my other hand.

With such a crowd, I can balance
on one leg, not fall.

My other leg can slide into position,
like a trombone.

Great men doing it for charity, just
giving something back.

© Pat Edwards

Presidents Club dinner: Charity Commission boss 'horrified' by groping claims

Pat Edwards is a writer, teacher and performer living in Mid Wales. Her work has appeared in various publications including Prole, Picaroon, The Curlew, Ink Sweat and Tears and the soon to be published #MeToo Anthology. Pat runs Verbatim poetry open mic nights and curates Welshpool Poetry Festival.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Bear Arms

Comfort Zone

The military mind, as we all know,
Is disciplined, methodical and slow.
Although it likes its toys all gleaming new,
In most things it prefers the tried and true:
When fighting for the freedom of the West,
The older bogeymen are often best.
Thus, once again, we're ordered to beware
The rumblings of the ruthless Russian Bear:
That empire's seeking of its evil ends
Might soon deprive us of some Nazi friends.
It last attacked us – well, don't mind the date –
But let's to arms before we are too late
To tame the deadly threat that NATO faces
From right inside our worldwide ring of bases.

© Philip Challinor

Russia is biggest threat to UK since cold war, says head of British army

Philip Challinor posts fiction, satire and assorted grumbles on his blog: The Curmudgeon. His longer fiction is available here.


Priorities

Russia develops instruments of war.
In this sad world of poverty and pain,
such money could be used for so much more.
Russia develops instruments of war,
bigger and better than it had before,
to kill and injure, subjugate and maim.
Russia develops instruments of war
in this sad world of poverty and pain.

© Jenni Hyatt

Reality Check: What's happening to defence spending?

Jenni Wyn Hyatt was born in Wales in 1942. She now lives in Derbyshire, and started writing poetry in her late sixties. Jenni published her first collection, 'Perhaps One Day' in 2017.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Two Touching Tributes

Remembering Hugh Masekela, 1939-2018

Look back to the slum

that was Sophiatown, Johannesburg,

in the bad apartheid days.

Trevor Huddleston, the white priest,

bought a naughty boy a trumpet;

clapped both hands over his ears

as the black boy practised.

Hugh Masekela blew and blew,

his jazz trumpet sounding the joy

injustice tried to suppress,

making them dance in Africa:

I’m Not Afraid, Soweto Blues, 

No Borders; ever expanding

this legacy of love.

© Sue Norton


Sue Norton has had poems published in various magazines. She was a prizewinner in the 2017 Rialto/RSPB Nature Poetry competition.


Blackpool Rock

Blackpool rock
The name

Runs right through
Not with garish

Mis-placed pass of thought

That modernity is
But

Humility
Captain
Keep us warm

© Mark Coverdale

Jimmy Armfield: BBC Radio 5 live's John Murray on his friend and colleague

Mark Coverdale was born in Darlington, grew up in the hills of Saddleworth. He now lives in London, writing and performing poetry around the subjects of politics, homelessness and social justice. Twitter: @cov_art Blog: www.cov451.com

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Button It

Please press each day to say you're still alive
We need to save some cash so we're appealing
To older citizens to please deprive
Yourselves of human company and feeling

You worked hard all your life - now you're a burden
We can't afford to visit you each day
A button's so much cheaper than a warden
So press it, dear, and we'll know you're OK

Please press to tell us you're still drawing breath
We'll tick you off, forget you till tomorrow
Press 1 for still alive, just hold for death
You'll be transferred to automated sorrow

No frontline staff, we scrapped them in a meeting
Please press to tell us that your heart's still beating

© Janine Booth


Janine Booth lives in Hackney, East London. She writes and performs poetry, and has had three slim volumes of poetry published. Janine posts poems and political polemics at www.janinebooth.com

Monday, 22 January 2018

The Visit

Carnations fail,
Where winds from pterodactyl wings prevail.

Cast open wasteland shadows,
In which through perished grass,
Thrusts this beak of iron.

The cut up is from seventy two below
To eighty four inch,
Which sticks out a foot,
Over which we still trip.

Beady vultures keen eyed,
From crooked trees,
In Lowry skies, as
Strangle weeds grow round necks
Of ‘quipment collaps’d, done for graft.
We try to revive and oil,
But it runs deep this decay,
It runs deep this past.

The rusted beak juts death
Of industry gears, buried heavy clay,
Looms large size, sleepers rot,
Ropes untwist, steeples plummet,
Stories mist,
Chains still bind though,
Just so you know, just a reminder.

None the new growth dares to poke
From beyond the poisoned ground.
Harrows up, points blade bone.
Marrows ate by dogs dawned
Wi’ gallows humour,
Bark borders,
Frozen for those of skill and brawn.

Paint this scene;
There’s the works’ washed out,
Black and blue,
In devastated grey valleys between,
Where carbon red trickles
Stream-like ‘tween haunted rock.

There’s death wash,
In the gobs of the forgotten,
Because the witch you thought was dead,
Isn’t.

S’ smile now, through blood drained lips.
Sit here this desolate bench.
Pull out your bait, pull out your corks,
Y’ know, for y’ nose
For this stench.

Look below,
Look beneath how we’re judged.
Through the carved up way back home
Is trudged,
While down Whitehall way they can’t see that
All of our dandelion’s heads are missing.

Hide your children, hide the old,
Unfortunate, unable,
Under the yet to be climbed stairs.
And look lively now, the time nears.
The knock’ll come eventually,
For the inherently branded,
Tarred the same, ignored.

Ignored, though known within
Circles uniquely exquisite.
But for now, lights out,
Hush now,
For here comes
The visit.

© Mark Coverdale

Margaret Thatcher Parliament statue blocked over fears left-wing mob will destroy it

Mark Coverdale was born in Darlington, grew up in the hills of Saddleworth. He now lives in London, writing and performing poetry around the subjects of politics, homelessness and social justice. Twitter: @cov_art Blog: www.cov451.com

Sunday, 21 January 2018

O Carillion

O Carillion, it's gone,
The bill will be hundreds of millions,
Jobs will be lost and reduced pensions
For those who knew this was coming,
All along, so wrong,
O Carillion,
Carillion.

Ministers have made a commitment,
Telling everyone to turn up for work
And carry on, keep it strong,
Protect the public investment,
But for how long, how long,
O Carillion,
Carillion.

Hospitals, schools and prisons
And part pf HS2,
All Carillion,
But no more now,
Now that it's through,
O Carillion,
Carillion.

Live today and pay tomorrow,
That was the deal,
But tomorrow never ends
And paying goes on and on,
Like shareholder dividends,
O Carillion,
Carillion.

© David Subacchi

Carillion collapse raises job fears

David Subacchi lives in Wales (UK) where he was born of Italian roots. He studied at the University of Liverpool and has 4 published collections of his English Language poetry: First Cut (2012), Hiding in Shadows (2014), Not Really a Stranger (2016) and A Terrible Beauty (2016) as well as a collection in Welsh: Eglwys Yng Nghremona (2016).

Saturday, 20 January 2018

The Cash Spangled Banner

(a new anthem for a post-truth America)

Oh, say! can you see by the dawn's early light
That a beaming misogynist at twilight's gleaming;
White hoods are back, and lynching at night,
O'er the ramparts we watched drunken bigots all steaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that the Earth was scorched bare:
Oh, say! does that cash-spangled banner still wave
Though all of humanity's sent to the grave?

Oh the things, barely seen as reaction does creep,
Where a Billionaire host, claimed 'outsider' reposes,
What is that which will vote like a bunch of tamed sheep,
A reality TV host, half conceals, half discloses?
Now he catches the gleam of the photograph's beam,
Enough ugliness exposed to poison a stream:
'Tis the cash-spangled banner! a loin cloth to save
While the poor and the destitute head for the grave!

And where are the braves who were here before
The 'ching' of the Gold Rush and Cotton's confusion?
A history of genocide - here's the cat's paw:
Now the Standing Rock Sioux face foul pipeline's pollution!
No refugee has a welcome here save
For the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the cash-spangled banner does divide and rule
In a race to the bottom - where the folk act like fools

Oh, this should be never, when freemen shall hand
Over loved home to war's desolation!
And the murderers ransack, and screw other lands
Praise the power of the rich as they destroy your nation!
And as global warming turns crops to dust,
This be the motto: "In Trump is our trust":
And the cash-spangled banner in triumph unfurled
Will be the only thing left when they've destroyed the world.

© Des Mannay

Donald Trump to mark one-year inauguration anniversary with glitzy Mar-a-Lago gala as Congress moves to avert government shutdown

Des Mannay has won prizes and been shortlisted in 6 competitions, performed at 8 festivals, published in 8 magazines/blogs. His work has appeared in 13 poetry anthologies. Catch him on Facebook as "The stuff wot I wrote' Des Mannay - hooligan Poet". Twitter: @hooliganpoet

Friday, 19 January 2018

Ten-sixty-six and All That

Quelle surprise, Mon Dieu!
After nearly a millennium,
the tapestry that’s housed
in the town of Bayeux
will be shown in the UK
for the very first time.
Once assured of its safety
it will be coming our way.
But Macron has let it be known
it won’t be before twenty-twenty
and when it eventually arrives
the artwork will only be on loan.
To be reminded of ten-sixty-six
according to die-hard Brexiteers
is a threat of another conquest
and that the EU is up to old tricks.
But the remainers think it’s a thrill
that the French made the offer
to lend us the famous tapestry
which is a proof of their goodwill.

© Luigi Pagano

Bayeux Tapestry to be displayed in UK for the first time

Luigi Pagano has published three collections of poems: ‘Idle Thoughts’, ’Reflections’ and ‘Poetry On Tap’. His work has been featured in ABCTales’ magazines,UKAuthors’ anthologies, Poetry24 and several other publications.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Nice One Cyrille

An early early football
Memory sticks
Silver small time screen
When the unfancied
Cup upstarts
Beat the fancy Dans
At the heart and
The head of this team
This fearsome gentleman

I’d no grasp at ten
Of what was black
And what was white
But when
The foul and factious was
Hurled 
Back when
The boos and bananas were
Hurled
The mark of the man
They couldn’t mark was
To take that abuse
Peel the layers
Reveal truths hard
And with a thumbs up
A melting grin
Bite off it’s ugly head
Then from 30 yards
Put any game to bed

To lay the paths
For those
Who had the grasp
All too concrete
Of what was black
And what was white
Against all the hate
For all he’d done
Nice one Cyrille
Nice one

© Mark Coverdale

Cyrille Regis obituary

Mark Coverdale was born in Darlington, grew up in the hills of Saddleworth. He now lives in London, writing and performing poetry around the subjects of politics, homelessness and social justice. Twitter: @cov_art Blog: www.cov451.com

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Busted

Carillion’s
Made its billions
Now its debt is so big, its account’s in vermillion
With coldness reptilian
It dumps on civilians
Rides off into sunset; the Tories ride pillion
If it were not so serious, it would be vaudevillian

The profit inspectors
and bullshit detectors
in multiple sectors
did not rein in the dividend collectors
The public protectors
who serve the electors
must jail the directors

© Janine Booth

Carillion collapse raises job fears

Janine Booth lives in Hackney, East London. She writes and performs poetry, and has had three slim volumes of poetry published. Janine posts poems and political polemics at www.janinebooth.com

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

They used to tell me I was beautiful

Qamar and Rahaf were toddlers

asleep at home in Homs. A shell


fired the bedclothes

and the children burned.


It made the news. Shots of them

in hospital cots, broadcast;


tiny blackened hands, burying themselves

in soft pink teddybear fur.


Six years of operations, and Qamar is 9.

She loves doctors; she’d like to heal too.


Boys still point: look at her

disfigured face.


Qamar draws her dream house

and a mosque. What does she pray for?


I ask God to cure me; re-make me

more beautiful than I was before.

© Sue Norton

Syria shelling: 'They used to tell me I was beautiful'

Sue Norton has had poems published in various magazines. She was a prizewinner in the 2017 Rialto/RSPB Nature Poetry competition.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Double Trump

The New Normal

The new normal at odds with its own issues of self restraint

mouths running as if their tongues were in desperate need of a good kiss

opinions pierce into brains dumbed down into pin cushions

the bought and sold bigotry of the MLB, NFL and the NBA

just a modern day slave trade,

our leaders have lost the plot and

most artists will sell themselves out

and all of this passive aggressive sexual prowess

ain’t getting nobody properly laid.

© Joshua Baumgarten

'Shame on Trump!' World reacts to Trump's 'shithole countries' remarks

Joshua Baumgarten is an ex-pat New Yorker living in Holland. He organises the Irrational Library evenings - nights of poetry, rock n roll and casual chaos, and performs as a Standup Spoken Word artist.


On Shitholes

A place becomes a shithole
when someone digs a hole and shits in it
Someone like you, Donald Trump,
and all the rulers and raiders
and tin-pot dictators
the speculators and devastators
the extractors and the malefactors

Shitholes, however unpleasant,
at least serve a purpose
It is better to bury your shit in them
than to let it flow in torrents
out of your mouth
every time you open it

© Janine Booth

Trump decries immigrants from 'shithole countries' coming to US

Janine Booth lives in Hackney, East London. She writes and performs poetry, and has had three slim volumes of poetry published. Janine posts poems and political polemics at www.janinebooth.com

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Twenty Five Years On The Ferry

Twenty five years on the Ferry
From this side of the water
To the other side of the water,
Then back again,
People watching
On the Mersey tide.

Pointing the lens,
Releasing the shutter,
Then later on
Going digital;
In all kinds of weather
‘What you doin’ lar?’

‘Jus’ takin a snap’
‘Can I ‘ave a copy?’
‘Course you can’
‘O go on den!’
Faces on the Ferry,
Smiles and scowls.

The auld fellahs
In jackets, caps
And horn rims,
The gels in the latest
Fashions and hair styles,
‘Get me best side lad’

Bicycles and helmets,
Pushing and shoving,
‘Come on mate –
I got work to go to’
Maintaining courtesy
‘Alright son, alright !’

Twenty five years on the Ferry
Recording changing times,
Changing styles,
Capturing bits of lives,
‘Ain’t ya got a proper job?’
‘I’m trying, you know!’

© David Subacchi


David Subacchi lives in Wales (UK) where he was born of Italian roots. He studied at the University of Liverpool and has 4 published collections of his English Language poetry: First Cut (2012), Hiding in Shadows (2014), Not Really a Stranger (2016) and A Terrible Beauty (2016) as well as a collection in Welsh: Eglwys Yng Nghremona (2017).

Saturday, 13 January 2018

The Island of the Dead

Under the soft snow of Alabama

They let him hang from a tree

To tell them “no one messes with Mary Lee”

In a classroom 50 miles south they picked on María Guadalupe.

And made her crawl on her knees

At a special school they broke off for tea, went back to their dormitories

And saw Steve Jane and others too burnt to see

In the Island of the dead

They made America cremate again

In the White House he sat petulant and cold

Letting loose

Women to be slapped

Blacks to be murdered

Muslims to be demonized,

"You’re the terrorist Mr Trump"

"You’re the terrorist Mr Trump"

But in the soul of the dead

America was great again

© David Mellor

Trump 'in Oval Office outburst about migrants'

David Mellor is from Liverpool, England. He found understanding and belief through words, and his work has been aired widely, at the BBC, The Tate, galleries and pubs and everything in between. Discover more about David on his Facebook Page YouTube Twitter: @olunikat

Friday, 12 January 2018

Our Idiot President

I’ve seen him           coming down the hallway

the idiot boss            the toxic gas cloud

and I’ve heard him   proclaim

in coded language    those life-draining policies

we all sensed            were coming

then came                 the sky above our workplace

proof of a world       outside the prison

and yet                      that stickiness one feels

inside                        the narrow workplace

that claustrophobic   fear-zapping of soul

now you too             staffers of the President

know how it feels     so welcome to our world

most of us                 can tell you it never gets better

the idiot boss grows         only bolder

the yes-men and        yes-women support him

at least in public        and he will push it to extremes

a rubber band            stretched to its limit

but I’m here to say    it will not break

idiots like these         know just how far to go

they take you there   oh gosh they take everyone there

like that friend                 who pushed you to do things

that made you           uncomfortable

a suit in the closet    meaningless dress shoes

polished          the crimson pantsuit on the bed

droll bloodless                cold an erasure painting

what do you want?     sympathy? empathy for the wall-

makers?           the go-getters, the workaholics?

the movers                  and shakers? is he an idiot?

is he? I’ve seen           him coming down the hallway

the idiot boss              the toxic gas cloud

and I’ve heard him     proclaim

© Alejandro Escudé

Fmr. Trump advisor who called Trump an idiot defends remarks

Alejandro Escudé’s first book of poems, My Earthbound Eye, was published in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

The Trickle

How much is more?

Well, when the squirrel feels

The cold tickle and gathers

Its acorns, how many oaks he needs?

When the farmed razorback feeds in

Its trough, it knows what is surfeit

But humans keep, it’s perfect,

Whether to invest or not

Withdrawing passive income

No pain for gain

Because work is access

Work is inside

I’m rarely in a pickle

Work is impassive

Work is self

Preservation

So, as to the trickle,

The trick is in the trickle

Commitment to investment

Is fickle, as I will

Decide, if or when,

I will free a nickel

Or remain impassive

My wealth behind closed doors.

© Michel Steven Krug

What to expect when Trump's tax law takes effect

Michel Krug graduated from the Writing Seminars at the Johns Hopkins University. He writes poetry, literary fiction, is a former print journalist and now practices law in St. Paul, MN. 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Shouldered

They’re always bigger than you think.

Made stronger with intent and clarity, with purpose.

Like any mother she was frantic, bellowing, eyes wide-crazed


and her size, her color, her shape didn’t matter.

You stepped up. Shouldered her baby from the trench,

too weak from scrambling, unanswered cries.


Had hysterical adrenaline kicked in? What made you

hoist a baby elephant – terrified and trembling

onto your shoulders, a load beyond your own weight?


Was it pity? No.

I prefer to think compassion drove you. A gut-wrenching,

essential need bound to make a difference.

© Melinda Rizzo

India elephant rescue: The forest guard who saved a calf

Melinda Rizzo is a freelance reporter who lives in Quakertown, PA. She loves telling great stories - every story is a great story. Visit her website at www.melindarizzowriter.com

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Crying Wolf

As far as Trump is concerned, Bannon
is nothing more than a loose cannon
who is alien to him or his presidency
and tries to undermine his residency
by crying wolf to the eponymous guy
who wrote a book Don wants to deny.
The tome lists ten explosive claims
one of which states that Ivanka aims
to be president if opportunity arises:
she, not Hillary, would win the prize.
Junior’s meeting in the Trump Tower
with representatives of a foreign power
was, Bannon told, bad s***, treasonous,
but his words are said to be poisonous.
He has been warned to cease-and-desist
and that Donald Trump intends to resist
the offensive that his former aide took
and the allegations described in that book.

© Luigi Pagano

Trump Bannon row: 11 explosive claims from new book

Luigi Pagano has published three collections of poems: ‘Idle Thoughts’, ’Reflections’ and ‘Poetry On Tap’. His work has been featured in ABCTales’ magazines,UKAuthors’ anthologies, Poetry24 and several other publications.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Vital Signs of Our Time

Political health

Theresa and Jeremy turn up at the oz.
Two more in the queue - well, the queue that once was.
Today it's a scrum, a melee, a crowd,
Sick people on trolleys, or waiting outside.

Alerted for months, predicted for years -
Where's the prescription for crocodile tears?

© Charlie Lambert

Theresa May changes tack to apologise for postponed operations

Charlie Lambert is a former journalist and sports broadcaster who turned to a different form of media in 2016 when he started writing poetry. He lives in Liverpool, where the hospital is known universally as 'the oz'.



Pandemic

That strain again, it had a dying fall.
            Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Poetry mutates like flu: a core of purpose
embedded in an ever-changing surface.

Milton decried the modern bondage of rimeing.
So many ways with words have died through time.

Mostly we’re immune from art, resistant
or silently infected, jingle-listening: coexistent,

but when disease ensues it may be serious,
casualties often become obsessed, delirious

and secondary infections may present:
poetry voice, slam stance or olde inversion (not so quaint).

Or perhaps poetry is more like chicken pox or shingles?
Once caught it’s integrated, for ever part of us that lingers.

Where this metaphor breaks down is in who suffers most,
an infected victim or those close to an afflicted host?

© Myfanwy Fox


Myfanwy Fox has had a weird life and would like to make yours weirder, too. She occasionally blogs at Fox Unkennelled

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Plastic, plastic, everywhere

Seafood Starter

When you pressed start,

the washing machine began tumbling

synthetic microfibres out of your polyester


microplastics too tiny for the filter,

too insignificant for sifting

by the water treatment plant.


They drifted down-river to the ocean

where the langoustine ate them

and they lodged inside.


Your shrimp’s stomach is removed

from your seafood starter, but the shellfish

conceals from your partner its plastic surprise.

© Sue Norton

Are seafood lovers really eating 11,000 bits of plastic per year?

Sue Norton has had poems published in various magazines. She was a prizewinner in the 2017 Rialto/RSPB Nature Poetry competition.



Plastic Sea

In a thousand years time, when we are all dead
and all of our offspring have been laid gently in bed,
what will a visitor, who had bumped into Voyager see?
they had wanted to listen, to a creature called Chuck Berry.
will the seas be a soup, of plastic slime and oil?
will the rainforests clingon, or will it be desert mile on mile?
will the gardens of Europe be a flood plain of ice-less sea?
is Greenland now a beach resort, glacier and tundra free?
will we still stand, having survived our man made end
or will all be ruled by insects and jellyfish men?
and as they look around at all we have left,
the shells of buildings, rail and road intersects,
will they wonder the how, or the why, or even the what
or just carry on looking for a Chuck Berry CD box set?

© Andrew Minhinnick

193 nations sign pledge to tackle 'global crisis' of plastic in the oceans

Andrew Minhinnick is a fifty year old, unpublished scribbler. Work prevents him from dedicating as much time as he would like, to his writing. Nevertheless, he tries to pen something every day. His four unfinished novels and hundreds of poems tell the tale.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Bombogenesis

I was born extra-
tropical/polar
mean/I was born
burrowing/a drill
bit personality/
migrainous/exploding
the vessels of the soil/
I was born so graves
could not be/coffins
stalled on the descent/
prayers flung from eaves
and thrown up solid
in pipes/I was born
so hope could reach
for drains/so space
could shrink itself/
so time could grip
dank fears like tongued
ice/Twice-hearted
with fever I burned
through my birth/
set breakneck
records over and over/
hibernated in motion/
I was born burying
my own afterbirth/
a withdrawal of mass/
split on the multiple ways
I could be a jet streak/
an aerial divide/and still
come screaming to land

© Jen Karetnick

What is a 'bomb cyclone' and 'bombogenesis?' Monster storm moves up the East Coast

Jen Karetnick is the author of seven poetry collections, including The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press, September 2016), finalist for the 2017 Poetry Society of Virginia Book Prize. She is co-editor of the daily online literary journal, SWWIM Every Day (swwim.org; @SWWIMmiami). Her social media handles are @Kavetchnik and @JenKaretnick.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Waiting for signs

I don’t like my walls silent, my floors untrodden.
Like a barren woman, condemned to waiting
for signs, I breathe slow in case chance slips by
ungrasped, or a doorway creaks, or the garden gate,
mossy and cracked, unhooks to let in a child’s voice.
My corners are damp, as lonely as the number one,
and a chair, left behind I don’t know when, mocks
from where it faces away from a black fireplace.
Something scutters, day and night – a mouse, a roach,
a leaf, a whisper, a tiny spectre in a nightgown.

The gloating wind sneaks in via the maws of keyholes
to gossip what it has seen abroad. I cover my ears.

© Fran Hill

Over 11,000 homes have stood empty for at least 10 years, data shows

Fran Hill is a writer and English teacher based in Warwickshire, UK.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Two short poems - on the button

Button Moon (a tanka)

We’re off to Button
Moon we’ve followed Mr. Spoon
Button Moon but on
Twitter oh my trending days
Say button it Mr. Spoon

© Mark Coverdale


Mark Coverdale was born in Darlington, grew up in the hills of Saddleworth. He now lives in London, writing and performing poetry around the subjects of politics, homelessness and social justice. Twitter: @cov_art Blog: www.cov451.com


(a senryu)

for ‘button’, read

'penis' – will someone please

take his phone away?

© Mandy Macdonald


Mandy Macdonald lives in Aberdeen, trying to make sense of the 21st century. Music, poetry and gardening keep her sane. Her poems appear here and there in print and online.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

New Years's Eve

A fire starts in a four by four
Within the Echo Arena car park
Cars parked for
The International horse show.

Spreads it's fingers from car to car
Stroking their sides like a match head
Within hours all cars are incinerated
Including one with children's horse riding gear.

They have a new horse,
The Mother explains-
They'll need to buy new stuff
Should be covered by Insurance.

Fifteen minutes later
People would have drifted in
It could've been much worse
No horses were hurt.

© Amanda Derry

Daughter-in-law's car wrecked at Liverpool fire

Following a breakdown, Amanda joined a Creative Writing class which played a significant role in her recovery. She now embeds literacy skills into classes that she teaches. Amanda also runs the Facebook Group, I Love Writing.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Merry Christmas from your friends at AT&T

Sometimes I wonder

About the morality of the corporate giants

That rule our world


On the day before Christmas

AT and T received a huge Christmas gift

From the President of the United States


The biggest tax cut in U.S. History

And the President proclaimed

That it would unleash jobs jobs jobs


Apparently, ATT never got the memo

And they announced thousands of layoffs

The day before Christmas


A true PR nightmare

That could have been avoided

They could have waited two weeks

And announced their restructuring plan

After the New Years


But no they decided to show the world

Their true colors

Heartless soulless monsters

Who don’t give a damn

About their workers, their customers

Or their employees


And certainly are not Christians

Though I am sure that they think

They are doing what Jesus would


All they care about

Is feathering their own pockets


Is it any wonder

That Americans hate the big corporations

That rule us like ancient emperors?


And will they fade away

Into the dustbin of history

One can only pray

For such a Christmas miracle

© Jake Aller

AT&T ANNOUNCES THOUSANDS OF LAYOFFS, FIRINGS JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS

John (“Jake”) Cosmos Aller is a novelist, poet and former Foreign Service officer. He served 27 years with the U.S. State Department, in ten countries. An aspiring novelist for several years, he has completed four novels, and has published his poetry and fiction in over 25 literary journals. Jake grew up in Berkeley, California.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Two for New Year's Day

Self-defense

The slums are a-bleeding: “Drug pushers shot it out; police gunned them down,” per official reports.

Thousands of drug pushers in thousands of separate "encounters", each “attempted to outdraw
and out-shoot” well-trained and numerically-superior policemen (with some
imported from the president's home city from down south
to perform their special cleansing job
in so-called Imperial Manila.)

And it goes on, the slaughter
of small criminals
along the margins,
while most drug lords
ensconced in mansions,
inside exclusive subdivisions,
still rake in their profits.

© Karlo Sevilla



Cold Stats

"A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic." 
                                 – allegedly from heavily mustached genocidal 20th century dictator


Beyond lovers, family, friends, (close) neighbors: how much one heart bleeds for another?
(Or how far a heart falls for—dare we say it?—suffering humanity?)

The casualties on TV news, how much empathy? (And that claim of "loving the masses"...
what percentage of love and what percentage of the masses? Is it an all-or-nothing thing?)

Says the news about the Rohingya:

“An estimated 830,000 people now live on the border…6,700 deaths from violence…”

“…Mumtaz says she was dragged to a village house and raped by soldiers…”

“…one-year-old daughter Sohaifa thrown on a fire while she was still alive…”

Sad, but still no Agony in the Garden for me, no sweating of blood for sinful humanity.

(A "little" heart rattler: The odds of such happening to you or your loved ones?
Life insurance sales pitch goes, "The 999,999 don't matter,
if the one in a million victim is you.")

One heart bleeding in isolation is tragic, but a billion hearts beating as one...

is easier dreamed than done.

© Karlo Sevilla


Karlo Sevilla (@KarloSevilla) writes from Quezon City, Philippines. His poems have appeared in Philippines Graphic and international political literary magazines Radius, Matter, Social Justice Poetry, and others.