Saturday, 30 June 2018

Lynch Mob

(for Rashan Charles)

I saw the
CCTV footage
murder in
a corner shop
lynching dressed
up as
stop and search

What colour is
your hatred officer?
I bet it's Black
I see you and
fear for my sons

You used to
lynch in cells
now you use
our streets as well
we must claim
them back

Our anger shall
be the colour
of justice
resistance
our one defence
No justice - no peace.

© Des Mannay

Rashan Charles: Family slams ‘flawed’ investigation by police watchdog after accidental death ruling

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

Friday, 29 June 2018

Upskirt

I first learned of upskirting when I was eight
how a girl’s private parts could be something to rate -
our teacher brought mirrors in, wood strips and glue
for periscope making, so exciting so new!

Then we heard Johnny Jefferson’s under desk snickers -
perverting his effort to peek at our knickers.

© S. O. Fasrus

Upskirting: What is it and why are people trying to make it illegal?

S.O. Fasrus: Social Justice Campaigner & Social Research Interviewer. Her verse and poems; some comic; satirical; and serious; can be found online. Recent poems are in New Verse News, Culture Matters, and Poems for Grenfell Tower.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

On his watch

His crew struggled to cut through thick black smoke.

Doorknobs too hot to handle.

Going in above the fire

to knock on doors, get people out.

Exceeding the ten minutes of safety

on their breathing apparatus

Putting their own mask on casualties.

Carrying a casualty alone, sometimes

more than one at a time

You can’t see colour in smoke.


After watching the footage,

played back from a mobile phone,

the fire spitting and sparking,

he repeated again

he was ‘outside his comfort zone’,

wiped his eyes with a handkerchief.

Offered a five minute break.

The officer said ‘ten please’.


© Judith Wozniak

Grenfell Inquiry dramatically halted after firefighter Michael Dowden breaks down over mobile phone footage

Judith Wozniak is a retired GP living in Hampshire. She is currently a student at the Poetry School in London.



Who Do You Blame?

Those who fought it
    or those who caused it?

Those who saved sixty-five
    or those who cost seventy-two?

Those who did not know the tower was clad in torchwood
    or those who chose that cladding because it was cheaper?

Those whose chosen job is to walk into burning buildings to save life
    or those whose careers are built on making money by cutting corners?

Those who have seen things they will never forget
    or those who see only pounds and pence?

Those whom the community deeply respects
    or those it holds in profound contempt?

Those who pass muster
    or those who pass the buck?

Michael Dowden, we stand with you.


© Janine Booth

'I Am Michael Dowden' trends on Twitter as Grenfell firefighter who broke down at inquiry is inundated with messages of support

#IAmMichaelDowden

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

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Higher Ground

The stones
of the Acropolis

Are mighty stones,
Weighty stones

Some cracked,
Others stained

Stones of time, tribute
Majesty and merit

Set upon higher ground.

Blue-gray stones set
Above the sea

Above the hill,
And then the world.

They are like
what we imagine
Democracy might be

Majority rule,
Minority rights

Free, fair elections
Cooperation,
Compromise.

Blue-gray stones
set above the world
to remind us

That democracies
have flown,
are fleeting.

The stones
of the Acropolis

Are mighty stones,
Weighty stones,
Set upon higher ground.

© Gil Hoy

Is Trump a Threat to Democracy?

Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and trial lawyer who is studying poetry at Boston University through its Evergreen program. Hoy received a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He served as a Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman for four terms. Hoy’s poetry has appeared, most recently, in Ariel Chart, The Penmen Review, Right Hand Pointing/One Sentence Poems, The New Verse News and Clark Street Review.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

The Naked Truth

Ten thousand people volunteered
to be photographed in the nude
but Woolworths vetoed the move
because it would cause disruption
and not because the shoot was rude.
A spokesman exclaimed, “Struth!
I don't buy it, it's a lot of baloney,”
But the supermarket giant replied
“What we said is the naked truth
even though it may sound phoney."
The situation is still very tense;
the society of the shopping precinct
declared the decision was nonsense;
people would follow their instinct
and embrace the artistic nudity.
But to avoid the risk of sedition
and encourage a reconsideration
the lensman suggested a petition.

© Luigi Pagano

Spencer Tunick: Supermarket chain halts artist's nude shoot

Spencer Tunick: Woolworths relents and allows mass nude photo on car park

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, 25 June 2018

Rohingya

No bricks, no mortar,
but bamboo and mud,
huts of the homeless.

Displaced masses,
With futures left behind
on well trod paths,
occupy borrowed land.
But interest must be paid
in compound despair
and shattered dreams.

Hollowed eyes,
faces that have lost their shine,
looking for help
which never arrives.

The legacies
of England's bloody empire.
Writ large for all to see.
Those looks are not returned.

Suu Kyi's lips move,
Trump's echo is heard,
Western shoulders shrug.

They are the forgotten
but not the few.
They are 700,000.

© Peter K Jones

Rohingya surviving in 'the world's largest refugee camp'

Peter K Jones is of mixed Welsh/Burmese descent and is struggling to understand the stance of Aung San Suu Kyi towards the Rohingya.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

The Jacket

We
the swell bellied children
the hollow drum,
spiral eyed,
bony ribbed
boys and girls
spitting out flies -
sucking in
nothing
from breasts
empty of hope
know
why the caged bird sings–

Our song
charred to a cinder
is their song -
tweet solidarity
-if not
the jacket wins.

© Bex Tate

Melania Trump wears 'I don't care' jacket en route to child detention centre

Hundreds of thousands of children close to dying of hunger in Congo, UN warns

Bex Tate, frustrated with the data driven education system, recently left behind her job as a Kindergarten teacher to spend time writing and pondering life. Writing poetry helps her to try and make sense of the world...as well as giving her the chance to rant a bit!!

Melania Visits the Children of Migrants

She made the effort
to get up and catch a plane.
She wanted to be seen

to care about these children.
Her husband had insisted
they must be caged

away from their parents
despite their screams and tears.
How can I help?

said the compassionate lady
and she told the children
Be kind and nice to others, OK?

She made no attempt to hide
the message her coat displayed
as she turned her back

to board the plane home:
I really don’t care, do u?
She wasn’t thinking about that.

© Sue Norton

Melania wears 'I really don't care do u?' jacket on migrant visit

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

The Devil’s Pact

Shaking hands with evil

seeps into the weak,

burning morals and compassion

screwing people’s lives


Lives of people fleeing

violence, poverty, shame.

People looking for new beginnings,

people looking for security.

Human beings


who know how to love

who protect their children

who want the world to be better

who risk destablising lives

who reach the borders of hope


and are arrested

torn from their children

thrown in cages

sent back alone

waiting for their children


whose lives must no longer contain any hope

because others shook hands with evil.


© Emma Woodford

'Going through hell' at the border: parents split from children tell of anguish

Emma is a social activist and poet living in the Belgian countryside with her family and many animals.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Melania’s Message

As long as U were just a jerk
In Trump tower on the top floor
I was able to make this work
But I can’t stand U anymore

I could manage mean and indifferent
For a life in Manolo sandals
But tearing children from parents
Is an evil I can’t handle

Get Cohen (ha,ha) on the pre-nup
He’ll tell U what U should do!
Hannity can deal with the clean-up
I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?

© Alina Macneal

Melania Trump, Agent of Coat Chaos

Alina Macneal lives in Philadelphia. Her poems have appeared in Apiary Magazine, Poems for the Writing, The World to Come, and other anthologies.

Take Flight

Held behind these wires
I am caged but no more than you
In opinion, policy, silence.

My heart flies with a wing beat
Faster than that of any rising gull
Soaring to travel with a message
Around this land of the not so free

Calling for hearts to break the
Ribs of so-called democracy
To wheel, turn, take flight
Doing ultimately what is right

© Karen Mooney

How children live inside cramped immigration detention centers

Karen Mooney's work has been published by The Society of Classical Poets, The Hedgehog Poetry Press, I am not a silent poet and Poems for All. See more at www.observationsinrhyme.com
 

Friday, 22 June 2018

Bikini Dilemma

Can a real woman after fifty
wear a bikini? Well let me see
now, is she real and does she have one?
Can she get it on?
(The bikini I mean, steady on!
Although, you know,
we’re not quite past it yet.)

Dare she wear? Dare she bare?
Dare she share her real self?
Or should she now sit on the shelf
with saggy tits and scary bits?
Although, I have to say,
The men don’t put it all away.

Get real, be free,
and if you want to go for it,
defiant in your glory,
age comes to us all, so what,
acknowledge your true beauty,
And, just damn well wear your bikini.

© Janey Colbourne

Can a real woman wear a Bikini after 50?

Janey Colbourne is a writer, performance poet and musician, exploring nature, culture and politics. Her feminist poetry challenges rape culture and its perpetuating myths. Twitter: @JaneyColbourne


Thursday, 21 June 2018

Only Children

Last night I dreamed
workers painting my house

Brought all of their children
to work in the morning

With brushes and buckets
of water, to wash and to clean

To scrub hundreds of faces,
like paintings on canvas,

That had appeared overnight
on the walls of my house.

Faces of crying children
in chain-link cages

Taken from their parents
by a cruel, callous man.

Black faces, white faces
yellow, red and brown

And the workers' children
all the while washing
and scrubbing

But never hurting the faces.

And me, all the while looking on
with a growing awareness

of a feeling of shame
coming from deep inside.

© Gil Hoy

Leading Republicans Join Democrats in Pushing Trump to Halt Family Separations

Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and trial lawyer who is studying poetry at Boston University through its Evergreen program. Hoy received a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He served as a Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman for four terms. Hoy’s poetry has appeared, most recently, in Ariel Chart, The Penmen Review, Right Hand Pointing/One Sentence Poems, The New Verse News and Clark Street Review.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

No Fairy Tale

The child
peering out of the cage
is not Hansel -
there is no
house of gingerbread
no Gretel
no wicked witch
no chicken bone trickery
no breadcrumb trail
for hungry Peters
or hungry
Pauls
no chest of jewels -
there are no
smooth, white pebbles
to guide him safely home
no-one is living
happily ever after here
there is no
fairy tale ending -
only a tiny handed
Tangerine Man

© Bex Tate

Separation at the border: children wait in cages at south Texas warehouse

Bex Tate, frustrated with the data driven education system, recently left behind her job as a Kindergarten teacher to spend time writing and pondering life. Writing poetry helps her to try and make sense of the world...as well as giving her the chance to rant a bit!!

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

No Hope for Chope

I fancied some titilating photos
    so I went on an upskirting hunt
I didn't really care about consent,
    that's if I'm being blunt
I came across Sir Christopher
    and thought I'd have a punt
I'd capture a peek of his private parts,
    I'd chortle and I'd grunt
It seemed to me a great idea,
    a harmless and witty stunt
But what was the image my camera showed?
    A big, wet, swollen, vulgar affront

© Janine Booth

Chope's ignorant objection to the upskirting bill shows how little female consent matters to a lot of men in power

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, 18 June 2018

Flags on cars

Fly the flag with idiotic pride,
it’s the football jamboree.
Infecting nearly everyone.
Suddenly – a pride in our country.

A cycle of absurd fervour,
that hits every four years.
All rejoicing at the start
before inevitably ending in tears.

An incongruous, simplistic belief,
unbridled passion for a game.
A conceited national arrogance.
It is such a shame, shame, shame.

Unified, labouring with zeal,
faith as eleven chase a ball.
Defeat, inexorably comes with a penalty,
the reaction could make a government fall.

So where do all the flags go?
Are they burnt, or are they thrown?
Put away till the next competition,
giving new hope a chance to be grown.

© Darren Beaney

World Cup 2018: Football showpiece set to begin in Russia

World Cup: England fan covers house with giant flag

Darren Beaney: OAP - Old Aged Punk. Writing on and off for 20 years. Did some slams in the late 1990's (very drunk). Never submitted anything anywhere.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Ted

died in a corner by the toilet
at the coffee shop where he’d lived
and slept for the last ten years

I read, between tears

he had worked all his life
but at low-paying working class jobs

managed to survive
on a limited government pension

an unexpected expense
left him suddenly scrambling

the restaurant his refuge
as his body battled cancer

Nothing sudden, like a heart attack

never touched drugs
not a big drinker

Nothing brutal, like mugging

kind and easy going

Slumped at his table for hours
folks just drinking their coffee
coming and going

nobody ... noticing
this person’s dying breath

like that photo:

a toddler on the slabs
his endless, shrunken stare
lying between so many ghetto feet

But this is Vancouver
not Warsaw

Weep

© Phil Coleman

Death of Canadian man living in 24-hour coffee shop sparks housing outcry

Phil Coleman lives near Swansea and tries to balance work and the need to write. At the age of 50 he's still a complete tyro at everything except juggling words.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Rat-King Tales

Because the Rat-King
is first and foremost
a Rat, he chews through
walls. Frail brick
between church and
state, sagging particle
board between office
and profit – When I smell
a beautiful cheese I just
chew, says Rat. I don’t
even wait. It’s like a
magnet. – He adjusts his
tiny gold crown with his
tiny paws. -- Is it any
wonder my followers
love me? Look at
all the holes I’ve made
for them to crawl through.

© Alina Macneal

Ivanka Trump Wins China Trademarks, Then Her Father Vows to Save ZTE

Alina Macneal lives in Philadelphia. Her poems have appeared in Apiary Magazine, Poems for the Writing, The World to Come, and other anthologies.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Wordsworth’s Revenge

It’s led the way from hell to heaven
each day since 1847,
bringing folk from far and near
to Oxenholme and Windermere.

But no trains move along the track
that runs through Burneside and back;
instead of views from Orrest Head
the scene’s a signal, stuck on red.

Wordsworth’s laughing in his grave.
The rustic peace he strove to save
is back; despite the money, bold intentions,
‘romance of nature’ has ‘baffled’ inventions,

and what he called ‘paternal fields’
are spared the beats of drumming wheels,
while here and now, surprisingly,
the track’s the safest place to be.

One hundred years and seventy-one
the trains have done their job and run
through hills to see the lake appear,
from Oxenholme to Windermere,

until this time. All the gizmos, fancy plans,
applied in vain by modern man.
Victorians would not permit the fail
Of 2018 Northern Rail.

© Charlie Lambert

Northern breaks promise as it tries to extend closure of Lakes Line

Charlie Lambert was born in Windermere and has travelled the line to Oxenholme many times. He now lives in Liverpool.

William Wordsworth was a strong campaigner against the proposal to build a rail link to the Lake District, writing a series of articles as well as the poem 'Kendal and Windermere Railway: Sonnet' available at https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/kendal-and-windermere-railway-sonnet-from-the-carlisle-journal

Thursday, 14 June 2018

In Memory of Grenfell 💚

Caoineadh (for Grenfell) 💚


       I summon to this
                         shadow graveside
the joys and sorrows
                             of our families.

My sister’s wonder at sweet pea
blossoming on a cold windowsill.
The speckled palette of her view
across an unfamiliar London sky.

Her daughter’s delight in dancing
in learning. Of uaigneas, loneliness
sadness, comforted by a letter
from home in her mother tongue.

Will anyone ask if she was happy -
if long hours cleaning hospital
wards bled her skin
                          dampened her soul?

Does anyone care that she was good?
                                she helped neighbours
her beliefs had no colour.

She is beloved, grá geal mo chroí.

That she missed music, singing
                 her voice strong
a skylark in London
                keening for home.

© Rona Fitzgerald

Rona Fitzgerald worked on promoting gender equality for twenty years at European and national levels. She writes poems about people and about matters in the world that concern her.

Rapunzel   Moss Height Glasgow 💚

Ur yi no feart? School pals wunner
Sae high up? Plump palms oan the sill
she learns the toon's clutter. Fitba pitches
whare Daddy plays day-bricht wi floodlichts.
Motors birl an hurl roon shinin the nicht.
Barbie-pink curtains aye open. The shops,
whare the wumman upstairs works, aw wee toys.
Hir magic show. Dancin wi the wind the swayin flats
fuel hir dreams. Oer the noise o the babby
through the wa greetin, the telly blethers.
A hundred people now feared dead
in the Grenfell Tower blaze.

Streechin oot, freckles agin the gless
she peers doon at hir building, wunners
Whit's cladding?

© Finola Scott

Finola Scott likes writing and tickling her grandchildren. A Slam-winning granny, she appeared this year at the EIBF as well as reading in Rosslyn Chapel by candelight.

Face Lift 💚

My face in lining up to check
its worn cheeks and over-hanging eyelids
in the mirror. Like any old building,

the elements have washed it
into disrepair, though not yet instability.
No need for signs warning of
falling debris.

I slap on a bit of make-up sure,
but it's purely cosmetic,
just to plaster over cracks,
add some colour.

If I had more money than sense,
they could lift me, suck me, fill me,
provide full and costly renovation.

But when you are poor, all you get is
unsuitable cladding
and no real means of escape.

© Pat Edwards

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.

Enquiry 💚
 
If we could, we’d ask them what it was like:
when the fire had taken hold and was rip-roaring close
and they knew, no way, were they getting out

and they wondered what it was going to be:
barbequed, flash-fried alive, sizzle and flame,
or deep-sea drowned, gulp-gulp-gulping acrid smoke.

If we could, we’d ask them what they felt:
in the super-heated furnace of their guts,
in the roaring Hell-fire of their heart,
in the blazing bonfire of their brain.

But as it is, we can only ask ourselves:
who’s fault it was, who was to blame.

© Richard Devereux

Richard Devereux is a member of Lansdown Poets and Bristol Stanza. His collection Bill tells the story of his grandfather, a soldier of World War One who fought on the Balkan front in northern Greece. Richard taught English in Athens and his knowledge of Greece inspires and informs much of his writing. His poems have appeared in several anthologies and on-line magazines.

Grenfell Tower 💚

‘Grenfell Tower’ was first published in ‘The Lyric’, Summer 2017

How must it feel to know you’re going to die
when rabid flames demolish and devour
and leave a mausoleum in the sky?
How must it feel to know you’re going to die
too young, and bid your family goodbye,
when acrid fumes constrict and overpower?
How must it feel to know you’re going to die
when rabid flames demolish and devour?

How must it feel to try to carry on
when you escaped the blaze but at what cost,
to suffer nightmares which will run and run?
How must it feel to try to carry on,
when much of what made life worthwhile has gone,
with home and treasures, friends and loved ones lost?
How must it feel to try to carry on
when you escaped the blaze at such a cost?

© Jenni Wyn Hyatt

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.


One Year 💚


One year
does not
fill the spaces
where lives were once lived -
does not
fade the image
of their faces
their voices
crying out
from inside
until the lines went
dead

One year does not stop
the anger
the pain
the numbness
the nagging knowledge
that they will not
come back -
does not stem
tears falling like rain
dropping out of eyes
that would rather not have seen
the unseeable -
nor silence ears
that would rather not have heard
the unspeakable

One year on
there is no
sprinkler system
to douse memories
no extinguisher
no Jack and Jill
pail of water
to put out
the grief smarting
in hearts
broken

One year on
empty rhetoric
can and never will
fill the spaces
where lives were once lived

One year on
one love
one green heart –
many voices
unite
through silence💚

© Bex Tate

Grenfell one year on: ‘We don’t want those lives to be lost for nothing’

Bex Tate, frustrated with the data driven education system, recently left behind her job as a Kindergarten teacher to spend time writing and pondering life. Writing poetry helps her to try and make sense of the world...as well as giving her the chance to rant a bit!!


 Grenfell (a double triolet) 💚


What would William Blake have done
as Grenfell Tower was burning bright
and names extinguished, one by one?
What could William Blake have done
to wake the rich in Kensington
before the sirens cried that night?
What would William Blake have done
as Grenfell Tower was burning bright?

What would William Blake have said
to those who built the fatal walls,
trapping the innocents in bed?
What could William Blake have said?
The names and numbers of the dead
hide under an official pall.
What would William Blake have said
to those who built the fatal walls?

© Jennifer Davis Michael

Grenfell Tower lit green a year after fire

Jennifer Davis Michael is Professor and Chair of English at the University of the South in Sewanee,TN, USA. Her work has appeared in Mezzo Cammin, New Verse News, Literary Mama, and elsewhere.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park” - Anthony Bourdain

Food like music
Is a matter of taste

Before Jamie bored us
(Though he knew all the chords)
With his bland Britpop brand
Before Nigella’s Shania Twain cosy cleavage
Popped the eyes out of Middle Ingerland

Before Ramsey’s parental advisory
Repetitive rap
And Carluccio (RIP)
Plated up that simple opera
We all could grasp

Tony showed us that food was
The Stooges The MC5 Los Explosivos
Where oysters are MDMA
And the Ramones are alive on that plate

Where the kitchen cast
Were Goodfellas
The Three Amigos
And Scarface
Stepping in
As the culinarily crew
Of Battleship Potemkin

Where the kitchen was the spotlight
Where the cooks were the stage show
Where the roadies were as important as the band
Where the collective experience
Could make you cry
Grown man

And the food was the tune
That punched your throat and
Kicked your balls
Made you sit on your arse for hours
Pouring wine and breaking bread

Messed with your mind
Pogue-d your head
Made you fall in love
Again
With something you shouldn’t have
‘Cos you’ll always remember the times you fell
And you’ll never forget love
When it’s cooked that well

© Mark Coverdale

CNN's Anthony Bourdain dead at 61

Mark Coverdale Art School Mod Poet. Born in Darlington the year Elvis died. Now in London via Oldham writing and performing socially and politically observational poetry.
Twitter: @cov_art

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Down and Out

Down

and

out of

money

out of

food

out of

a pair of shoes

for winter


Out of

the frying pan

into the

cold night air

no fat sausages sizzling there

just bang

bang

bang

on the door-

your landlord

demanding

the rent you

may or may not

have til

next month

when your universal credit

may or may not

come through


Down on

your luck

down in

the mouth

down at

heel

down at

the food bank


Down and out

in Croydon

in Keighley

in Lee on the Solent

in Aber

Staithes

Briport

Derry

the Strand

the Strip

the Square

the Street

the fens

the moors

the lakes

the peaks


Down

and

out

in

Great

?

Britain

2018

© Bex Tate

Universal credit tips poor into hardship, says charity

Orwell’s take on destitution, live from Paris and London

Orwell's Down and Out: LIVE

Bex Tate, frustrated with the data driven education system, recently left behind her job as a Kindergarten teacher to spend time writing and pondering life. Writing poetry helps her to try and make sense of the world...as well as giving her the chance to rant a bit!!



Monday, 11 June 2018

Ultramarine

time was all that sea had left

eroded wood, brown wrack and the spittle of the waves
came to beach with storm-sand wrapped in kelp and tangle
dried foam flecked like useless rage
on the pursed lips of the shore

another day’s flood heaved rust and metal
empty oil cans that echoed with shipboard engines
and deflated washed up buoys rocking sorrowful
among shoes with parted uppers whose salt stained
soles ran riding in the flotsam swell

yesterday’s ebb and flow stranded the anatomy of dolls
dislocated arms and legs the effigies of future generations
lost or drowned hiding the shame to come in seaweed

half a century went in the blink of an open-and-close eye
metal weights tilted those lifeless lids to see what we cannot
to see rising with the tide as it swells
everything we have ever made coming now to bury us

who consigned all that was useless to the deep
the leftovers the waste the by-products spoil and detritus
debris leavings fragments the sediment of acquisition
of materialism of limitless folly and greed

everything discarded
everything dug into pit and slag heap
everything that rivers carried the sea ground to dust
pulverised into beads as invisible as guilt
the world and the life upon it choking
while we stagger on

plastic coats our eyes with a film of blindness
a dead lens through which we see nothing amiss
and in our ears it clogs the senses
our mealy mouths speak no word of this

too much rubbish has escaped our notice
because there is too much money still to be made
by those who value money above all else
and wrap their polyethylene winding sheets tight
but the poison is already in the vein
already in the bloodstreams of animals
already corroding the fragile bones of fish
already in the gizzards of birds
and in trees in phloem and xylem
part of every leaf and stem

for we are dying out already, slow and steady,
our unwitting suicide the sixth extinction
on this gibbet of a world

© Brian Hill

50 nations 'curbing plastic pollution'

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).

Sunday, 10 June 2018

That Was the MUSE That Was

Does My Bum Look Big In This?

Trapped tight, he sat
To win a bet, a dare, just for a laugh
Friends left him stranded
Stuck fast
Minutes turned to hours
His struggles for freedom in vain
Each twist and turn held him evermore jammed
In that tiny toddlers swing
He heard the snigger
From a helpful community copper
Who pushed and pulled with no success
“I think we need some help here mate”
The best he could suggest
His embarrassment grew
With the grins of the fire crew
And with the crowd
That gathered and grew
Who’d come to see his sorry sight
While the emergency services did their best
But even the hunks from fire brigade
Couldn’t get him free
Then; “I have a plan” someone said
“Take the swing to bits, instead”
Released at last; set free to regain some of his cool
He sauntered off, unhurt but slightly flushed
Vowing out loud, to the assembled crowd
“No more stupid bets”!

© Peter Wright

Firefighters rescue man, 20, stuck for hours in swing

Peter Wright was born and grew up in Kent and now lives in Dorset. He started writing poetry just over a year ago and tries to write something every day.


Saturday, 9 June 2018

Scott-free

The Privy Councillor,
Party Leader,
Member of Parliament
(who nearly became Home Secretary),
Barrister at Law,
MA (Oxon),
Old Etonian
wanted to be free of Norman Scott.

He walked from the Old Bailey
a free man.
His ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card
was his pedigree.
The nation thought he’d got away scot-free.

© Richard Devereux

Jeremy Thorpe case 'was a farce', says ex-suspect

Richard Devereux is a member of Lansdown Poets and Bristol Stanza. His collection Bill tells the story of his grandfather, a soldier of World War One who fought on the Balkan front in northern Greece. Richard taught English in Athens and his knowledge of Greece inspires and informs much of his writing. His poems have appeared in several anthologies and on-line magazines.

Friday, 8 June 2018

For Sale

Between the lost and found a
mislaid marcasite earring. Reward.

Suitcase with child’s clothing,
lost in Dublin or on the 2:30 train
to Cork. Reward.

Lost brooch. Sentimental value. Reward.
Strayed Irish terrier. Reward.

Blackberries wanted.
Top prices paid.
5/- to pickers or 5/6 to sellers.
We collect or pay carriage
for unblemished fruit.

Between the Lost and Found.
Notices.

Who will adopt a beautiful
six weeks old boy of very
good parentage?

Will Catholic mother adopt Therese,
an attractive little girl, aged three,
curly hair, healthy? Full surrender.

Healthy boy, fair,
very intelligent with happy
disposition for adoption. Priest’s
references essential. Full surrender
given.

The column inches glare.
Black bold type to lure
discerning eyes.
Babies to snatch.
Empty arms to fill.
Bulging pockets to siphon.
Profits to be made.
A donation to the Parish Priest,
or one to the nuns.

They called the Ma’s
sinners.
Chopped their hair,
changed their names, their
births.
Nightime lock ups.
Enslaved.
Servitude.
Beatings kept them in line,
Emotions smacked out.
Anything to make
those Magdalene women
conform.

And the men?
The men who spread the seeds?
Unblemished stock.

© Mari Maxwell

Tusla knew of illegal adoptions in 2016

Mari Maxwell received The Story House Ireland's inaugural residency and participated in the Irish Writers Centre's XBorders program in 2017. She Tweets @MariMaxwell17 and blogs at https://lineatatime.wordpress.com

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Prosecco

Prosecco sales are said to be peaking
In Britain, because of the snob factor
Working against products too popular;
For the select frown on Chavs imbibing
The same bubbly they're partial to quaffing;
So load the trailer and fetch the tractor
And cart away these wine bottles vulgar,
Now unfit for fashionable drinking.

Sell them cheap for respectable causes
Or give them to a favourite charity,
For the discerning drinker now pauses
Before choosing this fizz from Italy;
Even though such behaviour exposes
The madness of a class based society.

© David Subacchi

Have we reached peak prosecco?

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).


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Grenfell Testimony

Don’t make those points now, the learned man said.
But we are the living and they are dead.
Speak now of your loved one, not of those in power.
But now is the time and now is the hour!
Ignoring the lawyers, there’s nought left to fear.
There are points to be made and that’s why they’re here.
The system failed those seventy-two souls
And hundreds of relatives, truth be told.
Trapped in his flat on the twenty-third floor
No saviour was knocking on Hesham’s front door.
Karim spoke through a standing ovation.
Grenfell brings shame to this whole nation,
Truth and justice, they’re here to seek
The room is hushed he continues to speak
Government excuses and councillors’ guff,
But we’ve been censored for long enough.

© Peter Jones

Intimate, harrowing Grenfell testimonies make victims real, not just a number

Peter Jones took up writing poetry and short stories after retiring as a lecturer in employment law. He’s the Secretary of Pinboard Writers in Mold and prefers it to work.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Dear Ms Greer

Dear Ms Greer,
I hear you say
no one was ever killed by a penis.
Are we making too much fuss?
If all that died was trust,
all that died was lust,
all that died was self-respect,
all that died was feeling safe
in the arms of a man.

Dear Ms Greer,
Are we making too much fuss?
If all that died was love,
all that died was a marriage,
all that died was being open to touch,
all that died was the freedom
to have the most beautiful experience in life,
untainted.

So, dear Ms Greer,
All that died.
And what survives, locked inside?
Life sentence PTSD, anxiety,
pill-popping to hold in
the swirling, sickening, shameful, screaming,
churning, raging horror.

But dear Ms Greer,
I hear you say,
they can’t do violence with a penis.

© Janey Colbourne

Germaine Greer calls for punishment for rape to be reduced

Janey Colbourne is a writer, performance poet and musician, exploring nature, culture and politics. Her feminist poetry challenges rape culture and its perpetuating myths. Twitter: @JaneyColbourne

Monday, 4 June 2018

In the Aftermath

(a found poem about the Santa Fe High School)


My gratitude to who are

gathering with us to deal with

the most heinous magnitude of evil:

Fear.


Ten lives.

Many victims will suffer in the days to come,

prepare a parent for the loss of a child.

We mourn, we come together in enormous suffering.

We look to God,

“Respond to this challenge!”

In the aftermath of this catastrophe,

do more than just pray for the victims, take

            action.

Stakeholders begin to

            work.

Swift solutions prevent

            tragedies.


Second Amendment Rights will protect Second Amendment Rights.

Mental health issues behind gun violence…

            focus to reduce guns,

            mental health,

            identify risk.

In the aftermath, the answers are not always there.

We are still, still in the process of asking:

Who was responsible for the shooting?


We know information:

the Shooter, he wanted to

commit

            the shooting,

commit

            suicide.

We have certain information:

            a shot gun

                      a .38 revolver

                                  obtained from his father

This is something that can be worked out


Investigation and response:

Everyone sends sons and daughters off to school.

Horror greets them,

then the community grieves an unimaginable grief.

Prayers by millions.


We need to be doing everything humanly possible to

stop

this from ever happening again.

Stop

them from getting firearms.

Stop

this horrible atrocity.

At great cost and great sacrifice, we grieve the horror.

© Icess Fernandez Rojas

Texas Governor on Santa Fe High School Shooting

Icess Fernandez Rojas is an educator, writer, and former journalist. She lives in Houston and is a graduate of Goddard College's MFA program. Her work has been published in Rabble Lit, Minerva Rising Literary Journal, and the Feminine Collective's anthology Notes from Humanity. Her nonfiction has appeared in Dear Hope, NBCNews.com, HuffPost and the Guardian. She is a recipient of the Owl of Minerva Award, a VONA/Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation alum, and is also a Kimbilio Fellow. She's currently working on her first novel. Twitter: @Icess





Sunday, 3 June 2018

Home work

A girl with a ponytail, school sweatshirt and a future
sits beside Mum in a car in a Welsh layby.
They frown together over equations, world poverty
and the mysteries of the compound-complex sentence
while there’s light and a broadband signal.
Their Gwytherin rural idyll has won ‘best kept’ four times
although not for its wifi access, notes a villager
with an edge to her tongue at a residents’ meeting.

A Filipino boy, thin legs crossed and brow furrowed,
sits outside McDonalds (which has its own best kept secrets)
borrowing its glare to study verb endings, homophones,
and calculate pluses and minuses with a blunt pencil.
His desk a creaky stool, his classroom a junk food window,
his teachers himself, the textbook, his parents’ dreams.
He sees not as a couple passes, Western-clothed, stares unsubtle.
He’s battling long division and his stomach’s growl.

On the way back to Gwytherin, the ponytail girl and Mum
drive-in for salty fries and something frothy, sweet and light.

© Fran Hill

Poor broadband forces girl to do homework in lay-by

Filipino boy receives scholarship after photograph of him studying on the street goes viral

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

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Mad about the man

Yes there are all sorts of issues
To become mad about the man,
A recent one caught my attention
Which made me feel sick.

Never mind Ivanka preening whilst
Palestinians died on the Gaza strip;
Israeli businessmen and Zionists
Back slapping the US in their embassy.
Climate change has been put in Room 101,
An ice sculpture of the man
May or may not highlight it's plight.

He can't stop getting up people's noses
Even in Scotland in the golfing club,
Banning Iron-bru.
His main political objectives-
Undoing the good work of Obama and crew
Hence the latest one;
Revoking aggressive hunting in Alaska.

An opportunity for his rich, gun armed colleagues
To gain trophy points
On the stained red snow.

© Amanda Derry

Trump Team Moves To Lift Ban On 'Extreme' Hunting Tactics In Alaska

Amanda Derry joined a Creative Writing class, following a breakdown, 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.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Democracy and Supremacy

The Italians seem to suffer
from government fatigue.
They recently gave their vote
to the Northern League
and the Five Star parties
to form a right-wing coalition
but from the Head of State
they found opposition.
He thought that their choice
for economy minister
was threatening the Euro
and therefore sinister.
Membership of that currency
is an essential choice
so we are entitled to ignore
the electorate's voice.
Let's have a technocrat
to get us out of the mire
even though the nation
might react with ire.
It doesn't really matter
if he has not been elected
he'll be a clever man
I have personally selected.
Please do not persist
with your obduracy,
accept that my wisdom
is better than democracy.

© Luigi Pagano

Italian president puts nation on path to fresh elections

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.