Sunday, 30 September 2018

That Was the MUSE That Was

Pyongyang Pampering Regime Makeover Bid


(instigated by Ri Sol-ju and Kim Yo-jong)


 Kim Jong Un must have fun

it's beauty regime time

an eyebrow trim a dermal skim

Dear Leader's in his prime.


Creams and soap help him cope

we'll work upon his weight -

a new hairstyle, the current's vile

and mocked by heads of state.


Kim's lost shine, it is a sign,

DPRK needs frills -

some blame Trump, the stupid lump,

the cause of Kim Jong's ills.


Dearest Un the day is come

for pampering after tea

it's eyemasks on binoculars gone

a break from DMZ.


© S.O. Fasrus

From missiles to moisturiser: Kim Jong-un visits North Korean cosmetics factory

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.


TRUMPed-up

no other way
I will stay back
a day later
we will decide
let him know no hurry from our side

let's be clever
I'd never want
forever to lose
this golden chance
we must uphold our emboldened stance

to our dismay
plan goes haywire
our wayward faith
betrays and yet
we are supposed to play life's roulette

© SK Iyer

Trump cancels US-North Korea summit with Kim Jong-un

SK Iyer is a commerce graduate, leading a retired but busy life in Pune, India. His poems have been published. He is a member of PK Poetry List, UK. 

Saturday, 29 September 2018

The Butcher's Son

As the butcher’s son
Is held high
I look to the skies
Where Bacon rolls
Gravely under
Parameters squashed
Of science applied
This life’s eclipsed
Humanity’s lost

Some welcome
Generations of generated
Neutral networks
With arms
Open
Another tool up the sleeve
Of the creative sorcerer
But paint me soul
Paint me passion
Over matters grey
And the truth of beauty
We will take to our grave
Closed

© Mark Coverdale

The Lumen Prize - 2018 Winners

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

Friday, 28 September 2018

Class 2A

It’s Monday morning, half past eight
There’s chitter chatter at the gate
The bell rings loud at ten to nine
Children straggle into line
Sleepy Monday morning faces
Amble in to find their places

Miss Parker takes a long, hard look
At what's written in her planning book
Then she looks at class 2A
Just about to start their day

Mary, Mary away with the fairies
Can’t pay attention it seems
She’s designing new dresses for Arctic princesses
Bedecked with gold stars and moonbeams

Olivia Santz has ants in her pants
Miss Parker wants her glued to the seat
But she needs to wriggle and wiggle and jiggle
Who cares if her writing is neat?

Her wriggly body is composing a song
That she hears in in her brain, heart and feet
But it’s time to sit still and listen in class
And Miss wants her glued to the seat

Kitty Kahoon
Heads off to the moon
Leaving her desk far behind
Intergalactic calculation
Is her motivation
Doing sums bores her out of her mind

Then there’s
Billy who daydreams
He got three out of ten
On last Friday's spelling test
But out in the woods he knows the song of each bird
And he'll show you where nightingales nest

Scatter-brain Zain
Finds lessons a pain
As his head floats among clouds in the blue
Looking down from above
He sees a world lacking love
And wonders what we need to do

Miss Parker
Takes another look
At what's written
In her planning book
And decides the curriculum can wait
She invites Olivia to sing
Lets Kitty do her thing
And asks Zain to lead them in debate

Mary shares a dress for an Inuit princess
Billy trills the song of a thrush
The bell rings at four
2A line up at the door
But today
they don’t leave
in a rush.

© Bex Tate

MSPs defeat government to call for 'halt' to P1 assessments

Government unveils controversial plans for testing four-year-olds

Bex Tate is frustrated with the data driven education system, left behind her teaching job. She now spends her time writing, pondering life and wonderińg what to do next. Writing poetry helps her to try and make sense of the world as well as giving her the chance to rant a bit!!

Just the ticket?






Just the ticket?

The British Heart Foundation,

with the best of intentions,

offers high blood pressure tests

in salons, pubs and train stations.

But the latter is the worst place

to conduct such health checks

considering that passengers face

high fares, delays, cancellations;

the very cause of hypertension.

© Luigi Pagano

Boris Trumps






Boris Trumps

Anything May can do
I can do better
I can do any deal
Better than May

No you can’t
Yes I Can
Ada

© S. O. Fasrus

Boris Johnson sets out his 'Super Canada' Brexit plan

Thursday, 27 September 2018

That Was the MUSE That Was

The Philosophy of Drinking


Rationalist: I drink therefore I am

Existentialist: I saw that my life was meaningless so I made a commitment to alcohol

Hedonist: Alcohol can be a problem. I hate it when parties run dry.

Platonic: I am in platonic dialogue with my drinking self

Ascetic: I only drink for religious purposes, As I am devout, I imbibe small amounts from a chalice all year round.

Stoic: I’m only half way down this bottle of Jack Daniels but I’m determined to keep going

Nihilist - Yeah right. I’m heading for an early grave by getting out of my head every night. And what’s it to you.

Relativist. One man’s binger is another man’s occasional drinker.

Fatalist: Drunkenness runs in my family. I’m a fifth-generation alcoholic.

© S. O. Fasrus

No alcohol safe to drink, global study confirms

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.

An Event of Great Importance






An Event of Great Importance

There was a young woman who closed a car door.
They say it never ever happened before.
The people were shocked,
Her critics were mocked,
And the BBC cried please, please gives us more.

© Phil Knight

Meghan closes a car door

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Freedom's Imposition

Scissors know our healing does not
Always come from books:

Does...
As the wind does.
Does... arch
As the hand raised over-long.
Does... concentrate
On every pose.
Does... cheat
For the sake of comfort.
Does... define
Both prong and tail.
Does...
The daylights from the living.
Does... assign
A dearth stance
Of which
We are too familiar, cut
From the background

What scrap is
To the stock-piling.

© Stefanie Bennett

France, Australia Naval exercises in South China Sea

Stefanie Bennett has published several books of poetry – worked with Arts Action
For Peace, & ‘Equality’ [Human rights]. Of mixed ancestry – Italian, Irish Paugussett
-Shawnee, she was born in Queensland, Australia.

Democracy at work






Democracy at work

This is a government
that we don't like;
they are very cruel
and lack goodwill.
Let's kick them out
via a general strike
even if the country
comes to a standstill.

© Luigi Pagano

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The Full English

The kitchen is in turmoil;
the chef has said at last
that on British soil
breakfast means... breakfast.

But it is fundamental
that we distinguish
between continental
and the full English.

Some people complain
that it is on the cards
the fare will be plain
and the eggs too hard.

Many others reckon
that we will be unable
to put foreign bacon
on the breakfast table.

It does my head in
to see the chef's menu,
what is within,
and what it offers you.

There has been a kerfuffle
among the anxious staff
who ask for a reshuffle
to remedy the gaffe.

© Luigi Pagano 2018


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, 24 September 2018

But...
















Intelligence is a mask we wear
while the machines we build
learn to live without us but…

…arrogance, hubris,
our smug pretence to be superhuman,
contrived devices to set us free
to do less with more but…

…first of all, we thought
the world could not promise
such freedom but…

…if mechanisms could be made
with simple rules to do
what we would not but…

…no deal was brokered…

…for all the time we saved
no-one was ever freed
from the enslavement
of our clockwork schemes but…

… the machines are still learning
as we descend into an ignorance
of our own design but…

…for us, now,
contentment algorithms decide,
let fall dice we had already loaded,
squander our last resolve but…

…we played at being god,
having declared no god
was ever true in our affairs;
we set the code world loose but…

…the coded messages
that built our mind-machinery
were the cobbled-up pieces
of our half-wit minds but…

…if there had been a god and,
in god’s image, ourselves, made out
to be gods with whatever godhood
we thought gods should assume
and, by the end, we built
what we imagined into circuitry
and let that become a god
we never believed in but…

…with power over everything
we would ever do.

© Brian Hill

Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine

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).

The bare facts






The bare facts

I have read it in the papers
and watched it on the box:
six hundred people naked
to welcome the equinox.
But this massive nudity
was all in aid of charity.

© Luigi Pagano

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Goodbye

I was much more depressed than you knew
only calling on the days I could cover this truth
I lost the music in my voice, I’m sure you heard it
I stayed in my room, and slept, and couldn’t bear it

Some days I felt nothing, and only fed my shadow
in my tunnel of sorrows a ghost train of ruined memories
the spirits of regret making me jump from my thin skin.
When you feel worthless and wrong, you will never guess
just how long a minute takes to pass

Your voice was so far away, that day
your words skirting round me like concerned bees -
Who am I when I am not myself.
I don’t know if you can be my dearest old friend
If I’m now somebody else.

I am sorry I could not wait for the day
the poetry would peep through the curtains again
and make me smile again

I’m so sorry I was drowning as I waved goodbye.

© S. O. Fasrus

Suicide rate rises among young people in England and Wales

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.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Horror on Pennsylvania Avenue

Too late strolling down Pennsylvania Avenue
I was caught by a large thunderstorm and
so it was upon this midnight dreary
I ran wet and weary to a large white house.

It extended up into the night as though upon
Bald Mountain whose stormy heights were
circled by five hundred thirty-five flying demons
most grand and old with huge jowls and glaring eyes.

Tap, tap, tapping – I rapped on the door and
was admitted by a young yet balding advisor
and ushered into a rocky horror show of staffers
singing oaths of loyalty to an odd god beyond.

We walked through labyrinthine halls lined by
emptied rooms and abandoned computers
the floors littered by shredded documents
of previous staffers now no longer named.

From a passage guarded by foreign orderlies
we entered into an oval-shaped office
over which was a reading to my dismay:
Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

There I saw walls glistening with gold and
an orange king gorilla of long blond hair
escaped from the island of Manhattan
aided by those from the street of Wall.

He had no hands and a circular mouth
and proclaimed with loud atomic breath:
My oration is to make great the nation;
I rule as the best over the cuckoo’s nest.

I ran through the nearest exit of the house
barely escaping into the outside storm and
running toward dawn’s first sign of blue
away from the horror on Pennsylvania Avenue.

© Jim Hanson


Jim Hanson is a retired Senior Researcher at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, He is a sociologist and lay-ordinated Zen Buddhist. He is a member of the St. Louis Poetry Center.

Punch and counterpunch






Punch and counterpunch

There doesn't seem to be
an alternative prospect
to the Chequers deal
devised by the cabinet
with the utmost zeal
but which in Brussels
has failed to appeal
and one that Europe
has decided to reject
without showing the PM
the appropriate respect
but she has responded
with true British phlegm.

© Luigi Pagano

Friday, 21 September 2018

Dry wipe board

Does the GOAT,
Dickensian like,
speak of the
best of times
and of the
worst of times blud?

when
“uneducated" ???
roadmen,
chests and jackets puffa’d up and out
beef-ting fam,
whipping up a
Stormzy
from Croydon- not forecast

and the Feds
swear down
the whole truth and nothing but ...
wagwanning
as they slap down
an ASBO here and there

© Bex Tate


Bex Tate is frustrated with the data driven education system, left behind her teaching job. She now spends her time writing, pondering life and wonderińg what to do next. Writing poetry helps her to try and make sense of the world as well as giving her the chance to rant a bit!!

Bert & Ernie






Bert & Ernie

There were 2 in a bed
so the viewers all said:
“YOU’RE LOVERS,
YOU’RE LOVERS!”
So they both rolled their eyes:

“WE’RE PUPPETS”,
they cried!

© S. O. Fasrus

Bert and Ernie are not gay, says Sesame Street organisation as writer's claim denied

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Liar

Is it so very strange of me
to hold this burning wish to see
the great church spire in Salisbury?

I hear it is the tallest spire
(we have no spire in Russia higher!)
I’ll go all the way to Wilt-Shire.

But sadly I have little time
and doubt I’ll have enough to climb
the spire (they say the view is fine).

Indeed, if I can only see
it from a distance that may be
enough - I so love Salisbury!

My Great Uncle Stalagmite
used to read to me each night
by smoky yellow Moscow light:

“England’s Great Churches And Their Spires”
instilling in me this desire
that sets my heart and brain on fire

(much like a dose of Novichok
or a red hot bullet from a Glock...)
Oh - is that the time? Just seen the clock!

Must go, things to do, plans to hatch
- just leave the front door on the latch
but mind the handle - who knows what you’ll catch...

© Marc Woodward

Salisbury novichok suspects say they were only visiting cathedral

Marc Woodward lives in rural Devon and has been published in a number of magazines and websites including The Poetry Society, The Guardian, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Broadsheet, Forward Press, Otter etc. He blogs at: http://marcwoodwardpoetry.blogspot.co.uk

Off Course






Off Course

Theresa May's brexit plan
is said to be chequered
but it looks more and more
that it is in fact knackered.

© Luigi Pagano

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

James

“I’m really sorry to trouble you
I never thought I’d sink this low
But I’ve just got out of hospital
And I’ve got no place to go.”

“I’m really sorry to trouble you
I’ve never done this before
But I’ve got no money,
I’m sleeping on a garage floor.”

“I’m really sorry to trouble you,”
As he edged towards my side.
“I’m recovering from Sepsis.
Honestly, I could have died.”

“I got out of hospital
And went back to my flat
But the landlord had changed the locks
That was the end of that.”

“I lost my job, see,
Because I was ill.
I couldn’t pay the rent,
I couldn’t pay the bills.”

“The landlady at my local
Let me sleep behind the pub
She brings me cups of tea
And sometimes even grub.”

We’re standing in a down pour
Outside a no-frills store
I usher him to shelter
Beside the open door.

He pulls at his trackies
To reveal a bare and skinny hip.
“I’ve got nothing, not even boxers.”
I bit my trembling lip.

A bloke drove up to the bollards
And beckoned with a shout
“Here you go, mate.
A couple of quid to help you out.”

He talked of going to a hostel
I doubt he ever did
But I fumbled with my purse
and pulled out twenty quid.

“Thank you so much miss
So grateful for what you’ve done”
Said the man without boxers
No older than my son.

© Sally Wheatman

Homeless man spray-painted by yobs found dead just days later in graveyard

Sally Wheatman has three adult children and lives in Sale with her husband. She is a trained journalist but now runs a PR company. In her spare time she rides her Irish Sport horse, Hobson, and digs her allotment.

Halloween comes early






Halloween comes early

Child's voice drifting
Over Ipswich
From spiders running across
Company security sensors;
Residents getting
Hee-bee-gee-bees
Ingenious way
To target trespassers.

© Amanda Derry

Spooky Nighttime Children's Voices Turned Out To Be Something Even Creepier Than Ghosts

Yep!






Yep!

Richard Branson
Swings in a hammock

the pillock!

© S. O. Fasrus

British billionaire Branson among advisers for Saudi Red Sea tourism project

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Wealth Creators

the money man stands
to make it minted
shafting those who graft for him
still skint and claiming benefits
to pay the rent
aching bones and broken homes
are not sufficient sacrifice
for now he beams with hand outstretched
to those whose torture
raised his fortune
buy back what you made he says
at twice the price

the money man stands
to make a killing
sweat shop hell holes
selling souls
as workers feud
between themselves
this modern form of feudalism
‘free market’ capitalism
really fundamentalism
steals our freedom
all encompassed exploitation
slaves to market
mark up margins
profits bulging
built on breaking backs
while others fall
between the cracks

the money man stands
to make a profit
as he passes goods from hand to hand
then makes demands
drives down the price
and takes his slice
why should we not sack this guy?
he bleeds us dry
unending greed
bureaucracy
chain of command
this blatant cashing in on artisans
his plan
to gatecrash our endeavours
will the real
creators please stand?
time to sever
upstart business
profiteering
managers forever

© Janey Colbourne


What Jeff Bezos spending $2 billion would feel like to the average American

Whole Foods employees step up efforts to unionize, cite laundry list of grievances under Amazon ownership

The 1% are the very best destroyers of wealth the world has ever seen

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

Lingua franca






Lingua franca

I remember Ted Heath, by jingo,
trying to speak the French lingo;
it was not a success, to be blunt.
At the podium steps Jeremy Hunt
who says he will speak Japanese.
I can't help it but I feel ill at ease.

© Luigi Pagano

Idling






Idling

Brum Brum
foot off the peddle
3 days to work
4 days to diddle

© S. O. Fasrus

Jaguar workers put on three-day week until Christmas

Monday, 17 September 2018

The Propaganda Panda and the Autocratic Cat














The Propaganda Panda and the Autocratic Cat
took a trip around the world in a new Learjet.
Champagne for breakfast and caviar for tea;
when recession hit, lived a life of luxury.
Within a double-dip, lived a life of luxury.
Everything on credit,
no money was required;
mortgaged off the pea-green boat,
sold it short ten times,
creating first world problems
of a global crisis kind
and when it came to pass
that the economy was fucked,
they developed Teflon shoulders
and tried to pass the buck
onto all the working people
whose pay was less each day,
then took away their benefits
while giving bankers bonuses,
forced the unemployed onto Workfare schemes
and didn’t give a toss about the Bong-tree lands,
just plunged them into ever-deeper debt,
deeper debt,
just plunged them into ever-deeper debt.

© Laura Taylor

Lehman Brothers went bust 10 years ago – can it happen again?

Laura Taylor believes in the power of poetry as a means by which silent voices speak and hidden ears listen. Flapjack Press. Facebook.

A tale of five squirrels






A tale of five squirrels

Twisted and tangled
And all in a knot
Five little squirrels
In a pickle
Had got
🐿🐿🐿🐿🐿

© Bex Tate

A tale of five squirrels: vets untangle 'Gordian Knot' of rodents


Sunday, 16 September 2018

The Rise of the Right

After crashing banks spat
people out of jobs into gutters
austerity normalised dissent.
People in poverty lost hope.
Distant and unreachable,
the wealthy found too easily that
responsibility means nothing.

Blame burns on the streets.
See him the man in a dress,
his son took my job.
He takes my money.
My State, my money, my country.

Nordic cold bites, but he doesn’t feel.
He doesn’t see the snowflakes fall
like the dust that didn’t settle.
A mound of sand sticky with blood,
rings attached to a finger, detached.
Explosions rock the ceiling, a hand in his bag.
His eyes close on his father’s head rolling away.
Father, my father, his heart contracts
cries pain all over the floor.

Snow falls, hope is lost
to the young men who lear.
He’d go but his son has a job,
he’d go but his daughter is young.

The Far Right rises against him,
and fallen snow flies.

© Emma Woodford


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

Phone alert






Phone alert

Nearly every cellphone owner
Will receive a national security text
From the President of the United States
Just testing, it will say, in case of a
National Emergency
As if the myriad of other social contact
Wasn't enough
No one can opt out-
Personal data protection doesn't apply
For the Government.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Eighty Four

Eighty-four young men die each week

In a country that said we’d look after the weak

Those who need help, love understanding

Those to whom life became too demanding


Eighty-four young men die each week

And unless we’re related we do not seek

To understand that frustrated breath

Which exhales life and inhales death


Eighty-four young men die each week

We’re reluctant to talk or even to seek

To understand the torture that does reside

In the mind of those choosing suicide


Eighty-four young men die each week

12 per day does that not seem bleak?

The highest killer of young men today

We need suicide prevention, what do you say?


Eighty-four young men die each week

How can we tell them its okay to seek

Help to talk, to reach out without shame

To share their fears, to give it a name


Eighty-four young men die each week

Whilst society remains reluctant to speak

Of any illness that impacts on the brain

From such inhibitions, we need to refrain


Eighty-four young men commit suicide

Each week, here, where we reside

Leaving a friend, partner, sibling, a mother

Let’s all pull together to prevent any other


© Karen Mooney

We need to change the way we talk about suicide

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)

Karen Mooney has had work 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, 14 September 2018

Unmitigated Cycle: War Games Now

This frenzied star of an afternoon,
Heavy with the sway of
Wild flowering ti-tree;
Strands of the last
Mefistofele – its
Liturgy, where
Seduction wrote
Damnation in the sand.

And along the sandstone cliff annexed
To an indigo sky
Passing into violet,
We too have passed
In reticence.
There’s the sojourn
Of ‘39 – wry idioms...
The conscious sceptics.

But I trounce within the space
Of a once common day
Feeling the polar-pulse
That beats out
Accepted crass-Gods:
Warheads: inventive
Poison cowering
A spent Pacific.

Could it be conjectured up – the aged
Dictum? Poetic populists caught
On the rebound – and
Choice made,
No matter
How shrill. How
Contextual... setting
A precedent, now?

A wave hiss quivers its quatrain
To the walker upon it; recaps,
Best let be.
Esprit-de-corps! “Black glows
The sun and solid
Is the sea.” *
Well word trampled,
Mudie. I stop-watch
Today’s necromancy, and go.

© Stefanie Bennett

[*Quote from Ian Mudie 1911-1976]

Russia gears up for biggest war games since Cold War

Stefanie Bennett has published several books of poetry – worked with Arts Action
For Peace [No Nukes], & Human Rights ‘Equality’. Of mixed ancestry – Italian/ Irish
Paugussett-Shawnee, she was born in Queensland, Australia.

Trouble at t' mill






Trouble at t' mill

Gina Miller wants to end chaos.
She's the one who went to court
to make sure Parliament was boss
when voting on leaving the EU.
Now she says that politicians are
“stuck in their Westminster bubble
and wants to take them to task
But one is entitled to ask
if she's bent on causing trouble.

© Luigi Pagano

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Money-rich and Time-poor

Money-rich but time-poor,
A scenario common for high earners, some full-timers
And maybe Chiefs who are skimming
Extra profits and perks
The workers could get.

Create a more equal distribution?
Take the cream off the top of the milk
And spread it below-
Recompense the workers by subsidising
A free day; so give them four.

Why do peeps need to have no life
Asides from the weekend
Wearily scraping back some sleep,
Time with kids or
A bit of housekeeping.

A free day during the week
Doesn't have to be, time-rich, money-poor.

© Amanda Derry

Give workers four-day week following advances in technology, says leader of UK's trade union bloc

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.

The Birds in The Eye of the Hurricane

Many species of bird
maintained a steady speed
in the eye of the hurricane

birds from every nation
of every plume
gathered and flew

they organised formations
made patterns
the stillness comforted them

strong birds
steered young birds
some sang as they tired

the birds were a painting
turquoise orange yellow and speck -
their own rapture

small swift birds skirted
slow ponderous birds
a bird crowd beyond species
they moved as one
they flew
neck and neck
beak beside beak

a cluster of hope

© S.O. Fasrus

Hurricane Florence is slashing the Carolinas in the opening act of a 3-day, coastal disaster

Birds in the eye of a hurricane

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.

No more fight with Kryptonite






No more fight with Kryptonite

Devoted fans of Superman,
played by the actor Henry Cavill,
have been reported to be agape
hearing he was hanging his cape
but had to swallow the bitter pill.

© Luigi Pagano

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Face Mask Poet

















Incognito; enigmatic; inscrutable;
no-one knew me for what I am.

To be seen but remain unseen
I took cover behind a geisha hand;
I let my masculine glare disguise me;
I bent my smile into a Mona smirk.

My cheerful half-wit grin
made lightness of being
into dead weight.

I wore insouciance like a veil
my thoughtless face shone through;
I contrived to look indifferent.

I tried to become mysterious,
both poet and spook, a secret agent
of the mean streets, metaphorically rubbing
my poison pen on the locks and handles
of doors closed in my face.

I could not abandon false modesty,
would not discard my furtiveness;
any more than I could reveal myself
or draw attention to my concealment.

Oh, I tried to keep the mask from slipping:
its elastic tugged at my Byronic locks,
constricted the blood-flow in my scalp,
in short, threatened to give the game away.

I grew tired of it all: this life and its mirrors,
my conceited reflection in shop windows
staring back at me over the heel of my hand
looking sideways round an obscuring book.

I had tried so vainly to be heard.

No-one knew me though I wanted them to,
every one looking while I stowed away
inside my illusion.

No-one knew me as I wanted them to;
everyone looking at a figure they imagined,
hiding in the shadows I had cast.

© Brian Hill

So who IS poetry's answer to Banksy? Meet the enigmatic writer delighting Instagram - and A-listers like Emma Roberts - with his work, all while his true identity remains a total mystery

‘Anonymous’ Instagram poet Atticus is taking us for a ride

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).

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

It’s A Crime To Sleep When You’re Homeless

sleeping on the streets
is a criminal behaviour
no nodding off
or the plod will carry you off
and slap you with a fine
for napping

busking is permitted
just don’t let those lids
shut for a minute
or you’ll be in the shit
snoozing is prohibited
limited by law

even if you’re sober
don’t let that head loll over
or they’re onto you
so what if you are down and out
as long as we can’t see it
out in town

when you hit rock bottom
and your bottom’s on a rock
use matchstick props
till nine o’ clock
so you’re not locked up
in the slammer

© Janey Colbourne


Blackburn ukelele busker arrested – for falling asleep

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

Answers on a postcard






Answers on a postcard

I am sorry sisters
I find it sinister
that you want the right
to be loutish and badmouth
a tennis umpire
because your male
counterparts do the same.
When you raise banners
demanding equality
are you saying that
to be equal to them
you are prepared
to sanction bad manners?

© Luigi Pagano

Monday, 10 September 2018

Stopped

We're a couple of miles short of Northallerton
suspended in time; one train ahead of us held
at the station. In front of that, the one that hit her.

It's been two hours now.

They've brought in another driver to carry on;
police are still on the crime scene. Nothing moves.

12.15 pm.

Just before lunchtime on a Tuesday in September. What led
to such desperation on a breeze-blessed summer's day?

Trains back up in each direction, terminate unexpectedly;
coaches are laid on from York. Connections are missed,
flights take off with unfilled spaces, meetings cancelled,
funerals conducted without next of kin.

Rail companies reel as compensation costs clock up.
At home, or work, or at school, a seat stays empty.

Eventually, our train limps on, passengers over-
heated, impatience replaced by resignation,
two hours of their lives lost for ever.

Just two hours.

© Nicky Phillips

Suicide rate rises among young people in England and Wales

Nicky Phillips had poems nominated in 2017 for Best Single Poem category in the Forward Prizes and Best of the Net. Her first collection, Jam in Aisle 3, was published by Dempsey & Windle in 2018.

Rants, jeers and tears






Rants, jeers and tears

Serena Williams was not serene
as she confronted the tennis umpire
whom she accused of being mean,
unfair and sexist, a thief and a liar.

© Luigi Pagano

Sunday, 9 September 2018

That Was the MUSE That Was

Who's being oppressed?

"Women and children first!"
The infamous quote we all take
From the tragedy that was the Titanic.

This was around the time
Suffragettes resorted to appalling acts
To receive the vote.
Yet the motto was always,
Women and children first.

The Great War started soon after
The men were military fodder;
Granted nurses were sacrificed
Including Edith Cavell
And the canary girls had poisonous dust
On their fingers
From making bombs which blew up
Men on the battlefield.

But "Daddy, what did you do in the War?"
Ensured that men signed up
Including underage ones
(The largest percentage of whom were shot at dawn)
Otherwise they risked a white feather
From an outraged female-
Because men had to protect them and their children,
And fight for King and Country
In the War.

© Amanda Derry

TITANIC DISASTER NEWSPAPER ARCHIVE

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.

A Flaming Torch Dressed in Peaceful Flowers






A Flaming Torch Dressed in Peaceful Flowers

You can hide the flaming torch
behind a blue and yellow daisy
but Sweden’s memory
needn’t be so short
lazy voters and lazy thinkers.
I hear you refusing to make difficult choices -
claiming neutrality
was never neutral, and by doing so you must know you are complicit.

Call yourself non-political, anarchist, or fence sitter,
sometimes you need to take a stand.
You can hide behind your flower of peace
but I will always save my deepest contempt
for all who refuse to take sides.
Let’s remember how Hitler’s army was allowed to tramp
through Sweden
on the not so very long journey
to nazify Norway.

Hard choices were always hard choices.

© S. O. Fasrus

Swedish election: Vote begins amid anti-immigration surge

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Past Glories

From laying of the Treasury to waste,
And slurping of Fitzherberts in his cups,
A King must have a refuge in good taste
To rest his paunch and hold his throwing-ups.

Let silver spurt in blobs victorious,
And golden dragons warm his humble hut;
Let sunflowers blast forth like glorious
Projectiles from his blesséd regal gut.

All overhung with silks, exotic fish,
And stencilled lozenges all beauteous,
He'd foregather and, at his royal wish,
Dispense the fragrance of his gluteus.

© Philip Challinor

George IV's restored Brighton pavilion saloon unveiled

Philip Challinor posts fiction, satire and assorted grumbles at The Curmudgeon. His longer fiction is available at Philip's Store.

Lend me your ear






Lend me your ear

Rumours of a royal
pregnancy swirl.
I hope that I
don't seem disloyal
if I say: Atta girl!

© Luigi Pagano

Friday, 7 September 2018

Ticks in Burning Boxes

They walk with no shoes
Through the Mississippi mud
Of their national pride
Past the sweatshop pyre
Burning with the weakness
Of their rage
This cowards bonfire
Smokes with the ghosts
Of the enslaved

The bullet headed put
Ticks in burning boxes
On voting forms
Their burning crosses
As in the red zone
The ineligible
Information receiver
Cuts off his own jock-strap
To spite his face

They want to talk about
Fought and died
They should
Look to the other side
Where with heads held high
Not fought under stars and stripes
People died trying
Equally qualify

Look to the other side
You see me
You'll see many
Taking a stand
Taking a knee
A more powerful
Display of loyalty to our fellow
Than their ad man's wet dream
Of patriotism
Will ever be

© Mark Coverdale

People pointlessly burn their own Nike gear in response to Kaepernick ad

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

Just do it

Hey there Nationalistic Ned!

Yeah you man,
you freedom loving sports fan.
You just go ahead and burn your 100 dollar Nikes,
yeah you just go ahead and

Just Do It.

Burn all your overpriced sneakers
in protest of Colin Kaepernick’s
million dollar endorsement
too

Just Do It.

Yeah Patriotic Peter,
you just go and burn
all your t-shirts and shorts,
your headbands
and ankle socks
covered in swooshes
too!

And while you’re at it
constituion clutching Chuck
why don’t you

just shred those Air Jordans and
flush that number 23 jersey down the toilet.
Dump those Kobe Bryant Mamba Hyperdunks
in the polluted sewers flushing out into the poisoned Pacific.
And while your at it tell your wife to
sell off all those Serena William’s Court Power dresses
to some psychopath trolling around on Craigslist.

Yeah Man!
Go ahead and

Just Do It!

Get it done with
once and for all.
You go and show your true
red, white and blue
in the face colors.

Yeah, you too #2ndAmendment Sally
go ahead
and

Just Do It

burn those synthetic swooshes into toxic ashes

and then get on with
your small minded nationalistic
clickbait lifestyles choices.

Cause the freedom that
you claim
to hold so dear and which
allows you to do just about
anything in the U.S.A.

is a freedom that
thousands of American black men
never had
a chance to feel

and never will
ever will
be able to

Just Do Anything

because they
are dead.

So yeah, you just
go ahead
and

Just Do It.

Do what you gotta do folks.
Cause Colin is doing
just what he
needs to do
too.

Go for it.
Go ahead
and

Just Do It

And when your done with it

go on down to
the Wal-Mart
and buy yourself
a new pair of
New Balance
or Reeboks

to keep polished as white
as your backass assumptions
about freedom
actually are.

© Joshua Baumgarten

Nike's support for Colin Kaepernick protest has some destroying their shoes

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.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Treble Chance
















It was one-all in our winter house
when the first frosts came back
and my father, alone by the fireplace,
filed in his pools, his vigorous pen,
putting crosses on the lines.

When we win the 75,000
and our boat comes in…

…no more with crans of herring
destined for the factory gates
where he tipped his hat:
a wink to the drivers passing,
an obligement for the fish-women
going in turbaned behind.

His hopes were a treasure-map;
X marked the spot a hundred times,
a thousand, more like, over and over,
and he sent them, stamped and sealed,
into this wheeling game of fortune.

All of it was guesswork;
my father followed no team
I knew of, never stood on a terrace
to cheer the play on any pitch
yet he tried to predict the scores,
draws and wins for the promise
of an easier life, for riches
beyond his weekly wage.

It was a dream; he never won;
like all dreams, it fizzled out
in the way time has to dwindle them
and send them up the lum, up in smoke.

And now the whole place has burned,
that hallowed palace where bets paid out,
when your number was up, but in a good way;
as if fortunes, decided in the heat of moments,
had spontaneously combusted in the night
and burned away to nothing but pools of light.

Perhaps my father’s ghost had come back
to take this sweet revenge beyond the grave;
he too, burned and scattered as he was,
might have wanted to rekindle lost fortunes
for all the lonely punters like himself
who marked out their tomorrows
like knitting patterns or the fates
weaving something better
from the thin strands of today,
from whatever tedious lives
they were tangled in.

© Brian Hill

Liverpool's Littlewoods building fire 'started deliberately'

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).

We can do better






We can do better

(with apologies to Conor Maynard)

We can do it better than you, Donald,
Better than, much better than you.
We can tell you that we're watching you
And let you know we're not loving everything we see.
The way you act is a proof you're crazy
We'll make you wanna dance with us
You've been walking 'round like you just don't care
Got everybody thinkin' you are a true player
But your time is up.
I see you staring but you know, don't you,
That it would be better if you were to go.

© Luigi Pagano

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

All Aboard

There are going to be a few changes
on the island of Sodor, begorra!
The Steam Team might be in danger
of becoming Sodom and Gomorrah
with three males and females aboard
if they do not behave as they should.
But we are told they are just friends
and they have promised to be good.

The new crew will be international:
we shall have a Chinese, Yong Bao,
who says that he hails from Beijing
but we know that he is from Macao.
His position will be highly regarded
and he'll be on the locomotive's tender.
He is quite open about his lifestyle
and reveals that he is a transgender.

An addition from India will be
Ashima a young girl from Mumbai.
She is tough and stands no nonsense
and is known to make the boys cry.
But she said that on this friendly train
she'll be nice and reasonable and quiet
and because she is also overweight
is prepared to go on a low-fat diet.

From Down Under they will send Isla,
a woman pilot of a flying-doctor plane
and a man who is normally abstemious
and answering to the nickname of Shane.
Thomas wants more cultural friends,
many will come - the more the merrier.
To get representatives from all regions
he'll have to ask for a Yorkshire terrier.


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.


President Non-Grata






President Non-Grata

They’re calling you President Non-Grata
we watch you pout and hiss and bare your teeth
a fake-tan version of the prisoner in Silence of the Lambs

It’s easy to see clearly without the fog of feeling
you know they can’t get at a man who doesn’t care
we know we won’t hurt a man with a reinforced screen of vanity

We can always incite your anger, though
knowing your last word will dissolve us in a pool of gall.

President Non-Grata President Non-Grata
We can keep you from weddings and funerals.
but you’ll carry on forging your own rites of passage.

© S. O. Fasrus

President non grata: Trump often unwelcome and unwilling to perform basic rituals of the office

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Come Children

come children, gently down the corridors

careful not to rattle a door, set off

an alarm, or draw undue suspicion

best to keep both your hands up in the air


come children, silently into your chairs

tuck your head between your knees

and worry not that you don’t comprehend

the unspoken in these exercises


your teacher has been well trained to look past

your desks, past the question marks on your face

to the windows and doors, to the echoes

in the hall and the strains of danger, with

one hand in the drawer and a finger on the trigger


© Lianne Kamp

Betsy DeVos Eyes Federal Education Grants to Put Guns in Schools


Lianne Kamp resides in Boston, Massachusetts. Her poems and short stories appear in assorted print journals and on-line publications including: Poets Reading the News, Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, Scarlet Leaf Review, Poetry Quarterly, Dual Coast Magazine, and a number of Prolific Press anthologies. She writes poetry to make her world-view more panoramic by examining it more closely.

Hellopecia






Hellopecia

Alopecia is the new rock and roll
if bushy eyebrows made a come back
and thin may no longer be in
and plump could be the new to die for.
Bring on the enticing facial moles
and the big black dress.
Make sure bingo wings are in the frame
we aim to rebrand and it’s grand -
remember what Rubens did for the fuller figure?
and what the pre-raphaelites did for ginger!

Bald heads rock. Bald is edgy -
work with me on this.

Hellopecia!

© S. O. Fasrus

Making hair loss 'fashionable'

Monday, 3 September 2018

The Ship of Fools

The Ship of fools
Flows with the tide
Those on the shore
Asked far and wide
Who set her loose,
Who was it that lied?

It was the Men on the Make
The bringers of light
Answered a chorus
With all of their might.
The Mud it is good
Retorted our chiefs.
We believe what we're told
We are strong in our beliefs.

The cargo we want
Cry the fools at the feast
We have danced
We have sang
And now we shall eat.
For the fruits of the Red world
Are both bitter and sweet.

So the song and the singer
Became one and the same
And the Sun burned in crimson
When we played the Uranium game.

© Phil Knight

Nuclear Mud Starts Being Dumped Off Penarth Next Week – And There's More To Come In 2020

Phil Knight is poet from Neath in South Wales. His poetry collection 'You Are Welcome To Wales' was published in 2015 by The Red Poets.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

3:15 am (tunnel vision)














3:15, legs and sweat, 1997
tangled hands and black-eyed lust
smoke break interrupted
ears pricked, heads dipped
a heap of limbs in parody

four of us can say for sure
what we were doing then
when Henri Paul lost control
in Pont de l'Alma tunnel
and pixellated puckered tin
bathed bodies in the flicker
and a nation woke and mourned
while we just necked another
and dilated, changed the channel over

CHOON!

© Laura Taylor

Prince Harry 'very glad' to walk behind Diana's coffin

Princes William and Harry speak about 'complete numbness and disbelief' at Princess Diana's death

Laura Taylor believes in the power of poetry as a means by which silent voices speak and hidden ears listen. Flapjack Press. Facebook.

Chips with everything






Chips with everything

Nigella Lawson went to a Glasgow's
fish and chips shop, the Blue Lagoon,
ate their pommes frites there and then,
said they were exquisite and vinegary
and that now she was over the moon.

© Luigi Pagano

Saturday, 1 September 2018

The Spiked Baton

(for James Ricketson “Which country am I spying for?”) *

Why am I dreaming
Of the night’s
Mawkish
Militancy...

A carnation, unwieldy bowed
Receding in a row
Of ‘old woman’
Saltbush

That didn’t turn true-blue,
But peaked
Lacquered
Thin as

An oppressed mortal’s
Herring-
Bone
Shroud

And the stocked-up
Richet
Of attrition
On the run! Must be

Faust’s off-siders
Doing the rounds.

© Stefanie Bennett

Australian film-maker James Ricketson sentenced to six years' jail in Cambodia

Stefanie Bennett has published several books of poetry – worked with Arts Action
For Peace, & ‘Equality’ [Human rights]. Of mixed ancestry – Italian, Irish Paugussett
-Shawnee, she was born in Queensland, Australia.

*Spoken by James Ricketson – Australian filmmaker – jailed in Cambodia
for espionage 31st August 2018.