Saturday, 31 October 2020

Impish Delights

Who’d remember these miniatures rich?

Horse’s hairy tail who dared to pull?

Would lost pictures Granny’s needle ever stitch?

Mixed up four hues of Gran’s prized wool?

Grubby little snails in shoes who stored?

Treacle in sleepy ears who liked to pour?

Of insects dead, had the scariest hoard?

Hide naughty pails over innocent door?

Grandpa’s gruff boots, who’d misplace?

Crash biscuit tins, disturb deserved rest?

Who’d steal sniffs from his tobacco case?

Granny’s grand patience who liked to test?

Drove to distraction, his mother dear.

Children whose chuckles once counted four,

Pride glowed in her eyes, when were still clear,

With birthday songs when their voices would soar.

- The End -

© Sultana Raza

Author's note: most people think back to their childhood on their birthdays. Perhaps John Keats thought of his youth with his family, when he observed his last birthday when he was still alive on 31 October 1820 in a small room in Rome. However, little could he have guessed how famous he would become, or that 200 years later, the museum dedicated to his life, Keats House would be closed down in 2020, and suffer such big losses due to a pandemic.

Sultana’s non-fiction/poems have been published in 60+ journals, including Columbia Journal, and New Verse News. Her fiction received an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train. She’s presented many papers on Keats.

Friday, 30 October 2020


My ears reclaimed their virginity

in month seven of the pandemic.

So long left without ornament

they were sealed shut against

shiny blue stones from Sedona.

Soon after, I realised

all my clothes are costumes

for the games of make-believe

that go on outside my house.

So who am I, when I’m not playing?

Behind my mask I dwindle,

cast off non-essentials,

lipstick and lunchtime gossip –

wonder will I emerge

some smooth skinned cipher,

shorn of adornment

a mute maiden with white hair

and a fear of crowded spaces?

Or is there an elemental self

this time is excavating?

I can’t tell; on good days, I can hope so.

May she shine as solidly

as blue stones from Sedona.

Susan Millar DuMars has published five poetry collections with Salmon Poetry. She recently received an Irish Arts Council bursary to support her as she completes her second short story collection. Susan has co-organised the Over the Edge readings in Ireland since 2003.

Thursday, 29 October 2020

House of Sticks

From the mouths of babes
they took the food
an evil thing
and rather rude if you
stop to consider the
subsidised dinner,
and tea

All aboard the gravy train of slow cooked selfishness
and flambéed greed

Pan seared entitlement served
on a bed of home-grown smugness
for the Common people;
swell bellied and chortling
to the sound of chinny chin chin fizz
before voting on the next motion
or not

The big, bad wolf huffs
sugar-coated promises
puffed into soft peaks up the chimney well clear of the cooking pot

And somewhere down the lane
Little Tommy Tucker sings
Jack sits in the corner and
Miss Muffet fades away
All are wondering

"What's for tea?"

© Bex Tate

Campaign to end subsidised food and alcohol in Parliament reignited following free school meal snub

Bex usually writes to try and make sense of things, to try and capture magic, or to tell a story and sometimes to raise a lyrical fist at what she sees as not right.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

You Became a Teacher

Maybe because you remember fifteen with its bullfighter bravado

to cloak your pimpled insecurity, the fear you’d run afoul of the popular,

they who could black out the electrical grid of your social life.

Future you would offer a bracing smile, wisdom on a whiteboard,

be a beacon to foundering teens. Your campaign to reach the classroom

went undeterred by tales of toughs huffing glue in the stalls,

a Smith & Wesson triggered by a twelve-year old on a playground

in Toledo, a school room in Yonkers where a student sneaked behind

and shattered a teacher’s skull with a ball peen hammer.

Then today while California’s sky blazed orange, the chief executive

called for a thorough raking of the forest floor. Today the border patrol

divided and caged a family so Americans could be safe from refugees.

Today law enforcement shot to death an American citizen

in her home, in his car, on the street because we are a nation of law and order.

Isn’t order putting all things in their proper place?

Today the Senate confirmed a Supreme Court justice in an election year

which they would never, never do because The People must have their say

unless power may be gained by ignoring the people.

Today the high court ended the census early because all the persons

must have been counted by now and because data must be delivered

to the executive in time that he may discount undesirable persons.

Today you look at the faces before you, eyes bright above their masks,

eyes glowing in Zoom windows, faces of people here not to save us

nor to be led but who just want to learn to live together in this world

and you want to say, well, welcome aboard. This is the job.

© Robert Darken

What It’s Like to Be a Teacher in 2020 America

Robert Darken is originally from the American Midwest. He now resides in Connecticut, where he teaches high-school English. His work has appeared in One Art and Red Eft Review.

Tuesday, 27 October 2020


The atmosphere in court is volatile.

The neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn,

have terrorised the citizens of Greece

for years. A gang of fascists with tattoos

beat up the left, migrants, LGTB

and scooped up racist votes. Some of the police

were sympathetic. Justice shrugged. Till now.

They knifed Pavlos Fyssas, a hip-hop star,

an anti -fascist from the working class

with tons of fans. Maybe, a step too far.

Two women magistrates for months trawled through

the videos, speeches, documents and blogs.

They’re guarded. Every day they’re getting threats

but it’s their dossier that makes the case.

The female prosecutor sets it out before

the judge, the calmest person in the court.

She sets the tone, refuses to allow

the empty rhetoric of male pride

to grab the microphone. Questions are raised,

the arguments pursued, rogue details clarified.

It takes five years, but then the verdicts come.

Guilty times fifty, lots of years in jail.

Outside is Magda, Pavlos Fyssas’ mum

who screams “Pavlos, you did it!” There’s no doubt.

When men screw up, the women sort it out.

© Paul Francis

The women who brought down Greece's Golden Dawn

Paul Francis is a retired teacher from Much Wenlock, who is active in the West Midlands poetry scene. He is the author of Sonnets with notes.

Monday, 26 October 2020

His Day

This is his day,
Today, now everyday too late
Tall buildings closed in
A young gull not yet in his prime
Trojan warrior away from nature
Pushed into life.

Our rituals have changed
We had horses once, roaming fields,
Hooves on the earth carried our load
Knew their way, their task, in a time
When we also knew
We needed each other
A time when everyone knew
They were enough.
These days are filled with never enough.

The horses are gone from the fields
Gone too the learned way
Instinct replaced by engine
Who now teaches a boy what it takes to be man
The ordinary hero
No horses to carry him across rivers
Channel wild nature,
Now rivers have bridges and boys have wild cars
Ropes hang in empty barns
A guard of honour for our dead horses
And men, line the road
A black hearse moves slowly past the empty fields.

© Attracta Fahy

‘Afraid, frozen, stuck’: The mental health pandemic and how to fight it

Attracta Fahy MA.W NUIG ‘17. Irish Times; New Irish Writing 2019, Pushcart, Best of Web nominee, shortlisted for OTE New Writer 2018, and Allingham Poetry 2019&'20. Fly on the Wall Poetry published her chapbook collection 'Dinner in the Fields,' in March’20.

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Least Favorite Things

Children in cages, while parents go looking,

Hopes into horrors, and little is cooking.

Walls between people, and nothing takes wings.

Here is our list of detestable things!

Dreamers are sullen, yet villains are pardoned.

Children in cages look pale and woolen.

Health care’s no given, and lovers are cordoned.

Just look at the list of detestable things!


When the Trump bites,

When his words sting,

When we’re feeling mad!

We’ll line up to vote. So give him the gate!

And then we won’t feel so mad.

© Kay D. Weeks

4 Key Biden Moments at the Final Debate

Kay lives in Ellicott City, Maryland. Retired from DOI, NPS (historic preservation) in 2005, she spends her time painting birds, writing poetry – and walking.

Note: My poem and song with cadence. “My Favorite Things.” Credit: Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers).

Saturday, 24 October 2020

The Rules

I work for Mr Johnson, I’m a most important man
I only followed instinct when I went against the ban
My Barnard Castle outing was to check that I could see
The rules are there for other folk, they don’t apply to me

As CMO for Scotland, my concern was health and life
You’ll understand, I had to check my second home in Fife
I needed to go twice and yes, I took my family
The rules are there for other folk, they don’t apply to me

As leader of the Labour side, I never was a winner
I thought it was quite nice to be invited out for dinner
It wasn’t many more than six, in fact another three
The rules are there for other folk, they don’t apply to me

I had to go to Greece of course, surprised you have to ask
And when I’m in the Co-op, I don’t have to wear a mask
My son is the Prime Minister, I’m sure he will agree
The rules are there for other folk, they don’t apply to me

I know I’d had a Covid test, but really, I felt well
And though I travelled on the train, I thought no-one would tell
I had to get my speeches heard, I’m in the SNP!
The rules are there for other folk, they don’t apply to me

This deadly virus brings us all such pain and sacrifice
I’d like to say to those in power, “It really would be nice
If only you could say these words without hypocrisy
The rules are there for everyone, they do apply to me.”

© Jo Wright

Dominic Cummings Rule Break

Catherine Calderwood Rule Break

Jeremy Corbyn Rule Break

Stanley Johnson Rule Break

Margaret Ferrier Rule Break

Jo Wright is retired and lives in Dorset. She spends her time writing, playing the ukulele and walking in the beautiful Dorset countryside.

Friday, 23 October 2020

Election Fever

Election fever

reaches its pitch

as the politicians make

a last ditch


to appease, lie and


the masses

into voting for them and not the other


with me, I have the personality

unlike the other fella

that bogey, false,


of the people

will decide

what’s best for their pocket

if I can pick it with

stealth taxes

so much the better

not believe all we say

we look both ways at once

and tell you what you want to hear

is true

blue patriot, parading

on the battle bus

I’ll come to your town

or maybe I’ll fly in

by the seat of my minority pants

with my sound bites

into a pie

nice photo op

down a beer

kiss a baby

on the head

of the nail

biting count

down to

a new dawn

or, maybe, just, a false one

just give me a fair go

give me your vote

an X marks the spot

just don’t bother asking about

my policies.

They’ll change once I’m in.

© Warren Paul Glover

Trump's hopes fade in Wisconsin as 'greatest economy' boast unravels

Warren Paul Glover is a British-Australian screenwriter, playwright, poet and actor, based in Sydney. Before becoming a writer/actor Warren worked for several UK trade unions, mostly in the health sector. Twitter: @WazMan01

Thursday, 22 October 2020


We can’t enter public space without one —
no mask, no service. 
We have to lead by example
or design
Louis Vuitton, Habits, Maya Prass, we’re
turning masks into fashion statements.

Face coverings, masks for every
occasion. The very secure mask,
the less secure mask,
the triple-layered mask,
the disposable mask,
the dental mask,
the advertising mask,
the night-out mask,
the colour-coordinator mask,
the bedroom mask — velvet, sequins, lace,
the mask just for fun,
the biker’s black leather mask,
the sadomaso mask with studs,
the animal mask — leopard, tiger, lion,
the superhero mask,
the Lone Ranger mask — for Donald Trump,
it covers only the eyes.

Longer masks, the Snood — scarf and hood in one,
safety and warmth. The ANC funeral mask,
designed to match outfit, and
a tenderpreneur’s budget.
We fight the epidemic

© Christine Coates

A Miami cop wore a Trump mask to vote, inflaming Democrats: ‘This is city funded voter intimidation’

Christine Coates, a poet from Cape Town, holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. She has had three collections of poetry published.