Neil Fulwood – Two Poems

Of all the submissions I’ve received for The Stare’s Nest there have been very few about individual politicians. With the exception of this man. A few I have declined as they were just seething pits of ad hominem vitriol. However, I am now bowing to popular opinion and publishing some Govian poetry. – Ed.

The Minister for Justice

The minister who would bring back hanging,
the minister who was a hatchet man
in his previous incarnation,
the minister who hates every blogger and free thinker
and hates the ease with which his face
puffballs into lampoonery. The minister

who for all we know has draped every mirror
in home and office with the shrouds
he imagines neatly folded and pristine
awaiting the day the gallows are used again,
the day the trap-door drops and the rope
snaps tight. The minister whose face

is its own accusation. The minister whose jowls
are the soft flesh before it decomposes.
The minister whose white fingers would baulk
from the trigger or the lever or the button.
The minister who will delegate, avert
his eyes, let someone else dirty their hands.


A Snake in the Grass

(after Brian Patten)

I give you a poem about the state of things
You say it’s cynical and pessimistic
You ask for something positive
You ask for a nice poem

I show you a newspaper headline
You say you don’t follow current affairs
You say politics is boring
You ask for a nostalgic poem

I give you a poem about the miner’s strike
I give you a poem about race riots
I give you a poem about the Sex Pistols
You ask for a poem about childhood

I give you a poem about bullies and victims
I show you a newspaper headline
I tell you I recognise those bullies
Masquerading under different names and faces

You say we can’t change things, you or I
You advocate making the best of it
You say politics is boring
I dip a nib in blood and bile and battery acid

And I give you a poem about unelected governments
I give you a poem about acts of parliament
About the sons of Eton making the rules
About freedom of speech and the flame held under it

I give you a poem about zero hour contracts
And the death of unionism
I give you a poem about business models
And the auction of healthcare

I give you a poem that uses the metaphors
Of a wrecking ball, a scrapyard
And a demolition site
I use these metaphors to talk about liberty

You say you don’t follow current affairs
You say politics is boring
You say we can’t change things, you or I
You ask for a poem about nature

I give you a snake in the grass

Neil Fulwood says: I’n such times it’s either howl dementedly or write poems with a pen dipped in battery acid. I opted for the latter.’

David Subacchi – I Know

I Know

What do you think she said
Pushing the paper towards me
I raised an eyebrow
The election results she said
I shrugged

Everyone says that
I suppose so
Will it affect us
Oh yes
Everyone says that too
But what do you think

I looked across the bay
The tide yawned
And dug another few feet
Out of the beach
I think carry on I said
We only get so long

And besides
Summer is out there
Just beyond the horizon
Let’s haul it in
Not drive it away
With long faces

You’re old she said
I smiled
Oh yes
All wine and poetry
All you’re good for
I know.
David Subacchi lives in Wales (UK) and studied at the University of Liverpool.  He is of Italian roots and writes in English, Italian and Welsh.   Cestrian Press has published two collections of his poems. ‘First Cut’ (2012) and ‘Hiding in Shadows’ (2014). He is increasingly well published internationally.

Neil Young – UKplc in 2015

UKplc in 2015

(After Shelley’s ‘England in 1819’)

Fantasy land of a fantasy Queen,
Princes so witless and hollow that war
Is a photoshoot for them, the PR machine’s
Best op since their bloody outings before;
Government turned to a shifty regime –
Is this what our granddads fought Hitler for –
A choice between charlatans, blue or red
As differing shades of the same rosette
While children are going to school unfed,
A Press that functions as savaging pet
Of the master rich while tweeting celebs
Anaesthetise us? This fuck-up could yet
Explode in London, spill out to the north,
Set Scotland reaching for home at the Forth.



Neil Young hails from Belfast and now lives in Stonehaven. He writes poems ranging from satires to sonnets, and gives readings anywhere from bookshops to bus-station cafes. Described by Brian Patten as a “socialist poet par excellence,” Neil’s first collection, ‘Lagan Voices’, was published in 2009 (Scryfa). A new booklet is due for publication later this year.

James Bruce May – Fox Amongst Children

Fox Amongst Children

Our flat overlooks the school
and offers a view of its playground
and the derelict plot next door,
overgrown now with long grass,
cow parsley, dandelion, a fly-tipped
sofa. We sometimes spot a fox

lazing in the shade, unfazed by
the children playing on the other
side of the fence. On polling day
the school stands empty, its yard silent
but for clucks from two hens in a hutch.
Past the shoe rack waiting with tiny

wellingtons to the hall where three
ladies smile and say the morning’s
been steady, not too busy; manageable.
Next day the children are back
in their playground laughing,
and we spot the fox in the sunshine

at ease, patiently washing its paws
with pulses of pink tongue.



James Bruce May read Creative Writing at Greenwich University and Goldsmiths College in London, where he currently lives with his girlfriend and his guitar. His work appears in journals including HARK Magazine, The Treacle Well, Word Bohemia, The Stockholm Review of Literature, The Fat City Review, The Puffin Review, Twisted Vine Literary Arts Journal, and Gravel Magazine.

Catherine Ayres – Banks of the Tyne, May 8th 2015

Banks of the Tyne, May 8th 2015

The water wrinkles, wrinkles
in a slow parade of frowns,
worry offered to the sky.
Here’s a bollard, a witch drowned
in mud, and three tyres,
strange octopi, tentacles severed.
The gulls make cunning mourners,
always a cackle at the edge of their cries.
Trees green their bones; it doesn’t matter –
their filigree will flake.
I want a haberdashery of rooks
to roll this day into a ball,
curl gloved hands around its sullen sphere
and peck a curse from hope’s remains.
The river recurs like a dream,
like hands across a face,
like five more years.



Catherine Ayres  is a teacher who lives in Northumberland.  Her poems have appeared in a number of print and online magazines, including Ink, Sweat and Tears and The Moth. She recently came third in Ambit’s ‘Under the Influence’ competition. Some of her poems will be published in pamphlet form by Black Light Engine Room later this year.

Sue Kindon – Party Clothes

Party Clothes
(after Michael Rosen)

They’re dressed in civvies, all smiles
when they first come knocking at your door.
They want you to play their clean-up game:
knock knock music of the segregation chairs.

They keep the uniforms of fancy dress
pressed and under wraps, hanging
in the sardine compartment of the wardrobe.
In the small hours, when you and I

are smooching, they polish metal,
pass the parcel trappings of the torturer.
Before long they’re parading as charades,
helmeted, through tin pot streets.

If the cake fits, eat it. Beware of candles.
There will be bags to take home.

Alexia Kirov – Stuffed Monkeys

Stuffed Monkeys

Chauffeur driven, out he shrugs,
purple tie flapping in the wind
like the tongues of Westminster:
Big D.C., Miliband and Clegg.
Out for a fag at
Rochester Service Station.
Time to fill up the tank?
He passes parked-up coaches
headed to Birkenhead or Swindon,
burger joints and toilet queues; claw machines
filled with stuffed monkeys –
prize every time for two British pounds.



Alexia Kirov is a student, serial tweeter and vinyl enthusiast from London

Jonathan Taylor – Election Night 2015

Election Night 2015

A pink-spotted giraffe is breaking the News
to mumbled gasps from stuffed voters
that the Crocodile Party has been swept from power
in favour of a new coalition government
of the Cat and Middle-Sized Bear Parties.

There’ll be a lot of political manoeuvring
in the coming minutes, maybe even tickling,
but the two parties at least share a policy platform
of: 1. making everyone’s dreams come true
and 2. compulsory bed-bouncing.

The crocodiles have declined to comment
but rumour has it they may be contemplating
a last-ditch coup d’état
by gobbling up all their enemies.



Jonathan Taylor’s books include the novels Melissa (forthcoming from Salt, late 2015) and Entertaining Strangers (Salt, 2012), and the poetry collection Musicolepsy (Shoestring, 2013). He is Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester, and co-director of arts organisation and small publisher Crystal Clear Creators. His website is”

Susan Evans – For You, Emmeline

For you, Emmeline

Labour gave us the NHS
and an unjust war.
Coalition dismantle services
and persecute the poor.

UKIP want out of Europe,
Britain can’t afford the fee:
lay it all on immigration
disrespect diversity.

Other parties hold some merit,
some are too extreme;
sitting most comfortably
for me today is Green.

Yellow buses run on chip fat,
fighting cuts and Human Rights,
care for people and our planet;
our Caroline Lucas seems alright.

Today we get to pick a colour,
Red or Yellow or Green…
today I will pick a colour
for you, Emmeline.


© Susan Evans 2015 All rights reserved.

To remember Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the Suffragette Movement, in campaigning for women’s right to vote.
Caroline Lucas, Britain’s first Green MP, Brighton (Pavilion) 2010-2015.

Susan Evans is a UK based performance poet, teacher and therapist from London, living in Brighton. Susan’s featured in various publications; print and on-line, including: Ink, Sweat & Tears, Pankhearst, Poetry Space, Prole and Writing Magazine. Susan performs her work at various venues and festivals throughout the UK. You can find her here:

Hilda Sheehan – They are Coming on Purpose

They are coming on purpose

There’s a liar under every coverage.
The papers say an immigrant
writes his own passport

and won’t eat anything English.
They are purposefully
relocating fish and chips to curry and curry to cottage pie.

How will we taste the streets of Britain?
Bombay stains
turmeric into concrete.

There are strangled busses all dressed
in foreign shades

of magenta and colours English eyes

can’t see.
Even worse, I can show you they are bad

and engineered into
planes and boats over here:

the breaking-point of toilets,

the hospitals in over-flowing foreign

and Nigel scares the HIV

of over-spending immigrants.

Britain’s filthy papers
force us to listen

to blame and blame

is an unnecessary evil.
The Night My Sister Went to Hollywood is available from Cultured Llama Press