MEETING THE FAMILY (by Cliff Yates)

He says something
witty
about the budgie.

They smile.
He is smiling so much
that his cheeks ache.

He crosses his legs
and kicks the budgie
into the fire.

She screams.
It is not
a good start

to the evening.
It is not easy
to make conversation

with charred feathers
floating
about the room.

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DREAM PLAY (by Dorothy Nimmo)

I know there’s something I must do today.
It’s half an hour before curtain rise,
what is my part in this, and what’s the play?
There is a smell of greasepaint, dust and size.

It’s half an hour before curtain rise,
this is the dressing-room I know is mine.
There is a smell of greasepaint, dust and size.
For God’s sake tell me, what’s the opening line?

This is the dressing-room I know is mine,
when they begin I’ll recognise my cue.
For God’s sake tell me, what’s the opening line?
Who am I? What am I supposed to do?

When the begin I’ll recognise my cue.
You’re on! they whisper and I face the light.
Who am I? What am I supposed to do?
Forgive me, mother. Have I got that right?

You’re on! they whisper and I face the light.
and say the line that they expect from me:
Forgive me, mother. Have I got that right?
Was it the daughter that I had to be?

I say the line that they expect from me.
My voice is strangled. I’m awake. I shout
I know there’s something I must do today
and I can’t do it. You must write me out.

My voice is strangled. I’m awake. I shout
I know there’s something I must do today
and I can’t do it. You must write me out.
It’s not my part and this is not my play.

THE ANTS’ MANIFESTO (by Gordon Meade)

Categorically, we are
Neither singular nor plural.
We are all. We are one.

Astronomically, we are not
Individual stars. We are the all
Embracing sun. Theologically,

We worship the Great White
Mother underneath the ground.
Politically, we cut across

All ideologies – communism,
Fascism, capitalism, collectivism
All, or none. Neurologically,

We are thoughts’ messengers,
The synapses of an amorphous brain.
Morally expedient, we kill

Everything we meet. We eat
Our enemies. Without us, the world
Would vanish. Adapt! Adopt

Our way of life, or perish