FROM THE WEB MASTER GENERAL
It’s been a very busy time friends, but I do owe an apology to Chris Bilton the Editor and the contributors to what should have been The New Year Word Pit.
Thank you for your patience.
Midlife Crisis or a cry for help?
For Christmas I was bought chocolate flavoured shower gel. Yes, you heard right, they do other aromas too, spring apple, summer strawberry, autumn mint and winter chocolate. Lathering up with liquid soap that smells like hot cocoa is fab, you just look like a 1970s IRA member in Long Kesh prison making a ‘dirty protest’. You can’t beat it (you can if you take the right whisk in the shower with you) Am I letting the male of the species down here a little or is it just a….queue drum roll….. Mid Life Crisis?!!!!
On a recent visit to the docs she said, a little too nonchalantly I thought, that my blood pressure was okay and moved the conversation onto something else. I wanted to say ‘hey wait a minute! I’ve lost weight; go to the gym, don’t drink (much), stopped smoking, walk and cycle…..then I thought better of it and kept quiet, could my concern just be a mid life crisis?
I read today about something called ‘Burt's Bees Lip Balm’ and did not dismiss it out of hand, now, if that’s not a sign of mid life crisis ... etc etc. Apparently it’s a staple in some women's handbags and medicine cabinets (is it in yours?) But now it comes in a ‘guy-
How did folk manage years ago? People of my father’s generation. I can see him now talking to my mother, ‘Sorry love can’t go down t’ pit today, your medicine cabinet’s fresh out of Burt's Bees Lip Balm. I’ve been secretly using so I’m having a day off and go down t’ pub, sithee’.
Makes me wonder if some of today’s ailments are made up so we can buy stuff to cure none existent problems. One small step for man and a giant leap for big business…what’s that smell? ...ho, sorry; it’s my Black Magic armpits. And talking of pits... Welcome to the WORD PIT!!!
© Wayne Dyson – Northern Poet.
This is South Yorkshire... The second most densely populated area in the country, behind London, the capital of the North if you will. You see South Yorkshire became the engine of the country because of it’s thick seams of black Gold and the ability to make the finest steel in the world. People migrated to South Yorkshire for work from all over the UK, Ireland and beyond. The country relied on our production to drive the industrial revolution and to build the infrastructure we know today. The men and women of this great county played a huge part in the lives we live today, and still do.
This isn’t the Rhubarb Triangle, this isn’t a National Park, this is South Yorkshire – Urban, gritty, Northern and proud, and this is my homage to this great county of ours:
We were the centre of the earth
We dug the ground and showed our worth
The toil and sweat of the 24 hour day
That lit your houses the electric way
Your power supply relied on us hard
And our blood and loss was our reward
You used and abused the South Yorkshire man
Flicking that switch you didn’t give a damn
Our steel and sweat built this land
Mens muscle and pride that was our brand
We supplied it all to fill your greed
A little respect was our only need
We died in thousands like the Great War
But the heat and light was all you saw
The infrastructure still used to this day
Now the South Yorkshire man just gets in the way
There’s nothing you can touch we didn’t touch first
Our lives literally put into yours, even worse
Our blood, effort and pain, you sucked us dry
Lives and limbs gone without a cry
We were built hard like the steel we made
And the coal we dug our strength didn’t fade
To make sure you had what you wanted
Your vociferous desires, we undaunted
We built the fire hydrants for New York City
We were Yorkshire men, northern and gritty
Bathe once a week in front of the fire
Backs covered up, strength to admire
Bare knuckle boxing and pints of beer
A workforce with pride, men to fear
Bridges, rails, roads and planes
Our lives for you, it ran through our veins
We went to sleep to the sound of the hammer
The furnace alive with working men’s clamour
The mines and tunnels alive with work
24 hours a day we didn’t shirk
We built this country from sea to sea
Breathing in the dust, walking on debris
Just so you could brag to clients
You were standing on the shoulders of giants
We were the worker bees and she was the queen
She was the assassin, she remained unseen
Profit and greed her only motivation
We died for your sins, that was our salvation
We gave so much but you took it all
And the South Yorkshire man began to fall
You beat us down and ignored the past
But we’re still here, and we will last
We remember the days and loved ones lost
To improve your lives no matter the cost
Now you deride us as common folk
Looking down your nose, the fun you poke
But if it wasn’t for us where would you be
Our steel and coal didn’t come for free
It came with a price and we paid with blood
So you could live in your cosy neighbourhood
© Wayne Dyson – Northern Poet.
She was only nineteen
but a perfect ten
longed for twenty one
sixteen has been and gone
and then she welcomes forty...
she's been naughty
but hey life begins
she just grins
in her prime
in her purple haze
her drunken days
she's turning fifty
money just wont last
she see's her past
through broken glass
of windows they did shatter
one more Facebook matter
one more eye to close
she remembers sixteen
she remembers sixteen
a fond memory
stop the clock
and let's go back
strawberry hair she often styled
hot boys that smiled
pink dress, success
no bills to pay
no black clouds
every day a peaceful happy day
shout out loud
a thousand setting suns descend
before the end
before the tears
and bad dreams
before the final year of your life
draws it's blind
before you sign off with that same old
you remember sixteen
©Greg J muscroft Poet September 2013
Rain didn’t come again
So they sat and they wondered
Crops didn't grow this month
Mournfully they pondered
Postman came again
Brought another of those
Says the man from the bank
is calling next week
They begin to worry
Rain finally came
Without a roof
to cover their heads
It tore through their clothes
Finally they surrendered.
© Bob Roberts 2014
That Was The Week (of snow) That Was!
19 December 2009 at 13:48
My snowman fell over onto his side,
"Oh you daft lump!", i practically cried,
i lifted him onto a discarded settee,
there was no-
i resmoothed his body and reshaped his head,
"You can be a snow-
he's grown smaller over the days its true,
but if you were made of snow you would
shrink too, as the days warmed a touch,
with a splattering of rain, had the
shaping and shivering all been in vain?
theres a little 'lump' where his fat body reclined,
go on, go away, i really dont mind,
when the snow returns the snow-
but i mayn't feel as creative as i did the other day,
Oh! look out of the window, its snowing again,
they'll be here soon no doubt,
© Christine May Turner
from my first book, 'Lucky-
SEVEN FOOT STINGER
I'm your friendly seven-
A deadly threat to any would-
I grow in graveyards and garages Abandoned in years Seeking revenge on my friends that ended as beer Id shoot through your flowers with my savage green gloat Like the bit on Jaws 2 when he comes up through the boat You'll die off one bite from the brutal toothed petals Of me, the Seven Foot Super-
My pain travels fast as Sebastian Vettel Drive through all daisies that dare stand in my way You daffodils, petunias and pansies will pay Even the prickliest of brambles stand no ice cream on hells chance Of shielding you from my sharp-
© Dave Attrill
Drugs (No Shit What A Party)
Put the little book behind the big book
on the shelf can't read no more let's cook
some tasty dish fresh fish with chips and peas c
ome in from climbing trees wash your grubby mits
he sits, MTV hits and basement beats his pals
are in the streets sucking sweets tormenting
girls with cute red bow in hair summer fayre
and candy floss playing the arcade like
you're the God damn boss pushing all
the buttons hope you win best mate taps
your shoulder you jump outta your skin
what a din from Grandpa's old stereo
bought in 1932 after two whole weeks of snow
It froze his feet inside his socks,
inside his shoes bad news only ever
came in two's like the animals into
Noah's Ark double the trouble or the
pleasure and if a fight breaks out
between horse and camel we'll calm
the shit down Why the long face?
no need to get the hump we're all
God's creatures God's special little bump
But the hippo's had a spat with the
Siamese cat for allegedly looking at
him in a strange way and I hear the
Mongoose really can dance the Bolero
There's goats riding bikes and bears
in fancy hats It's a pretty weird party
and there ain't much room who the
hell are you? tugging on my sleeve
what a strange dream
and how big are your feet and how
trippy were those mushrooms
©Greg J Muscroft May 2013
Back To Reality
Just before we go to print
are these the words to heal a nation?
is mine the voice of hope or reason?
were you the answer
to his prayer?...
his light through dark clouds
Are we primitive?
do we give in order to receive?
do we leave before the end?
before the war is over?
before the blood of many a body
has stained the ground
and have we not found our place?
our face can't hide the pain
again our battle scars on view
It's true I wished it all away
With my rainbow and my pot of gold
the cold is a constant
the lines are a sign
we stayed too long
and the chords of the song that you sung
but there's no one there
and what if you got me all wrong
would you fall to your knees
would you borrow the words of a writer
hold me tighter
I don't want to fight her
she's the one I really fear I'll lose
and the booze just hurts my head
I could tie a stone to my feet and jump
but the rivers not deep
maybe I'm a crumpled heap
maybe I'm on fire
maybe I'm her desire
maybe I'm her castle keep
maybe I'm the moat around the side
the axe in the door
maybe she lied
as I did
maybe we hid the worst
and the ghosts keep bringing it back
Maybe they aren't to be feared
maybe they're a blessing in disguise
and the best kept secrets
and the worst kept lies
will be the truths we choose to share
and if we dare to do,
then these dreams will become our reality
and our reality will be the stuff of dreams
© Greg J Muscroft
Bave Faces, Vulnerable Souls
Brave faces hide vulnerable souls,
and vulnerable souls wait a lifetime to heal
soft and tender
in spite of gender
every spoken word becomes noted and remembered...
and it`s all so harder to express what you feel
when it`s real
and you don`t want to hurt those you love
cause you know from within that you`re feeling it too
and the wheel of life keeps turning
and the pieces of our devastated lives
are picked up from the floor
as we dust ourselves off
and the cough from cigarette smoke we inhale
leaves it mark
and the spark, that fiery flame
burns the same
as the day whence we met
but still the frailty and the sadness lingers
hands I have to hold
and fold in and out of mine to protect
but my skin is wearing thin
and my hair is greying
I miss all your swaying to the beat
when my music plays
and you`re attention as I read
and I hate that the music`s stopped playing
and I beg that you`re staying
© Greg J muscroft
We argued about which restaurant to go to.
You said, ‘When I close the curtains I’m going to kill you.’
You drew the curtains
And I sat and did nothing I wasn't scared;
The argument wasn't serious.
I didn't think you were serious;
Certainly not deadly serious.
Then you came over and
Started to punch me in the head
I felt myself passing out.
A bleed in the brain.
Ironically I chose to scream
‘I love you’ As my last words.
The beating stopped unexpectedly.
Suddenly almost in the blink of an eye
I was in my Mum’s house
I didn't know how I’d got there
Like in a dream.
Had I caught a train?
Or was I dead?
A ghost of my former self.
© Cyndy Art
Thieves in the temple.
Thieves in the temple dressing as scribes and as priests.
Tinctures of opium fed out through our theatre of dreams.
The dead lie in poppy fields the devils not slept in a while.
And in rides a man on a pantomime horse with a smile.
Hey now stupid now look what you've done, you've broken someone.
Stood frozen awaiting the end of the opium wars.
Laudanum and lavender puts ladies to rest on their wards.
Reverse kings and queens look on askance at all sides.
And a million a metre floats on past another dead child
© Tim Cleverley 2011.
Show Me the Sign
Show me the sign Go on, show me
Show me the sign that says I can't have blue or red hair
Show me the sign. Go on. Do you see it there?
Show me the sign that says I can't wear black head to toe, or have poodle-
because if I come across one it will get a slashing.
Go on look for it. I can wait around.
Show me the sign that says I shouldn't be teetotal, nor spend Sunday morning in church, and if I sound too intelligent, I spend my whole week at work.
Show me the sign that says I can't have chocolate spread on one slice of toast, lemon curd on the other
Show me the sign that forbids me to call a singer a vocalist -
Show me the sign against poets, people who watch trains, stating the penalty of infringement is an image up in flames
Show me the sign that says I can't walk round in a fez, that I should be put into stocks, because I believe in the man with his little blue box
Still not found it yet?
Show me the sign that says I have to like the bands in this week, be seen in that gang on the street that must all look the same, like the same, hate the same
Show me the sign that says it's wrong to go cycling to town, on the account that there aren't many others who are mad enough to, around.
Show me the sign that states what a heinous crime it is to ride round on a purple and orange striped bike, with a shirt stating the world is ruled by wizards and hobbits alike
Come on, it's got to be around somewhere.
Show me the sign that denies me the right to go jogging nine o'clock every night
Because I might just rip down every copy, douse them in spirits and set the f***ers alight
Show me the sign that says I'm not allowed to take a different bus travelling home so I can enjoy looking at the vaster Sheffield scenery, the bill posters on hordes, or long lost acquaintances that might just climb aboard
Show me the sign that says under no circumstances must I keep a 765-
Show me the sign stating its strictly prohibited to be clumsy, misinterpret or annoy someone without the intent of doing just by speaking or thinking with a mind slightly different from expected, due to the fact that I have a broader, deeper scope than most,
And might be therefore deemed dangerous.
Show me the sign that says I'm not allowed to be me.
Ha! Got you there, haven't I
© Dave Attrill 2013
Single Awareness Day
February fourteenth is! Valentines Day
another chance to fill the coffers.
A card, flowers, presents to give
commercialism filling their pockets.
One day just to say, I love you
pushed at you since the New Year.
Magazines, newspapers, television too
just to say on that one day.
I love you
Emphasis on couples,
sharing their love.
Why do they need a special day?
everyday should be special.
If you love someone so much
How does it feel to be single?
grown tired of all this hype.
Many different reasons, for being single
cherish your life, cherish your friends.
February fourteenth is!
Single Awareness Day
© 2011 Carol Robson
An Untimely Death
Older people are easy targets
relying on their pension,
pension day to look forward to
then, start looking forward to the next.
They want you to work until you die
attacked, suffer cutbacks
again and again
those now living in fear
many with various disabilities
now fear their advancing years.
The extra money helps so many
and it isn’t about their luxuries
as they sit in their coats and hats,
scarves, gloves, wrapped in blankets
not outside but in their living rooms.
Another cold winter shackles them,
confined by disability or age.
Fears for many,
they will not see another
an untimely death for many.
© Carol Robson 2013
Hello is that Pete?
The handyman from across the street?
It’s just that my CD button has fell in
And now it’s making such a din
It was alright until I pressed PLAY
And now, well I don’t know what to say.
But if you could just pop across
If it’s not too much bother and June won’t be cross
It’s just my floorboards are creaking
And this things leaking
It should only take a minute or two..or three
And I’ll make you some tea.
It’s just that I need the radiator off
So I can put the wallpaper on
Oh and there’s the wiring
If it’s not too tiring
And while you’re here
The garage doors sagging
Could you take a look at it
I know you’re flagging.
If it’s not too much trouble
May I be bolder
And ask you to look at my toilet roll holder
This really is frightening
This screw is not tightening
It simply won’t grip in the plug
You’re better than me
And it is half past three..
Is this your cold tea in this mug?
© Kath Whitehead
Goodbye, I love you
Do you remember the last time you saw my face?
The last memory in your mind?
Take that with you, where air you go,
And let that thought be kind.
Did you touch my hand? Kiss my cheek?
The last time you were there?
Don't let that moment caught in time,
Be the hardest one to bare.
"Parting is such sweet sorrow",
Is what Shakespeare once said.
So say those words, next time you see,
Me drift inside your head.
Believe in God or a Higher Power,
Is what I came to believe.
Trust in this, don't live your life,
Caught in the webs we weave.
"Goodbye, I love you", is what I'd
Like to hear you say.
I'm content that you release me,
And send me on my way.
Goodbye I love you.
© Chris Matthews
All Night Café.
Approaching the solitary window,
Cold bites deep to my veins,
The belongings to the window's innards,
Crack out wards, light up my way.
The glowing warmth and smell of it's doorway,
Invites you, to the 'All Night Café'.
Breath lightly on the window,
Cold wind catches it hard,
One moment caught from moving,
All sense of feeling barred.
Huddled in the corner, mug of tea to hand,
Covered in rags is the resemblance of man.
He has no knowledge of his surroundings,
Which have treated him so severe,
He keeps on hiding from us nightly,
With yet one more pint of beer.
See sweat filled walls look down on solitary man,
Sits crumpled and worn, preserves what dignity he can.
Wind leathered face, stiffens disgrace.
Unshaven, unclean. Visible and smelling are the places he's seen.
Look into his eyes, they are swollen brown,
The darkness of which match only his frown.
His cheekbones in contrast, stand out proud,
Skin, clinging thinly, as his corpses constant shroud.
Decide to move in closer, having been unnoticed inside,
The staff sit living in the kitchen, where from such reality they hide.
Still, he sits coldly, as I, invading his space,
My form forever lowering, stops, opposite expressionless face.
For a moment my attention is taken, by a voice high ticking on the wall,
It's face forever changing, one day it too must fall.
Outside howling, the wind is crying to get in,
Starts kicking at the doorway, raising the noise to a din.
There is laughter in the back now, as the clock it strikes one,
Everyone seems to be saying, "life must go on".
Turn back to the table, my friend has a tear in his eye,
All the lonely people in the world, yet nobody answers why.
Reach out to touch him, then all I wipe is on glass,
His reflection my visage, these moments would not last.
© Chris Matthews
I waited by the window
Till it dawned
You'd already gone
Silence which grew
Till the weeds in the garden
Overtook the house
Outside, sounds of drunken laughter
Echoes A June evening in Shakespears
But last order bell
Has already rung
An all that's left
Something tells me this night
Is gonna be a long one
©Bob Roberts 2014
When you’re different
They are all talking about this morning on Jeremy Kyle
You look at them talking containing your anger and sadness
Anger at the ones who think they are smart but so easily fooled
By the victimisation and demonization of the vulnerable and poor
It’s happened on one street one person used to be a freak
But it’s ok its entertainment for the brain washed
For your entertainment children from that area are victims of bully’s
The bully’s at the Local School given the green light, from brain washed bigots
Their parents who learned to hate by laughing at the freak show
Finding it harder to tell who the real freak is
They start to notice you don’t rejoice in cruelty of the defenseless
They start to go quiet when you’re around, just in case you’re a freak too
They don’t get it you don’t hate; you don’t get off of victimisation of your own class
You don’t buy the divide and rule of bullying state
Bloody awkward you
So I guess you know when you’re Different
©Martin Hickman 2013
A short story by Chris Bilton
‘Ten minutes Mr. Deltoid.’
The words slithered out of the speaker and around the windowless dressing room like a slug, then quiet. The smell of perfume and musty linen saturated the air; George heard his internal organs growling, he sat in front of the mirror and powdered a scimitar sharp nose.
‘No soul, no talent, I’m in a deep hole, and sinking fast. Emphasise empathy, then empathise with the audience. I am the king of the caustic remark with a pert derrière.’
He mouthed these words against his reflection in the mirror with just the correct amount of suppressed anger, carefully taking in each syllable and lip movement as if trying to understand an ancient language. Car sticker philosophising no longer helped him. He once thrived on the oozing feisty audience, their tendons, arteries, nerves, the smell of stale beer and expectations, all vessels delineated by knife-
He knew perfectly well this tête-
Male friends said it was wonderfully avant-
He told himself he was not yet ready for a sojourn into the home for retired drag acts. There was even a vacant space in his head marked: ‘Reserved for Religion.’ According to a friend in the know the universe operates on chaos, random cruelty and the corruption of the flesh and spirit. Well if that’s not my act then I don’t know what is, mouthed George to himself through the mirror as he applied lipstick. He knew his act stunk like a road kill skunk and the price was constant vigilance on his part, if he was not to sink into the depression that surely awaited the weak and vulnerable.
‘Five minutes Mr Deltoid.’
George slipped into his costume; strap on femininity and fishnet stockings stuffed with false carves, checked the makeup, threw his feather boa around his neck and teetered nervously on his heels towards the wings. He sat on top of a suitcase nearby and tried to gather his thoughts. He was now haemorrhaging fear on a deadly scale. The crowd fizzed; the atmosphere snapped at his brain, his nerves were shot. He was all eyes and pale skin in the throes of disintegration. He stood up, walked onto the stage and stood for a moment.
A sacred cow in the audience bellowed,
‘Get on with it, lard arse.’
At one time he could have snapped a hecklers comment over his knee like a twig, but now he was baffled by the obvious. A bottle belched from the ocean of faces and smashed into the side of his face, with boiled pink fingernails he picked at the shards. Blood dripped from the gash; he mopped his brow, he felt absent from himself. Suddenly he became dysfunctional with the stigma of it all, his dress became translucent with blood and sweat, the whole room trembled with jeers. Behind his eye’s panic swirled like a psychedelic paisley pattern of sulphurous and virulent greens, heat struck colours, blaring colours, acid pink oceans. He performed a frantic wordless struggle, trying to remember his personal mantra. He had reaching into the shallow-
Doubled up and racked with pain he staggered, wavered in front of the baying, laughing audience, in an instant the choices swam into view, sink or swim. He raised himself to his full height and gazed through the blood and out over their heads. First he slipped one strap of his gown slowly over his shoulder, then the other, like a snake shedding its skin he wriggled from the material and let it fall to the floor. The silence stuck to the air like a barbed hook as he did the same with the rest of his false image until he stood Pegasus proud in stockings and a blood red boa. Feeling an unbridled sense of liberation, he mooched around the stage in true reptilian style with feathers and fishnet rapped cellulite rippling in his wake. With an almost organic act of defiance he stalked towards the edge of the stage and with an almighty leap launched himself into the crowd.
George leaned back into his easy chair causing the footrest to automatically flip forward and gather his feet up into a horizontal position. His hands cupped the mug of cocoa and he snuggled down into the cushions. The comforts of suburbia suited a man now at ease with himself and the world around him. That such ideas he once perceived as ambition had become a bouquet of nuclear-
He preferred that kind of unbridled humour found in places where nobody looked for it.
A schizophrenic artist's journey of self-
break your heart, but it can also break your mind.
TRUE LOVE, one of the most compelling, beautiful, and highly desired commodities on Earth. When obtained, it can be one of the most fulfilling phenomenon in our lives. Having said that, sadly, love can also be a very damaging, soul destroying element as well. My experiences with this emotion have elevated me into unparalleled, blissful euphoria but also served to kick start my schizophrenia. For over a decade, since I had my first serious dose of pain due to heartache, I am still left traumatized. The devastation I felt in that moment has imbibed itself into every delusion and paranoid thought that I continue to experience with my mental illness years later.
I have had more than my fair share of failed relationships, so many in fact, that I began to wonder if I was 'love sick' and incapable of being close to anyone other than my tiny circle of friends and family. Was I doomed to a lonely life in order to avoid any further damage and end up completely lost in my own head? Was having someone love me as purely and deeply as I desired them to ever going to become a reality? Every time I thought I had finally found that special life partner and opened up, things always seemed to inevitably end drastically bad and made me feel more rejected and crippled with the ever-
My final ‘love lesson’ was by far the most difficult loss that I have ever experienced because it finally brought to light exactly where I have always gone wrong. I came face to face with myself, my own co-
I have been homeless due to love, beat up, used for financial gain, suffered with delusions because of love, ended a marriage to pursue a ‘truer’ love, I even left my children in my quest for it. I am not proud of the things I have done, blindly, in the name of this bittersweet emotion but I have finally come out on the other side, changed for the better at last. How did I? I had to evaluate my neediness out of the necessity to remain sane.
Was I a love sick extremist; a rare, deluded, overly needy, hopelessly obsessed, deranged, romantic psychopath?
Yes. Admitting that to myself was terrible after being in denial for all of my life. How did I finally come to that conclusion?
I had a rare second chance at actually being in a relationship with the man whose loss led to my descent into madness. This opportunity seemed like the light at the end of a very dark tunnel that had been my life up until that point. Our reunion was so unbelievable, it had to be true! It was my hope that my lost love, a love I never had the chance to realize, would cure me and bring about the happily ever after that I had craved, only with him, from the first day we met. He had been the one man to spark something inside of me that I have never felt before, something 8 years apart couldn’t extinguish because he had lived inside of my head, in every delusional episode that I experienced since losing him the first time. I knew that I HAD to get some answers and experience a relationship with him or I would always obsess and never be able to love another in my life properly. Passing him by would have driven me further into my selfish psychosis.
I pursued that relationship with wreckless abandonment, with my whole heart. Even though it ended badly, I am glad I took my chance because breaking free from his very stubborn spell, of sorts, by getting the long needed closure, my schizophrenia has finally been put in check and it has also put my love life into a much better perspective. In retrospect, I now see that I no longer NEED a man to love me in order to feel happy. I was put in a situation, for the first time, where I had to learn to love my own company, to be alone. I am no longer seeking my ultimate happiness in someone else because I achieved it inside of me, and because it’s not dependant on another person, that joy can’t be destroyed or leave me ever again.