Charlie Jones – 5 poems

Funky Toadstool Field Guide (Beware the Devil’s Fingers)


Beware the Devil’s Fingers
Sprouting from the ground,
They will try to snatch you,
They will drag you down.


Beware the Slimy Waxcaps
With their toxic ooze,
Poisoning your thinking
And leaving you confused.


Beware the Tongues of Fire
Whispering in your ear,
Draining you of hope,
Filling you with fear.


Beware the Witches’ Cauldrons
Spewing noxious fumes,
Turning dreams to dreamdust
And handing you the broom.


Beware the Stinking Dapperlings
Playing sour games,
If you join their circle
You will smell the same.


Beware the Burning Beacons
Promising a light,
Only to extinguish
In the middle of the night.




Yer Teacher Izza Toadstool


Yer teacher izza toadstool
Exams are toadstools too
Yer school iz one big toadstool
Tryna to tell yer wot to do


If yer wanna dance and sing
Do yer thing!


Yer teevee izza toadstool
Adverts are toadstools too
The news iz one big stinkhorn
Tryna to tell yer wot to do


If yer’d rather watch the skies
Open yer eyes!


The Prime Minister izza toadstool
And all the Cabinet too
The government iz one big puffball
Tryna to tell yer wot to do


If yer don’t want that nine-ter-five
Jump and jive!





Tick as Appropriate


What is your ethnicity?
Choose a section, A to E,
That best describes your ethnic group or background
And tick one box as appropriate.


Dad ticks the white box,
Mum ticks it too,
But India is where Mum’s parents were born and grew.


In photographs, Grandad is dark,
And Nana, like Mum, is light,
But I don’t think that either of them would tick white.


So why does Mum tick the white box?
Maybe she’s confused.
Maybe Nana and Grandad told her which box to choose.


I’m not sure I should tick the white box,
It doesn’t feel right.
But what am I going to tick if not white?


If Mum ticks the white box
I guess I could tick it too.
I’m lighter than Mum – white will do.







My teacher asked me
Why I didn’t tick B
And instead chose to tick the white box.


My Mum and my Dad
Seemed kind of mad
When they found out I didn’t tick the white box.


The lads in the alley
Called me a paki
Even though I ticked the white box.


They still call me names
But I’m not ashamed
That I didn’t tick the white box.




(I Won’t Be) Boxed In


My teacher asked me
Why I didn’t tick B
And instead chose to tick the white box.


Another asked me
Why I didn’t tick C
And instead chose to tick the white box.


My classmate asked me
Why I didn’t tick D
And instead chose to tick the white box.


Another told me
That I should’ve ticked E,
I had no right ticking the white box.


Next time
I’m not ticking the white box,
But I’m leaving their boxes blank.




Charlie Jones is a poet from Merseyside. His poetry has appeared with Bindweed, Acumen, OrbisHonest Ulsterman and The Caterpillar.

Elizabeth Jorgensen – Prose-poetry


Cellulite dimples through her black leggings, the scent of weed woven in her untamed hair. We drive to Grimaldi’s. I say it’s my favorite restaurant. But it’s not.

We split the spinach salad. “You can have the red onions and cherry tomatoes,” she says. She sucks on the bacon and picks out the blue cheese. But it’s not.

“Gorgonzola,” I tell her, “is more mild.”

“On your first time, dessert is on the house,” the waitress says. A dragon inks her left arm, a nose ring hangs on her septum.

We say, “Yes, it’s our first time.” But it’s not.

Dinner over, we say, “Let’s do this again.” We take home the Reese’s peanut butter cheesecake—made on site, split in half. She, slowly now, says goodnight.

Later, in bed, I eat the cheesecake out of the to go container, the whipped cream dwarfing the slice. And then, I rip the bong.

I wish it was the whole dessert. But it’s not.


Elizabeth Jorgensen is a teacher and writer. Her memoir of sister Gwen Jorgensen’s journey from CPA to Olympic Champion is due in 2019 from Meyer & Meyer Sport. Shorter works appear in Harvard University’s Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature & Culture, Wisconsin English Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, among others.


Ian Mullins – 1 poem

This Year’s Grey



Says she’s sorry –

should I be sorry too?

Or is she just blessing

her cold ego by being the one

who speaks first, righting the wrong

her mouth twisted like a bag

she’d hidden a live rat in?


Or are these words performing

the same rite for me, blessing myself

with silence as she blesses

herself with words? And how

will I tell black from white

or white from grey, when everyone

is wearing it this year?






Ian Mullins dredges debris from the banks of the river mersey. The autism-themed chapbook Almost Human (Original Plus) was published in 2017. The music-themed collection Laughter In The Shape Of A Guitar (UB) was released in 2015. Number 1 Red, a novel about professional wrestling and property wars, escaped from a headlock in 2017. All should be approached with caution.