DePfeffelschrift PAGE FIFTEEN : Owen Gallagher

Your Country Needs You!

We answered the Government’s call to keep

                                           the profit flag flying,

                                           the currency stable.

Tut-tutted at having to Zoom from our laptops

                                           and mask up

                                           to queue for a latte.

 We created more offshore companies

                                           to redistribute wealth

                                           among ourselves,

 We made billions during the pandemic.                    

                                          We thank the Government Ministers,

                                          our Head Boys, for that.

Owen Gallagher is a working-class writer, born in Gorbals, Glasgow. He left school at 15 and worked in factories and on building sites, also as a street-sweeper and bus conductor. His most recent publication is: Clydebuilt (Smokestack Books 2019) which was shortlisted for The Scottish Poetry Book of The Year in 2021.


DePfeffelschrift PAGE FOURTEEN : David Birkett

After Partygate

Let’s just move on, for this amiable bluffer
Was born to drink wine while the hoi polloi suffer.
The voters? The voters? They like it rougher;
It gives them more character, makes them all tougher.
Eton and Bullingdon – these are his buffer
Ensuring he gives not a hoot nor a stuff; a
Nice piece of work, is this huffer and puffer.
And if the electorate hollers ‘Enough!’, a
Replacement will come, and one even duffer.

David Birkett was born 1961 in Malta, but schooled and raised in England. He is a member of the North Herts stanza of the Poetry Society, PoetryID.

DePfeffelschrift PAGE THIRTEEN : Kate Noakes

Current Fears

after Jennifer L. Knox

We are scared of lies, even white ones.
We are scared of liars
and that we will no longer be able to tell when they are lying.
We are scared of gold wallpaper and tree houses.
We are scared of the word debunking
and that fact checking will become a highly regarded profession.
We are scared of sandpapered quotes and Rwanda.
We are scared of people who don’t understand economics,
even though it was one of the subjects they studied at university.
We are scared of green leather benches. 
We are scared of pussy bow blouses and cheese.
We are finally scared enough to do something about it.

Kate Noakes‘ eighth collection, Goldhawk Road, will be published by Two Rivers Press in 2023. She lives in London where she is working on her PhD on breath in contemporary British and American poetry.

Die DePfeffelschrift PAGE TWELVE : Penelope Shuttle

Liz Truss Blues

Liz Truss Liz Truss
do I know that name?
Liz Truss Liz Truss?
she got no kinda fame! 
Liz Truss? Liz Truss!
tell me I am wrong!
Liz Truss Liz Truss!
Ding blimey dong!

Liz Truss Liz Truss
with your wooden tongue
Liz Truss Liz Truss
soon be outa number ten 
Liz Truss Liz Truss
let’s have a singalong!
Liz Truss Liz Truss
getting stuff all wrong!

Liz Truss Liz Truss
is this all a dream?
Liz Truss Liz Truss
I think I’m gonna scream 
Liz Truss Liz Truss
storm clouds gather high
Liz Truss Liz Truss
with her primetime lie

Liz Truss Liz Truss
I hear the thunder roll
Liz Truss Liz Truss
puts us on the dole 
Liz Truss Liz Truss
now the lightning flashes
Liz Truss Liz Truss
one of Putin’s lasses

Liz Truss Liz Truss
now the heavens open
Liz Truss Liz Truss
darlin how yer copin 
Liz Truss Liz Truss
now the storm has broken
Liz Truss Liz Truss
what have you awoken? 

Liz Truss Liz Truss
take a mo to ponder
Liz Truss Liz Truss
I think you should absconder 
Liz Truss Liz Truss
I’m off to get some lunch
Liz Truss Liz Truss
be careful who you punch

Liz Truss Liz Truss
your middle name is folly
Liz Truss Liz Truss
better get your brolly
Liz Truss Liz Truss
flaunting her plumage
Liz Truss Liz Truss
doing nowt about sewage

Liz Truss Liz Truss
what a fuss what a fuss
Liz Truss Liz Truss
little Miss Non-plus
Liz Truss Liz Truss
she’ll miss the shuttle bus
Liz Truss Liz Truss
(and so on ad nauseum…)

Penelope Shuttle lives in Cornwall. Her thirteenth collection, Lyonesse, appeared from Bloodaxe in June 2021, and was Observer Poetry Book of the Month for July 21. Covid/Corvid, a pamphlet written in collaboration with Alyson Hallett, appeared from Broken Sleep Books, September 2021. Father Lear, a pamphlet, was published by Poetry Salzburg in June 2020. Shuttle is President of the Falmouth Poetry Group, founded in 1972 by her late husband, Peter Redgrove. She is a Hawthornden Fellow, and received a Cholmondeley Award in 2017.

DePfeffelschrift PAGE ELEVEN : Neil Fulwood

The Coffin of Democracy

A nail for the times we find ourselves in:
post-truth, post-decency, post-shame.

A nail for the lie on the side of a bus.
A nail apiece for the lies at despatch box,

podium, in front of cameras, the lies 
told to foment the crowds. A nail

for each denial of wrongdoing. A nail
for each headline taking his side.

A nail apiece for the bullish refusals
to do the right thing and resign. A nail

for every blowhard insistence
there’s a job to do and a need to move on.

A nail for every frontbench smirk. For every
transaction behind closed doors.

For every MP who enables 
the hammering in of these dozens, 

these hundreds, these uncountable nails. 
A nail for the rule book torn to shreds.

Neil Fulwood was born in 1972 and is still alive. He lives in Nottingham and works as a bus driver. He has published four collections and two pamphlets with various presses.

Die DePfeffelschrift PAGE TEN : Andy Jackson

All The Talents

Liz Truss. Theresa Coffey.
Qwerty Wordle. Kelly Badenough.
Jonas Filth-Muck. Shaun Knotts O’Clever.
Pip Shithouse. Floella Blaggerman.
Dominic Raat. Noelene Caries.
Brandon Arse. Snorky Dump.
Polly Moribund. Helena Handcart.
Sir John Pluff-Trousers. Jeremy Filch.
Sarah De Luzional. Tom Mephisto.
Buster Sanction. Bernard Devious.
Brett Spatchcock. Brian Envelopes.
Patrick Flagg-Stompkin. Sally Headbutt.
Baron Hardline of Cutpurse. Grant Cipher.
Sebastian Fling-Fleshkin. Sid Crypto.
Lord Luvaduck of Halicarnassus.
Thanatos Armtwistle. John St.John Hades.

Andy Jackson is the author of three collections of poetry and editor of a dozen anthologies. He co-edits the New Boots and Pantisocracies blog with W.N. Herbert.

Die DePfeffelschrift PAGE NINE : Marilyn Francis

Wake Up!

It’s a new morning
over fields
over orchards
and broke-back pickers
picking for next-to-nothing
pay attention
to the baby
ripping up books
in his cot.

It’s a new morning
over Gotham City
a distracted bat-bird
smashes into its reflection
on the thirty-third floor
pay attention
to the weather forecast
you think it’s August
it’s fucking January
the trees have fallen.

Marilyn Francis lives in Radstock, an old mining town quite near to Midsomer Norton where murders take place on Saturday nights. Circaidy Gregory published a book of her poems, red silk slippers, a few years ago. She has also had poems published in magazines, most recently, The North, Poetry Salzburg Review, and Dreich.

Die DePfeffelschrift PAGE EIGHT : Ray Bramford

White Crow

By some strange twist of fate
he came upon the skull of a bird
It was the sign that he had been seeking
A message from the gods
A portent of divination and prophesy
since his birth
And now it seemed that it would be the
harbinger of his death
Or at least his recreation as Arthur reborn

On passing over he inherited the gifts
Of thought and memory
Of knowledge and wisdom and cunning
Of justice and righteous victory
The omens for the downfall of fools
That had led Albion into the curse of isolation
and selfish devastation

And in this phantom guise
He visited upon the Clown Prince and his house
“A curse upon you all”
He whispered into their deaf ears
“Nevermore shall you rape the land”
Nevermore shall you abuse and refuse its people
 their equality, inclusion, dignity and independence”
“Nevermore shall you divide to conquer
and steal the spoils through greed and sleaze and lies”
“Nevermore the corruption and nepotistic cronyism
of your evil black-hearted governance”
“Nevermore shall you sow the xenophobic seeds
of hatred to our needy neighbour refugees”

“Nevermore, Nevermore, Nevermore”

Ray Bramford was born in Worksop in Nottinghamshire and works as a Physiotherapist. He has published a couple of books of poetry and performed at Cerys Matthews’ The Good Life Experience. He has read alongside fellow Northern poets Louise Fazackerley, Matt Abbott and Jimmy Andrex at They Eat Culture and on stage in support of Mike Garry, Luke Wright and Attila the Stockbroker.