Jeff Baker: assorted poetry

Here are three delightful poems from Jeff, all sf, all fun, and all really clever. I love the nod to Ogden Nash in the style. None of the poems are openly LGBT but it wouldn’t take much to create a m/m story out of any of them (shoo, plot bunny, shoo). And I’m dedicating this week’s post to Jeff’s late husband Darryl, as I’m sure he loved the poems so it feels very appropriate.


Pic credit: Agnes/Adryanah on

The Gorgon

The Gorgon I will not endorse

It steers a solitary course

In myth dispatched by tender mercies

Of the swordsman known as Perseus

It hopes it will not catch you wary

To turn you into statuary

The Cockatrice

The Cockatrice, the Cockatiel

One’s a myth, the other’s real

One’s a bird, all wing and feather

One’s a beastie, scales and leather

One will sing and preen and fly

And one has got a Gorgon’s eye

To keep one of them might be nice

Prob’ly not the Cockatrice!

Cockatrice owners take no chances

They live in fear of backward glances.

The Werewolf

The Werewolf is, it’s undeniable

Zoologically unclassifiable

By day, his diet’s vegetarian

By night, he dines on Seminarian

Of the Werewolf one question is unanswered yet

Does he classify himself as an exotic pet?

Kaje Harper: Visions of Spring

The weather is sorta-kinda trying to be more spring-like, now that it’s technically the vernal equinox. By which I mean that here in the Far North of England it’s struggled up to 11c (about 52F, I think) and is only raining some of the time… But there are daffodils out and the first few lambs bouncing around in the fields so it seemed like the perfect time to post this fun little poem from Kaje, which really made me grin.


Some folks wax poetic about daffodils

And going outside without getting the chills.


Some mention the sun coming up before eight,

Or the end of the tough winter driving they hate.


Of course I agree that the blossom smells sweet

And I like getting rid of the slush in the street.


I’ve nothing against a red robin or two

And the kids out on bikes doing stuff that they do.


There’ll be baseball and golf, with the grass turning green

And I see the appeal of a pastoral scene.


But for me, there’s just one thing I wait for each year

And I watch Michael closely to see it draw near.


That first weekend day, when the sunshine is warm

And the dirt’s been splashed up by a passing rainstorm.


You can keep all those flowers and children and sports

Give me one hot guy washing his car, in his shorts.

K. L. Noone: A Traveling Poem

An absolutely gorgeous poem by K. L. Noone which really gets across the heart-aching void of missing someone special whilst travelling abroad. Don’t forget you can find all of K. L.’s other books and writing here.


Pic credit: Yousef Aluhigi on

I miss you.

There’s a sunrise outside

the airplane window and already I miss you.

I miss the weight of your body against mine. I miss

Reaching out a hand

and knowing it’ll find yours.

I have distractions. I speak

of history and stories and theories and scholarship,

academic and precise. I speak

to other people.

They are very nearly as real as you are.

You are my anchor. I will see you soon.

My skin counts down the days, the hours, the minutes.

The sky above the city might’ve been a Monet painting

as we crossed the bridge today, exploring this city:

no visible source of light, but light all-encompassing,

swirling through the clouds.

I wanted to say this to you, and I thought

about the day I knew I was in love with you,

the day on which I knew that I wanted to say everything to you,

bad puns, strange asides, random whims that came to mind,

because I could: because you’d nod, or laugh,

or shake your head while smiling, and take my hand.

That knowing

is the best thing I’ve ever done.

I take photographs of places you would like,

intricate colors, angled shapes,

signs that’d make you smile.

I try for some time to capture the lens flare

on the edges of a building

the way you would,

with the eye of your camera. I do not succeed.

But I will show you my efforts.

Tonight I will speak to you, electronic and windy,

across distance and a continent;

your voice will be warm in my ear before sleep.

Rebecca Cohen: The Death of Adonis

Here’s a new, classically-inspired poem by Rebecca Cohen that’s chock full of meaning, sometimes lurking between the lines! If you like this, why not check out Rebecca’s books, which include the lovely Crofton Hall series, both historical and contemporary.


Pic credit: Brent Connolly on

Once a golden god, an idolatrist’s dream.

Worshipped. Adored in boundless awe.

All eyes upon him, devoured by lustful gazes,

but the hunger fades, replaced with disbelief.

His blond hair of youth turned to grey.

A cheeky wink now wrinkled.  

Body marching south as if to Rhodes

not travelled, a lifetime’s journey interrupted.

What is beauty but a distorted mirror?

Young or old: a reflection of the unreal.

Never more than a passing image,

the wonders of last week’s news cast aside.

The crone smiles at him, a knowing smirk.

Offers eye of newt to smooth crow’s feet.

Toxin-laden lotion to unfurl a worried brow

or tincture of boar’s tusk to peel away the years.

When the potions fail to work, cut out the old.

Flying knives, sharp as ravens’ beaks.

Changes no longer just skin-deep emerge

reveals Narcissus, who revels at centre stage.

Jeff Baker: Date Night

Happy Valentine’s Day readers! I hope you’ve enjoyed all the romance on the zine so far. Here’s another little helping – a tongue-in-cheek and clever poem from Jeff Baker that could easily be written about a Valentine’s Day dance… Don’t forget to check out Jeff’s other writing at his website.


Pic credit: Gerd Altmann on

My date stood me up for the dance

            He said he’d found another guy

            So I went dancing with the Seven Deadly Sins.


First, I danced with Pride, and danced better than anybody else.

            Then I danced with Envy, both of us feeling

            The others on the floor were dancing so much better than we were.


I swirled around the floor with Greed, all the while

            Eyeing his shoes, his gold belt buckle

            And wondering how much he paid for his car.


I was dancing with Anger, who said he felt the same way.

And would have beaten up Greed, or Envy or Pride

If he could make up his mind who to hit first.


I was uncomfortable dancing with Lust

Who bulged in all the wrong places

And somehow danced way too close.


Then I danced with Gluttony, and that didn’t last long

            We did a turn then we danced our way into the kitchen

            Where we filled up on junk food.


Lastly, Sloth and I sat on the chairs that surrounded the old school gym

            And watched the others whirling away, in the dimming light

            Happy to be there, happier still to be sitting down.

            Watching the other dancers making us even more tired.


Jay Mountney: Birthday

It’s time for another little non fiction piece and today I’m delighted to have this sweet poem by Jay. Non-UK readers might like to take note of the difference in age of consent between the UK and many other areas of the world. As Jay says, “I should point out that I am British and in UK the ‘age of consent’ (for both men and women) is 16. The voting age and the age for buying alcohol is, however, 18. And of course the age for buying assault rifles is 200. This was written with a particular media story in mind: both protagonists were teenagers and the older one (by a few weeks) was placed on the sex offenders’ register because the pair dared to love each other at just the wrong age. Their parents not only objected but called down the full force of the law. I think most police forces and prosecutors are more lenient today, but this was written a few years ago.

Don’t forget you can check out the rest of Jay’s writing here!


Pic credit: Alexander Grey on

While I wait, the clock chimes.
I note time’s passing and the hour
Of  bewitchment nears,
Weaving the magic of years.

Can a single second add maturity,
Or responsibility of a sudden kind?
Does the right to roll home drunk and appear on the electoral roll
Depend upon a minute’s passing?

Is there a difference
(Like day and night, like dark and light,
Like sweet and sour, like here and gone,)
Between this moment and the next one?

I  have been powerless to show my love
Until the new day proves you adult,
Just turned sixteen (and sweet, unkissed);
But soon we can consummate our dream.

What if the striking hour should turn you back
Into an ordinary man,
Available at last, no longer charmed?
Could that enchantment fade so fast? Before we find out, before time has had time
To trick our senses, plays with our love like a wanton god,
At exactly midnight I shall kiss you and say,
‘Happy Birthday.’

Jay Mountney: Questions and Answers – a conversation in two voices

It’s poetry time again folks! And I’ll let Jay introduce this sweet yet moving piece herself.

I wrote this in a slash fanfic context but as I didn’t give the characters names it could apply to any couple involved in law enforcement or other dangerous occupations. The voices alternate and it should be fairly clear that one of the pair is naturally much more reckless than his companion. (So you could try guessing which couple I wrote it about; there are subtle clues in the wording.)

Guess away – I must admit I’m stumped! But I do love the poem.


Pic credit: Warren Wong on

So if I were to say to you, ‘Take care!

Protect that face and body that I call

my own, my world, my universe, my star,’

would you be thoughtful, heed my words of love,

draw back from conflict, take the quiet road,

or would you laugh and disregard my fears?


I’d rather take you by your willing hand,

pull you all helter-skelter down the way

of danger, laughing, yes, but smiling, too,

and leavening the peril with a kiss.

I think you’d follow me and soon forget

your fears, your very thoughts, your warning words.


I scarce can think. And if I followed you

all thought would soon be lost to me indeed.

Whirling around the planet of my love

I’d come to see the wild raw atmosphere

as usual, familiar, naught to fear;

and caught up in your smile I’d laugh at death.


We’d welcome all the winds of danger with

a kiss of friendship and a loving gun.

Together we could make the stars our home,

forget mere mortals with their slow concerns.

We’d run from earthly plots and mundane crimes

towards the splendour of the undying sun.


And yet I have to spare a fleeting thought

for those we fight for, those who need our care.

Without that conscience which should underpin

our actions, would our feelings sour and die?

The stars might fail to note the earth’s concerns

but if we did not heed, could we still love?


My feelings are as constant as the stars.

Whatever creed or ethic underlies

our deeds I care not, only that you should

be mine, and follow where I lead and be

my constant sun, the light by which I steer

my life; my follower and my final goal.


I’ll follow you. I’ll chase you through the heavens,

careless of danger, laughing in your wake,

but if I am your sun then let my rays

shine on this earth and lighten what they see,

then we can watch and smile and kiss and dream

free in our starry skies, safe in our love.


Then take my hand, come fly with me and see

what wonders we can find, what legends make.

Let’s kiss and  let our love spill out and down

upon the lesser mortals if you wish.

So long as you are mine I am content

and will go gladly to our destiny.


Consider me content too, but I must

tell you again I’d rather have that face,

that voice, that body whole and in my arms

than gathering glory in the void of space,

so take me by the hand and lead me on

but listen when I say to you, ‘Take care!’

Jeff Baker: Halloween 2020

Here’s another short poem set during Halloween, but one with a difference. It took me a while to get it – until I really sat up and took notice of the date in the title (above). After that, I realised just how true, and just how poignant it was. Thanks, Jeff!


Pic credit: Filip Mroz on

There is a full Moon, orange and bright

            Rising over the rooftops, part of the ancient clock

            Timed once in a generation or so to light the way

            For neighborhood children, garbed in finest shrouds

            Clothing of superheroes or cowboys, bags in hand

            The sacred rituals of Halloween

            But this October Thirty-First is different from all others

            Even those during the Wars, for fear is not make-believe

            And masks have a different meaning this dark, mad year

            Doors are shut, children inside, candy unused

            Spirits of the past swirl the empty, moonlit streets

            The night belongs to witches.

Kaje Harper: Halloween

And now, as the saying goes, for something completely different. Well, not completely, obviously – we’re still doing m/m romance, we’re still doing short fiction and poetry. But since we’e on the run up to Halloween at the end of the month, I thought it would be fun to post a whole load of spooky little stories, poems and bits and bobs to get us all in the mood. Look out for a range of naughty and/or spooky little numbers in the coming days, but first up is this absolute gem of a poem from Kaje Harper, which makes a serious point underneath the rhyming fun.



There can be isolation in a crowd.
And silence, though the music shakes your bones.
Slurs can be heard, though never said aloud,
And sneers can hit as hard as mobs fling stones.

I thought, this once, my choices were set free.
That anything I dared to wear would fly.
But from the sharp disdain they aim at me,
I see that I was wrong, the more fool I.

A masquerade means something to this group
That isn’t freedom just to be yourself.
They’re stilted, formal, kept within the loop
Of pretty, boring, het, and pure top-shelf.

My choice of lace and fishnet raises brows.
The corset gathers stares of pure disdain.
That pretty nun looks like she’s making vows
To cut me, if I speak to her again.

I’m far too proud to turn around and go,
Too stubborn to admit this is a fail.
I stalk up the grand staircase, give a show,
And put one high-heeled pump up on the rail.

Yeah, I’m in drag, so bite me if I care
For all your proper stuffy upper-class.
There’s not a single person here would dare
To wear the skirt that’s showing off my ass.

I toss my head, and blur my eyes to miss
The way they turn away and sip champagne,
And whisper to each other, mutter, hiss,
“We never should invite him here again.”

A warm hand on my shoulder makes me jump.
I turn, and see a tall guy standing there.
He says, “Hey, gorgeous, wanna blow this dump
“And go somewhere where we can breathe the air?

“This lot may have the money and blue blood
“But you can’t tell me they have any fun.
“I’d like to share some nachos and a Bud,
“And then maybe a dance. You up for one?”

I drop the pose, and take my first real breath
And tell this stunning guy, “Fuckin’ hell, yes.
“All I’ll get here is disapproved to death.
“But are you up for a man in a dress?”

He shares a grin and says, “I think I’m up,
“For anything you might want me to be.
“Let’s grab some beer served in a plastic cup
“And you can shake that skirt-clad ass at me.”

The vampire in the custom-tailored tux
Looks down his nose at us as we go by.
My man says, “Hey, you know that when he fucks,
“He’s just as dull in bed. I swear, no lie.”

I laugh, and feel his hand warm on my back
And all the rest of them just fade away
I start designing the delicious snack
I’ll feed this guy, ’round noon, on All Saints’ Day.

Chris Quinton: Equus Sapiens

For a complete change, here’s a clever little poem from Chris Quinton. It may be short, but it packs quite a punch! Chris also drew the amazing artwork that accompanies the poem. I hope you like both. If you do, you might want to check out Chris’s books, in a range of genres including fantasy and mystery, which you can find more details about on her Facebook author page.


“Thou hast the mind of a malicious child,”

a sorcerer once said to me.

I did not kill him out of malice,

but of curiosity.

To learn how he tasted.