Mad Santa

Someone was here, no not me.
Someone who wears pink slippers
And paints the walls red

Who upturns the upholstery.
And downs a few swigs at the breakfast table,
Tethers around the edge of the circle, asking to be out.

Someone with a hood
Who sneaks the back streets with a message in code:
The last train to Ajmer. World peace. No war.

Sprinkles little paper droppings on the stairs
As if faraway stars.
There is glitter on the absent rug, traces of last night’s party

That never was. The Christmas tree has moved.
Instead of bells, there are flowers, white lilies of spring
That glow in the dark.

Outside, on the grilled door, hangs a parcel we don’t touch.
It speaks in gold:  Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t take gifts from strangers.
Even if they come in all shapes

Square pegs in round holes, circles that do not close
Triangles of fresh morning sandwiches
Mad Santa with the wind to run.



Amlanjyoti Goswami‘s recent collection of poems River Wedding (Poetrywala) has been widely reviewed.  His poetry has been published in journals and anthologies around the world. A Best of the Net nominee, his poems have also appeared on street walls in Christchurch, exhibitions in Johannesburg, an e-gallery in Brighton and buses in Philadelphia. He has read in various places, including New York, Delhi and Boston. He grew up in Guwahati, Assam and lives in Delhi.




Boxing Day – The existential angst of an old man

There was an old codger from Lapland
who sat on a bench in a woodland
no children in sight
no elves, no sprites,
just a bottle of coke in his hand.

I hate coke – said the codger from Lapland
as he stroked his white beard with his free hand.
I hate kids, Christmas night,
Stinking reindeers in flight —
how far my life’s come from this woodland.

I wore a mistletoe garland
with holly and twigs – like a headband.
The animals came
they knew my name,
this was a true winter wonderland.

I hate red – said the codger from Lapland
as he walked from the bench, from the woodland
Who am I? Who am I?
You’ve made me a lie
and you can stick Coca Cola up your rear end.



Lesley Ingram’s first collection Scumbled (Cinnamon) was published in 2015. Her poems have appeared in online/printed journals and anthologies since 2010, and she has appeared at Cheltenham, Wenlock and Ledbury Poetry Festivals. She won the Poetry Society’s Stanza competition 2020.





The Snow Queen reigned all through that winter,
Wenceslas was frozen out, snow lay crisp and even.
Christmas was cancelled due to lack of interest,
and my mother staged her own pantomime,
fitted bolts to all the doors – against Ali Baba
and his thieves – stood astride the cast-iron bath,
in her shiny glass slippers, pouring scalding water
down the swollen, ice-bound pipes, while her bitter
tears fell, jittered, skittered like hailstones
across the bathroom lino to ricochet off peeling
skirting-boards. I scrabbled after them, strung them
on a necklace, worried at them through the wide-awake
nights when the wicked witch wailed in the chimney,
and a big, bad wolf howled outside our door.
baring his all-the-better-to-eat-you-with teeth.



Lincoln-based Jane Simmons is a PhD Creative Writing student . Her work has been published in The Blue Nib magazine, and the anthology A View from the Steep. She won the GS Fraser Prize for poetry in 2019 and 2020.