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This was a very popular subject though it revealed many Lighten Up Onliners, once stripped of their poets' coats of many colours, as being pink, wrinkled, flabby, maudlin, disillusioned dreamers with a tendency to mild sexual fantasy.

Unlucky not to make it to the steamy inner sanctum were Mae Scanlan, Lynn Roberts, Jerome Betts and Susan Jarvis. They must be content with standing at the bathroom door handing out soap and towels to those whose pieces (possibly a poor choice of word) appear below.

The Judge will ever live in hope of having his taps turned on by Geoff Lander's pulse-encrusted couscous reaper from Patagonia, a bathnight temptress well worth giving up showers for. Sadly, though, he feels, together with D A Prince, that fantasy's exotic bubbles invariably run flat before Life's bath water has cooled.


Pamper Yourself! the magazines
advise in February.
Repair your Karma! The New You!
(At least a bath's not scarey.)

So: fluffy towels, a glass of wine,
the heating up a notch;
the phone switched off (they recommend)
and no one round to watch.

And aah! the warmth and ooh! the scent
and mmm! the joys of wine;
this soporific hedonism
I'd never dreamed was mine.

But scented candles flicker out,
the sensuous oils congeal;
the glass of fizzy wine's gone flat.
My karma will not heal.

D A Prince



The couscous crops of Patagonia
ripened by the Autumn sun,
have that hint of sweet ammonia,
telling Summer has begun.

The harvest over, Welsh descendants
dance in ice-cold mushy peas,
demonstrating independence --
singing songs in Cantonese.

The pulse encrusted couscous reaper
in the cha-chas' aftermath,
sinks her bosom inches deeper
in her steaming, bubble-bath.

Thrice distilled, the couscous liquor,
dims her grasp of these events,
the alligator swims far quicker
sure some poems make no sense.

Geoff Lander

Float, plastic duck, atop my bath-night scum,
the sad detritus of my life’s stale crust and crumb;

so once all trace has vanished down the drain
your knowing, sympathetic smile will still remain.

Then, kindly friend, tell everyone you can
that just beneath the scum there lay a better man.

Leo Vincent

Cousin Kath, although not dirty
always bathes at seven thirty.
Through the wall, I hear the taps
turn off and then I think, perhaps
she’s pulling off her satin nightie.
And then I think, oh Christ almighty,
she must be right now stepping in,
the water hot against her skin.
Slowly down into the bath
descends the pallid skin of Kath,
all her cares and pains now purged,
certain parts still unsubmerged.
I turn away and curse my luck
I was not born a rubber duck.

Peter Goulding

My sweet love’s skin is soft and pale,
his hair a tawny lion’s mane;
but their attraction tends to stale
when clogging up the bathroom drain.

Mary McLean

Through carelessness or some strategic error,
I let her voice seduce me – I was rapt.
Now all too late I've twigged it; to my terror,
I recognize that once again I'm trapped.

The running water ratchets up the tension;
Her sudsy hands are running through my hair.
I squirm about from fear and apprehension
As she – Excuse me! Please don't touch me THERE!

My dignity's reduced to soggy tatters –
This bathroom echoes all my cries and howls
As, stooping to yet more degrading matters,
She sets her children loose on me with towels!

At last it's done – I race away to freedom
As quickly as my nerves and legs allow.
She'll later seek me out: "Come here, you sweetum –
So who's my cleanest little doggie now?"

Brendan Beary