Last Thursday, after the launch of issue 19 at The Imp in Pontmorlais, I took a taxi home.
The driver was an ex-pupil who asked about the event and then proceeded to quote a gritty poem he'd composed while at Pen-y-dre about life on the Gurnos estate.
I was on a high, stimulated more by the success of the evening than a few pints of Pale Ale and impressed with his rap-like delivery.
'Will you take the mag. as payment?' I chanced.
'Yeah, of course! Look forward to reading it.'
This was the culmination of a marvellous night, despite missing stalwarts like Tim Richards (holidays) and John Williams due to illness.
There were many excellent poems performed by the likes of Julie Pritchard, Chris O'Neill, Jonathan Edwards and Mair Pitt and the Bartzman even did 'Winging It'.
I'd like to thank Marc Jones for his hard work as co-editor and Gus Payne for a most thought-provoking and arresting cover; also Gerhard Kress for the back cover image.
Marc wrote an Obituary for Alun Hughes, a regular contributor and astonishing character who died recently. I was astounded to find out about his close links with the ANC and his work for Naval Counter-Intelligence in the 2nd World War.
I didn't realise that - like Dowlais historian Gwyn Alf Williams - he joined Plaid Cymru in his later years. He was always a staunch socialist and republican.
The whole evening was a celebration of poetry and music and Jamie Bevan and Steve Shipman were so good they even drew in a couple of German tourists to experience Merthyr culture.
Jamie's new material ( including one in English!) was as stirring as ever and Steve's cover versions of the likes of Woody Guthrie were expertly executed. His case full of mouth-harps made my old one in 'E' seem like something from the Antiques Roadshow!
The issue includes three poems in Welsh and we should have several again in the next one.
Phil Knight's article makes a strong case not just for a Green Dylan Thomas, but a fervently republican one as well. He claims that Carlo being made patron of the Dylan Thomas Centenary festival next year would have made the man laugh and vomit at the same time!
In view of the present campaign to save the Chartist Mural in Newport from destruction, Jonathan Edwards' poem is timely and an excellent reminder of how important that is as a commemoration of Welsh history.
Red Poets are back on the road this autumn with up-coming gigs at the Castle Hotel, Tredegar on Oct. 30th and Oxfam Bookshop in Swansea on Nov. 20th.
Next year we'll be publishing a book of stroppy left-wing verse from Tim Richards and we hope to produce a book every year as well as magazine.
As London-based socialist poet Owen Gallagher has said 'RED POETS' is the socialist poetry magazine.......possibly the only one in these islands.
You can order a copy from myself or the website www.RedPoets.org for £5 (plus P & P).
Crawlin on Em’tee
Now I know wha-a Big Society is really,
it’s like a ewge ole in-a stomachs
of my small famlee.
My two kids, Jade an Shania,
I carn afford t feed em no more,
school olidays ‘re worse ‘an ever.
I tried f’r jobs, got big ideas,
but arf a time don’ even yer :
slike droppin paper down a disewsed pit.
My mam as t work, my dad’s on sick ;
las thing I want is charitee,
but the Food Bank ave saved me.
‘Mam, I’m starvin! Wha’s f’ tea?’
Beans, beans an more beans ;
all yew yer on telly’s ‘bout obesity.
Shania an Jade are dead scrawny,
there’s a big ole in theyer lives,
theyr crawlin, not runnin, on em’tee.