The Spring issue of Message in a Bottle has Joseph Robert’s latest trio of published poems. ‘Imaginary Property Boom’ comes at a good time – how many people out there are wanting to be first time home owners, but could never in a month of Mondays afford to get onto even the first step of the housing ladder? Resigned to living out their lives in one bedroom apartments where they hand over the best part of their salary to a faceless landlord, they hope against hope their belongings won’t wash away on the flood plain, while waiting for years on a council list only to get kicked off, because the goal-posts keep moving! ‘Penpushers, Forward!’ brings ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ into play; for throughout history, what has lasted longer than the written word? Gilgamesh may well (if he was a real person) have passed on his genetics – although, where are the Sumerians today? – but his story has lived on longer in mythology than his lineage has. Of course, clay tablets baked hard can survive for longer in earth that our paper books of today will, and books may well last longer than technology; if the ice sheets decide to pay us a visit from up North, what will withstand the test of time then? What a cheery thought for a grey Monday! Joseph’s batch of 3 poems is rounded off by ‘Malibu: Afterbirth of an ad campaign’, which sees us reigned in by whatever current financial persuasion is upon us. We’re all slaves to inflation, playing the insurance slot-machine game, getting a financial advisor…lots of mull over. Penny for your thoughts? Might be a smart way to invest your ££££!