Never Say No To A Muffin, by Hilary Willmott 

 

Never say no to a muffin

At least that would be my advice.

They’re not always offered you daily

Yet sometimes you’re offered one twice.

Never say no to a muffin

Whether you want one or not

Lie back and enjoy the occasion

and remember they’re best taken hot.

Never say no to a muffin

You could sometimes share with close friends

But I feel they’re best taken solo

Whilst others would say it depends

Never say no to a muffin

Whilst indulging please don’t try to talk

You must focus on total enjoyment

And never attempt a brisk walk

Never say no to a muffin

I’ve devoured every one that I’ve had

Though I try to avoid those with sprinkles

As somehow they make me feel bad
 
Hilary Willmott has been writing since her schooldays many, many decades ago. She sees poetry as a companion who is much braver than she, taking her to places she wouldn’t dare venture on her own. She has been published by Templar Press, Flarestack and Velvet. She has also been shortlisted for national competitions. She lives in the south west of England, by the river, with her partner and a menagerie of rescued animals.

Rearranging My Pants Drawer, by Simon Williams

 

Pants take up a corner, front right

and I obviously remove stored pants

to put freshly washed ones at the bottom

before replacing the others, to ensure rotation.

 

This is for Y-fronts, of course,

hard-line M&S stuff. Calvin Klein

boxers are for those happy to be seen

in pants alone, who have hangers for them.

 

Around the triangle of Y-fronts

are socks, balled-up as my father showed me,

two layers, moved from back to front

as the front ones are taken out and worn.

 

So now you know, and this is where

I tie the action to the stream of English Poetry,

hinting at the drawers of Wordsworth

and how Dorothy most probably arranged them.

 

How Shakespeare, beneath his hose,

went commando, with just a codpiece

to maintain control. It was this free and easy life

which gave him time for all the other stuff.

 

But Homer had it best, Greek weather

and a single robe, all the cloth he needed.

With the time saved from underwear arrangement,

he could spend longer polishing his brogues.

On the coming of snow, by Susan Taylor

 

One day, no, it was one night actually,

it snowed in our village –

no, it’s not a proper village,

just a hamlet on Dartmoor –

no, not on Dartmoor,

technically on the edge of the moor,

with a proper little village chapel

and a proper little village pub –

oh, and a phone box

and a war memorial, of course –

you’ve got to have a war memorial.

 

This snow we had was Dartmoor snow –

proper stuff, settling properly,

looking convincingly fantastic.

The light was snow light

and snow light is something to see,

clean and pure as best grade moonlight –

ever so white, ever so bright,

but, sort of, even gentler and lighter.

 

No messing about,

this was snow you could take a shovel too

and move in obligingly proper cubes,

like a giant’s version of cubed sugar.

Sam and Ellie from the barn

at the bottom of our garden,

(it isn’t a barn anymore, it’s a proper house

and our garden’s a proper country garden,

with scruffy cobbled areas,

a perfumery of a rosebush in summer

and comfrey all over the place)

Sam and Ellie had got up very early.

They were young teenagers, at this stage,

replaying Christmas and we heard them,

before the light came in, building a snowman,

excitedly giggling, under the one streetlamp

by the sad little war memorial.

 

 

When it was light we looked out

of our little window

to see the result of their handiwork

and there it was –

a five foot tall penis, complete with balls

and a riot of twigs pushed in

around the scrotum,

which added the perfect touch of knowledge

and intimacy to their masterpiece.

 

I thought of Rome and of Pompei

and our honeymooning, appropriately, there.

Thanks to Sam and Ellie,

it all came flooding back – our wayward nights

among those mosaics of outrageous cocks.

We looked at them (it was allowed back then)

and we saw how a man weighed his equipment

on marketplace scales, to measure his manhood,

to do it justice. And, as if this wasn’t enough,

he commissioned, as door guardian,

a beautiful giant hard-on.

 

They didn’t need red Ferraris back then, or

drunken fisherman’s tell-tale stretched out arms –

these Roman lads, they had their talents.

Wouldn’t it be kind of awesome

to have such a monument, ornament,

sacred prick outside your house –

a good deal more show-stopping

than a garden gnome pissing.

 

Nobody in our village took down

Sam and Ellie’s potent, enormous confection –

they knew it was temporary, after all.

Frank took a picture and put it up on the web

under local news. It was the biggest thing

that had happened in Scoriton for a long time,

and it lasted a satisfyingly long time,

being checked and rechecked

on how well it stood up,

until it was inevitably spent.

 

 

Being mindful, I was put in mind

of the road junction at Dartington,

and the huge phallus once daubed

on the tarmac there,

This one, also, given enough hairs

to make a pair of balls convincing.

 

The good people of Dartington,

unlike the ancient populace of Athens,

for instance, who were well known

for their love of Priapus and his genitalia,

exercised their democratic right

and complained to the local council,

just as moorland ramblers would do here,

I guess, if we swapped our stone pixy

on the mounting block outside our door

for a much larger erection.
Susan Taylor lives on Dartmoor and loves the enigma of rural living. Her latest poetry collection is Temporal Bones from Oversteps Books. A new work, The Weather House, written with poet Simon Williams, appears shortly from Indigo Dreams. Watch out for The Weather House poetry show next year! See .susantaylor.co.uk

 

 

Degrees of Separation by Maurice Devitt

 

When my wife ran away
with the milkman, I didn’t notice
for days. Just assumed
she was busy at work – rising early,
returning late. I had seamlessly
stepped into the breach – assembling
superfood lunches from berries
and bugs, ferrying the kids to lacrosse
and astrophysics, and debating
Sartre and Schopenhauer way past
their bedtime. So it was only
the third day, as I stumbled
from the fug of sleep,
that I was struck by the empties
building up on the step.

Cock and Balls by Tom Sastry

 

From the beer garden

of the Prince of Wales

on Gloucester Road,

Bristol

 

you can see a high wall of white brick

clean as the tiled splashbacks

in the washrooms of expensive restaurants.

 

What we want

is not always

what is good for us.

 

What the wall wants

is a spray-paint cock and balls

the height of a giraffe.

 

What we feel most sharply

is sometimes what is missing.

 

Suppose, next year, something happens:

a religious revival

a ban on aerosols

or maybe we just grow up

 

and no-one

anymore

sketches cartoon genitals

 

(except for one professor

of prehistoric art

who pretends to be disappointed

when her students snigger).

 

It would be a changed world!

Like a world without war

or cruelty.

A better world –

but less familiar.

 

Would you fit in such a world?

What would you talk about?

How would you know what you were for

or against?

 

May you never be shown

what clean air could do to your lungs,

how you have raged against justice,

or what you did to love

when it found you.
Tom Sastry is a poet and spoken word artist living in Bristol. He was chosen by Carol Ann Duffy as one of the 2016 Laureate’s Choice poets and his debut pamphlet Complicity was published by Smith/Doorstop in October 2016.

Dating Profile Identification by Josa Young

 

All of
Sapiosexual
Queer
Questioning
Demisexual
Cis Man
Androgynous
Genderfluid
Non binary
Other
Single
6ft
Still just wants to climb in my pants
Nothing really changes
Sigh

Josa Young is a novelist and copywriter. Her two novels One Apple Tasted and Sail Upon the Land are out there somewhere being read. She was a decent poet up until puberty, and has taken to verse again as all the creative frenzy of childbearing has faded.

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Paint Spill by Julia D McGuinness

 

right outside B & Q
as people tent a kneeling girl;
an uprighted paint tin smirks
with seeping lid by a slick
of glistening Lavender Mist.

Fateful rush, fumble, tangle
of keys, dog-lead, shopping;
honey dip dreams tripped
in a moment’s tin-clop slop
on slate grey asphalt.

She wipes her dog’s legs;
in speckle and sprawl
feels the importunity of paint.
Plans upended; coral tears
streak cherry lush cheeks.

Buttermilk cheer of helpers;
sponges and sympathy,
but nothing to stem
the Tropical tide of if onlys
coating her paint-smudged brow.

Shades stacked on shelves
hold still for an apricot dawn
of laughter with friends;
dog in his soft mocha basket,
rain pawing the stain outside.

Julia D McGuinness is a writer, counsellor and writing for wellbeing practitioner based near Chester. She has written 4 non-fiction books and her poetry has been published online. Her first poetry collection, Chester City Walls, was published last year by Poetry Space.

Glove Puppets by Tom McColl

 

I always wear glove puppets in winter.
A temperature drop creates instant theatre.
Each coat pocket is a dressing room.
In my left pocket is Punch,
while in my right pocket is Judy.
What that means is,
if I put them on to compete
in a glove puppet boxing match,
a punch from Punch
wouldn’t pack
even half as much
a punch
as a punch from Judy.

And though I know there’s not much I can do
while wearing these gloves –
except put on a Punch and Judy show
(or have a glove puppet boxing match) –
it’d be no better even for someone
much better than me.

For a start, apart from getting into a fight,
it probably makes no difference
whether Punch is left and Judy’s right,
or Judy’s left and Punch is right.

Let’s face it,
whichever pockets his gloves were in,
while wearing Punch and Judy
even Yehudi
struggled to play his violin.

Thomas McColl has had poems published in magazines such as Envoi, Rising, Iota and Ink, Sweat and Tears, and his first full collection of poetry, Being With Me Will Help You Learn, is out now from Listen Softly London Press.

website

Letter from the Editor

 

Hello! My name is Robert Garnham, and I am the new editor of Spilling Cocoa.

I have spent the last few years performing whimsical poetry and spoken word around the UK at some of the top spoken word nights, such as Bang Said The Gun in London and Manchester, Hammer and Tongue in Bristol and Brighton, and I’ve taken shows to the Edinburgh Fringe. Oh, and last year I headlined at The Duplex in New York.

I’m really looking forward to reading submissions and publishing the best humorous poetry. Basically the editorial policy is, anything that makes me laugh, or that I might think will make you laugh! I’m looking to continue the good work of Jonathan and to maintain Spilling Cocoa as the online journal of choice for the discerning reader.

The email address is unchanged, at admin@spillingcocoa.com

Letter from the (Ex) Editor

 

The crocuses are in bloom, the lambing season is here and Spilling Cocoa is at last emerging from its unintended hibernation. Back at the start of the year, I posted about this site’s imminent closure and asked if there was anyone out there who would consider taking over the editorship. I wasn’t particularly hopeful, but to my surprise and delight, such a person did come forward and I am very pleased to announce that the excellent Robert Garnham will be taking over with immediate effect (pause for round of applause).

So that’s it, basically. Thank you all for your submissions over the last not-quite-a-year. I think we’re building up quite an archive of good stuff here and long may it continue under Robert’s editorship. He’ll be opening up submissions again soon, but I’ll leave it up to him to decide when, and also what his editorial policy is going to look like. Exciting times.

Bye all,

Jonathan (ex-editor)