Malacophagy, by Mark Totterdell

In a pub that overlooked saltwater,
I ate a heap of mussels,
so sweet, so soft, I never tasted better,
well worth the mess and hassle.

On the beach at Sidmouth, one damp summer,
I chewed into a whelk,
a plug of solid snot or slimy rubber
not fit for decent folk.

In a big marquee one time, in public,
I went down on an oyster.
The sea was rising, falling in my gullet
for what seemed ever after.

By the Med, with chips, I chomped on suckers
of deep-fried octopus.
I fear my smart and subtle distant cousin
was hardly well-served thus.

‘Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared widely in magazines and have occasionally won competitions. His collections are ‘This Patter of Traces’ (Oversteps Books, 2014) and ‘Mapping’ (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2018;’ 


Pleasure, by Hilary Willmott

Like finest Belgian truffles she rolls them around her lips,
delicacies to be savoured, rotund parcels of delight.
She lets her tongue caress their secrets, teasing herself,
tracing them with her lips, backwards and forwards.
She knows it’s wrong, there will be reprisals.
But it’s too late to stop – her need is overwhelming
and as she flicks her tongue, one pouch disappears
into her salivating mouth. Oblivious to the pained cries
for her to stop, she swallows. One satisfied canine.
One less piece of horse shit on the towpath.

Hilary has been writing since her schooldays 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, Spilling Cocoa over Martin Amis, Flarestack, Leaf and Velvet. She has also been shortlisted for national competitions. She lives by the river in the south west of England.


Surveillance Drills by Dave Weaver

I hovered lonely as a drone
That floats on high o’er council slum,
When all at once I saw a lone
Drug-dealer plus attendant scum;
Along the Lane near Tottenham’s stands,
Ten thousand pound’s worth changing hands.

The waves of fans beside them dragged
Enshrouded in their coloured scarves:
A hoodie could not be face-tagged
Among such crowds on heaving paths:
I scanned – and scanned – but little saw
The details of their hidden score:

For oft when I am in the clouds
My GPS in relay mode,
And gyroscopes a-spinning loud
While I a new target download,
Find mere surveillance hard to bear:
I want to kick some arse down there!

Dave Weaver was a late developer as a writer. In the last four years he has had three novels published by speculative fiction publishers Elsewhere Press and his fourth, a psychological drama called ‘The Unseen’, is due out this summer. He has self-published two collections of short stories in Kindle format and has had work published online and in various anthologies including two pieces in the upcoming Rattle Tales 4 anthology.