Denis of Hackney, by John Davison

Comic craftsman, Denis Norden, gone at ninety-six
Settling into heaven, to play his verbal tricks.
Catching up with colleague Frank, two miners of great mirth,
You’ve left a joyful legacy of incalculable worth.

He worked behind the curtains, shifting props and scenery,
Ran a cinema in Watford and got a job at BBC.
Writing for Dick Bentley, and later Richard Briers,
Competing against Eric Sykes, and friends of Barry Cryer’s.

They ruled the roost for four decades, Denis Norden and Frank Muir,
You tickled all our funny bones, we couldn’t ask for more.
Enriching our vocabulary, provoking those in power,
Maximising merriment in every wireless hour.

Our descent into vulgarity you generally ignore,
You helped to archive quips and jokes from those who passed before.
It saddened me to read about your unexpected death
Now no new dialogue can flow from Dad, or Ron, or Eth.

You helped expose the fibs behind the adverts on TV,
The way commercial pressures tend to filter what we see.
You wrote some scripts for Hollywood, but never lost your touch
With families who think that West End theatres charge too much.

Alternative comedians now struggle to hold sway,
Not many have the stamina to write a film or play.
Britons watching widened screens will not forget you lightly,
But those traffic lights in Bal-ham no longer shine so brightly.

John Davison is a London-born writer of parodies, poems and lyrics, often on topical issues. He admires unusual puns and wordplay, frequents open mics in outer London, collaborating with musicians whenever opportunities present themselves. He supports a Twitter account https://twitter.com/sidsaucer

 

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; http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/mark-totterdell/4594336680).’ 

 

Chiffon, by Alice Carter

Daffodil seeds thrived too early in the cold.
Her parents were dead, they said
But still she waited in silence of the dead.
She waited in red.

Daffodil seeds thrived too early in the cold.
They told her that she was wrong.
That something about her was wrong.
But she didn’t see that the little girl had gone.
And it was then that it was done.

Her red coat was made of chiffon.
The flames were red
And dead well before they were gone.

A girl in red and a girl dead.
The reed had seen the yellow,
Making them dead in sorrow and dread.

She was the one in the wrong.
The other girl who said.
She was the one who had gone.
The winter was dead and gone.
Gone with the little girl singing her song.

The daffodils were dead,
The timing was wrong.
It was her, the girl in chiffon;
That had done something wrong.

When the servers sounded the song,
She realised that she was wrong.
She had been too headstrong.
Burned and red,
Before it was dead and gone.

The other girl who sang her folksong,
She was the one in the wrong.
But it was her they said,
Her the girl in chiffon red,
Who was the one in the wrong.

The girl in chiffon was not wrong,
They had told her to do it or be gone.
The folksong girl had told her to do it,
But she was in the wrong.
And now her time would be long.
Spending it with others of wrong,
Others who had their own,
Their own folksong song.

Daffodil seeds thrived too early in the cold.
They told her that everything had gone.
And if she was in here for long,
Her folksong girl would too be gone,
And the daffodils seeds would too be gone.

I am a 22-year-old aspiring writer from London. I am currently working on my first children’s book, adult novel and original musical.

This poem is about a girl with a mental schizophrenic disability who on acting on the voices in her head accidently set fire to her home. She escapes but her parents do not.
It is about her journey will mental illness. Discovering that she has it, accepting it, and then dealing with it.

 

Three Blind Mice, by Diana Devlin

A toad once said to three blind mice,
would you like to come to supper?
Thank you, toad, that would be nice
but can we bring our brother?
You’ve got a brother? said the toad
but that’s not in the rhyme!
He’s there to guide us down the road,
he’s with us all the time!
Very well, the toad replied,
you can bring your brother with you;
the more the merrier, he sighed,
it’s really not an issue.
And so they dined by candlelight,
the five of them together;
it was a truly lovely sight,
and they all enjoyed their blether*.
We’re lucky you’re so kind to us,
the mice said to their host.
Why, thank you said the slimy toad
but I’m not one to boast.
The night’s still young so come with me,
he said in tones triumphant.
I’ve got a cure to make you see
and platters full of cheese abundant!
The mice could not believe their ears
and went into his study
but the fourth mouse, he was full of fears
because the carpet was all bloody.
Once in, the mice could not escape,
the toad had locked the study door.
He tied their brother up with tape
then nailed him to the floor.
I’ve got your treat, he grinned at last,
you won’t have long to wait.
The fourth mouse squeaked, “Get out and fast!”
but alas it was too late.
The toad cried, You are now my dinner!
It’s you I’ve wanted all along.
You’re number’s up and I’m the winner.
Don’t you hear the dinner gong?
The three blind mice stood terrified
as toad picked up a paperweight,
his evil features magnified
in the blood red fire light.
He brought the object crashing down
upon the mouse’s little head.
The crack resounded right through town
and the seeing mouse lay dead.
You horrid toad! the mice all cried,
your evil plan will fail!
You can run but you can’t hide,
you’ll go to prison without bail!

Now in a children’s rhyming story
the toad would be undone.
But life is sadly much more gory
(some say that that’s more fun).
And so the three mice died that night
and the toad enjoyed his feast.
The moon shone brightly on the sight
of a toad and four mice, deceased.

*blether is a Scots word meaning chat

Diana Devlin is a 54 year old ex-teacher/translator/lexicographer from Fife in Scotland. She has always loved reading and writing poetry and has had a little work published online and in print. She enjoys life in Dumbarton with her husband, daughters, Jack Russell and two bossy cats.

 

Social Anxiety, by Judith Wilson

I’ve never liked cats and I don’t drink pink gin,
No wonder I find it so hard to fit in.
I watched Bake Off once, but wasn’t impressed
There were little blue birds in a puff pastry nest.

G.O.T stands for something, I’m never sure what
No spoilers for me if you tell me the plot.
And colouring-in books aren’t close to my heart
I’d rather create my own piece of art.

Rolling round drunk was part of my youth,
When drinking too much was some kind of proof
I was just like the others who drank in the pub,
Now bed by ten thirty with a chocolate filled mug.

I can’t find the time to bombard social media
With photos of me in my own cyclopedia.
I think I might know what is happening here,
I’ve finally grown up in my sixtieth year.

Or maybe it’s just, I like reading a book,
Or watching a film and taking a look
At art in a gallery, or museum that’s free,
As long as I’m home well in time for my tea.

And where will I post all these words from my heart?
On Facebook of course and that’s just the start,
Instagram and Twitter and maybe LinkedIn,
And hand me a glass, I could do with a gin.

Judith Wilson used to be an IT consultant, but is now a writer of blackly humorous psychological thrillers and poetry. Find out more at judithwilsonauthor.com or @judithwilson99

 

My Love by David O’Neill

grumpyladyanim8

 

My love is like an iridescent hue—
A coruscating haze of orange, red and blue;
A parlous transformation certain photons rue
That face destructive interference.

My love is like a bowl of comely fruit,
Whose shiny, dimpled, waxen pericarps impute
The bitter mesocarp, that hints the more astute
Should give sour endocarp due clearance.

My love owes beauty, cold and statuesque,
In graceful poise evoking perfect arabesque
With classic virtues, recrudescing Romanesque,
In worse excesses than Octavian.

My love has feathers in her coiffeured hair—
A monstrous, non-cladistic, bird-brained hybrid pair,
Her rostral pole chimæric with the derrière
Of some denuded ratite avian.

(Editor’s note: the painting on which the poem is based is by Isobel Smerdon, aged 11, and is reproduced with permission. The animation is by the author.)

David O’Neill is a frustrated mathematician who has journeyed through a predominantly life-science-based medical landscape for most of his mortgage-paying professional life, eventually finding salvation in the Open University, too close to the end for practical application but sufficiently early for peace of mind and poetic inspiration.

website

 

Happy Hour by Sherri Turner

This ledge is very narrow
once you get up here and see.
I hadn’t realised how small
the folks below would be.
I’m trying not to wobble
and I feel a little sick.
The evening dampness on the tiles
is making them quite slick.
It must have been the Happy Hour
that caused my over-drinking
and made me climb here for a bet.
What can I have been thinking?
I wish I’d been more sensible
and hadn’t drunk at all.
My sense of balance isn’t great,
I think I’m going to…

Sherri Turner lives in Surrey. She has had numerous short stories published in women’s magazines and has won prizes for both poetry and short stories. She likes to write silly poems when she feels in danger of forgetting that this is supposed to be fun.

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The Rabbit by Barry Ergang

Once it was in raw November...or October? Can’t remember--
I was worn and badly wasted from a long day at the store
and I dozed off, no doubt drooling (I’m not kidding, I’m not fooling:
work that day was really grueling--puling patrons, I footsore),
while my love and her big brother called on friends they’d seen before.
        ’Twas just a social, heretofore.

Next day my love told me, “Honey, I am gonna get a bunny.
My brother’s friends raise troops of rabbits, troops enough to make a corps!”
I stared at her, my vision’s habit, then declared, “There’ll be no rabbit.”
At that she struck my rib--she jabbed it--elbowed it till it was sore.
“It’s cute! They’ll give it free,” she cried. “You know that bunnies I adore.”
        Thus my plea she did ignore.

I bound the rib and, vocally heated, gazed at love and still entreated,
reminding her that rabbits breed, they spawn like grunion on the shore.
“If with pet you must cohabit, why’s it have to be a rabbit?
Why not sea-life? Hermit crabs fit...Tuna! You’ll get albacore!”
Her look spoke volumes, drilling through me, but from curses she forbore.
        “I’ll have one bunny. Say no more.”

Hence in a December snowy, when the wind was cold and blowy,
my love and I betook ourselves, to sate her antic leporine chore,
to brother’s friends named John and Tony, pleasant guys and never phony,
whilst I continued to be groany right up to their house’s door.
Up the icy path we went to house with windows rimed with hoar.
        My love was smiling smiles galore.

Then inside we were admitted, where John and Tony’s two dogs flitted--
Trev and Raleigh welcomed us with canine capers at the fore.
How they frolicked, Trev and Raleigh, greeting party ever jolly,
eager to begin the folly that brought my love back to their door.
They leaped about, devotion dogged, licking hands for their encore.
        “Dogs!” our hosts snapped. “Calm restore!”

John and Tony soon besought us, and our custom long had taught us,
to take refreshment, eat and drink--and neither grub nor glass forswore.
A tray of snacks they then extended and, lest they should be offended,
to our dinner we appended nosh and beverage furthermore.
“Have some coffee?” they inquired. “Some tea, perhaps?--Here, have a S’more!”
        My love craved harey herbivore.

So belowground we were taken, to the cellar not forsaken
by our hosts who here bred rabbits--here, I say, not Baltimore.
My love rushed forward, ever eager (penned-up creatures do intrigue her)
to rabbit cage with space so meager over which her heart did pour,
and snatched the fair and radiant rabbit whose legs jerked like a semaphore.
        We named her Twitchley, not Lenore.

Well, by gum! by gosh! dagnabbit! My love finally got her rabbit,
and with it home we hied to give it warmth from weather’s biting frore.
There encaged the bunny huddled; my love’s soul was liquid puddled,
for with quaking, nervous bunny she’d have cuddled on the floor.
“I’m your mother, baby,” she said. “Come to me!” she did implore.
        ’Twouldn’t be for two days more.

Soon accustomed and ensconced in her own room--here, not Wisconsin--
Twitchley romped and rocketed around the place--how she did soar!
She’d hide at length behind some clutter; love and I would often mutter
that she’d speed as slick as butter to hideyhole behind the door
where we discovered heaps of fibers from the carpet that she tore.
        She gnawed the carpet, never floor.

She was calm--the Bunlai Lama--distant from the human drama,
and when we moved her to the kitchen she made not a single roar.
Apples, pears and hay she munched, or tasty carrot neatly crunched--
within her cage intently hunched (the cage was made in Singapore)--
ate her peanuts, cherries, popcorn, lettuce that she gently tore--
        ate just enough but never more.

Next she spied her stuffed pink piglet, shook her scut--oh Lord, did wiggle it!--
leaped from cage and circled toy quite like a fearless picador.
Then she mounted, vibrant, humping--clutching, avid, swiftly pumping;
little rabbit feet a-thumping, rump a-bump ’gainst kitchen floor--
chieftainess atop her subject, dominant, sans pinafore,
        as dainty as a stevedore.

Twitchley’s life? A bowl of cherries or, I should say, bunny berries;
with them daily she got richer, pile by pile beside the door.
Satisfied from all her humping, Twitch withdrew and squatted, dumping.
Once again I started grumping to my love about the chore
of picking up fresh rabbit poop that unimproved the room’s decor.
        She sighed, grabbed broom and swept the floor.

Oy, gevult! They kept on coming, pouring from that rabbit’s plumbing
like cluster bombs, a mass so vast--enough to sink Corregidor!
While I trod there, nearly snapping, again I heard the faintest tapping
as of rabbit slyly crapping pellets on the kitchen floor.
“My love,” said I, “my darling...honey--get a vacuum, I implore.”
        From cork suggesting I forbore.

Thrice while love and I were talking on the phone, our Twitch went stalking,
saw the line connecting handset to the base and then made war:
chewed the wire--with teeth she crumped it--hopped away, the little strumpet.
Sudden silence made me trumpet, “You there? Can’t hear you anymore!”
Thus my love picked up extension, our discussion to restore.
        Quoth the rabbit, “Sever cord.”

Yes, I know I seem curmudgeon, that my story’s full of dudgeon,
but watching my love hugging Twitch became contentment’s metaphor.
Their snuggle sessions were terrific--love with smile so beatific,
the kitchen chamber so pacific as rabbit she caressed and more:
crooned Twitch nicknames, sang weird songs--my comic love, the troubadour.
        My love and Twitchley I adore.

So, you see, for all my drab wit, I too came to love that rabbit.
Like my love she is the sweetest daughter mother ever bore.
Whenever worries had me sweating, I’d engage in bunny-petting
and sure enough my awful fretting sailed the creek without an oar.
I had my love and Twitch to steer me from disquiet’s roiling shore.
        Precious angels--evermore.

Former Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine and former First Senior Editor of Mysterical-e, Barry Ergang’s poetry, fiction and non-fiction have appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. A Derringer Award winner from the Short Mystery Fiction Society, some of his work is available at Smashwords and Amazon.