Rush Hour Crush, by Nick Cooke

To the lady gritting her perfect pearly teeth
(I never really saw them, but one can but hope)
at what I took to be some human rights abuse
in the inner pages of this morning’s Metro,

snarling a curse under her perfect minty breath
(I never actually smelt it, but one can but hope)
at whoever the perpetrators may have been
in whatever corner of this putrid planet…

You looked like my kind of red-hot/hot red mama,
so join me at a rally in Parliament Square,
or at an open-mike audition for comics
where we can be a political double act.

I was the little squit in Larkinesque thick specs
opposite you on a Piccadilly Line train
heading for Heathrow, where I flew my sad arse out
on business of an eminently toad-like sort.

I sensed you had the unique ability
to bring out my hitherto buried potential,
boost my confidence, direct me to Specsavers,
and sharpen my focus on the things that matter.

All I can offer in return’s my worshipful
homage to your own unassailed magnificence,
plus maybe a free accounting service for what
I suspect are messy affairs. Coffee some time?

“Nick Cooke has had over 50 poems published in a range of outlets, print and online, as well as two anthologies, Poems For a Liminal Age and To Kingdom Come. His poem ‘Tanis’ won the Wax Poetry and Art Contest in August 2016. He is currently working on his first collection.”


A Cock and Bull Story, by Stella Wulf

A Cock and Bull Story

If I were a bullish kind of fellow,
some horny, rutting bovine in his prime,
I would bellow from the dock
‘it’s that paltry, puffed up cock
who’s the real instigator of the crime.’

Contrary to the cockerel’s mockery
I rarely frequent shops of crockery,
though I admit to a penchant for china.
Meissen, Wedgwood, Copeland Spode,
what could possibly be finer?

So delicately glazed – fine boned,
I could gaze upon them till the cows come home.
I never deign to frolic – I’m not a brute,
I’m really very nimble and astute,
(though I know I shouldn’t say it so myself).

I shouldn’t have gone in
but that splendid Minton shelf
of figurines and flowery crocks,
well, it fair knocked off my socks!
It set my heart aflutter, made me wish,

sending quivers through my withers
and a tremor to my tail that made it swish.
It swept off plates and mugs
and a pair of Stafford pugs
that flew off in all directions

and the dish!

The Worcester with the peaches and the pears,
the one that I’ve been coveting for years.

Can I say in my defence that I was piqued,
at the damning lie that issued from its beak,
and I’m sorry that I went beyond the pale,
and that the cockerel didn’t live to tell the tale.

Stella Wulf’s poems have been published in both print and online magazines and appear in several anthologies including, The Very Best of 52, three drops from a cauldron, and the Clear Poetry Anthology. She has an MA in creative writing from Lancaster University.


Poem, by Mary Walker

This is the tale of ‘Ding Dong Decker.’

He had a short and stubby pecker.

Why was he called, Ding Dong? My friend,

He fitted a clapper to his bell-end.

In cold weather he hung it over the toilet seat,

to avoid getting piddle on his little bare feet.

My name is Mary and I like to write for fun.


Three Poems from Annie Fisher


Yesterday was miserable,
It moaned and groaned all day,
I said I didn’t like it,
Now it’s gone away.

(originally published in ‘the caterpillar’ magazine, summer 2015)

I was just thinking…

Does a mullet have a gullet?
Does a lemur have a femur?
Do flies have hairy thighs?

Does an adder have a bladder?
Do winkles have wrinkles?
Do krill get ill?

Do eels wear high-heels?
Do crows have pigeon toes?
Who knows?

Tall Order

I’ll have
the sun
in a bun

the moon
on a stick

make it

Annie Fisher is a children’s storyteller. Her pamphlet ‘Infinite In All Perfections’ was published by Happenstance Press in 2016.


Dahling, how are you?, by Kathy Gee

DAHling, how ARE you?

I call across the room to Cynthia (who’s looking dreadful)
‘Such a lovely frock, you always have such gorgeous taste.
I’ve been thinking of your accident (you talk of nothing else)
and thinking, though it’s such a funny story (yes, it is, it really is)
it must have been so terrifying (is that David over there?)
How awful. Was it really? Yes, I can imagine
(who’s the harpy that he’s talking to? she isn’t one of us)
Oh, dahling, if you ever feel like that again (pray heaven not)
you know you can rely on me’ (he’s moving off, I really must …)
I slink towards my target
‘Dahling, where have you been hiding?’

Kathy Gee lives in Worcestershire and works in museums and heritage. In 2016 her first poetry collection – Book of Bones – was published by V. Press – and she wrote the spoken word elements for a contemporary choral composition – .


Cocktails, by Laura Liptrot

Life is like the cocktails
I buy on a Saturday night:
Sometimes dark and heavy,
Sometimes mild and light.

Sometimes it’s cherries: sharp and sour
Other times it’s happy hour.
It’s juicy lemons and zesty lime,
It’s strong like vodka all the time.
Sometimes it’s a gin blush,
Raspberries and apples lush!
Sweet elderflowers; cool crushed ice,
Sometimes life is really nice.
Often it’s a tropic storm,
Deep like rum and tasting warm
Fruity, spicy, wild and good,
You do what you like, and not what you should.
Sometimes you are feeling blue.
Sometimes you just shout ‘woo woo!’
Like cranberries you’re full of fire,
And want to climb up even higher.
Let’s have a party! Come on chaps!
Let’s go wild on peach schnapps!

I know this is a silly rhyme,
But that’s what life’s like most of the time!

Laura Liptrot is a budding poet and actress from Stourbridge (West Midlands). She fell in love with verse as a child and in her early 20s finally found the confidence to create her own poetry inspired by the things she loves: nature; colours; mythical creatures; human nature and alcohol!


‘Many of the football pitches I played on are housing estates now; which is a bit sad. Mind you, I am sorely tempted to knock on someone’s door and say,’ by John Mills 

“I scored a goal in your house.

I picked the ball up by the shed,

ploughed straight through the forsythia,

dummied the recycling bin,

nipped through the back door

and let fly from the kitchen.

Like a rocket it soared through the living room,

into the conservatory,

past Uncle Albert snoozing on the Ikea leatherette sofa

and into the top corner just where that tasteless macramé thing is.

Now, where shall I put the blue plaque?”

After spending his working life teaching English John turned his attention to writing. His poems cover the human condition from breathless marathons to bedside vigils; a consideration of life in all its scope from global to macro. Whilst never taking himself seriously he treats poetry with the utmost respect.


Stuff, by Julian Isaacs

Things took a nasty turn in toytown
The day reality walked in.
Dolls grieved stillborn tears
As golliwogs were lynched
By monomaniacs with no conception
Of wonderland.
A misdirected match made
Alice’s Pollock’s toy theatre a Globe
Whilst at Drury Lane
The stage revolved anti-clockwise
And refused to stop.

Some people are too good for Madame Tussaud’s
And better suited to taxidermy
Like Jeremy Bentham.
Deflocked shepherds of a morning
Confuse whimsy with warning
So to those that toy with affections beware
The going can get tough
For those that do not love enough:
You might become another’s teddy bear.


Bits, by Susan Jordan


After you’ve cleaned you always find them there,
those little bits of food or dirt or fluff
that drive people to housewifely despair.
You know you’ll never manage to do enough

to turn your house into a home that looks
as though no person ever makes their mark
or writes or thinks or plays the piano or cooks
or has plants that shed foliage in the dark,

as though no feet had ever touched the floors
or fingers held the cutlery or glass.
But secretly you think they must be bores,
those cleaners who live only to polish brass.

When it comes to it, you’re happy to confess
you’d rather leave things in a bit of a mess.