You weren’t supposed to laugh, by Paul Vaughan

I’ll surprise you tonight.

Eyes hungry, lips licked,
fox to her chicken, dog to her bones.

I’ll hide in the wardrobe.
Get yourself sexy,
say when you’re ready.

She sighs on the inside.
Oven-ready, she thinks.
Rolls on the stockings.
Four weeks of dating
now feeling too long.

You can come out now.
Ready or not.

He flings the doors open,
struts out with a grin.
In a Paddington costume,
with a sign round his neck.

Please fuck this bear.

Duffel coat. Jaunty red hat.
Hand on his member,
jutting out like a rod.

Paul Vaughan lives in Yorkshire. His work has been (or shortly will be) featured in Agenda, Acumen, Prole, Frogmore Papers, Poetry Salzburg, Obsessed with Pipework and Ink, Sweat & Tears, among others.

 

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.

 

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

 

Meeting a working-class Zero, by Sudeep Adhikari

I once met a ghost
with mouth on the middle of its chest
dripping blood, and shooting bubbles
of fire that kept growing in size,
till they circumscribed
me inside their radiant sphere.

Transfixed with fear, i screamed
like a sacrificial lamb
and asked, “why don’t you creepy
things leave us alone”?

The ghost took its head on its hand
and while spinning it like
a professional soccer player,
on the only finger it had

It calmly replied
“homie, i am just trying to make a dying.
I have some voids to feed.”

Sudeep Adhikari is a structural engineer/Lecturer from Kathmandu, Nepal. His recent publications were with Beatnik Cowboys, Zombie Logic Review, The Bees Are Dead, Silver Birch Press and Eunoia Review. His poetry volume, “The Art of Changing Nothing to Punk Gigs” was released by Alien Buddha Press in July, 2017.

 

Anarchy in the UK Head Office, by Jim Lawrence

The post-it notes bear messages
Scrawled in invisible ink
The pencils are plotting rebellion
The Head of Sales gives me a wink

As if to say ‘I know you’re with us:
A part of our deadly cabal.’
Insurrection is brewing
You can’t mistake the smell

Of resentment and paranoia
Dave in HR’s brewing mutiny
Liz in Accounts is mysterious
The filing clerk’s under her scrutiny

There’s jockeying for position
In the managerial stakes
Even the tea lady’s emulous
That’s why she poisoned the cakes

The biros and hole punches gather
In the stationery cupboard’s gloom
Whispering tactics and strategy
Meanwhile in the mail room

The franking machine’s on a go-slow
The weighing machine’s gone on strike
On the stamps are subliminal slogans
(“YOUR BOSS’S HEAD ON A SPIKE!”)

Colin the Sales head acts loyal
The ultimate company man
But Sally the CEO’s PA and I
Will take Colin down when we can

Colin believes that Sally and I
Are part of his takeover plot
But Sally’s a crypto-anarchist
She wants to destroy the whole lot

I’m madly in love with Sally
She’s co-opted me into her scheme
We’re going to turn this grim office
To a workers’ co-operative dream

I’m one of those blockheads who write not necessarily for money. I’m a poet and fiction writer (contributor to urban fantasy story cycle Red Phone Box, published by Ghostwoods Books) and I sometimes remember to blog about new music and books on Words, Noises and Other Stuff: https://mrdzhimbo.wordpress.com.

 

How to wake up by Pat Edwards

Always set an alarm, although you may not need it. Becoming fully awake is more a process than an event. My recommendations are as follows:

Accept that the sound made by your alarm is real, not imagined.
Accept also that it heralds the prospect of a day that requires your attention.
You would not have set an alarm if there was no imperative to get up and out.
Avoid thinking it is safe to close your eyes and drift a little.
We both know that you will fall into a deep sleep,
which will either precipitate lateness or a headache.
Acknowledge the presence of any other humans or animals sharing your bed.
Rushed or even luxurious hanky-panky is not recommended,
as this only makes getting up more complicated and/or upsets the pets caught up in the commotion. You could, if deemed thoughtful and/or encouraging, voice the fact that you did think about it, then move swiftly on.
Get some clothes on pronto, to discourage aforementioned prospect of a physical encounter,
and to preserve your dignity for Christ’s sake.
Do not try to make the bed immediately if persons or pets remain within its confines.
If they too have vacated, feel free to carry on.

That’s about it really.
It’s safe to assume that you are, in fact, up.
The awake bit may depend on caffeine, shower and other sundry paraphernalia but, essentially, you’re good to go.

Repeat ad infinitum as the alternative is, for the most part, singularly unappealing.

Pat Edwards is a writer, teacher and performer living in Mid Wales. Her work has appeared in publications such as Obsessed with Pipework, Amaryllis, The Fat Damsel, Picaroon, The Rat’s Ass and Ink Pantry. Pat runs Verbatim poetry open mics and is curating the 2017 Welshpool Poetry Festival.

 

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