Invisibility Rant, by Abigail Ottley

The young think they invented cool but they know diddly squat.
Those ankle-snappers shut their eyes to what we wise ones got.
So this old bird is set to strut and fan her tail and crow.
She’s primed to blow her cover. Here’s a thing or two the yoof should know.
This woman’s old but she ain’t dumb. She ain’t pretending she ain’t grey.
Don’t matter if she’s billiard-bald, she still deserves to have her say.
And what she says is simply this. She’s deep-down tired of being dissed.
At worst reviled, at best dismissed, if there’s a mill, then she’s the grist.
Now guys that used to flirt and stare will mostly fail to see she’s there.
One day, she’s classy, gorgeous, hot. Next morning, passé, clean forgot.
How plaintive sounds her shrill lament as she asks where her ‘sexy’ went.
Now just existing leaves her fazed. A life outside her master’s gaze.
That gaze which won’t admit she’s there and for the most part doesn’t care
but turns its back and sends no flowers. In bars, sometimes she waits for hours
before the barman can’t ignore the fact that what she’s waiting for
is to be served like all the rest. Great hulking guys with beards and chests
that press against the bar where she can’t get, can’t hear, can’t even see.
And girls with boobs and killer shoes marked out like maps with blue tattoos
and all the heartless, hip-less yoof who cruelly mock those long of tooth.
In restaurants waiters turn their heads to tiptoe round the dining dead.
In any queue how cursed is she by this in-vis-i-bil-i-ty.
I’m here to say that such as we reject this anonymity.
We won’t sit down, we won’t shut up calm down, make tea. We’ve had enough.
We’re women. We have earned our stripes our stretch marks and our right to gripe.
We’ve paid our dues, we’ve lived this shit. And now we’ve had enough of it.
It isn’t fair, it isn’t just.Where is it writ we woman must
accept our lot and know our place in short, that we must self-efface?
Back in the day when I was young my grandma said a woman’s tongue
dripped wisdom, sweet and strong as wine that, aged in oak, improves with time.
And she was right to teach me how a woman grows into her power.
A witch is but a woman who won’t still her tongue as others do.

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley writes poetry and short fiction from her home in Penzance. A former English teacher with a lifelong interest in history, she has been Pushcart nominated, translated into Romanian, and is carer to her very elderly mother. Find her on Facebook or @AbigailLaLoca on Twitter


The best superhero we can conjur, by Rob Schofield

The best superhero we can conjure

sits in splendid self-isolation. He
does not fret about provisions, other
than how best to keep the plebs supplied with
bread and circuses. And toilet roll. His
tenebrous consigliere, last seen
scuttling away from the black door sans
smug grin, is at home now, mired in his blog,
scribbling his fiendish marginalia
and plotting how and where to push the blame.
How will he muddy waters already
soiled by years of verbal diarrhoea?
Where were his not-so-super forecasters
when the rest of us were glued to the news
from Wuhan? And the second string, these Lords
of Misrule, whose misplaced confidence rides
shotgun with incompetence, snatch at the
coat tails of the experts they scorned, alive
to the scapegoat’s scent. Eton College closed
its doors before our children were sent home.
What of the rich, no longer able to
stake sole claim to being idle? Boltholes
undetected, they feed foie gras and fox
cubs to the hounds, riding out the storm while
trusting their Joker to keep their backsides clean.

Rob Schofield writes fiction and poetry from a temporary bunker in the Yorkshire Dales. Rob is a member of the 2021 Northern Short Story Festival Academy and has been published in The Blue Nib and Prole. He has been long and short listed for several short story prizes. Rob publishes work in progress at  



How to Read at an Open Mic, by Susan Jordan

How to read at an open mic

When it’s your turn to read
make quite sure you’re still muted.
People like to watch you mouthing.

Spend most of your time
shuffling through your papers, saying,
‘I’m sure I’ve got it somewhere.’

Give a long, rambling introduction
about how your father used to go fishing
only this poem isn’t about that.

Keep your head down over your copy
or hunch up, squinting at your phone.
At all costs avoid facing the camera.

Ideally, print your poems
on the back of private documents
and hold them up in front of your face –

bills and bank statements are ideal.
That way you’ll keep the audience’s interest
and get lots of comments in the chat.

Read in a poetry voice that goes up
wherever you’d expect it to go down.
Draw out the last syllable of each line.

If you read a second poem,
say, ‘I’ve only just written this
and haven’t managed to revise it yet.’

Before you finish, do apologise –
if you haven’t done so already –
for not having written your poems better.

Sit staring vacantly afterwards
so people don’t know if you’re done
then forget to mute your coughs and slurps of tea.


Lockdown Haircut, by Mogs

Lockdown Haircut
(Printed in Write Out Loud charity anthology ‘Beyond The Storm’ – Poems From The Covid 19 Era.)

She says I need my haircut,
I look like a mad professor,
She’s gonna drag me into town
Leave me there with her hairdresser.
I remind her there’s a ‘Lockdown’,
Every hair salon is closed.
And while she ponders what to do
My hair just quietly grows.

Yes, she says I need my haircut,
Every minute, it gets longer,
Well, perhaps i’m like that Samson bloke,
While it grows, I’m getting stronger.
I know it’s not been touched for months,
But I just could not care less,
I can’t go out, so no one can see
That my Barnet is a mess.

Still, she says I need my haircut,
As she ties me to a chair,
Grabs the wallpaper scissors
and starts hacking at my hair.
She ignores my screams when snipping blades
Give my ear a painful prod,
It seems she honed her hair cutting skills
From watching Sweeney Todd.

So, I no longer need my hair cut,
At my feet, in clumps, it’s scattered,
She’s hacked and slashed, I’ve lost an ear
And my poor nerves are bloody shattered.
This Lockdown just brings misery
And it seems there’s no relief,
Because now she’s found some pliers
And is eyeing up my teeth!

Mogs (aka John Morris) has written poetry since the late 1970’s. He retired from an IT career in 2003 because of failing eyesight. He regularly performs at open mic events.

Books published 

‘Poems Your Parents Won’t Like’ – for ‘children’ aged upto 100.

‘Griff’ – children’s novel.


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)


Letter from the Editor

Well, Happy New Year to all our contributors and readers. A new year is always a good time to reflect on how things are going and the unfortunate truth is that this place is not quite the vibrant hub that it almost was in the early days back in the first half of last year. The submissions have slowed to a trickle and the numbers of views of each poem posted have also dropped significantly.

If I were more of an editor by temperament, I might be tempted to saddle up and mount a big campaign that would drum up support (and maybe mix a few more metaphors into the bargain). However, one of the many valuable things I’ve learnt over the last nine months is that I’m not really an editor by temperament. At least, not of a poetry magazine. Also, if the truth were told, I have other projects for 2017 that are demanding my attention, and I need to focus.

So as of today:

  1. Submissions to SCOMA are closed.
  2. Submissions that have already been accepted will be published as promised, unless you would rather they weren’t – in which case please do get in touch.
  3. Unprocessed outstanding submissions will be processed as if nothing had happened, although – again – I will quite understand if you’d prefer to withdraw your work from submission.
  4. This site will remain as a monument to your excellent collective creative endeavours for the foreseeable future.

Apologies for the abruptness of this message. If there is anyone out there would who like to take up the reins as editor, please do let me know, as I really would like this thing we’ve all created to carry on in some form or another. The world needs humour more than ever.

All the best,



Letter from the Editor


When I first set this thing up, I had no idea if it would work or not. My initial plan was to, perhaps, publish a poem a week in the unlikely event that I got sent anything that was worth putting up. In the event, I was inundated with submissions, and most of them were of a very high quality indeed. It very quickly became clear to me that I could quite easily publish one a day and still maintain a pretty high level of quality. So that’s exactly what I did.


We seem to have reached a point where the flood of submissions has slowed to a bit of a trickle. There’s still plenty of good stuff in the pipeline, but probably not enough to keep going at the present rate. There are any number of reasons why this may be so. It could be that everyone who originally submitted just had a couple of funny pieces lying around that they hadn’t found a home for. Or it could be that, having had one  acceptance from SCOMA, they felt they could tick that one off (I’ve done that myself in the past). Or perhaps they took a look at some of the other stuff I’ve picked and decided they didn’t fancy being associated with it. Or maybe they felt I was taking too long to respond to their submissions (I did change my target from a one month turnaround to three months in the guidelines, but I did it a bit sneakily without telling anyone). I dunno.


The long and the short is that I’m temporarily going to switch from publishing a poem every day to publishing twice a week, on Mondays Tuesdays and Thursdays Fridays. If the floodgates suddenly open again, I’ll review and rethink. In the meantime, keep sending stuff in and keep reading, commenting and sharing.

Jonathan a.k.a. The Spillmaster


The Countdown Begins

And we’re almost ready to go. I spent this morning going through submissions and we seem to have a rather splendid and varied programme for you coming up, starting on May 1st. There will be free verse and rhymes, along with a triolet and a villanelle, and the whole spectrum of humour will be explored, including one or two of the dodgier fringes.

The standard of submissions was remarkably high and I had no problem in filling the schedule. It will, of course, be interesting to see if the readership of the site agree with me, and I shall be watching the star ratings with interest.

I hope that all the poets I suggested tweaks to will forgive my impudence. I did feel rather like Robert Webb’s character here at times:

See you all on Sunday.

Progress Report

Well, this is all very gratifying. We’ve been in business for less than a week and we already have a substantial number of excellent submissions. So here’s the plan. I’m going to start publishing poems on May 1st. On present form, it looks like we can afford to be a bit more ambitious than my original idea of a weekly poem and go for a daily poem instead. Some time next week I’ll take a look at what we’ve got and start sending out acceptances and rejections, before deciding on a running order.

One thing that has come up is the question of whether your editor is permitted to publish any of his own stuff here. I wasn’t intending to do so, because conventionally editors don’t do that. However, one or two people on Twitter suggested that I might put one or two up, just to give an idea of the kind of thing I’m looking for. I’d be interested to read anyone’s views on this.

Put the date in your diaries, anyway: Spilling Cocoa will go live on Sunday May 1st. Get ready with your Twitters and Facebooks!

And in the meantime, if there’s anything you fancy submitting, get in there now while there’s still room.