Heathcliffe Enters Love Island, by Mark Connors

The new islander is something to behold
with his thick black hair and heavy black clothes
dressed for a winter on the wild, wild moors
but today it’s in the late 30s.
With all of the contestants already paired up,
he broods by the pool, under a parasol,
emitting nothing but the odd mirthless chuckle.
The buff boys with scar-less skin and insane white teeth
don’t see him as a threat, until the girls
huddle up, whisper, giggle a little too often,
now immune to cheap cheeky chap smiles
and made for ITV2 chat up lines.
Oh yes, some women love a bastard.

One by one, the islanders visit
The Beach Hut, but not to reveal
their coupling agendas but to talk about him.
the boys deride his inability to fit in,
be one of the lads, have a bit of a laugh.
But the girls are genuinely intrigued,
and not just by superficialities,
transfixed by his stares, smirks and sneers,
drawn to his darkness and elemental moods
like silicone and hyaluronic moths.
“A just haven’t got a clue what he’s thinkin,”
says Miranda from Birkenhead.
“Every time he looks at us, me heart falls out me arse,”
says Felicity-Jane from Wallsend.

Then come the challenges. First, arm wrestling.
Heathcliff finally strips off to a black loin cloth
and the girls get to see his old latticed wounds,
festooned behind considerable body hair.
He goes through the boys one-by-one, without
so much as a bead of sweat on his brow.
Then it’s problem solving, a general knowledge quiz
and not one of the lads can compete with Heathcliff.
So ,he wins, gets to stay in The Hideaway
and one lucky woman will join him.
He chooses a brunette called Cathy, from Hull.
“I wanted him the first tarme a saw him,” she says.
“I’ll give him the tarme of his larfe.”
But when she enters The Hideaway that night,
Heathcliff opens a window to let another Cathy in.

Mark Connors is a writer from Leeds. He has been widely published in magazines, webzines and anthologies in the UK and overseas. His debut poetry collection, Nothing is Meant to be Broken, was published by Stairwell Books in 2017.

For more info visit www.markconnors.co.uk
Twitter: @markeconnors2
Publisher: www.stairwellbooks.co.uk


Fianna, ‘In the soup’ (after William Shakespeare)

Should I compare you to a bowl of soup?

You are less sloppy and more glutinous —

yet nothing could contain your bubbling gloop

so well as clay (twice fired and round you trussed).

There’s some mulligatawny in your mix

since spice and heat and noodles come to mind

and when I see you up to your old tricks

then bouillabaisse and bouillon seem too kind.

Gazpacho looks volcanic, just like you

but cools, as you do not, on summer’s night.

On simmer, you approximate to stew

with marrow-fat and bones in constant fight.

But ajo blanco added to your dish

would give me hope you’d turn out far less pish.

Fianna (Fiona Russell Dodwell) is from Fife and lives in the Fens. She has had about 60 poems published both in print and in online poetry magazines.


Paul Waring, ‘Bob Hope Saved Me’

I lost my chuckle muscles
became a po-faced bloke —
once humour had deserted me
I couldn’t get the joke.

I never saw the funny side
of best friends’ comic wit —
when they delivered a punchline
I look confused by it.

I failed to find a doctor
who knew what I could take.
I went to see Marie Antoinette –
but she only offered cake.

This went on for months until
a friend suggested dope.
I found the cure by smoking it.
Praise be to god Bob Hope.

Paul Waring is a retired clinical psychologist who once designed menswear and was a singer/songwriter in Liverpool bands. Paul’s poetry has been published in journals and online magazines including Prole, High Window, Atrium, Algebra of Owls, The Curlew, Clear Poetry, Ofi Press, Amaryllis and The Lampeter Review. https://waringwords.wordpress.com


Dora Wright ‘Down in the Woods Today’

If you go down in the woods today
you’re sure of a big surprise
there’s things going on in the woods today
you’ll never believe your eyes,
There’s people parking in their cars
some who’ve stumbled out from bars
come to see the action there
come to see some bodies bare
There’s “dogging” happening everywhere
Down in the woods today.

If you go down to the woods today
its best to go in your car
and take along binoculars
you wont have to travel far
The word goes round they all arrive
who said you shouldn’t drink and drive
they park their cars in open view
so you can share the action too
you should see the things they do
down in the woods today

If you go down to the woods today
you’ll get an education
from one on one, to three at play
and some oral stimulation
There’s even cans of dairy whipped cream
that splatter the windows covered with steam
as “Dogger’s” move from car to car
watching action completely bizarre
underneath the old “Dog Star”
down in the woods today

My name is Dora Wright I’ve been writing for nine years and have had some things published online and in local papers and magazines. I’m a member of three writing groups one of which has begun Open Mic nights which I’m really enjoying participating in.


Hannah Linden, ‘How to tell if you’re in the wrong story’, (after Louisa Campbell)

None of the animals will talk to you.
Your best friend is not a cricket.
Your hair breaks when it grows below your shoulders.

The frog you kissed sued you for harassment.
Instead of being put in jail and having ‘an adventure’
you got community service where you fell asleep
during the powerpoint presentation and missed the bit
about how to find the magical talismans whilst picking up litter
and all you found was a pair of dentures and a half-full
can of lager which you were tempted to drink.

You can’t think in short sentences that fit
neatly onto pages any more. Weird
line breaks keep appearing

You’re not sure that a subscription to Netflix
constitutes a happy ever after, especially
after they cancelled your favourite show
even though the season ended
on a cliff-hanger. And the hero
is now getting too old to play
the part of the prince convincingly
even if they change their minds.

You’re not sure binge-watching
several seasons over a weekend
is, technically, being in a story.

That media studies course you went on
has played havoc with the meta-levels.
You keep being out there when you’re
supposed to be in here and that’s
not the purpose of stories is it?

Hannah Linden, with Gram Joel Davies, won the Cheltenham Festival Compound Poetry Competition 2015, was Highly Commended in the Prole Laureate Competition 2015, and was longlisted for The Rialto Nature Poetry Competition 2018. Her poetry has been published in varied magazines and anthologies, most recently with And Other Poems; Ink, Sweat and Tears; Amaryllis; and The Interpreter’s House and is upcoming in Magma, Lighthouse and Domestic Cherry. She is working towards her first collection, Wolf Daughter, which explores the impact of parental suicide. Twitter @hannahl1n


Robert Garnham, ‘Poem’


He is wearing a lanyard
He’s obviously ever so important
He’s allowed right in to
Anyplace he pleases
The lanyard flaps
Whenever there are breezes
He. Has. Got. A. Lanyard.

He is rocking that lanyard.
It opens doors and gates.
He’s allowed right through
Different kinds of portals
You have to admit
He’s not like us mere mortals
He. Has. Got. A. Lanyard.

He looks so important in that lanyard.
Trouble is, that’s all he’s wearing.
His nakedness is stark
In all the elemental
It doesn’t take much
To check out his credentials.
He. Has. Got. A. Lanyard.


Over the years Robert has headlined at the top spoken word nights in the UK such as Bang Said the Gun in London, Evidently in Manchester, Hammer and Tongue in both Bristol and Brighton. He has won or been placed second at slams in Exeter, Wolverhampton, Edinburgh, Swindon and London, and performed at the National Slam Finals at the Albert Hall in 2018. He has recently headlined at the Duplex in New York and the King Kong Klub in Berlin. He often appears at comedy nights and has supported John Hegley, Arthur Smith and Paul Sinha.

His first collection was published in 2016 by Burning Eye Books, and a second in 2018, and he was long listed for the Saboteur Awards in the category Spoken Word Artist of the Year for three years running,p. He is currently working with the musical jazz improvisation group Croydon Tourist Office, and has narrated and appeared in two short films, ‘Professor in the Bathroom’, and ‘Beard Envy’. Robert provides workshops for adults and sixth form students in comedy poetry, and has been Poet in Residence at the Artizan Gallery in Torquay, and on the LGBT radio magazine show ‘Listen Out’ in Exeter.


Louisa Campbell ‘ How to tell if you’re in the wrong story’

Your fairy godmother hasn’t a clue.
One of your sisters is wicked, but the other one’s actually quite nice and lends you her vegan purple sparkle Doc Martens whenever you want.
Your pumpkin doesn’t turn into anything since your American friend warned you that pumpkin pie makes you boff.
Your mice live in an old upright Hoover in the cupboard under the stairs. You moved it once and they flew out of the hose like tiny brown fluffy cannon balls and you stood on your IKEA coffee table and tried not to scream.
You don’t want to go to the ball anyway. The last time you went to the ball you were groped by Cyril from accounts, necessitating a swift manoeuvre involving a half-empty bottle of Cava, one of those gold-painted chairs and your knee.
Your slippers are pink fluffy ones from Marks and Spencer’s and are easily big enough for most people in your town including the postman.
You have a perfectly good carriage, i.e. a 1996 purple Nissan Micra 1litre Auto, which you wouldn’t change for the world.
Your prince rode off in the wrong direction and quite frankly you were glad to see the back of him.

Short Bio

Louisa Campbell lives in Kent, England, where she makes a living burgling jelly moulds and writing poetry. There’s more info. on the latter at https://louisacampbellblog.wordpress.com/about/


Hello again!

Hello, and welcome back to Spilling Cocoa! Over the next few months I hope to bring you some of the best and funniest humorous poems in the country, I’ve had a fantastic few months off, touring the UK with my spoken word show In the Glare of the Neon Yak, and now I’m back and eager to receive submissions.

If you would like to submit to Spilling Cocoa, please send up to three poems and a brief bio to robertgarnhampoetry@hotmail.co.uk . Due to technical difficulties, the previous email is no longer active. This is due to the fact that I mislaid the log in details.

Thank you all so very much for your patience, and feel free to submit away. I’m aiming to have three poems published a week.

All the best,

Robert Garnham, Editor

For details of Robert Garnham, please visit https://robertdgarnham.wordpress.com


A Tale of Rosemary, by Aladdin Bouhamla

By the bloody gardens of the strawberry,
Where the red sun meets the sea;
Children were playing happily and merry,
When a voice yelled “comrades come here and see”

It was the voice of the beautiful Rosemary,
Calling her friends under the ancient Oak tree ;
“A strange man with a face so scary
Is holding a blade dripping with blood”, said she

“I’ve seen his soul dead as the cemetery;
His demons are whispering, whispering to me.
In his hand, holding the cold carcass of an eyeless canary,
And in the other a bloody knife scented with the blood of girl of three.”

In fear gazed the children, clueless and unwary ,
As the man marched forward to the hive of the golden bee.
“pray with me Children”, said the beautiful maiden Rosemary,
But prayers will do the man no good if you ask me.

The Angels abandoned the forest, and so did the tipsy fairy,
Yet what to expect from man, after going on a killing spree,
screams of his victims glow with radiant light of the extraordinary;
And the man then started murmuring while he sat on his knee.

With a shovel, himself, started to bury
“if he is no longer a man, but then what is he? ”,
Said the children to the beautiful Rosemary
“he lost what he was, and what he will never again be”

And here the writer finished his work of literary,
Yet the reader may notice that the man looks like you and me;
For my story is not out of the ordinary,
But of the madness of this world, for we are no different then he.