Purple? Purple?, by Simon Williams

Purple? Purple?

When I am an old man
I shall wear a hi-viz teal hoodie
with a cerise one in reserve
and cord trousers that aren’t black, brown or Navy
and Gore-Tex hiking boots when I’m asked out for tea.
I shall gorge on giant Toblerone –
we’ll need to move near an airport –
Tempura prawns, Tiramisu
and other delicacies beginning with T.
I shall eat them all with my fingers.
No Tofu.

I shall ride a Tango unicycle, read reviews
in Unicycle Plus of the 10 best unicycling helmets
and pick one made from repurposed oil tank baffles
or genetically enlarged walnut shells.

I shall demand real cocoa when others order coffee
and lace it with Jack Daniels from a hip flask.
I’ll take copies of the Daily Mail
and throw them on the floor in Smiths.

Since old is still 10 years away,
as it has always been, I have time to develop this further.
Purple isn’t where I’m going.


Humpback, by Ross Maclean-Bryant

A disgruntled humpback emerged from the shiny briny.
Spitting furious rainbows atop the disco ball granite
And levelling a settlement of sandcastles.

He asked if we could keep it down.
Although the tone suggested that it wasn’t a question.
Tensions as high as the tide.

A slender majority were politely obliging.
The resulting memorabilia was mediocre at best.


Flying Corgette, by Jackie Juno


I took a courgette out for a walk
Boris Johnson made me do it
Have you heard that sinister meringue talk?
I slipped on some fresh new bullshit.
I know that he’s lying
the courgette went flying

My baby is a jumbo jet
my supersonic mean courgette
see how high he flies
they’re building castles in the sky

Careful what you agree to
wipe the wool from your eyes
cauliflowers have ears now
there are parsnips in disguise
my potatoes are totally mashed
I think that’s why I crashed

We’re in a stew, me and you
we’re up to our necks in gravy
we’re in a pickle, Dr Jekyll
can you smell burning, baby?

My baby is a jumbo jet
my supersonic mean courgette
see how high he flies
they’re building castles in the sky

Jackie Juno is a performance poet based in Devon. Her website can be found at http://www.jackie-juno.com


Model Boat Club Blues by Charlotte Harker

The decline began after a spree of sinkings.
I think it was a submarine.
Someone is disobeying the finely streamlined rules.
I am facing a flotilla of ruse,
I’ve got those model boat club blues.

I am losing the plot and my concentration,
I keep getting the bow and the stern mixed up,
I’m caught in a storm at a lake so artificial,
Infighting and resignation over the sailing schedule,
Should a clipper give way to a frigate?
Yet more dispute,
I’ve got those model boat club blues.

In the clubhouse I’ve lost direction and rudderless
I struggle to make a course correction
to keep this armada in some order,
but there is no denying we are taking on water; oh whatever,
I am always on board,
to hell with the weather,
this is my ship and I’m going down with it,
I’ve got those model boat club blues.

Charlotte Harker is a Writer, Artist and Performance Poet. Her first collection of illustrated poems ‘The Wear and Tear of Conversation’ was published in 2018. Further information can be found at https://www.dempseyandwindle.com/charlotteharker.html


. . . arse, by Mark Totterdell


I’m building an intricate mansion
from an infinite stockpile of stone,
and only I know where each stone has to go,
so I’m building it all on my own.

You might think that house is this poem,
but that would be really old hat.
It’s a stale metaphor that we’ve all used before,
don’t you think that I’m better than that?

I don’t simply write about writing,
how low do you think I would stoop?
Instead I’m now writing of writing of writing,
and on in an infinite loop.

I’m turning so self-referential,
it shows I have talent and class.
It would be no surprise if, in front of your eyes,
I disappeared up my own…

Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared widely in magazines and have occasionally won prizes. His collections are This Patter of Traces (Oversteps Books, 2014) and Mapping (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2018).’


You liked me enough to give me a geranium, by Robert Garnham

You gave me a geranium.
I said,
‘You know I’m not into salad.’
You said, ‘It’s a houseplant.
Not even you could kill this’.

But it was your way of saying
I love you.
The geranium sat there in passive,
Filtering C02 and judging me,
Reporting back my foibles and transgressions,
Taking photographs
When it should have been taking

But you looked at me,
Your eyes as dopey as a spaniel,
And I forgave you your hardy annual.
‘When will it flower and bloom?’, I asked.
‘When will it light up my room?
When will its scent take to the breeze,
Provide pollen for the bees,
Put me at my ease,
Probably make me sneeze,
Each one of which is
One eighth of an orgasm,
That eight of these
And I should think of you?’

That night I trailed my fingers through a box of
J. Arthur Bowyer’s Syncho-Boost Houseplant Compost,
And it reminded me of you, Pete.
The geranium made me complete, Pete.
My life so recently deplete, Pete,
Of love,
Now suddenly filled like the pot,
This upturned cranium
With the roots of the geranium,
Need I explainium?
Sorry for being a painium.

Because you liked me enough
To give me a plant
And I liked you enough
To keep it
Pot it, plant it, deadhead it,
Water it, feed it, treat it for greenfly,
I even gave it a name, ‘Dirty Liza’,
Because she liked her fertiliser.
Every time I looked she was there
And still alive because I still care
And even though you eventually
Like the pests I treated,
Like the greenfly,
I never did
Glean why
You gave it to me to begin with,
Suffice to believe
You liked me enough
To give me a geranium.

Robert Garnham has been performing comedy poetry around the UK for ten years at various fringes and festivals, and has had two collections published by Burning Eye. He has made a few short TV adverts for a certain bank, and a joke from one of his shows was listed as one of the funniest of the Edinburgh Fringe. He was recently an answer on the TV quiz show Pointless. Lately he has been writing short stories for magazines and a humorous column in the Herald Express newspaper. He is the editor of Spilling Cocoa. In 2020 he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His website can be found at https://professorofwhimsy.com


Exercising my Demon, by Aaron Williams

I was possessed by a demon so lazy,
He left the Priest feeling slightly hazy.
He wanted some ecclesiastical action,
But this Demon didn’t give him no satisfaction.

My Priest said “you’ve got to stick it to him!”
So I took us both to the local gym.
I did some cardio and did some weights,
I stayed there until really very late.

Finally, when doing some cross-training,
My chest started straining,
And a voice (not mine) wailed like a Banshee,
“The power of exercise compels me!”

So that was how my Demon was exorcised;
Bloodless, sweaty Holy exercise.
Now I’m a major fitness fanatic
Thanks to forces oh so Satanic!

Newly middle-aged male who wrote a short ‘poem’ on a whim a few months ago and is quite enjoying writing rubbish when the whim takes him. Also, still harbour a mild grudge against a former English teacher’s cruel and public comment questioning my intellect 😂


Smuggled Goods, by Brian Burden

How many cigs did Cyril smuggle through?
Five hundred twenties underneath the floor
Of his old camper van. If he makes two –
Two quid a pack, I mean, he can be sure

Of a cool grand. Could Cyril ask for more?
Of course he could. He bought a ton of hash –
A hundred quid’s worth, at a legal store
In Amsterdam. He’ll sell you some for cash.

Some porno mags: they’re awful tacky tat,
Some dodgy DVDs and videos –
For his own use. You can’t blame him for that.
Have you seen his old lady? Christ, she’s hideous!

He says the human traffic pays the best,
Desperate people fleeing for their lives
From torturers and tyrants and the rest.
And most of them have relatives and wives

To swell the profits when their turn comes round.
Cyril’s a pretty enterprising man.
But after his last run, well, Cyril found
Exhaust fumes did for one young African.

Come out the back. I’ve got her in the freezer.
She looks so warm, but she’s as cold as ice.
It really upset Cyril, poor old geezer.
So is she nice, my friend, or is she nice?

You’re right, and she deserves a decent grave.
You have to show respect when all is said.
Now, on that score, could I call in a favour,
So Cyril can sleep easy in his bed?

Lots of new building going on round here,
You tell me in your knowing sort of voice.
Foundations for a library and a school,
Even a church, so Cyril’s spoilt for choice.
Just name your price. If Cyril says Okay,
We’ll bed her deep in decent Essex clay.

Hey, just a tick, do you see what I see?
I saw an eyelid flicker, I could swear.
Help me to lift her out; bring her in here.
Put her down by the fire; give her some air.

It’s all right, love, you’re in safe company.
Just swallow some of this. There. Is that better?
Should we call Cyril up on the Q.T.?
Say she’s revived and can he come and get her?

No, I don’t think so either. There’s more profit
In letting Cyril think he’s in a fix.
She says she’s grateful. Girl, think nothing of it.
We’re going to sort out Cyril’s box of tricks.

Pass me the phone, love. This ought to be fun.
Remember, your mate Cyril thinks he’s lost you.
Hi, Cyril! We’ll clear up your mess, old chum.
But we want cash up front, and it’ll cost you.

Brian Burden is a retired college lecturer. He grew up in Banbury, Oxfordshire and graduated from Oxford University. He now lives in Essex. This poem is from his self-published collection In A Green


‘Trip advisor review for Hiker, Hump and Hamper’ by Hannah Stone

We’d like to commend Fenella and StJohn
for hosting our great mini-break.
They provided all you might need
to satisfy every appetite.
My companion especially appreciated
the fruit flavoured prophylactics on the hospitality tray,
and the thoughtful lamination of the dildo catalogue.
The novelty shaped cruditées made great finger food
for our picnic. On the downside, the maps to local beauty spots
best suited for al fresco quickies lacked adequate scale,
and, as a result, we came unstuck in Dogger’s Beckbottom.
We look forward to coming again, and won’t hesitate
to recommend your facility to our discerning friends.
It’s just the thing for the next diocesan team bonding exercise.

Hannah Stone has two collections of poetry, (Lodestone (2016), and Missing Miles (2017). She also teaches for the Open University, grows her own fruit and vegetables and goes for long walks where she alarms passing wildlife with expletives about first drafts that are proving reculcitrant. She convenes the poets/composers forum for the Leeds Lieder Festival. She plans to stop taking life seriously when she enters her seventh decade next year.


Shut Up, by Ann Gibson

Oh please shut up, don’t give me any more
small details of your life’s minutiae.
You’ve infinite capacity to bore.

Repeated ramblings of your wondrous cure;
pills taken, when, with what, how often, why.
Just please shut up, don’t tell me any more

of visits to exclusive fashion stores,
your bits and bobs, where bought, how much, what size.
Your infinite capacity to bore

includes recurrent wanderings galore
on distant labyrinthine family ties.
You can’t shut up! Don’t give me any more

inane claptrap, my hammered ears are sore;
the constant chatter makes me want to die.
Your infinite capacity to bore

is all-consuming, so hard to ignore,
lays waste my brain and melts my twitching eyes.
Please just shut up – don’t say any more.
You’ve infinite capacity to bore.

Ann Gibson lives in North Yorkshire. She has published poetry in Acumen, Prole, Orbis, Ariadne’s Thread, The Poets’ Republic magazines and various anthologies. Her poetry has also appeared online in Algebra of Owls, Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Pulsar, Ofi Press Magazine and The Ekphrasis Review.