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.

 

Chiffon, by Alice Carter

Daffodil seeds thrived too early in the cold.
Her parents were dead, they said
But still she waited in silence of the dead.
She waited in red.

Daffodil seeds thrived too early in the cold.
They told her that she was wrong.
That something about her was wrong.
But she didn’t see that the little girl had gone.
And it was then that it was done.

Her red coat was made of chiffon.
The flames were red
And dead well before they were gone.

A girl in red and a girl dead.
The reed had seen the yellow,
Making them dead in sorrow and dread.

She was the one in the wrong.
The other girl who said.
She was the one who had gone.
The winter was dead and gone.
Gone with the little girl singing her song.

The daffodils were dead,
The timing was wrong.
It was her, the girl in chiffon;
That had done something wrong.

When the servers sounded the song,
She realised that she was wrong.
She had been too headstrong.
Burned and red,
Before it was dead and gone.

The other girl who sang her folksong,
She was the one in the wrong.
But it was her they said,
Her the girl in chiffon red,
Who was the one in the wrong.

The girl in chiffon was not wrong,
They had told her to do it or be gone.
The folksong girl had told her to do it,
But she was in the wrong.
And now her time would be long.
Spending it with others of wrong,
Others who had their own,
Their own folksong song.

Daffodil seeds thrived too early in the cold.
They told her that everything had gone.
And if she was in here for long,
Her folksong girl would too be gone,
And the daffodils seeds would too be gone.

I am a 22-year-old aspiring writer from London. I am currently working on my first children’s book, adult novel and original musical.

This poem is about a girl with a mental schizophrenic disability who on acting on the voices in her head accidently set fire to her home. She escapes but her parents do not.
It is about her journey will mental illness. Discovering that she has it, accepting it, and then dealing with it.

 

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.

 

The Land of Cheese, by Sarah Henry

Hit me again
with a log
of Vermont
cheddar,
paired with
seeded crackers.

Let me decide
on the best
French brie.
A round baked
over scalloped
potatoes
is a possibility.

Roll me a wheel
of Spain’s manchego
in the underpass
of the supermarket.

Lend me a wedge
of Dutch gouda
to make a doorstop.

Feed me a Greek
omelet every day
and keep feta
on hand for security.

Give me a slice
of American
to deposit
in my stomach’s
food bank.

Find me a land
where cheese
is a food group
and the staff of life.

Sarah Henry used to work at the busy switchboard of a major American newspaper. Now she writes poetry and lives in a cave.

 

Hen Party, by Belinda Rimmer

Hen Party

The afternoon was hot and steamy,
made worse by all of us crammed into one room.
With open hearts and lipstick kisses,
we raised a glass or two or three
to the bride-to-be.

An artist breezed in murmuring something
about a life drawing class.
He prepped us on perspective,
shading and how to furnish stick men
with all the necessary bits.

Some of us coughed, others laughed
and the bride-to-be said: bring it on.

We waited for our life model.
Had anyone seen him?
He’d either taken a liking to the bathroom
or a disliking to us,
or else had suffered stage fright.

Finally, he appeared,
fake-tanned and on the wrong side of forty.

Our fidgety embarrassment
dripped and seeped
into curtains, carpet and settee
as we willed him to put away
the pendulous dead weight,
silvery fish-scale of a thing,
so disproportionately large
for such a thin body.

Belinda has worked as a psychiatric nurse, counsellor and lecturer. She has also taught creative arts in primary schools. Her poems have been published in magazines and on-line. She won the Poetry in Motion Competition as part of Cheltenham Poetry Festival and came second in her first poetry slam.

http://www.belindarimmer.com

 

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.

 

Needlepoint, by Maggie Mackay

Mum loved to knit

with love, lamb’s wool, mohair,

needles close by or underarm

or in her mouth.

She leant to fetch a new skein

from the bag on the carpet

and began knitting with blood.

The point punctured throat

and a Saturday evening in A and E

opened her eyes.

Maggie Mackay is in her final Masters year at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has work in print and online including The Everyday Poet edited by Deborah Alma, Bare Fiction, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, I am Not a Silent Poet and with Three Drops Press.

 

You know, Wassername by Rachael Clyne

You know, Wassername

‘er wi’ mucky frocks

eeh she were a chatterbox,

chubby knees, never a please

or a howdoyoudo.
Knew her when she were flea high

to a snot-rag – now look, she’s writ a book
a best seller, gorra fella wi bags of it.

‘Appen I’d’ve done t’same if I’d a mind ter,
mark my peas and cucumbers,
it’ll be filthy as a brass’s gusset.
Yer can tek girl out of t’frying pan
but yer canna tek snicket out of’t’girl.

Mine’s a gin and orange luv, no ice.

RACHAEL CLYNE lives in Glastonbury. Her prizewinning collection Singing at the Bone Tree – is published by Indigo Dreams. Anthologies: The Very Best of 52, Book of Love and Loss, Poems for a Liminal Age. Magazines: Tears in the Fence, Prole, The Rialto, Under the Radar, The Interpreters House.