Uncle Phil by Tom McColl

I was throwing darts
at the dartboard
pinned to a wardrobe
at my Uncle Phil’s.

Uncle Phil came in.
He wasn’t really my uncle,
but then he wasn’t really a dartboard either,
and when he said
I’m just getting something from the wardrobe,
and had his back to me
as he opened the wardrobe door,
I threw the dart.

How he yowled
as I hit the bullseye
right between the shoulder blades.

I was five,
and I’ve never felt so alive
before or since
as when I heard that dull thud
and saw my mum’s friend –
my fake uncle –

Thomas McColl has had poems published in magazines such as Envoi, Rising, Iota and Ink, Sweat and Tears, and his first full collection of poetry, Being With Me Will Help You Learn, is out now from Listen Softly London Press.



Stitch-Up by Andy Mann

Thread for her:

Time was, I’d pander to your whim.
Though recently the bruin’s been more grisly than teddy.
This panda watched you. See?
This cuddly love-token you accepted in your boudoir,
my cutesy Chinese bear with webcam eyes.
He saw you fuck my friend.
That knowledge morphed me to the fiend that I’ve become,
more Frankenstein than lover, frankly,

Thread for him:

Friendship, love, hate,
what should you sacrifice to mate? Old Mate,
my erstwhile friend, perfidious cuckolding stallion.
She was my mate; I gave her everything, my life, my love, my hope.
I should have smelt the coffee. Dope.
Never the angel I believed, I was deceived. Oh, not by her: by me.
Yes, I created her. I made that woman fit an ideal in my brain.
In truth, she would fuck anything in trousers. And she did.

‘What you see you get,’ she said: to me, to them, no doubt to you.
Hey, sauce for goose is sauce for gander.
Take another gander. Many have.
But then, of course, you can’t, Old Friend,
Duct-taped to the body you’ve enjoyed.
So, you desired her tits? Well, you shall wear them,
her bits for yours; slot for manhood. Good?
That’s fair exchange in my book. Synergy.

Dead needle:

She wanted cock. I’ll give her yours, Old Pal.
Wear it proudly, Sweet Thing, may it bring you joy.
What’s that you’re mumbling Sweetness? ‘Stitch-up?’
If you say so, Darling — Suture self.
With this rusty scalpel I’ll excise your faithless hearts—
(where some move on – forgive, let live – I’m going to up the ante)
—and scoff them, braised with fava beans, your livers,
and a nice Chianti.

A version of this piece was first published in Infernal Ink Magazine in 2013.

Some say Andy Mann is the dark alter ego of an octogenarian Anglican vicar. Others believe he was once the white-clad nemesis of Jeremy Clarkson. The only facts known for certain: he has conned enough gatekeepers to get fiction, creative non-fiction and non-fiction published in diverse places, in print and online and was once, falsely, accused of poetry. Andy’s hobbies include baroque music, embroidery and taxidermy. He is currently underpinning his sagging creative writing pursuit on a degree course at Birkbeck, University of London, where lecturers and fellow students insist he is kept under maximum physical restraint at all times.


MARIE (who stole husbands and ended up alone) by Sherri Turner

The favourite sport of loose Marie who lived at number twenty three,
was practising seduction when she flirted with her neighbours’ men.
Her reddened lips would pout and tempt and no poor soul would be exempt
until they could resist no more and turned up at the harlot’s door.
When she had had her evil way they asked Marie if they could stay
but she just shooed them off before she moved on to her next amour.
The wives despised this piece of fluff and pretty soon had had enough
and so they all devised a plan to frighten off the bravest man.
The message first reached Toby Grey who, playing golf one Saturday,
found all his club mates in a snigger because his ‘niblick’ wasn’t bigger.
The next to hear was Jack McGrew who learned that everybody knew
how premature the consequence of his excess exuberance.
The worst was grocer Michael Stout, who nearly died when he found out
his customers were all aware his veg were not a matching pair.
The men soon found that all who’d strayed had had their failings well displayed.
They hung their sorry heads in shame and knew Marie must be to blame.
Despite the shortness of her skirt and fine ability to flirt
her efforts now were quite ignored. No longer was Marie adored.
She soon became a dreadful sight: her lipstick smeared, her hair a fright.
No company of either sex would anymore her threshold vex.

It’s rumoured that, on warmer nights, she walks the streets in fishnet tights
beseeching anyone to visit.
It’s no surprise they don’t, though, is it?

Sherri Turner lives in Surrey. She has had numerous short stories published in women’s magazines and has won prizes for both poetry and short stories. She likes to write silly poems when she feels in danger of forgetting that this is supposed to be fun.