On Writing Poetry, by Nikki Fine

I have no inkling how to start,
And listen to these words in vain:
“Technique is just the Greek for art.”

The moment when true lovers part,
A wartime death, a drop of rain –
I have no inkling how to start.

I seek the words to set apart
A poem sure to bring me fame,
With no technique to make it art.

An idea’s there within my heart;
Thesauruses must take the strain
For I’ve no inkling how to start

And clogged up rhyme, and counterpart
Strict rhythm, make themselves the bane
Of technique, just the Greek for art!

Heroic couplets won’t impart
Enough to fool my struggling brain.
I have no inkling how to start
And technique’s all just Greek for art.

Nikki Fine is a former teacher who would now rather have some fun in life. She has previously had poems published in The Interpreter’s House, Riggwelter and the Oxford Magazine, and has been long-listed for the Fish International Poetry Prize.

 

Catcht Oot, by Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Yis grindle grinder drosses off
hindneath hyst silkun ballons.
Hym telt hystself,
Nay bodies peepwatched mun plezure,
mun rod encumbered by mun tinglers.
Yis grinder trust hyst portal keyed up tootall tite,
Mae, hym discollect hyst damen’s mudder.
Herst haft ansistin unt key, ket por emgenzees.
Wist na bell-warnen ou alarums, herst cum tryst-soft
yis ink-drenched nycht. Hersta optycks largen
mosecs avaunt his staffthix spurtles y floops.
Hersta cheekles flambé, y hersta gottenfort enteer
yis grinder ist hersta suna, bie wedvow ohdidohs.
Hersta limbles lythen, hersta cardo pinds y pomps
ast herst flicks y grinds yis enshamed grindle yute.

Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon
Ceinwen lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies. She graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in 2017. She believes everyone’s voices counts.

 

Not Getting Dressed, by Frank Dixon

You can’t put your shoes on
because all the left ones
have crabs in.

Your tops all have spiders in them.

There are aliens
in your knickers.

There are beetles
in your skin.

Take your face off.
Then, you will just be blood.

Or, you can go out naked.

Frank Dixon is originally from Chorlton, Manchester. He now lives in a valley just outside Huddersfield. His poem ‘Impatience’ was published in ‘I bet I can make you laugh’ by Bloomsbury in August 2018. He likes computer and board games, and loves precious things.

 

Malacophagy, by Mark Totterdell

In a pub that overlooked saltwater,
I ate a heap of mussels,
so sweet, so soft, I never tasted better,
well worth the mess and hassle.

On the beach at Sidmouth, one damp summer,
I chewed into a whelk,
a plug of solid snot or slimy rubber
not fit for decent folk.

In a big marquee one time, in public,
I went down on an oyster.
The sea was rising, falling in my gullet
for what seemed ever after.

By the Med, with chips, I chomped on suckers
of deep-fried octopus.
I fear my smart and subtle distant cousin
was hardly well-served thus.

‘Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared widely in magazines and have occasionally won competitions. His collections are ‘This Patter of Traces’ (Oversteps Books, 2014) and ‘Mapping’ (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2018; http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/mark-totterdell/4594336680).’ 

 

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

 

This Poem Frets at the Side, by Beth McDonough

all shrivelly toes, won’t wet her face
needs to head right in now
worries about red itchy eyes
struggles against the flow
can’t propel her own core
nor negotiate with outerward bits
doesn’t have the courage to slice
through surface chop
simply won’t coordinate, cooperate

has lost rhythm
never left time to breathe
is scared to go out of her depth

This poem
swims like a brick.

 

Extra-Extra Terrestrials, by Colin Heaney

I met an extra-terrestrial,
Black orbs on cue.
It told me its favourite movie,
It called it Slacker too.
I eyed it with suspicion,
For the fellow was rather odd.
I asked if it paid taxes,
It said taxes were the devil’s lodge.
We laughed and I brought it to the Monty,
Seedy, beer stained seats.
It settled with a whiskey, and asked to have it neat.
It spoke of the universe, but mostly of the death of its future and creatures with many boobs.
This caused a guilty giggle, for I said, ‘I am useless too!”
Then a fight erupted, rather out of fashion.
I had asked if it liked music,
It called its favourite artist Rasmus.
I blinked, and thought that was very strange,
I expected something better and altogether more exotic.
It chuckled and said sophistication was left to Cher and Rick Astley.
I don’t remember the first punch, but it hurt nonetheless,
Then it pinned me to the table, oh how horrid was its breath.
I asked if it liked Lemsip, if only to break the ice.
For a split second it stared, slimy and incandescent, then it stirred,
And wiped away the alcoholic remnants.
I watched it leave, and yelled, ‘what are you doing?’
The alien responded, ‘I have work in the morning, and I am sick of my boss and his booing.’
I noted the similarity and nodded ascent, and went back to my brew,
Dreading the following day’s work dues, for my own boss was a right ole fool.

Colin is a twenty-one year old aspiring writer (never heard that before). He may or may not be an extra-terrestrial. He has an unhealthy obsession with coffee. If anyone should want to find his other work, they won’t. It’s scattered around the globe, and can only be found by Nicholas Cage and a rucksack.

 

Poem, by Robert Garnham

Poem

At what point does a mess become a muddle?
At what point does day become the night?
At what point does a spillage become a puddle?
At what point does a shudder become a fright?

At what point does a brag become a boast?
At what point does a mess become a fuss?
At what point does bread become toast?
At what point does a train become a rail replacement bus?

At what point do we become middle aged?
And do we only know we are middle aged when we’ve lived
Our whole lives?
Is it only then that we can look back and say, oh yes,
That’s when I was middle aged, that’s when I had a
Midlife crisis,
The day I went out and bought a jet Ski?

At what point does a crowd become a throng?
At what point do pants become a thong?
At what point does a dirge become a song?
At what point does a whiff become a pong?

At what point does a settee become a sofa?
At what point does a look become a demeanour?
At what point does a pamphlet become a brochure?
At what point does a verbal warning become a grievance procedure?

At what point did I decide that maybe you weren’t the one for me?
Was if at the opera, or was it in the supermarket?
Or was it that time I came home and found you in bed
With a stamp collector from Barnstaple?

At what point does a trumpet become a bugle?
At what point does an imposition become an impertinence?
At what point does prudent become frugal?
At what point does a TV advert become a nuisance?

At what point does pruned become sheared?
At what point does uncanny become weird?
At what point does stubble become a beard?
At what point does a poem not have to rhyme?

At what point do we lose ourselves to the delirium of the
Beauty of the world of the planet of the people of the creatures
Of the moon of the tides of the sea of the land of the cities of the
Absolute if the spiritual of the technological or the brave of the bountiful
Of the beautiful, possibly at two PM on a Thursday afternoon.

At what point does it all become meaningless?

 

The Thirty Second Mariner by Cherry Potts

(with apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

It was the ancient mariner
Who stoppeth one in three
‘I killed a bird’ He cried
‘The ship becalmed
A flat salt sea
All my shipmates died of thirst
save me’

‘Forget the bird!’
the wedding guest replied
‘Let me sneak you right inside
I’ll get you a drink
(Here, let’s avoid that dope-head Taylor
He’d talk the hind-leg off a sailor)
You’ll not be wanting water I should think…
Come and meet the bride.’

Cherry Potts normally writes short fiction, but has recently published a vast novel. She publishes other people’s stories and poems at Arachne Press. ‘The Thirty Second Mariner’ was written in response to a newspaper column which complained about the length of the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner.’

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