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.

 

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.

 

Two Poems from Joe Williams

Training
Day

I have emphasised
the importance
of using
appropriate language
in maintaining a
professional veneer.

I have stressed
the significance
of the
client-supplier relationship
in ensuring
customer satisfaction.

I am pointing at
the projected screen
to introduce my
next theme,
when the fire
alarm erupts into life.

I shout, ‘Fucking
hell!’

Harrogate

In most towns the
station pub’s the worst one that there is.
In Harrogate it
proudly boasts its title.
Pub of the Year
2015.
Bloody
show-offs.

Joe Williams is a writer and performing poet from Leeds. In 2017 his debut pamphlet, ‘Killing the Piano’, was published by Half Moon Books, and he won the prestigious Open Mic Competition at the Ilkley Literature Festival.