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.

 

Louisa Campbell ‘ How to tell if you’re in the wrong story’

Your fairy godmother hasn’t a clue.
One of your sisters is wicked, but the other one’s actually quite nice and lends you her vegan purple sparkle Doc Martens whenever you want.
Your pumpkin doesn’t turn into anything since your American friend warned you that pumpkin pie makes you boff.
Your mice live in an old upright Hoover in the cupboard under the stairs. You moved it once and they flew out of the hose like tiny brown fluffy cannon balls and you stood on your IKEA coffee table and tried not to scream.
You don’t want to go to the ball anyway. The last time you went to the ball you were groped by Cyril from accounts, necessitating a swift manoeuvre involving a half-empty bottle of Cava, one of those gold-painted chairs and your knee.
Your slippers are pink fluffy ones from Marks and Spencer’s and are easily big enough for most people in your town including the postman.
You have a perfectly good carriage, i.e. a 1996 purple Nissan Micra 1litre Auto, which you wouldn’t change for the world.
Your prince rode off in the wrong direction and quite frankly you were glad to see the back of him.

Short Bio

Louisa Campbell lives in Kent, England, where she makes a living burgling jelly moulds and writing poetry. There’s more info. on the latter at https://louisacampbellblog.wordpress.com/about/

 

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.

 

How to wake up by Pat Edwards

Always set an alarm, although you may not need it. Becoming fully awake is more a process than an event. My recommendations are as follows:

Accept that the sound made by your alarm is real, not imagined.
Accept also that it heralds the prospect of a day that requires your attention.
You would not have set an alarm if there was no imperative to get up and out.
Avoid thinking it is safe to close your eyes and drift a little.
We both know that you will fall into a deep sleep,
which will either precipitate lateness or a headache.
Acknowledge the presence of any other humans or animals sharing your bed.
Rushed or even luxurious hanky-panky is not recommended,
as this only makes getting up more complicated and/or upsets the pets caught up in the commotion. You could, if deemed thoughtful and/or encouraging, voice the fact that you did think about it, then move swiftly on.
Get some clothes on pronto, to discourage aforementioned prospect of a physical encounter,
and to preserve your dignity for Christ’s sake.
Do not try to make the bed immediately if persons or pets remain within its confines.
If they too have vacated, feel free to carry on.

That’s about it really.
It’s safe to assume that you are, in fact, up.
The awake bit may depend on caffeine, shower and other sundry paraphernalia but, essentially, you’re good to go.

Repeat ad infinitum as the alternative is, for the most part, singularly unappealing.

Pat Edwards is a writer, teacher and performer living in Mid Wales. Her work has appeared in publications such as Obsessed with Pipework, Amaryllis, The Fat Damsel, Picaroon, The Rat’s Ass and Ink Pantry. Pat runs Verbatim poetry open mics and is curating the 2017 Welshpool Poetry Festival.

 

A quick message, and a poem from Robert Garnham

Hello,

Just to let you know that I’m working through the submissions. I’ve been inundated! It’s great reading all the poems, quite inspirational in fact. If you haven’t heard from me yet, then don’t worry, you will.
Anyway, here’s one from me, just to demonstrate the sort of things I do. 

They’re all called ‘Poem’, by the way. I come up with the titles first, and then the poems just see, to write themselves.

Poem
You’ll like the countryside, she said,

There’s lots of scenery,

There’s lots of greenery.

There’s fields and trees and they’re all green,

Especially the evergreens,

The greenest evergreens you’ll ever see,

And there’s moss and dappled sun and rhododendrons,

And there’s villages and villages greens

And the village greens are green

And everyone eats their greens

And also some of the tractors are green.

But I like the city and there’s green here too.

The Starbucks logo is mostly green

And so is the fungus in the bus station.

And my friend Pete’s car is green

And so is the tie i was wearing yesterday,

And the traffic lights are occasionally green

And salt and vinegar crisp packets,

Again, green,

And the District Line is green

And it passes through Turnham Green

And even though the neon signs are multicoloured

You could probably turn em green

And in any case

People here are too busy eating donuts and hummus.

We frowned across the plastic

Bus station cafe table.

Her coat was green

And so was her luggage.

Tenderly, I asked,

Would you like some broccoli,

Just for the journey?

No thanks, she replied,

I’ve got an orange.

Robert Garnham is a spoken word artist originally from Surrey. He has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe for the last three years, and at various festivals and performance poetry nights including Bang Said the Gun, Hammer and Tongue, Evidently and Jawdance. His first collection ‘Nice’ was published by Burning Eye Books and he was longlisted as Saboteur Awards Spoken Word Artist of the Year in 2016 and 2017. He recently headlined at The Duplex in New York.

 

Letter from the Editor

Hello! My name is Robert Garnham, and I am the new editor of Spilling Cocoa.

I have spent the last few years performing whimsical poetry and spoken word around the UK at some of the top spoken word nights, such as Bang Said The Gun in London and Manchester, Hammer and Tongue in Bristol and Brighton, and I’ve taken shows to the Edinburgh Fringe. Oh, and last year I headlined at The Duplex in New York.

I’m really looking forward to reading submissions and publishing the best humorous poetry. Basically the editorial policy is, anything that makes me laugh, or that I might think will make you laugh! I’m looking to continue the good work of Jonathan and to maintain Spilling Cocoa as the online journal of choice for the discerning reader.

The email address is unchanged, at admin@spillingcocoa.com