Exercising my Demon, by Aaron Williams

I was possessed by a demon so lazy,
He left the Priest feeling slightly hazy.
He wanted some ecclesiastical action,
But this Demon didn’t give him no satisfaction.

My Priest said “you’ve got to stick it to him!”
So I took us both to the local gym.
I did some cardio and did some weights,
I stayed there until really very late.

Finally, when doing some cross-training,
My chest started straining,
And a voice (not mine) wailed like a Banshee,
“The power of exercise compels me!”

So that was how my Demon was exorcised;
Bloodless, sweaty Holy exercise.
Now I’m a major fitness fanatic
Thanks to forces oh so Satanic!

Newly middle-aged male who wrote a short ‘poem’ on a whim a few months ago and is quite enjoying writing rubbish when the whim takes him. Also, still harbour a mild grudge against a former English teacher’s cruel and public comment questioning my intellect 😂

 

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.

 

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.

 

Percussion Band, or Letting the Whole School Down by Marilyn Francis

Overawed by circumstance
(sounding brass and angels)
I missed three cymbal clashes.

No one was more surprised
than me when Miss Madden
promoted me from triangles.

Cymbals are a crucial element
in this performance, she said,
I’m going to trust you

to get it right, on the night.
I loved Miss Madden
for choosing me.

It seems that failing to strike
a note at all is worse than
striking the wrong one.

Nowadays I think it was more
the cymbolic representation
of one hand clapping.

Marilyn Francis lives, works, and writes poems near Radstock in the wild south-west of England. She has had one collection of poems, “red silk slippers”, published by Circaidy Gregory Press. She also has some other poems out and about in the world, though she has even more lazing in her notebooks.

 

Assembly by Marilyn Francis

It was while we were singing
‘All Things Bright And Beautiful’
that I first became Superman
soaring over the dull heads
red cloaked
and fast
as a dart
into the blue.

Clarissa Kent Form 1B
was just an empty uniform
on the school hall floor.

(first published in Domestic Cherry 4)

Marilyn Francis lives, works, and writes poems near Radstock in the wild south-west of England. She has had one collection of poems, “red silk slippers”, published by Circaidy Gregory Press. She also has some other poems out and about in the world, though she has even more lazing in her notebooks.

 

Hornythology by Neil Laurenson

The lesson would have gone well
If they had at least learned how to spell
Ornithology
Or so he thought.
He’d brought thirty dictionaries
And asked them to look up the word
Which they did
Online
And as well as words about birds
They found images
Of robins, sparrows
And great tits.

Neil Laurenson has read at the Wenlock Poetry Festival and Ledbury Poetry Festival and will be reading at The Quiet Compere at Worcestershire Lit Fest event in Worcester in June. His debut pamphlet, Exclamation Marx!, was published by Silhouette Press in May.

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Under the Hummer Tree by Simon Pinkerton

The Hummer Tree,
Sacred pillar of our school community.
Site of countless hummers.

All-season hummers.
The Hummer Tree bare
And party to blue-lipped, quick, cold-trembling hummers.
New growth, new blowers and blowees.
Hot, sweaty, teenage-fumble hummers,
Welcome cool shade and relative darkness
So as not to showcase the hummer too much,
Or get too hot.

And of course, dry, scratchy leaves falling on my head,
Both heads,
All the heads,
Giving head hidden from the Head
And her Deputy Head hummers.

No matter the season it was always
Cool to be given or to give
A hummer under The Hummer Tree.

(originally published by Mad Swirl, February 2015)

Simon Pinkerton is a humour and fiction writer, very famous and drives a very elegant posh car (Hyundai) and lives in a sought-after area (a shed near Heathrow airport). Please read his writing at McSweeney’s, Word Riot, Minor Literature[s] and other sweet places.

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School Uniform by Jonathan Pinnock

Henry’s Mum was making tea
when the Headmaster telephoned:
‘There’s been an accident in Biology –
I’m afraid your son’s been cloned.

‘We wouldn’t normally bother you
(except in case of disease)
but from a practical point of view,
we’re concerned about the fees.’

Henry’s Mum became quite grim,
and her voice was filled with dread.
‘How will I cope with two like him?’
‘It’s … worse than that,’ he said,

‘We didn’t notice what was wrong
till it was far too late.
You began today with just one son,
but you finished it with eight.’

Next morning there was quite a crop:
thirty-two from just one mould,
and when the process finally stopped,
five hundred and twelve, all told.

After that appalling day,
the school went to the wall.
The other pupils moved away,
so they renamed it Henry Hall.

Group activities in class
suffered less from indecision,
but games became a total farce:
they all played the same position.

Exam results were uniform,
both first time and re-takes.
They stuck to a consistent norm,
including the mistakes.

Careers were trivial to fix:
some took command of tanks,
a few went into politics,
the rest into merchant banks.

And Henry’s Mum still makes the tea,
when called on by a son,
each time wondering wistfully
if he’s the proper one.

(Originally published in Every Day Poets)

Jonathan Pinnock runs this place.

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Poetry Lesson by Carole Bromley

Choose any animal, the teacher said,
maybe one you don’t like
and listen to his point of view.

Mary chose a rat, Fred a spider,
Jack a duck-billed platypus
but I thought of the rudest word I knew

and picked a dung beetle
not because I don’t like them
but so I could say poo.

Miss wasn’t amused and sent me
to stand outside the door
where there was nothing to do

so I pulled faces at the others
when her back was turned.
Jack laughed. She threw him out too.

We listed animals we didn’t like:
crocodiles, bulls, woodlice, sharks,
wasps, rhinos, the kangaroo.

I said ‘What about seagulls
when they snatch your chips?’
and Jack said ‘What about you?’

So I said he was an ape anyway
like the king of the swingers.
He belonged in a zoo.

But just then the head walked by,
looked in at the class writing poems,
said ‘What have you been up to?’

So Jack looked a litle bit sheepish
and I said ‘We’ve been acting daft.’
And he said ‘So what should you do?’

And I said ‘Say sorry to miss, Sir’
and Jack said ‘Not do it again’
and he said ‘Gentlemen, after you,’

and opened the door to the classroom
where Jack managed two lines about seagulls
and I did a dead good haiku.

Carole Bromley lives in York where she is the stanza rep and runs poetry surgeries. Winner of a number of first prizes including the Bridport. Two collections with Smith/Doorstop, the most recent being The Stonegate Devil, October 2015.

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