My Other Sticker is Funny, by Claire Hadfield

My other sticker is funny.

They began as a statement, a declaration, proclaiming affection for a prime location.
I ‘heart’ New York- a harmless affirmation of warmest thoughts- just information.

Then things evolved, just a slight mutation; we began to proclaim our procreation.
Baby on board, Lil’ Princess, Lil’ Man all hail and salute the next generation.
Do we really need such information in the form of an adhesive notification?

But the worst, the nadir, the abomination is a relatively recent innovation;
Your family in graphic representation.
The mum, the dad and confirmation of their successful insemination, cartoonified in silhouette
Reduced to a ‘quirky’ simplification of hetero-normative ideation.

“So what?”, you say, “Cease your assassination!
Why begrudge us confirmation of our plastic-coated validation?”
No! Go look elsewhere for your aspiration.
There’s only one cure for my vexation: total sticker annihilation!

Twenty years of teaching teens led to a highly developed sense of cynicism, a thick skin, and the compulsory eyes in the back of the head. Now a teacher-trainer at Plymouth Marjon University, Claire gets paid to indulge her curiosity, enthusiasm and passion for words on a daily basis.

 

Not every mushroom is safe to eat, by Jorge Leiva Ardana

Not every mushroom is safe to eat

Whenever you switch on the telly
there are always people cooking.
You come home with an empty belly,
in a blink they have finished a pudding.

They cook from home, Mexico or Brittany,
their food doesn’t burn or get soggy.
Like Beethoven composing a symphony,
while yours is rejected by the doggy.

With sharper knives than a two edge sword,
plenty of gadgets you can’t afford.
All you have is a ruined frying pan
that sticks when heating up a can.

Using fancy ingredients like tamarind or tahini,
but in the store they’ve run out of tapioca.
What’s the difference between courgette and zucchini?
why do some call it yuca and others mandioca?

Why your stew doesn’t look like theirs?
Why in yours there is always hair?
What are the benefits of Himalayan salt?
Is that flavoursome for what it cost?

Without the necessary piece of advice,
no cooking lesson is ever complete,
so you won’t end up paying the price.
Mind you, not every mushroom is safe to eat.

Jorge Leiva is from South Spain and has been on the waiting list for a tonsillectomy since he was a child. Some of his work has appeared in Skylight 47 Magazine, The Galway Advertiser, Drawn to the light press, Headstuff.org, Dodging the Rain and 2 Meter Review. In 2019 he was long listed in the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year competition.

 

Gannet, by Catherine Doherty Nicholls

Gannet

Alice had a mallet
and she swung it at a gannet
as it swooped
to steal her sandwich at the beach

Then the gannet landed on the
sandwich,
and with malice
pecked her hand that held the mallet
till she screeched.

She was really bleeding
but the tide was not receding
so she swung again
and nearly cracked his head

In the great commotion
they were swallowed by the ocean
as they fought for ham and bread
and now they’re dead.

Catherine Doherty Nicholls

Winner of no Poetry Ireland Competition, or any other competition, no published debut collection, nothing printed anywhere yet.
Her poems have been nominated for nothing so she’s nominating this poem to go on this page – a great place to start.

She is the curator of nothing. Her anthology doesn’t exist, yet she keeps going.

A student of Kevin Higgins.

 

Ending up a vegetable, by Ray Pool

ENDING UP A VEGETABLE

Russell Sprout was rather stout
As wide as he was tall,
His appearance was hysterical
Verging on the spherical
Exactly like a ball.

As marmite’s not to everyone’s taste
While others seem to love it,
Russell drew a parallel
With some put off by a rotting smell
While others rose above it.

In one thing he was much admired
And worthy of a mention,
His green credentials were intact
An essential way of life in fact
And worthy of attention.

He never thought to change his name
Thinking that his shape was good,
While some it’s said look like their dog
He was a blend of toad and frog
Trying to be Robin Hood.
Let’s take leave of Russell Sprout
A tale as wide as tall,
It had its moments magical
But also some more tragical
It’s poetry after all.

 

Denis of Hackney, by John Davison

Comic craftsman, Denis Norden, gone at ninety-six
Settling into heaven, to play his verbal tricks.
Catching up with colleague Frank, two miners of great mirth,
You’ve left a joyful legacy of incalculable worth.

He worked behind the curtains, shifting props and scenery,
Ran a cinema in Watford and got a job at BBC.
Writing for Dick Bentley, and later Richard Briers,
Competing against Eric Sykes, and friends of Barry Cryer’s.

They ruled the roost for four decades, Denis Norden and Frank Muir,
You tickled all our funny bones, we couldn’t ask for more.
Enriching our vocabulary, provoking those in power,
Maximising merriment in every wireless hour.

Our descent into vulgarity you generally ignore,
You helped to archive quips and jokes from those who passed before.
It saddened me to read about your unexpected death
Now no new dialogue can flow from Dad, or Ron, or Eth.

You helped expose the fibs behind the adverts on TV,
The way commercial pressures tend to filter what we see.
You wrote some scripts for Hollywood, but never lost your touch
With families who think that West End theatres charge too much.

Alternative comedians now struggle to hold sway,
Not many have the stamina to write a film or play.
Britons watching widened screens will not forget you lightly,
But those traffic lights in Bal-ham no longer shine so brightly.

John Davison is a London-born writer of parodies, poems and lyrics, often on topical issues. He admires unusual puns and wordplay, frequents open mics in outer London, collaborating with musicians whenever opportunities present themselves. He supports a Twitter account https://twitter.com/sidsaucer

 

Chiffon, by Alice Carter

Daffodil seeds thrived too early in the cold.
Her parents were dead, they said
But still she waited in silence of the dead.
She waited in red.

Daffodil seeds thrived too early in the cold.
They told her that she was wrong.
That something about her was wrong.
But she didn’t see that the little girl had gone.
And it was then that it was done.

Her red coat was made of chiffon.
The flames were red
And dead well before they were gone.

A girl in red and a girl dead.
The reed had seen the yellow,
Making them dead in sorrow and dread.

She was the one in the wrong.
The other girl who said.
She was the one who had gone.
The winter was dead and gone.
Gone with the little girl singing her song.

The daffodils were dead,
The timing was wrong.
It was her, the girl in chiffon;
That had done something wrong.

When the servers sounded the song,
She realised that she was wrong.
She had been too headstrong.
Burned and red,
Before it was dead and gone.

The other girl who sang her folksong,
She was the one in the wrong.
But it was her they said,
Her the girl in chiffon red,
Who was the one in the wrong.

The girl in chiffon was not wrong,
They had told her to do it or be gone.
The folksong girl had told her to do it,
But she was in the wrong.
And now her time would be long.
Spending it with others of wrong,
Others who had their own,
Their own folksong song.

Daffodil seeds thrived too early in the cold.
They told her that everything had gone.
And if she was in here for long,
Her folksong girl would too be gone,
And the daffodils seeds would too be gone.

I am a 22-year-old aspiring writer from London. I am currently working on my first children’s book, adult novel and original musical.

This poem is about a girl with a mental schizophrenic disability who on acting on the voices in her head accidently set fire to her home. She escapes but her parents do not.
It is about her journey will mental illness. Discovering that she has it, accepting it, and then dealing with it.

 

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?

 

A Rustic Striptease, South Pembrokeshire, 1957 by Robert Nisbet

Intent upon a wasted youth,
we prowled the fairground: boxing booth,
squint rifles, chips, the Wall of Death.
We then approached, suspended breath,
the striptease, where a one-eyed man
(one-eyed, believe me if you can)
intoned full clear, did not dissemble,
This will make your trousers tremble.

And once within his fiendish tent,
our every inhibition went.
Beyond a glorious mist of gauze,
the object of our hearts’ applause.
We gazed upon her plump pink youth,
ogled indeed (I tell you sooth),
until, about her seventh pose
(a side-on breast, I do suppose)
a sudden dopey interlude.
Some punter, well and truly stewed,
as subtle as a blunted rasp,
called, Watch out, there’s a bloody wasp.
(In Pembrokeshire, the humble wasp
is rhymed with Cleopatra’s asp).

But interruption comes and goes.
She came unto her final pose,
described as .. you’ll not think me rude? ..
a full, uncluttered backside nude.

We lost all vestiges of shame.
as punters bellowed, That’s the game!
But just before our queen retired,
the cheering stilled, but, less desired,
that punter, very worst of men,
cried, There’s that bloody wasp again.

(previously published in The Seventh Quarry and in the author’s Prolebooks pamphlet, Merlin’s Lane)

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet with over 200 publications in Britain, as well as a number of appearances in the USA, in magazines like San Pedro River Review, Constellations, Illya’s Honey and Clementine Unbound.

 

RelationHit.com by James Woolf

Our florist closes late at night
We girls struggle to get by
So I built a little website
To keep our spirits high

“Why waste time with flowers
When you can say it with a bomb?
Don’t sit there and cower
Choose RelationHit.com

If your marriage is a non-event
Or his jokes put you to shame
Just tick the box marked Your Consent
And we’ll take him out the game”

My wicked wit helped us survive
A website selling slaughter!
But minutes after it went live
I got a “wife pop” order

I called the bloke – his name was Sid
I told him, “It’s a jest!”
He offered fifteen thousand quid
I said, “I’ll do the rest.”

By now RelationHit.com
Was choked with user traffic
Quite by chance I’d hit upon
A demented demographic

I quit my day job selling flowers
With one or two misgivings
Now I’m knifing nephews in the shower
Shoving sisters off tall towers
Giving gramps a surge of power
Well… you’ve got to earn a living

James Woolf is a writer of short stories, scripts and adverts and occasional poems. Ambit magazine will be publishing his story Mr and Mrs Clark and Blanche in January 2017. He was shortlisted in the Bridport Prize 2016, and R v Sieger – additional documents disclosed by the Crown Prosecution Service was highly commended in the 2015 London Short Story Prize and published in 2016. Prior to this, his plays have been produced in various off-West End venues including The King’s Head Theatre, the Arcola and the Theatre Royal Margate. Two radio plays have been broadcast including Kerton’s Story with Bill Nighy, Lesley Sharp and Stephen Moore.

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