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.

 

Doing It, by Heather Moulson

Doing It

Sexual intercourse did not begin for me.
In 1973.
That science lesson when we were told
we will all Have Sex in adulthood.
What?! Every night?! Doesn’t it hurt?!
I look down at my grey school skirt.
Girl’s faces screwed up in distaste.
Sir! Julie piped up, would we get paid?!

The lesson was a disaster,
Julie was sent to the headmaster

Against a tree during the miner’s strike,
Julie was known as the local bike.
But it wasn’t true, she was taking the piss,
it never went further than a kiss.
A french one with tongues, I believe,
although maybe I’m being naïve.
But she was intact like the rest of the class.
To be honest, it just sounded a pain in the arse.

 

Advice for undergraduates re-submitting work for this semester’s poetry module, by Emma Purshouse

Advice for undergraduates re-submitting work for this semester’s poetry module

If you see a cliché kill it dead.
Don’t use rhyme for rhyme’s sake, red.

Steer clear of obscure abstraction,
it will drive your lecturer to distraction.

Want to piss of him or her?
Then use a t’will, a t’was, a t’were.

All good things in moderation
applies in particular to alliteration

which when wildly wielded will
wind one up and make one ill.

At this point I’ll interject,
that it should only be used for deliberate effect.

As for rhythm don’t get me started
Please, avoid extra long lines which jut out miles further than the rest of the poem, these lines probably should be split and parted.

Oh and never say the same thing twice.
Don’t be an oxymoron all your life.

No tormented soul or bleeding heart,
this makes my nervous twitching start.

Show me, show me, please don’t tell.
Follow this advice and all will be well.

Emma’s first novel Dogged is now available to buy from Ignite Books.                                              https://ignitebooks.co.uk/products-page/emma-purshouses-books/

 

Truth, by Maurice Devitt

Truth

In my early years,
The Zebra Book of Facts for Boys
was my go-to reference;
rarely stuck for a capital city, flag
or element on the Periodic Table.
It was only when, at fourteen,
I brought it as a comfort blanket on my first date,
that I realised its shortcomings:
the conversation flowed
as I sought to impress my consort
with the range of my general knowledge,
but when I left her to her door
and she asked me
if I’d ever kissed a girl before
I didn’t know the right answer.

A past winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland and Poems for Patience competitions, he published his debut collection, ‘Growing Up in Colour’, with Doire Press in 2018.

His poems have been nominated for Pushcart, Forward and Best of the Net prizes and his Pushcart-nominated poem, ‘The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work’, was the title poem of an anthology published by Hibernian Writers in 2015. He is curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site.

 

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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