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If you are reading this in GCSE English class

Know that this is not a sonnet. It is not a piece of rap music
And it most definitely is not romantic.

Your teacher may push you to seek out meaning in the
unexplained line breaks, subtle symbols
Turn the page on its side, perhaps, and you will observe, contemplate, infer perhaps
the deeper allusions behind the bed of spikes
formed by this stanza,
representing the angst and the deathly cringe within the mind of some so-called poet
(hint: the line break is a metaphor for death)

Or is it a city skyline? Representing the tragedy of my home town.
Teacher is really grasping at straws here.

It's not even a proper poem
I couldn't write it in iambic or trochaic pentameter.
And that's just sad.
Seek out Heaney or Duffy instead. They are far worthier poets.

If you are reading this poem in GCSE English class
Find your own meaning. It belongs to you now.
If you are reading this in GCSE English class
Another from UoN Creative Writing. I am not sure what prompted this, but it came from the same session as this abomination - - but nonetheless, I am actually quite proud of this. I can actually imagine it being analysed, explained and interpreted to death by a GCSE English class. Does that mean I compare myself to Seamus Heaney?
like THIS, like THAT! i WILL do ANyTHING
to KEEP this POem IN iAMbic FORM
shakeSPEARE would BE scorNING me FROM his GRAVE
but SCREW that, HE wrote HIS own RULES so WHY
can't I do THE same? OKay IT may NOT
be PROper PENtamETer AND those LAST
few LINE breaks WERE someTHING quite HIDeOUS
but WE'RE pushING onWARDS, riSING, fallING
bringING a NEW rhyTHM to EVEryDAY;
evER be THE same AND it WILL be GREAT!
if YOU hate IT at FIRST, get USED to IT
and TELL your FRIENDS the REvoLUtion's HERE
and IT won't EVen HAVE to RHYME, so THERE!
accENT upON the WRONG syLLABle NOW
I'd like to apologise for my complete butchery of the iambic pentameter and 14-line sonnet forms. Nevertheless, this is a poem about a new and fantastic way that we should all speak, and it is intended to be read aloud with an emphasis on every second syllable, hence the use of uppercase to denote this.
You're lying on a park bench, watching the world go by. You've recently turned 14, and therefore too old to go in the playground, though it makes little difference to you now. Last summer they got rid of the big slide, health and safety reasons as such, and it's not been fun anymore. You have little to do while your little brother is enjoying the swings, so you take out your phone and play a game, pretending to look busy. But you soon give up.

Still, you could be indoors right now, doing homework in front of the TV, watching the same old sitcoms and getting stuck on the second question. So you enjoy the fresh air for what it is. Taking in a deep breath of it, you recline on the bench and stretch out your legs. And you raise an arm to brush the long hair out of your eyes.

You tilt your head back and watch the world go by. Everything looks the same, except upside down. You see a ceiling of green grass, crossed by the black ribbon of the tarmac footpath. There is an ocean of blue sky below you, dotted with white cloud islands. You take quiet amusement at the people nearby who are walking with their dogs, mysteriously glued to the ceiling. A group of boys from the year above are playing a noisy game of three-way football, also upside down. You see the ball take off and fly downwards, only to curve back up and hit the ceiling.

A flock of pigeons, disturbed by the thump of the football, fly away upwards. Or are they going downwards to escape the ceiling? Downwards, definitely downwards. You don't know why that confused you, but it’s perfectly clear now: down is up and up is down, and gravity pulls things upwards. You consider this paradox, turning it over and over in your head. Then the illusion is so complete, that you may as well be living in an upside-down world, then you start to roll over. And you fall… downwards.
They'd seen it in movies: every possible interpretation of the zombie apocalypse. Sometimes they walked, sometimes they ran, always they were deadly. But no one ever expected them to curse. In hindsight it shouldn’t have been at all surprising. It had been known for a while that the brain stores profanities differently from the rest of the rest of the language centre. There had been countless heartbreaking cases of patients recovering from a stroke and lost the power of speech. The joy of their loved ones when they started swearing, and the terrible disappointment when they realised that was the only thing they could say, was repeated thousands of times in hospitals everywhere.

Then in October of 2013, it happened to everyone. As predicted, the virus was quarantined, but it escaped through the air vents. By the time they discovered the extent of the spread, it had been incubated in the bodies of thousands with no visible symptoms. Once it spread to the brain however, their high level functions started to go. They began forgetting where they lived, and ambled around aimlessly. Their higher motor functions were the next to go, so the walking changed to a zombie-like amble. Finally they lost the power of speech, but for the primitively emotional part of their brains, which was still firing off at full pelt, reaching for the only words it knew how to say.

“Fuck fuck, shitting fuck.”
“What's wrong with John, he's gone mental.”
“Don't go near him. He's got that disease!”
“Why the fuck not?”
“Oh no... not you too!”
“What the fuck?”
“Kevin, nooo!”
“Shitting hell, shit shit fuck.”
“Wank you fucking bastard. Fucking cunt.”

And so it came to pass that the swearing hoard poured out of university halls on a Friday night and overran the city, making crude noises, overwhelming the transport system and damaging property.

But nothing had really changed after all.
F***ing Zombies
Another short story from UoN creative Writing, written in our halloween session. And like every zombie apocalypse, it is very very loosely based on actual science.
Day 6. Well, I assume it's day 6, since it was nighttime when he last took me out, and it has probably passed midnight by now. Nonetheless it is difficult to accurately gauge the passing of time when I am imprisoned like this. I cannot see, nor hear a thing from outside. Furthermore, every one of my senses has been dulled. I do not feel hungry, tired or thirsty. Even my sense of touch is gone. Either that, or a force field suspends me inside a space that is too large for me to even reach the walls.

And yet, I quite like it in here. I didn't always though. At first I hated it. In fact the first time I was thrown in here, I was angry - burning with so much hot fiery anger, first at being humiliated, then at being thrust into this prison. But it was a fruitless endeavour to remain this angry for too long. I tried to scratch my way out but alas, I soon discovered the walls were unreachable. So there I remained - sat one could say, except there was nothing for me to sit on, not even a floor. There was nothing but my own thoughts for company.

After a while I could hear my own heartbeat, that reassuring pitter patter, the cherished signal that I was still alive. Oh, how I grew to love that sound. It was over this time that I actually began to enjoy my confines. Although the initial thought seemed unthinkable, I even began to forgive my captor. He had, after all, shielded me from the wild world outside, and kept me in a place where I need not eat or drink. It took some time, but I eventually grew to not hate him. I say eventually, though it may have only been a few hours.

I am not sure if I drifted off to sleep or not. But after a while, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm, as I floated there listening to the hypnotic beat of my own heart. It was like being back in my egg, or as I like to imagine, in the womb or something warm-blooded. I truly would not have minded if I stayed here forever. And if I was allowed back out again, that would be a grace of its own.

It's happening again. He’s letting me out. First I see a distant point of light, which widens into a silver cord. Then my sense of touch returns. My other senses come back all at once, and I feel that I am flying through the air, or possibly being thrown - I don’t think it matters which. Then I hear the human’s voice, that enthusiastic shout of a child.

“Growlithe, I choose you!”
My Life as an Animal
Another story from the UoN Creative Writing society, one where we had to write from the perspective of an animal. I chose not to reveal exactly which animal until the very end. Congratulations to those who guessed it, though if you found this story on a search for Pokémon, then no points for you. :P

This came from the same session as my iPhone story….

Cover image is by DeviantArt user Yomiell and can be found here…. It is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)…


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