A Journal of Contemporary Arts 






The surgeon does it in a snip within a stitch of time.
The comic does it with a quip, the actor with a line.
Morticians do it clad in black with grave and stiff demeanor.
The lawyer on the legal track while clutching his subpoena.

The padre does it with a prayer and flourish of the cross;
The pirate with a patchy stare, the model in lip gloss.
The surfer does it with a wave, the pilot on cloud nine,
The barber when he’s had a shave, the fullback at halftime.

Sopranos do it in full throat, librarians are hushed,
The flasher in an overcoat, the plumber feeling flushed.
The chef with zest and extra spice, the counselor with care.
The jogger does it in a trice in Lycra underwear,

The ballerina on her toes, the archer with a quiver,
The drunkard with a rosy nose, the coward with a shiver.
The gardener does it with a dig, the con man in cahoots,
The sailor with a hornpipe jig, the cowboy in his boots.

The artist does it with panache, the florist wreathed in scent.
The diver does it with a splash, the nun with good intent.
The barman with a stir and shake, the gymnast with a roll,
The altruist for Heaven’s sake, the pianist with soul.

Magicians do it with a trick and something up their sleeve,
Philatelists in just one lick and hypnotists with ease.
The zombie does it in a trance, the optimist with glee,
The diva with a song and dance, Mad Hatters after tea.

The prankster does it with a wink, the gangster in a mask.
Ventriloquists while sipping drink (they’re born to multitask.)
The maestro does it in a beat, in bow tie and tailed coat.
The buzz upon the busy street is – get out there and vote!

                                * The writer became a citizen in 2018



Yesterday, in Walmart, next to the prickly cactus
(a spiky reminder that I'm living in Texas)
were leeks, leeks, leeks upon leeks.
They were long and cool and cream and green,
dusted with earth and the dream of soup.
An autumnal bowl of soul...

Today, I snip, slice, dice, steam and stir
until a cosy aroma of my homeland
bubbles to the top of the pot.

This evening, as dusk's haze of humidity
seeps beneath the mesquite,
and runs in rivulets down Lone Star longnecks,
I'll serve my velvet broth.
I'll garnish it with talk of flame-licked trees,
frost-nipped leas, Guy Fawkes and bonfire smoke.




Uncivil tongue
In shades of blue,
You’ll come undone.

You think it’s fun;
You have no clue
Uncivil tongue.

The gall you’ve spun
Won’t bid adieu;
You’ll come undone.

Let poison run,
Let rudeness spew,
Uncivil tongue.

For those you’ve stung,
Each barb you’ll rue;
You’ll come undone.

You haven’t won;
You’ll pay your due,
Uncivil tongue –
You’ll come undone


Their lilting trills fill twilight skies,
Their aerial flair delights my eyes,
Their wings fan dreams with certainty –
Through birds I glimpse eternity.

They hop the trembling treetop trail,
They skim the breeze, they surf and sail;
Resplendent in God’s livery –
Through birds I glimpse eternity.

They lift my heart when life is grim,
They’re feathered blessings, Heaven’s hymn;
They’re hope’s celestial artistry –
Through birds I glimpse eternity.




Spyder Spyder, spinning fright,
in the moon-kissed bloom of night,
gracing air with prayer of death
before dawn draws her morning breath;

cloaked in husk of bristling jet,
lurking in the devil’s net,
willing teasing breeze to bring
a lush and juicy wing-Úd thing;

looming ghoul of drooling fang,
watches flitting pretties hang,
scuttling in to pierce and wrap
the manna snared in terror’s trap -

moreish mite in sticky silk;
hors d’oeuvre served for fiend to milk
and guzzle on ambrosial grub
with the zeal of Beelzebub….

Spyder Spyder, spinning fright,
in the blue-moon doom of night,
lacing air with lair of death
before dawn draws her mourning breath.



I’m drawn to the window where dreams drift and fly
to celestial realms above the sun’s eye;
away from the fray of the rat-racing day
where time has succumbed to eternity’s sway;
beyond your goodbye and my question of why.

I gaze past the blaze and seek a reply
to the sob in my soul and the grief my eyes cry.
While the moon soothes the night and knees bend to pray,
I’m drawn to the window.

As dawn dips the earth in a gold-dusted high
I yearn for your words and to feel you nearby.
I burn in the sting of my searing dismay
at the day when your wonder was wrested away
to a place above space, beyond the word “die”...
I’m drawn to the window.



She’s locked behind the bars of time
where roses fade and dreams decay
in crumbling cells where death knells chime.

Her clocks have stopped. Her sun won’t climb
on wishes where Spring zephyrs play.
She’s locked behind the bars of time

where weak bones creak and grim ghosts whine
and peach-cheeked grins have dimmed to grey,
in crumbling cells where death knells chime,

as slighted soul seeks heaven’s sign
that stars still shine at ebb of day.
She’s locked behind the bars of time

enmeshed within cobwebbed confines,
where weathered lips kiss yesterday
in crumbling cells where death knells chime

and salt-seared eyes sting at the crime
of hands that crush love’s lush bouquet.
She’s locked behind the bars of time
in crumbling cells where death knells chime.

      First printed in Openings 31 published by Open University Poets, 2014