Heavy Metal Night In Suburbia - Andrew Barham

Guitars gleam, plastic screams
Long hair flowing in the spotlight's beam
Heavy Metal addicts in glittering chrome
Screaming obscene anthems from petrified stones,
Timbered symbols clashing vibrant tones,
The drummer slashing and crashing
To keep it going

Pictures of swords and sorcery,
And where would they be
Without His Satanic Majesty?
The sum total of your soul
Is the rainbow at the end of the gold-
Mine, empty and complete
Like every coked-out bimbo shakin' down the street:

A silent silver streak,
The aftermath's reek
From the King of the Mountain Hall,
Rockin' and boppin' to the ball
Turning above the dance floor

The singer cleaves a shelter for a comely wench
Amid the stage's sulfurous stench,
For they're brewing a devil's broth
These followers of David Lee Roth;
Before swallowing a variety of pills,
He sends a chill wind to blow away your ills:
Gag! Brag; the green queen's in drag!

Boredom and blown speakers as Rock n Roll steals another child
The air-guitarists are swaying wild;
Singer's long hair streaming down –
A perfectly permed mullet to reveal his mighty frown –
Another rebel without a reason;
They throw up a different group for every season.

Andrew Barham

The Circus - Karen Allaway

Glamorous circus arrives
In bejewelled principality.
A playboy paradise;
Yachts, prancing horses
Money and demigods.
In the pits
Fit chicks;
Barbie style!
Long bronzed legs
Go on for miles.

Chiselled features
There he sits -
Slim hips, tight fit;
In carbon fibre
Highly sculpted -
Carbon and titanium
Wrapped aluminium V8.
Testosterone charged
High octane cocktail.

Nomex clad gladiators;
Podium finishers.
National anthems play.
Kisses and handshakes,
Glittering trophies.
Moët ejaculate
Tingles gustatory senses.
Back slaps
From faceless fans.
Circus Formula One.

Karen Allaway

No Money? No Problem! - Kathy Figueroa

I need a vacation
But don't have a car
Don't have much money
So I can't travel far
Once upon a time
I made a good buck
But things can happen
That change your luck
So, with the sunlight streaming
Through the window pane
Instead of my loss
I'll think of my gain
I'll remember it's good to be here
In my big easy chair
'Cause sometimes it's
Not always comfortable
In that world, out there
If, at faraway places
I still want to look
I'll just stick my nose
In a travel book
I'll save my few dollars
To pay my bills down
If I want to feel like a tourist
I'll wear my sunglasses
When I go shopping, downtown
Maybe I'll stop at a restaurant
To see what they're charging for food
Then go home and make lunch
And feel in a good mood
But not before I pick up a bottle
Of suntan lotion
(If the price is within reach)
Because the fragrance
Reminds me of the ocean
And lounging on the beach
Yes, I can lounge
In my big easy chair
With no worries about sunburn
Or what swimsuit to wear
No money? No problem!
Where there's a will there's a way
Anyone can have a holiday
And the beauty of it is
You don't even have to leave home
So, on that note, I'll end this poem

Kathy Figueroa

Junque Maximus - Kathy Figueroa

There's a Higher Power
That's much greater than me
To which I now turn
And make this plea:
'Please give me the strength
To live clutter free'
Circumstance has been kind
Now, I have too much stuff
If I don't declutter
It's going to be rough
Deciding what to clear out
Will be really tough
But, I'll count my blessings
That I've got more than enough
Guess I'll get some boxes
And just sort ruthlessly
So my home and garage
Finally look orderly
And not like a dusty museum
Or 'Ripley's Believe It Or Not'
'Cause that's how much
Fine junque that I've got
Thrift shops are so tempting
Their allure is like a siren's call
Garage sales exert magnetism
I'm helpless to resist at all
And the auction is like Nirvana
For treasures, fine and rare
Though I have tried
I can't stay away from there
I must, must, must divest
I'll only keep some
And get rid of the rest
I'll employ visualization
To psychologically prepare myself
And imagine going
To the cupboard
And clearing a shelf
I'll dust and arrange
And then.. oh, no..
This ploy isn't working
That I can see
Because I just can't part with
Those fancy pots for tea
Maybe with the closet
I'll have better luck
It should be easy
To find something
To donate or chuck
Clothes two sizes too small
Are still folded with care
But..oh, no..
One day I might need
Something smaller to wear
Or maybe that apparel
Could just use a bit of alteration
So, for cleaning out the closet
I feel hesitation
Yes, it's a major challenge
I'll have to meet
If I want my house
To look spacious and neat
But, maybe, one day
That work will be done
I'll consider this poem
To be.. Step One

Kathy Figueroa

Mourning Bird Song - K Svensson

She sits in her gilded cage
Gazing at the feathered forms
Drifting lazily on the wing,
Flying free on thermals
In skies of azure blue.

Peering through life’s window
She wonders, what if?
She had the courage
To fly free
Just like those other birds do.

Powder-puff clouds float by,
Breezes taking them
Destination unknown.
To tumble like tears,
For who?

She’s known no other life.
Let out, she briefly flies
Wings unfurled,
Soaring high,
Dipping low.

Going back to the keeper,
Met with scorn.
Her song will be heard.

K Svensson

The Girl From Norway - Andrew Barham

Love me and I will always be
Love me not, for I am the wind
That icy blows across the land
From the dry cold tundra
Across the high, staring mountains
In and out on narrow roads
That fold back upon themselves ...

Climbing higher into these isolate crags,
Upthrustings of tree clad rock,
To touch the evening sky
In a broken down minivan,
I fall to Earth,
Coasting so fast round hair pin bends
Down again into cool, wet-green valleys
Winding away so far below
As we follow the trail
Of a rill fed stream
Rushing to empty itself
Into a long narrow lake
That stretches to the horizon.

...I'm seeing you at last
The girl from Norway.

Andrew Barham

Chow Hound: A Poem About A Dog - Kathy Figueroa

Some people praise dogs
That have long pedigrees
Because they look picture perfect
Like they'll never have fleas

Others might laud
A particular canine
Because its nose and tail
Form a straight line

But, if the truth of the matter
Now may be told
The qualities of any dog
Can be extolled

And a finer four-legged friend
Could never be found
Than my trusty and
Faithful ..chow hound

His palate isn’t
Particularly refined
On a bit of everything
He’s probably dined

He samples this
And craves a bite of that
(The result is he's
Getting a little bit fat)

He isn't discerning
About what he devours
Cat food for him is
Delightful at all hours

(For purloining cat chow
He's developed a knack
And knows how to do it
Behind my back)

Sometimes he shocks me
When we're outside
And he digs up things
That might've once died

..Stuff that has
An awful smell
He finds it delectable
And rolls on it, as well

He's really delighted
By different flavours
Cantaloupe is something
He truly savours

Peanut butter on anything
Makes it taste just right
And greatly stimulates
His appetite

Olive oil adds
That special touch
(But sometimes I think
He insists on too much)

He can be a fussy
With his demands
And has me well trained
To his commands

I have to learn to be stern
Whenever I eat
Since he always assumes
That he'll get a treat

The food I'm having
Is what he wants to try
Or else he stares
With a mournful eye

And his nose slowly
Inches towards my plate
But, until I'm finished
He must try to wait

Or else it's one bite for me
One bite for him
..And dining that way
Might make me too slim

From coveting my food
Perhaps he'll never refrain
Unless, while I eat he's
Outside on the chain

Then, without interruption
I could have a meal
But sneaky and unsociable
Is how I'd feel

Knowing that he knew
That I dined alone
While he had to eat dog food
And chew on a bone

It's hard to be strict
Hence, I often give in
That's why he's getting chubby
And I'm getting thin

My dog is a companion
Of a most agreeable type
When I don't leave my food
Where it's easy to swipe

But if he snacks on something
He wasn't supposed to touch
I always forgive him
Because I love him so much


I'd now like to thank you
For taking the time
To read what
I've put into rhyme

Just a few more words
Ere I end this poem
May every animal shelter dog
Find a good home

Kathy Figueroa

Competition Winner - May 2012
A Sacred Moment - Ian Duquemin

I wait...

I close my eyes
Breathing in the sea
Standing all alone
My feet in sand beneath me

I wait...

Nature fills my ears
Waves applaud close by
Seagulls cackle like witches
As I stretch towards the sky

I wait...

I feel her warming glow
She ignites a brand new day
Her energy revives me
She will be mine for a moment today

I wait...

I raise my arms into the air
Standing firm upon the sands
Just for this one sacred moment
Where I hold the sun between my hands

She is power
She is strength
She is the bringer of light
She replenishes the earth
She is a candle burning bright

I gently blow her from my hands
She rises high above me
I release her for she is not mine to keep
But for all the world to see

Ian Duquemin

In The Crypt - Andrew Barham

Here I stand alone
In a pillar's dust I bare
A question written in stone
To shatter the night's cold air.

Standing in a circle of fire
I murmur an incantation
To the shadows lurking there
In silent condemnation

Soon, I awaken the memories I seek,
Shattered dreams floating in the air
To dispel the cold crypt's reek;
Tis the vision of a lady fair.

I watch in dazzled anticipation
This lady drawing near;
But my wonder turns to consternation
As I feel a prickle of fear.

For this lady forming from the mists
Is no enchantress fair;
A voice inside me insists
That it's daemon waiting there;

Her garments, like old parchment cling
To her wizened and shrunken frame
I shiver, as though from an ill wind's sting
As she enters the circle of flame.

Fires, like coals, glow in her hollow eyes
That sightlessly stare;
Her bony fingertips releasing flies
As they brush back her tangled hair;

Her voice is colder than the tomb
From which this daemon grew
Enshrouding the air with gloom
From whence this chill wind blew.

"I know your dreams
As you shall know mine
For this is an ancient theme
Lost in the mists of time;"

"But, before I speak,
I must ask you for the fee.
Only then the things you seek
Shall pass from out of me."

She waited, silent and grim
For me to weigh my decision
And all about me the flames grew dim
As the dream possessed my vision,

"I am but a poor man of labour,
And you the Master of Desire...
To win your favour,
I consign my soul to the fire."

"I seek only to know
The answer to an ancient theme,
Something I forgot long ago;
It was a message from a dream."

The fires blazed up around me
As the daemon drew
Me up above the night; high and free,
Into the air we flew;

We sailed away into the night
As the world passed below
With only the dim lunar light
To bath us in a feeble glow;

A whisper caught upon Night's cold breath
Blew devastatingly through my soul.
It spoke to me of Death
As through the air we stole,

And I longed to hear the angel's sigh
Before she slips away;
Alas, we flew up so high
I feared we'ld never see the day.

Oh how I longed to disperse the empty dark
Rushing below me so fast;
I'd never seen a land so stark
And I feared I could not much longer last ...

We reap the seeds of our emptiness
Where everything's the same,
And I never knew such loneliness
As when we pursued this deadly game,

And as we flew, a defiant cry
Broke in upon the deathly silence
`Is this how we die?'
I wondered, `Screaming in defiance?'

Images of this journey remain:
Visions of a shattered stream,
Lost souls wreathed in flames,
The night resounding with their screams.

We alighted in a land of smoke
Before an ancient hut.
"Open the door." The daemon spoke
And I hastened to obey the slut.

I pushed the door open wide
And entered her forsaken lair
To find the ancient crone inside
Sitting upon a golden chair.

She pointed to me and spoke
Of deeds terrible and cruel.
She told me of those dreams I'd invoked
And cursed me for a fool;

I'd found the knowledge I'd sought,
Those ancient memories within a dream
But this daemon with whom I fought
Had ensnared me in its schemes.

Fainting, I crashed heavily to a floor
Hardened by the passage of the years.
Staggering, I rose once more,
My face streaked with tears.

I muttered a curse to the empty air,
For the daemon had disappeared.
Was I forever lost in there?
Twas not the worst I feared;

I'd fallen into a spider's trap
Another fly to fulfil her schemes,
And though I struggled til my strength was sapped
I never learned the answer to my dreams.

Andrew Barham

Purify - Kathy Figueroa

Chemtrails scar
The pretty blue sky
And GMO stuff is in
The food that we buy
Radiation from Fukushima
Causes creatures to die
Big oil companies
Foul the ocean
And we wonder why
Madmen wage wars
They say are about
God on high
And create conditions
That make others
Too numb to cry
The end of life
On this planet
Could well be nigh
Unless we learn to
Respect, honour
..And purify.

Kathy Figueroa

I’d Rather Be Your Nightmare Than Your Daydream - Andrew Barham

Let me take you into the shadows
We'll watch the strangelings stream
Through the looming changes neatly stacked in rows –
Where we're going, I no longer know,
For I can see only dimly into the distant landscapes
Where those waiting shadows grow,
Their twining vines bestowing sour grapes;
We can pluck them, eating them as we stroll
Down these empty corridors, our resounding footfalls
Keeping time with the ever vanishing rock and roll:
Strange waveforms answering the silent call
Of shifting patterns in the swirling sands
On an empty beach, the vacant horizon staring …
Staring into the distant starlight shining on dark islands –
A midnight sea, luminous! Phosphorescence glaring!
I am lost in this haze of ancient memories,
So lost, I no longer know where to begin
Or where to find this meeting point for all my journeys,
For there is no way now to let the endgame in.

Andrew Barham

Living with a Cat - Jenny Hamon

You’ll never understand in time,
The mysterious mind of a feline.
You may live together many happy years,
Not knowing what’s between the ears!

What dreams go on inside his head?
The paws are twitching, asleep in bed.
He’s stalking birds on the lawn,
But just too tired, Oh big yawn.

He prowls the night on velvet paws,
To catch a rodent in his jaws.
It’s so much fun to take them home,
And leave for Mum to have a moan.

The firey eyes that pierce the night,
Are spotted in the car’s headlight.
Crouching, watching, paused to pounce
On some poor unsuspecting mouse.

He has an independant air,
But he’s a pussycat, to be fair.
He loves a scratch behind his ear,
And a tummy rub if you are near.

But how to understand a cat,
Is an enigma, but remember that
A cat will choose where he will live,
And unrequited love will give.

Jenny Hamon

Impressions On The Ferry - Dead Mountains - Andrew Barham

Raindrops on the window,
Mist on the mountains ...
There's a storm coming
Dark clouds hang
Pendulous in the sky
Somewhere near,
A baby cries
Outside, a tugboat pulls a raft of dead trees
Stripped from once green mountains
Now bare and littered with the skeletons
Of ancient Firs, Spruces, and Cedars,
A cemetery of the wild;
What creatures lived here
In this place of nebulous mists
And green trees?
Dead mountains.

(On the ferry between Gibsons & Horseshoe Bay, July 1987)

Andrew Barham

Three Haiku - Tom Allaway

Liouh Island: Images courtesy of VisitGuernsey

Three Haiku - Tom Allaway

Lihou Island

Darkness in Lihou
Sitting round boiling kettle
Lying on the grass

The Garden

Brown thrush on green grass
Red breast robin eats near thrush
Garden harmony

My Space

Room-untidy desk
Stereo system playing
Now it is quiet

Tom Allaway

A Sonnet to thee - Aindre Reece-Sheerin

How then should I write a sonnet to thee my love
How would I begin to speak and to write of my undying love
Where could I find the words to express how deeply and truly I feel
When would there be enough hours in a day seconds in a minute to demonstrate
Who would understand how I hold you in my heart, in my thoughts, in the breath I breathe
What can I possibly say in words that I am unable to convey in how I look at you
Why must love always test us, lift us, shake us and yet, hold us in the palm of its hands

Aindre Reece-Sheerin

Two In Hand - Alec Jackson

Those who see, recognise the bond;

Interlaced, they are stronger
these two, who stand almost sovereign
lifting each other high
amid up-drafts, so to fly.

Those who watch, understand the tie;

The fingers entwine
and the spaces between are filled
yet they are NOT the other.
A cumulus forte, borne of a unique fit.

Those who know, wait for the realised truth.

Both hands are capacious,
independent for themselves
but when made as one,
Are immovable.

And to those for whom hope seems distant, they are moved by the scene.

God knew well their images,
their purpose and need,
such did he create them;
mirror to each, the mirror.

Even so, for the two in hand...
this is but a transitory moment.
The 'now' between 'were' and 'will be'.
One grasps beyond this day
and one lingers in a wistful, hope deluded spirit.
The two, within, are apart.
All there is left? The dream;
The dream that weeps that such dreams should never exist.

Alec Jackson

Surviving - Aindre Reece-Sheerin

Can you see me, will you take time to hear me
What is it in you that causes you to act this way?
How do you really sleep at night knowing what you do too me and to so many others
Are you as big as you boast to be – Are your ‘friends’ as intimidated by you as I am
Are they your friends because the converse is simply too dreadful to consider

Is it then, your inadequacy and not mine really
Were I as seemingly strong as you, would I act and treat people the same
When you put Sh*t in my bag or Sports shoes and school
Does it really make you feel good about yourself and cause to grow in the eyes of your peers

Never once did I turn a word back at you
I just happened to be here at the same place and same time as you
Would that I had the choice, No I would not kill you and or wish you dead
Or laugh to watch you weep and squirm in front of all your friends

I would take you to me and show you the pain, the loneliness one can cause
Sometimes we need say nothing at all as it is not always what we say
Moreover, it is how we say what we say that knocks us down

Would that you could feel the angst, the sickly feelings I have in my stomach as the thoughts of waking in the morning knowing as I do each and every day
Tomorrow, is another day I have to face you, all choice removed
All hope of getting a resolution, being able to move forwards so i can focus on my exams
Afterall that is why ‘I’ came to school – Why are you here?

Should I in fact, feel sorry for you? Are you being bullied as I am but in your home and so with this ‘Learned’ Negative behaviour you appear to have no choice but vent your frustration on me and others like me, whom you see as inferior and weak
Are you actually looking at a mirror image and so inflict that which is visited upon you from somewhere else
Do you even have any real friends?
Do pals call at your house to see if you are coming out to play?
Do they call to see if you are okay when you are sick?
Would they stay at your side if they did not fear you in the first place?

My feelings for you now are actual pity – I do not despise you
It is you that has nowhere to go but visit the negative and thrive on fear and violence
It is you who needs to change for when the stakes are really down, I will have true friends who will rally round but you will be alone and so much sadder than I can ever be

I am a survivor in this phase you are a pariah
One day you may go too far
One day you may realise the error of your ways
From this day forward, I intend to grow strong
If you want help, then reach out and I will take your hand
I will heal you, I will help you; I will call on you and see you
For I forgive you, and in forgiving you I am healed

Aindre Reece-Sheerin

Liberation Day

A flag flies free
Over Sarnia chérie
Williams Gold Cross
On the red of St George
Enrich the beautiful blue sky
As they dance on a breeze up high

Our Elders remember when it was not so
when an imposter deigned to overthrow
When the red, black and white
Proclaimed German might.
Five years oppression
and depression

Then came the red white and blue
to bid the Germans adieu.
and from that day
the ninth of May
is celebrated every year
and on Liberation day Sarnians raise a cheer.

John Carré Buchanan

Hang-Gliding - Stuart Price

Eighty pounds of weight on my shoulders as I climb the magical hill,
Rhossili Down on the Gower Peninsula, my fondest memory still.
A vast magnificent expanse of green, erupted at the edge of the sea,
That I would soon be flying over, high on life, smiling, happy and free.

We practically sprinted up the hill in our enthusiasm to leave this world below
With it’s temporary pleasures and sadness, where pain and suffering grow.
But first to assemble this aluminium and sail cloth, earth leaving glider
With Mylar and concealed floating cross tube, to make me fly higher.

At last it is rigged, pip pins, batons and leading edges all pre-flight inspected
Best to take my time with this procedure than have it bitterly regretted.
I’m standing on the edge, fresh breeze in my face, attached to my wing.
A friend holds down the nose, at last he lets go and upwards I zing !

I pull my weight forward to increase airspeed and fly away from the hill
I'm two hundred feet above where I started, how to describe this thrill ?
It's an ecstasy that's legal and completely natural still, this freedom, this oneness
This fountain of natural kindness, that carries me skywards is boundless.

As my wing makes love to the Westerly wind with graceful ease and pleasure
I'm soaring above this world with joy in my heart and moments to treasure.
I'm surrounded by seagulls as I look down at the world with altered perspective
An hour has gone by and I'm joined by my friends, the hang gliding collective.

Dummy dog fights ensue as we stage friendly fights in the sky,
Zooming in and out of clouds with the element of surprise.
Don't let the other guy get a fix on your tail, cos there he could shoot,
To escape I pull my weight forward and dive down a few hundred feet.

I've not made it up, but there's a downside to everything at the age of twenty five,
In the many years since, nothing else has come close to making me feel so alive…..

Stuart Price

Delight - Alec Jackson

The swifts are flying high today.
Is there something they know
that I do not?

They crest and dive; sharp 'chit chit' calls
dancing tidal riv'lets
of summer air.

Arcing, falling, skimming so low,
their forked tails racing past
and near miss me.

Barometers of soul and life,
inspiring maudlin songs
till the lights fade.

Yet delight croons through their bowed wings,
hearts lift and sing freely
o'er field and sea.

Alec Jackson

Limerick on Jock - John Buchanan

The once was a young man called Jock,
whose girlfriend liked dressing in croc,
he went to zoo,
after having a few,
now his girlfriend’s going out with his doc.

John Buchanan

Limerick on Annie - John Buchanan

There once was a woman called Annie
Who looked a bit of a granny
She picked up a sailor
Who thought he might nail her
But was shocked to discover she’s a tranny.

John Buchanan

The Mistress Position - Wendy Maitland

Living on stolen time
With misbegotten dreams,
Tumbling together,
Indecently magnificent.
Knowingly illicit,
Believing lies,
Never wise.
Drowning in joy,
Strangers to guilt,
Delirious madness of love.

Ignoring all the signs,
Like death, not now.
Nor warning lights
To note the sudden shift
As bars clang shut.
On the other side
A shadow flits:
Slinking back
To the sun-filled life
And carefully chosen wife.

Wendy Maitland

Sunset at Fort Grey - Jenny Hamon

Image: Jenny Hamon

Sunset at Fort Grey - Jenny Hamon

Fort Grey on a summers’ day
Is my favourite place to be
To sit and watch the sun set
Beyond a golden sea.

The cares of the day disappear
As I watch the sun sink down.
It’s just such a beautiful place
And it’s there for us all to own.

The sea gives a feeling of peace
While the sun lights a path to the west
There’s nowhere else I’d rather be
This place that is truly blessed.

Jenny Hamon

The Sonority of You - Janinka Diverio

It’s the little things, like the sounds you make
That fill my heart with joy
Those little murmurs you create
When gone,
that surf my mind
Along with the memories of your face so kind

The contours that echo your words so sweet
The sound of you I love, so discreet
Blackbirds and Warblers can’t rival your voice
Because the song I’d choose, given the choice
Is the song of your heart, I hear it out loud

Alone and standing, trying to see
I hear a voice beckoning me
Through howling gales, the crest of a wave
Your sweet nothings that to me you gave
Sail through my heart and keep me from falling
So long as I hear your voice a calling

Now silence surrounds me
Cloaked by the clock
The music we played, playfully teases
Like a Merry-go-Round, infinite and timeless
Faceless now but your voice is still there
Along with your whispers left in my hair

Janinka Diverio

Tell me… - D.B. Morst

What was this I found?
As darkness fell and choked the ground
With summer spent
My heart’s lament, a dreadful sound
That howled and whipped
Through trees now stripped
Of life that once bore fruit
Gripped by winter’s death-like sleep
Dragged within an icy deep
All hope it seemed to execute.

Why could I not see?
A bud of hope upon a tree
As spring so pure
Did seek to cure this travesty.
Tomorrow’s dawn
All life reborn!
Rainbow’s promise pouring
Spawning multi-coloured bliss
O’er sun-drenched fruits alluring
On nature’s lips a princely kiss.

Shall I think of how?
The heat filled days the fruits endow
And summer’s light
My heart ignites! And love it will allow
My hand in yours
Near lapping shores
Where children laugh and play
Pausing once to launch their dreams
A seaweed boat that shines and gleams
And takes our troubles far away.

D.B. Morst

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