In The Devils Furnace - Lester Queripel and Fred Williamson

Hell is not as bad as people say it is
I have been in it for years
O K, sometimes you cry a few tears
Find yourself shaking with all sorts of fears

Lay awake all night in unbelievable pain
Then you have to get up again and again
Pretend to be happy and force yourself to smile
It is true to say that life has been a trial

At least it is dry and warm down here
It does not cost anything to stay
I am in he devils furnace
It is so hot here, I am melting away.

Lester Queripel and Fred Williamson

The Accident - Elizabeth Fisher

A cloud of sorrow hung damp and heavy over the crowd.
Where had they come from?
It was as if a nest of insects had emerged from the dry cracks in the earth and surrounded the corps.
The feeling was contagious
Like a killing desease
Spreading through the area.

No one spoke
The silence was broken by the loud sirens of speeding police cars and ambulances.
Blue lights flashed.
Actions were fast.

The ripple of exitement moved the throng.
The biker was dead.

The van that had turned in haste was discarded on the side.
No witnesses were found.
Just those who had heared the terrible bang.

A life was gone.
A saddness lingered and hovered over the grassy verge.
There was a feeling of perpetual grief.

Elizabeth Fisher

The Wrong Room - Judith Anne Finetti

The Wedding Reception was going swimmingly
Italians know how to organise a real knees up
And its fun to get acquainted
With friends and relations of the groom who you
Have never met till now

It was a very hot day and the wine was flowing
The four of us were knocking back the prosecco
And enjoying all the scrummy Italian canapés
One more tasty than the next
And we were ravenous by then

And then suddenly it dawned on us all that
We couldn`t remember anyone at all
From the very long wedding mass in the Cathedral earlier
With its original Titian in pride of place by the altar
Yes, we were in the wrong room!

Judith Anne Finetti

Last Chance - John E Blaise

Have you had your last tango.
Your last dance,
Last taste of romance?

Have you had your last supper,
Your last meal
How do you feel?

Have you had your last wish,
Your last talk
Can you walk?

Have you had your last chance,
Your last breath?
Now it’s death.

John E Blaise

When We Parted - Joan Raleigh

When we parted I watched you drive away
into the maelstrom of morning traffic
early on this shimmering summer’s day.
Last night, as each hour raced into the next
you kissed me with a cruel finality
that I, still unaware in the neon glare
of our hotel rendezvous, naively
returned your Judas ‘coup de grace’, to be
proof of my lover’s perspicuity.

Now, in the turbid haze of the station
I see you on the platform, waiting
for a train that will unrelentingly
take you a thousand miles from me.
Pitiless, your case at your feet, pristine
in the grit. A square symbol of evermore.

Joan Raleigh

When a Bloke Achieves a Significant Age - Janet

When a bloke achieves a significant age
and life is a battle, he needs to wage.
Recall when he was the great man about town.
This grumpy old geyser with the persistent frown.
For he is one of life's misunderstood.
Can't do now,what before, he could.
He's just an old chap hanging on by a thread.
Living for the time when he gets his own shed.

This shed won't be flash but, his alone
A place he can hide and hiss and moan.
A shiny brass lock with just one key.
His haven, his place, his sanctuary.
And when they knock upon the door.
He will be safe and their calls ignore.
He'll sit in his den in an old armchair.
Pretending he doesn't have a care.

He will hide away with his favourite stuff
They will not see it and cannot touch.
Perhaps a telly and a bottle of beer.
King of his castle, he'll have no fear.
A remote control and his favourite TV.
No soaps, or bake offs and sewing bees.
A place for just this chap alone
No wife, no family, or telephone.

It won't be a palace that is for sure.
Just a place to hide with his own front door.
No one will enter his secret lair,he's the
Head of the Pride they would not dare.
On the mysteries of life he will reflect.
He has a den, he will command respect
from all the old mates, who don't have a hide.
World weary and ageing not a scrap of pride.

But, you have a shed, and it's full to the brim.
With chisels and bikes and empty paint tins.
This could be the palace the place of your dreams.
If a skip could be ordered and your wife allowed in.
Oh yes, she would clear it out in a trice.
But you risk she would turn it to her sort of... nice.
'Til then your a chap hanging on by a thread.
Living for the time when you get your own shed!


Come Closer - Chris Hudson

You sat
Like a cat
Blue eyed and
Perfectly relaxed.
A smile contorts your face
Shapely, fair, straight speaking
Natural grace and elan, at home in its place
Please tell me, is there something you want to know?
If you love me then tell me so.
Then intention can spring out of the heart
Or if it is only lust, then we must stay apart.
Are you seeking the paragon of perfection
When you look in my direction?
Voices purr and hum in rhythmic time
Lighten your mind, let it chime
You ask me in that playful tone
If I would put you on a throne
For one of your touches
You know I’d pay the price
Launch a thousand ships
At the roll of your dice
I give you words as fine and delicate
As a patina of crushed shells upon a shingle shore
And hearts that beat together like the pounding of sea waves.
You get me excited
You make my back slip shiver
You make my senses quiver
I’m not faking, my Thundercloud!
Let me take your lightning strike!
Deafen with peals of thunder loud!

Chris Hudson

Abortionist - Vic Gamble

Bleeding every one for her fee,
there lives my friend the abortionist;
Merlin of the hot oils
she knows the vicious kick
of the pain beyond the pale of the Holy Union Grail;
but I am a full blooded male
and the mysteries of the unborn child
tend to get lost on me.

When those cries come skinless
from downstairs,
I dream of candy floss
and turn the hi-fi loud as sin
and smile my terrible smile
for every bleeding woman
pregnant with the loss
un-conceived by a double cross.

Downstairs there lives an abortionist
she shares my whiskey time to time
and talks deep voiced
on children she has worried to the bone
and all the arteries
she has broken, and all the clients
who took a loan;
she keeps her pain killers
in a petty cash box
scraped and scratched with dealings,
but I know she is the salt of the earth,
I see her dreams bloated with the
blur of her nightmares.

in a cupboard
forceps shine
and slivers of surgical thread,
but I am a hot blooded male
and I do not have to give birth,
to the living,
or the dead.

Vic Gamble

Rolling - Kathy Figueroa

I don’t use high-priced fuel -
Regular works fine for me.
I’m not a deluxe model,
But styled for economy.

There’s been no need for new parts,
Just a tune-up here and there -
No big modifications;
Sometimes, a minor repair.

My battery works quite well
Down to near forty below.
Anything colder than that
Means maybe I’ll need a tow.

No additives are required,
Such as drugs or alcohol;
In fact, they’d probably make
This old-fashioned engine stall.

Smokes could void the warranty,
But fudge adds a bit of zip
Should I ever need a boost
If I’m tired from a long trip.

My wheels keep right on turning
Over hardtop and gravel;
This vintage chassis gets me
Wherever I must travel.

My lustrous, shiny finish
Occasionally gets marred,
And my upholstery can
Look a bit wrinkled and scarred.

But I’m glad the motor revs
And has still got lots of spark;
It’s better to be rolling,
Than sidelined and left in “park.”

I don’t cruise in the fast lane,
But move at an even pace -
Just enjoying the journey,
..Not competing in a race.

Kathy Figueroa

One Needs - Ian Duquemin

One needs the resurrection
A spark to fire the heart
One needs a little helping hand
A push to help him start
When somebody knocks him down
He has to rise again
And face once more his mountain built of pain
One needs a voice of comfort
A whispered word of truth
One needs to carry memories
Of times he spent in youth
And when he feels there's nothing left
He then can turn back time
And thread the very footsteps cast as mine
One needs some inspiration
A place where he is free
One needs to have a little faith
To find and use the key
As when it seems that all is wrong
His darkness turns to light
Then he is shown the path he chose was right

Ian Duquemin

MO.......JO - Lester Queripel


My name is Jo
I am almost a Joan
Two letters short
No matter where I roam

Maybe I could be Joseph
Or even Josephine
Walk around naked wearing a wig
Now that would cause a scene

What about another name?
What about Joanne
That would be o k
Except I am a man
But I think it is time to go
I have got to find my MO.....JO.

Lester Queripel

Run Like A War Hero - Stephen A. Roberts

The objective is at the end of the road
at the top of a small rise.
His breathing is shallow, an effort
to concentrate on the mission, the
At the end of the road.

Nearer now and he sees the enemy
he knows they are the enemy, but
there is a nagging question: why
are they the enemy?
How did they become the enemy?

Then they are upon him, their foul
breath in his face, their own visage
twisted into hatred, he cannot
understand how they have
been brought to this
level of inhumanity.

Close quarters now, the enemy
snarls in a guttural tone:
"Going somewhere Grandad?"
Tears spring and he wishes he could
push through, outflank the enemy,
reach the objective, take the hill;

and still

run like a war hero.

Stephen A. Roberts

Little Fledgling Crow - Diane Scantlebury

Little fledgling crow
Trying hard to fly,
Beneath the watchful scrutiny
Of anxious parental eye,
Sprawled on sunny patio
Pretending hard to laze,
Kitty yawns with nonchalance
But keeps baby in its gaze,

Suddenly as if from nowhere
Comes an ear piercing cry,
Two crows in a frenzy
Tumble through the sky,
Wings in fury flapping
In a menacing, aerobatic display,
Circling, diving, passing
Neither giving way,
Swooping and plunging
In arcs terrifying, but majestic,
Was this a rival’s tussle
Or a crows’ domestic?

Meanwhile the fledge
Shakily makes it into the air,
Oblivious of the protective efforts
Its parents have made for their welt,
Kitty sits up and smugly observes,
Licks her lips and smiles
As if butter wouldn’t melt.

Diane Scantlebury

Irrawaddy Dolphins - Fred Williamson

Irrawaddy dolphins with a secret surprise,
Best seen early morning sunrise.
Come to surface breath and dive,
So silent, and of people camera shy.

See them on a cruise at sunset
Is there something they, need to forget?

Irrawaddy dolphin extremely rare,
Maybe they have something to share,
They need some T L C,
Tender loving care.

Fred Williamson

Permission To Land - Lester Queripel and Fred Williamson

Circling above, waiting for a slot
Waiting for a message, we have not got
We need permission to land
We will end up on the runway,or in the sand?
Will we be in a wilderness, or a wonderland?
The weather is really rough
We know it is going to be tough
We need to focus our objection
Move in the same direction
We need to work together as a team
In order to realise our dream
I can see the lights showing the way
They are lighting up the whole runway
It has been a awful flight
Those lights are a welcome sight
We have finally got permission to land
This is going to be a real grandstand.

Lester Queripel and Fred Williamson

Lambs - John E Blaise

On the last day of June
All the lambs leave the fields,
They follow each other like sheep.
Herded into cattle trucks,
Forced onto freight trains,
Queuing up in formal lines
Adorned with garlands of rosemary
Woollen lambs not lemmings
Waiting for the chop
Shaved, stripped bare and pink
Then ready for the ovens
Barbecued, stewed, fried, roasted,
Portions of scrag, loin, leg, shoulder.
And on the table a plate of cutlets
Proudly wearing chef’s hats.

John E Blaise

Football - Richard Fleming

I was West Ham, claret and blue;
my brother, Manchester City:
simply arbitrary choices.
Just kids, we didn’t have a clue,
as we outdid Walter Mitty
in our dreaming. We heard voices
of imaginary team-mates,
a ref’s shrill whistle, the crowd’s chant;
pictured a stream of cloth-capped men
filing through turnstiles, the broad gates
of Upton Park, ant after ant
in an anthill of sound. Often,
I’d let him win: I was older.
More often, I’d score the winner:
(Vic Keeble, with gunslinger eyes,
shoots the first goal!). Few were bolder
than Keeble. When called for dinner
we’d comply with audible sighs.
and the pitch would become backyard
or patchy grass once more. Roy Paul
would sit with Vic to eat barmbrack
and jam, forgetting that they’d warred
for Cup or points. We loved football
back then, and football loved us back.

Richard Fleming

Lines - Joan Raleigh

It was a night of destiny
my future was foretold,
He brooded with a sensual charm,
one look and I was sold!

His whispered words caressed my ears,
“let me see your hand.
I’ll tell you all you need to know,
don’t fight it, you understand?”

Slowly like a secret flower,
I opened to his sight.
He gently prised my palms apart,
and cupped them to the light.

His thumb revealed a magic web
of lines, a mystic tracery.
He said I had a psychic bent
bordering on elementary.

But most of all my Venus mount
was unprecedented passion.
And for another ten up front
he’d show my Ring of Solomon.

He bared my heart line to its soul,
and sussed out my stigmata.
But as for paying through the nose,
he might as well climb Luna.

Now I know that I’m a sausage short
of the proverbial barbie.
But my line of intuition said,
don’t trust this sexy swami!

Joan Raleigh

The Hunter - Janet

Watching far up in the sky.
Guarding nest in tree top high.
Talons sharp and strong of beak.
Feathers long, shine black and sleek.
Waiting 'til the time is right
to dismount in seamless flight.
Swoops on unsuspecting prey.
Spirits weaker souls away
to the nest on tree top high.
Where progeny insistent cry.
'Til close of day from rising sun.
Speed of flight cheats farmer's gun.
Waiting, watching, prepares to fly.
Offspring make persistent cries.
His call rings out to all below.
Hear my voice, for I am Crow.


‘Crow’- Magnon - Chris Hudson

Shining bright over Moytura
A glistening sea of spears and blades
In the dark, denizens illuminate
Their caverns by the flames of many torches
While druids hatch dragon’s eggs on Phoenix’s fire
And Willow the Wisp nestles in the willow
The Goddess Kali dancing on the skulls of her enemies
Birch and broom in furious dancing duet
The Fire-Witch laughed when we raided our foes

As the Great Inventor sent forth his magic
The Serpent Queen was singing in her bower
The Hunter stalked the Plain of Wonder, club in hand
Tumuli where thousands of warriors lay sleeping
Their serried ranks lined up beneath the soil
A lone eagle surveying the hills and valleys from afar
Where is the hero who will put paid to the shining Beast?
Whose eyes slay the darkness, whose breath
Is melting the swelter out of the land?
Whose paw-prints excavate oceans?

Alas! The broom, anemones, roses and trefoil are blighted
And our hero’s mind is distracted by the Beast’s unblinking lids
His spear is pinned to the earth by ivy and convolvulus
In his idleness his convulsions pierce the earth, itching
Who can heal him from his perturbed faculties?
Where is the blacksmith who can forge a weapon
To penetrate the Beast’s armour?
The blandness, the corruption boils over in his mind
The Song holds him motionless, feeble yet so strong
He sees a rustling cloud, vapours hissing in the sun
Whilst the earth groans in agony and volcanoes roar

Chris Hudson

The Wake And My Father’s Lover - Vic Gamble

at the side of my father’s coffin
button-hole fingers
played another punch-drunk fiddler’s fancy tune
and all the foot-stomping guardian guests,
rosy for booze,
told solemn rosary tales of death
and admired their patent shoes.

“That was a good man”, they whispered ,”good to his wife,
good to his boy, but he had another”

deep inside his well of wood
my father lay & listened,
like an old whisper of fondles echo
and I,
barely big high
as a fireside griddle,
watched the dark rain pepper windowed shadow
on the cold ooze of his eyes,
eyes left roundly scarred
by the weight of old pennies
taken dreamily from grandma’s fiddle-fingered purse.

“That was a strong man”, they
mouthed ”strong for his family,
but he had another.”

that moon that night,
grey brown
as whirled as a tree;
the household dog
grew unsociably friendly
and on my father’s dulled dried lips
long, strange and sophisticated fingers
laid love upon his chill;
we saw those fingers,
we saw her tall
and long and all in black and pretty;
we saw all of this
my saddened eyed mother and I
and we saw all of the sense of this,
the dark shape
holding the chill of my father’s form
inside the veins of her hand.

And when she left,
there was a new hollow in her soft step,
my father’s lover leaving, into the even softer night.

Vic Gamble

The Perfect Clone - Lester Queripel

Here is the perfect example of a clone
They like to sit, they like to moan

They moan when it is noisy
They moan when it is quiet
They moan if they see a protest or a riot
They moan when they are sober
They moan when are drunk and fall over
They moan when they are hungover

They moan if there is nothing to do
They moan about me and you
They moan when they have choices
They like to hear the sound of their own voices

They moan when they are young
They moan when they are old
They moan when they are hot
They moan when they are busy
They moan when they are bored
They never blame themselves
They always blame the Lord

They moan when they are alone
Yet even when they are in company they STILL moan
Are they EVER happy ?

Lester Queripel

Bitten, Worn, and Weary - Kathy Figueroa

I thought I was getting
Sort of big and lumpy,
So I hauled out my bike
But the trail was bumpy

And, before I knew it,
I’d taken a bad spill
In a slick, muddy patch
On the side of a hill.

I had put my foot down
To stop the sudden skid,
But it caught on a root
That appeared to be hid.

Abruptly, there I was
Laid out flat on the ground,
And acutely aware
Of a loud buzzing sound.

Mosquitoes! Mosquitoes!!
From the din I could tell
It was like they had rung
Some sort of dinner bell!

They seemed to have converged
From miles and miles around,
Delighted at the big
Tasty meal they’d just found.

Carefully, I got up
From the brush and the dirt
And was thankful only
My shin and pride were hurt.

There were scrapes and bruises
But not a thing had broke,
Neither a tooth nor bone
Or a bicycle spoke.

The buzzing grew louder;
I knew I had to flee
Lest those hungry ‘skitters
Made a meal out of me!

I hobbled and wobbled
Was shaken, scratched, and sore
But picked up my old bike,
Got on, and rode some more.

It seemed like a good plan
To go out on that trail,
But then it ended up
A huge, resounding “FAIL.”

Bitten, worn, and weary,
With more than just one ache,
At long last I got to
The cabin by the lake

Where, if the truth be known,
It was joyous to see
My bike loaded on the
Back of an ATV.

Kathy Figueroa

Big Horse - Stephen A. Roberts

I made enquiries
and rented a field
for 30 quid a week
though it could have been more
I did not like to ask
them to repeat themselves;
I sometimes feel that I annoy people
doing that
on the telephone

the paddock was a sweet enclosure
and birds were chirping in
the hedgerows and gnarled hawthorn
that bordered it
though my hearing not being what it was
I could only guess that
they could be chaffinches,
or maybe reed bunting
this far south

soon into this setting
I brought a large mare
16 hands I think they said,
tall for female dobbin
surprise now ready I called you
and you arrived with hatred
and separation papers;
"I thought you wanted a big horse"
I said

Stephen A. Roberts

Good Feeling - Diane Scantlebury

Where does it start?
How does it begin?
Those first utterances
That becomes conversation,
What prompts the embrace?
That sparks the first kiss
And lights up a new relation,
How does it happen?
What makes us cry?
In expression of raw emotion,
Fall to our knees
Roll our eyes to the sky,
Or give impression of devotion,
What lies beyond the great universe of now?
That can set our thoughts
And imaginations reeling?
Could it be the birth of true happiness
At the dawn of unexpected good feeling?

Diane Scantlebury

Share My Day - Fred Williamson

As I look through my window,
To the world,
I welcome myself to a new day.
This is a golden time,
My golden year.

I whisper your name,
And feel a presence near,
Share my day my dear.

Fred Williamson

Jerusalem - Joan Raleigh

This Holy city is torn apart,
with man’s hostility to man.
There’s no benevolence or love,
just rockets and Kalashnikovs.
Bullets tear into your mother,
father, sister, babes and brother.
My name’s David, yours Abdullah ,
is yours so different to mine?

They say ‘We’ll cancel Christmastime’.
Jerusalem will not celebrate
the deaths of so many people,
the hate of race to race.
But how can goodwill ever come
in this blessed war-torn place?

If there’s no Holy Christmas birth
can peace be born again on earth?

Your name’s Abdullah, mine is David,
our lives should be forever sacred

Joan Raleigh

Throw the Dice - Lester Qureipel and Fred Williamson

Is this paradise, limbo or hell?
I am running rings around the carousel
I am so confused, I simply cannot tell
Am I laying where I fell?
Are my ears ringing or is that the bell?
I do not want to wait to get to heaven
To get my reward
I want be knighted, not fall on my sword
I want rebirth here on earth
For all it is worth
Not to wait till I am six foot under the turf
I want a life of merriment and mirth
I want to be tossed in the surf
Maybe that is all I am worth
Pushing up the daisies, under the feet of ladies
Walking all over me, in their satin and lace
Kicking sand in my face
Talking about the weather,
Strutting together
Give me a taste of the feast
Give me a day at least
One day in paradise
I will throw the dice
Will my number be up
Come on, lady luck.

Lester Qureipel and Fred Williamson

Winter Landscape - Joan Willard

A panorama crisply white,
that sparkles under clouds of grey,
with coloured accents sharp and bright,

like Breughel’s painting, dark on light,
rich brown, deep green, clear red inlay,
a panorama crisply white.

Smooth naked limbs of trees delight
the birds. They trill a roundelay
with coloured accents. Sharp and bright

they watch soft snowflakes’ gentle flight.
Those dancing star shapes help array
a panorama crisply white,

where cats with velvet paws alight
on frozen roofs, their eyes slate grey
with coloured accents sharp and bright.

A halo-ed silver moon at night
lights up the landscape clear as day,
a panorama crisply white
with coloured accents sharp and bright.

Joan Willard

Why Did The Flowers Die? - Janet

She gazed upon the clothing rail.
Drawn into the winter sale
of garments, left upon the rack.
There her mind was transported back.
Liberating Sixties, saw mixing truth
with bravado of eternal youth.
The Beatles, Stones, and Woodstock too.
Music that changed her point of view.
Peace and love, flowers in her hair.
Her world had changed beyond compare.
So, when did she put on sensible shoes
and serviceable clothes in sombre hues?
Why did the flowers die in her hair,
Lines cover a complexion once so fair?
How could she let her spirit hide?
Let responsibilities make her decide
to cast away the Sixties thing.
Make her heart forget to sing.
Age had hidden that vital spark
and kept her real self in the dark.
With this dress of psychedelic hue
she knew what she had to do.
Her silver hair would look so fine
dressed with a pink and purple line.
Platform heels again she'd buy.
Sensible shoes she could untie.
Add a bit of Sixties bling to
release her heart and let it sing.
She'd allow her mind to go wild,
and unleash that hidden Sixties child.
Vowing no longer to let time drag, she
crammed the last inch of youth into her bag.

(Last line by Francesca).

Thought - Chris Hudson

Lesioned temporal thought lobes
Spasms of time, infinitely long
Infinitely short
Nuclear armaments internalised
Miniature implosions of worlds vapourise
What could be but never will
Complete sensory white-outs
Sears and sterilizes nerve endings
Will never be the same …
Will never be whole ..
Can not be again
White on black, black on white
All the while a frazzling smell
Burning, burning
Lightning to excise you.

Chris Hudson

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