Sunday, December 28, 2014

773 - Early Morning

Early Morning

Early morning
Gloom hangs heavy
She's standing up
— I had to use the spray
That makes no sense
— My jaw hurt
xxxAnd my chest was tight
xxxI used the spray
xxxMy pulse was racing
xxxIt’s better now
She sits on the side of the bed
Bent over
Hugging a pillow
— What time is it?
xxxAbout five
xxxNo, what time is it exactly?
xxxFour fifty nine
The penny drops
— Use the spray they had said
xxxIf the pain doesn’t stop
xxxIn five minutes
xxxCall an ambulance
She’s waiting
— It’s easing now
She lies down
And sleeps
I lie beside her
Wide awake

© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Sunday, December 21, 2014

772 - The Silly Season

Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were: alive, glaring, and misty.

The Silly Season

In a time of tinsel and of elves
The Press is pretty smitten.
Headlines shout, in glaring font,
Of folk with guns.  And kittens.

Perhaps, in their misty mental voids,
They dream to mesh the two—
Longing for gun tottin’ catty types,
Who (bonus points) are fond of vindaloo.

At a time when just being alive
Is a blessing we can use,
Should we really concern ourselves
With what passes for the news? 
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

771 - The Dismissal

Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week (well really last week,
there have been distractions) were: blunt, drunk, and lethargic.

The Dismissal

Is it the case, 
In this modern world,
That courtesy and attention
Are suspect and derided?
That simple respect is dismissed 
With a lethargic wave of the hand
And a bluntly delivered “Whatever”?
Where are our manners?
What are we thinking?
Are we so removed from the 
Niceties of a truly civil society 
That we are immune to politeness?
Or are we so embarrassed by it
As to enquire as to the sobriety 
Of the unfortunate person
As if they must be drunk
To be polite?
That to show
Consideration or concern 
Is not the act of a person
In control of their own actions?
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Saturday, December 06, 2014

770 - Corrupting a Miner

Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were: compact, jubilant, and neglected.

Corrupting a Miner
Deathbed confessions of Mr Faust, Industrialist.

“There’s something I neglected to tell you;
It’s a trifling little thing,
But you probably need to know of it,
Before the death bells ring.

I made a compact with the Devil
And traded off my soul,
And in return he gave to me 
Vast reserves of coal.

I dug it up and shipped it out
As is an owner’s right.
The shareholders were all jubilant 
And danced into the night.

There were those who whinged about the smoke
And the supposed nasty fumes,
But they, like me, could have moved away
To a house of twenty rooms.

But now I’ve reach my twilight time
I feel a slight remorse:
If I’d dug it up twice as fast,
I’d die twice as rich, of course.

There’s a consequence of my actions,
Which gave the Devil mirth,
Having sold my soul for eternity,
I’ve bequeathed you Hell on Earth.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

769 - Our Country

Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were: fiery, notorious and toxic.

Our Country

There’s the fear of snakes and spiders,
And all the nasty things,
Like Portuguese ‘Men of War’,
With their paralyzing stings.

And the fear of red-back spiders
Beneath the toilet seat
They make ablutions a fraught affair—
To dump and then retreat.

I shun the toxic mushrooms
And the notorious Great White shark,
Or the crocodiles that can be found
Within our national parks.

I dread to meet with bull-ants,
Or the wasps, whose sting is rotten,
And Sea Urchins who sound so sweet,
But once met are not forgotten.

There's drab and oil-filled eucalypts
All crispy in the sun,
Waiting for that wayward spark
To let the firestorm run.

But for all the noxious wildlife,
And the fiery dispositions,
The things that scare me most of all
Are our right-wing politicians.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

768 - Old Flames

Old Flames

Where do flames go, after they die?
They, who glowed to brightened our day,
Just disappear with scant ‘good-bye’—
Where do they go when they go away?

Is there a divide they must traverse?
Lingering briefly as a wisp of white
To swirl and twist and then disperse,
Like ghosts that slip into the night.

Where do flames go when they go out?
They were so real, with warmth and grace,
It’s hard to think they are not about,
They must live on in some other place.

But our Heaven wont suit them well—
Perhaps old flames just collect in Hell.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Sunday, November 02, 2014

767 - The Outlook

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #185) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are:

standing, satisfied, burn, jaded, spark, rain
way, sun, cold, grey, joy, slash

The Outlook

The boards
Of the old verandah,
The one his father built,
Are loose and curled.
He has been standing there
For some time,
Watching the land,
Watching the sky,
Watching in a way
That only farmers do.

Some days are cold and grey
But the rains don’t fall
Others break records,
Either way
Both break hearts.
There is no joy
There is nothing 
To spark hope
For the next season.
The rains of yesteryear
No longer come.

He stands there,
His dams are drying,
His flock are dying.
What light rains fall
Do more harm than good—
Sprouting seeds
Only to see 
The next day’s sun 
Burn them,
Turn them in to crisp,
Parodies of grass.
With nothing to hold them,
The soils blow away
In rolling,
Dust clouds.

His family
Built this farm
They ploughed,
They slashed,
They tended to sheep,
And sunk posts 
Into rocky soil.
They cared for what they had.
Now, jaded, despairing,
He stands on the verandah
In the shade,
As it all cracks
And dries,
And blows away.

Miles away,
In air-conditioned offices,
Are satisfied

With this year’s profits
And the short term outlook.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

766 - Yes, I Remember.

Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were: blood, cripple and lurk.

Yes, I remember.

In Canberra, 
There is only one show,
A blood sport above all others, 
Where socially crippled MPs,
Spawned from unwed mothers,
Debate dull matters 
Like state decrees.
You can’t really call it work.
As soft and cushy jobs go,
It’s a pretty good lurk.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Sunday, October 19, 2014

765 - The Psychic

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #183) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are:
shine, crazy, diamond, martyr, seer, secret,
laughter, prisoner, childhood, steel, stranger, shadow

The Psychic

She sat quietly, reflectively.
She could see what was coming.
Around her a small crowd had gathered.

A man, a farmer, speaks up: 
“Tell us", he asks, "of the seasons.”

The sun will shine but ever more so,
The earth will crack and dry;
Even shadows will be crisp and hot,
The crops will wilt and die.

The crowd murmured anxiously,
Unhappy with her words.
A woman asked 
“Will there be wealth?”

You will have enormous wealth,
Diamonds, gold and silken thread,
But none of this will feed you,
And you’ll die both rich and underfed.

The woman called her crazy 
And stormed away in pain,
While a nervous laughter 
Rippled through the crowd.

A soldier stepped forward.  
“And what of us, defenders of the realm?”

She was quiet a while before she spoke.

You are a martyr to another’s dream,
A pawn on a checkered board;
It’s no secret that you are used
For the benefit of our lords.

A small child then asked, nervously
“What of me?  What do you see for me?”

Your childhood is an illusion
Your future even more so;
You will forever be a prisoner 
To the will of the status quo.

Finally, a stranger to the village spoke up.
“Is there anything to give us hope?”

She looked at him blankly before saying:

Will the people steel themselves
To take control of their daily things?
Will they tackle the issues
And bear the pain this brings?

Probably not, 
she added, underneath her breath.

The crowd, unhappy with the message,
Regardless of its truth,
Then beat the seer to death.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

764 - Post-Mortem

Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were: gifted, intense and rot.


When, at last, the veil is lifted
On the stewardship we’ve shown,
When the rot is all dissected,
When the true neglect is known,
The inquest 
Will attest:

“Connected but intensely unaware.

To them, a paradise was gifted,
But they didn’t seem to care."
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Sunday, October 12, 2014

763 - On The Other Hand

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #182) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are:
machine, flesh, tease, lotion, gimmick, hypnotizing,
lust, chickens, torture, uniform, liquor, brains, trains

On The Other Hand

There are machines that take our jobs
But do ones that have been fatal to children in the past.

Whores sell their flesh
But some use the money to educate and feed their family.

Advertisers tease us
But commerce is what pays for our jobs.

The cosmetics industry sells fake lotions
But placebos have been shown to work.

Every week there is a new gimmick
But we crave variety and change.

We are hypnotized by affluence
But few can really achieve it.

We are expected to lust for more
But we live in a finite world.

We imprison people
But demand chickens be released from their cages.

We are promised uniform opportunity
But the promise is never kept.

We are told we over-consume liquor
But have seen the effects of prohibition.

Our brains are used to devise evil things
But they devise miraculous things as well.

The media trains us to be compliant
But we sometimes rebel when we see a wrong.

We take firm ‘moral’ stands on every issue
But refuse to consider the value of the other side.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Thursday, October 09, 2014

762 - A Class Act

Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were: arrogant, crude and supple.

A Class Act

There is a certain elegance, 
A certain je ne sais quoi 
In everything they do.
An aloofness 
That is not so much arrogant 
As disdainful;
A presentation to the world 
That is one of entitlement
A regal stance that oozes class 
And separates the social strata.
They walk with a fluidity, 
With a liquid motion 
That captivates, hypnotises.  
There is nothing crude about them, 
They are a quality act.
They display a suppleness 
In their actions and, indeed, 
In their personal hygiene that, 
If extended to teenage boys, 
No homework would ever be done.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Sunday, October 05, 2014

761 - The Expedition

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #181) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are:
sense, speech, sheets, goblets, signs, vital,
name, broken, away, strips, connected, poem

The Expedition

The word had reached the Empire
Of riches far away;
Of spices, gold and willing girls,
Of reindeer and a sleigh,
The vital signs that are required
For a mercenary foray.

The expedition was assembled,
Five bankers had been found,
Endless speeches had been given,
The boat they had was sound,
They filled its hold with puddings,
Rejecting those not round.

The sails were sheets of onion skins
Cut  into even strips,
The ballast was unbroken plates
Though some of them had chips,
And a passing poet was shanghaied,
To record the epic trip.

The captain was a cantaloupe,
The crew, a herd of sheep,
The first mate was a three-toed sloth
And spent the day asleep;
The cook was known to drink a bit
And predisposed to weep.

The bosun was well connected,
His father was an earl,
Who’d sent his son off to the sea
To teach him of the world,
But couldn’t dampen his inner love
Of dressing like a girl.

They charged their goblets and raised a toast,
They named the ship ‘Ptomaine’,
The crew all sensed the moment too
And tried to break their chains,
They then sailed into the setting sun
And were never seen again.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Saturday, October 04, 2014

760 - Left Luggage

Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were: barren, worry and intense.

Left Luggage

Waiting for God with a vacant stare
Your mind has wandered who knows where.
You have long lost your early bloom
And now test-drive an early tomb.
It’s not exactly intensive care—
They hose you down and comb your hair
And leave you strapped into a chair
In a sparsely furnished room,
Waiting for God.

“You’ll have no worries” they declare
But quietly hope that they wont go there
They leave you there to meet your doom
And never share the twilight gloom,
Life’s a pretty barren affair,
Waiting for God.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

759 - The Schooling

A posey of flowers marks the spot where ashes
of drowned asylum seekers were scattered.

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #180) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are: 
posey, ashes, flames, sticks, lot, fear, 
love, discernment, polarize, identity, selfless, joy

The Schooling

Love comes naturally.
Everything fascinates babies,
Without discernment,
Without prejudice.
Every new experience is filled
With lots of joy and delight.
This is how we arrive:


Fear is learned.
Fear is taught.
Sometimes through 
The blistering flames of experience
But all too often through the 
Whispering innuendos 
Of tribal groupings:
My people versus your people,
Age, race, colour, gender
All needless labels that send a
Message of stereotype and difference.
Vilification sticks.
Humanity is denied.


Those who would control us
Know this all too well.
Politicians, advertisers,
Media owners of all types,
Tap into this contrived identity,
Polarize our groups
With the sticks and carrots 
Of fear and envy,
For their own ends,
A discordant ensemble
Of dog whistles.
Obediently we react,
Stay in our compounds
And bark at strangers.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

758 - Alternative Medicine

Theme Thursday has the prompt 'Apples'.

On the walls of a house of delight
Hangs a motto both pithy and bright—
"While an apple a day
Keeps the doctor away,
A nice pair will help pass the night."
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

757 - A Reflection on Life’s Parasites.

Pthirus pubis

Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were: adequate,explosive & parasite.

A Reflection on Life’s Parasites.

Life is full of parasites.
Some suck your blood,
Some your lifeblood.
Some graze on your extremities
While others are more invasive,
A little more personal.
Some arrive unannounced and,
Often unnoticed, never leave.
We have an adequate lot in life,
Enough to share perhaps,
And they are usually small, flat and largely hidden.

Some make their presence known with the odd tickle,
An itch perhaps, but we learn to live with them,
Are they co-mensal if you are the dinner?
Perhaps not but fellow travellers, none the less,
And we are a tolerant people.

Others arrive benignly, almost welcomed,
And, like a Trojan Horse, un cheval de troie,
They bide their time quietly grazing
Until ready to show their explosive intent,
And then they unexpectedly rupture,
Disgorging malice and toxins
Into your world.  Quite puzzling.
I have never understood
Why a parasite would
Kill its host.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014

756 - Beagle II

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #179) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are: 
live, give, heart, gold, expression, searching,
old, ocean, mind, keep, miner, crossed

Beagle II

The craft touched down with a puff of smoke
It had travelled from distant stars;
Its hold was filled with a million and two
Specimens, in large blue jars.

It had crossed the visible universe
Searching for sentient life:
To record their numbers in a ledger of sorts,
And dissect them, with a knife.

And so they came to this blue-brown globe,
Across the oceans of deep space,
To count and catalogue it’s brighter minds,
To see who ran this place.

What was clear to them when they searched around
Was the jungle now owned the city:
Cockroaches, ants and some scaly things,
Made up the welcoming committee.

They approached an old temple of sorts
With gold leaf upon the door;
“It seems place where they burnt their coal
And a miner who wanted more”.

The ship’s scientists were amazed at this,
“Surely they had noticed the sun?
It’s a power source that gives and gives,
There’s free energy by the ton.”

The expression displayed on the leader’s face
Was one of shock and doubt:
“Well, I guess all signs of intelligent life
Died when the coal ran out.”

The cockroaches were most offended, of course, 
To be so rudely sidelined:
“We have far exceeded those men of old,
We have a heart, we have a mind”.

The crew were getting rather restless now
They moaned “This place is far too hot.
It’s like living in a bloody greenhouse,
Let find a better spot!”

And so they filed back on board their ship,
To continue their collecting;
In one lone blue jar, kept in the hold below,
Was a cockroach, for dissecting.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

755 - The Birthday Girl

This started out in the meter of
'Mary had a little lamb' but lost its way.

The Birthday Girl

Billie had a little cake,
It had a lovely taste;
And every bit that Billie ate
Built up upon her waist.

It had a single candle,
To celebrate the day;
She couldn’t do ‘one per year’
Without the fire brigade.

She celebrated through the night
As only she was able;
Next morning, when she woke up
She was underneath the table.

She was lying there beside a sheep,
Whose fleece was white as snow;
Mary lay beside her too,
And was not inclined to go.

The sheep was far less certain,
And feared it was main course.
Well-founded, as it turned out,
When roasted, with mint sauce. 

Mary thought it fitting
That the event was caught in rhyme,
So let it be now recorded
That they had a spanking time.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

754 - When They Are Gone

Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were: breezy, hairy and monstrous.

I hadn’t planned to contribute this week but things changed.

When they are gone
On hearing that a friend’s son had suicided.

The black dog lives at their address,
Rabid, hairy, and teasing relentless—
They hope that it will disappear
When they are gone.

They teeter closer than they will admit
On the edge of some monstrous pit,
They hope the pain will just fade away
When they are gone.

A breezy front is oft’ displayed
When an exit plan’s been made
Seldom seen but, oh, so clear
When they are gone.

That awful day when they submit
Is far from being the end of it.
The black dog’s load is shared around
When they are gone.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

753 - The Skewed World of Smoking Joe.

I don’t often mix prompts but this week they seemed to fit together:

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #178) gave us 
hospital, tests, anxiety, fluff, words, ouch,

pester, blood, know, meal, center, jello

And Three Word Wednesday gave us:
geek, carcass and slash

The Skewed World of Smoking Joe.

Treasurers come and Treasurers go
But few are as reviled as Smoking Joe.
He smokes cigars, he drive flash cars,
The poor and weak are his natural foe.

His ministry is full of geeks
Who give his dream its lethal tweaks,
They will tear apart our social heart
To make the feudal land he seeks.

He slashes back all progress made
His final goal is to just downgrade,
He tests each thing for the tax it will bring:
Is Jello a food or a wrestling aid?

He has no feel for what’s at stake;
His choice of words—a big mistake:
“Should the poor have a car, they don't drive it very far”
Like “if they need a meal, then why not cake?”

The hospitals are filled with anxious folk
Who do not share the fat man’s joke.
But they’ll disappear this financial year
When hospital funding goes up in smoke. 

The sick and old, in their desperate plight,
Do not pester his sleep at night.
He wishes them away, in a cold-blooded sort of way,
Just stack the carcass out of sight.

Joe says that we must be very tough
To rid our life of its social fluff,
We are just little workers, making cash for the jerkers
Who never learnt how to say ‘enough’.

Self-centred and quite proudly so,
Determined to reframe the status quo,
Stuff the poor, the rich need more,
Such is the world of Smoking Joe.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Sunday, September 07, 2014

752 - The Dream Seeder

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #177) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are: 
horses, signal, bullets, thrust, plant, dismal,
edge, spot, rose, locks, ball, meandering

The Dream Seeder
Father’s Day 2014.

It is late.
The bed is warm.
He sits beside me.
His tone alternates between conspiratorial and alarming.
His words, exotic and alive, paint a picture.  Pictures.
The wild.
The fanciful.
The instructive.
The richly embroidered tales of adventure, 
tales of love and derring-do,
meandering at times, exciting always,
where proud Arabian horses stand tall, nostrils flaring, scanning the desert air for assassins, where writhing, serpentine plants spiral to the heavens, through the giant-dwelling clouds, to where a goose sits, patiently twitching her golden sphincter, where small girls with golden curls dream of leaving their dismal cinder-full, sister-full drudgery for the rose-petalled, glass-shoed bliss of the Prince’s Ball, where wicked, warty witches, living in confectionery cottages far from the forest’s edge, waiting to lock small wandering children in even smaller cages, to fatten them and eat them (can you spot the message here?), where tassllated cowboys in white hats gallop, firing from guns in both hands, bullets that always find their targets, as they gallop across the wild, wide savannas to rescue the beleaguered fort, where gnarled old sailors, led by a courageous, young captain, battle seas rife with one-legged, ear-ringed, parrot-toting pirates and large, one eyed, long tentacle creatures, in search of the “X” that always marks the spot.
These are the stories of the twilight.
These are the seeds of dreams.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Thursday, September 04, 2014

751 - The Lesson

Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were: bribery, clobber & skeptical.

The Lesson.

Silver tongued vixens 
Will clobber
Many an unwary 
Young man;

With their exotic charms
They do it because they can—
They cavort,
A bribery
Of sorts.

Should ring out
From the hills
“Be sceptical
Of the life robber
Who trades
In low carnal thrills”.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

750 - The Anti-Killing

The Anti-Killing.

He performed so poorly in bed
She decided to poison his bread.
While cyanide was intended,
A Viagra was vended
And she actually raised up the dead.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

749 - A Rather Odd Taste

Mad Kane has a weekly limerick challenge.
She provides the first line,
The rest is up to us.

The meal had a rather odd taste,
Rather like marzipan paste.
It lead to the demise
Of a number of guys
Whose affections were badly misplaced.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

748 - The Demimonde

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #174) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are: 

demimonde, candle, grand, oranges, abomination, allegiance,

transgression, asylum, myself, rites, Africa, reborn, gray.

The Demimonde.
noun: a class of women who have lost their standing 
in respectable society because of indiscreet behavior 
or sexual promiscuity.

Sultry, primitive, inviting,
With her ‘come and spend the night’ in 
Looks and demeanour,
Sophisticated, in a worldly sense,
Rings, curtains, candles,
Aromas that betray their allegiance
To the most basic of desires:
Orange, cinnamon, musk.
She speaks to the core of humanity
That is an abomination to the puritans,
The same ones who queue at her door, at dusk.

Sultry, primitive, inviting,
Echoing the fertility rites and acts
Practiced since the gray dawn of time,
Since we walked out of Africa,
Born and reborn,
To face death, 
Real and petite,
There has been a desire to meet.
This is not a transgression,
Just a brief asylum.
A meeting of minds,
And bodies.
And then composure, 
Without remorse.
A part of the grand cycle of life.
Sultry, primitive, inviting.

I wouldn’t go there myself, 
Of course.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014