Rolling News

"Two shots each, even the children"
There was something in those words.
But what?

He must have been professional.
Focused, single-minded,
supported by an otherwise disassembling mind.

It must have been in haste
he couldn’t stay to check.
He took two shots each to be sure.

Not execution
but assassination.
There would be getting in
and getting out
to think about.
It was planned.

They were surprised.
They must have been a family
in movement, activity.
Are their souls sharing bread
while they rot in separate graves?

What else?

The bulletin was brief.
The scene painted first,
then "even the children"
appendaged to the end.
The reporter's voice was flat.
Not hushed as they can be –
employing a tone
respecting sensitivities.
In this case they must have deemed
the voice unnecessary.

The story was not new, then.
Our emotions safe –
used to the rat-tat-tat of death somewhere else.
Some extra tragedy
nearer to home, maybe
would need to occur
for the professional soft voice.

But for now,
we had a new norm.
Though I know some closed their eyes
during The Weather.

Rolling News was published in the National Poetry Competition Collection 2013, by ForwardPoetry - a poetry press that runs many competitions while also publishing anthologies. Click here to see their helpful guide on the publication timeline.

Playground of My Youth

The hill
Playground of my youth
An hour after school
The grass always damp
shadowed by oak trees

The stream
below a bank
of weeds and old rope
Mudslides in the rain
leave ridges to climb

The bridge
where boys on bikes
smile down
Too old for plasters
Too young for kissing

The bushes
A shared cigarette
There a man
with need to shock
means no harm

The old castle
A magic forest
An electric walk
A first kiss
The end of youth

I wrote Playground of My Youth when on a trip home to Dublin. Driving passed the parks where I used to play brought back memories. Tuck Magazine accepted the poem for their April 2015 issue.

Love Tuck Magazine. Check out my related blog post Two New Poems in Tuck Magazine! 

My Couch Says

My couch never asks
Are you winning
What have you done for me
Why not supersize?

Instead it calls me over
You're welcome any time
Have you met remote control?
He was lonely without you

My TV is a window
It fits the world inside
Life is great in pixels
Nothing lasts

Click, the window shows
A couch just like mine
With oversized coffee mugs
And oversized matters

My couch is not that busy
Should I have jumbo coffee?
Couch says not to worry
They're trapped in fact

Click to listless babies
With bodies inside-out
My couch says they're aliens
Keep switching. Quick.

Camp fires burning
Throughout the concrete jungle
Scavengers of justice
By night. Click

A human tide reclaims
The streets for its children
The picture keeps changing
But the monster stays the same

They don't look as comfy as me
Change your mind
Go inside
Find a couch

My couch says
You think too much
Here's a cushion
Have a rest

My Couch Says is published in Squawk Back. An online magazine publishing poetry and prose with beautiful illustration. Check out their archive going back to May 2011.

Aboard The Waits Train
(Listening to Tom Waits)

All aboard the Waits train!
It’s a lovely sound you make and I’m not the first to say it

Leave your bags and credit cards behind
Find a seat that slides
You move me

Let your soul take a ride
To an old world
Where everything is sepia and torn
Over gravel chords I can’t see home any more

Out the window to your left see the dark side of you
Out the right, as tight as night, it’s a belly-bound snake that knows the truth
The ruthless toothless chattering of fate
Cruelty makes the world go round for heaven’s sake!

There’s a tumbling that’s threatening to crash
Laughing at the entreat of the tracks

Allow the salve to take affect…

A melody beguiling like angels rising, there I’m free to wonder without words
Bursting at the lightness of the piano’s knowing

The refreshments cart is on its way
Outside the window my world is flashing by

Take something with you when you leave
Alight in your own time

I tried a few times to write an ode to Tom Waits and then finally came about the metaphor of going on a journey to another world. Aboard The Waits Train is published in Tuck Magazine, April 2015.

Click here for my related blog post Two New Poems in Tuck Magazine!

What if hope had a shape, she says
It would be nebulous, I say, like a cloud
Drifting, changing over things

Isn't that far away, she says
Yes, I say, and my hope is near
Inside me, hovering, staid...stale maybe...
Overused maybe, like a worn patch in a rug
Often visited but never infused

So you've given up, she says
Is that what it's called, I say
I'm looking inwards, seeing the calluses where I tried
Seeing the shape of the past, its length
I never looked before

What if fear had a shape, she says
It would be a small mark after a storm, I say
Sucking in everything around it
Changing the direction of things

Is that what happened to your hope, she says
Yes, I say, maybe you’re right
I smile, infusing bitterness with something sweet
Except, I say, maybe it is right
Not that hope should be eaten by the smallest mark of destruction
But that it should mist and disperse
And fall like rain back to the earth
For disappointment is only knowledge
And knowledge is always safe

Where do you go from here, she says
Back to the beginning, I say
To get my bearings

Hope is published in ForwardPoetry anthology, A Symphony of Life, January 2012. 

Forgive me for this rant seduced me
Late in bed last night
But something on the TV
Made my stomach tight

Flags waved to the podium
As crowd became brigade
But I fear out of control
Were those applauding from the stage

Their egos have prevented them
From knowing who they are
So to sound like they know all
They shove the world into a jar

It’s a little jar that lives inside
Their fast-fed bloated minds
Makes reality black and white
And verdict easy to find

But not satisfied with slicing off
The complex and the subtle
They wield their jar for preaching
For argument and rebuttal

And they run about the world
With jar-peddling faces
Trying to tell the rest of us
How the human race is

Is it fear that drives them
To the rhetoric and the woe
Or the salve of power
That needs a phantom foe

Or is the devil in disguise
In glasses and a dress
As an ex-beauty queen
With a wink to impress

Well, if God said free your heart
And the answers come in time
Science said if you want answers
You have to free your mind

But the devil said don’t mind them
I’ve answers ready-made for you
They’re sugar-dipped, melt in the mouth
You don’t even have to chew

Forgive me for this fear increasing
To the morning glow
Perhaps it’s in a mirror
I see their paranoia grow

But I fear they shove that sugar
Into their sealed and fetid minds
So they will never reassess
What they’ve already misaligned

So here’s my two cents
To the world-wide convenient store
If might is right and there’s no catch
It’s probably not al-gore

And if the jar heads win the war
And their queen becomes head hen
Then I suggest we move to Mars
And start reality again

Jar Heads was published in The Interpreter's House, June 2011, and was my first published poem. An exciting moment! The Interpreter's House publishes 3 issues of shorts stories and poems per year.

The End

Sometimes I am ahead

Near the end of a railway track
I can taste dust, red and burnt
And there’s an old bench and a sign without letters
The picture is punctured only by tumble weed blowing through
And the shadow of a bird that snakes along the ground
There’s nothing for him here

What’s behind the faded hue of this picture?
What brought me to this place?
I look back over the track
And see I am standing there, invisible

And then I am back to now

And sometimes it's an old woman
Withering she reaches
With icy hands
She touches and whispers
Did you think this was a dream
That you would wake
Shake off the shackles you have made

She cackles as if it’s her only mirth
Her fingers grope at me
And I can feel her frailty
As if cobwebs make her skin
And stale water, her eyes
She is tired of living
But not tired of goading


And sometimes it’s a garden dressed in light
The leaves are bursting green
Below the table is warm
Dressed with fruit
Prepared with love
My eyes are closed and my hands are clasped
In rest at last
The quiet is scattered by children
They pick at the fruit and run
Careful children, I say
Corners are sharp

Decanto published The End in their December 2011 issue. They publish 6 issues of poetry per year. 

Click here to see my blog post 'The Making of The End'

Prime Time Guy

From the side of his mouth
Comes a cartoon slipstream
Animated history
With moronic overtones

But to those who have noticed
The prime time guy
With the square-jawed Hi
Has a serious soul

It’s the distances that bother him
Standing in the middle
Of American Pie
Playing a mirror’s role

Pulling in the corners
Showing each the other’s
Prejudice colors
Like flags, home grown

Oh, he is celebrated
For his comic timing
But the air is polarizing
Outside the T.V. zone

And disparity is deepening
As he seeks reaction
To subversive attractions
Once the anchor man goes home

Prime Time Guy was first published in Tuck Magazine, March 2012 issue. Tuck is a literary, music and art journal. Something for everyone. 

Click here to see my blog post 'Tuck March Issue has come but not gone'

Prime Time Guy was republished in Pif Magazine June 2012. Pif publishes fiction, poetry, interviews and reviews, mixing it up with established and emerging writers.

Also if you are interested, here is my loosely related blog post which links to this poem: Not So New Girl

The Procrastinator

The Procrastinator is published with WordJar anthology My Love 2, February 2012. 

WordJar asked for a dedication to accompany their poems. Click here to see my blog post, 'It was you who fell first'

The Procrastinator is republished in Forward Poetry anthology: Aspects of Love, September 2012

It's The Right Thing To Do

So beautiful
You cannot be seen
Cover up
It’s the right thing to do

Your eyes are not your eyes
But windows of desire
They must not be allowed
To call on others

Your skin is not just skin
But a burning flame
To engulf, corrupt
Lead astray

Your smile is not your smile
But a serpents tail
Her ways are too beguiling
To be free

It’s the right thing to do
For the world's sake
It’s nature’s way
Sound, words, veil

So beautiful
You could turn animal
Those who would otherwise be
Men of God

It's The Right Thing To Do is published in The Arab Review, July 2012, a culturally rich journal of Middle Eastern art and culture, including poetry, fiction, art, essays, reviews and more - current affairs through the arts.

Here's my related blog post: It's The Right Thing To Do


We smoked cigarettes in the break room
And talked about books
Your hands manicured, expressive
Mine scruffy, hidden
We knew each other as old friends
But not for long

Your face is gone from that last image
But I remember your fingers neatly folded
They felt like candle wax
Your mum wrapped her arms around me
So that I couldn’t breathe

There’s a memory I have
Of sitting in your kitchen
We already knew
But talked about boys
Your eyes were really blue
Must be the sky was looking in
You were doing my nails
And we kept chuckling
What was his name again?

Zoe is published in issue 1 of Linden Avenue, June 2012. A cool new poetry and fiction magazine that brings us the literature of every day life.

Sifting For Gold

I’m circling this black box
Whose shape is still unknown
Adding in, taking out

I’m looking for the face
To fill the sculptors square
I know it’s in there hiding
But there is nowhere to hide

I chip away to reach it
Within the lions layer
Pacing patiently
And when it pounces

I shall say eureka
Because the piece will fit
The puzzle will be solved
And I can rest at last

But until then I sift the shale
And wait to see gold
On my large white writing pad

Tuck Magazine published Sifting For Gold along with Prime Time Guy in their April 2012 issue. Great to be a part of an arts magazine with a broad spectrum of articles and prose on offer.

She Is Everywhere

I entered a WordJar competition which led to the inclusion of my haiku in their latest anthology. The collection is beautiful with some striking haiku and each one accompanied by a poignant image.

Click here to see my related blog post.

What Can Be

Her body has stopped working
A time bomb came to rest
Freeing her of an ancient tie
That hadn't touched her yet

She didn’t see it coming
She was looking other ways
She thought she had more time
What more can she say?

Some things go in cycles
Some things start to end
Some things ebb and flow
Some things break to mend

But the sun will not be rising
Spring won’t come this year
Ashes won’t grow flowers
Love won’t dry a tear

She wouldn’t say it’s tragic
Worse things come to be
Like a flower nipped in the bud
Like a breath that’s not born free

Things happen for a reason
Or for no reason at all
How can there be a question
With no starting point to call?

So let wind sweep the trees
Let insects build the earth
Let the sun bestow the bedrock
With its gift of endless birth

The answer she believes
Is that as the path unfurls
What can be will find its way
In the cycle of the world

What Can Be was runner-up in Thynks Healing Poems Competition and was published in the anthology Little Book of Healing, 2014. Thynks publish a broad range of poetry and prose with a focus on compassion and healing.

Sitcom Drops

Sell me life
In lemon drops
The guitar riff
The one-line gags
The inside, on-side pops

The story safe
Safely bold
Kick out
Confront the force
All friends again
It’s a boomerang, circle course

They neatly learn
And hug a lot
And nearly fall in love
And nub the broken awkward bits
So life fits like a glove

Smitten crowd
Hush for that first kiss
The music steers
And swells our hearts
To dream of wedded bliss

Perfect hair
And teeth and bags and shoes
I want it bad
Like lemon drops
Those plastic sitcom moves

If you are interested, here is my loosely related blog post which links to this poem: Not So New Girl

The Interface Principal

Some people say 'Oh, you're a programmer and you write poems - do you ever write poems about programming?' Thanks for the suggestion. Here's some pseudo C++ 

  The Interface Principal

class open bracket '{'
    font changes colour
           // outside the window
           // the sky is fogging up the morning sun

    public (interface) :
        encapsulated space
        of polymorphic accessors
        avoid default construction, as practice

        shall I overload an operator?
        undercut a stream?

        don't forget to destruct, virtually!

    protected (for inheritance) :
        // outside the window
        // the sky is closing in
        // the sun is trying from the other side

        enumerate a state
        add a helper template
        return a const result
        to a mutable

    private (implementation) :
        for loops do while
            functor-wrapped predicates of logic

        variables with underscores
        denoting membership
        if they start to grow
        consider pimpl'ing

to end, close bracket '}'

now for those overloads
in keeping with 
The Interface Principal

// outside the window
// the sky has turned dark blue
// but this is not a place for stars


  1. Can I say wow? I just read a few of those poems, but I love them! Jar Heads just really stuck with me, and Zoe was emotional, but simple. The End was exactly what I attempt to portray in my poetry, and it all sounds so professional! Sitcom Drops was also amazing, because it is so true! You really have a certain voice and knack for poetry that just blend so well together! I seriously enjoyed reading these!

    1. Hi Ray, thanks so much! I'm delighted you like the poems! - It's inspiring! :)

  2. 'Hope' it is beautifully written and a deep meaning so well conveyed.Beautiful work.

  3. Thanks Mehreen. I'm so glad you like it! I love it too. Only saw your comment now.