Doublespeak Denial Rondeau Redoublé “Gender mattered a whole lot less to Shakespeare than it seems to matter to us.” —John Irving If I don’t care for words you have to share (a pitch which strips all speech of honesty) don’t force me to embrace all you declare then name and shame me if I disagree. Don’t tell me she’s a He and he’s a She and biology’s validity is rare in your mind and gender-bending fantasy if I don’t care for words you have to share. Don’t claim a guy’s a girl when I’m aware that chromosomes in DNA are key; my rationale is way beyond compare to a pitch which strips all speech of honesty. I’m of the mind all humankind is free. How we live and love and lean is our affair, not prey to iffy ideology; don’t force me to embrace all you declare. Every notion, every whisper, every prayer is slammed if it’s considered non-PC— that tactic meant to silence, stun and scare then name and shame me if I disagree. If I won’t toe your line, why can’t you spare a thought for mine and let the subject be? I’m done with psychological warfare. Why blast my brain with bombast endlessly if I don’t care! Fine Dining a villanelle Beware all whine-and-dine taboos; Those anti-social vocal wrecks— And mind you mind your Ps and Qs. To slam the Pope will not amuse; This rousing grouse is bound to vex. Beware all whine-and-dine taboos. Eschew the schmooze on kitsch tattoos; Don't flash your abs or flex your pecs And mind you mind your Ps and Qs. Do ditch your views on nuptial blues; Don't bitch about your boozy ex. Beware all whine-and-dine taboos. Folk never relish hellish news; It twists the gut and mists the specs. And mind you mind your Ps and Qs. When touting topics do not choose Those fifty passé shades of sex. Beware all whine-and-dine taboos And mind you mind your Ps and Qs. Ode to Autumn in Texas “If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell.” —General Philip Henry Sheridan Season of sweat and sticky listlessness blazing in a blast of blistering sun, teasing timorous twangs of restlessness— that banshee-screeching, shrill cicada song, and goading hummingbirds to zip and vie in emerald-armoured, fierce, zig-zagging war for treasure from a syrup-seeping bloom, while napes of freckled necks grow red and raw, as buzzards surf the sizzle of the sky, mosquitos wheel and whine in fever’s sigh, and bees bob in a pollen-swollen swoon— when will your sultry ways phase out and give us mitten-fingered magic under skies aglow with sleety sorcery to sieve a sprinkling of relief to spare dazed lives? That smoking brisket-burn and humid haze, when teetering in a margarita fug, is a reeling feeling borne from sweltering fueled by forever roast-neath-straw-hat days, when shawl-clad folk are relishing a glug of lush, lip-licking cocoa in a mug— why mock us with the sass of Summer’s grin? Where is the chill of Winter’s cooling touch to quell this spell of Hades here on earth? This horrid, torrid swell just proves too much to beat this hellish hearth when there’s a dearth of frost to lace a lusting for the fresh and dustless climes of alpine reverie: a pristine blast of white that will extend its kiss of ice-blessed splendor to fried flesh in snow-capped, cheek-chapped, scarf-wrapped bonhomie, beyond this flame-ordained infinity, where Summers never, ever, EVER end! Susan Jarvis Bryant is a church secretary and poet whose homeland is Kent, England. She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas. Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets).