Unintended Consequence

The African-American
High schooler had poor grades.
Folks worried for his future,
Seeing little effort made.

Some caring people spoke to him,
And urged it would be best,
If he worked hard to raise his grades
For college and success.

The youth replied that grades don’t count
And shocked them with his spin,
That if he chose to go to college
Race would get him in.



Risk Taking That Isn’t 

inspired by an essay by Professor Salemi

“Take risks” they’re fond of saying,
Meaning disregard all norms.
Eschew a sense of structure
And avoid the use of forms.

But if it’s fine to shun all rules
There’s no risk to be had,
They laud chaotic writing,
Deeming just tradition bad.




The small food pantry gets supplied
By church folks with good hearts.
They feel that hunger should be fought
And seek to do their parts.

It could be hard to walk inside
And ask for needed food,
So guests are given great respect,
To lift a somber mood.

Most patrons gratefully respond
When handed things to eat,
But others somehow justify
Demanding extra meat!



Marital Bliss

To keep things warm inside the house
It helps to be judicious.
One way a man can please his spouse:
Ensure she won’t do dishes



Russel Winick recently started writing poetry at nearly age 65, after ending a long legal career. He resides in Naperville, Illinois.

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8 Responses

  1. David Whippman

    Neatly constructed pieces. “Unintended Consequence” might make some people uncomfortable but it voices a truth.

    • Russel Winick

      Thank you David. “Unintended Consequence” is about an actual experience from my work at an anti-poverty agency in the Chicago area, as is “Entitlement.”

  2. Cheryl Corey

    These are all fine poems. Re: “Entitlement” – I think there’s an expression about the best of intentions, but I can’t remember how it goes. I once worked for a non-profit that held a diaper drive, but then we got complaints because it didn’t include diapers for seniors. We also had to be wary of those who wanted diapers they could re-sell for drugs. Love the wry humor of “Marital Bliss”. (personally, I’d be okay with doing the dishes if the man did the cooking!)

  3. C.B. Anderson

    Some people, Russel, will tell you that you’ve grown cynical in your old age, but I am here to tell you that what has happened is that your observations of reality have only grown more astute. In a sense, you are still litigating; it’s just a matter of whether you prefer to be the complainant or the defendant.

    • Russel Winick

      Thank you. I’m thrilled to have discovered poetry as a vehicle for expressing what I deem to be observations of reality. The many great poets who contribute to this site are fine teachers.


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