Russel Winick began writing poetry two years ago at nearly age 65, after concluding a long career as an attorney. Langston Hughes and Dorothy Parker are among his foremost poetic inspirations. He and his wife reside in Naperville, Illinois.

(inspired by Langston Hughes)

What are the effects
When a dream is denied?
Regret can be crushing,
Shame hindering pride.

The athlete’s whole life
Was about turning pro.
But then college ended
With nowhere to go.

An artist drew paintings
And hoped for acclaim,
But never was more than
A little-known name.

The dancer who sought
An appropriate mate,
But failed to find one
Of suitable rate.

A lawyer whose plan was
To quickly get rich,
Could not land a job
With the requisite niche.

The cook’s great creations
Were guaranteed thrills,
But not at the joint where
She worked to pay bills.

What happens when one’s
Precious dream is denied?
Will bitter pain caused
Ever fully subside?


Reliability’s in short supply,
And promises mean less and less these days.
A rampant lack of follow up requires,
To get things done we must devise new ways.

It could be with a worker at a store,
Who says they’ll search for something that you need.
Or commonly a contractor who vowed,
Your job would finish with the promised speed.

It might involve a governmental agent,
Responsible for issues that you face.
Or maybe it is even your own lawyer,
Entrusted with the handling of a case.

These people might be genuinely busy,
But every time the thing they choose to do,
Addresses someone else’s situation,
Their choice is blatantly adverse to you.

Such dilatory folks count on your silence,
And take advantage via inattention.
You’d hope integrity would get them moving,
But they’ll ignore whatever you don’t mention.

So while aggressiveness is not your makeup,
And confrontation likely makes you nervous,
The growing unreliability,
Means you must change—or settle for bad service.


He started out quite insecure
His undertakings all unsure
But managed to achieve success
That made self-doubt occur much less.
His confidence grew near complete
Which jealous people called conceit.