The cat left no suicide note
unlike the farmer who died
in the same way
head swathed in cling wrap
like a cellophane mummy
he met with foul play.
His wife the killer — Insurance —
eager for a big pay.
But who would asphyxiate a cat
& dump it by the riverside
where dreamy poets wander
& children play?
M is in her cups.
Any moment now, the kookaburra cackle
the cutting off, like a hoon driver on the highway.
But for the time being I’m holding the table, telling the tale of the silver hammer beneath the front passenger seat of my car, what happens when my girlfriend spots it.
The little group leans forward, intent.
But it reminds M of something and she’s hyper now, jumps in, raucous.
This time I’m ready for her.
I took a photo today I’d like to show you. It’s for you, I say.
You did? Really?
Yes, I say, bringing it up on the screen, passing it across to her.
It’s what you do when you cut people off, how you make them feel. It’s kind of a metaphor.
She has a close look. Ouch,, she says. Lopped?
How’s your girlfriend going? she asks tonelessly..
Pam? Yeh, she’s okay, I say.
You seem to need somebody, she says. A wife, partner, a female friend.
And you don’t?
No. I must be stronger, she conjectures in her haughty voice. I can live with myself. I don’t need anyone.
Loneliness is a morose companion, I add.
She says nothing.
pic by Joey Monsoon courtesy of Pinterest
Pounding the pavements of Portland,
grim, gaunt , hunch-backed,
no singing, cheery, Disney
hunchback of Notre Dame
bandy-legged, bushy eyebrowed,
Quasimodo, orange vis jacket
looks like an angry bee.
It wasn’t the person from Porlock; it was my aunt
Who got on the bus, brought my poem to an end.
My notebook slumped on my lap as she told me
The long sad story of a friend.
When she got off I had my chance but this young bloke
Sat next to me, iPod blaring, hair swooped back.
It was the White Stripes live from Splendour.
How could I not listen ? It was Meg and Jack.
But then a cross-eyed biker got on, hair in a rat’s tail,
Skin graffitied with tatts. How could I not look?
His arms a graphic novel. Then a woman got on
Shouting into her mobile, angry as ‘The Angry Book’.
The sad sack on the other end was out for the count.
Luckily Coleridge didn’t board this bus
while he was dreaming ‘Kubla Khan’. He wouldn’t
have written a word. The poem would be dust.
- picture courtesy of Pinterest by TheTatt
Three naked men in a cage
in an Edward Steed sketch,
the Jonathan Swift of cartoonists.
Husbands for girls to choose from.
pic courtesy of Pinterest by Edward Steed from The New Yorker
On a road trip the other day
we got talking about birth defects you don’t see
like hunchbacks, birth marks, cleft palates
whose father was Lord Mayor of Mars had one
and spoke with a lisp.
Then at this café in the mountains
we were served
by a barista
with a raspberry stain on his left cheek
the shape of Africa.
Is that a birth mark, I asked him. We were just talking about them.
Yes, it is, he smiled.
It was just another feature on his face, like his nose.
or a mole
It was nothing special.
Yet it had a strange sort of beauty.
He poured me the greatest cup of coffee.
I was glad that I had asked him, that I didn’t wuss out.
It’s okay to be curious.
Whenever I come across you, you light me up.
Helen of Troy,
that host of golden daffodils Wordsworth came across in the field,
I drop everything,
reach for my ruler, my pen and underline you
firmly and lovingly with indelible pink:
you are the amazing phrase,
the freshest of images,
the startling sentence,
the delightful ambush hidden in my reading.
pic courtesy of Unsplash by Alexander Krivitskly
The bus shelter at the end of our street
grinds its teeth at night.
Sometimes I sit with it, hold its hand, listen to its tale
of drunks and suicides,
of lycanthropes baying at the full moon,
of lost Lotharios weeping in their fists
I talk to it too about my problems
Of the jig-saw days when pieces don’t fit
Of the times when your heart races
Like a wildebeest on the veldt
But latches onto nothing.
After a while we both settle
and I head off home
beneath a lopsided moon.
sketch courtesy of Yofukuro on Pinterest: Yofukuro is a Japanese artistic duo, the brothers Selichi and Daisel Terazono
I’m walking down aisle #8 but it could be aisle #9, depending how they classify it.
But it’s not down either.
I’m afraid to ask.
I know what sort of response I’m going to get but I’m desperate.
I ask one of the assistants,
So where do you keep it? I ask. Where do you keep the canned laughter?
Pardon? she says.
You’ve got canned fruit and canned veggies but I can’t find the canned laughter.
Is this some kind of joke? she asks.
Sort of, I say, But I do need a can or two.
She looks around for help. You know the look. This guy might be dangerous, I better humour him.
I’ll go and ask the manager, she says.
Don’t worry, I say sadly, no one stocks it any more. She heads off anyway and I slump out the store in my clown shoes and frizzy ginger hair. I beep my red nose for good measure.
No one laughs at my jokes these days. I’ve lost my edge. Looks like I’m going to have to go back to Comedy School.