My Warders Have Me in Thrall

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My warders have me in thrall.

It’s a case of Stockholm Syndrome.

I’m at their beck and call.

 

I’ve tried to rise against them.

But they are big. I am small,

So I rub against them like a cat

 

Curl myself into a ball.

I understand you, I say. I really do

But it does no good at all.

 

My addictions, anxieties, fears —

My warders —- have me in thrall.

 

  • photo from Unsplash

Okay, I looked but I didn’t stare

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On a road trip the other day

we got talking about birth marks

and how you never see them any more

then at the airport

I saw this barista

with a mulberry stain on his face.

I had to ask him,

is that a real birth mark? I asked

we were talking about them

and how you never see them anymore.

Yes, he smiled

as if it were just another feature

on his face

like a mole or scar.

It looked almost beautiful.

Then he made me the greatest cup of coffee.

Thank you, I said

glad that I had asked him

and didn’t wuss out.

It’s okay to be curious.

 

is anyone else fascinated by birth marks ?

what would you have done?

I Did That Once

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I took two of my mates to the vet the other day.

The Jack Russel came too.

Three of us were on valium.

All except me. I was the designated driver.

Do you mind taking the dog for a walk, I asked, in case he pees in the car?

They shuffled along the street like zombies, Les had taken three, Dave four with a few beers, but the dog’s eyes lit up when he came to a bush on the verge and he lifted his leg the way dogs too —- I tried it once and made a mess — but he was too doped to pee,

He managed in the car though but Les had a pee blanket under him so that was alright.

As we drove Eddie, the Jack Russell, put his head out the window, his ears flapping in the breeze.

That’s so cool, I said. I did that once but the cop who pulled me over told me to pull my head in, it was dangerous.

Dogs have all the fun, Les said, but he was slurring his words.

It was only five minutes into the trip.

It was going to be a doozie.

 

Ark

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Once it carried five

of us

and two pets

towards a bright new future

but it was anything but

plain sailing

 

with a son who rocked

the boat

a daughter who kept throwing

herself overboard

and a younger afraid to put

her head out

in the storm

gathering hard above us

 

but the dove came back telling us

things had eased

 a shaft of sunlight spotlighting

our position :

our son had found calm

the elder daughter steadfastness

the younger courage

 

now it’s just us

sailing ahead

my wife and I ,

a pair as God

commanded .

Sometimes I Forget Where I Am

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You okay, mate? You look forlorn.

Like the knight in ‘La Belle Dame’? I say.

Pardon.

‘Alone and palely loitering.’

Sorry.

‘On the cold hill side’. Keats, I say. “La belle Dame Sans Merci’

Who?

John Keats. Romantic poet. You must have done him at school.

This is a butcher’s shop, mate. Not an English classroom. What can I get you?

The Girl with Incarnadine Hair

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“Sorry, you have to move.”

“What?”

“You don’t belong here. You’ll have to move.”

“But I was here first. You saw me walking up and down with my multitudinous strands of hair incarnadine.”

“That’s it.”

“What’s it?”

“You can’t have ‘multitudinous strands of hair incarnadine’ in a poem about waiting for a poem to pull up like a bus.”

“Why not?”

“It’s too heavy, too overwritten. Too Shakespearean. It changes the tone of the poem totally. It’s like two colors that clash.”

“But …”

“I’m sorry. You’ll have to move. I can’t fit you in.”

“Okay”, she says, shaking her multitudinous strands in a flurry of petulance, “I’ll write a poem of my own and guess what?”

“What?”

“You won’t be in it.”

And with that she gets out her notebook from her backpack and begins writing, furiously as Lady Macbeth cleansing her blood-soaked hands in the basin.