I was thinking what to write before I head off into the sunset
for my four-day sabbatical when whoom! the topic lands
in my lap at the skin care clinic: nine chairs arranged
a metre apart from each other in the spirit of the times,
so I plonk myself in the far corner and settle down
with my smart phone, when an elderly couple shuffle in
and plonk themselves in the two chairs alongside mine !!
What the f%$#ck!! of all the other chairs in the house
they choose these two! What am I? A people magnet?
And then the elderly guy throws me a cheesy smile,
How are you boss? It’s the same in the cinema, in those
long ago days when they were open, people plonk themselves
right alongside you when there are rows and rows of empty seats
nearby. What is it with people? I just don’t get it.
The world can be divided, the philosopher said,
between two groups of people: those who leave
pegs on the line , and those who don’t:
my first wife was a clearly a proponent
of the second school & I the first which might explain
why we split
even two marriages later
I am hesitant to put the pegs in a tray in case
my new partner is an adherent of the first school
though the presence of a peg tray clearly indicates
between the two schools
but my old self reasserts itself:
a leopard cannot change its spots.
- which school do you belong to?
- have you changed from one school of thought to another?
- can a leopard change its spots?
that’s what I picked up in a game of scrabble.
what could you do with a rack like that?
throw it away, pick up new letters.
no, too easy.
I thought of a better way though I’m not up to it.
I thought I’d throw it open to you to see what you could do with it.
write a short story, a piece of flash fiction: horror, comedy,; a poem , a snippet.
go ahead, use this as a photo prompt, see what you come up with.
post it here.
I hope you all come out to play
I’m out the back waiting for the cat
to come home.
It’s Bev’s cat. She’s gone to bed.
Left me in charge.
Somebody has to do the dirty work.
I rattle the biscuit tin.
Rosco, Rosco, I call out
but Rosco doesn’t come.
Rosco will come when he’s good
The stars have come out. The moon’s gone down.
I rattle the tin a little more vigorously.
Rosco, Rosco ,,,, a little more loudly.
A plump shadow shuffles around the back.
O there you are, I say. Nice of you to drop by.
Where have you been?
Out, he says .
It’s like talking to a teenager.
Well, I hope you practised social distancing,
Show me the food, he says, then we can talk,
What sort of name’s ‘Rosco’ for a cat, anyway?.
Ever since the Corona virus took hold,
I’ve been trying to write this poem about silver linings,
about looking for them in the darkest of days,
and I know there’s a name for this condition,
for someone who’s insistently optimistic: Pollyanna —
& I think of Haley Mills who played the part
in her film debut for Disney, only she was thirteen,
female and wore pigtails, while I’m a senior,
white male and insistently balding; but Optimism,
like Corona, does not recognize age, ethnicity or gender;
we’re all in this together and can find silver linings
in the darkest of storm clouds
- what silver linings have you found during the past few weeks?
- is there cause for optimism?
Why aren’t you laughing? I ask the laughing kookaburra.
What’s there to laugh about? he says.
Well, I begin, there’s the …. and the ….
Exactly, he says. Nothing. Zero, Zippo. Zilch. Where will I begin? Lockdown? Coronavirus? visitors with hang-dog faces? zoo keepers worried about their jobs? and the Bad News Bears blathering on TV in the office next door.
Well, you’re supposed to be ‘the laughing kookaburra’.
Maybe, he snaps, but I’m no ninny. I’m allowed to be morose if I want to.
Okay, Okay, I get it, I say as I shuffle on, shoulders slumped, head on my chest, rummaging in my pocket for the Lifeline number.