Not the bridge too far
Nor the one over troubled waters
Not even the ones you burn
So there’s no turning back
But that rope suspension bridge
Dangling over the gully
like a sagging power line
That me and my faithful mutt, Salem,
Can’t bring ourselves to cross
I’ve had it for a fortnight.
I use it on and off.
I clutch it to my real heart
when I splutter, or cough.
It helps absorb vibrations
shocks that might cause harm.
It keeps my body steady
and my spirit calm.
It is soft and cuddly
Pale red and bare.
Like Linus and his blanket
I take it everywhere.
They came at me when I was at my most vulnerable.
I had just got up
And gone outside to pee
and was crunching on a few cheese crackers.
“Give us yer loot!” the big one intimated
With hard, implacable eyes,
Big bony dagger drawn.
So I did
Throwing the crackers at them.
They grabbed it in their beaks and flew off
Black cloaks drawn around them
Into the big blue sky.
I was the flavour of the month
For twelve years
Then suddenly I wasn’t;
You either surf the zeitgeist
Or you don’t
“You’re like Lee Chandler,” she said.
“Lee Chandler, the guy Casey Affleck plays in ‘Manchester by the Sea.’”
Jackson liked that film but he did not like Lee Chandler, the way he closed himself off from people.
“That saddens me.”
“That you’re like Lee Chandler or that I mentioned it?”
“The reason I brought it up is that I asked you if you’d like to see Anne perform and you said you’d give it a miss though I made it clear I’d like you to go.”
“I know. I’ve thought it over and would like to go see her perform.”
“Because you want to or because you’re afraid of being compared to Lee Chandler?”
It was a little late, Jackson admitted. It would have been better if he’d said so straight off but at least it was a move towards empathy. She would have to give him that.
Don’t be creepy, I said, as she slunk down the passageway when she heard me
come inside and began circling the bowl.
I just fed you an hour ago.
But she looked up at me with her one cold, implacable eye.
Look at you, I said. You’re tubby.
I’m not fat, she said, Just fluffy. Will you please feed me?
I had no comeback for that.
You can’t argue with a cat.
On my early walk
I passed a group of musicians
Under the bridge
It sounded like
They were tuning their instruments
For a concert
Perhaps a twilight one on the bank
each other —Boing boing — like hollow
amongst the rocks and reeds already
drawing a crowd