I was out among the fields, here one more time
Vigorously out hunting the butterflies of my mind
All the poems, the stories that had given me the slip
And would it seem once more; I had to be quick.
All the bright, beautiful things just beyond my net
Any moment now I’ll snare one; damn! Not just yet
I used to think I’d like to be thick-skinned
Like a pachyderm
Then it wouldn’t hurt when your dreams
when people turned nasty and your heart
wants to explode
and it’s hard to walk defiant on that
long. lonely road.
But being thick-skinned essentially means
that you’re numb
And for an artist of any kind that’d be
Not the first cab off the rank
Nor the last cab to darwin
Nor the one de niro drove in taxi driver
Not even the big yellow taxi that joni mitchel drove to the top
Of the charts
But a little black and white number which took me to the icu
Late in the night the day juno’s heart packed it in.
I’m good at last lines. I really am.
The rest of my poems are crap but my last lines
Are really something.
I’m thinking of bringing out a book called ‘My Fifty Best Last Lines’.
The trouble is it’d be like bringing out a book of punch lines without the jokes.
‘By gum, I wish I could do that’ or ‘It’s okay for you two. I have to walk out by myself’ fall a bit flat without the jokes attached.
I suppose I could make the rest of the poems as good as the last lines but it’s a pretty big ask.
Now I can’t even get a good last line to this poem.
to sow my thoughts into
the furrows of my mind
Time again to let them lie
Gathering the clothing
Of language and plot
Growing richer and stronger
Till pushing upwards
They blossom and flower
Upon the page.
To harvest and share.
I have a tendency to lean
Towards the left
A condition acquired during
My teenage years.
Lately under treatment
I lean more towards
But wobble at times
My children hope
Will right itself
Before too long
It was the one no one wanted
The last one on the shelf
The one no one wanted, I didn’t
Much want it myself.
But there were no others
So I had little choice
The one that all had shunned
I purchased myself.
And Oh it filled the bill
To the nth degree
So the one no one wanted
Was the right one for me.
I was watching ants filing back and forth the other day
When two stopped for a chat; and I wondered how it was
They knew each other seeing they all look the same; and I
Concluded they must have individual features like us:
Hooked noses, for instance, bushy eyebrows, little pot bellies
And carry nicknames like ‘Shorty’, ‘Ginge’ or ‘Spike’
And further ants must have little to say seeing they say it
So quickly, but mostly I wondered where ants are off to
All the time; it is hard to imagine them doing yoga, or chilling
Out at the cricket or at the beach in a deckchair or anywhere
Else for that matter.