Le Coq



It wasn’t Miro’s colourful coq

Nor Chaucer’s Chanticleer

Nor the one that crowed three times when Peter

Denied Jesus.


It was just a garden variety rooster

That waddled onto the page

When my back was turned

& scrabbled between the lines


Before I sent him on his way

feathers all ruffled

Into a sunset red

as a coxcomb.

Can I come and stay?



Can I come over? He says. Can I come and stay?




I won’t be any trouble.


You’ll show me up, I say. You beat me at Scrabble. You speak two languages and now you’re learning a third.


That’s not so unusual, he says. Many people can speak two or more languages.


But you’re a cat!


Tell you what, he says. You let me stay and I’ll teach you ‘cat.’


Teach me ‘cat’? What is there to learn? It’s all meows, purrs and hisses!


Wrong! He says. It’s a little like Chinese. Full of inflections.


Tempting, I say. But what earthly use would knowing ‘cat’, as you put it, be to me?


You could speak to me.


I’m already speaking with you.


But think how much fun it would be speaking with me in my mother tongue.


I thought about this for a few seconds.


Do I get a certificate? I asked, to show I passed and if so who issues it?


I can issue you with one.


But you can’t write!


I’ve got him, I think. I’ve really got him.


But he does what everyone does when they’re caught in a quandary. He changes the topic.


So can I stay? He says. Can I come and stay?


He gives me a winning look and rubs against my legs.


O for god’s sake, don’t start purring, I say.


I won’t upset the apple cart, he says. I’ll stay out of the way.


And he does. He’s unobtrusive. He’s clean. He keeps the mice at bay.

If  only he’d stop walking up and down the passageway at night loudly declaiming German.


Collateral Damage from Reading



You tell yrself

You’ve got to stop reading when you’re feeding yr face

That coffee, wine and honey leave stains

On the crisp, pristine pages but then you think, nah !

They’re the stains of life like grease marks

From yr fingers,

The collateral damage from reading;

Rain spots too when magazine’s are left outside,

Creases from the wind speed reading again

As though the story you found a bore was a real page turner;

Sometimes too blood stains from a nose bleed;

Marks like footprints in the sand saying

That someone’s been there

And, yes, had a good time.



An Optimistic Place

more faces


It’s in an optimistic place.

You can tell by the smiley face.

But multiplied some twenty times?

Such duplication seems a crime.

“It’s over the top. Visual excess.

One of you is enough”, my son-in-law says.

Pink Hippo



You open your mouth. A pink hippo comes out. You scratch your ear, a purple gorilla. You blow your nose, a polka dot egret. You pass wind, an emerald marmoset. You wonder what will come next. You go to the toilet. You piss piranhas. Defecate falcons. Can I have some more you ask the anaesthetist but the anaesthetist has gone, the effects wearing off just as an oleaginous eel slithers from the long wound in your leg from which the surgeon removed veins for your blocked arteries.