I thought of the times I had fallen short.
Let the side down.
Not been up to scratch
Been urged to pull my socks up,
My finger out
To take a good hard look at myself.
But I was always a few kangaroos short
Of a top paddock
So it didn’t get to me like it could have.
And anyway you can lead a horse to water
But you can’t make it drink.
The cat had just killed a canary.
Bad, bad cat, said the bird lover who was staying at my place for the weekend.
Easy, I said, Remember what happened at the restaurant last night when you ordered barramundi for the first time and complained it was too fishy?
Well, I said, you may as well berate a barramundi for being a fish as to castigate a cat for killing a canary.
For too long they have lead a solitary existence,
Moping in corners of the internet, blushing wallflowers
Stuttering if someone even comes to speak to them.
Now all this is changing.
I am introducing my poems to each other,
a matchmaker, if you like, partnering one poem
with another of similar makeup, all in
A single manuscript, a mass marriage of poems,
With the publisher’s blessing.
Together they will lie next to each other
for the ages. All will be invited. Now all
I have to do is pair up like poems,
Nervous Nellies unused to company
* apologies & thanks to Skyhooks
Unstable Cliffs, the sign read. Extreme Danger. Stay Clear.
And I thought of the unstable Cliffs I had known:
The deputy that barked at me when I called in sick,
My cousin’s boyfriend who punched holes in the wall
Whenever he was denied,
And the glue-sniffing Cliff I taught in Year 11 who fell asleep
On the tracks and was run over by a train.
They should have come with warnings too.
I am outside late at night
About the poems
I have not written
The ones I’ve turned away from
Because of embarrassment
Or fear of shedding my jovial persona
and find somewhat alarmingly
that the poems I have not written
far outnumber the ones I have.
There was someone on the bridge
Curving high over the dark water
About half way along
Then there wasn’t.
Someone with a mop of ginger hair
an orange top and grey track pants
Standing against the railing
Looking wistfully out.
I looked away when a siren sounded
On the headland then looked back.
No disturbance of any kind.
No bright lithe form spearing
Through the water.
No one emerging from either end.
Just someone standing on a bridge
in a forest
Then there wasn’t.
You always want the last word.
Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror, question yourself?
You like things open and shut. In neat little packages.
Even when we can’t see you, we hear you.
I’ll give you this. You go about your work quietly, not like your loud, foot stamping cousins
But there’s so many of you. You could loosen up, give others a go.
I know in some countries you go by a different name
But a rose by any other name is still a rose
And a full stop by any other term is still a full stop.