There’s only one change room in the store.
I don’t check to see if it’s empty.
“Sorry”, I say to the guy who is trying on some clothes. “I’m in a bit of a hurry, do you mind?”
“That’s okay”, he says. “There’s room for two”.
I quietly disrobe and try on the gear.
“I’m good”, I say, changing hastily back.
So off I go to the counter, pay for my purchases which the assistant neatly puts in a bag, and head down the mall to meet my mate for coffee. .
It is only when I sit down that I realize I’m wearing the other dude’s clothes.
Tight-fisted , they are hard
as knuckles and spoiling
for a fight
as they tumble like marbles
on to the floor , little green foot-
balls begging me
to sink the boot in ;
even under the knife
they are tough
as nails covering themselves
in layers like Chinese
boxes or onions ;
they leap around
in the saucepan like
boxers’ fists ;
ten minutes later
I swallow them ; anything
She had just come from the clinic from seeing the care nurse and seemed a little flustered.
Everything okay? he asked.
There was a medical student there. I said to the nurse I didn’t mind. He was neat, presentable, well spoken and was totally okay except for the fact he kept adjusting his crotch.
Perhaps he was just glad to see you.
That isn’t even remotely funny. Not these days.
Sorry, he said. I’ll be back in a minute.
Where are you going?
To the bathroom. To wash my mouth out with soap.
What if you took it down a notch or two
Instead of up?
There’d be less noise
Less busting your gut for glory.
Of course, you’d have to make way
For all those people scrambling up
The ladder of success
Instead of down
Like you’d be doing.
But there’d be room for the other virtues:
Indolence, compassion, contentment
That don’t get much of a look-in.
Sure, you could do that,
Knew people who’d taken it down a good few notches
And got by.
Kinder, gentler folk.
But what if everyone did it?
A whole lot of things would change.
Take Big Sport, for instance.
There’d be no Olympics, no NBA, No World Cup.
But would that matter?
Would it really matter?
What did people do before Sport anyway?
Emily Dickinson composed her poems while wearing a simple white dress with pockets for pencils and scraps of paper. She wrote in a large, airy bedroom, with two big windows facing south and two facing west at a small table 18 inches square with a drawer deep enough to take in her ink bottle, paper and pen. They overlooked her family’s large property containing a large Italianate mansion among tall pines.
I hover around in my hoodie and tracky dacks, biro on the go in a cramped cell of a room at a desk sprawled with papers, magazines and bills, one narrow window overlooking a block of grimy units towered over by power lines which is why my poems are nothing like those of Emily Dickinson.
I don’t want to face him again today. Each morning it’s the same. He’s hung over, strung out, bleary-eyed, unshaven and his hair —- it looks like something slept in it overnight. He could make an effort. Spruce himself up a bit but no, the same old, same old. Mr, Ragamuffin. And the way he glares at me first thing in the morning. Is that really necessary, moaned the mirror ?