On Not Wearing Vests

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Over the last four days I have not worn a vest it has been so hot.

It felt sort of liberating like women not wearing bras.

I have always worn a vest.

I have never questioned it.

Though an Aussie, I am of British stock. Wearing a vest is as ingrained as having a stiff upper lip during adversity or thinking of the Queen when trying not to go ‘all the way’.

My cousin who has considerable experience of men says she doesn’t know a single man —-or a married one —–who wears a vest to bed.

I have always called them ‘singlets’ but my friend who is British calls them ‘vests’, the name I have adopted too.

She doesn’t mind if they’re coloured. She’s liberal that way.

It still seems a little ‘racy’ not wearing a vest underneath a shirt but I am getting used to it.

Still I pop on a vest whenever it gets cool

It makes me feel more whole.

 

  • what do you think of vests?

Yesterdays

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All the poems about yesterday are nostalgic

As are the songs.

My mother called Macca’s ‘Yesterday’ mawkish.

But my yesterday was shit.

If yesterday were a punching bag I’d pummel it

To a pulp.

There are some things like the Holocaust you can’t

Say anything good about.

Yesterday was like that.

Sometime in the Future it might be possible

To say something good about yesterday

But it’d be a stretch.

 

  • photo by Rotorn Kuperman on Pixels.com
  • you ever have days like that?

 

 

On Reading Carolyn

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All week I have been reading Carolyn,

Her chapbook of twenty poems focused

on one anatomical feature — the ankle.

 

How could anyone do that? I wondered.

Breasts, yes, the penis, body parts

with a sexual agenda. But the ankle?

 

I read on. Carolyn fractured hers

recently in a fall so that provided the bones

of the material.

 

Wonderful, warm, poems,

inventive and insightful that trace her

journey towards wellness.

 

My favourite?

‘Zero Weight Bear’ with its zen-like title and

witty word-play. ‘Gravity Sucks’ runs a gamut

of emotions but ends like the collection itself

on an optimistic note.

 

  • books can be purchased through the publisher: Ginninderra Press

Stems

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I am losing the stems of words.

When ‘Brick’ comes on

My partner says, you know who sings that?

You’re good at names.

Partly, I say, the band’s name ends in a 5 or a 3.

She can’t think of a 3 but she jumps in

with ‘The Dave Clark Five’?

No, they’re English, I say. This guy, the lead singer

is an American , from Carolina, but he lives here, in Adelaide.

Why would he do that? She asks.

Well, we live here. It’s not a bad place. In spite of the jokes.

So who is it? She asks.

Do you know?

I’ll look it up, I say. Of course, my fingers snap, finding it immediately. Good old Google, The Ben Folds Five.

Never heard of them, she says.

Is this the beginning?

Losing the stems of words.

 

Costa or the Piqued Poet

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Halfway through my walk I’ve got this poem in my head.

I’ve got to write it down.

I pick up pace, race through the Brickworks Market. Someone, surely ….

A stall owner looks up as I go past.

You got a pen and paper? I ask. I’ve got this poem here — [pointing to my head] — I got to write down.

Sure, he says, do I get my biro back?

Of course, I say. Do I get to keep the paper?

He gives a feeble smile.

What’s yr name? I say. Yr first name? I’ll dedicate the poem to you.

What human being wouldn’t be impressed by this grand gesture?

Costa, he says in a deadpan voice.

Just then his mobile rings.

It’s his girlfriend.

He’s yabbering on what they’ll get up to tonight while I’m furiously writing. It’s hard to stay focused.

Some of what he says gets in the poem.

He keeps adjusting his crotch.

That gets in the poem too.

Then sensing the monologue winding down I stagger to the end of the poem like a runner over the finishing line.

Here, I say. I’m done,

I’m hoping he’ll ask for a copy or at least a read.

But Costa isn’t interested.

He only wants his biro back.

No hard feelings, I say. This poem’s still dedicated to you.

And I write his name, Costa, above it in bold letters with a flourish.

But I needn’t have bothered.

The poem was crap.

 

* the photo prompt was the running man

 

The Return of the Native

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.So what’s your story? You’ve been out all day, painting the town red at night, for all we know, and just when we’ve locked up and getting ready to go out, you rock up! Nice one! I know what you want. I know what you’re after. So, what’s your story, eh? She looks up at him with her mock-innocent amber eyes, but the cat has nothing to say.

wash yr mind out with soap

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I like to comb my hair before I go to bed in case I meet my Maker.

I put on clean underwear before I go out in case I get hit by a truck or tram and end up in hospital. You want to look yr best.

Mum taught me these things.

Always repent to God yr sins before you go to sleep. Whiteness of soul is as important as whiteness of underwear.

An idle mind is the devil’s workshop, mum emphasised. She needn’t have worried. My mind was always busy.

But if she knew what I was thinking she would have washed my dirty little teenage mind out with soap.

 

 

The Floodgates

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This is how it starts.

You bring up that phone call

At the Jewellers.

It could have waited, you say.

It was important, I snap. You have no sympathy.

Tit for tat.

You go on about my clothes on the back-seat

Of the car.

I go on about your obsession with tidiness.

Stop, can you hear it? You say.

Hear what?

That creaking.

We both listen.

Ahhh, the floodgates, I say.

Let’s not go on with this, you say.

We give each other the peace sign.

Hug.

 

See Ya!

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I hope old Schooner’s all right.

He looked a little cranky last time.

He knew something was coming down the pike.

Birds know. They have a crystal ball.

They foresee earthquakes, tsunamis.

He must have foreseen the sale of the pub

& the old drive-thru that housed his Taj Mahal

Of a cage where he held court rasping, See Ya!

To customers who had stopped to chat.

I hope he’s okay where he is.

Each Friday at the pub I raise my glass

To Old Schooner.

Here’s to you! I say. Stay cocky, dude.

See Ya!

 

The Slippery Other Side

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We came to a fork in the road.

Damn! Which way? Daz asked..

I don’t know, I said.

Never mind, he said. Hang on.

Daz wanted to hoon the car and revved up over a spoon drain.

We went flying over the slippery other side and jack-knifed

Into a guard barrier.

Damn! Said Daz. Damn!

That Green Day song about another fork in the road

playing in my head

 

  • pic by Oliver Roos from Unsplash