This is Terry.

You can wave to him.

He would like that.

He waves a lot but not everyone waves back.

In fact hardly anyone does.

He sits on a folding chair in the middle of the mall outside Coles looking for someone to say hello to.

You can say Hello to Terry.

Many people pretend not to hear him.

But that does that put him off?


Terry is on a mission.

He is collecting donations for the Blind Sports Association.

There are a lot of people like Terry outside supermarkets throughout Australia.

Hopeful. Indomitable.Courteous.

Not in your face.

And yes, I did.


This is Barry.

Say hello to Barry.

He runs the Central Market Books in Adelaide.

I had a chat to him last Friday night.

Apart from who he reads — Jo Nesbo, Robert Ludlum and Lee Childs —and what he’s into: Magic, Militaria, Espionage and Angels —the most remarkable thing about Barry is that he’s a man happy in his own skin.

And isn’t that the goal, the purpose, the station we want to arrive at?

And o, don’t mention Stephen King. His inner echidna comes out then.

Somewhere ‘Round the Bend

Where does the sky start?

The sea begin?

Somewhere round the bend.

Somewhere round the bend

we can all be friends,

all colours and creeds blend

Somewhere somewhere

somewhere around the bend

we can be together again

what was broken, will mend

Somewhere round the bend

the animals will be our friends

all plunder will end

somewhere somewhere

round the bend

I Have a Problem with Mary Oliver

I have a problem with Mary Oliver.

Much as I like her

and I do have a book of hers

all of her poems after a while

seem the same.

It may seem harsh but it’s a judgment

people could make of my poems

or, for that matter, any one’s poems.

Each poet has a voice, just as each singer has,

each artist, and that voice inhabits each of their poems.

You can recognize a Billy Collins poem,

a Charles Simic poem, a Lewis Carrol poem,

or, for that matter, a Shakespeare or Ben Jonson poem.

Each poem within a poet’s work is, of course, different,

but the song, to use  Led Zeppelin phrase, remains the same.

There is no way out of it. No way around it.

Maybe familiarity does breed contempt.

But many of us find comfort in familiarity too,

Swings and Roundabouts.

What Moves You, Moves Me

the musky glow of the candle bowl

the frisson of flesh on flesh

the cinnamon zing of Venetians

crosswords over coffee

Joaquin Phoenix singing Cry, Cry, Cry

the ineffable sadness of Jackson because we both

know people like that

the voice of Johnny Cash, proof that there’s a God

Rick Springfield on Gospel Radio speaking to the sky

& those blackbirds, after rain, bless their untidy little hearts.

Looking for Milton

I look for him everywhere .

In supermarkets , shopping malls ,

along the esplanade where he

hangs out .

Have you seen Milton ? I ask .

But no one has .

Not lately .

Suddenly I need him

this gnome of a man

with the grey goatee .

Milton the Gatekeeper

hoarding the knowledge

like bullion .

Like Diogones with his lamp

I scour the streets

with my headlights

looking for Milton .

  • pic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

On the Face of it

Someone once told me that I stir my coffee backwards

As though it were a character flaw.

Until it was for bidden by my cardiologist

I used to stand on my head

Believing it gave me a head start to the day.

I like to eat my cereal at night.

It gives my stomach something to mull over

While I sleep.

My doctor tells me I might have ADHD

But I can’t sit still long enough to be tested.

On the face of it I look normal.

Happy as Houdini

I didn’t know everything came with an escape hatch

but apparently it does :

my Holden Cruze, for instance,

the one I was trapped in last week  has an escape hatch

on the central console;

and I have an escape hatch

everytime my gardener bangs on about bananas —

it’s called, ‘checking on the roast’;

there’s one for closed arguments:

‘responding to a call of nature’;

there’s even an escape hatch from life

when things gets too onerous but most of us

are programmed not to take it — though on World R U OK day when

the phone calls are meddlesome as mozzies,

I’m  tempted

*pic courtesy of Wiki Commons