You’ve got to do something, mum. Volunteer. Take up a hobby [This was after dad died]. Quilting, for instance, or drawing. You used to draw as a kid.
Everyone draws as a kid.
Just trying to be helpful, mum. Mongolian throat singing, foraging. Anything. Otherwise you’ll face the void.
You don’t want to know.
A few years later she discovers it.
How’s it going, mum? I ask on a moribund Monday.
Awful. Nothing to do and all day to do it in.
That’s it, I say, the ,,,,
Don’t say it, she says.
So I ,,,,
‘ve never posted this but seeing it was chosen as one of the top ten Drabbles of 2020 I thought I would
I am eating my zen sandwich by the side
of a blue lake . I hear the sound of
two wings flapping .
A fawn falcon plunges down the side
of the volcanic cone , its claws extended
like the landing gear of a plane .
As it skims across the surface — a sail-winged
skater —- the talons lacerate the taut
skin of that lake . It bleeds blue .
Reece didn’t mind that I pointed out the spelling error in his notice,
claiming he was in a hurry when he did it, at the start of Covid,
and that auto correct doesn’t pick up errors in CAPITALS;
and I was only the third person to notice anyway in all that time ;
he still gave me the pen and paper — & while the others
were playing at playing golf, I was playing at being a writer,
chasing after errant words while others chased after errant balls;
when I showed Reece what I had written , he said, Hey! That’s not
how you spell my name: it’s ‘RHYS’, he smiled. He got me there
I came across a stricken Xmas beetle on my walk along the lake.
Somehow it had toppled over and was swivelling on its back like a break dancer, its little legs paddling the air.
Ants swarmed over it,
I grabbed a leaf and flipped the beetle over.
Ants leapt off, a black sizzle of anger..
I flipped it a few more times till all the ants had let go, then I stood back and as it rose into the air. the sun glinting off its sheeny wings, it looked back and seemed to give a little wave.
pic courtesy of Wiki Commons
We were holed up under the same roof, two people who couldn’t stand each other. And we had the whole night to spend in the same one bedroom flat. I took the lounge, she took the bed; we didn’t even say goodnight. We were murderous to each other. I could feel the old Minotaur in the labyrinth of my brain, gearing up for a rumble. But there could have been blood. Pray, I say, pray, don’t let her taunt me. I was scared of myself more than her. The Minotaur was raging. Just then the door opened
I was watching the Xmas Special of ‘Call The Midwife’ when the plot ran into a red telephone booth on a remote Scottish island. It reminded me of the red telephone booth I ran into some years ago:
The Red Telephone Booth
No one writes poems about telephone booths anymore
So I thought I would write one,
about the time I drove down
A series of side roads to avoid a booze bus,
when I almost ran into one.
It was so nostalgic.
It was the sort of booth that Clark Kent would dash into
to change into superman.
I opened the door and went inside.
It stank of stale urine and cigarette smoke.
The paintwork was peeling. There were no phone books
‘if you’re after a good time call …’, that sort of thing
and anti-gay graffiti.
It looked like
the last telephone booth on the planet before mobile phones
I closed the door, climbed into my car and drove off,
Heavy as a telephone booth,
into the arms of the booze bus.
I draw conclusions right and wrong
My judgments can be poor.
I draw a bath. I draw curtains
But I cannot draw.
I draw in air. I draw blood
When the scab’s knocked off my sore.
I draw upon my inner strength
Yet I cannot draw.
Sometimes I draw a long bow
When restraint goes out the door.
I draw laughter and anger too
And sometimes the short straw.
I would love to be a Picasso.
My drawings all adored.
But as it is I am me
And alas I cannot draw.
There’s someone walking around
inside my head
padding around in his slippers
what to do with himself:
should he write a poem?
read another chapter of ‘The Freedom Circus’ ?
write a witty comment
on Beth’s ‘Wild Sounds’?
Another episode of ‘Father Brown’?
it wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t flush
the toilet so often
or go to the fridge.
Look, it’s ten o’clock, I say to him,
could you please
so I can get some sleep?
I am looking down the barrels of
the red pencil sharpener
big as drainpipes
fat as full moons
flared like the nostrils
O-shaped mouths hungry
The red pencil sharpener sharpens
Zoom Workshop: I am running a writers’ workshop on ‘Sharpening the Imagination’: tools and techniques for doing so. You are invited to attend. It will be a workshop run by the Vienna Writers Club but it will be broadcast from my home state, South Australia. participants can come from any country. It will be run towards the end of January 2021. Details can be found by Googling ‘Sunday Writers Club Vienna’.