The Gorge

Can I come with you? Rage says.

Can I? asks Blame.

No, I say. It is best I go on this journey alone. You will weigh me down.

But … Rage and Blame say.

Remember what Matthew said: It is best to travel lightly.

You will be lonely, they say.

It is better to be lonely than to hear you two bickering constantly on the road.

Don’t say it, they say.

Like two snarling dogs ….

You said it, they say. You did not have to say it.

Goodbye faithless companions. You will find your own way now. I am sure you will find other hapless souls to team up with.

With that I climb my way up the gorge ….. and am gone.

  • photo by Ulle Haddock with much thanks

Isn’t That what Blogs are For?

I was reading Becky Ross Michael’s Platform #4 and

was whisked away to a time when I stood on platforms nearly every day waiting for trains

to whisk me away to the big smoke. To the college where I trained to be a teacher,

to the university where I majored in English and Latin, a subject that whisked me away

to the days of Imperial Rome where I fell in love with the poets Catullus and Ovid

and the language from which so many of our words derive.

I met my first love on a platform while waiting for the same train.

I did not know it at the time but I said goodbye to my marriage on a platform

when my first wife went to see a ‘friend’ in Sydney.

I fell in love with literary platforms in the works of Agatha Christie

and, of course, Tintin who rode around in trains.

I wrote a poem once called ‘Boy on a Train Crying’. I had to fight hard

to get that little kid into my first book of poems but I did. I got him in.

We were both pleased. Then so as I wouldn;t appear sexist I wrote another poem,

a much happier one, called ‘Girl on a Train’. I can write anywhere but I love

writing on long train journeys. I wrote another poem called ‘Trains of Thought’.

It was heavily metaphoric, heavy as a platform.

When I write a good poem, I don’t want to leave it. I want to share it with the world.

Isn’t that what blogs are for?

Each evening I stand on a metaphoric platform for the night train to Bedfordshire

and the following day as the sun begins its journey across the sky I catch

the Morningtown Ride to begin a new journey of my own.

Life begins and ends on platforms.

  • photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash

He Laughed Loudly

He laughed loudly.

A door closed behind him.

He laughed a little more loudly still.

Another door closed behind him. Slammed!

He continued. He chortled. He guffawed. He jeered.

A text message came through.

“Will you STOP laughing, please? You’re annoying me.”

No, he said to himself. No. It’s my evening and I’ll laugh if I want to.

And he laughed even more loudly.

The walls themselves laughed loudly too, splitting their sides.

The cross-eyed cat doubled up with laughter.

A door opened quietly behind him.

The man was too busy laughing to notice.

The cord tightened around his throat.

This was no laughing matter.

My Wine Bottle has Pretensions

My wine bottle, I am told, has pretensions.

It came from the top shelf where the expensive

bottles are kept, for starters.

Too good for the hoi polloi.

It has airs, she states.

See how stiffly it carries itself.

Why, it even comes with a cork in it!

Too good for a metal cap.

And to top it all it has been aged in bourbon barrels.

What’s that all about? she says.

I take a good hard look at it.

It does look a little snooty.

We both glare at it off and on during the evening.

I don’t know what it makes of us.

That’s the Stuff You’re Keeping out of Your Poems

That’s the stuff you’re keeping out of your poems,

Ted Hughes said to his dismantling wife,

smashing the mahogany tabletop, the high stool,

during one of their periods of interminable strife

and I thought of the things each of us omits

when we sit down and write our little poems,

our peccadilloes, annoying habits, the times

we’ve ghosted or been  ghosted on our phones,

whether at times we’ve kicked the dog or cat

or when someone’s needed us we didn’t give a rats.

Little things we’d rather not disclose

like walking around in our poems without clothes

Hiding behind Metaphors

You’re doing it again, he said.


Hiding behind metaphors.

What do you mean?

‘Claws’, ‘Whales’. ‘Billabongs’. All metaphors. Why don’t you say what you want to say? Get it out in the open.

I’m afraid.

Of what?

Of how ugly it all is. All that anger.

Face it ! Stare it down !

What would it look like?

It would be a different poem. It would bang and bellow. Draw blood. Howl with expletives.

Would anyone read it?

Possibly not. But it would be honest. And it wouldn’t have billabongs in it. Billabongs have to be earned. Not brought in after four lines. Your poem is the most polite poem on anger I’ve ever read.

Heretical Beauty

No one in their right mind while wandering

lonely as a cloud would proclaim they had spied

a host of scrawny weeds upon the hillside

and break into a jig. Yet weeds have their worshipers.

You can scour the internet and dig up poems,

odes to weeds, panegyrics. They are the bones

of the earth. Wordsworth got in first, that’s all.

But his daffy little poem is not the last word.

The weeds will rise up, their heretical, skewed beauty,

tough as barbed-wire, will find its bards.

The Cookie Man

[in honour of National Cookie Day in the U.S]

I used to give my Sydney Morning Heralds

To the Cookie Man

for his customers to read;

they’d devour the weekend papers with their cookies and cappuccinos

and dream

of the Harbor City they’d visit one day;

and I’d go away feeling

I had spread some wealth:

the Saturday supplements:

Food, Fashion, Film, Fun —

The Land of Plenty

& the Cookie Man would give me

the thumbs up;

Then one day

He was gone,

The whole edifice had crumbled

Like a cookie.

Now my Sydney Morning Heralds are looking

for a new home

& I miss the cookie man

All Those Posts … And No Novel

Just think.

500 posts in three years.

I could have written a novel

or short story collection

or that non-fiction book I was always going to write

about the life and death

of board games

or as my grandkids call them

‘bored games’.

Did I choose the form or did the form choose me?

I could be hard on myself

for lacking focus, not chaining myself to my chair.

I would like to be a great writer like David Foster Wallace

but I don’t have the constitution for it.

Besides I don’t look good in a bandana.

A Children’s Picture Story Book

that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.

I’m a lover of the short form.

They’re my thing.

Unwrapping them each morning. People unwrapping mine.

There is joy there.


And who is to say one form is superior to another?

*what do you think?