Uncle Bert

I remember Uncle Bert.

He had had a stroke.

His mouth was always open

Though he never spoke.





He sat on his armchair

Alongside Aunty Pat

Who did the speaking for him.

She was good at that.





He once looked a film star

A Gable or a Flynn.

He was a dashing rake,

Tall, handsome, thin.





But now he is all empty.

He follows Aunty Pat

Obedient as a dog

Or a Welcome mat.

When Topsy Met Turvy

Whenever you see the word ‘nooks’ you just know

that ‘ crannies’ is going to pop up somewhere:

they go together,

as the song says, like the horse & carriage,

welded together like conjoined twins;

once, they lived separate lives; like ‘topsy’ & ‘turvy’;

a rambunctious couple;

how they got together is anyone’s guess:

was it during a blind-date, or a casual hook-up in

some covert etymological corner

and their chemistry clicked?  

Whenever I lose

a coin or capsule, I’ m never sure whereto look first:

a nook or a cranny?

Once I lived in a unit where there were no nooks

and another where there were no crannies;

I couldn’t wait to get out of either place.





  • pic Pinterest by Julie Robin-Wagner

We All Have Our Wolves

Ever had a fear

so big

you lost the power

of your legs

reserves all gone

depleted

your yabbering heart

quite unseated

you’re miniscule

so small

the wolf

skyscraper tall

nothing to do

but await

till the fear

obliterates.

Could be your ex

a confined space

the wolf wears many

a different face

Remain steady

stare don’t start

just you, yourself

& yr red riding hood heart.





*pic from Pinterest by Kings-Wu

You Gotta Be Careful

You gotta be careful what you put up.

It’s like Fish ‘N’ Chips.

One bad batch and people remember.

That bad taste in the mouth.

You gotta serve it up fresh, hot, well salted,

people like salt and it has to have crunch

and zing.

It has to hit those taste buds.

Make the mouth water.

Run with melody.

A good poem is like a bag of fish ‘n’ chips.

Not too fussy.

Just the basics, a little poetry with herbs and spices

and that secret ingredient  people keep talking about.

Something you can savour.

Ponder over for a while.

You develop trust,

Yeh, that little guy behind the counter, he knows how to do it.

And you keep coming back.

That’s how you want it to be.

A good poem is like Fish ‘N’ Chips.

The Woods

The rash on my back

has dimmed:

angry red

to demure blush.

I wish I never

had thrush

in my left nostril —

in that cramped cave

hard for the air

to get through

but the meds kept

the wolf at bay,

subdued.

Almost out of the woods

like Red Riding Hood.

Like Pictures on a Wall

I like to read the crazed calligraphy of car tyres

on roads, the angry black swathes of rubber

on bitumen from burn-outs and donuts. What are we

to make of such marks, the road their canvas?

Do we elevate it to ‘outsider art’; Do we call them,

‘hoons’ or ‘street artists’? Do they love the smell

of burnt rubber in the morning as they furiously apply

the high octane brush of machismo? Do they,

I wonder, gloat over their works in the days & weeks

that follow, as if they were pictures hanging on a wall ?





  • pic courtesy of pixabay by Jan-Mollander

And You Laughed

When I drove my daughter to her friend’s new place

in the Adelaide Hills

she turned on her phone’s GPS system

as we took

one branching road, then another,

scores of roads branching up, down, across

that went on for miles

deeper & deeper

into

the dark woods

& you said, we’re getting closer, only a few miles now

& I said,

Christ, how do they ever find their way out of here

each morning

& you laughed

but eventually we found it, we got there.

You be okay finding your way out, dad without the GPS?

& I said, sure, how hard can it be?

then I took off

winding my way back and forth

for miles,

there were so many possibilities,

almost running out of fuel & patience

till I stumbled upon multiple forks any of which looked good

so I took one

& that’s when I learnt the difference between

a labyrinth and maze:

a maze is multicursal [ many branches] while a labyrinth

is unicursal [one branch].

I was in a maze.

A labyrinth is easier.





  • pic courtesy of pinterest

Zen

This is Max.

He’s a happy lab.

Bathed in love.

Now he’s bathed

in water.

A dog wash.

Every muscle,

every fibre

slouches in a beanbag

of content.

Max is in the moment.

Life Isn’t a Beanbag

I am reading a book of jokes

that looks like a book of poems

double-spaced typing, plenty of white space,

400 pages long.

almost unheard of unless it’s a ‘Collected’

& it’s by a comedian,

the comedian of comedians — Seinfeld

and it’s been 25 years in the making

so you’d think something with heft

like a comic ‘Crime & Punishment’, for instance.

Look, I wasn’t expecting Lenny Bruce or Richard Pryor

but this stuff was tame, kindergarten, Christmas cracker

material, vanilla, timid as marshmallow.

What I wanted to ask was:

where are the pangs, the pricks, the pranks

life has played on you? the prangs of relationships?

Your life couldn’t have been that cushiony, surely?

Life isn’t a beanbag, Jerry. Where is the dark matter?

All I’m saying is, you coulda done better.

After 25 years of  nothing in print,

you coulda done better, Jerry. Will you give me that?