Libraries Used to be Safe Places

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All quiet on the Western Front? I asked one of the security guards who had been involved in an incident ten minutes before.

Yes, he said but you could tell he was a little jumpy.

He and two of his mates had wrestled to the ground an ice addict who was bothering one of the patrons.

Amongst much kicking, punching and hurling of abuse, he was shoved out of the library.

I pulled out my phone to take a film. One of the guards seeing me, said: No. Put it away, mate.

So I did.

I wish it were as easy to put away some of the stuff that is out there but it isn’t. It isn’t.

Archangel

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My neighbour worried I was having a meltdown. She came by one evening with her three Pomeranians in tow as my brother-in-law pulled in to pick me up for a barbecue at their place. She assured me there was no need to panic, that I could stay as long as I needed till I found a place of my own. The front porch light shone down on us. Wings of light enfolded her as the dogs wound their way around her legs.

Who was that, my brother-in-law asked.

That, I said, was the Archangel Gabriel. Deliverer of glad tidings.

Huh? my brother-in-law said as we hopped in the car.

Good news, I clarified. I get to stay.

All Fours

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Hey! He said. Why are those bozos off the leash and I’m not?

You have Attitude! I answered.

Oh great! People with Attitude should be leashed? What about rappers, revolutionaries, politicians with morals?

There are no such things, I said, as politicians with morals.

You got that one right, he said. And anyway, what about you? You have Attitude. Perhaps you should be on a leash.

Perhaps, I smiled.

Look, he said, let’s change places, just for five minutes. That’s fair, isn’t it?

I had to concede that it was.

Hey! The collar’s a bit tight.

He loosened it a little.

So off we toddled along the beach, he on his hinds, me on all fours, the three bozos scattering seagulls.

 

An Altercation with Auto-Correct

 

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When I started out on my post on Pachelbel he was, in spite of being dead a few hundred years, in pretty good nick. Now it has come to my attention that he is not well. Worse, he has undergone a frightful transformation. ‘Transmogrified’ is the word.

Literal minded, know nothing, bossy auto-correct is the villain.

Whenever I wrote ‘Pachelbel, auto-correct fiercely underlined it with red, saying, No, No, that is not a word.[it is doing it now]. Then what word am I after? I asked. The word you are after it asserted was — wait for it! — ‘Bellyache’. What? Are you mad? I said. How do you get ‘Bellyache’ out of ‘Pachelbel’? Auto-correct became belligerent and I’m sad to report we came to fisticuffs. Finally bruised and black-eyed I over-rode auto-correct. There was no way soothing Pachelbel would become painful Bellyache! Afterwards though I did have a good belly-laugh over it.

Auto-correct is no longer speaking to me.

 

Have you had similar problems with auto-correct?

A Cadaver of Red

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What is your wish? said the genie.

A cadaver of red, please.

A cadaver of red? Don’t you mean a cask or bottle? Or perhaps a magnum? I’ve had a glass or three myself. I’m feeling generous. How about a jeroboam — I’ve never granted one of them — or, maybe even, a nebuchednezzar?

No, thanks, mate. A cadaver of red, said the lazy vampire

 

The Problem of Pachelbel

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I don’t know what Pachelbel would make of it but

When I’m put on hold for a wine club query,

His canon plays. Actually I’m a member of a number

Of wine clubs which may say more about me

Than Pachelbel whose canon plays as on-hold music

For each of them.

 

I would have thought Chumbawamba’s ‘Tubthumping’

would have been more appropriate, if less soothing,

or Roger Miller’s Chug-A-Lug or, for a bit of class,

Mario Lanza’s Drink, Drink, Drink but Pachelbel it is.

 

I don’t know If Pachelbel was fond of a glass

or two in the evenings

Or when he was composing his hypnotic canon.

He may have been a member of a wine club himself

In which case —excuse the pun — he would be tickled

Pink, especially if a Rose man.

 

when you are put on hold, are you annoyed or pleased by the music that is played? 

have you ever discovered a song though being put on hold?

The Kite and the String

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I am reading a manual called ‘The Kite and the String’

Because I have trouble getting my thoughts

off the ground;

 

They run away from me like that fifty dollar note

The wind caught while I was crossing

the main road;

 

the writer taught the need to ‘abandon’ and ‘control’;

a kite that lifts and a string that unspools just enough to let the kite

fly happily along

 

but not so much that it gets caught

In power-lines or entangled in its own tail.

I like that very much.

 

The kite is the thought

and the string the firm hand of the poet

that keep that thought aloft