Prickly

I wasn’t going to wear it. ‘A hoodie is not a cardigan’, I said.

‘Anything that does up at the front is a cardigan’, he insisted.

‘A flack jacket does up at the front; is that a cardigan?’ I said.





We were off and running like the cabbie who couldn’t get us

to the venue fast enough. And then he started on my silver hammer,

why I used the word ‘silver’ when the important word was ‘hammer’.





I could have hit him over the head. And then he said I was embellishing

the tale. ‘I’m a writer’ I pronounced from the saddle of my high horse.

‘It’s the writer’s prerogative to embellish,’





‘You call yourself a writer,’ he said. ‘Your poetry doesn’t even rhyme.’

Now I admit calling him a ‘Neanderthal’ didn’t help matters.

But it’s not just writers who are prickly.

I Do Laps

I go to the pool to work things out

to sort through the stuff of life

& where I have stuffed up.

Sure I do laps

but in between I walk up and down

in the non-swimming area

in a sort of meditative trance

but to day is hard:

Dave’s banging on beside me

about his aural canal

how it’s twisted

a bit like me, he chuckles

and how he can’t get the right fit

of ear plug

and there’s an altercation at the shallow end

when a large woman storms up the steps

and her partner in a fit of frustration

throws his purple noodles in the air

& the supervisor storms in, brandishing his biceps

belligerent with tatts

and there’s another altercation

& then the partner storms up the steps

to the repetitive strains of ‘bullshit, bullshit, bullshit’

& Dave’s still going on about these

special ear plugs you can get made for $150

& all I want is a chance to sort things out

but today’s not the day for it

pic courtesy of Pinterest


			

Hiding behind Metaphors

You’re doing it again, he said.

What?

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.

A Bit of Biffo

I just got back from the gym on a mild, sunny morning,

walked into my study, went onto my laptop and walked

into a storm. Two bloggers whom I follow were sparring

online. It’s not often you see this level of engagement

and in a sense it was bracing: I felt like saying,

hey guys! calm your farm but thought that may come across

as talking down to them. Sometimes beliefs must be

hotly defended — a bit of biffo has its place —but I hoped

for some sort of conciliatory gesture.

No one wants a knock-out blow. Heaven knows where

this argument will end. No Names. No pack drill.

Burmese

The cat is the forgotten candidate when they fight:

sure, they hurt each other but the cat recoils too,

even the walls and lounge chairs at the suddenness,

the squall of this. The walls and sofas cannot move,

but the cat can. Exit, pursued by bear. Only small,

but with the memory of an elephant. The cat remembers

long after they forget.

the Wordsworth of Weeds

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I read somewhere that weeds are the rodents of the plant world,

that they are sneakily aggressive, opportunistic, fiercely feral,

that they should be weeded out. I have heard this language before;

little good comes from it. Where are the Wordsworths of Weeds?

Plath comes closest, celebrating mushrooms. I like the strange,

tangled beauty of weeds, their punk swagger, their dogged persistence.

They too one day might inherit the earth.

 

The Floodgates

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This is how it starts.

You bring up that phone call

At the Jewellers.

It could have waited, you say.

It was important, I snap. You have no sympathy.

Tit for tat.

You go on about my clothes on the back-seat

Of the car.

I go on about your obsession with tidiness.

Stop, can you hear it? You say.

Hear what?

That creaking.

We both listen.

Ahhh, the floodgates, I say.

Let’s not go on with this, you say.

We give each other the peace sign.

Hug.

 

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?