Like Gustav

Which one is he, I say of the quartet by the river. Which one is Klimt?

Oh, he’s the one with the kaftan. He always wore one in public.

And I think, maybe that’s the answer, maybe if I wore a kaftan

everywhere I go people might take more notice, might say,

o, that’s the famous poet, he has a new book coming out.

And I could promenade along the jetty, frequent the famous kiosk

where all the trendy people go; and maybe go the full monty like Gustav

beneath his kaftan painting in his studio so he’d feel less constricted;

maybe that’d do the trick, maybe that’d free my poetry up

Certificate

I’m hunting for my birth certificate

once again

to prove that I exist.

They seem to need convincing.

Isn’t it obvious? I ask

but obviously it isn’t.

They need that slip of paper.

In fact they insist upon it.

Doubting Thomases! I think

almost inviting them to touch me.

But I hold back

almost afraid to touch myself.

What if ….?

Perhaps I’ve gone around kidding myself

all these years.

Yes, I think, that slip of paper would help.

I hunt for it furiously.

If only to convince myself.





Caravaggio's 'The Incredulity of St, Thomas' courtesy of Wikipedia

She Needs Cheering Up

I need cheering up, she says. I work better when happy.

A shared laugh would help, she adds.

So it’s down to me. What am I? A stand-up?

I can’t think of anything funny to say.

It’s a lovely sunny morning in spite of the forecast

so that’s something to be happy about

but happy isn’t funny.

I riffle through my corny joke book but she’s heard them all

even the good ones, like what do you call an Igloo without a toilet?

An Ig !

I thought that was pretty good but all it elicited was a groan.

And anyway, how necessary is it to be happy when you’re working?

Take art. Some of the best paintings were birthed in rage and fear.

Think ‘The Scream’ by Munch, Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ or Bacon’s ‘The Screaming Pope’.

You don’t read ‘In Memoriam’ for a good laugh or listen to ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ for a bit of a lift.

These did not come from a happy place.

Sure, being in a happy place helps, but you’re not going to get the dark matter, the weight if you’re buoyant as a balloon.  

pic by John Currin on Pinterest

You Looking at Me ?

Those rocks deflect you

from the red-backs

in your mind that crawled off your brush

onto the canvas that morning:

those Ned Kelly heads

staring at me

from the foot of the quarry:

you looking at me, I say.

You looking at me?

I’m the only one here.

Then I come and get you

and those stolid blocks of stone

with eye slits

wallop your imagination.

the ones you’re committing

to canvas so people can stare at them from the walls

of a gallery.

Abducted

Give in.

That’s all you can do.

It’s like being bundled

in the boot

of a car,

taken by an alien

spacecraft.

You’re abducted, baby.

Whisked away

in the arms

of creativity.

Go with it.

Don’t freak out.

Forget appointments,

routines,

even food.

Work, paint, sing.

Whatever’s yr thing.

You’re abducted.

pic courtesy of The New Yorker

His Arms Were a Graphic Novel

It wasn’t the person from Porlock; it was my aunt

Who got on the bus, brought my poem to an end.

My notebook slumped on my lap as she told me

The long sad story of a friend.





When she got off I had my chance but this young bloke

Sat next to me, iPod blaring, hair swooped back.

It was the White Stripes live from Splendour.

How could I not listen ? It was Meg and Jack.





But then a cross-eyed biker got on, hair in a rat’s tail,

Skin graffitied with tatts. How could I not look?

His arms a graphic novel. Then a woman got on

Shouting into her mobile, angry as ‘The Angry Book’.





The sad sack on the other end was out for the count.

Luckily Coleridge didn’t board this bus

while he was dreaming ‘Kubla Khan’. He wouldn’t

have written a word. The poem would be dust.





  • picture courtesy of Pinterest by TheTatt

A Half-Van Gogh

He’s just heard the news. He slumps, decides to act breezily.

“I am getting a half -Van Gogh,” he says over the phone.

“A half -Van Gogh? What is that?”

“You know how Van Gogh lopped off his left ear after a fit of madness, or so it’s claimed?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I’m getting half my left ear, the lobe lopped off.”

Silence.

“Why? Why would you do that?”

“It’s cancerous.”

“Oh dear.”

“You said you would love me even if I had half my face missing.”

“I know but …”

“Hello. Hello…”

Dial tone.





*photo by Jean Carlo Emer from Pinterest

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

Reciprocity

I was thinking of Beth’s post*

from the previous night

about the free exchange of art objects

in Ann Arbor.

Beth’s home town

begun by glass-maker Shawn Bungo

& I thought,

hey!

we do that all the time

posting our little gifts to each other:

our poems, ruminations, stories

our apercus

freely on the web,

leaving our comments, LOLs,

emojis of approval

practicing the noble art of reciprocity

that is never lost

& enriches a community wherever

it is found






			

Burger Art

at Barry’s Burgers

at Semaphore

on the esplanade

they’ve put up art work

on the walls

to keep customers amused

while waiting:

drawings

fresh, inventive, zesty,

a little wacky

like Barry’s burgers

themselves