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.
They get up, rumpled, a little worse for wear. take a look, hold each other, flinch.
All that clutter.
The humble vessels and instruments of the night before, that wrought such alchemy on a lowly leg of lamb, packaged parsnips, carrots; followed by a serve of dried apricots and flaked almonds, soaked in brandy, all generously washed down with an aged red. Or was it two?
What a night!
But now …. the domestic terror in the sink.
Even alchemists have to clean up their mess.
pic courtesy of Pinterest by John Currin
I had my big guns ready.
The script already rehearsed in my head.
There were some epithets to let fly.
Rebuttals for any diffidence.
I was asking my mercurial mate a favour
one he might bridle at
though I had both barrels loaded
‘after all I’d done for you….’
the rifle was cocked and ready.
I was Chuck Norris, Vin Diesel, Dirty Harry
rolled into one.
When I got him on the phone
and asked, he rolled over like a cat.
I was a little disappointed.
That’s all you can do.
It’s like being bundled
in the boot
of a car,
taken by an alien
You’re abducted, baby.
in the arms
Go with it.
Don’t freak out.
Work, paint, sing.
Whatever’s yr thing.
pic courtesy of The New Yorker
I am a thief
a thief of words.
Watch out for me.
I am never at rest.
are my ears, my eyes,
the streets of my city.
I scan for the unwary face,
the frown or smile
I listen into conversations,
I elicit confessions.
I watch for
the unguarded sentence,
the revealing phrase.
I am the one with the notebook
opposite you on the bus;
the one with the slightly intent look
at your side.
Watch out for me.
I am the purloiner of language.
I snatch words
and use them as my own.
I am the poet, the novelist,
the thief of words
* from my second book, 1990. Longman Cheshire
M is in her cups.
Any moment now, the kookaburra cackle
the cutting off, like a hoon driver on the highway.
But for the time being I’m holding the table, telling the tale of the silver hammer beneath the front passenger seat of my car, what happens when my girlfriend spots it.
The little group leans forward, intent.
But it reminds M of something and she’s hyper now, jumps in, raucous.
This time I’m ready for her.
I took a photo today I’d like to show you. It’s for you, I say.
You did? Really?
Yes, I say, bringing it up on the screen, passing it across to her.
It’s what you do when you cut people off, how you make them feel. It’s kind of a metaphor.
She has a close look. Ouch,, she says. Lopped?
Three naked men in a cage
in an Edward Steed sketch,
the Jonathan Swift of cartoonists.
Husbands for girls to choose from.
pic courtesy of Pinterest by Edward Steed from The New Yorker
courtesy of Unsplash,com by ecemwashere
Just when I was about to retire the statues a friend pops up
with a proposition that floors me.
Look at the legs, he says, the position of them.
I do. I have a good hard look.
Well, the legs are not in the right position for the proper performance of the act.
Couldn’t they move them?
You mean …
Yes, they’re condemned to a life of Eternal Abstinence.
The curse of the statues! I reply. It wouldn’t be much of a life, would it?
Well, it wouldn’t suit you and me. he answers. But people do it all the time. Nuns and priests, for instance.
And incels … I say.
Yes, incels and celibate statues.
Can we leave the topic now? I ask.
Yes, he says. I think it’s run its course.
what do you think?
…. and now for something lighter: Can you come up with other cheeky titles to add to this list of Imaginary Books? or even, if you’re up for it [excuse the pun] write a paragraph or two ?