Today on my front doorstep a bundle,
tied in coloured string, wrapped in cellophane,
5 New Yorkers, a Paris Review and
two School Magazines with my poems in,
the Covid backlog I thought would never come.
It felt like all my Xmases had come at once,
enough binge reading to last me till the Big Day.
Every now and then
piqued with curiosity
I like to visit blogs I used to visit regularly
to see what they are up to,
how well they’re doing:
it’s like gate-crashing a party:
everyone knows everyone else and it’s the same people
there the last few times you checked;
the mood buoyant,
the repartee rapid,
no awkward silences;
you are well out of the loop;
you’re not dressed right anyway
& you barely speak the same language.
Do you dip your toes in, make a comment?
Your own blog is doing well enough,
and may be just as intimidating to others
as these are to you.
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
I’ve been having parties
in the top right hand corner of my head
where the music throbs incessantly
and civility is dead
have another drink , one says
I don’t mind if I do
and the hunchback pounds on the old piano
till well past half two
a bulky fist hammers the door
Joe sent for me, he yells
& a smokey eyeball peers out
is this heaven or is this hell?
I wouldn’t mind so much
take less of a dim view
if due courtesies were observed
& I were invited too
The Kings of Leon could still use somebody, Caleb sings in his Kurt Cobain voice
& the Kurdish Freedom Fighter comes on too strong to Lynne, wanting to whisk her away with his Hindu Kush eyes
& the woman with the Mastiff shoulders walks past in her low cut dress
& sniggering sneer
& Des starts knock knock knocking on Heaven’s Door again because he knows we’re all here and I tell him to get back in his box coz you’re in the undiscovered country from whose bourne .. well, you know the rest
while Ruth limps off to the Ladies and Ted calls after her, that’s the best part of you gone,
and Sirocco knocks over his second glass of red on the white table cloth and Jarrod frowns and Gerry rushes over
and Max is cuddling Peter in the corner and the mulberry mutt mourns for its owner outside the window
& I’m talking much too loud but I’m in my cups And I tell the funny story about the pony walking into a bar again and I won’t be put down like a mad dog
& an officer from the penitentiary phones and says, no, Ades cannot be let out because it’s a Friday night
& we’re going round and round like skid marks on tarmac
& it’s just another Friday night in Paradise
You don’t see many poems celebrating the sense of smell.
Sight rules the roost, cock-a-doodles its pre-eminence
on every page; the nose rarely gets a look-in.
An anthology of ‘Smell’ poems would be very thin indeed
and would be ‘on the nose’ for most readers.
I haven’t had a whiff of a good smell poem for years.
I can’t think of a single poem celebrating the sense of smell, can you? have you written a short poem, perhaps a funny one, on smells you could put in the comments column for the delight of readers? have you a vivid memory of a particular smell?
I’m really looking forward to today.
Today’s the day I don’t exercise.
Oh, I may lift a finger to pen a poem
stretch a limb to reach for the remote
or break into a walk to put out the bins
but that’s it.
Today the body gets its chance
to plonk itself down in the armchair of life
and not feel guilty.
Have a glass or two. Eat some chocolates.
Read ‘The New Yorker’.
A day of indolence and roses.
It’s not the blue bucket
nor the one set aside
for my Bucket List
nor the metaphorical one
we kick when we die
but a simple supermarket bucket
I put beside my bed
each New Years’ Eve
after a big night
just in case
n honour of National Cookie Day in the U.S]
I used to give my Sydney Morning Heralds
To the Cookie Man
for his customers to read;
they’d devour the weekend papers with their cookies and cappuccinos
of the Harbor City they’d visit one day;
and I’d go away feeling
I had spread some wealth:
the Saturday supplements:
Food, Fashion, Film, Fun —
The Land of Plenty
& the Cookie Man would give me
the thumbs up;
Then one day
He was gone,
The whole edifice had crumbled
Like a cookie.
Now my Sydney Morning Heralds are looking
for a new home
& I miss the cookie man
Your face, my friend, is a poem.
An ode to youth,
not the toxic kind
but the Howard Keel kind
of Seven Brides & Seven Brothers
cocky, confident, wholesome.
I bet you have a brawny baritone too,
can hold a song
in any amateur musical;
I bet there’s a bit of the buffoon about you
that swaggery moustache
that raucous smile;
it’s not a bad dial
to go through life with
the poetry is pretty good too. Visit JOJO by googling JOJO AL-WAEALY and his blog comes up