Showers

Showers acupuncture skin , pummel

angry muscles

into submission ;

like coffee they

kick-start us into action ,

the quick fix , the jab for our frenetic times but

they are ill suited

to contemplation or insight —

Archimedes

would have discovered nothing under a shower ;

nor are they

conducive to knowledge ; you cannot

read under showers nor

can you write unless it is wet verse ;

moreover showers only cater

for one side at a time — leaving  the

other blue with cold ;

in this

baths are more inclusive immersing us

like icebergs with only

the head above water ;

showers have

much to learn ;

young upstarts , they lack the noble

ancestry of baths yet

arrogantly tower above them  ; their heads

must constantly be lowered

* which do you prefer: showers or baths?
* if you were asked to write a bath poem what would your opening lines be?

Biros

I started to think about biros again, how mine was long and thin like a matchstick but it had no heft.

A biro should have heft if it is to write anything of import.

Mine is fine for writing light verse, things of flippancy and quirk.

But for something darker, more adventurous, a biro with girth is required.

Yes, I decided, for Father’s Day I’m going to request a biro with a stubby stem, a bit like its inventor Lazlo Biro

photo of Lazlo Biro courtesy of Wikipedia 

Cliffs I Have Known

Unstable Cliffs, the sign reads. Stay Clear.

And I think of the unstable Cliffs I have known:

The deputy that has a meltdown whenever I call in sick:

my cousin’s boyfriend who punches holes in the wall

when he is denied,

and the glue-sniffing Cliff I taught in Year 11 who fell asleep

on the tracks coming home from a party and was run over by a train.

They should have come with warnings too. 

Moments in Literary History 1

In the late Spring of 1891, Greenbough Smith, the newly appointed literary editor of

‘The Strand’ received a submission of two handwritten manuscripts.

Forty years later he described how he reacted on that day—“I at once realized here was the greatest short story writer

since Edgar Allan Poe, I remember rushing into Mr. Noames [publisher ] room and thrusting the stories before his eyes ….

Here was a new and gifted story writer; there was no mistaking the ingenuity of the plot, the limpid clearness of the style,

the perfect art of telling a story.”

The two stories that excited Smith’s interest were ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’ and ‘The Red-Headed League’

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.

Circus

She hands me the change.

I miss.

The two coins bounce off the rubbery counter.

I catch them mid-flight.

You should be in a circus, she says.

I am, I say.

I mingle with clowns every day,

juggle my bills,

keep the customers satisfied,

drive around in an old jalopy,

put on my happy face

as buffoons bluster their way

through a pandemic,

get up in the morning

and start all over again.

What a performance!

She smiles at me nervously.

Anyhow, have a good day! I say.

You too, she says, as I walk away,

beeping my rubbery red nose.

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

Wouldn’t it be Nice?

Don and I were having a chat

about the magician’s rabbit,

the one my dog killed,

and the killer instincts dogs seem to have;

It’s in all animals, Don, I said.

‘Nature red in tooth and claw.’

Ahhh, that old Tennyson chestnut , he replied;

that would explain why ‘Cilla and Ralph [his cat and  dog]

are often at each other : ‘kill, kill.’

We’re no different, Don:

you ever felt like throttling someone?

Do I have to answer that? he said.

Of course, you’re right: but wouldn’t it be nice,

if we could take off our nasty ‘genes’

as easily as we take off our denim ‘jeans’?

Waiting for the Wood to Catch

The sun levers me from bed .

Slides over the smooth rump

of hills .

Steams away the frost .

The cats desert the hearth .

There are a few embers left ,

chunks of ash

warm and marshmellow fluffy .

Not a ripple of sound .

Everyone’s asleep .

I put two logs on the ash ,

a tangle of twigs

and settle back on the cane lounge

waiting for the wood to catch .

Two dragonflies clamber over

the green scrim of curtain ;

a young magpie rests high up

in the fork of a scrawly gum ;

from the next farm the caw

of a crow ,

the baaa of distant lambs ,

overhead the sudden scraaak

of galahs ;

my stomach rumbles —

breakfast !

the grey slumbering Sloth

and Mao , the red burmese cross ,

in expectation of warmth

slink around the hearth ;

a flame stirs the stubborn fuel

crackles

sets this poem ablaze