Showers acupuncture skin , pummel
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 —
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 ;
baths are more inclusive immersing us
like icebergs with only
the head above water ;
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?
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
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.
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’
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.
She hands me the change.
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.
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
courtesy of Unsplash,com by ecemwashere
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’?
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 —
the grey slumbering Sloth
and Mao , the red burmese cross ,
in expectation of warmth
slink around the hearth ;
a flame stirs the stubborn fuel
sets this poem ablaze