My Warders Have Me in Thrall

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My warders have me in thrall.

It’s a case of Stockholm Syndrome.

I’m at their beck and call.

 

I’ve tried to rise against them.

But they are big. I am small,

So I rub against them like a cat

 

Curl myself into a ball.

I understand you, I say. I really do

But it does no good at all.

 

My addictions, anxieties, fears —

My warders —- have me in thrall.

 

  • photo from Unsplash

Between the Flags

swim

Two more drownings down at the Bay.

‘Swim between the flags’, lifesavers say.

Live between the flags, and you play it safe

But against such restrictions, the spirit chafes.

‘Don’t Drink Too Much’, ‘Gamble Responsibly’

‘Wear seat belts, bike helmets, drive responsibly.’

‘Don’t Smoke, Do Drugs’, the flags hem us in

& we’re scared little children, there seems to be no end.

‘Doctors won’t prescribe benzo- diazapines

Or other drugs of dependence’, and please no codeine.

‘Don’t Talk To strangers’, Be careful Online.

Swim between the flags and you’ll be just fine.

 

 

That Helicopter Kid

heli

There was this kid who stood at the back of the class

When I came to read my poems

And whenever I got boring he’d rotate

His arms like the blades of a helicopter

& the more I banged on the faster

His arms would whir

Until it looked like he’d take off

 

His teacher and the other kids paid him

No mind.

 

In the pause between poems he’d say,

You done yet?

And I’d say,

Almost.

And he’d say, Good and slow down.

And when I stopped, he’d stop.

The eagle had landed.

 

Whenever I do a reading I see

That kid at the back

His arms set to rotate.

It keeps me honest.

Wimp

stingray-clipart-black-and-white-10

 

Too overcast.

Shadows on the ocean.

Clouds shifting.

Too much motion.

 

Anything could be anything.

Shadows or sharks.

Stingrays or box jelly-fish.

Too dark.

 

You just don’t know.

Cannot say.

No, sir. Not going in.

No swimming today.

Why I Stopped

 

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Only when I noticed

The rusty red rat rubbing its rump

Against the end of the bed

 

Did I cut down on

The painkillers; though the pterodactyl

With the one jaundiced eye

 

thrashing its wings

Against the latticed windows didn’t

Help much either.

Bridges

bridge

 

Not the bridge too far

Nor the one over troubled waters

Not even the ones you burn

So there’s no turning back

But that rope suspension bridge

Dangling over the gully

like a sagging power line

That me and my faithful mutt, Salem,

Can’t bring ourselves to cross