Shaking All Over

The way you get worked up.

I can hear you, the noise of your coming, three rooms away.

Are such outbursts necessary?

Why, even the walls vibrate,
Now you’re really going.

Hope you don’t bust anything.

You’re not that young anymore, remember.

There’s no doubt you give it your all.

Do you enjoy it?

Sounds as if you do.

Now you’ve gone quiet, can I come in?

Yes ! The  clothes are done, giddy with all that spinning.

One hour, twenty. Wish I had your stamina.

You must be exhausted.

They Didn’t Tell You

They didn’t tell you when you trustingly submitted to a covid test that you’d have to quarantine for fourteen days even if you tested negative.

They didn’t tell you the queues would be so long, could take up to ten hours to be tested, and that there were no toilet facilities available, no hot dog stands

And they certainly didn’t tell you a fortnight in quarantine by yourself would be as gruelling, as solipsistic as a fortnight in solitary in a maximum security prison — and that you never even get to see your jailer

There is no training for this.

And anyway you’ve only got eight more days of madness to look forward to, so it isn’t all bad

Until you realize at the very end, your state’s in hard lockdown for at least a week so you have to go through it all over again

On the Shortest Day

On the shortest day

I take the longest run

between one jetty and the next

and back again

rest myself against the rump

of a dune

listen to the sea shanties of the waves

while a mermaid appears, rises above the waves

swinging her wild, wild hair

in the sun-drenched breeze

until spotting me she coyly slips

beneath the water.

The jetty wades a little deeper into the sea

to catch a glimpse.

On the shortest day I tell

the tallest tales.

waiting to be Called

Please Wait to be Called,

the sign said

So I did.

I took a ticket and waited

behind the others

till it was my turn

at the head of the queue

outside the draughty pearly gates

holding my flimsy little ticket

& when, growing impatient,

I stepped forward,

St. Peter held up his hand:

“There seems to be some problem,”

He said.

“You’ll have to wait a little longer,”

I stamped my feet a little

when a white light flashed overhead

& a door opened behind

& I was whooshed back

to the operating theatre where the surgeons

had revived me.

One step from paradise.





pic courtesy of Pinterest,com

End of the Line

I’m sorry, he said, shrugging his shoulders. There’s nothing I can do.

But surely …

I’ve never seen it this bad. Not in all my years. They’ve always responded to treatment. I threw everything at it.

But you’re ….

I know. We’re the paramedics of the trade but we can’t perform miracles.

We bowed our heads.

Then I’ll see you to the door. Thanks for trying,

And off he drove in his clean white van, the firm’s logo on the side.

Well, I said, it looks like the end of the line for you. Sorry, old mate. You heard the man. You have to go. Time for an upgrade. A new laptop.

Devil of a Night

They were in a little cottage out the back with nothing to write about on a dark and stormy night. Delia, a tall, strapping, Scandinavian woman, with long greyish blond hair down to her waist, had just given them, a small group of seniors, fifteen minutes silent writing during the class on short story writing. You should be able to come up with something, she said,almost despairing of her hopelessly floundering flock. This was the second session and still not a word had been written. The thunder boomed and lightning flashed helpfully as if to provide prompts. Delia paced up and down out the front working herself into a froth.  

Just then, as if on cue, the door flew open, and a drug-addled man with straggly blond hair and  black tank top stormed in, neck and arms swathed in devil tatts,  shouting obscenities in a strange guttural language, throwing chairs around the room thankfully with no one in them, and then with his anger quenched, stormed out again. Where’s Security when you need them, fumed D who immediately phoned the police. Suddenly everyone started furiously writing. Delia could  not stop them.

pic by pretty sleepy on pixabay

Simon’s Space Odyssey

Simon rambles in. He rattles Alec’s equanimity.

I’m getting my haircut. I see it all in the mirror.

Simon’s his usual self: brash, bold, bloody stupid, He lisps some errant remark.

Alec drops what he’s doing, reaches for the fly swatter and chases Simon down the street.

It’s like a well rehearsed routine.





A month later I go back.. Simon doesn’t look so good. His eyes are puffy, his face a little swollen, his hare lip is bleeding.

What happened? George says, one of the assistants. Your girl friend beat you up again?

Simon blubbers out an obscenity. Alec reaches for the fly swatter and the chase is on again.





Simon is a sad sack, the world’s punching bag but he does have one trick up his sleeve. His dad is Lord Mayor of Mars. No one else can claim that.

How he got there long before Elon Musk is not explained but Simon basks in his glory. On Mars International Day — yes, there is one —Simon comes in, wearing his red skivvy and breaks into the Mars National anthem till he is chased out by Alec’s furious flyswatter.





One day Simon slumps in. Dad is not well.  Dad needs Simon to take over. How will he get there? Everyone knows by now that Simon has a rocket ship tucked in a corner of his bedroom at the ready. But Simon as Lord Mayor? Would those Martians treat him seriously?

Simon doesn’t appear the next month nor the one after that.

In fact, he doesn’t appear again.

Can one disappear into one’s own fantasy?





*pic courtesy of Wikipedia

A Half-Van Gogh

He’s just heard the news. He slumps, decides to act breezily.

“I am getting a half -Van Gogh,” he says over the phone.

“A half -Van Gogh? What is that?”

“You know how Van Gogh lopped off his left ear after a fit of madness, or so it’s claimed?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I’m getting half my left ear, the lobe lopped off.”

Silence.

“Why? Why would you do that?”

“It’s cancerous.”

“Oh dear.”

“You said you would love me even if I had half my face missing.”

“I know but …”

“Hello. Hello…”

Dial tone.





*photo by Jean Carlo Emer from Pinterest

A Devil of a Bargain

The devil was in the neighbourhood fishing for souls.

Denison was desperate. He couldn’t make it as a novelist. Maybe as a musician. He always wanted to play in a band.

Very well, the Devil said. Wish granted.

Denison found he could play any instrument he wanted.  But he was still unhappy.

What’s the problem? the Devil asked.

I’m getting nowhere, he said.

I’m not the fucking genie in the bottle! He replied. I have powers but they are limited. I’ve granted you ability. The rest is up to you.

That’s a cop out, Denison snapped.

Blame the big guy in the sky.

It’s not enough. I want to rescind the bargain, Denison said.

Too late, the Devil said, as He flipped a switch. Denison disappeared down the trapdoor beneath him, busily expostulating …

A Hard Hat to Follow

You need a hard hat

a hard hat to go in

dismantling the enigma of existence

is a dangerous thing

the ceiling may collapse on you

the walls cave in

punishing your arrogance

the plumbing dislodge spewing

its putrescence over you.

You’ve messed with the masonry.

You need a hard hat

a hard hat to go in

to write poetry





*photo from Pinterest by Kristopher King