Leopard

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The world can be divided, the philosopher said,

between two groups of people: those who leave

pegs on the line , and those who don’t:

my first wife was a clearly a proponent

of the second school & I the first which might explain

why we split

 

even two marriages later

I am hesitant to put the pegs in a tray in case

my new partner is an adherent of the first school

though the presence of a peg tray clearly indicates

the second

 

I pause

between the two schools

but my old self reasserts itself:

a leopard cannot change its spots.

 

  • which school do you belong to?
  • have you changed from one school of thought to another?
  • can a leopard change its spots?

The Cubby House Remembers

 

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[ for Cathy ]

 

It used to be good here .

Had plenty of company .

I doubled as a fort ,

the deck of a pirate ship ,

the keep of a medieval castle ,

always the last refuge where they

fought off the enemy .

Things got pretty noisy at times .

But when the dust settled ,

they’d settle down to a meal

of cookies and rasberry cordial .

 

In winter , though , things got quiet .

I’d hardly ever see them .

They were like bears hibernating

in the cave of the house .

Then spring would come

the sun bursting through the clouds

and they’d race outside

and it’d start all over again .

 

 

But then one day  —-

though it must have taken longer ,

they stopped coming at all  .

I guess they though I was too babyish

for them .

For years I sat out there all alone

with just memories for company .

 

But then one day a sound

that made the sun rise in my wooden heart .

A baby’s cry .

It wouldn’t be long , I thought . Less than a year .

And I was right .

I had company all over again .

It was a girl baby so the games

were a little different .

Less noisy . Less rambunctious .

 

But I was getting older anyway

so I didn’t mind .

Now we keep each other company .

Sometimes her friends come over .

It’s like the old days .

It’s good .

Life as a Pencil

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I have always wanted to work in a pencil factory

like Henry David Thoreau.

I could draw inspiration from my work each day,

pencil in appointments with imaginary friends

during coffee breaks or smokos.

Do they still have smokos by the way?

‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ but what about

the pencil?  & which one?

2B or not 2B? Hamlet famously dithered just after

he had asked Ophelia [ in an earlier draft of the play ]

to come and look at his etchings and she had refused.

I may not be the sharpest pencil in the box but I still

want to make my mark upon the world.

 

 

* can you think of other lines for this poem?

* have you ever written an object poem? The opening lines are so important; would you like  to share a few lines — or the whole poem — with us here?

 

  • pic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

the Great, Big, Uproarious Laugh

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It’s still dark outside but my brain’s awake so I drift down to the study.

I hop onto the computer.

That’s when I read it, Shelley’s comment on my post about that sign in the gym: ‘

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Shelley said: ‘Noooooo. Not the sacred apostrophe being misused!’

That’s when I burst out laughing.

“Can you tone it down, please? You sound a bit manic.”

It’s the voice of common sense coming from the bedroom.

“I’m sorry,” I say. ”It’s so hilarious”.

“It’s not even 5 o’clock, “she says. “You’ll wake the neighbours.”

“Would it be better if I hold back till seven?” I ask. “Would that work?”

“Yes,” says the voice of reason.

So that’s what I do. I go back to bed, set the alarm and let it rip at seven, a great big uproarious laugh. It feels cathartic like a colonic cleanse.

I wish Shelly could have heard it..

She’s right though, the voice of reason.

It’s all a matter of timing.

 

  • when’s the last time you had a really good laugh — or a colonic cleanse?

 

Scratching His Cerebrals

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What are you doing? I asked.

Scratching my cerebrals, uncle would answer studying the crossword before him, his right hand deftly scratching his scalp, between loose strands of sandy hair, as though he had nits.

It seemed to work. The more furious he scratched, the better he got, the crossword soon solved.

Then uncle would go out in the garden and within a short space of time, as aunty used to say, he’d be ‘off with the fairies’.

Perhaps the two activities were allied.

Perhaps I caught it from uncle but whenever I work on a poem or a piece of stubborn flash fiction, I scratch my cerebrals too.

My partner caught me at it one morning.

Stop it, you’ll go blind, she says.

We both chuckle.

It’s good to make light of things then go back to scratching your cerebrals should things become difficult.

 

  • picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Love Song of the Garbage Truck

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Come to me, says the garbage truck to his love,

Waiting on the edge of the road for him,

You’re late, she says, looking at her watch.

I’ve been here since early morning.

Never mind, he says. It’ll be worth it

Grabbing her firmly around the waist,

Clutching her with his cold metallic hands,

You could have warmed them first, she says

Never mind the temperature, feel the grip,

he answers. Come into these loving arms,

Closer, closer,

Now. Doesn’t that feel good?

Wasn’t that worth the wait?

I bet you say that to all the bins, she says

As he gently places her back on the sidewalk.

See you next Thursday, he calls back.

the T-Shirt Keeps its Cool

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The T- shirt isn’t dumb. It knows what’s coming. Soon as I get in the door, I let it rip.

What do you mean, lapping up all the praise? They’re my mates. I didn’t know you’d dominate the conversation. You were shameless.

I didn’t do a thing, the T – shirt says. I just sat there, on you, covering up your flab.

You could have been more inconspicuous.

Hey, you chose me. It’s not my fault you chose a loud T-shirt. And anyway, you know what they say?

What?

If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

You certainly did that.

We look at each other in the mirror for a minute or two.

Anyhow, I say, I still like you. You look great.

Look at it this way, the T-shirt says, the next time you take me out, your mates will be over it. They’ll move onto you.

I guess you’re right, I say. We mustn’t get too precious.

Friends? Says the T-shirt.

Friends, I say and  put my arms around myself, giving the T a good hug.