A Magnificent Lockdown

I almost tread on this fuzzy little chap on the sidewalk, out for a stroll, soaking up the mid-winter sun.

How’s it hanging? he asks.

Oh , you know; not bad.

He looks up. You out of lockdown yet?

Almost, I say, one day to go but we’re allowed to walk. How about you?

I’m about to enter the biggest lockdown of all, he says in a tone half way between excitement and trepidation.

Wow! I say. Really?

Yes, he says, metamorphosis. You heard of it?

Why, yes. It sounds magical.

Up to 14 days, he says. No food. No visitations. Reckon you could handle it?

If I could turn into something light, winged and beautiful, like a butterfly, I’d give it a go.

You humans can’t have everything, you know.

I nod my head sagely.

True, I say, true. Well, anyway, have a good …. metamorphosis, and off he trundles on his way, giving me the thumbs up, a tricky thing for a caterpillar. Such a clever chap.

There Must be Some Nice Things I Can Say about You

Let me see.

There must be some nice things

I can say about you.

I get to hang out with my inner hermit again.

Where you been? he asks sullenly.

Busy, I say, busy. But hey! It’s good to see you.

Can we, you know, have a beer together? Bring in a Pizza? Watch ‘The Farmer Wants a Wife?’

Sure, I say, sure.

We hug each other. It’s like old times. There’s a tear in his rheumy eyes.

I got time now.

I go to the old bookshelf. It’s pretty dusty. Don’t get much reading done when you’re out and about.

And I grab one, that big Collected Graham Greene

and we settle into ‘The Quiet American’.

There are some stories you can’t read enough.

You could do with a shower, I say. So could you, says hermit.

We give each other a playful punch. It’s like old times.

I watch his hands, his fingers twitching. He pulls back the curtain, peers outside.

Do you reckon we could ,,,,?.

Why not? I say. It’s the season for it.

We stoke up the fire, sit side by side, writing our shivery little three liners, haiku on wind, frost, ice, hailstones.

Winter, you’re not all bad.

The Big Reveal

Did you know the pattern on your nightie matches the pattern of my underpants?

Really?

Yes, he says as he pulls down his jeans to show her.

I can see , she says, that your underpants are a little loose in the legs.

Meaning?

I can see more than the pattern of your underpants.

You don’t mean ….

Yes, she says, the crown jewels.

Oooops, he says, as he pulls up his jeans and they collapse in laughter on the beanbag.

Slouch

I don’t like the way the branches slouch,

my grandfather would have said.

It shows a lack of moral fibre.

Grandfather did not approve of droop

though I think he could have cut the branches

some slack.

The best people slouch at times.

Oscar Wilde certainly did though he was no slouch.

And Tilda Swinton and Anne Hathaway were spotted

slouching at the Golden Globes.

I like the way Fridays slouch towards the weekend.
Poems should slouch a little too.

They should not appear cinched and pained

as if wearing a tight pair of underpants.

pic courtesy of Wikipedia

Flinch

They get up, rumpled, a little worse for wear. take a look, hold each other, flinch.

All that clutter.

The humble vessels and instruments of the night before, that wrought such alchemy on a lowly leg of lamb, packaged parsnips, carrots; followed by a serve of dried apricots and flaked almonds, soaked in brandy, all generously washed down with an aged red. Or was it two?

What a night!

But now …. the domestic terror in the sink.

Even alchemists have to clean up their mess.

pic courtesy of Pinterest  by John Currin

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.

Aisle #9

I’m walking down aisle #8 but it could be aisle #9, depending how they classify it.

But it’s not down either.

I’m afraid to ask.

I know what sort of response I’m going to get but I’m desperate.

I ask one of the assistants,

So where do you keep it? I ask. Where do you keep the canned laughter?

Pardon? she says.

You’ve got canned fruit and canned veggies but I can’t find the canned laughter.

Is this some kind of joke? she asks.

Sort of, I say, But I do need a can or two.

She looks around for help. You know the look. This guy might be dangerous, I better humour him.

I’ll go and ask the manager, she says.

Don’t worry, I say sadly, no one stocks it any more. She heads off anyway and I slump out the store in my clown shoes and frizzy ginger hair. I beep my red nose for good measure.

No one laughs at my jokes these days. I’ve lost my edge. Looks like I’m going to have to go back to Comedy School.

The Best Exotic Mongolian Beanie

What sort of wuss wears a beanie around the house?

It’s not Outer Mongolia for f**’s sake

But it looks exotic and it’s warm and woolly.

A tower of a hat from Ulaanbaatar, the trader told me. A beanie fit for Genghis Khan.

I could see him storming through the steppes wearing it proudly like a crown,

I had to have it with its burnished reds and browns and black leopard spots.

But I look a proper Charlie wearing it in the mall or library or on public transport.

In restaurants people just stare.

So I wear it when gardening or on evening walks along the esplanade before disappearing

into my yurt where I cuddle up with a copy of Sonomyn Udval’s ‘Collected Short Stories’

which everyone should read.





  • what’s the strangest structure you’ve slept under?
  • have you read any of Sonomyn’s wonderful stories?
  • do you wear beanies on cold, wintry days?

Forrest Gander

If I were to change my name

I would change it to something

light and leafy like Forrest Gander,

the name of the poet whose poem ‘Pastoral’

I am reading now: ‘swarms of midges

bobbed up and down like balled hairnets

in the breeze’; nothing blunt and earthy,

like his nearest namesake, Forrest Gump

would write; but ethereal; I see he has a degree

in ecology and was born in the Mojave Desert,

all part of the grand design; his photo

portrays him, smiling, upstanding, arms outspread

as if ready to take off on another flight of whimsy.

photo courtesy of Ulle

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