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.

I Wonder if Spiders

I wonder if spiders

in their webs

at night

spin poems

‘bout me & you

nattering away in the moonlight

in neat little haiku

you with your cigs

me with my brew

of jasmine tea

spinning our memories

wishes

of how things might be

or would they instead

taking a jaundiced view

spin snarky little

senryu

True Colours: the Story behind No Sympathy …

When people ask me, did you have any inkling in all that time you knew him, I say, not really, then I think of the incident in the restaurant,the one that slipped beneath my notice in what was meant to be a piece of devilish fluff in ‘No Sympathy ….’

It began in the third line: Hey! Is that a glass of water you threw over me? That’s when autobiography took over and followed us out onto the sidewalk where I was shoved to the ground when my back was turned and my mate who had turned rogue did a runner.

So did I know? Did I suspect? I sure did: in those moments he unleashed diminutive, haiku-sized bursts of anger, I could feel the embers of a conflagration 18 years before that the forensic squad, armed with new evidence and methods of detection, were sifting through and building a case.

His mate, Dale , who let him stay on his property at Second Valley in a caravan while he got his life together, fell victim to Adrian’s wrath.

All that time Adrian proclaimed his innocence, He was the only suspect. He lived at my place for a while, He rode a bike, did the gardening, spoke to the kids, Everyone loved him. A top bloke, they said. Then the night ….

Once my friend was charged with the cold case and sentenced, he finally admitted to us: Just think, he said, 15 years for five seconds of madness.

That little haiku of a revelation warned me that of all the affairs we have to manage in life, our temper comes first.

You Can’t Stutter in Writing

You can’t stutter in writing,

my speech therapist said

before I had thought much about it.

Maybe that’s how it started.

I felt I could sprint in writing

while in speech I hobbled.

I was good over short distances:

haiku, poems, flash fiction,

the occasional story.

Any further I flagged,

my efforts stuttered

then stopped.

But I don’t know.

I can speak now

but I still write.

On Being Compared to a Gnat

You have the attention span,

he said,

of a gnat.

I thought [briefly]

about that:

the skim

the look;

the review

not the book;

the single

not the CD;

a movement not

the whole symphony;

the single poem—

a story won’t do—

especially if short

think haiku.

Life’s short.

Try this, that.

Stay light,

says the gnat.