Credenza

My parents partied to Mario Lanza.

His records littered the credenza

before ending up on the turntable.

[ it was the era of Clark Gable].

and everyone would their glasses clink

when Mario sang ‘Drink Drink Drink’

He had a big voice and big loves,

and the habits of a tiger cub,

‘impossible’, it was said, to housebreak.

He died too young at thirty eight.

Way way back in ’59.

Then along came Elvis. He was mine !

  • pic courtesy of Wikipedia

One little Letter, one HUGE difference

Bev put on a Golden Oldies disc

when Hippy Hippy Shake

jumped out of the player.

Chad Romero, I said.

Who?

Chad Romero, the singer. How good is my memory?

When she went into the shower, I sneaked a look at the CD cover

to make sure I’d got it right.

Huh? Swinging Blue Jeans, it said.

That’s funny, I thought, I’m sure it was Chad Romero.

So I Googled the name.

My heart sank.

‘Chad went home to be with the Lord,’ the Obituary began, ‘on April 23rd, 2017.’

Bullshit, I said. Chad was a hell-raiser. He wouldn’t have gone meekly as that.

There was no mention of his singing career.

So I Googled ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’ and there he was : CHAN ROMERO.Singer, composer, lyricist.

The full package.

And he’s still alive. Still rocking.

Sometimes one little letter can make a HUGE difference.

Taking Over

You’re taking over, she says.

Am I? I say. I didn’t know that.

You men are all the same, she says.

I go away and think about it.

Can one take over without even realizing it?

Did Alexander the Great conquer all those kingdoms without

even being aware of it?

Did Genghis Khan?

Did these warrior leaders perform their actions with sleight-of-hand

fooling even themselves?

Take over? Who? Me?

I talk to my therapist who is mightily amused at the very notion.

She said what? Who? You?

I take a good look in the mirror as I pass by.

Ummm. My tentacles do seem to have grown longer.

pic by pinterest. Andrei-Pervukhin on DeviantArt

Chamber

Back and forth the fly darts across the windscreen

like black thoughts inside my head, floaters before my eyes,

distracting my driving, driving me up the wall.

You won’t get out? Okay, I’ll fix you, I say

as I pull in the driveway, wind the windows up

and pump in the fly spray, the little Nazi inside me

quite pleased with itself.

*pic courtesy of pinterest

Lord Nelson

Do you think I should bring him in?

Who?

Lord Nelson.

Lord Nelson of the Admiralty? Yes, especially if he’s pacing up and down the driveway, as though it’s the quarterdeck of the HMS Victory. People will think he’s bonkers. He’ll be wanting an eye-patch next.

*pic courtesy of pinterest

Little Things

like the poem

the dreamy bus driver wrote

in ‘Paterson’

while idling at stop lights

or picking up passengers

the one about Ohio Blue Tip matches

in their sturdy little boxes

‘so sober and furious, ready to burst into flame’

as crafted as those of his hero

William Carlos Williams

the doctor who lived a few streets down

 who wrote that famous poem

the red wheelbarrow glazed with rain

And me realizing you can write poems

about almost anything

even a red pencil sharpener

a bowl of berries with a barrowful of dreams

and finding out

that’s where Lou Costello came from too

Paterson, New Jersey.

There’s even a park named after him,

Lou Costello the chubby comedian who played alongside Bud Abbot,

the straight guy.

I used to watch those guys in the fun-house

Of the fifties,

frolicking with Frankenstein and The Wolf man.

But it was Lou Costello

I loved

The funny little fat guy

And that’s where he came from,

Paterson, New Jersey.

Went Down to Nazareth

 

 
Went down to Nazareth, back from Bethlehem
to see my old mate Jesus out among his friends
No one had died
was crucified,
they were all good family men
Jesus performed his miracles
for charity now and then.
 
* with a nod to Robbie Robertson

The Applecart

There was a saying in my parents’ day

not to upset the apple cart.

My uncle was a market gardener so it had extra meaning for us.

For a while things went smoothly

then I came along, then my sister.

We were the world’s first teenagers.

There was sex, booze — no drugs — and rock ‘n’ roll.

Mum and dad didn’t know what hit them.

And this went on all over the world.

A whole lot of apple carts were being upset, overturned.

Then came Feminism, Vietnam War protests, R rated movies

and in our country

the sacking of a government.

Boats were rocked, apple carts overturned.

It’s a bit like that now. Only there’s far more involved.

The fate of our planet.

I think before we get to wherever we’re going there won’t be too many

apple carts left standing.

*pic courtesy of Pinterest

Biros

I started to think about biros again, how mine was long and thin like a matchstick but it had no heft.

A biro should have heft if it is to write anything of import.

Mine is fine for writing light verse, things of flippancy and quirk.

But for something darker, more adventurous, a biro with girth is required.

Yes, I decided, for Father’s Day I’m going to request a biro with a stubby stem, a bit like its inventor Lazlo Biro

photo of Lazlo Biro courtesy of Wikipedia 

Skeleton in the Phone Booth

A skeleton from the closet

Phoned the other day

One we thought had been

Securely locked away.





We tried to entice it

Cajole it back in

But that skeleton was

Determined to be seen.





For it had grown flesh

Learned how to live

And clearly would rattle

All the relatives.





This poem was written twenty years ago when first contact was made. It was more a ghost from the past than a skeleton but gradually over further calls it acquired structure and then one magic day it acquired corporeality. I was not there — my partner and I had split up — but I heard about it through others, including my children. Then just last week over New Year we met. This wonderful, warm person is now a part of my life. Thanks to the Marriage Equality Act She is getting married soon to her partner of eighteen years. She thanked me for keeping the lines of communication open and hope alive.

ps that third line in the second stanza still is not right

*have you ever had a skeleton from the closet visit you?