My Madeleine Moment

 

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Try a Madeleine, Marcel says.

It worked for me.

So I do

Opening up the family tree

As far back as my grandma

 

That little old lady

Who sat me on her lap

told me stories

In the park

& always wore widow-weeds

Midnight dark

 

who happily each Xmas,

Chopped the chooks’

heads

off

 

& we’d

watch them

run around the yard

higgledy-piggeldy

in shock.

 

do you have memories of your grandma?

 

  • photo by Alexandre Godreau from Unsplash

Wrecks

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Whenever my mother got in a state, she’d declare, “I feel like the wreck of the Hesperus, the Titanic and the Lusitania all rolled into one,” careful to keep things chronological. The old people they sure knew how to lay things on thick. But least they taught us the art of melodrama and not a little history.

 

* do you recall any sayings your parents or grandparents had?

Old Schooner

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I was reading a poem by Weldon Kees —

Does anyone read Weldon Kees nowadays? —

About Boris, ‘the fatalist parrot’ who fell off

his perch.

I thought of old Schooner in his cage in the

Drive thru bottle shop at Magnums at McLaren Vale.

At least he had some life in him unlike Boris

Who ‘watched the traffic flow, unheeding’.

You’d say ‘hello’ to Schooner. He wouldn’t say anything

But once you got your purchase and went to go,

He’d say ‘See Ya’ real chipper like. You’d wave back

And give him the thumbs up and if he could Schooner

Would reciprocate. He had a fan when it was hot and

A lamp for when it was cold and a little mirror to see

what a handsome chap he was. He looked well fed.

At least he didn’t pace up and down like a lion in a cage.

Whenever I have a glass now at Magnums I raise it

To old Schooner.

Libraries Used to be Safe Places

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All quiet on the Western Front? I asked one of the security guards who had been involved in an incident ten minutes before.

Yes, he said but you could tell he was a little jumpy.

He and two of his mates had wrestled to the ground an ice addict who was bothering one of the patrons.

Amongst much kicking, punching and hurling of abuse, he was shoved out of the library.

I pulled out my phone to take a film. One of the guards seeing me, said: No. Put it away, mate.

So I did.

I wish it were as easy to put away some of the stuff that is out there but it isn’t. It isn’t.

A Cadaver of Red

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What is your wish? said the genie.

A cadaver of red, please.

A cadaver of red? Don’t you mean a cask or bottle? Or perhaps a magnum? I’ve had a glass or three myself. I’m feeling generous. How about a jeroboam — I’ve never granted one of them — or, maybe even, a nebuchednezzar?

No, thanks, mate. A cadaver of red, said the lazy vampire

 

Beast

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There was a man in our street who had an apparition in the middle of an afternoon.

 

He was driving on a country road where on a whim he took a detour. His wife was beside him. They drove down the avenues and streets and occasional crescents till they realised they were caught in an infinity loop. The man began to panic. It was like that time he was stuck in a lift. He could feel his heart fibrillating, his bladder wanting to burst, his vision blurring but he held this from his wife who would accuse him of weakness.

 

That’s when he saw it, the apparition. It came for him, lumbering down some labyrinth in his brain, a Minotaur bristly and bellowing, big as a tank, barging into him. His heart stopped.

 

His wife never knew what happened but she found her way out.

 

 

 

A Bird Flew into My Mouth

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A bird flew in my mouth.

I gulped in horror.

If it were a mozzie,

A blowfly,

No worries

But a bird

A wattlebird at that.

It panicked in the echo chamber of my mouth.

I wrestled it with both hands

Trying to pry it loose.

Suddenly it plopped out like a fish.

It staggered in the air.

I staggered along the path.

A bird in the mouth is worth two in the bush.

My friend quipped.

So how was it? he asked.

Surreal, I clucked. Surreal