The Mark of the Beast

Today I have the mark of the beast upon me.

It came up overnight,

It cannot be hidden except by a mask

But when I take it off, to eat, to explain a matter,

to simply breather easier, friends,

people recoil at the angry red rash

that runs from the tip of my nose to upper lip,

like birds before a predator.

I cannot shave so look doubly abhorrent.

I am only grateful for covid where a face mask

can be worn without question.

It is my close companion, my Linus blanket.

They See Ghosts

I was talking to my rarely glimpsed neighbour who was out the front raking the leaves.

We chewed the fat for a while

and then I asked him about Gus, his elderly Jack Russel.

He doesn’t annoy you. does he? he asked.

Not at all, I said. I’m a dog person.

Well, he annoys the hell out of me, he said. The other day he was barking at the dining room wall and wouldn’t stop. There was nothing there.

Apparently, they see ghosts, I said. Even in the dark.

He stopped raking.

Or he has dementia? He offered.

Wow! I said. That would open a can of worms. Think how many documented ghost sightings could be put down to dementia.

People don’t bark at walls, he said.

Not even in they’re barking mad ? I asked.

We both laughed uneasily.

Inside, the dog began barking again.

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

Who Would Do That?

Who would do that?

Creep up in the middle of the night

& drop a dead pigeon

in yr rubbish bin?

If it was good enough

To put in my bin

Why wasn’t it good enough

To put in theirs?

O the stink,

The weight of it!

I shovelled it out of the bin

And tossed it,

Neck all crumpled,

Into the far right hand corner of the garden

Where it could decay

In dignity

Among the cluster of leaves.

The only good thing is

It’s given me something rancorous

To write about.

Furrow in the Head

I drove past the Snack Bar the other day where twenty years before I came across the boy with the furrow in his head.

He was in his early teens, with a patch over one eye and did not speak. His mate, a little older. spoke for him. They left with a few cans of coke and cigarettes.You could do that in those days.

What happened to him? I asked the shopkeeper after the two had left.

Well, he said, they were out in the shed horsing around with a speargun when it discharged. The spear shot across the room and took off part of the boy’s head.

We both went quiet for a while as the horror sank in.

I purchased my newspaper and left.

Everytime I drive past that shop …..

Stuck in the Moment

Someone once said, be in the moment otherwise you will miss your life.

I don’t know about that.

Once I was stuck in the moment.

It was like being stuck in a lift.

I was going nowhere.

Not even up and down.

There was no way out.

No alarm button to press.

No side passages to explore like in a labyrinth.

I was stuck. In the moment.

That moment when at three in the morning

the phone shrieked at us

from the hallway.

I could hear the old Minotaur lurching down the tunnels

of my brain.

I tried not to panic.

Tried smoking a cigarette

Humming a tune

Studying a fly on the wall

Studying me

Reciting my nine times tables

the alphabet back to front —

do you know how difficult that is? —

And then suddenly SNAP

I was out of it.

I don’t know how long I was in the moment.

But I did wonder if I’d ever

Get out and join

The flow of life again.

I Am Not Chernobyl

I am not Chernobyl.

Not Three Mile Island.

I am not about to have a meltdown.

That steam coming out of my ears? That?

Just me letting some of the pressure out.

That growl?

Don’t worry. It’s worse than its bite.

That string of expletives I’m about to utter?

Just my inner Tourette’s airing its dirty laundry.

. A meltdowm? Nah. Now what is it you’ve been trying to tell me?

*pic courtesy of Pinterest

Who Let the Cat Out?

Who let the cat out?

Sleep did.

Sleep lifted the lid.

Let it roam

the alleys and backstreets

of the mind

rummaging through

memory’s bin;

Look what the cat

dragged in —-

half-buried scraps,

dead rats,

old what ifs.

Who let the cat out?

Sleep did.

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.