The Martian Inside Me

Comes out every now and then

When I lose the thread of an argument and desperately try to sew it up

When I chat with Tiff in her tank at night when there’s nothing on TV

When I slapstick my way across the mall just for the hell of it

In the bath on Sundays when I sing ‘Deep Water’ backwards, inside out and upside down to give my vocal chords a workout

At the hairdressers when I talk to Simon with the harelip about his dad’s imminent retirement as Lord Mayor of Mars

And lastly when we all stand together in Alex’s Salon and sing the Mars National Anthem on International Mars Day





  • when do you speak Martian?

Is it Character then?

Is it the characters, then?

No, it is not.

Scenery. dialogue,

intrigue,

the machinations of plot?

No, it is not.

Really? None of the above?

Then, pray tell, what?

Far more important

than any of those,

he says,

is vivacity,

the vivacity of the prose.





* what is it you most treasure in a short story?

pic courtesy of Pixabay

Bring Out the Sultanas

Whenever the bowl

is boring, bland, stale , stodgy.

I bring out

the sultanas,

those frisky little pellets

of goodness,

that add

zest and zing

to cereal

that put the sing

in snap, crackle, ‘n’ pop

nifty little metaphors for writing

that needs an uplift

a whiff of lightness.

that needs to find its funny bone.

open up its Id,

roll like a dog

in

the muck and merriment

of language

My Keyboard is Monocultural

My keyboard is monocultural

has no linguistic spark

for nowhere does it recognize

the diacritical mark.





It’s positively Neanderthal

it waves its arms and shouts

but nowhere acknowledges

our dear friend, umlaut.





Yes, it’s almost prehistoric

a keyboard Godzilla

never heard of a circumflex

or even the cedilla.





And what about the breve, brachy,

the wedge and the hacek?

My keyboard shrugs its shoulders.

Ah, Just as I suspect.





My keyboard is being sent

to a re-education camp

so it comes back enlightened,

diacritically amped.

When Topsy Met Turvy

Whenever you see the word ‘nooks’ you just know

that ‘ crannies’ is going to pop up somewhere:

they go together,

as the song says, like the horse & carriage,

welded together like conjoined twins;

once, they lived separate lives; like ‘topsy’ & ‘turvy’;

a rambunctious couple;

how they got together is anyone’s guess:

was it during a blind-date, or a casual hook-up in

some covert etymological corner

and their chemistry clicked?  

Whenever I lose

a coin or capsule, I’ m never sure whereto look first:

a nook or a cranny?

Once I lived in a unit where there were no nooks

and another where there were no crannies;

I couldn’t wait to get out of either place.





  • pic Pinterest by Julie Robin-Wagner

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.

Looking at the Long, Narrow Columns

Looking at the long, narrow columns of ‘Le Coeur Immense’

and trying to read the text with the French I have long forgot

is like that time I rode the train having just purchased my copy  

of Sgt. Peppers that no radio station had yet been allowed

to play and trying to hear the ornate aural castles the Beatles

had constructed from reading the lyrics on the album’s

psychedelic sleeve

But is it poetry, John?

But is it poetry, John?

You mean, is it like Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’

you know the one, ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’

or ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’?

Probably not.

Well, How about Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost?

Come on, we’re talking 2020 here.

Then what?

A little bit of Billy Collins, I say, and Billy Connelly,

a sort of mad mix, the demotic and demonic.

We let our dirty laundry hang out. moon the pious,

but always in an Aussie accent. Your country first.

Does it have to rhyme? you ask. Probably not.

It’s not like Aussie Rules. There are no rules.

Though it’s a game anyone can play.

Just let it rattle off the tongue, roll off the mind,

Ignore the referees.

Have fun.

Loose

My mother always warned me about loose women

to avoid them at all costs.

But what about loose lemons?

That’s a whole new ball game.

And I need one for my fish tonight.

Do I risk it?

And what about loose thoughts?

Isn’t that where creativity comes from,

thoughts that amble along like a jazz tune that’s lost its way?

I posted a poem last night about an invisible dog

that turned out to be a bit of a lemon.

Talking of which….

I’ll take one loose lemon, I say to the check-out girl,

and o, excuse the loose change.

‘Quilton Loves Your Bum’

Quilton Loves My Bum

I know it’s clever advertising

but it’s kinda creepy too

the idea that some stranger called Quilton

‘loves your bum’.

Going by his presence on the supermarket shelves

he seems to love a lot of bums.

I’m sure it’s Platonic

but couldn’t they have used ‘like’?

wouldn’t that have been preferable?

It’s sort of reassuring that Quilton ‘loves’ your bun

but it’s kinda creepy too.