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.

Three Nights

Three nights of frazzled sleep

crammed into four hours on the couch

mellowed by malbec, merlot, mataro

an afternoon of tasting platters & wine samplings

at Penny’s Hill where black-faced sheep slumbered

under the oak; now you slumber so gently:

sweet Lethe has taken your troubles over the border;

you will awaken and forget

Macabre Memory: Warning

The cat left no suicide note





unlike the farmer who died

in the same way

head swathed in cling wrap

like a cellophane mummy

note fabricated:

he met with foul play.

His wife the killer — Insurance —

eager for a big pay.





But who would asphyxiate a cat

& dump it by the riverside

where dreamy poets wander

& children play?

.

Evie

People walking up and down ,

walking off their sore heads from the night before,

mothers with their daughters, mothers with no one,

people locked on their mobiles,

missing the jaunty waves,

the graffiti of gull talk

and that gorgeous fluffy white spitz from McLaren Vale walking his owner

what’s his name? I ask.

Her, he corrects me. Evie.

Ahh I say after the song.

That’s right, he says. Evie, Parts 1,2 and 3.

And we give each other the thumbs up —

not many people know that —

& could start reminiscing when we saw Little Stevie & the Easybeats

but Evie is keen to get moving

just like Little Stevie who couldn’t keep still;

And above us, because

there’s a strong breeze,

there’s wind surfers flying around

like a dazzle of butterflies,

The Great Magician

The great magician

lived behind us in the eighties

walked around in his top hat and cloak

practising

making rabbits disappear.

Once he poked his head

over the fence and asked

had we seen one of his rabbits?

I said I hadn’t.

But later

I discovered

by the cabbage patch

a hole in the fence,

where a rabbit had scraped under

and bits of fur in the yard.

We had a dog back then.

He was a bit of a magician himself.

He could make a rabbit disappear too.

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.

The Magic Robot

He knew everything,

That little green figurine

on a metal base

a gold wand in his hand .

We’d stand him on the board

inside his metal slot

[ It was all done with magnets ,

I explained to my grandson ]

and point him to what

we wanted to know —

the capital of Mongolia , for instance ,

or what was the longest river in the world ?

Then we’d lift him off

place him on this little mirror

surrounded by answers

on the other board

and watch him go .

He’d wobble a little bit

at first

as though he was thinking

then slowly turn and point

to an answer .

He always got it right .

Kids would come over and we’d run

quiz shows

with the robot as quiz master .

There were lots of questions

on lots of topics .

He knew them all .

Then one day his powers died.

And he knew nothing.

We put him out in the shed.

I never got to ask him the big ones

like what will I be when

I grow up

or when the world end will end

or where animals go

when they die ?

For a long , long time

there was nothing

like him .

The along came something

just as good ,

the internet of course .

That’s the Magic Robot

for these times .

You can ask it any thing

you want

though it still can’t answer

the big ones

Burmese

The cat is the forgotten candidate when they fight:

sure, they hurt each other but the cat recoils too,

even the walls and lounge chairs at the suddenness,

the squall of this. The walls and sofas cannot move,

but the cat can. Exit, pursued by bear. Only small,

but with the memory of an elephant. The cat remembers

long after they forget.