Since the Break-Up

I’ve been taking myself to the cinema again

watching brooding masterpieces like ‘The Dry,’

learning  to play Scrabble by myself but not too often

as I’m a bad loser; giving my self-esteem a face lift,

shed a few kilos, muscled up, become sharper;

I post more , comment more especially on posts

that comment on mine: the noble art of reciprocity;

but, most of all, I move more easily in the world.

have got to know myself more, and know in spite

of slurs like ‘nutcase’ and ‘creepy lizard’ I’m not

such a bad guy

the Red Wheelbarrow & Frankenstein

It’s the little things I love

Like watching

 ‘Paterson’, the movie

About the bus driver

Who wrote his little epiphanies in his note book

like William Carlos Williams

the doctor who wrote

the red wheelbarrow

And finding out

That’s where Lou Costello grew up,

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 funhouse

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.

I Know a Little about Eagerness

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Hey! when are we going to gym?

my muscle shirt calls out to me from the bag in the corner

where my gym shorts and sneakers also reside.

I know a little about eagerness, I reply.

I’m eager to finish ‘The Alps’, that short story by Colin Barrett which is why I’m at the laptop at six in the morning.

I’m eager to see the next episode of ‘Lego Masters’ — only 14 hours to go.

I can’t wait to get back to the pub with my mates

or go to the cinema again to see the live action Mulan, the new James Bond

so yes, I know a little about eagerness, I say.

Okay, okay, my gym clothes say, we didn’t want a sermon. A date would have done.

I get that, I say. Weeks, maybe a month. Can you guys hang on? I’m just as eager to get back as you: the punching bag, the weights, the lat pull down….

Okay, they say, shoulders a little slumped. Can you drive us past the gym, just to have a look ?

I can do that, I say, just soon as I finish this poem.

 

* the prompt for this was eswini’s ‘The Museum of Unnecessary Things’ on WordPress

Maria

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But when I go to pay the fine

surprise, surprise, there’s no waiting game.

Someone picks up straight away.

The voice is chirpy like a canary.

It’s like a change swept through the place

I tell the lady.

I tell Maria.

She even has a name.

People always quick to take your money, I say.

She even chuckles.

I don’t know if it’s put on or genuine

You take what you can get.

The lines to the other sections I say, the ones

asking for extensions, leniency,

were always clogged with callers

And when you finally got through

a graveyard voice answered. like Lurch from ‘The Adams Family’.

She chuckles again.

She brings out my inner stand-up.

But your line, I say,  lit up like a Xmas tree.

She glows,  gives me the receipt number.

She’s still chirpy, wishing me a good weekend.

I feel light as a glider. The fine is off my chest.

 

 

Drive-Ins

Sunset_Drive_in

I passed the old Drive-In, the one we used to go to when I was a kid, that time we saw ‘Giant’, for instance, on the giant tilted screen, and I wanted to be cool and edgy as James Dean, and how after the movie when we were driving home around midnight, we heard on he radio that a plane had just fallen from the sky during a snowstorm over a corn field in Iowa and a chill filled our car the day the music died.

 

which movie star did you want to be like when you were a kid?

did you watch movies at drive-ins with your folks? do you remember any particular film?

what were you doing when you heard about the deaths of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens?

Barking Mad

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There’s a wine called ‘Barking Mad’.

I liked it so much I bought six bottles and drank them all.

Not in one night, of course.

There have been times when I have been barking mad:

Over the insurance company’s delay in fixing my storm-damaged gate because ‘it is just a gate’,

Over next door’s yippee yappy dog who goes off when I piss under the lemon tree at night alarming the neighbours and the back lights go on to see what’s up [ Can’t a man piss in peace? ]

But mostly it’s the scammer with the heavy Slav accent who phones every few days to tell me my internet has been infected and will be turned off unless I phone a certain number.

It hasn’t been turned off yet and I haven’t phoned.

Over petrol prices that go up and down like a wild week at the Dow Jones.

I could go on but you get the idea.

Everyone is a Howard Beale barking mad at something.

A Wanton Act of Abandonment

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I went out today without my mobile phone.

It felt wanton.

I know something dreadful will happen.

An accident. A death.

A crack in the surface of things.

And someone will try to contact me.

It’s happened before.

My daughter giving birth.

I was three hours late.

Shit happens.

But nine times out of ten it doesn’t.

It’s a gamble.

A dead weight in my pocket.

The world can do without me for a few hours.

I’ll be back, as Arnie says.

There may be messages saying,

Where the hell are you? We’ve been trying to contact you all day!

And I’ll answer winsomely,

I just stepped out for a moment.

Wassup ?

Pre- Post Malone

music

 

What’s your name?

Malone.

Really? You’re famous.

Bugsy, I suggest? Dorothy, the film star? John Malone, the media magnate?

Never heard of them. No.None of those, she says. Post Malone.

Who?

The rapper.

What a stupid name.Never heard of him.

You should check him out. He’s on You Tube. He’s a real cool guy.

So I do. She’s right. Now I play him all the time. My namesake. How cool to share your name with a famous rapper.

Roads

roads

 

The great roads do not have them:

The Road Less Travelled,

The Yellow Brick Road,

The Road to Damascus.

Nor the vinyl ones:

John Denver’s ‘Country Roads’,

‘The Highway to Hell’,

The Beatles’ ‘The Long and Winding Road’.

Only the lesser roads have them:

The pot-holed, crumbling ones,

The ones we have to travel:

Road Works.