Where’s Raymond?

Where is Raymond?

Everyone loves Raymond.

But no one is saying.

They’re tight-lipped.

Christine is gone too.

But no one is asking after her.

It’s Raymond we love,

Raymond the Joker,

the Energiser Bunny that kept

the whole thing humming,

the convivialist who could talk

to children, animals.

Why, he could talk to a stone

& it’d open up.

Did he blot his copybook?

Perhaps he ran off with Christine,

some wag suggests.

The world just seems smaller

without Raymond.

Baths

a boat shaped vessel with room for one

when you clamber into a bath you are captain, crew, passenger

rolled into one

yet baths require no special skills

nor do they stand on ceremony; in this they are like some beaches:

dress is entirely optional

entering a bath you enter a topsy-turvy world where water fills the craft

not surrounds it — though baths will never sink

head back, you settle down but are going nowhere: baths have no destinations nor sails

yet people have been known to drift off in baths emerging rosy-skinned

and luminous as if fresh from a voyage

*pic courtesy of Pinterest

Showers

Showers acupuncture skin , pummel

angry muscles

into submission ;

like coffee they

kick-start us into action ,

the quick fix , the jab for our frenetic times but

they are ill suited

to contemplation or insight —

Archimedes

would have discovered nothing under a shower ;

nor are they

conducive to knowledge ; you cannot

read under showers nor

can you write unless it is wet verse ;

moreover showers only cater

for one side at a time — leaving  the

other blue with cold ;

in this

baths are more inclusive immersing us

like icebergs with only

the head above water ;

showers have

much to learn ;

young upstarts , they lack the noble

ancestry of baths yet

arrogantly tower above them  ; their heads

must constantly be lowered

* which do you prefer: showers or baths?
* if you were asked to write a bath poem what would your opening lines be?

the Bunny Holding the Ball

when someone says, the ball’s in yr court

you know you have to do some heavy lifting.

It’s up to you.

If the shit hits the fan,

yr responsible.

The ball’s in yr court, remember?

I used to play tennis a lot, so the metaphor’s

sort of apt, but I remember tennis as a lot

of to and fro, you and someone else at the other end

but somehow it ended up just me:

the bunny holding the ball.

I can’t even remember asking for it.

How does that work?

Gate-Crashing

Every now and then

piqued with curiosity

I like to visit blogs I used to visit regularly

to see what they are up to,

how well they’re doing:

it’s like gate-crashing a party:

everyone knows everyone else and it’s the same people

there the last few times you checked;

the mood buoyant,

rowdy, rambunctious,

the repartee rapid,

no awkward silences;

you are well out of the loop;

you’re not dressed right anyway

& you barely speak the same language.

Do you dip your toes in, make a comment?

Perhaps not.

Your own blog is doing well enough,

and may be just as intimidating to others

as these are to you.

Secrets

There should be secrets

For us to ponder

to worry about.

Not everything need be known

like how we got here

on this island Earth,

Why God put us here,

the point of suffering,

of brain tumors, cancer?

why some people sail through life

while others ….

What’s it all about, Alfie?

Like the house across the street.

Who lived there? Why did they go?

Why has it been left to ruin?

I could ask the guy raking the leaves

in the house next door

but if I knew, I couldn’t ponder.

There should be secrets.

There should be secrets.

They’ve Taken Way the Steps


They’ve taken away the steps

the ones leading to the first floor

where JB HiFi is

cordoned off ‘coz of covid

the ones I climbed for practice

in case I made The Great Wall

but there are other steps

to keep in mind

that Stairway To Heaven

for instance

the one we all have to climb

to get to our Heavenly home

but if the climb takes as long

as the eight minutes of the song

we all might be in a spot of bother;

hopefully St. Peter has a rescue brigade

of angels on call

or a St, Bernard or two with a small barrel

of whisky around their necks

for those who didn’t practice often enough

on Earth





 
 
 

What it’s Like

You wanna know what it’s like? He says.

I’ll tell you what it’s like.

It’s like walking around with a ‘Vacant’ sign around your neck.

Like being scooped out by an excavator.

Or being a songbird without a voice.

It’s like walking along a jetty studded with couples clinging to each other like barnacles on pylons.

It’s like being on the esplanade ripping into a pulled pork burger like an animal ‘coz you’re on yr own so it isn’t all bad.

That’s what it’s like.


			

Thief: for Terveen

I am a thief

a thief of words.

Watch out for me.

I am never at rest.

My tools

are my ears, my eyes,

my prey

the streets of my city.

I scan for the unwary face,

the frown or smile

that betrays.

I listen into conversations,

arguments.

Priest-like

I elicit confessions.

I watch for

the unguarded sentence,

the revealing phrase.

I am the one with the notebook

opposite you on the bus;

the one with the slightly intent look

at your side.

Watch out for me.

I am the purloiner of language.

I snatch words

and use them as my own.

I am the poet, the novelist,

the thief of words

* from my second book, 1990. Longman Cheshire

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?

.