Where is Raymond?
Everyone loves Raymond.
But no one is saying.
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
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 acupuncture skin , pummel
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 —
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 ;
baths are more inclusive immersing us
like icebergs with only
the head above water ;
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?
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,
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?
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,
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?
Your own blog is doing well enough,
and may be just as intimidating to others
as these are to you.
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.
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.
I am a thief
a thief of words.
Watch out for me.
I am never at rest.
are my ears, my eyes,
the streets of my city.
I scan for the unwary face,
the frown or smile
I listen into conversations,
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
The cat left no suicide note
unlike the farmer who died
in the same way
head swathed in cling wrap
like a cellophane mummy
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?