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.

I Like Graphic Novels

I like graphic novels.

I always have.

I like the illustrations.

It’s the little kid in me.

I always wanted to be an illustrator

but I never got past

little stick men, sorry, people.

I like that they can tell a novel-size story

in 64 pages or less

when some writers – I am thinking Pasolini here —

can push it up to 900 pages.

Come on!! as Lleyton Hewitt would say.

I have my little list of favourites:

‘Wilson’ by Daniel Clowes and ‘A Taste of Chlorine’

by that French author

and ‘Maus’, of course, the classic by Art Spiegel.

I remember the excitement when I purchased

‘The Dark Knight Returns’ by Frank Miller when it first came out.

It was like when I bought the just released “Revolver’ by the Beatles

and ran down the ramp of the Adelaide Railway Station to catch

the train home so I could play it on the turntable

only to come a cropper at the end.

It was that kind of excitement.

When in doubt, choose a graphic novel, I say.

Parable of the Tea Towel

I was halfway through the dishes when a call of nature distracted me.

When I resumed I could not find the tea towel anywhere. Where’s it gone? I said.

It’s on your shoulder, my partner laughed & there is was, dangling like a limp flag.

Made me think of that line from ‘Hey Jude’ , ‘the movement you need is in your shoulders’

& I thought, that’s it! that’s the answer: not carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders like Atlas

but shouldering your way through difficulties, so they part before you like the Red Sea did for Moses.

Five Seconds

We were speaking about the disproportionate

use of force by the Allies

during World War Two

esp the fire bombing of Dresden

when he brought it up

to the present

& personal:

when after an eighteen years’ cold case the police

finally caught up with him

& he was sentenced:

just think, he said, shaking his head,

fifteen years

for five seconds of madness

Courage

Sometimes I put up a post and no one visits.

No  ‘likes’.

No ‘comments’.

There is a terrible silence.

I’m like the wallflower at the dance.

The cheese that stands alone.

.I shrink. I shrivel.

I want to run, hide.

I’m the cowardly lion.

I panic.

I take the post down. I ditch it.

You must have noticed..

But once in a while, like my ‘Desecration’ post on Big Blue Mouth,

I leave it.

I stand by it.

I stand up for it.

Damn it all! It’s good, I say

Sometimes I have courage. Sometimes I don’t.

66 Days

It took 66 days for Bobby Sands to starve himself to death.

It took me many years to starve my mind of the fear of public speaking

& though I have come a long way & people praise my confidence

it is still a work-in-progress

  • what fears have you overcome either partially or fully?
  • mural in Belfast courtesy of Wiki Commons

That Little Kid at Maccas

That little kid in Maccas

from Aldinga Primary

with one hand on his yellow scooter

is picking up his order as I

am putting mine through.

Hello, he says brightly

& I say, hello, back

& I think should I be even speaking

with this kid?

[hasn’t he heard of stranger danger?]

so I ask him when did school go back

& he says, Monday so I ask him what grade he is in

[ he isn’t that little]

so I guess, Year seven

& he says, Year 5

& adds he comes each morning to Maccas

to fill up his tummy

so he can work hard .

He collects his pancake with chocolate syrup and strawberry milkshake

& scoots off

with his bag of calories and good work ethic.

*pic courtesy of Wiki Commons

the Well-Read Salmon

I was idling by the brook fishing for tranquility

when the phrase leapt into my head.

What was I to do with it?

Toss it back?

Nah.

It had me hooked. It wriggled and flashed.

What texts would the well-read salmon have tackled?

Isaac Walton’s ‘The Compleat Angler’, of course.

that old chestnut, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’

and ‘Cloudstreet’ where poor old Fish Lamb almost drowned

& was revived but ‘not all of Fish had come back’,

‘Moby Dick, perhaps though as everyone knows a whale is a mammal

not a fish

though the well-read salmon would have known that.

He would have been well-versed in sea poems too,

knowing by heart ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ being one up

on me.

& a hearty singer of sea shanties going up and down

the scales

This is For You, she said

Maybe because I was slipping away into the comfortable, undemanding

arms of magazines, she gave me a brand new bookmark from ifaw.

Now all you have to do is find a book to put it in, she said.

It’s like someone buys you a pair of slippers for your birthday,

you’ve got to get a dressing gown to go with them, and then a box of cigars

and a bottle of tawny port like an English gentleman to get you through

the evening and a cozy murder mystery to curl up with before the fire

& suddenly I knew what type of novel I wanted.

  • what book have you got .lined up to read?
  • do you smoke cigars, drink tawny port and curl up before the fire of a winter evening?

Is This How It Happens?

I have just come back from the shopping centre, I wrote, ten years ago

and have discovered the boot empty. Where is all that food I bought?

Back in the trolley where I left it in the car park ready to heft into the boot.

An action I never completed. I dashed back to the shopping centre

but the trolley was gone. I had supplied a needy family, I like to think,

with a week’s supply of free food. In the end, I remembered.

My memory had rebooted. But what if it hadn’t? Would you even know

you had forgotten something if you had no memory of it? 

Is this how it happens?