Them

You can’t swat them

with yr hand.

                       spray them

with disinfectant.

                                      or repel them

with incense coils.

They won’t buy it.

And you can’t

                      shut them out.

Not even

                                                          in yr room

at night.

Bite.    Bite.       Bite.

They whinge and they whine.

Those old anxieties, What ifs?

Those mozzies                     of yr mind.

The Mark of the Beast

Today I have the mark of the beast upon me.

It came up overnight,

It cannot be hidden except by a mask

But when I take it off, to eat, to explain a matter,

to simply breather easier, friends,

people recoil at the angry red rash

that runs from the tip of my nose to upper lip,

like birds before a predator.

I cannot shave so look doubly abhorrent.

I am only grateful for covid where a face mask

can be worn without question.

It is my close companion, my Linus blanket.

Iron Man at the Gym

 

 

Iron Man isn’t up to it today.

You can tell by the way he slopes around

in his baggy shorts and tee

dazed like he’s been smoking weed.

He dawdles a lot between reps.

Guzzles the urine coloured liquid to replace the energy he hasn’t used.

Plays with the machines like a cat with a mouse.

Jabbers at Stella how she isn’t doing it right,

to anyone really with a loose ear.

Truly he is more motor-mouth than Iron Man.

One Monster at a Time




 

The honeysuckle bush out the back can wait.

I mean, how much more fecund

can one plant get

in 24 hours?

But my sister can’t.

She’s in ICU.

But I need to pick up her walker first

in the maze of streets her house is tucked into.

I just hope the German Shepherds are under control this time.

I’m ravenous but that will have to wait.

the toilet call can’t.

And when I get to the hospital I’ve got to find a park

somewhere in the surrounding street and not get lost again.

My equanimity scrambled like eggs.

So many things to accommodate.

That stobie pole like a Good Friday cross.

Then there’s the vertical coffin-shaped box I have to squeeze into

to get to ICU.

One monster at a time.

Ugg Boots

I like your ugg boots, I say to the jetty.

Thank you, it says.

They look sort of … clumpy though, I say.

Well they are heavy duty.

I reckon I wouldn’t mind trying on a pair. For the beach only, of course. Where do you get them?

Well, you have to become a pylon first. You just stand around. They sort of grow on you.

Whoa, I say, don’t reckon I’m ready for that.

Suit yourself , it says.

So off I go to the store on the esplanade to get a pair, off white to match the pylons.

Loose and Jiggly

Every time I go to a family gathering and there’s new faces

in the crowd

I’m expected to trot out a few

of my crazy stories

like the time I was struck blind at midday;

but it’s early in the evening

& the crowd

hasn’t jelled

isn’t well oiled

& you have to go in cold.

You feel like calling out, Where’s the Warm-Up Act

to make folks loose & jiggly.

Every comedian needs a warm-up act.

It’s a tough gig working a group that’s cold.

No one should be asked that.

Even the Warm-Up needs a Warm-Up.

As Soon As

As soon as you stand outside someone’s place,

whip out your mobile camera and start taking snaps

of something in the street,

jacaranda flowers, for instance, carpeting the verge,

an ibis making love to a TV aerial,

a drunken, tilting fence,

someone starts singing loudly in a bathroom.

conversations break out in the hallway like a rash.

windows open or close,

to let you know they’re onto you

when all you’re doing is trying to compose a poem.

When did people start growing so suspicious of poets?

Not Fade Away

Jackson Browne, I say.

Who?

Jackson Browne, the singer. You look like him, like he was in the seventies when he was big.

I do?

Yes.

But I can’t sing and I work in a burger bar.

I know, but you’re finishing a degree in International Studies, right?  You’ll be a diplomat. And you have his idealism, his energy. One thing though.

What’s that?

Don’t fade. Don’t go sanctimonious on us

I won’t, he says.

And looking at him, his floppy brown hair, chiselled features, slender build, alert eyes, I believe him.

He won’t.

Shambala

Shambala
 
I like to stand beneath the stars
on the road to Shambala
wild, dishevelled, totally free
pissing ‘neath the lemon tree.
 
There is no more pleasing sound
than someone piddling on the ground,
wide eyed, loose, totally free
like a surfer in the sea.
 
I held a star in my hand
Immediately I could understand
how beautiful you truly are.
on the path to Shambala.