Not ‘the last train to Clarkesville’.
Nor ‘the midnight train to Georgia’
Not even ‘the downtown train’ that Tom Waits
and Rod Stewart rode on vinyl
but that old steam train that took me all the way
from the monastery where I was sequestered
to be a priest, on the verge of making my final vows
to a life in the ‘real world’. where I met the woman who would be my wife.
and the mother of my three kids,
a career as a teacher, a writer, and the grandfather of six more kids,
the apples of my life,
a sliding doors moment:
the most momentous train ride I ever made.
I watched ‘Love on the Spectrum’ last night
about young autistic people
mostly in their twenties,
take part in the thrilling game
of Speed Dating;
& I thought how cool it’d be
if senior citizens,
marooned in singlehood
could be brought together for a night of fun,
under the one roof,
speed dating, meeting other single men and women
in a similar age group;
what a boost it would give to their lives,
what a night of fun
and who knows what good things might come of it,
what magical pairings
Perhaps I am a porcupine.
I am prickly by nature
& when I forget to shave
I have a prickly kiss,
Like most porcupines
I live alone
except when I cohabit
with other porcupines
in which case, I’ve been told,
we live in a prickle.
When my quills are quivering
people steer clear of the thornbush
that is me.
what animal are you like?
want to add a little poem about yourself as that animal?
I always draw the short straw.
She gets the drumstick.
I should be quicker
Less of a bozo.
That’s the trouble when you share.
In our circle
old courtesies die hard.
The lady goes first.
You can bring the case in if you like, she says.
It may not want to come in, he says.
It’s a suitcase, she says. They don’t have a voice.
This one does, he says.
He goes out the door, to the car, where he lifts the lid of the boot. He looks at the suitcase for a few minutes.
What are you doing? she says. Talking to it?
Listening. It doesn’t want to come in.
You know why not. Things deteriorate. We argue, say things that no one should say to another. I storm out, or you tell me to leave. It’s almost routine.
They look at each other, They have been here so many times before.
So what does the suitcase say? she asks.
It’s staying. In the boot , he says. It’s adamant about that.
How can a suitcase be adamant?
I’m ready for a quick getaway, it says.
That’s a bad joke, he says.
So you coming in?
I suppose so, just as soon as I close the boot.
I’m sorry I said NO
all those times
diminishing yr world
I could have done better
withholding affection is a crime
against the human heart
You’re tricky, she says, which is sort of ironic ‘coz she’s tricky too; and my best buddy can be very tricky and we’ve come to blows on more than one occasion over our mutual trickiness which is even more tricky seeing he’s in a wheelchair though he gives as much as he gets and tonight we’re over a friend’s place for a fuck-you covid meal and although there are a few tricky moments we manage to get on over pizzas, two bottles of red, Bailey’s Irish Cream and a few espressos which just goes to show what a resilient species we humans are
I’m not yr punching bag
Not yr piñata
So give me a break
what is it you are after
I’m not yr pincushion
Not yr whipping boy
so why are you so intent
on stifling my joy
Yr not my parole officer
you are not my judge
so don’t cross examine me
& please don’t call this love.
We’ve come to a quiet place
beyond the squalls and storms
where nerves frayed
we tore each other’s hearts
a quiet place
to berth our frail vessels
a good place to stay
photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
after deserting me for a few days
my editor has a change of heart
and decides to return.
Yay! I say to myself.
Says he’s been reading my posts, and how I’ve been floundering without him.
You’ve pulled three posts in two days, he says. You’re sinking.
I know, I say, hanging my head in shame.
Look, he says. It’s no good fighting it. We’re a team. Conjoined twins if you like.
Like Laurel and Hardy? I suggest.
Same arrangement? I say.
Yes, he says. You write. I clean up the mess.