That Man Looks Like You

That man looks like you, she says, as we pull up near a block of shops.

So he does, I say, having a good squiz.

Only he’s got more hair, she smiles, and less of a paunch.

Go easy, I say.

And look he’s going into the same shop you plan to go into.

Saves me going in, I chuckle. Hope he buys what I want to buy.

Only a minute passes and he comes out carrying a shopping bag.

Let’s see where he lives, she says. Could be fun.

So we follow his car down Pridham and Plymouth past the long Covid Testing queues.

Hello, I say, he’s pulled up outside your place. And he’s marching to the front door. Like he owns the place.

Saves you coming in, she says.

So I let her out and drive away in my little blue Subaru, scratching my cerebrals.

Rattle and Ho Hum

 
 I rattle the biscuit tin.

You coming in? I say.

Nah, she says, I’m waiting for a friend.

That mangy old tom I saw you with last night down by the chook shed?

Go easy, she says. I don’t talk about your friends like that.

Look, I say, it’s reaching the ungodly hour of 9.30. I’m going to hit the sack. You coming in?

Silence.

Well, don’t forget. Santa’s coming tonight. He might have something for you. Be good.

She looks at me nonpussed.
 

Mustafa and the Makeover

Mustafa who knew me well was a refugee too: he from Syria, me from the realm of common sense.

How would you like it cut? he asked.

Like yours, I said.

Like mine?

Yes.

He didn’t chuckle. He didn’t comment on the outrageousness of my request.

Apart from the difference in hair color, there was also the disparity in volume though he admitted, even at 27, he was losing his hair.

He cut, he swooped, he shaved, he teased and cajoled but when finished he wrought a little miracle.

How did it look?  Shaved at the sides , but on top what hair I had was swept to the other side of my head and held down by gel. It looked amazing.

Askew, I said, It looks amazingly askew.

Like your writing, he said.

Yes, like my writing.

Why Do You Do it?

Why do you do it? she asked.

Why do you copy other people’s poems and passages into your notebooks?

Why don’t you write your own stuff?

But I do, I answered. You know I do.

Then why this?

How do you explain the notion of a commonplace book to a non-writer?

For inspiration, I say, For enjoyment, the way people flicker through old photo albums

or their smart phone galleries.

But it wasn’t quite like that.

It was modeling too,

getting the feel for writing at the top of its game, to remind you how it’s done,

for quotes like this: ‘I don’t believe in writer’s block … plumbers don’t get plumber’s block,

doctors don’t get doctor’s block.

Why should writers be any different and then expect sympathy for it?’

[ Philip Pullman]

But she didn’t get it.

You’ve got heaps of these notebooks in your cupboard, she said. What is wrong with you?

Have you no faith in yourself?

There was no point in arguing.

But when she came upon me ‘copying’ I would flinch as if caught in some shameful act.

Wilt

She’s not coming, mate.

Sure she is. If not today, then tomorrow.

Your flowers are beginning to wilt.

I can get new ones.

There’s a party under the bridge tonight. You coming?

You go. Have a good time. I’ll be here. You never know, she might ….

Nah, mate. She won’t. Don’t wilt, you hear. Just don’t wilt.

No More No-No’s !

No more flannelette shirts now it’s November.

No more slippers, dressing gowns, they’re old men’s clothes.

No more ‘Married At First Sight’ or ‘Farmer Wants a Wife’

Real men don’t watch those.

And when you pull up at a red light, no more picking ….

Please, please, I say, no more no-no’s!

Sit like a Ruler

You must sit like a ruler, the instructor says.

So I do. Back ramrod straight.

What are you doing? the instructor asks.

Sitting like a ruler, I reply. A steel ruler.

No, not that kind of ruler, he says. Like someone in control. A king or commander.

Like Genghis Khan? I say.

I hear a few rogue giggles.

No. More like the Dalai llama. Posture is important in yoga.

I relax a little.

It would be very tiring, after all, to go through life in the presence of others, back stiff as a steel ruler.

[pic courtesy of wikipedia]

A New Path to Enlightenment


Matt has been hired by a plumbing company to sell toilets.  His old man who works for the same company got him the job. What could Matt do but accept? He was good at nothing else.
Larry, a hotshot salesman goes out with him one day and lays it on the line: “I don’t tolerate laziness. It’s a form of treason,” he says.
Matt says it’s not his fault he’s not pulling in big figures. He has no sales experience and no one is willing to train him.
Larry shoots back, “Baptism by fire.”
But Matt whines and says it’s been over a year and he still has no idea what he’s doing.
Then Larry comes back with this: “Your job is to go out there every day and get your face kicked in. It’s the only path to Enlightenment.”



 I don’t know if Larry and the Buddha were talking about the same kind of Enlightenment and if they were would the Buddha have agreed with Larry’s method?
Is Larry right? Or can’t you find Enlightenment through the toilet trade?
Are some trades/professions more inimical to Enlightenment than others? Can a politician find Enlightenment? would it help him in his job?
 

Tethered

You could give it up, you know.

Nah, mate. I couldn’t.

Sure you could.

Think I haven’t tried ? I’ve cut back, mate. Cut back heaps.

Still ….

I’m in a happy spot. I’m not going to beat myself up.

But ,,,

Everyone needs one vice in their life, mate. It keeps us tethered.

the Insoluble Problem of Motivation

It had been on the vacant lot next to the church

For over half a year and no one in all that time

Could rustle up enough motivation to mow the lawn

Or clear it of rubbish. I thought of calling

The number on the back a few times but just couldn’t

Get motivated enough to ring or attend one

Of their weekly meetings





& I thought about something

A friend had said about running a Special Olympics

For the Motivationally Challenged but the problem

With that, I said, was that nobody would bother

To turn up. I thought then of the historically highly

Motivated: Hitler, Stalin, the rapacious bankers, Isis

And concluded that a low motivated populace isn’t

Necessarily a bad thing.