I Just Don’t Get It

_img

I was thinking what to write before I head off into the sunset

for my four-day sabbatical when whoom! the topic lands

in my lap at the skin care clinic: nine chairs arranged

a metre apart from each other in the spirit of the times,

so I plonk myself in the far corner and settle down

with my smart phone, when an elderly couple shuffle in

and plonk themselves in the two chairs alongside mine !!

What the f%$#ck!! of all the other chairs in the house

they choose these two! What am I? A people magnet?

And then the elderly guy throws me a cheesy smile,

How are you boss?  It’s the same in the cinema, in those

long ago days when they were open, people plonk themselves

right alongside you when there are rows and rows of empty seats

nearby. What is it with people? I just don’t get it.

Waiting Up for Rosco

IMG_20180320_132429

I’m out the back waiting for the cat

to come home.

It’s Bev’s cat. She’s gone to bed.

Left me in charge.

Somebody has to do the dirty work.

I rattle the biscuit tin.

Rosco, Rosco, I call out

but Rosco doesn’t come.

Rosco will come when he’s good

and ready.

The stars have come out. The moon’s gone down.

I rattle the tin a little more vigorously.

Rosco, Rosco ,,,, a little more loudly.

A plump shadow shuffles around the back.

O there you are, I say. Nice of you to drop by.

Where have you been?

Out, he says .

It’s like talking to a teenager.

Well, I hope you practised social distancing,

I say.

Show me the food, he says, then we can talk,

What sort of name’s ‘Rosco’ for a cat, anyway?.

 

Running Jump

_img

What seems to be the trouble? he asks .

I cough and splutter all over the place.

He gets the message.

Sits down to write the certificate.

There, he says , handing the form to me . This should do the trick.

I peruse it quickly.

There’s something missing.

You haven’t written down the illness, I say . Why I had time off.

That’s right. If you had Alzheimer’s or a social disease would you want people to know?

Certainly not.

My point exactly.

But I thought you had to put something down.

No, he says . And if they ask, tell them to take a running jump . Better still, tell them to phone me and I’ll tell them to take a running jump . Only in stronger terms.

He stands up. Shakes my hand.

 

The next day at work I hand in the certificate.

The doc’s right .

They see the blank space but no one says a word.

I push it a bit further.

On the official form, the one you fill out yourself, where it says ‘Illness’ I put down ‘See Certificate’ .

It feels good. It really does .

I’ve found a new way to treat with the world.

The Page is Not the Pampas

luisa-e-M9wwZjTa6ek-unsplash

“I’m not happy with you”, I say to my poems.

They look at me warily.

“What have we done wrong?” they say.

“You’re too well behaved. Too orderly, genteel. Way too English”

“Too English?”, they say.  “From the country that brought you Joe Cocker, the Rolling Stones, the Sex Pistols”

“Okay. Okay. Scrub ‘too English’.”

“So what else are we doing wrong?”

“You mince your way upon the page”

“Mince?”

“Yes. Like dainty school girls. Can’t you, like, stampede upon the page?”

“Stampede? We’re not fucking gauchos! The page is not the pampas.” they say.

“Can’t you buck, twist and beat a bit, Get a rhythm going? Get a bit of dirt on your hands?”

“You’ll have to let us out more,” they say. “You can’t keep us locked in with you at nights”.

“Hey! Where are you going?”

“Out,” they say , as they head out the door, ” to paint the the town red.”

‘Paint the town red?’ Does anyone still say that? These poems really do need to get out more.

“Okay, but make sure you’re home by twelve. Drive carefully.”

the Great, Big, Uproarious Laugh

index

It’s still dark outside but my brain’s awake so I drift down to the study.

I hop onto the computer.

That’s when I read it, Shelley’s comment on my post about that sign in the gym: ‘

20200216_114014

Shelley said: ‘Noooooo. Not the sacred apostrophe being misused!’

That’s when I burst out laughing.

“Can you tone it down, please? You sound a bit manic.”

It’s the voice of common sense coming from the bedroom.

“I’m sorry,” I say. ”It’s so hilarious”.

“It’s not even 5 o’clock, “she says. “You’ll wake the neighbours.”

“Would it be better if I hold back till seven?” I ask. “Would that work?”

“Yes,” says the voice of reason.

So that’s what I do. I go back to bed, set the alarm and let it rip at seven, a great big uproarious laugh. It feels cathartic like a colonic cleanse.

I wish Shelly could have heard it..

She’s right though, the voice of reason.

It’s all a matter of timing.

 

  • when’s the last time you had a really good laugh — or a colonic cleanse?

 

Scratching His Cerebrals

Oberon,_Titania_and_Puck_with_Fairies_Dancing._William_Blake._c.1786

What are you doing? I asked.

Scratching my cerebrals, uncle would answer studying the crossword before him, his right hand deftly scratching his scalp, between loose strands of sandy hair, as though he had nits.

It seemed to work. The more furious he scratched, the better he got, the crossword soon solved.

Then uncle would go out in the garden and within a short space of time, as aunty used to say, he’d be ‘off with the fairies’.

Perhaps the two activities were allied.

Perhaps I caught it from uncle but whenever I work on a poem or a piece of stubborn flash fiction, I scratch my cerebrals too.

My partner caught me at it one morning.

Stop it, you’ll go blind, she says.

We both chuckle.

It’s good to make light of things then go back to scratching your cerebrals should things become difficult.

 

  • picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Meg

Silky_bantam

Meg is wandering again

in smaller and smaller circles

driving us round the bend.

What is she thinking?

She worries the others.

 

A few days later

when we let her out she begins

circling again until

she huddles beneath the bird bath

and will not move.

 

We shift her.

She crawls under a bush

where she’s hard to reach.

The cat who often bothers the chooks

leaves her alone.

 

That night it rains and rains.

In the morning she’s bedraggled.

Dead.

I lift her into the earth.

There isn’t much of her.

The chooks settle after that.

So do we.