The Lop-Sided Moon

                                             

The bus shelter at the end of our street

grinds its teeth at night.

Sometimes I sit with it, hold its hand, listen to its tale

of drunks and suicides,

of lycanthropes baying at the full moon,

of lost Lotharios weeping in their fists

I talk to it too about my problems

Of the jig-saw days when pieces don’t fit

Of the times when your heart races

Like a wildebeest on the veldt

But latches onto nothing.

After a while we both settle

and I head off home

beneath a lopsided moon.

sketch courtesy of Yofukuro on Pinterest: Yofukuro is a Japanese artistic duo, the brothers Selichi and Daisel Terazono

No Special Hurry

The crow

in the crossbars of

the power pole

is saying, Hey John.

You don’t have to worry, man.

You are not one of those who bring so much courage

to the world that it has to kill you

So don’t ruffle your feathers.

Pardon? I say.

I can read you like a book, he says, speaking of which

‘But it will break you.

It breaks everyone.

But you are one of those strong in the broken places’,

as Hemingway would say.

You read Hemingway?

Of course, who do you think I’m quoting?

You are a most learned crow, I say.

But it will kill you, he says,

‘It kills everyone

the very brave and very gentle

but if you are neither of these it will still kill you

but there will be no special hurry’.

That is sort of comforting, I say. Thank you.

‘Farewell to Arms’, he adds. Due attribution.

You should read it sometime.

I think I have, but not with the diligence you accorded it.

And with a flick of his suave black wings, he flies away.

The Mermaid Question

Seven year olds will always ask, at some stage when you are least ready for it, the mermaid question.

Granddad, Tina asks me, how do mermaids go to the toilet?

While you are grappling with this one, they ask another, THE BIG KAHUNA of questions, usually in the car while you are driving them to or from some event:

Grandad, where would I be if you and grandma never got married?

It’s the sort of question you need to pull over the side of the road for, but I kept on driving, hoping an apt answer would ‘pop’ into my head. Where’s the Muse when you need her? Surely she’d good for things other than poetry.

I don’t know what you would have done? I mean, how do you answer a question like that? There’s an obvious answer but that might depress the hell out of her, Who wants to be confronted at that age with self obliteration? And there’s the ontological answer but she wouldn’t get it.

I thought I’d go with the mermaid answer. That’d be the easier of the two …. maybe.

Simon’s Space Odyssey

Simon rambles in. He rattles Alec’s equanimity.

I’m getting my haircut. I see it all in the mirror.

Simon’s his usual self: brash, bold, bloody stupid, He lisps some errant remark.

Alec drops what he’s doing, reaches for the fly swatter and chases Simon down the street.

It’s like a well rehearsed routine.





A month later I go back.. Simon doesn’t look so good. His eyes are puffy, his face a little swollen, his hare lip is bleeding.

What happened? George says, one of the assistants. Your girl friend beat you up again?

Simon blubbers out an obscenity. Alec reaches for the fly swatter and the chase is on again.





Simon is a sad sack, the world’s punching bag but he does have one trick up his sleeve. His dad is Lord Mayor of Mars. No one else can claim that.

How he got there long before Elon Musk is not explained but Simon basks in his glory. On Mars International Day — yes, there is one —Simon comes in, wearing his red skivvy and breaks into the Mars National anthem till he is chased out by Alec’s furious flyswatter.





One day Simon slumps in. Dad is not well.  Dad needs Simon to take over. How will he get there? Everyone knows by now that Simon has a rocket ship tucked in a corner of his bedroom at the ready. But Simon as Lord Mayor? Would those Martians treat him seriously?

Simon doesn’t appear the next month nor the one after that.

In fact, he doesn’t appear again.

Can one disappear into one’s own fantasy?





*pic courtesy of Wikipedia

Do Mirrors Go Rogue

mirrors never lie : sideshow mirrors only distort the truth

you can look a mirror in the eye but it won’t blink first

ceiling mirrors are up themselves

wall mirrors have hang ups

mirrors continually surprise us in the act of being ourselves

mirrors both give and receive   simultaneously

during the day when everyone’s out do mirrors contemplate their navel

do they get tired of looking at the same faces

does familiarity breed contempt

can mirrors go rogue like Hal, the computer in 2001

are one-way mirrors guilty of duplicity

do cracked mirrors have an image problem

do mirrors ever take a good hard look at themselves.

pic courtesy of wiki media

The Case

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.

Why not?

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.

Suit yourself.

That’s a bad joke, he says.

So you coming in?

I suppose so, just as soon as I close the boot.

Chlorine

chrissie-kremer-NZI-kSBR444-unsplash

Did you hear the possums last night? Up in the roof? she says.

Sorry, I say, I didn’t.

It sounded like a stampede. Like a wild party.

Why weren’t we invited? I chuckle. Nah, I was asleep.

I forgot, she says. You sleep deep.

I had a dream, I say.

Now you’re sounding like Martin Luther King. What was yours?

I was swimming laps in the pool a week before lock-down. I was the only one there. I came out feeling exhausted but exhilarated. That’s when I came in to see you.

You better have a shower then, she says.

Why’s that?

You smell of chlorine.

 

* pic Chrissie-Kremer from Unsplash

 

 

the Laughing Kookaburra

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Why aren’t you laughing? I ask the laughing kookaburra.

What’s there to laugh about? he says.

Well, I begin, there’s the …. and the ….

Exactly, he says. Nothing. Zero, Zippo. Zilch. Where will I begin? Lockdown? Coronavirus? visitors with hang-dog faces? zoo keepers worried about their jobs? and the Bad News Bears blathering on TV in the office next door.

Well, you’re supposed to be ‘the laughing kookaburra’.

Maybe, he snaps, but I’m no ninny. I’m allowed to be morose if I want to.

Okay, Okay, I get it, I say as I shuffle on, shoulders slumped, head on my chest, rummaging in my pocket for the Lifeline number.