On Being Compared to a Gnat

You have the attention span,

he said,

of a gnat.

I thought [briefly]

about that:

the skim

the look;

the review

not the book;

the single

not the CD;

a movement not

the whole symphony;

the single poem—

a story won’t do—

especially if short

think haiku.

Life’s short.

Try this, that.

Stay light,

says the gnat.

The Right Thing To Say

When I can’t figure things out

& I seem to have lost my way

you always know the right things

the right things to say


I know words don’t come easy

that meanings go astray

but still you know the right things

the right things to say



I may have the learning

the diploma and B.A

But besides you I’m inarticulate

lost for what to say


At the end of each morning

at the end of each day

you always know the right things

the right things to say

Blackbird

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The flower withheld its perfume

the sky withheld its rain

the road its destination

the labour its aim

 

She had taken away the love

life’s poetry and rhyme

Had taken all the flesh

left only the rind

This One’s for Ginge

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I’ve just been informed it’s World Turtle Day.

As usual I’m a little slow off the mark

But I’m sticking my neck out now

writing a poem to Ginge

in his tiny turtle tank looking out at the world

I’ve been reading him some famous turtle poems
including Robert Lowells’ Waking in the Blue

but Ginge and I are shaking our heads:

the only turtle reference is ‘I strut in my turtle-necked

French sailor’s jersey’.

but the one by Mark Doty has a few really good lines:

‘a snapping turtle lumbered down the centre

of the asphalt like an ambulatory helmet’

Ginge liked that

I read him a few more but their meanings were slow

to emerge

Perhaps that’s the point.

I hope he likes this poem.

I’ve been working on this one all day but I still

haven’t got very far.

 

 

 

Will This Do?

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“Will this do?” you say to your stomach at three in the morning. “Can I go to bed now?”

“Just a minute,” your stomach says. “Have I had enough?”

I know what it’s thinking: too little, it’ll come back for more; too much it will churn out nightmares.

“Perhaps a little more?” says the stomach, looking up at me pleadingly like a cat.

“No,” you decide, “You can have more in the morning like normal stomachs do. Come on.”

“Where are we going?”

“Where do you think?”

And it follows you back to bed, shoulders a little slumped.

Okay. Well, that didn’t work

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I have a very bad feeling.

Tell me I’m wrong.

That I have written myself into obscurity.

That I was too clever by half.

That no one knew what the f*** I was writing about

in the previous post ‘Not a nightingale ode’.

It was a glass of red wine.

But that’s what happens when you put up a post

while you’ve been drinking

while you’ve been rhapsodizing about a glass

of red wine

the Wordsworth of Weeds

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I read somewhere that weeds are the rodents of the plant world,

that they are sneakily aggressive, opportunistic, fiercely feral,

that they should be weeded out. I have heard this language before;

little good comes from it. Where are the Wordsworths of Weeds?

Plath comes closest, celebrating mushrooms. I like the strange,

tangled beauty of weeds, their punk swagger, their dogged persistence.

They too one day might inherit the earth.

 

In Which I Take the Goldfish to Task

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I go out the front to get something from the car when  a voice pipes up from the fishpond.

Hey! Where are the f*&*ing fish flakes?

It’s Goldie in her usual peremptory tone.

Mind the language, I say.

You taught us to alliterate, she snaps. You gotta love the ‘lit, you said.

I know, I say.

I got three ‘f”s out of that, she says.

You did well. It was just a little inappropriate, I say.

F**&&& the inappropriateness, she says. So where are the flakes?

Coming , I say.

That’s the trouble with having a literate family. They answer back.