They’ve Taken Way the Steps


They’ve taken away the steps

the ones leading to the first floor

where JB HiFi is

cordoned off ‘coz of covid

the ones I climbed for practice

in case I made The Great Wall

but there are other steps

to keep in mind

that Stairway To Heaven

for instance

the one we all have to climb

to get to our Heavenly home

but if the climb takes as long

as the eight minutes of the song

we all might be in a spot of bother;

hopefully St. Peter has a rescue brigade

of angels on call

or a St, Bernard or two with a small barrel

of whisky around their necks

for those who didn’t practice often enough

on Earth





 
 
 

Spent

Now it is spent and lying limp

and placid at my feet —

a contentment of inky blue

but the other day if you

could have seen it bucking

with energy , flailing its

wild hair and arching its back

[ sea mountains surfers abseiled

down ] you would not have been

surprised to see it thrust

its loins again and again against

the soft white dunes nor after

to see the body of the foreshore

bruised and torn nor its rump

so foam wracked .

pic by Lachlan-Ross on Pexels

Abducted

Give in.

That’s all you can do.

It’s like being bundled

in the boot

of a car,

taken by an alien

spacecraft.

You’re abducted, baby.

Whisked away

in the arms

of creativity.

Go with it.

Don’t freak out.

Forget appointments,

routines,

even food.

Work, paint, sing.

Whatever’s yr thing.

You’re abducted.

pic courtesy of The New Yorker

You Used to Call Out

You used to call out when we had sex, he said.

You would raise the roof and ululate.

Street lights would flare, power lines fizz

with excitement, fruit bats rise from their roosts in alarm.

Whole shrouds of them.

Why, even the bed shook as if it were coming.

The very veins in my wrists wanted to pop.

It’s awfully florid, the editor said.

It’s meant to be a romance novel, not a porno.

Can you tone it down a little?

His Arms Were a Graphic Novel

It wasn’t the person from Porlock; it was my aunt

Who got on the bus, brought my poem to an end.

My notebook slumped on my lap as she told me

The long sad story of a friend.





When she got off I had my chance but this young bloke

Sat next to me, iPod blaring, hair swooped back.

It was the White Stripes live from Splendour.

How could I not listen ? It was Meg and Jack.





But then a cross-eyed biker got on, hair in a rat’s tail,

Skin graffitied with tatts. How could I not look?

His arms a graphic novel. Then a woman got on

Shouting into her mobile, angry as ‘The Angry Book’.





The sad sack on the other end was out for the count.

Luckily Coleridge didn’t board this bus

while he was dreaming ‘Kubla Khan’. He wouldn’t

have written a word. The poem would be dust.





  • picture courtesy of Pinterest by TheTatt

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

Exorcism

The exorcism was short, brutal

after five days of possession , the toxins

had weakened my body, drained my senses





but on the sixth, a little miracle happened;

my body did not convulse or levitate

nor my head spin round like Linda Blair





but all the toxins pored out of me in a holy sauna,

soaking my underclothes, shirt, track pants,

the sheet I was lying on, all soggy and cold





but I was clean, strong, rejuvenated,

the only sign, the stigmata of possession,

two scars on my upper lip, healing, healing

movie poster courtesy of Pinterest

The Best Exotic Mongolian Beanie

What sort of wuss wears a beanie around the house?

It’s not Outer Mongolia for f**’s sake

But it looks exotic and it’s warm and woolly.

A tower of a hat from Ulaanbaatar, the trader told me. A beanie fit for Genghis Khan.

I could see him storming through the steppes wearing it proudly like a crown,

I had to have it with its burnished reds and browns and black leopard spots.

But I look a proper Charlie wearing it in the mall or library or on public transport.

In restaurants people just stare.

So I wear it when gardening or on evening walks along the esplanade before disappearing

into my yurt where I cuddle up with a copy of Sonomyn Udval’s ‘Collected Short Stories’

which everyone should read.





  • what’s the strangest structure you’ve slept under?
  • have you read any of Sonomyn’s wonderful stories?
  • do you wear beanies on cold, wintry days?

Wished I Never Knew

I wish I had never known.

Wish I had never found out

Wish I had never made that search





But I did. And that was that.

I should have remembered what

curiosity did to the cat.





But I remembered Sunday mornings

at the pool; we would walk up and down

brushing against each other





you in your lane, me in mine, sharing stories,

laughing, not getting much swimming done, giddy

in each other’s presence. We used to joke





we never saw each other in clothes.

You were always glad to see me

you were striking in your black swim suit





and blonde hair; you had an artist’s laugh

but then I had my sudden operation and when

I got back, a month later, you weren’t there.





I didn’t have your number; I asked discreetly

at the desk but they wouldn’t say. I tried Facebook

but you had a strange surname. I assumed





you moved to a pool closer to home or you

were busy with family. Four years later

unattached and lonely, I tracked you down





and found why you never returned.

You died in Feb, 2016. Peacefully at home.

All that time I thought you were alive.





But you had long gone. Death had closed

the gate. If only I hadn’t waited.

If only I’d tried sooner. But I was much too late.