I was driving towards my destination
a place I had never been
when I missed a number of turnoffs.
I had overshot the mark.
It made me wonder how often in life
I had overshot the mark
& missed some vital turnoffs
where, for instance. I could have become
a famous novelist like David Foster Wallace
& worn a red bandana
or rakish rock star like Keith Richards
or, god forbid,a prominent politician.
Or even married someone else!
What if you didn’t marry grandma?
my granddaughter once asked,
would I have still been born?
Most of us overshoot the mark.
It may be a good thing.
Danny Kaye, that Court Jester, once famously said,
we always land where we were meant to be.
Maybe it’s true.
I could have done worse.
I was reading about Dallas Wiens who, while working inside
an hydraulic arm, brushed against powerlines while painting
a church roof: how God sizzled through him but burnt
his face away; the word ‘debridement’ came up, the practice
of removing dead tissue, fat, muscle so a transplant could take place;
and I thought, hey! isn’t that’s what it’s like when you’re burnt
by fast and furious love? the high voltage thrill and fury that knocks
the heart sideways and scars it till the scorched pieces can be debrided,
a lovely and awesome word that suggests a young bride being ripped
from your side: ‘debrided’ , oh wow!
I’ve got a bone to pick
says the dog to Mrs. Hubbard.
How come when I go
there’s no food in the cupboard?
No meat, no cans, no biscuits.
Why there’s not
even a single bone.
And you have the cheek,
to call this place a home!
It’s not as though you’re
the old woman
who lives downstreet in the shoe.
Look around. You haven’t
any kids to feed.
There’s just me and you!
Whatever can be the cause
outlandish state of affairs?
Why if I was goosey goosey gander
I’d kick you
right down these stairs!
My mentor told me how to write a poem about slippers. Make it easy, he said. comfortable and cozy, warm, no prickly bits. More lamb than hedgehog.
I had a girlfriend once who forbade me to wear slippers: ‘Next thing I know”, she said, ‘You’ll be wearing a dressing gown, reading cozy murder mysteries and shuffling around the house like an old man.”
My dogs when they were puppies took a violent dislike to slippers, tearing them apart with a vitriolic zeal of which my girlfriend would have approved. For years I walked around the house in loafers until the puppies grew up and out of their habit.
Whenever I hear Bing Crosby sing White Christmas over the PA system in his hush puppy voice I think of slippers. Slippers are like bean bags for the feet.When you slump into them they have the feel of home.
This is Terry.
You can wave to him.
He would like that.
He waves a lot but not everyone waves back.
In fact hardly anyone does.
He sits on a folding chair in the middle of the mall outside Coles looking for someone to say hello to.
You can say Hello to Terry.
Many people pretend not to hear him.
But that does that put him off?
Terry is on a mission.
He is collecting donations for the Blind Sports Association.
There are a lot of people like Terry outside supermarkets throughout Australia.
Not in your face.
And yes, I did.
Where does the sky start?
The sea begin?
Somewhere round the bend.
Somewhere round the bend
we can all be friends,
all colours and creeds blend
somewhere around the bend
we can be together again
what was broken, will mend
Somewhere round the bend
the animals will be our friends
all plunder will end
round the bend
I look for him everywhere .
In supermarkets , shopping malls ,
along the esplanade where he
hangs out .
Have you seen Milton ? I ask .
But no one has .
Not lately .
Suddenly I need him
this gnome of a man
with the grey goatee .
Milton the Gatekeeper
hoarding the knowledge
like bullion .
Like Diogones with his lamp
I scour the streets
with my headlights
looking for Milton .
pic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
That little kid in Maccas
from Aldinga Primary
with one hand on his yellow scooter
is picking up his order as I
am putting mine through.
Hello, he says brightly
& I say, hello, back
& I think should I be even speaking
with this kid?
[hasn’t he heard of stranger danger?]
so I ask him when did school go back
& he says, Monday so I ask him what grade he is in
[ he isn’t that little]
so I guess, Year seven
& he says, Year 5
& adds he comes each morning to Maccas
to fill up his tummy
so he can work hard .
He collects his pancake with chocolate syrup and strawberry milkshake
& scoots off
with his bag of calories and good work ethic.
*pic courtesy of Wiki Commons
Maybe because I was slipping away into the comfortable, undemanding
arms of magazines, she gave me a brand new bookmark from ifaw.
Now all you have to do is find a book to put it in, she said.
It’s like someone buys you a pair of slippers for your birthday,
you’ve got to get a dressing gown to go with them, and then a box of cigars
and a bottle of tawny port like an English gentleman to get you through
the evening and a cozy murder mystery to curl up with before the fire
& suddenly I knew what type of novel I wanted.
what book have you got .lined up to read? do you smoke cigars, drink tawny port and curl up before the fire of a winter evening?
in the morning
not the ones you eat
though they’re pretty good too
but the ones you listen to
the ones from Ireland playing now
over the PA system in the mall
thoze impossible melodies
thoze haunted lines
playing through my blood
such ‘harmonious madness’
hinting at what?
we’ll never know
joy or tragedy?
I go outside.
The day moves slow.
what piece of music moves you?