I sleep in short sentences.
The Naked Beach
Get your head
out of yr ass,
said my mentor;
all things must pass;
be here, now;
look at the cows
in the field,
how placid they are
learn what I cannot teach;
imbue the wisdom
of the naked beach
The Getting of Wisdom
No Special Hurry
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 Wave and the Whale
My anger lies in me
it claws at my entrails
my anger is huge
heavy as a whale
I let my anger go
wave it along
calm descends, my heart
now a billabong
Some Poems Start Out as Poems
Some poems start out as poems, homely descriptions
of slippers, for instance or berry bowls, toasters
but then over-reach, chasing chimeras, conundrums,
leading us down a rabbit hole of nonsense.
Others take the easier way, finding their inner teacher,
their gasbagging guru. Some poems start out as poems
but end up as pedagogy. You feel you’re in
the classroom again.
A writer disappears into his books.
It is a familiar story.
And a familiar paradox.
If a man does not disappear into his books
They will not be written.
A judicious voice says, a balance must be struck.
But we are talking Creativity.
It is in the same category as Love and War.
If a man is to write a million words
Then he must disappear into his books.
He will not always be available.
Marriages will strain, children be neglected.
A woman can disappear into her books too
But not as readily.
Maybe she is more tethered to the world.
Maybe that’s it.
I Just Can’t Help Myself
I try writing a serious poem about a relationship break-up
About how gutted I feel
I even get in a few good metaphors
But then it starts going off the rails
The clown in the closet wants to come out and play.
I try to shut him out
But he plants his foot in the door
And before I know it
He’s taken over
pouring out puns, profanities,
double and triple entendres
A real word-acrobat.
The poem’s a mess but he’s having fun.
and so am I.
What the heck!
We horse around a little then get into it.
I just can’t help myself.
Between the Flags
Two more drownings down at the Bay.
‘Swim between the flags’, lifesavers say.
Live between the flags, and you play it safe
But against such restrictions, the spirit chafes.
‘Don’t Drink Too Much’, ‘Gamble Responsibly’
‘Wear seat belts, bike helmets, drive responsibly.’
‘Don’t Smoke, Do Drugs’, the flags hem us in
& we’re scared little children, there seems to be no end.
‘Doctors won’t prescribe benzo- diazapines
Or other drugs of dependence’, and please no codeine.
‘Don’t Talk To strangers’, Be careful Online.
Swim between the flags and you’ll be just fine.
The Parable of the Wine
Spent all my life looking for this, he said.
It hasn’t worked out. She goes her way, does her thing. She gives me only four days a week.
Are they good days?
Yes. But I want more. Total commitment.
You like wine, don’t you?
You know I do. What’s wine got to do with it?
What’s the one wine you’ve always wanted?
Grange Hermitage, of course. It’s the best.
You ever tasted it? Bought a bottle?
Ever berated a bottle of red for not being a Grange Hermitage? Ever stopped you drinking other reds?
Of course not.
Then let it go.
Let what go?
Your obsession with S. Or should I say your possession. You will never have the S you want. Enjoy the one you have. Allow yourself to be replete. From what you tell me she is a very, very good red. Stop thinking Grange Hermitage.