I Did That Once

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I took two of my mates to the vet the other day.

The Jack Russel came too.

Three of us were on valium.

All except me. I was the designated driver.

Do you mind taking the dog for a walk, I asked, in case he pees in the car?

They shuffled along the street like zombies, Les had taken three, Dave four with a few beers, but the dog’s eyes lit up when he came to a bush on the verge and he lifted his leg the way dogs too —- I tried it once and made a mess — but he was too doped to pee,

He managed in the car though but Les had a pee blanket under him so that was alright.

As we drove Eddie, the Jack Russell, put his head out the window, his ears flapping in the breeze.

That’s so cool, I said. I did that once but the cop who pulled me over told me to pull my head in, it was dangerous.

Dogs have all the fun, Les said, but he was slurring his words.

It was only five minutes into the trip.

It was going to be a doozie.

 

Ark

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Once it carried five

of us

and two pets

towards a bright new future

but it was anything but

plain sailing

 

with a son who rocked

the boat

a daughter who kept throwing

herself overboard

and a younger afraid to put

her head out

in the storm

gathering hard above us

 

but the dove came back telling us

things had eased

 a shaft of sunlight spotlighting

our position :

our son had found calm

the elder daughter steadfastness

the younger courage

 

now it’s just us

sailing ahead

my wife and I ,

a pair as God

commanded .

Sometimes I Forget Where I Am

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You okay, mate? You look forlorn.

Like the knight in ‘La Belle Dame’? I say.

Pardon.

‘Alone and palely loitering.’

Sorry.

‘On the cold hill side’. Keats, I say. “La belle Dame Sans Merci’

Who?

John Keats. Romantic poet. You must have done him at school.

This is a butcher’s shop, mate. Not an English classroom. What can I get you?

The Girl with Incarnadine Hair

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“Sorry, you have to move.”

“What?”

“You don’t belong here. You’ll have to move.”

“But I was here first. You saw me walking up and down with my multitudinous strands of hair incarnadine.”

“That’s it.”

“What’s it?”

“You can’t have ‘multitudinous strands of hair incarnadine’ in a poem about waiting for a poem to pull up like a bus.”

“Why not?”

“It’s too heavy, too overwritten. Too Shakespearean. It changes the tone of the poem totally. It’s like two colors that clash.”

“But …”

“I’m sorry. You’ll have to move. I can’t fit you in.”

“Okay”, she says, shaking her multitudinous strands in a flurry of petulance, “I’ll write a poem of my own and guess what?”

“What?”

“You won’t be in it.”

And with that she gets out her notebook from her backpack and begins writing, furiously as Lady Macbeth cleansing her blood-soaked hands in the basin.

Anytime Soon

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The poems whiz past like buses ‘Not in Service’.

There is no time table.

No bus shelter.

Only a sign saying, ‘Bus Stop 29’..

Anywhere is good as anywhere else.

That’s what Raymond Carver meant when he said:

Be At Your Station.

Be alert, open.

The deus ex machina will come.

Still, I’ve been waiting here for the last twenty minutes

With the girl with incarnadine hair.

It will be good if the poem or bus pulls up anytime soon.