Death on the Double Decker

We were coming home from the pictures, dad and I —

we had seen one of the great ones: Gary Cooper in ‘High Noon’,

when an announcement came over the bus radio,

that the King had died. Everyone fell silent then as the announcer

proceeded with the details. I never knew the king — I was only a kid —

but later he meant much to me. I wear a silver ring now with his image

on the head for he was a stutterer too. But he overcame it.

Whenever I spoke in public and felt nerves coming on I looked at the face

Of King George VI

Shell

Shell

Listen to the sea , my granddad said

as we stood on the soft white sand .

And he clamped the shell to my ear

like a mobile phone . Listen , he said ,

listen . And we grew silent . It was

at first like listening to a garbled

conversation or the radio between

stations but then it settled — and I could

hear inside this shell which wound back

inside itself like a spiral staircase

the whoosh and wash of a distant sea —

for this one was silent —- and for a moment

it was as if I were an astronomer

listening in through his radio telescope

to the hum of the universe 

What’s the Big Deal?


  
What’s the big deal about me doing gym three times a week?
 
You don’t need to, you say. Do a little more around the house. Like gardening.
 
Gardening isn’t cardiovascular, I say. It has a lot of health benefits but it isn’t cardiovascular. It isn’t enough.
 
And you’re seeing the skin specialist next week. What’s that all about?
 
Looking after myself, I say.
 
You fuss too much, you say. You even check your car out during the week. I’ve seen you in the driveway, wiping away the bird shit off your car. Birds gotta shit somewhere.
 
Sure but it eats away the paintwork.
 
It’s becoming a fetish, you say. And now you’re off to gym, I suppose?
 
I treat my body like my car, I say. It’s the vehicle I travel through life in.
 
 

Interloper

 
I was doing yoga
 
when
 
I heard it fall;
 
that cranky cat, I thought
 
but when I got up
 
to look
 
it was the photo of poor late Milly,
 
our beloved Burmese,
 
she had knocked off
 
the cabinet;
 
I know what she was thinking,
 
that interloper,
 
her photo all over the house
 
but not one
 
of me,
 
the new kid on the block.
  

Too Close For Comfort

I had just unzipped at the left urinal when he took the one next to me, even though the one on the right was vacant.

We were shoulder to shoulder. We were that close.

He had bright orange hair like Mick Hucknall from Simply Red.

I hummed a few bars of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ just in case but there was nothing.

Hi, I’m Charlie, he offered.

Umm, I’m John. We don’t have to shake hands do we?

No, of course not, he said. You come here often.

Only to pee, I said. How about you?

Yes, much the same.

Then we both entered the zone, quietly exuding, self satisfied sighs.

We must stop meeting like this, I said wryly.

Then he zipped up and went to the basin and when he had gone I did the same.

This does not happen to me often. In fact, it was the first time which is why I’m writing about it.

Weird, huh ?

  • pic courtesy of pinterest

One Trick Pony

 
Don’t be a one trick pony,my editor says.

All great artists evolve:Shakespeare, Picasso, the Beatles.

What about the lesser ones? I ask.What about me?

Them too, he says.

Find your niche, exhaust it, then push outwards again.

Or inward? I suggest.

Yes, that too.

Don’t tread in the same water twice, he adds,sounding suspiciously Buddhist.

I get it. I really do.

The writer I was in the nineties,when I gave it a serious whirl,

is different to the writer I was in the early two thousands

or from 2010.

Did you know I was a children’s poet?

I had over 150 poems and six short stories about an axolotl
published in magazines world wide.

I can’t do that now.

The writer I was in the eighties would not recognize the writer I am now.

But I still like to show off my work.

I’m a bit of a show pony

but I’m NOT a one-trick pony
 
 

Something in the Air

I don’t like the look of them

these runaways

the way they huddle darkly

in alleys,

in vacant lots amongst

the runtish grass

with their hangdog faces

and surly looks

they’re up to something

but if you edge closer to eavesdrop

they clam up

look at you with bloodshot

insolent eyes

what have they been drinking

smoking?

perhaps they are planning

a revolution

against their colonial masters

the supermarkets.