Whenever my mother got in a state, she’d declare, “I feel like the wreck of the Hesperus, the Titanic and the Lusitania all rolled into one,” careful to keep things chronological. The old people they sure knew how to lay things on thick. But least they taught us the art of melodrama and not a little history.
* do you recall any sayings your parents or grandparents had?
Perhaps I shouldn’t have said it
But I was just a kid
Stuck inside a senior’s body
And so I did.
I thought it showed a little wit
But it was way off grid
A sort of Heathcliff on the moors
A fugitive from my Id.
I should have kept a lid on it
Would have been better if I did
But not everything condescends
To sit sedately in the Id.
- do you think there are things we shouldn’t speak about?
- what do we do with these primal feelings that keep threatening to ‘come out of the closet’?
There’s only one change room in the store.
I don’t check to see if it’s empty.
“Sorry”, I say to the guy who is trying on some clothes. “I’m in a bit of a hurry, do you mind?”
“That’s okay”, he says. “There’s room for two”.
I quietly disrobe and try on the gear.
“I’m good”, I say, changing hastily back.
So off I go to the counter, pay for my purchases which the assistant neatly puts in a bag, and head down the mall to meet my mate for coffee. .
It is only when I sit down that I realize I’m wearing the other dude’s clothes.
Tight-fisted , they are hard
as knuckles and spoiling
for a fight
as they tumble like marbles
on to the floor , little green foot-
balls begging me
to sink the boot in ;
even under the knife
they are tough
as nails covering themselves
in layers like Chinese
boxes or onions ;
they leap around
in the saucepan like
boxers’ fists ;
ten minutes later
I swallow them ; anything
She had just come from the clinic from seeing the care nurse and seemed a little flustered.
Everything okay? he asked.
There was a medical student there. I said to the nurse I didn’t mind. He was neat, presentable, well spoken and was totally okay except for the fact he kept adjusting his crotch.
Perhaps he was just glad to see you.
That isn’t even remotely funny. Not these days.
Sorry, he said. I’ll be back in a minute.
Where are you going?
To the bathroom. To wash my mouth out with soap.
What if you took it down a notch or two
Instead of up?
There’d be less noise
Less busting your gut for glory.
Of course, you’d have to make way
For all those people scrambling up
The ladder of success
Instead of down
Like you’d be doing.
But there’d be room for the other virtues:
Indolence, compassion, contentment
That don’t get much of a look-in.
Sure, you could do that,
Knew people who’d taken it down a good few notches
And got by.
Kinder, gentler folk.
But what if everyone did it?
A whole lot of things would change.
Take Big Sport, for instance.
There’d be no Olympics, no NBA, No World Cup.
But would that matter?
Would it really matter?
What did people do before Sport anyway?
Emily Dickinson composed her poems while wearing a simple white dress with pockets for pencils and scraps of paper. She wrote in a large, airy bedroom, with two big windows facing south and two facing west at a small table 18 inches square with a drawer deep enough to take in her ink bottle, paper and pen. They overlooked her family’s large property containing a large Italianate mansion among tall pines.
I hover around in my hoodie and tracky dacks, biro on the go in a cramped cell of a room at a desk sprawled with papers, magazines and bills, one narrow window overlooking a block of grimy units towered over by power lines which is why my poems are nothing like those of Emily Dickinson.