Reece Didn’t Mind

Reece didn’t mind that I pointed out the spelling error in his notice,

claiming he was in a hurry when he did it, at the start of Covid,

and that auto correct doesn’t pick up errors  in CAPITALS;

and I was only the third person to notice anyway in all that time ;

he still gave me the pen and paper — & while the others

were playing at playing golf, I was playing at being a writer,

chasing after errant words while others chased after errant balls;

when I showed Reece what I had written , he said, Hey! That’s not

how you spell my name: it’s ‘RHYS’, he smiled. He got me there

Xmas Beetle

I came across a stricken Xmas beetle on my walk along the lake.

Somehow it had toppled over and was swivelling on its back like a break dancer, its little legs paddling the air.

Ants swarmed over it,

I grabbed a leaf and flipped the beetle over.

Ants leapt off, a black sizzle of anger..

I flipped it a few more times till all the ants had let go, then I stood back and as it rose into the air. the sun glinting off its sheeny wings, it looked back and seemed to give a little wave.

*pic courtesy of Wiki Commons

Rumble: Flash Fiction

We were holed up under the same roof, two people who couldn’t stand each other. And we had the whole night to spend in the same one bedroom flat. I took the lounge, she took the bed; we didn’t even say goodnight. We were murderous to each other. I could feel the old Minotaur in the labyrinth of my brain, gearing up for a rumble. But there could have been blood. Pray, I say, pray, don’t let her taunt me. I was scared of myself more than her. The Minotaur was raging. Just then the door opened

the Red Telephone Booth

I was watching the Xmas Special of ‘Call The Midwife’ when the plot ran into a red telephone booth on a remote Scottish island. It reminded me of the red telephone booth I ran into some years ago:

The Red Telephone Booth

No one writes poems about telephone booths anymore

So I thought I would write one,

about the time I drove down

A series of side roads to avoid a booze bus,

when I almost ran into one.

It was so nostalgic.

It was the sort of booth that Clark Kent would dash into

to change into superman.

I opened the door and went inside.

It stank of stale urine and cigarette smoke.

The paintwork was peeling. There were no phone books

Only numbers,

‘if you’re after a good time call …’, that sort of thing

 and anti-gay graffiti.

It looked like

the last telephone booth on the planet before mobile phones

took over.

I closed the door, climbed into my car and drove off,

Heavy as a telephone booth, 

into the arms of the booze bus.

but I cannot draw

I draw conclusions right and wrong

My judgments can be poor.

I draw a bath. I draw curtains

But I cannot draw.

I draw in air. I draw blood

When the scab’s knocked off my sore.

I draw upon my inner strength

Yet I cannot draw.

Sometimes I draw a long bow

When restraint goes out the door.

I draw laughter and anger too

And sometimes the short straw.

I would love to be a Picasso.

My drawings all adored.

But as it is I am me

And alas I cannot draw.


the nefarious cat

is taken back

the nest so

cleverly concealed

in a thicket

of thorns

& prickles

there is little

she can do

but sigh —-

and eat

humble pie

  • photo courtesy of Ulle Haddock

That Person in my Head

There’s someone walking around

inside my head

padding around in his slippers


what to do with himself:

should he write a poem?

read another chapter of ‘The Freedom Circus’ ?

write a witty comment

on Beth’s ‘Wild Sounds’?


Another episode of ‘Father Brown’?

it wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t flush

the toilet so often

or go to the fridge.

Look, it’s ten o’clock, I say to him,

could you please

settle down

so I can get some sleep?

the Red Pencil Sharpener: Zoom

I am looking down the barrels of

the red pencil sharpener

its holes

big as drainpipes

fat as full moons

flared like the nostrils

of horses;

 they are

deep wells

dark tunnels

O-shaped mouths hungry

for pencils

The red pencil sharpener sharpens

my imagination

Zoom Workshop: I am running a writers’ workshop on ‘Sharpening the Imagination’: tools and techniques for doing so. You are invited to attend. It will be a workshop run by the Vienna Writers Club but it will be broadcast from my home state, South Australia. participants can come from any country. It will be run towards the end of January 2021. Details can be found by Googling ‘Sunday Writers Club Vienna’.

The Gorge

Can I come with you? Rage says.

Can I? asks Blame.

No, I say. It is best I go on this journey alone. You will weigh me down.

But … Rage and Blame say.

Remember what Matthew said: It is best to travel lightly.

You will be lonely, they say.

It is better to be lonely than to hear you two bickering constantly on the road.

Don’t say it, they say.

Like two snarling dogs ….

You said it, they say. You did not have to say it.

Goodbye faithless companions. You will find your own way now. I am sure you will find other hapless souls to team up with.

With that I climb my way up the gorge ….. and am gone.

  • photo by Ulle Haddock with much thanks

Isn’t That what Blogs are For?

I was reading Becky Ross Michael’s Platform #4 and

was whisked away to a time when I stood on platforms nearly every day waiting for trains

to whisk me away to the big smoke. To the college where I trained to be a teacher,

to the university where I majored in English and Latin, a subject that whisked me away

to the days of Imperial Rome where I fell in love with the poets Catullus and Ovid

and the language from which so many of our words derive.

I met my first love on a platform while waiting for the same train.

I did not know it at the time but I said goodbye to my marriage on a platform

when my first wife went to see a ‘friend’ in Sydney.

I fell in love with literary platforms in the works of Agatha Christie

and, of course, Tintin who rode around in trains.

I wrote a poem once called ‘Boy on a Train Crying’. I had to fight hard

to get that little kid into my first book of poems but I did. I got him in.

We were both pleased. Then so as I wouldn;t appear sexist I wrote another poem,

a much happier one, called ‘Girl on a Train’. I can write anywhere but I love

writing on long train journeys. I wrote another poem called ‘Trains of Thought’.

It was heavily metaphoric, heavy as a platform.

When I write a good poem, I don’t want to leave it. I want to share it with the world.

Isn’t that what blogs are for?

Each evening I stand on a metaphoric platform for the night train to Bedfordshire

and the following day as the sun begins its journey across the sky I catch

the Morningtown Ride to begin a new journey of my own.

Life begins and ends on platforms.

  • photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash