Coffee Shop Quartet.
that quartet of oldies, cosseted in their cardigans,
smugly commiserating the homeless
and Wheatus raps rancidly over the radio
‘I’m just a teenage dirt-bag, baby’
Billy Collins on my screen reading his poem
about Goya’s chandelier hat
lighting up the gloom of his garret
and the fusspot next to me
picking at the frosted icing on his fruitcake
as though it were a scab
* pic courtesy of pinterest
We are sitting across from each other
trying not to stare
looking down at our phones.
There are some paintings on the wall
but no one is looking at them.
Perhaps they are the sort of paintings
that are not meant to be looked at
but are there to establish a presence,
maintain a mood.
Then I notice the paintings,
half figurative, half abstract
in faded denim blue
with black, springy squiggles
like a cat’s whiskers
are not signed.
Perhaps the painter was half abstracted
when he painted them
& simply forgot.
I always laughed at cartoons
was astonished before paintings & poems
but now I pass the magazine to you,
the one with the crazy cartoons.
Look at this, I say, & you do and smiles
span our faces & rumble our bellies
like little laughing Buddhas;
Trouble shared is trouble halved,
my mother used to say — but Joy
It is doubled when shared with another.
*pic courtesy of Pinterest by John Currin
Green is gentle. Green is kind.
Green brings colour to the cheeks
of leaves and blades of grass.
In times of drought paddocks
dream of green.
Green is found in the fluoro vests
of rainbow lorikeets
and the glistening jade skins
of tree frogs.
Green is patient. Green is humble.
When colours line up for a group photograph
green is not pushy.
Green is content to stand in the middle.
You can always spot her
between flashy yellow and sombre blue
fourth from the top.
- what is your favorite color? can you write some lines on it, say a miniature of 3 to 5 lines and post your poem in the comment section? would really love to see what you come up with;
- or if you prefer just leave a comment
I can paint by numbers.
I can paint a picture for you in one thousand words.
I can even play ‘Paint it Black’ on air guitar for you
But every time I paint myself in a corner
I need you to pull me out.
What is it about the mouth?
About putting things in it?
I don’t mean food or sexual organs.
I mean items that carry far less charge
Like food or birds.
I wrote a surrealist poem called ‘A Bird Flew in my Mouth’
But could find no appropriate illustration online.
Ditto for ‘What’s Feet Got to do With It?’
About putting one’s foot in one’s mouth.
Two fine poems I cannot post because I can’t find
An appropriate illustration even one I’m willing to pay for.
I approached a few street artists but they weren’t up to it.
I paid them 5 bucks for their efforts.
They were happy with that but I wasn’t.
Let’s be up front. I can’t draw and I can’t post these poems
Without illustrations because who’s going to read them ?
so I’ll just have to write about them:
The poems I have written but can’t post.
“I am getting a half -Van Gogh,” I say over the phone.
“A half -Van Gogh? What is that?”
“You know how Van Gogh lopped off his left ear after a fit of madness, or so it’s claimed?”
“Well, I’m getting half my left ear, the lobe lopped off.”
“Why? Why would you do that?”
“You said you would love me even if I had half my face missing.”
“I know but …”
Whenever I feel a poem ‘coming on’
The images flickering before me like dragonflies
In sunlight, the sentences skittering off
In the distance, I feel like Cezanne bawling out
Vollard who kept falling asleep during a pose,
“Wretch! Stay still! You’re ruining everything.
You must hold your pose like an apple.”
You can’t say ‘no’
to a bloke in a wheelchair with one leg and a busted right eye
so I reached into my pocket
to pull out some coins
he said he didn’t want money.
You got any grass? He said.
Weed? I answered. No.
Look at me.
You’re asking the wrong guy.
That’s the third time in two years I’ve been mistaken
for a druggie.
Perhaps it’s that flannelette shirt and the
Faraway look I’ve had
since I was a kid.
Maybe I should wear sunnies.
It wasn’t Miro’s colourful coq
Nor Chaucer’s Chanticleer
Nor the one that crowed three times when Peter
It was just a garden variety rooster
That waddled onto the page
When my back was turned
& scrabbled between the lines
Before I sent him on his way
feathers all ruffled
Into a sunset red
as a coxcomb.