I am reading a book of very strange stories.
One of them is called ‘Falling Awake’.
It is only six sentences long.
Here it is in its entirety:
I have no trouble falling asleep.
I have a lot of trouble falling awake.
Sometimes I sleep ten to twelve hours a day before snailing towards the light.
One day I will fall asleep and not fall awake or fall awake and not fall asleep.
Neither prospect daunts me.
I like adventures; no matter how short.
For too long they have lead a solitary existence,
Moping in corners of the internet, blushing wallflowers
Stuttering if someone even comes to speak to them.
Now all this is changing.
I am introducing my poems to each other,
a matchmaker, if you like, partnering one poem
with another of similar makeup, all in
A single manuscript, a mass marriage of poems,
With the publisher’s blessing.
Together they will lie next to each other
for the ages. All will be invited. Now all
I have to do is pair up like poems,
Nervous Nellies unused to company
* apologies & thanks to Skyhooks
The rain has begun.
I park the car close as possible, then dodging the drops, duck into the library.
“Ahh,” says the librarian, “we’ve been wading through your requests and look what’s washed up.”
It is like Santa handing over a present.
“Ahh, ‘Waterlog’”, I say.”The perfect book to read in the bath,”
“Just don’t drop it,” he says.
I should have seen that coming but Steve is quick, very quick.
“Thanks,” I say and we have a brief chat on the merits of reading in strange places, like baths.
“Have to go”, I say. “The rain’s getting heavier.”
By the time I get to the car, the book and I are waterlogged.
Steve would have appreciated that pun.
Now I don’t have to worry about dropping it in the bath.
Could you squeeze her
into a haiku? No, that would not do.
Her life was too sprawly.
It simply wouldn’t fit.
Something larger, more inclusive.
Perhaps a biopic.
I could go for a walk but I can’t be buggered.
I could check my Facebook status but I can’t be buggered.
I could cut back the bush near the letter box so the postie can chuff past more easily on his motor scooter.
But I can’t be buggered.
I could put more effort in getting my next manuscript together — the editor is interested — but I can’t be buggered doing that either.
I almost can’t be buggered writing this poem about not being buggered.
Would rather curl up in the sun out the back with a good crime novel and lose myself in the plot.
I was reading about Miss Jean Brodie
About her being in her prime
her ‘owning’ the stage
Of the classroom
With the forty girls sitting in rows
Looking and listening
& I thought
How much blogging is like this
How each of us
Performs on the platform of the page
Seeking to impress
to stand out
To make our ‘mark’ upon
The rows and rows of readers
& how one day
A fellow blogger
Will remember our performances
And memorialize us
As Muriel Spark did Miss Kay
“No rest for the innocent”, she sighs —
As she looks out the back door.
“Looks like he’s raping her again.
He’s as randy as Harvey Weinstein”.
“For fuck’s sake, they’re blackbirds,” I say.
.”How anthropomorphic can you get?
And anyway, all things being eventual.
The act might well be consensual.”
I do not much like her novels.
They are crammed with characters like clowns jammed in jalopies.
But I like her epilogues.
They are lean and succinct, sinewy.
A bit like you, Bev says with a chuckle.
I may not have a novel in me but I have a draw full of epilogues.
And when push comes to shove I can pump out prologues at the drop of a hat.
It’s the in-between bits I’m not good at.
I could leave them to someone else.
Jilly Cooper, for instance.
She crams characters
Into her novels like clowns
Jammed in jalopies
I hate being a cat, she says.
Not that I’m a wuss
But there’s more minuses than pluses
at being someone’s puss.
You have to wait until they’re ready
To get food put into yr bowl
The one you sit behind so patiently
and try not to scowl.
And when they have a friend stay
Then it’s a hey diddle-diddle
You’re no longer alpha female
but playing second fiddle.
I like to go out and in, she says
Or in and out at will
But someone sadly has other ideas
Which is why I’m here still.
Oh I could write a novel, she wails
There’d be fury on every page
Not that I’m a Prima Donna
But I like being centre stage.