For nights and nights and nights I lay on my pillow, worrying, listening to the rain, even though the skies were clear and starlit and the moon shone through my window like a lantern and I wondered what else I was hearing that wasn’t there or not hearing that was until one day I had my ears syringed with warm water and the wax flowed out in little honey-coloured clumps into a dish the nurse held for me and I no longer heard it rain except when it did.
“Bugger”, says Scruff. “Bugger”.
He’s back to his old intemperate self.
“What’s got your goat now?” I say.
“How am I supposed to get to the top branch now?? You know how I love the top branch. Someone took the tall ladder away and replaced it with THAT RUNT!!”
His wing is pointing at the little ladder against the weeping myrtle.
“Excuse me,” I say, “but you can’t expect the gardener to consult with magpies every time he shifts a ladder.”
Scruffy has that evil look in his eye.
“Besides”, I add, “has anyone ever pointed out those two appendages, one on each side of your body? They can get you places.”
“Sarcastic snob!” he snaps. “I use them all the time like you your legs. Aches and pains. I prefer to hop up rungs.”
“Have it your own way,” I say, but my heart goes out to him all the same. “I know what you mean,” I add. “I’ll speak to the gardener.”
I notice a little spring in his hop.
Montaigne wrote an essay on Cannibalism
But he was not thinking of the literary kind.
Lately, having been ravaged by an uncontrollable
Hunger for poems to post, I have begun feasting
On a number of my haiku, being both salubrious
& delicious, not to mention efficacious. No one else’s
poems were hurt during the making of this poem.
The proof, they say, is in the pudding, which
I will set out before you to decide whether
Such a practice should occasionally be condoned.
As soon as you walk in you see them paraded
along the walls
exemplars of Beauty and Strength:
Warnie unleashing a leg spinner,
Its eye on middle stump, Krygios rocketing another ball
past his opponent,
Thorpie diving into glory,
even one of cane growers in Queensland,
big blocky blokes in blue singlets
bringing in the harvest;
of Cathy Freeman at the Sydney Olympics.
But my humerus and hamstrings
were playing up.
On good days
I can do almost anything, but
on bad ones I can barely put one foot in front
of the other, bounce a ball
let alone slam it down centre court
at 200 kph
and the only way I could get in a pool is to fall in it.
It simply is not true.
You can’t eat your cake
And have it too.
I tried it once.
It does not work.
Someone always ends up hurt.
Take a slice maybe two.
Leave some for others too.
And if the cake
is truly sound.
There should be enough
To go around.
Stephanie was out in the garden, chasing chooks out of the vegetable patch. She was some way from us, out on the back porch, so I was surprised that she responded to something I said.
“Yes. I remember when …” and then her voice seemed to get swallowed up.
”What’s that?” I said.
But she stood there helplessly waving her hands as if signalling to us to disregard what she had to say and to carry on our conversation. We did and when my friend left, Stephanie came over and sat beside me.
“What happened out there?” I asked. “Out in the garden?”
“What I was about to say got swallowed up,” she said.
“Like in a sinkhole?” I said. They had been in the news lately.
“Like in a sinkhole.”
“It’s all right,” I said. “Tell me when you remember.”
You had to fore warn people.
It was not a good look.
Scabs and bruises on the upper lip
Sores on the nose
So you said, “bar room brawl”
Half jokingly, “but you should have seen
The other fellow.”
It was more dramatic, more grunge-romantic
Than humdrum “cold sores.”
A good book is like a good fire. You warm to it. It glows for you. When you’re not with it, out in the world, in the cold cross currents of life, you long to get back to it. It is self sustaining like good food or drink. I always like to come home at night and cuddle up with a good book.
‘Zombie’ and ‘Motherlode’, two short stories by Thomas McGuane are what I’m into now. That I’ve read them twice before doesn’t matter. They give off warmth and comfort. ‘TEOTFW’ by Charles Forsman is a short graphic novel that gives out the furious energy of a blazing fire.
Which books have you read that do this?
We sat beneath the green gazebo
Just me, myself and my mate Zero
No chances had come our way
We had nothing much to say
But our hearts were big and bold as Rio
One day, we dreamt, we’d all be heroes
[ apologies to David Bowie ]