The Great Magician

The great magician

lived behind us in the eighties

walked around in his top hat and cloak

practising

making rabbits disappear.

Once he poked his head

over the fence and asked

had we seen one of his rabbits?

I said I hadn’t.

But later

I discovered

by the cabbage patch

a hole in the fence,

where a rabbit had scraped under

and bits of fur in the yard.

We had a dog back then.

He was a bit of a magician himself.

He could make a rabbit disappear too.

You Hear a Noise

You hear a noise. It’s past midnight.

So what do you do?

You hop up, turn on a few lights, tramp down the passageway. open and close cupboards, bang doors, make a lot of noise.

Then you stop and listen.

There it is again.

Those bloody mice, you say, though you’ve seen no evidence of any.

It’s nothing, you decide, nothing. House noises.

You head back to the bedroom, turn off the lights.

Someone taps you on the shoulder.

the Coffee Cup

1

my coffee cup

is

an atlas

of stains:

a dark blotch vast as Asia,

another,

a continent of khaki

shaped like Australia;

there’s a South America too

[but no North]

And around the rim

an aurora borealis of brown

when the sun

lights it up.

2

Clean it, a visitor declares.

Clean it? I say.

This miracle of incidental art?

This repository of rudimentary remarques?

It’d be tantamount to the Taliban

blowing up

the Buddhist statues

in Afghanistan!

No!

Me and the Ant

Me and the Ant go way back, ever since we discovered

our mutual Achilles’ Heel: coffins made of steel: Lifts.

He’s not a big fan of car boots either or small caving tunnels,

so the Thai cave rescue would not have been high

on his agenda. One thing’s for sure: Ant is an SAS commando

& instructor and if he can’t handle lifts, what chance

have marshmallow men like me got? It’s in my Will:

‘to be cremated’; just in case

Is This How It Happens?

I have just come back from the shopping centre, I wrote, ten years ago

and have discovered the boot empty. Where is all that food I bought?

Back in the trolley where I left it in the car park ready to heft into the boot.

An action I never completed. I dashed back to the shopping centre

but the trolley was gone. I had supplied a needy family, I like to think,

with a week’s supply of free food. In the end, I remembered.

My memory had rebooted. But what if it hadn’t? Would you even know

you had forgotten something if you had no memory of it? 

Is this how it happens?

The Nine Towers

While I was sleeping

the nine towers rose

in my head

from the TV news

the night before;

They were nothing like

the Eiffel Tower

or the Burj Khalifa

of Dubai

not even the Tower of Babel

though their residents spoke

in a multitude of tongues,

Instead they were the nine

po-faced Tower Blocks of Melbourne

ringed by police

like a besieging army

in ‘hard lockdown’:

a term we had never heard before.

They looked more like the Grenfell Towers

though the fires consuming them

were a virus and fear

And the Bees …..

IMG_20190116_083201

And the bees. You don’t see the bees amongst the trumpet flowers not even when they’re braying their beauty.

The creatures have abandoned us, Seb said.

And you don’t hear the rats anymore clattering in that small space behind the fridge where you can’t get at them. Nor the mice chittering in the corner.

The world’s gone quiet, Seb said. It’s like that film.

What film?

You know. ‘A Quiet Place’.

The wasps too. And the crows in their black leather jackets ….congregating like thugs at the back door. And making a racket. I kinda miss them.

Me too, said Seb.

And that stray cat with the asymmetric face. Why, even that plaster statue of old Rumpole doesn’t pee on the cobblestones on a full moon any more..

Not even the ghosts, sighed Seb. Not even the ghosts.

A Splendid Evening

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It had been a splendid evening but now, rankled by some recent memory and loosened perhaps by a little too much wine, he leaned across the table and made a cutting remark. She began to bleed almost immediately. His words raked across her wrists like a suicide attempt. She began to deflate in front of him. She had to learn not to take things so literally.

A Bird Flew into My Mouth

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A bird flew in my mouth.

I gulped in horror.

If it were a mozzie,

A blowfly,

No worries

But a bird

A wattlebird at that.

It panicked in the echo chamber of my mouth.

I wrestled it with both hands

Trying to pry it loose.

Suddenly it plopped out like a fish.

It staggered in the air.

I staggered along the path.

A bird in the mouth is worth two in the bush.

My friend quipped.

So how was it? he asked.

Surreal, I clucked. Surreal