Backs to the Sea

People who live here, he said, live with their backs to the sea.

And I said, how could anyone turn their backs to the sea?

And I thought of mum, before she was hauled away, saying,

I want to go back to the sea again,

how she sounded like Miranda the mermaid who had strayed

from her home

but when she got her wish, when we got her into a retirement home

on the esplanade, she grew jaded.

What’s wrong, mum? we asked.

I want to go home, she said. I want to go back where I lived with dad.

But you’ve got a ringside seat, mum, to the Southern Ocean. A view to die for.

It’s not the same, she said, not when you see the same thing day after day.

But we sat with her, watching the red sun sit on the lip of the horizon like a wafer,

the seabirds flying home, and a kind of calm settled on her.

Meg

Something is bothering

this silkie





She wanders

round and round

the yard

in

a solipsistic fluff

driving us round the bend.

She worries the others.





A few days later

when we let her out she resumes

her circling

then huddles beneath

the bird bath

and will not move.

We shift her.

She crawls under a bush

hard to reach.

The cat who often bothers the chooks

leaves her alone.





That night it rains and rains.

In the morning

she is bedraggled

and dead.

I lift her into the earth.

There isn’t much of her.

The chooks settle after that.

So do we.

Wished I Never Knew

I wish I had never known.

Wish I had never found out

Wish I had never made that search





But I did. And that was that.

I should have remembered what

curiosity did to the cat.





But I remembered Sunday mornings

at the pool; we would walk up and down

brushing against each other





you in your lane, me in mine, sharing stories,

laughing, not getting much swimming done, giddy

in each other’s presence. We used to joke





we never saw each other in clothes.

You were always glad to see me

you were striking in your black swim suit





and blonde hair; you had an artist’s laugh

but then I had my sudden operation and when

I got back, a month later, you weren’t there.





I didn’t have your number; I asked discreetly

at the desk but they wouldn’t say. I tried Facebook

but you had a strange surname. I assumed





you moved to a pool closer to home or you

were busy with family. Four years later

unattached and lonely, I tracked you down





and found why you never returned.

You died in Feb, 2016. Peacefully at home.

All that time I thought you were alive.





But you had long gone. Death had closed

the gate. If only I hadn’t waited.

If only I’d tried sooner. But I was much too late.

Rock

Thought

you’d be

my rock,

he said,

upon which

I could build

my future;

but you turned

into a sharp-

edged reef,

now I’m all scarred

& sutured





*pic by Tengyart on Unsplash


			

Since the Break-Up

I’ve been taking myself to the cinema again

watching brooding masterpieces like ‘The Dry,’

learning  to play Scrabble by myself but not too often

as I’m a bad loser; giving my self-esteem a face lift,

shed a few kilos, muscled up, become sharper;

I post more , comment more especially on posts

that comment on mine: the noble art of reciprocity;

but, most of all, I move more easily in the world.

have got to know myself more, and know in spite

of slurs like ‘nutcase’ and ‘creepy lizard’ I’m not

such a bad guy

Maybe it was Me

Maybe it was me

maybe it was her

it was some time ago

a bit of a blur





We both grabbed it greedily

we held it for a while

life lowered its fangs

put on a smile





But she had her demons

I had my ways

we were on different pages

in different plays





Maybe it was me

maybe it was her

it was some time ago

al a bit of a blur

The Cookie Man


[in honour of National Cookie Day in the U.S]

I used to give my Sydney Morning Heralds

To the Cookie Man

for his customers to read;

they’d devour the weekend papers with their cookies and cappuccinos

and dream

of the Harbor City they’d visit one day;

and I’d go away feeling

I had spread some wealth:

the Saturday supplements:

Food, Fashion, Film, Fun —

The Land of Plenty

& the Cookie Man would give me

the thumbs up;

Then one day

He was gone,

The whole edifice had crumbled

Like a cookie.

Now my Sydney Morning Heralds are looking

for a new home

& I miss the cookie man

Rumpole

This is Rumpole.

Rumpole is a plaster of Paris statue of a real dog that wandered away nine years ago and never came back.

We tell tales of where he might have gone, what mischief he got up to and the puppies he might have sired.

We still think one day he will find his way back home which is why we leave the side gate open.

Meanwhile the statue is comforting. We know he’s not really there

But every Halloween he cocks his leg and pisses on the pavers to remind us he still is