Who Let the Cat Out?

Who let the cat out?

Sleep did.

Sleep lifted the lid.

Let it roam

the alleys and backstreets

of the mind

rummaging through

memory’s bin;

Look what the cat

dragged in —-

half-buried scraps,

dead rats,

old what ifs.

Who let the cat out?

Sleep did.

Peepholes

There used to be a man, a hobo, who drifted in to our town.

He was selling peepholes from a brown burlap bag.

It was like a lucky dip.

You gave him a few coins and you’d reach in

& pull out a peephole.

You might get lucky, the man said.

You might pick out the one that looks into the universe the moment it was born

or the one that sees who took the Beaumont children

from Glenelg Beach on New Year Day, 1966.

Everyone wanted to know that, especially the parents.

But mostly we got ones that looked at the tree behind it or a flock of black clouds roaming like sheep

in the pasture of the sky.

One day he fell asleep against an old gum in the park

and we looked through his peepholes.

They were all the same,

None peered into a secret place.

They all looked at what was the other side of the peephole.

The man began to wake up.

We shoved the peepholes in his bag and ran off.

We didn’t need a peephole to see through him..

Up in Smoke

You don’t see many houses with chimneys anymore.

They seem to have gone up in smoke,

like ashtrays in cars and restaurants,

and ‘smoko’ at work places.

I used to love ‘smoko’ even though I didn’t smoke.

And what about that wine everyone used to drink back in the sixties,

and no one asks for anymore. ‘claret’ at least in Oz?

When’s the last time you heard anyone drop into a Liquorland or BWS

and ask, got any claret on special, sport?

Come to think of it when’s the last time anyone called someone, ‘Sport

The other day an old mate asked me, would I like to drop by for ‘tea’.

‘Tea’? What the ^%^% is that? It’s a word like claret you don’t hear much anymore except in reference to the drink, the alternative to coffee.

I slip into it now and then — old habits die hard. You’ve got to watch yourself. .

can you think of other words or customs that have died out?

Uncle Bert

I remember Uncle Bert.

He had had a stroke.

His mouth was always open

Though he never spoke.





He sat on his armchair

Alongside Aunty Pat

Who did the speaking for him.

She was good at that.





He once looked a film star

A Gable or a Flynn.

He was a dashing rake,

Tall, handsome, thin.





But now he is all empty.

He follows Aunty Pat

Obedient as a dog

Or a Welcome mat.

The Cubby House Remembers

 

800px-Modern-Cubby-House-Design

[ for Cathy ]

 

It used to be good here .

Had plenty of company .

I doubled as a fort ,

the deck of a pirate ship ,

the keep of a medieval castle ,

always the last refuge where they

fought off the enemy .

Things got pretty noisy at times .

But when the dust settled ,

they’d settle down to a meal

of cookies and rasberry cordial .

 

In winter , though , things got quiet .

I’d hardly ever see them .

They were like bears hibernating

in the cave of the house .

Then spring would come

the sun bursting through the clouds

and they’d race outside

and it’d start all over again .

 

 

But then one day  —-

though it must have taken longer ,

they stopped coming at all  .

I guess they though I was too babyish

for them .

For years I sat out there all alone

with just memories for company .

 

But then one day a sound

that made the sun rise in my wooden heart .

A baby’s cry .

It wouldn’t be long , I thought . Less than a year .

And I was right .

I had company all over again .

It was a girl baby so the games

were a little different .

Less noisy . Less rambunctious .

 

But I was getting older anyway

so I didn’t mind .

Now we keep each other company .

Sometimes her friends come over .

It’s like the old days .

It’s good .

Yesterdays

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All the poems about yesterday are nostalgic

As are the songs.

My mother called Macca’s ‘Yesterday’ mawkish.

But my yesterday was shit.

If yesterday were a punching bag I’d pummel it

To a pulp.

There are some things like the Holocaust you can’t

Say anything good about.

Yesterday was like that.

Sometime in the Future it might be possible

To say something good about yesterday

But it’d be a stretch.

 

  • photo by Rotorn Kuperman on Pixels.com
  • you ever have days like that?

 

 

What Happened Out There, Out in the Garden?

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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.”