Who Let the Cat Out?
Who let the cat out?
Sleep lifted the lid.
Let it roam
the alleys and backstreets
of the mind
Look what the cat
dragged in —-
old what ifs.
Who let the cat out?
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?
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
[ 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 .
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?
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.”