A Move towards Empathy

“You’re like Lee Chandler,” she said.

“Who?”

“Lee Chandler, the guy Casey Affleck plays in ‘Manchester by the Sea.”

Jackson liked that film but he did not like Lee Chandler, the way he closed himself off from people.

“That saddens me.”

“That you’re like Lee Chandler or that I mentioned it?”

“Both.”

“The reason I brought it up is that I asked you if you’d like to see Anne perform in the ballet from ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and you said you’d give it a miss though I made it clear I’d like you to go.”

“I know. I’ve thought it over and would like to go see her perform.”

“Because you want to or because you’re afraid of being compared to Lee Chandler?”

“Both.”

It was a little late, Jackson admitted. It would have been better if he’d said so straight off but at least it was a move towards empathy. She would have to give him that.

The Rant that became a Poem

I’m always amazed how they go in

Without thinking

Then close the steel doors on themselves.

Haven’t these people any imagination?

Sometimes they are bunched up in there

like sardines in a can.

Speaking of cans I can’t help thinking of the Kursk

how those poor submariners were coffined

in a can.

Speaking of coffins, that’s what they remind me of.

Lifts.

Vertical coffins.

Going Down?

My counsellor says I have too vivid an imagination.

Isn’t that what writers are supposed to have?

Anything can happen.

I think of ‘The Towering Inferno’ and those people

plummeting to their deaths when the lift cables

snap

or in ‘Speed’ when they are cut.

And my counsellor says to calm my farm!

Speaking of farms I think of cattle being trucked

to the slaughterhouse and not knowing

till it’s too late.

And speaking of not knowing, and I promise I won’t

speak of ‘speaking of’ again but I bet poor old Nicolas White

never knew when he stepped into an elevator back in 2008

that he would be trapped in it for 41 hours.

No food. No drink. No cell phone. No company.

 I don’t know if those people got out at the other end

or not

but I’m taking the stairs.

Here’s Another Nice Mess You’ve Gotten Yourself Into

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after deserting me for a few days

my editor has a change of heart

and decides to return.

Yay! I say to myself.

Says he’s been reading my posts, and how I’ve been floundering without him.

You’ve pulled three posts in two days, he says. You’re sinking.

I know, I say, hanging my head in shame.

Look, he says. It’s no good fighting it. We’re a team. Conjoined twins if you like.

Like Laurel and Hardy? I suggest.

He smiles.

Same arrangement? I say.

Yes, he says. You write. I clean up the mess.

Even the Stinkers

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Most people think of stars when they think

Of infinity

Or grains of sand

But I think Adam Sandler,

All the films of his I haven’t seen

And all those I have

Even the stinkers like ‘Little Nicky’

I want to see again and again

and again.

There are so many.

Almost as many as the stars

and the guy’s still making them!

But as Jim Croce says, ‘there’s never enough time

To do the things you want to do,’

It’s just not funny.

 

  • what’s your favourite Adam Sandler film?
  • what’s one you hate?
  • when you think of infinity, what comes into your mind?

And the Bees …..

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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.

It’s My Birthday. I Can Say It If I Want To

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I hope ‘Drive’ is playing when I get there

And the radio’s tuned to Triple J

And they serve my mocha just the way I like it

That they have the bar open on Fridays

And a barbie every second weekend.

And the New Yorker arrives promptly

On my doorstep each Wednesday

That they have a gym and an ocean you can swim in

When it gets stinking hot

[ or hasn’t climate change hit Heaven?]

If not, I’m not going.

A Wanton Act of Abandonment

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I went out today without my mobile phone.

It felt wanton.

I know something dreadful will happen.

An accident. A death.

A crack in the surface of things.

And someone will try to contact me.

It’s happened before.

My daughter giving birth.

I was three hours late.

Shit happens.

But nine times out of ten it doesn’t.

It’s a gamble.

A dead weight in my pocket.

The world can do without me for a few hours.

I’ll be back, as Arnie says.

There may be messages saying,

Where the hell are you? We’ve been trying to contact you all day!

And I’ll answer winsomely,

I just stepped out for a moment.

Wassup ?

Big Bad Bus

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I’m on a bus, he said. It’s like that bus in ‘Speed’. It can never stop. It can’t slow down. It can’t pick up passengers. It tears through the countryside in a purple blur. You don’t get a chance to take it in. There’s no such thing as a ‘breather’. There are no rest stops. The driver never sleeps. You’re more hostage than passenger. I’m on a bus, he said. And the bus is me.