Okay, I looked but I didn’t stare

On a road trip the other day

we got talking about birth defects you don’t see

any more

like hunchbacks, birth marks, cleft palates

though Simon

whose father was Lord Mayor of Mars had one

and spoke with a lisp.

Then at this café in the mountains

we were served

by a barista

with a raspberry stain on his left cheek

the shape of Africa.

Is that a birth mark, I asked him. We were just talking about them.

Yes, it is, he smiled.

It was just another feature on his face, like his nose.

or a mole

It was nothing special.

Yet it had a strange sort of beauty.

He poured me the greatest cup of coffee.

I was glad that I had asked him, that I didn’t wuss out.

It’s okay to be curious.

Even Jesus

Perhaps the stars weren’t aligned.

Perhaps it’s in the DNA.

Either way the reboot sags,

flaccid as a spent condom.

It walks around the ABC studio

with its hands clasped behind its back,

that gesture of defeat,

It is laboured, lassitudinous, much in need

of a cattle prod up the ass, as my old

friend, twelve years in, would say.

A bit severe perhaps.

It’s lost its zest, its zing,

It’s dead on its feet.

Even Jesus couldn’t resuscitate it.

End of the Line

I’m sorry, he said, shrugging his shoulders. There’s nothing I can do.

But surely …

I’ve never seen it this bad. Not in all my years. They’ve always responded to treatment. I threw everything at it.

But you’re ….

I know. We’re the paramedics of the trade but we can’t perform miracles.

We bowed our heads.

Then I’ll see you to the door. Thanks for trying,

And off he drove in his clean white van, the firm’s logo on the side.

Well, I said, it looks like the end of the line for you. Sorry, old mate. You heard the man. You have to go. Time for an upgrade. A new laptop.

No Special Hurry

The crow

in the crossbars of

the power pole

is saying, Hey John.

You don’t have to worry, man.

You are not one of those who bring so much courage

to the world that it has to kill you

So don’t ruffle your feathers.

Pardon? I say.

I can read you like a book, he says, speaking of which

‘But it will break you.

It breaks everyone.

But you are one of those strong in the broken places’,

as Hemingway would say.

You read Hemingway?

Of course, who do you think I’m quoting?

You are a most learned crow, I say.

But it will kill you, he says,

‘It kills everyone

the very brave and very gentle

but if you are neither of these it will still kill you

but there will be no special hurry’.

That is sort of comforting, I say. Thank you.

‘Farewell to Arms’, he adds. Due attribution.

You should read it sometime.

I think I have, but not with the diligence you accorded it.

And with a flick of his suave black wings, he flies away.

Where Celebrities Grew Up

Reading an article by David Remnick,

editor of ‘The New Yorker’

since 1998

I discovered

he was born in Paterson, New Jersey

the same place as Philip Roth,

the novelist whose biography Remnick was profiling,

as was Ginsberg,

the man who wrote “Howl’

that poem that still echoes down the decades.

the same place too

as William Carlos Williams,

the man who wrote ‘the red wheelbarrow’

and wait for it,

Lou Costello,

the comedic partner of Bud Abbot

whose films split our sides

in the fun house of the fifties;

what do they have in the water of Paterson, New Jersey,

that so many famous people

grew up there;

it must be quite a place

A Cozy Crucifixion

Harvesting the cane would do it, so would elite tennis,

pounding the pool for Australia,

all fodder for the physio:

you lie prostrate on the plinth,

narrow as an ironing board

head down in the gap,

arms at yr sides, feet fastened at the base —

a cozy crucifixion,

planking for Jesus,

while muscles are massaged, kneaded.

coaxed into submission,

the little pummeling fists of current bringing you

to the shores of bliss

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


			

You Scare Me

You scare me.

What did you do wrong?

Once you were the envy

of bloggers like me

hungry for numbers.

Okay, I was competitive

but every entertainer

wants an audience, Right?

And you were the king of numbers.

Then what happened?

You must have been dismayed

as I was shocked.

What does one do to shed an audience?

Put up politically incorrect posts?

Bite the hands that feed you?

Change lanes too often?

Stay in the same lane too long?

Veer off into obscurity?

What?

There is an art to alienation

& you seem to have found it.

I just hope I don’t stumble across it

anytime soon.

You scare me.





*what scares you?

*have you written a short poem about fear you’d like to share here?





*pic by hermes-rivera from Unsplash

Shooting Star

I was driving back from the gym when I heard it

for the very first time,

that unmistakable voice,

a little gravely now, less freewheeling,

that knocked me  right out of orbit.

It was one of those moments when you have to pull over

to the side of the road, and give yourself

completely to the song;

“Purple Rain’ was like that,

Neil Young’s ‘After the Gold Rush’

and the soaring piano, guitar segue from ‘Layla’.

You receive the stigmata of otherness.

It changes your whole day and lingers for weeks.

 Perhaps never leaves you.

Then there’s the personal accounting,

where you’ve messed up, missed out,

fallen short of the mark, the roads not taken.

It takes a song to shake you like this:

‘Guess it’s too late to say the things to you,

you needed to hear me say,

Seen a shooting star tonight

slip away’.





*what songs have the power to transport you?

My WP Friends: an Ode

.

I love my community of bloggers.

They’re fun.

I love them

Each and everyone.

There’s Hobbo, Beth,

Eden, the Don,

dear old Ed

& a Coyote name John.

There’s Chel. also,

formerly Chelsea,

a big fat can of worms

Little Charmer’s pithy poetry.

There’s eob2

with her eyes of blue

her mystical poems

their music too.

Karen, of course,

her Yard Sale of Thoughts

teasing us with ruminations

her imagination has wrought.

Then there’s foresty Ulle

what can we say of him?

A man , sharply observant

with a taste for whim.

Then like a shooting star,

there’s our phantasmagoric friend:

David, jester and artificer

on a trip that will never end.

Not forgetting Jewish Young Professional

and Sarcastic Fringe Head

like my mum used to say,

you wouldn’t for quids be dead.

So to my fellow bloggers,

one and all,

each day spent with you

is a real cyber carnival.