Like Gustav

Which one is he, I say of the quartet by the river. Which one is Klimt?

Oh, he’s the one with the kaftan. He always wore one in public.

And I think, maybe that’s the answer, maybe if I wore a kaftan

everywhere I go people might take more notice, might say,

o, that’s the famous poet, he has a new book coming out.

And I could promenade along the jetty, frequent the famous kiosk

where all the trendy people go; and maybe go the full monty like Gustav

beneath his kaftan painting in his studio so he’d feel less constricted;

maybe that’d do the trick, maybe that’d free my poetry up

She Needs Cheering Up

I need cheering up, she says. I work better when happy.

A shared laugh would help, she adds.

So it’s down to me. What am I? A stand-up?

I can’t think of anything funny to say.

It’s a lovely sunny morning in spite of the forecast

so that’s something to be happy about

but happy isn’t funny.

I riffle through my corny joke book but she’s heard them all

even the good ones, like what do you call an Igloo without a toilet?

An Ig !

I thought that was pretty good but all it elicited was a groan.

And anyway, how necessary is it to be happy when you’re working?

Take art. Some of the best paintings were birthed in rage and fear.

Think ‘The Scream’ by Munch, Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ or Bacon’s ‘The Screaming Pope’.

You don’t read ‘In Memoriam’ for a good laugh or listen to ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ for a bit of a lift.

These did not come from a happy place.

Sure, being in a happy place helps, but you’re not going to get the dark matter, the weight if you’re buoyant as a balloon.  

pic by John Currin on Pinterest

A Half-Van Gogh

He’s just heard the news. He slumps, decides to act breezily.

“I am getting a half -Van Gogh,” he says over the phone.

“A half -Van Gogh? What is that?”

“You know how Van Gogh lopped off his left ear after a fit of madness, or so it’s claimed?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I’m getting half my left ear, the lobe lopped off.”

Silence.

“Why? Why would you do that?”

“It’s cancerous.”

“Oh dear.”

“You said you would love me even if I had half my face missing.”

“I know but …”

“Hello. Hello…”

Dial tone.





*photo by Jean Carlo Emer from Pinterest

King

 

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I’m out the back writing, throwing back a cab sav,

The royal purple trumpet flowers bowing before me.

It’s not a big backyard.

But it’s mine.

I can enter my own little world if I want to.

Don’t have to answer stupid questions about my failings.

Fuck that.

There’s a balmy sea breeze blowing

And I’m reading an article by Peter Schjeldahl

Who barfed in the bright green bushes when he came home

From a college party.

The vomit was bright orange, the sky a pastel blue.

He was amazed at the colour. Later he became an art critic.

I wrote a post about barfing in the bushes, the one before this

But hardly anyone read it.

And no, I’m not TRASHING it. It’s good !

I could drink the whole bottle of wine out here

And forget about the bushfires, the bloody bushfires and the threat of war again.

Fuck that too.

It’s good out here. So good.

I’m king in my board shorts and tank top and bare feet

under a crown of blue sky

kicking back the shit

putting it in this poem.

Perhaps I will drink the whole bottle.

Cheers.

 

Another Failed Dragonfly Poem

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I used to go down to the pond at the end of our street to write poems about dragonflies the way Monet would go down to his garden at Giverny to paint water lilies.

 

The only difference was that dragonflies didn’t stay still like waterlilies did. They dashed and darted about the pond at 100 ks an hour. Even when they had sex they had it on the wing coupling like planes fueling mid- flight. You had to admire them though they were devilish to tie down.

 

I almost got one once when a dragonfly dawdled on the front doorknob one drowsy afternoon, after summer rains, then saw me and took off, its gossamer wings flashing rainbows.

 

Hold Like an Apple

cezanne

Whenever I feel a poem ‘coming on’

The images flickering before me like dragonflies

In sunlight, the sentences skittering off

In the distance, I feel like Cezanne bawling out

Vollard who kept falling asleep during a pose,

“Wretch! Stay still! You’re ruining everything.

You  must hold your pose like an apple.”