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?
A few years ago I read a book called Wolf Hall.
Now I’m writing about Wolf Down
what the cat does with food when it’s been stuck
on the roof all day;
what we do now
wolfing down pleasure,
the great outdoors,
going for drives,
doing stuff together,
hoping to outfox the old virus for another day.
There is a beach called Maslin
where nude people go
It’s not far from us
we used to go there, you know
when we were hippies
but is there a place for unclad thoughts
thoughts free of political correctness,
thoughts still showing their wobbly bits,
their stretch marks,
No free forum of ideas
of any kind.
No Maslin of Minds
You hear of early risers
but these apple blossoms take the cake
five weeks of winter to go.
Couldn’t they have waited?
Hibernated like bears?
But no, something drove them on,
something shiny and imperious.
Hope maybe? Faith that some
would get through?
They certainly brighten the street
lift the spirit in these cramped covid times.
Little blossoms of faith I photograph
to remind me, and I can’t help hearing
someone whistling in the back of my head,
with his hands in his pockets
always look on the bright side, and I start
Stephen King wrote a lot.
If God were as busy as Stephen King
He would not have rested on that seventh day.
Stephen King wrote as many books almost
as God put up stars
but not all of them were good.
None of them were duds
but only a few shine — you know them:
‘The Shining’, for instance, ‘Misery’,
the first third of ‘It’, the novella ‘Stand by Me’.
Maybe that’s all we can hope for —-
in a long and busy life only a few of our works
have I left any good ones out?
*what’s your favourite King book?
*which have you read over and over?
That’s us, at T Chow’s, the wonderful Chinese restaurant in China Town, our Cheers, on the last night before Lockdown. The place is bustling and you can only see half of it because the photographer stood in the middle to get a shot of the group, the one with the bloke in the wheelchair. It’s always happy there and everybody does know our name. There’s always three of us, often four but sometimes it grows to seven or eight.
Things are different now of course. Numbers are limited and they do a roaring take-away trade and there’s a new bloke, Brian — they always adopt an English name [is that a form of racism, I wonder?] —- who zips between tables spread out over the four quadrants of the restaurant. He’s young, he’s zippy and athletic with a great sense of humor. Everyone is cheery at T-Chow’s. You never see a long face or a frown. It’s where we hang out Friday nights. It’s our Cheers.
tell us about your favourite dining place: is it the food, the atmosphere, the company?
Sometimes my mind
like that bloke’s mouth
outside the gym
pontificating about those fisticuffs
at the footy
“those weren’t friendly fisticuffs;
that was full on, mate”,
about George Pell:
‘ someone will pop him off one day,
like they did JFK’
or the Black Lives Matter protest rallies —
you don’t want to know’;
but I round my mind up
before it goes too far off the tracks
& give it a little talking to:
mostly I keep a close watch on this mind
I read somewhere that weeds are the rodents of the plant world,
that they are sneakily aggressive, opportunistic, fiercely feral,
that they should be weeded out. I have heard this language before;
little good comes from it. Where are the Wordsworths of Weeds?
Plath comes closest, celebrating mushrooms. I like the strange,
tangled beauty of weeds, their punk swagger, their dogged persistence.
They too one day might inherit the earth.
can you see the little man in the middle
with the trapezoid head?
he wrote a poem:
‘I’m a little confused. My head is wonky
like a shopping cart with wobbly wheels.
I wave my arms all about
& my feet have runaway heels
If people play hopscotch on these lines
they’re going to have a crazy time.’