It took 66 days for Bobby Sands to starve himself to death.
It took me many years to starve my mind of the fear of public speaking
& though I have come a long way & people praise my confidence
it is still a work-in-progress
what fears have you overcome either partially or fully? mural in Belfast courtesy of Wiki Commons
Locked between his headphones
the scraggly haired beachcomber
scours the beach with his detector
its one perfectly round ear
listening to talk-back from the sand
music to his ears :
dollar coins , gold ear rings
or bottle tops , tin cans —
relics of summers empire .
On and on he goes
in his hand a miniature spade
and a blue bucket of hope
pic by senila ilinykn from Unsplash
I opened up a soft drink —
You know how it is —
One already opened
but it had lost its fizz.
It had lost its zest.
It had lost its tang.
It had lost its bite
& worse, had lost its bang!
So hang onto your hat.
Enjoy life’s gee whiz.
You gotta be where it’s at.
& Never lose your fizz.
The sky is full of butterflies
bucking and lunging
in the strong sea breeze,
wings curved and colorful
as real butterflies:
tethered to earth-men
on surfboards below
Still waters run deep, his mum said
What did she know?. He took the plunge anyway
Swept up in its flow.
Emerged twenty years later,
Three kids, a mortgage, wife in tow.
Was it worth it?
Hell, yeh. Wished he could have let her know.
* photo from pexels.com by Gabor Coyamo
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.”
It’s like walking around with a ‘Vacant’ sign around your neck.
It’s like being scooped out by an excavator.
It’s like being a songbird without a voice.
It’s like walking along a jetty studded with couples clinging to each other like barnacles to pylons.
It’s like being on the esplanade ripping into a pulled pork burger like an animal ‘coz you’re on yr own so it isn’t all bad.
I was reading a poem by Weldon Kees —
Does anyone read Weldon Kees nowadays? —
About Boris, ‘the fatalist parrot’ who fell off
I thought of old Schooner in his cage in the
Drive thru bottle shop at Magnums at McLaren Vale.
At least he had some life in him unlike Boris
Who ‘watched the traffic flow, unheeding’.
You’d say ‘hello’ to Schooner. He wouldn’t say anything
But once you got your purchase and went to go,
He’d say ‘See Ya’ real chipper like. You’d wave back
And give him the thumbs up and if he could Schooner
Would reciprocate. He had a fan when it was hot and
A lamp for when it was cold and a little mirror to see
what a handsome chap he was. He looked well fed.
At least he didn’t pace up and down like a lion in a cage.
Whenever I have a glass now at Magnums I raise it
To old Schooner.
I was down in the dumps when someone praised
A recent poem of mine.
I know we should be immune to Praise
But it’s hard not to be lifted
Like a hot air balloon
Above the petty doubts and grievances
That beset us all
And to bask in the warm sun of appreciation
Knowing that, yeh, we’re okay,
We’re going to get there
We are not alone.
Hope is the helium that keeps us aloft.
can you think of an occasion when praise made a difference in your life?
what is the helium that keeps you aloft?
I was tearing along the coastal route
The little white horses racing into shore
When this song came over the radio
And galloped into my heart.
I pulled over onto the shoulder.
I was transported.
I closed my eyes and let the music
8.30 seconds later I was released.
It was good to hear Derek and The Dominoes again.
It was good to hear ‘Layla’
What songs stop you in your tracks, transport you to other places? What songs do you pull over for?