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?
You haven’t got your head up your arse
Or in the clouds any more, he said,
But firmly secured where it should be.
Atop my shoulders? I suggested.
But my big brother was right.
I was a dreamy kid but when the hormones kicked in— boy!!
My head was every which way but loose.
It was like a beach ball bobbing along
On choppy waves,
A dog chasing after every rabbit which crossed
I’m still a bit like that but the hormones
Are quieter now
& if I don’t watch it I still find myself
Head up the arse or in the clouds,
A head’s gotta go somewhere.
Once I was stuck in the moment.
It was like being stuck in a lift.
I was going nowhere.
Not even up and down.
There was no way out.
No alarm button to press.
I tried not to panic.
Tried smoking a cig.
Humming a tune
Studying a fly on the wall
Reciting my nine times tables
And then suddenly SNAP
I was out of it.
I don’t know how long I was in it.
It did have its moments
I must admit.
But you wondered if you’d ever
Get out and join
The flow of life again.