I get a phone call at 3a.m.
Who calls at 3a.m?
You think the worst.
I glance across at the screen.
The call’s from Algeria.
I don’t pick up.
I don’t know anyone from Algeria.
I used to get phone calls from ‘my mate’
in Mogadishu asking me how my bank account’s going
but since I told him I’m a pisspot he’s stopped calling.
I don’t even know where the fuck it is.
But here’s the funny thing.
It rings three times then silence.
What’s the point of that?
Is it a scam?
How can you scam someone unless you speak to them first?
Perhaps he’s inordinately shy.
Perhaps he’s a mute.
Perhaps he only speaks Martian.
I knew a young man once, Simon whose father was the Lord Mayor of Mars but that’s another story.
I look up Algeria on the map.
No clues there.
But he’s there. Somewhere.
On his cell phone.
Now who shall I phone tonight? he wonders.
Whose puffy slumbers can I puncture?
I am about to read a book called ‘The Ninth Crypt’,
A novel I acquired for twenty dollars at the supermarket
But fear I may have made a grave mistake:
Browsing through the blurb I see mention of only
The ninth crypt, all well and good, but what about
The other eight? Perhaps the author is planning prequels
Based on the success of this volume but seeing he is
Now a septuagenarian who came to writing late,
This is most unlikely; perhaps if I bury myself deeply
in the text I shall disinter enough cryptic clues
To keep me happy — but at 800 pages !!! I await
Clarification; in the meantime this tombstone of a novel
Shall stand on my shelf of great unread books.
- have you got any big unread books on your bookshelf?
- photo by Grangeburn on Pinterest
I’ve been taking myself to the cinema again
watching brooding masterpieces like ‘The Dry,’
learning to play Scrabble by myself but not too often
as I’m a bad loser; giving my self-esteem a face lift,
shed a few kilos, muscled up, become sharper;
I post more , comment more especially on posts
that comment on mine: the noble art of reciprocity;
but, most of all, I move more easily in the world.
have got to know myself more, and know in spite
of slurs like ‘nutcase’ and ‘creepy lizard’ I’m not
such a bad guy
We were talking about Milly, Bev’s cat
who had just butchered a baby blackbird
when Rob went feral.
I have never liked cats, he said. They should be locked up. Murderers all.
Go easy, I said. You ever eat at a restaurant?
Of course, he said.
Ever ordered a barramundi?
Ever sent it back because it was too fishy?
No, of course not.
Well, I said, you may as well berate a barramundi
for being a fish
as to castigate a cat
for being feline.
Don’t throw away your old stuff.
You will never have enough
new material to work with;
writing can be tough.
Put away your frail and flaccid.
put it in a book.
And in an idle moment, open it,
lighten up, have a look.
Give it iron, backbone,
a new voice, beat
find it a new form.
Let the old be reborn.
Everything will have its place.
Everything its time
the giddy, garrulous, the gruff.
Don’t throw away your old stuff..
the Maserati of the insect world
they leap from dawdle to dash
in one second flat
at one moment hovering helicopters
the next fighter planes
daredevil pilots at the controls
coupling in mid-air as if refuelling
how do they do it?
sex on the run
& here comes junior, red-headed
as a matchstick, parents in tow,
learning the ropes
It wasn’t an affliction
though it crippled you
just the same.
There were no calipers
for crippled speech.
You had to hobble around
as best you could
hoping no one would notice.
When things went badly
when you were teased
you put yourself into
the iron lung of shame —
& stayed for days.
*pic courtesy on Pinterest
I’ve been wandering a little
My ego’s so brittle
My plasma is coming apart
It’s so debilitating
When you’re disintegrating
I’m going back to the start