Secrets

There should be secrets

For us to ponder

to worry about.

Not everything need be known

like how we got here

on this island Earth,

Why God put us here,

the point of suffering,

of brain tumors, cancer?

why some people sail through life

while others ….

What’s it all about, Alfie?

Like the house across the street.

Who lived there? Why did they go?

Why has it been left to ruin?

I could ask the guy raking the leaves

in the house next door

but if I knew, I couldn’t ponder.

There should be secrets.

There should be secrets.

The Last of the Romantics

This time he’s really shitted off.

Had a turd of a day

and now he’s come home to find

dog poo AGAIN

on his freshly mown lawn.

His fury diarrhoeas out

of his mouth, and here we draw the veil of decorum

over the expletives to protect our readers.

A little calmer now he pulls out his pen,

the ballpoint

he uses to write romantic missives to his love

and pens

a warning. on the nearest stobie poll,

a friendly warning

but its double-barrelled exclamation marks cannot hide his intent.

He grabs

a can of beer, and plonks himself near the front window,

watching, watching.

The Sad Podiatrist

Lauren Williams wrote a poem about the sad anthropologist

spurring me on to write one about my mate, Arthur,

the sad podiatrist I see three times a year. We’re like mates.

When someone’s been intimate with your feet for such a stretch of time

what else can you call the relationship?

Usually he’s perky, upbeat but today he’d downcast even though I praise

him for finishing my feet in record time.

Just think, I say, you earn more in three minutes than most people earn in an hour but he protests that it’s not about the money.

When I ask him what it is about, he blurts out the old abstracts: Recognition, Glory, Adulation.

Wow, I thought, where’s this coming from?

And he says: “When did you last read a best seller about a podiatrist? Watch a Reality Show called, ‘The Good Foot

Doctor’. See a film with Tom Hanks, Chris Hemsworth, De Niro playing a podiatrist?”

He has a point. I sympathise with him, then he shakes my foot — he always shakes the right one — and I head out the

door, hoping he pulls his socks up before the next patient comes in.

pic courtesy of Wikipedia




They Didn’t Tell You

They didn’t tell you when you trustingly submitted to a covid test that you’d have to quarantine for fourteen days even if you tested negative.

They didn’t tell you the queues would be so long, could take up to ten hours to be tested, and that there were no toilet facilities available, no hot dog stands

And they certainly didn’t tell you a fortnight in quarantine by yourself would be as gruelling, as solipsistic as a fortnight in solitary in a maximum security prison — and that you never even get to see your jailer

There is no training for this.

And anyway you’ve only got eight more days of madness to look forward to, so it isn’t all bad

Until you realize at the very end, your state’s in hard lockdown for at least a week so you have to go through it all over again

How Many of These Have You Read?

I was chatting with Worms the other day about Proust,

about his masterpiece, ‘Remembrance of Things Past’

and how neither of us had read it; Worms even found

the name ‘Proust’ intimidating; and I thought how many

of the world’s best known works I have never read,

like Longfellow’s ‘Hiawatha’, Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’,

even Shakespeare’s ‘Titus Andronicus’ and even though

everyone has heard of it, who’s read Dickens’ ‘Little Dorrit’?

There’s even a short story by David Gilbert devoted to

the George Elliot book that no one I know has ever read,

and few have heard of: ‘Adam Bede’. There must be others.





*can you think of any?

* have you read any of these books?

* what has put you off reading them?

pic of Proust courtesy of Wikipedia

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

You Looking at Me ?

Those rocks deflect you

from the red-backs

in your mind that crawled off your brush

onto the canvas that morning:

those Ned Kelly heads

staring at me

from the foot of the quarry:

you looking at me, I say.

You looking at me?

I’m the only one here.

Then I come and get you

and those stolid blocks of stone

with eye slits

wallop your imagination.

the ones you’re committing

to canvas so people can stare at them from the walls

of a gallery.

What it’s Like

You wanna know what it’s like? He says.

I’ll tell you what it’s like.

It’s like walking around with a ‘Vacant’ sign around your neck.

Like being scooped out by an excavator.

Or being a songbird without a voice.

It’s like walking along a jetty studded with couples clinging to each other like barnacles on 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.

That’s what it’s like.


			

Slouch

I don’t like the way the branches slouch,

my grandfather would have said.

It shows a lack of moral fibre.

Grandfather did not approve of droop

though I think he could have cut the branches

some slack.

The best people slouch at times.

Oscar Wilde certainly did though he was no slouch.

And Tilda Swinton and Anne Hathaway were spotted

slouching at the Golden Globes.

I like the way Fridays slouch towards the weekend.
Poems should slouch a little too.

They should not appear cinched and pained

as if wearing a tight pair of underpants.

pic courtesy of Wikipedia

Big Guns

I had my big guns ready.

The script already rehearsed in my head.

There were some epithets to let fly.

Rebuttals for any diffidence.

I was asking my mercurial mate a favour

one he might bridle at

though I had both barrels loaded

‘after all I’d done for you….’

the rifle was cocked and ready.

I was Chuck Norris, Vin Diesel, Dirty Harry

rolled into one.

When I got him on the phone

and asked, he rolled over like a cat.

I was a little disappointed.