On Covers

This song comes on the radio.

It’s one I know but they’ve done something to it

it’s softer, whiter, drained of passion and angst, its southern origins.

It’s a cover of Lodi, the Creedence song.

They’re singing the lyrics but they’re not singing the song.

The chunky guitars are gone and it has a clarinet and acoustic guitar backing..

Come on.

There are good covers.

Think Ry Cooder’s cover of Elvis’s ‘Little Sister’,

the Soup Dragons cover of the Stones’ ‘I’m Free’

Amy Winehouse’s cover of the Zutons ‘Valerie’

but this cover’s a travesty.

Look what they’ve done to my song, mama.

Why would anyone bother?

This guy’s stuck in Lodi. He’s desperate but he’s given up.

He’s drained. It’s like the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’,

Billy Joel’s Piano Man but you wouldn’t know it

hearing this pallid, weasel kneed version.

I know I shouldn’t get worked up. Hey, it’s only a song

but I’ve loved songs all my life; it’s my passion, more than poetry

but Hey! a good song is poetry

so I’m playing Creedence’s ‘Lodi’ to get me out of this funk.





*what are some of your favourite covers?

pic courtesy of Pinterest

Three Nights

Three nights of frazzled sleep

crammed into four hours on the couch

mellowed by malbec, merlot, mataro

an afternoon of tasting platters & wine samplings

at Penny’s Hill where black-faced sheep slumbered

under the oak; now you slumber so gently:

sweet Lethe has taken your troubles over the border;

you will awaken and forget

On Cue

The fat crow caws

from the top

of the peppercorn tree

kraak kraak kraak

loud, loutish, laconic

& the bloke next door calls out

to his wife

what’s that, dear?

what’s that?

Bull Ants

They do not graze in meadows.

Nor do they stare listlessly

over fences at traffic .

None , to my knowledge ,

are brindled or patchwork .

Few , if any , have horns

or tails to swish flies with .

I have never heard one moo .

Nor been charged by one

when I crossed its path .

They may see red

but are little sought after

by toreadors .

Yet they are big .

And they do pack a bite.

Where’s Raymond?

Where is Raymond?

Everyone loves Raymond.

But no one is saying.

They’re tight-lipped.

Christine is gone too.

But no one is asking after her.

It’s Raymond we love,

Raymond the Joker,

the Energiser Bunny that kept

the whole thing humming,

the convivialist who could talk

to children, animals.

Why, he could talk to a stone

& it’d open up.

Did he blot his copybook?

Perhaps he ran off with Christine,

some wag suggests.

The world just seems smaller

without Raymond.

Your Hair Looks Nonchalant

Your hair looks nonchalant, she says, as we get out of the car.

Nonchalant? I say. My hair?

Yes, she says. Unfussed, loose like a kaftan, happy in the way it looks like some of your poems.

Happy hair? Isn’t that a good thing?

Yes, she says, but couldn’t you …..?

Comb it? Of course, as I pull my little comb out of the back pocket of my jeans,

And that’s another thing, she says. Why pink?





*pic courtesy of Pinterest

the Insoluble Problem of Motivation

It had been on the vacant lot next to the church

For over half a year and no one in all that time

Could rustle up enough motivation to mow the lawn

Or clear it of rubbish. I thought of calling

The number on the back a few times but just couldn’t

Get motivated enough to ring or attend one

Of their weekly meetings





& I thought about something

A friend had said about running a Special Olympics

For the Motivationally Challenged but the problem

With that, I said, was that nobody would bother

To turn up. I thought then of the historically highly

Motivated: Hitler, Stalin, the rapacious bankers, Isis

And concluded that a low motivated populace isn’t

Necessarily a bad thing.

The Martian Inside Me

Comes out every now and then

When I lose the thread of an argument and desperately try to sew it up

When I chat with Tiff in her tank at night when there’s nothing on TV

When I slapstick my way across the mall just for the hell of it

In the bath on Sundays when I sing ‘Deep Water’ backwards, inside out and upside down to give my vocal chords a workout

At the hairdressers when I talk to Simon with the harelip about his dad’s imminent retirement as Lord Mayor of Mars

And lastly when we all stand together in Alex’s Salon and sing the Mars National Anthem on International Mars Day





  • when do you speak Martian?

Cows in a Paddock

Someone once told me you can tell what the weather

Will be like by studying cows in a paddock.

If they’re standing, she said, there’d be

a good chance of rain, whereas if they were lying down,

you could count on fine weather. Or it might have been

The other way around. What a load of bull, I thought.





What if half were standing and half were lying down?

Would that mean a 50% chance of fine weather, or to put it another way,

A 50% chance of rain, depending on whether you were

A glass half- full or a glass half -empty sort of person? It seemed a little dodgy.

What if, for instance, in one paddock all the cows were lying down

while in another, they were practising synchronised standing?

Wouldn’t one cancel out the other?





And why cows?

What about prognosticating pigs, soothsaying sows, auguring alpacas?

The list goes on. I decided to go back to the Bureau forecasts.

At least they get it right half the time.