“Will this do?” you say to your stomach at three in the morning. “Can I go to bed now?”
“Just a minute,” your stomach says. “Have I had enough?”
I know what it’s thinking: too little, it’ll come back for more; too much it will churn out nightmares.
“Perhaps a little more?” says the stomach, looking up at me pleadingly like a cat.
“No,” you decide, “You can have more in the morning like normal stomachs do. Come on.”
“Where are we going?”
“Where do you think?”
And it follows you back to bed, shoulders a little slumped.
I read somewhere that weeds are the rodents of the plant world,
that they are sneakily aggressive, opportunistic, fiercely feral,
that they should be weeded out. I have heard this language before;
little good comes from it. Where are the Wordsworths of Weeds?
Plath comes closest, celebrating mushrooms. I like the strange,
tangled beauty of weeds, their punk swagger, their dogged persistence.
They too one day might inherit the earth.
We were driving past cows full of paddocks when my friend
asked me whether I thought bulls considered cow udders
‘sexy’? I said I hadn’t given it much thought but added,
you don’t see many pinups of naked cows on the sides
of barns or bulls wanking off to them thoughtfully
on sunny afternoons; unsatisfied we pulled over
and did a Google Search, typing in ‘do bulls …’ to which
suggestions came up, such as ‘do bulls hate red?’, ‘do bulls moo?’ ,
‘do they have horns?’ and then the big one: ‘do bulls find
cow udders sexy?’ to which Google replied, ‘no, it’s a human thing’.
and that was that till Denzel Curry’s cover of ‘Bulls on Parade’
came over the radio, and my friend started all over again
* pic courtesy of Wikimedia 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 wasn’t thinking straight.
I wanted an image.
A wonky shopping cart.
But the poem grew too dark, too heavy
way too personal.
I wanted to fictionalize it,
lighten it up.
Then I thought of the pathway
through linear park
with its crazed markings,
the one I had taken a picture of
a year before
the one with the man with the trapezoid head
at its centre.
All I needed was a poem.
He could write it.
It had to be light but still true
to the original concept
of muzzy thoughts.
It went through ten drafts over eight hours
but I got there
& I was amazed how the mind can transmute
into material that almost leaps
off the page.
* picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
can you see the little man in the middle
with the trapezoid head?
he wrote a poem:
‘I’m a little confused. My head is wonky
like a shopping cart with wobbly wheels.
I wave my arms all about
& my feet have runaway heels
If people play hopscotch on these lines
they’re going to have a crazy time.’