The poems whiz past like buses ‘Not in Service’.
There is no time table.
No bus shelter.
Only a sign saying, ‘Bus Stop 29’..
Anywhere is good as anywhere else.
That’s what Raymond Carver meant when he said:
Be At Your Station.
Be alert, open.
The deus ex machina will come.
Still, I’ve been waiting here for the last twenty minutes
With the girl with incarnadine hair.
It will be good if the poem or bus pulls up anytime soon.
It is time to bring out the woman in the glove box again.
There are no gloves in there.
But there is Olive,
Quirky , off-kilter as this blog which is perhaps why I like her.
I like her feistiness too,
How she tells her husband,
“Stop shouting! Do you think that makes you a man?”
“All men need to be told this,” my partner tells me
Who likes Olive too.
She is getting the new book, the sequel, when it comes out.
But she is not like Olive.
Olive has a big personality and is not backward in coming forward,
As my mother used to say.
She is curious but curiously vulnerable.
She is the engine of the novel, the fuel, the vehicle
That takes you there.
She waits in the glove box like a car in a garage.
* have you a favourite fictional character?
* what do you admire in them?
Tight-fisted , they are hard
as knuckles and spoiling
for a fight
as they tumble like marbles
on to the floor , little green foot-
balls begging me
to sink the boot in ;
even under the knife
they are tough
as nails covering themselves
in layers like Chinese
boxes or onions ;
they leap around
in the saucepan like
boxers’ fists ;
ten minutes later
I swallow them ; anything
I try writing a serious poem about a relationship break-up
About how gutted I feel
I even get in a few good metaphors
But then it starts going off the rails
The clown in the closet wants to come out and play.
I try to shut him out
But he plants his foot in the door
And before I know it
He’s taken over
pouring out puns, profanities,
double and triple entendres
A real word-acrobat.
The poem’s a mess but he’s having fun.
and so am I.
What the heck!
We horse around a little then get into it.
I just can’t help myself.
Can someone feel like a car?
A burnt out car?
That’s how he feels at the moment.
Run down. Abandoned. Torched.
Oh, he’s bit of a drama queen, he knows
But it helps if you’re a poet.
Conveyancers, Real Estate Agents, Bank Managers
& the endless decluttering.
He always wanted to be a minimalist
So now he is.
And that countdown. Prisoners on Death Row
Must feel it.
The drama queen again.
Less than three weeks now.
He better get on with it and stop blogging!
I was walking through the new state-of-the-art library
Looking for a book of poems, any book of poems.
It was like looking for dodos in the zoo
or passenger pigeons in the sky.
Do you still keep poetry books? I asked the librarian.
I’m not sure , she said.
She had to do a search
Then called the chief librarian who came with a swagger
Looking for that rarest thing— a poetry book.
Here, she said. Here they are.
They were squeezed Between ‘War’ and ‘Sports’,
The whole Western World’s canon reduced
to ten books on a tiny shelf.
And the ultimate irony?
There were more books on extinct animals than poetry.
do you see evidence of the death of poetry?
when’s the last time you bought a poetry book? or borrowed one?
I am reading a manual called ‘The Kite and the String’
Because I have trouble getting my thoughts
off the ground;
They run away from me like that fifty dollar note
The wind caught while I was crossing
the main road;
the writer taught the need to ‘abandon’ and ‘control’;
a kite that lifts and a string that unspools just enough to let the kite
fly happily along
but not so much that it gets caught
In power-lines or entangled in its own tail.
I like that very much.
The kite is the thought
and the string the firm hand of the poet
that keep that thought aloft