Bee Music

I am sitting down reading to the drone of bees.

A copy of the TLS lies open on my knees.

We must get a frizzle on, my partner exclaims

Apropos of nothing then goes off again

To attend the roast, while I attend to the Times.

There’s a lost poem by Hardy which clumsily rhymes.

A frizzle or two? Whatever can she mean?

I scratch my head then read once again.

I take another sip of my beloved cab sav

While she takes a pee in the outdoor lav.

Dairy Dreams

As soon as I began reading it, ‘The Ice Cream Palace,’ I began to have dairy dreams.

Don’t you know it is forbidden, I said. I banished you from my diet years ago.

But the dream  pulled up to me like a Mr. Whippy van chiming.

What could I do?

I settled back into my vanilla-and–pistachio armchair and read Gianni Rodari’s deliciously delightful tale.

My eyes greedily licked every sentence.

I scooped the words up with pleasure.

They melted in my mouth.

The residue ran down my chin in rainbow rivulets.

Come Closer and Listen

I reckon if someone calls a book, ‘Come Closer and Listen’ they ought to have something to say.

Something vital, urgent, new. Provocative.

I leaned real close and listened. I wanted to be shocked out of my stodginess.

Take something away, to share with my mates at the pub Friday night.

Something revelatory.

But there was nothing.

Admittedly the poems are well crafted, And there are a few good ones

and even one stand-out poem but that’s it in 60 + pages.

But really it’s the same old stuff as in the previous 10 books.

God help us, we;re all in danger of repeating ourselves and if I do I pray someone

calls me out.

But it’s like I said of the Seinfeld book.

You coulda done better, Charles. You coulda done better.

That Person in my Head

There’s someone walking around

inside my head

padding around in his slippers

wondering

what to do with himself:

should he write a poem?

read another chapter of ‘The Freedom Circus’ ?

write a witty comment

on Beth’s ‘Wild Sounds’?

What?

Another episode of ‘Father Brown’?

it wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t flush

the toilet so often

or go to the fridge.

Look, it’s ten o’clock, I say to him,

could you please

settle down

so I can get some sleep?

The Cookie Man


[in honour of National Cookie Day in the U.S]

I used to give my Sydney Morning Heralds

To the Cookie Man

for his customers to read;

they’d devour the weekend papers with their cookies and cappuccinos

and dream

of the Harbor City they’d visit one day;

and I’d go away feeling

I had spread some wealth:

the Saturday supplements:

Food, Fashion, Film, Fun —

The Land of Plenty

& the Cookie Man would give me

the thumbs up;

Then one day

He was gone,

The whole edifice had crumbled

Like a cookie.

Now my Sydney Morning Heralds are looking

for a new home

& I miss the cookie man

Lost Books of Childhood

Not read ‘Alice in Wonderland’?

Not opened ‘Charlotte’s Web’?

And you say you’ve read 1000 books

& claim you are ‘well-read’





Not read ‘Wizard of Oz’?

or ‘Where the Wild Things Are’?

Never read ‘Peter Pan’ or heard

of ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’?





But you’ve read Robert Ludlum,

everything by Wilbur Smith

and you’re into science fiction

& all of its What Ifs?





Go in The Secret Garden

the Grimms wild, weird woods

& get thee to a library & read

the lost books of childhood.





* what children’s classics have you not read? [I’m about to read ‘Charlotte’s Web’ for the first time. I’ve seen the film J ]

The Reader

There’s only one way to live in the world —and that’s to stay alert, interested.

So I couldn’t help but notice the reader in the pub sitting at ‘our table’, vigorously engaged in his book. He was dipping into it with his biro, busily marking passages, totally oblivious to his surroundings, And he never had a drink in front of him.

I went over to him.

Hello, I said, I’m a fellow reader. I just have to ask what book it is that’s got you so enthralled?

Ah, he said. Let me allay your curiosity.

And then he showed me.

Christ, I said, it’s a bit crumpled. Like it’s fallen in water.

It’s a well worn book, helaughed. And Christ is right. Look at the title.

I did but I could barely read it. Can I take a shot? I say, to show my mate in the wheelchair.

Of course, he said.

Is it fiction? I asked.

No, it’s factual,well researched, about the devilish goings on in the Papacy and in the clergy in general. Terrible things went on. When my friends bring up religion I whip out my book and quote passages from it.

But it’s condition?

Ahh, he said, I read it in the bath and sometimes it’s fallen in. And sometimes it’s been left in the rain and I have read it a few times. It’s an old book. It was battered when I bought it. Would you like to borrow it when I finish?

Awfully nice of you, I said, but I might give it a miss. Too much else on my plate. Are you by any chance an old Catholic boy?

Yes, he said. How did you know?

It takes one to know one, I said. Happy reading.

Accent

I don’t mind her reading passages from ‘The Secret Garden’ before breakfast each morning , if only she didn’t go around the house the rest of the day speaking with a Yorkshire accent

*have you read ‘The Secret Garden’ or seen the film?

*when’s the last time someone read to you?

*what’s the most difficult accent you’ve had to contend with?

Fridays circa 5p.m.

There’s nothing I like better doing

than sitting here in a quiet corner

of the pub

with my Mongolian beanie on

waiting for my mates to rock up

while I have a quiet read.

I know it smacks of vanity

when I pull out my iPhone

and scroll through my posts,

reading what I said, what others said,

how many likes I got.

I like what I wrote and how I say it:

the long, slouching sentences,

the laconic phrases

[Hey! I’m an Ausssie]

the odd syntax here and there

[ like the first line of this post ].

One should be as comfortable in one’s voice

as in the clothes one’s wearing.

I like the merry banter of patrons in the bar too,

the warm embrace of companionship

as I like to gather my poems around me

like boon companions

until my real friends, my flesh and blood friends,

turn up

This One’s for Ginge

celebrationx

 

I’ve just been informed it’s World Turtle Day.

As usual I’m a little slow off the mark

But I’m sticking my neck out now

writing a poem to Ginge

in his tiny turtle tank looking out at the world

I’ve been reading him some famous turtle poems
including Robert Lowells’ Waking in the Blue

but Ginge and I are shaking our heads:

the only turtle reference is ‘I strut in my turtle-necked

French sailor’s jersey’.

but the one by Mark Doty has a few really good lines:

‘a snapping turtle lumbered down the centre

of the asphalt like an ambulatory helmet’

Ginge liked that

I read him a few more but their meanings were slow

to emerge

Perhaps that’s the point.

I hope he likes this poem.

I’ve been working on this one all day but I still

haven’t got very far.