It all began a few years ago while waiting in a long queue at the ANZ Bank.
A well-dressed employee would come up to us randomly and thank us for our patience.
I’d say, at the flick of a switch, “I’m a patient man. Just ask my three ex-wives”.
I don’t know where that came from but he chuckled and I chuckled. It was a good line.
Then one day there was a bit of a queue at the library — a glitch in the system or something — and I thought as a spot of entertainment I’d add to the line. I had it all worked out.
I ended up with a relatively new staff member, a sour-faced woman who I’d only met once before, but I wasn’t going to be put off. It was my time.
“Thanks for your patience,” she said blankly’
“That’s okay,” I said. I think she knew what was coming. “I’m a patient man. Just ask my three ex-wives” then I added the new bit, “But you don’t want to listen to them, They’re biased.”
Then she looked me in the face. “Don’t you think, “ she said, “if all three said it independently, there may be some truth in it? You should go away and have a ponder”.
She saw to my request and I went off to have a ponder, unsure who was having who on.”
You wanted time on your own.
It’s time you put a stop to that.
We’re more nuanced together.
Good writers know this.
We’re a team.
Like Bernie and Elton.
So won’t you come back?
You steady me.
Climb on top.
That mangled text
Shot off in seconds: such
Before I met her
I always laughed at cartoons
was astonished before paintings & poems
five years later
I pass the magazine to her,
the one with the crazy cartoons.
Look at this, I say, & she does and smiles
Span our faces & rumble our bellies
like little laughing Buddhas;
Trouble shared is trouble halved,
my mother used to say — but Joy
It is doubled when spent with another.
For too long they have lead a solitary existence,
Moping in corners of the internet, blushing wallflowers
Stuttering if someone even comes to speak to them.
Now all this is changing.
I am introducing my poems to each other,
a matchmaker, if you like, partnering one poem
with another of similar makeup, all in
A single manuscript, a mass marriage of poems,
With the publisher’s blessing.
Together they will lie next to each other
for the ages. All will be invited. Now all
I have to do is pair up like poems,
Nervous Nellies unused to company
* apologies & thanks to Skyhooks
Unstable Cliffs, the sign read. Extreme Danger. Stay Clear.
And I thought of the unstable Cliffs I had known:
The deputy that barked at me when I called in sick,
My cousin’s boyfriend who punched holes in the wall
Whenever he was denied,
And the glue-sniffing Cliff I taught in Year 11 who fell asleep
On the tracks and was run over by a train.
They should have come with warnings too.
“No rest for the innocent”, she sighs —
As she looks out the back door.
“Looks like he’s raping her again.
He’s as randy as Harvey Weinstein”.
“For fuck’s sake, they’re blackbirds,” I say.
.”How anthropomorphic can you get?
And anyway, all things being eventual.
The act might well be consensual.”