You Really Have to Lift Your Game

You really have to lift your game, I say to my poems:

pull the finger out, push the envelope, think outside the box;

you’ve been resting on your laurels too long.

Other poets are doing amazing things with words,

smashing them together like neutrons in a Hadron Collider.

Get this: ‘these widowed months’, ‘the dents of highway laughs’,

and my favourite: ‘the soul is a runway for anything willing to fly’.

Whew! they say. Is that all you can say? I say.

Will you try a little harder? I say to my poems. Come on, guys.

For the Home Team. They look a little hesitant, abashed.

I don’t know, they say. It’s just not us.

We’ve been through this before. Okay, okay , I say. I’m sorry.

Just be yourselves. Just occasionally, Huh? Would it hurt?

They look at me. Give me the thumbs up.

Then I play them Slowly Slowly’s ‘Jellyfish’ as a stimulant.

They light up, move to the music.There’s hope for them yet.





* quotes from Bob Whiteside’s blog: naïve haircuts

On the Hop

Did someone throw a switch?

One moment we were out of the woods.

The next in.

We’re going in hard, fast, early,

the Premier said.

And that’s how it happened.

Six days hard lockdown,

stricter than Wuhan

or Melbourne.

Pubs, schools, businesses.

Even the police were caught

on the hop.

Who decides these things?

.Hard, fast, early.

Then three days later

we were out again.

A lockdown based

on a pizza worker’s thick crust

of lies.

Even my grandson in Vienna

heard about it.

Did you?

We’re the Easter Bunny State

where decisions are made

on the hop.

In Which the Dog Loses His Cool

I’ve got a bone to pick

with you,

says the dog to Mrs. Hubbard.

How come when I go

to look

there’s no food in the cupboard?





No meat, no cans, no biscuits.

Why there’s not

even a single bone.

And you have the cheek,

the temerity

to call this place a home!





It’s not as though you’re

the old woman

who lives downstreet in the shoe.

Look around. You haven’t

any kids to feed.

There’s just me and you!





Whatever can be the cause

of this

outlandish state of affairs?

Why if I was goosey goosey gander

I’d kick you

right down these stairs!

I Had Left the President Outside

I had left President Trump outside.

I don’t know what got into me

but one moment I was reading about him

in a New Yorker article a week before

his fall, and I remembered I had put the oven on

& forgot all about him. The ex-President

was having a hard enough time without being abandoned

on a plastic chair with a cold southerly sweeping in & being compared

to Nixon a week before his fall. How the mighty have fallen, Shelley

might have intoned so I did the decent thing and brought the magazine in

where conditions were more conducive to the ex-President. Besides,

with the hail beginning to clatter outside, I wanted to finish the article.

The Poem Outside my Window

There’s a beautiful poem outside my window

a shrub two and a half metres tall

with coquettish purple flowers

and a little frost of throats.

There are other colours too

lavender and white

a trinity of colours.

It has a botanical name, of course,

though I much prefer its common name:

Yesterday. Today and Tomorrow.

I’ve written about it before but not like this,

Yesterday was our 215 th day with no community transmissions.

Today we have 20.

Tomorrow?

We watch the News Bulletins, updates from the Chief Medical Officer,

Blooms of anxiety.

Viral blooms.

Torpedoes

I want to make a bee line for the shop —

there is panic buying again —

but my bowels won’t let me,

Please let me go, I say.

But my bowels are recalcitrant.

When they get in this mood there is nothing

you can do.

I threaten them with torpedoes,

my moondrop grapes

but they grip their fists even harder

against the attack.

So rather than sit and wait & twiddle my thumbs

I write this little poem.

My bowels immediately relent.

There are enough bad bowel poems out there

anyway.

Mine does not want to be added to the list.

My bowels heave a sigh of relief.

You Hear a Noise

You hear a noise. It’s past midnight.

So what do you do?

You hop up, turn on a few lights, tramp down the passageway. open and close cupboards, bang doors, make a lot of noise.

Then you stop and listen.

There it is again.

Those bloody mice, you say, though you’ve seen no evidence of any.

It’s nothing, you decide, nothing. House noises.

You head back to the bedroom, turn off the lights.

Someone taps you on the shoulder.

The Impossible Task

I gave it an impossible task

but it was my mind

what could it not do?

There was a song

we’re talking way back

I thought the early nineties

an oddball song

with a female lead

and a bouncy backing group.

Can you work it out?

No?

Nor could my mind.

It bugged me all day.

There were some nonsense lyrics

but the song was catchy.

Any idea yet?

Nor had I.

I took a Bex and had a lie down

then the initials KLM came into my head.

Hang on, I said, aren’t they the initials of a Dutch airline?

But I hopped up anyway and keyboarded it into my laptop.

Have you got it yet?

Well, what popped up were the initials KLF.

Now do you know?

Then the name of the female singer came up, then the band then the name of the song,

one of the most oddball songs ever to become a # 1 or 2 all over the world.

Go and check it out on YouTube.

I did and yes I did get up and dance

and I was taken back to MuMu Land with Tammy and the KLF

all over again.

  • have you ever undertaken a search like this with so little information?

More Lamb than Hedgehog

My mentor told me how to write a poem about slippers. Make it easy, he said. comfortable and cozy, warm, no prickly bits. More lamb than hedgehog.

I had a girlfriend once who forbade me to wear slippers: ‘Next thing  I know”, she said, ‘You’ll be wearing a dressing gown, reading cozy murder mysteries and shuffling around the house like an old man.”

My dogs when they were puppies took a violent dislike to slippers, tearing them apart with a vitriolic zeal of which my girlfriend would have approved. For years I walked around the house in loafers until the puppies grew up and out of their habit.

Whenever I hear Bing Crosby sing White Christmas over the PA system in his hush puppy voice I think of slippers. Slippers are like bean bags for the feet.When you slump into them they have the feel of home.