Who Let the Cat Out?

Who let the cat out?

Sleep did.

Sleep lifted the lid.

Let it roam

the alleys and backstreets

of the mind

rummaging through

memory’s bin;

Look what the cat

dragged in —-

half-buried scraps,

dead rats,

old what ifs.

Who let the cat out?

Sleep did.

Enlightenment

I was sitting at Maccas

chomping

on a cheeseburger

reading

what the Buddha had to say

on Generosity:

how it benefits both the giver and receiver

when this aboriginal woman

came up to me and said,

have you got two dollars. For chips?

Sure, I said,

digging deep,

pulling out a coin I plonked

in her hand.

Gee thanks, she said,

It’s my birthday today. I’m 29.

Lucky you. I said. Have a good one

and go easy on those chips.

She beamed me a smile

big as Uluru

& I knew what the Buddha meant.

One Special Place

I thought about what Fiona had said,

the female lead in ‘The Bear Came Over the Mountain’

about her developing interest in Iceland,

how she looked at travel guides,

read accounts of famous writers who had visited,

Auden, William Morris,

but didn’t really plan to travel there herself.

There ought to be one place,

she said,

one special place,

‘you thought about and knew about

and maybe longed for

but never did get to see’

*have you a place like this?

Like Gustav

Which one is he, I say of the quartet by the river. Which one is Klimt?

Oh, he’s the one with the kaftan. He always wore one in public.

And I think, maybe that’s the answer, maybe if I wore a kaftan

everywhere I go people might take more notice, might say,

o, that’s the famous poet, he has a new book coming out.

And I could promenade along the jetty, frequent the famous kiosk

where all the trendy people go; and maybe go the full monty like Gustav

beneath his kaftan painting in his studio so he’d feel less constricted;

maybe that’d do the trick, maybe that’d free my poetry up

Bridges

Not Katherine Anne Paterson’s Bridge

to Terabithia,

the one that Leslie and Jess cross

to get to their magic kingdom.

Nor that bridge too far.

Not the one Over Troubled Waters.

Nor that terrible one on the River Kwai.

Not even the bridges you burn

so there’s no turning back

but that rope suspension bridge

dangling high over the gully

that me and my faithful mutt, Salem,

can’t bring ourselves to cross

photo by Andre Amaral on Unsplash.com

the Bunny Holding the Ball

when someone says, the ball’s in yr court

you know you have to do some heavy lifting.

It’s up to you.

If the shit hits the fan,

yr responsible.

The ball’s in yr court, remember?

I used to play tennis a lot, so the metaphor’s

sort of apt, but I remember tennis as a lot

of to and fro, you and someone else at the other end

but somehow it ended up just me:

the bunny holding the ball.

I can’t even remember asking for it.

How does that work?

Gate-Crashing

Every now and then

piqued with curiosity

I like to visit blogs I used to visit regularly

to see what they are up to,

how well they’re doing:

it’s like gate-crashing a party:

everyone knows everyone else and it’s the same people

there the last few times you checked;

the mood buoyant,

rowdy, rambunctious,

the repartee rapid,

no awkward silences;

you are well out of the loop;

you’re not dressed right anyway

& you barely speak the same language.

Do you dip your toes in, make a comment?

Perhaps not.

Your own blog is doing well enough,

and may be just as intimidating to others

as these are to you.

Every Poem Should Have ….

Every poem should have a welcome mat.

to let the reader know their little house of words

is warm and inviting; is well kept,

a door bell that chimes rich and melodious,

perhaps a garden gnome suggesting fun, quirkiness

and a bird bath out the front, full to the brim,

where yellow-shouldered honey eaters frolic,

to suggest plenty

Skeleton in the Phone Booth

A skeleton from the closet

Phoned the other day

One we thought had been

Securely locked away.





We tried to entice it

Cajole it back in

But that skeleton was

Determined to be seen.





For it had grown flesh

Learned how to live

And clearly would rattle

All the relatives.





This poem was written twenty years ago when first contact was made. It was more a ghost from the past than a skeleton but gradually over further calls it acquired structure and then one magic day it acquired corporeality. I was not there — my partner and I had split up — but I heard about it through others, including my children. Then just last week over New Year we met. This wonderful, warm person is now a part of my life. Thanks to the Marriage Equality Act She is getting married soon to her partner of eighteen years. She thanked me for keeping the lines of communication open and hope alive.

ps that third line in the second stanza still is not right

*have you ever had a skeleton from the closet visit you?