Who let the cat out?
Sleep lifted the lid.
Let it roam
the alleys and backstreets
of the mind
Look what the cat
dragged in —-
old what ifs.
Who let the cat out?
I was sitting at Maccas
on a cheeseburger
what the Buddha had to say
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,
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.
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,
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?
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
Not Katherine Anne Paterson’s Bridge
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
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,
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?
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,
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?
Your own blog is doing well enough,
and may be just as intimidating to others
as these are to you.
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
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?