old man & heat

lose the attitude Yolanda
the ersatz face the ageist tag

be my youthful fragrant Jacaranda
my bare and truthful my feral Jezebel

and we’ll do the luscious in the bushes
hoofing hipping dipping

bramble breaking mango shaking
throbbing tropic tango

old man & suburb

in a not quite enough private gap
between one high lego and the next
the imported lad with his motorblade
buzz cuts to first day of Wimbledon priss
the grass the one incautious housewife
bounces from her 11th floor kitchen breadrolls on
for pigeon and mynah queueing up under
DON’T FEED THE BIRDS

order order!
this house will come to order

bottlebrush tops strait waists
skirts stiff as marble
twelve palms six sinister six right
stand wallflower waiting for a wind
too busy fanning mischief on Sumatra
and conditioning the Cameron Highlands
to come and gentlemanly ask for
a not so close if you don’t mind slow dance

old man & shore

This is the first of four ‘old man’ poems

———-

in this place of repair
he’s a net-mender of sorts
patching where chances slipped through
sealing over a catch almost in the hand

a knuckled stick turns shells
he might be lucky with one worth listening to
a story of cunning theft a lover taken
or fugue from an occupied past

rocks sign how they weather
the slaps and fists tides dole out
dumb and bald they wear no blush or pity
they have loose teeth

air scrapes like an old razor
and water combat ready is the perpetual soldier
drumming in his head
blue boy of paintings blue eye of the winner

birds don’t heed his here
chat’s rarely gossip it’s pirate talk what’s for the taking
but young enough a second time to know
he is for a phrase or two their conversation piece

acknowledgement

how usual and how strange
we’re slow to praise
those who share their merit now
but eager for the praise of those after us
whom we’ll never see or know

would that be much the same
and as strange
as if we felt let down
because those before who never knew us
didn’t praise us?

I love you so much…

Some years back, a young pop singer had a hit with his very first song, and overnight success went straight to the boy’s head. His second song, however, never made it to the airwaves, his promoter and the recording company that signed him refused to have anything to do with it, they considered some of the lyrics unsuitable and the title of the song offensive.

Their refusal outraged the young singer/songwriter, at least he claimed he was outraged, and in a local radio interview he railed at his promoter and the record company and vowed he’d not change a single word nor the title; to do so would compromise his artistic integrity, he said. The radio host asked him what was so objectionable and offensive about the song and once again the young man launched an attack on, ‘The morons who can’t appreciate what’s bold and original, who think they know better than the artist,’ and repeated he wouldn’t change a word and wouldn’t compromise his artistic integrity. And he went on and on and on.

By then, the radio host must’ve been wondering if he had any audience left and pressed the singer to get to the point with, ‘I’m sure our listeners would really like to know what the title of your new song is. Please tell us.’

The artist replied, ‘It’s called, I love you so much I could shit.’

you arrive another

suggested by Louis MacNeice’s ‘Prayer Before Birth’

you arrive another
i accommodate

not cosset or indulge
build or tear down walls for
shield from error or rehearse
in wise lies and urges for blood

not mute the voices
that prick you trick you dope you
make much and little of your skin and size
rope you into thinking their certainties
quiet you when you oppose

i lay an ample spread
seas to go down to
giants to look up to
fields to bend your back
hills and soft rain ways to tramp
forests to cool you
deserts to level your head

i offer small days and big
sundry plain dapple a flame within
i ask you be you and be good
good makes sense for all things
evil’s a septic wound of mind

i offer you a chance to love
and many chances to be kind
i offer you an ending

the universe spreads rumours and wild fires
i’m a small safe corner
your bright idea for now
hear me

Just to be clear

When I published ‘natural selection’ last week the agreed price with Lulu Press was and is $9.95. In time, that price may go down but I assure you it will never increase.
Then it came to my attention the book was available on Amazon at $20. I wish to say I did not sanction that nor was I consulted, it seems the people at Amazon are a law unto themselves
and I’m surprised and annoyed they jacked the price up so much, double in fact.
I didn’t publish my book to exploit customers, I published it to share my poetry at what I consider is the fair and reasonable price of $9.95.
I wrote a note of complaint to Amazon and didn’t receive a reply, but I see today they list the book with the comment ‘temporarily unavailable’ – good!
The book is available at Lulu Press, and their website is considered very safe.
Sorry for this note but I wanted to clear the air.
Thank you

john

brick

in her last week she complained
someone had put a brick under her pillow
to stop her sleeping
shifted and griped through the night
a brick under the pillow

tired of tiredness
tired being the only one who’d listen
mad at the absurd princess and the pea
mad at the thief taking my champion
and ashamed of my bitterness
it came to me how i might sweeten what remained

fetched a brick from the shed
slipped it under the pillow when her head was turned
nudged her to attention removed and showed it
with great ceremony and said ‘Gran you’re right
someone did put a brick under the pillow’

she smiled and settled deep and small
almost not there

Publishing Plans

At last i’ve got round to publishing a collection of poems:

natural selection (ISBN 978 – 1 – 387 – 64501 – 5)
Lulu Press/www.lulu.com

My friend David Hightower, poet and author of The Hanging Man Dreams,
has very kindly written the introduction, and Winnie Osborne the back cover blurb.

I plan on publishing a second collection later this year and i’ll stop at that,
two collections are enough.

For some time now, friends have been encouraging me to collect and publish pieces from my
‘bits & pieces’ and ‘out and about’ and i will do so soon.

Best to All

john

spring

break a leg young thing
this is your moment
after all those morgue afternoons
rehearsing old school mystiques
fine tuning your pauses
making each phrase count

your entrance upstage
deliberate slight in silhouette
moving into light and out
making us sit up

a stir
a single shoot
peep of crocus
hiatus
second delivery
you hold our breath in yours

delay the extended arm
purple patch declamation
flourishes of yellow madness
in winterspent fields

in the morning we’ll blog and tweet
your budding craft
your youth