Gambit 1

Gambit 1

She’d been there.
She’d have walked
those waxed floors,
looked down at her feet
to see her face distorted
in the elbow-grease
of sheen and shine.

Alone, she was, all alone,
abandoned.
Tonight, on her birthday,
I feel the chill hand
of her sorrow
clutch my heart.

Who can reach in,
who can melt the iceberg
rising beneath my ribs?
Who can warm chilled bones,
charm lost feelings
back into throbbing life?

Gone, all gone,
lost, forgotten, forsaken,
abandoned
on those same ice floes,
where she walked on thin ice,
with the darkest depths
calling out to her from far below.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor
Gambit 1

Comment: My mother, had she lived, would have celebrated her 109th birthday. Watching Episode One of The Queen’s Gambit, I was overwhelmed by what my mother must have felt, all those years ago, when she lost another child. Did she actually feel and think in manner portrayed above? I’ll never know now.

Eclipse

Eclipse


Was it a total eclipse,
or just a partial eclipse,
that sky the likes of which
I will never see again?

I do not want to see,
let alone experience,
the mushroom cloud
that descends from the skies,
then swells up again
to embrace them,
leaving my ashen body,
a bleak, black shadow
on a brick wall.

Meanwhile, back in my kitchen,
in the lull before the storm,
I wait and wonder if my world
and all within it
will be eclipsed.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Eclipse


The Way

The Way

Old Roman Road
Puerto del Pico


I sought the way and thought
I had found the way, but now
I feel I have lost my way.
Long walked I in shadow and sun,
hard Roman road beneath my feet.

Then I found bleached beach sand,
heard the sea-gull’s piercing sound,
walked sun-path, moon-path, bright
across a shimmering bay and knew
that by chance I had found my way.

Then came the way of ice and snow,
Hudson Bay parka, the ski way,
the snow shoe way of winter boots,
and still I believed, eyes wide open
that I knew I was still on the way.

Now my feet are old and slow.
Blood runs cold, bones ache,
head spins, heart is an ambush,
lungs throb and clutch at air,
head in hands I sit in despair,
hoping to be found,
draped over a shoulder,
brought safe to flatter ground,
comforted, and set again on my way.

Click for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
The Way

Monarch

Monarch

I saw a monarch butterfly today.
A slow soul at summer’s end
slipping, fluttering quietly away.

This has become a regular trend:
scanning the obituaries every morning
in search of yet another lost friend.

Sad, this morning, to be mourning
the passing of someone I never knew,
a butterfly, lost, at the day’s dawning.

The news brings few things that are new,
with talk show hosts, all self-engrossed,
going on and on about the privileged few.

Monarchs and butterflies will perish too.
I soon will join them. Just like you.

Listen to Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Monarch






What we want ….

What we want is Watney’s

It’s surprising how TV advertisements stick in your head, well, mine anyway. I can sing so many, from so far back. I remember going into a pub in England and standing at the bar. The barman asked me what I wanted and I said “Worthington E”. He looked at me in a funny fashion and said “We ain’t got any”. So I said “A pint of Watney’s please, Draft Red Barrel”.

Well, if I ever did. People around me were spluttering with laughter and choking on their beer. “Gor blimey,” said the barkeep, “What planet have you been living on? They stopped making that stuff generations ago. Come on,” he said, “Try again. Pull the other leg, it’s got bells on.”

“Well,” I said, “”you wouldn’t have a pint of Moosehead would you? Or Molson Canadian?”

I settled for a pint of best bitter. It was okay, but it wasn’t quite the same. And then I discovered Old Thumper. I’d never heard of that before, but it certainly was the best thing going.

The Water Tower 8

The Water Tower
8

Circles within circles and wheels within wheels,
the restless gears always churning,
we both know how it feels.

Some call it a gift, some call it a calling,
but we who follow the creative way
rarely know the how and why
of who pushes whom with what,
nor when, nor where, yet still we try
to scale that ladder, to reach that sky,
and always will, until we shrivel,
give up the creative ghost, and die.

Even the water tower frowns
when I write ‘die’. Yet death will take us all.
Tombs and tombstones will crumble and fall.
Monuments, their words carved in stone,
will fall sideways, perish, and die,
their words erased by the sandpaper polish
of wind, snow, hailstones, sun, and time.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
The Water Tower 8

Starless Night

Starless Night

Night without moon, without stars.
Dark sand dropped filling my mouth.
I walked the lonely bed of a dried up river.
When I stumbled in my dream,
my feet left no marks on the sand.  

Colorless was my path
through shadow and shade
where a thousand figures of darkness
danced before me,
hollow their eyes,
their mouths black caverns.
No flesh decked their bones
and no night birds called.

Footless the earth worm
sighed a sibilant song.
Mindless he drew in a net
full of sorrows, silver fish
darkling losing their sparkle.

The dusky shawl of knitted dreams
wrapped itself around my shoulders
and I picked at knots of tangled memory
that bled like fresh wounds.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Starless Night

An Experiment Gone Wrong

An Experiment Gone Wrong

Not everything turns out the way you want it to, and some experiments are total failures. Just look at the poor snowman in these cartoons.

On the left – “I won’t believe in global warming until April or May.”

On the right – “April May be too late.”

Oh dear – all those crows and doggy dump time. How embarrassing.

As for me, I tried painting today with my paint and draw kit on my computer. What a disaster: I handle a mouse even more clumsily than I handle a paint-brush. I was going to publish the ‘first attempt’ as a warning to others. But it wouldn’t convert. So I looked for a better idea: no innovation and back to the tried and true.

Oh Moo of little faith.

This isn’t a poem, so there’ll be no sound track with this one. “Oh brothers and sisters I bid you beware – of giving your heart for a snowman to tear – especially when the sun is warming the air.”

“Do you like Kipling?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never kippled.”

Mirror Image

Mirror Image

I am the one who throws his hands up
into the air to join all the clocks that stop
at midnight, when the moon is full, and ghosts
patrol the streets in search of their loved ones.
I am also the one who leaves this place,
and returns to this place, all places being one.

I think I know who I am, but I have my doubts
when I shave. The razor rasps across my chin’s
dry husks and I see the bare bones of eye-sockets
staring back at me from my bathroom mirror.

Three witches dance on the soap dish. One spins
the yarn, the second measures the cloth, while
the third reaches for the razor that will one day sever
my thread, poor earth-bound, time-worn creature
that I am, born only to one day die.

You too must one day see yourself in that mirror,
oh fraudulent reader, my lookalike, my friend.1


1 oh hypocrite lecteur, mon semblable, mon frère – Baudelaire.

Listen to Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Mirror Image

Comment: A whole week since I last posted. Nothing much has happened. I have been writing, revising, and critiquing the work of my friends, but I have posted nothing. I regret the absence, the current lack of commitment. I guess power losses, T-storms, rain and storm watches have something to do with it. Also the current nature of the world – for avoiding reality, in all its forms, including the poetic, is sometimes the easiest path to take.

Garcilasso

Garcilasso

“When I stand still and contemplate
the path that led me here.”

I see purple arrows
painted on the corridor floors
their sharp ends
pointing to the treatment room
where the machine’s stark metal throat
waits to swallow me.

I shed my Johnny Coat
and lie on the bed.
I mustn’t move
as they adjust me
tugging me this way and that,
in accordance with the red marks
painted on my belly and hips.

Then they raise my feet,
place them in a plastic holder,
cover me with a thin cotton sheet,
and leave the room to take refuge
in the safety of their concrete bunker.

With a click and a whirr,
the bed moves up and in,
the ceiling descends
and claustrophobia clutches.

The machine circulates
weaving its clockwork magic:
targeting each tumor, scrubbing me clean,
scouring my body, scarring my mind.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Garcilasso

Comment: It all happened a long time ago now, but one never forgets. The desire to reach out and help and comfort any and all sufferers is still with me. This is the link for my book, A Cancer Chronicle.