Stuck in the Moment

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Once I was stuck in the moment.

It was like being stuck in a lift.

I was going nowhere.

Not even up and down.

There was no way out.

No alarm button to press.

No keypad.

I tried not to panic.

Tried smoking a cig.

Humming a tune

Studying a fly on the wall

Studying me

Reciting my nine times tables

And then suddenly SNAP

I was out of it.

I don’t know how long I was in it.

It did have its moments

I must admit.

But you wondered if you’d ever

Get out and join

The flow of life again.

Running Jump

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What seems to be the trouble , he asks .

I cough and splutter all over the place .

He gets the message .

Sits down to write the certificate .

There , he says , handing the form to me . This should do the trick .

I peruse it quickly .

There’s something missing, I say, why I had time off .

That’s right . If you had Alzheimers or a social disease would you want

people to know ?

Certainly not .

My point exactly .

But I thought you had to put something down .

No , he says . And if they ask , tell them to take a running jump . Better still , tell them to phone me and I’ll tell them to take a running jump . Only in stronger terms .

He stands up . Shakes my hand .

 

The next day at work I hand in the certificate .

He’s right .

They see the blank space but no one says a word .

I push it a bit further .

On the official form , the one you fill out yourself , where it says Illness I put down ‘See Certificate’ .

It feels good . It really does .

I’ve found a new way to treat with the world .

Waiting to be Called

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Please Wait to be Called,

The sign said

So I did.

I waited and waited

At the head of the queue

outside the pearly gates

And when, growing impatient,

I stepped forward,

St. Peter held up his hand:

“There seems to be some problem,”

He said.

“You’ll have to wait a little longer,”

I stamped my feet a little

When a light flashed overhead

& a door opened behind

& I was whooshed back

To the operating theatre where the surgeons

Had revived me

One step from paradise.

That Helicopter Kid

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There was this kid who stood at the back of the class

When I came to read my poems

And whenever I got boring he’d rotate

His arms like the blades of a helicopter

& the more I banged on the faster

His arms would whir

Until it looked like he’d take off

 

His teacher and the other kids paid him

No mind.

 

In the pause between poems he’d say,

You done yet?

And I’d say,

Almost.

And he’d say, Good and slow down.

And when I stopped, he’d stop.

The eagle had landed.

 

Whenever I do a reading I see

That kid at the back

His arms set to rotate.

It keeps me honest.

Falling Short

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I thought of the times I had fallen short.

Let the side down.

Not been up to scratch

Been urged to pull my socks up,

My finger out

To take a good hard look at myself.

But I was always a few kangaroos short

Of a top paddock

So it didn’t get to me like it could have.

And anyway you can lead a horse to water

But you can’t make it drink.

 

All My Poems Are Getting Married

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For too long they have lead a solitary existence,

Moping in corners of the internet, blushing wallflowers

Stuttering if someone even comes to speak to them.

 

Now all this is changing.

 

I am introducing my poems to each other,

a matchmaker, if you like, partnering one poem

with another of similar makeup, all in

A single manuscript, a mass marriage of poems,

With the publisher’s blessing.

 

Together they will lie next to each other

for the ages. All will be invited. Now all

I have to do is pair up like poems,

Nervous Nellies unused to company

 

* apologies & thanks to Skyhooks