Shut

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Perhaps I’m missing out, I thought, but the more he banged on about his lathes, routers and table saws, whipping out his mobile snaps of bench tops, bread boards, dodgy cricket bats and the blocky blokes around him in the Men’s Shed, I thought not and when he finally asked me what I did and I said chirpily, I write poetry, conversation shut down like a roller door.

An Off Day

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He was having an off day.

No reports came in.

The odds were heavily against it,

Astronomical, in fact,

But there you were,

Blue moons, black swans, a win

In a billion dollar lottery.

They happen.

But it didn’t help his mood.

Perhaps he should stop wearing black.

Lighten up a little.

Wear something trendier.

T-shirt, chinos, loafers perhaps?

He had become something of a cliché.

What would his boss say?

Would he be let go? Demoted to Accounts?

He was not a pen pusher

But a man of action.

His shoulders slumped.

His scythe dropped.

He let out a sigh.

No one had died on his watch

That day.

Creativity is a Terrible Thing

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Creativity is a terrible thing,

He says,

When it gets you in its clutches.

It won’t let you sleep, rest.

It jerks you awake,

Kicks you out of bed,

And before you know it

You’re at the keyboard

At 3 a.m.

Belting out a poem

Belting through the bleariness

To get it down

Then head back to bed

Where it starts again

The brain twitch, the jerk,

The plummet into wakefulness.

You don’t even make a living out of it

But it’s the way you’re living

The gift, equal curse

But when that sweet chariot swoops you up,

Oh the rush, the voltage,

That gift

You’d trade your grandmother for it

Were she still around.

Standoffish

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Your poems are standoffish, he says.

You put fences around them to keep

People out,

‘Trespassers Prosecuted’ signs to keep

Your poems secure,

Guard dogs patrolling the perimeter

Snarly with menace.

Call off the dogs, he says

Open up your poems.

What are you afraid of?

People got to walk around.

Let the sunshine in.

You’re supposed to listen to your writing coach, right?

Okay, okay, I say

As I take down the tall palings

One by one.

Put up a Welcome sign.

It’s a little scary for me too.

 

Elephant

 

 

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It looked like it would stomp any minute

trumpeting in terror from being woken

after all these years.

What had we done?

What if it went berserk?

Trampled on our good intentions?

Pooped all over the room?

[Have you ever seen elephant poo?]

Or, worse, collapsed on one of us like a slab

Of cement?

 

A Long Angry Pair of Trousers

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You could hear them growling

as they came up the street

bristling with fury

mumbling obscenities

the long angry pair of trousers.

They were rumpled.

They were crumpled.

They had had a bad night.

They did not want to be there.

On him.

Anywhere butt.

They were positively scopophobic

but he didn’t get it.

so they squinched his anatomy.

soiled the cuffs.

Had he not noticed?

But they were all he had

So he wore them

Those long angry pair of trousers.