The wine had been sitting in the glass
for three hot days
when I poured it
& saw the stain
on the side:
a rune-like mark
Of some sort,
Angel or demon,
The drinker’s version of ‘the writing
on the wall’?
A message from another world?
I look at it long
what does it look like to you?
.Look, she says. Look. There are two moons tonight. Do you think that means anything?
Like end times, you mean?
I don’t know, she says. It can’t be good.
We move closer. There they are above the rooftops, one higher and to the right of the other.
Someone in the ranch-style house switches the porch light on and joins us.
My ex-wife phoned, he says. She saw it too. She’s bit of a sky watcher.
So we stand there out the front as one then the other veer off in a north-easterly direction, silent and glowing as moons.
You haven’t got your head up your arse
Or in the clouds any more, he said,
But firmly secured where it should be.
Atop my shoulders? I suggested.
But my big brother was right.
I was a dreamy kid but when the hormones kicked in— boy!!
My head was every which way but loose.
It was like a beach ball bobbing along
On choppy waves,
A dog chasing after every rabbit which crossed
I’m still a bit like that but the hormones
Are quieter now
& if I don’t watch it I still find myself
Head up the arse or in the clouds,
A head’s gotta go somewhere.
I was worried about whether the passageway would take too long to dry as visitors were coming later so the cleaner suggested opening the back door to let the breeze in.
– Good idea, I said, as I went back into my study and left him to it.
It was then I could hear him struggling, groaning.
– What’s wrong? I said.
– Darn door won’t open.
I went to have a look. He was putting his whole weight into it — and he’s a big man — and still not getting a result.
– Here, I said, demonstrating. There’s a trick to it. You pull the handle up not push it down.
– Well, I never, he said. I didn’t know they still made doors like this. It should be in a door museum.
– It’s an IQ test, I smiled. I wouldn’t worry though. It took me two days to work it out and I live here.
We both chuckled. You’ve got to give people a way out.
Not a flock of seagulls
Nor a murder of crows
But a petulance of poets
Gathered in the conference room
Of the public library
Each champing at the bit
For their turn to read
Not really listening
But when their turn comes,
Oh the words, the words,
Such melody, such sweetness, such wit.
Was ever anything ….
Barely noticing that many who had already read
Had gone home or hit the bar
down the street.
They rattle on regardless.
Where’s the stage manager when you need him?
* ‘They never listened to one another; they were preoccupied with waiting for their turn’ [Jean Stafford: ‘An Influx of Poets’]
I like them too.
I thought I was a basket case
But there’s this thirteen year old
I read about
Who takes anti-depressants
Two drugs for attention deficit disorder
& she takes what I take too.
I know growing up is tough
But I didn’t know it could be
Tough as this.
I could take other drugs,
Ones that she takes
But the doc reckons I’ve got this far
I can go the rest of the way.
I just hope that little thirteen year old kid
Makes it out of the forest okay.
For nights and nights and nights I lay on my pillow, worrying, listening to the rain, even though the skies were clear and starlit and the moon shone through my window like a lantern and I wondered what else I was hearing that wasn’t there or not hearing that was until one day I had my ears syringed with warm water and the wax flowed out in little honey-coloured clumps into a dish the nurse held for me and I no longer heard it rain except when it did.