My body alarms me.
It rings two or three times a night.
Who’s in charge here anyway?
Poetry flowed from me
Like water from a garden hose.
Days were diamonds.
My feet horses’ hooves.
Nothing defeated me.
I was sharp as Sherlock.
Prolific as Zola.
I had two hounds.
The wheels turn.
Accept, my friend tells me, Embrace.
Loss is gain.
Now is the new normal.
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 .
I’ve got a poem for you, a very short one, he promised with a garrulous grin, and then, in a long-winded introduction in which all the masters of brevity were cited, he proceeded to demolish the very notion of shortness. The poem took ten seconds, the intro five minutes.
I could go for a walk but I can’t be buggered.
I could check my Facebook status but I can’t be buggered.
I could cut back the bush near the letter box so the postie can chuff past more easily on his motor scooter.
But I can’t be buggered.
I could put more effort in getting my next manuscript together — the editor is interested — but I can’t be buggered doing that either.
I almost can’t be buggered writing this poem about not being buggered.
Would rather curl up in the sun out the back with a good crime novel and lose myself in the plot.
I do not much like her novels.
They are crammed with characters like clowns jammed in jalopies.
But I like her epilogues.
They are lean and succinct, sinewy.
A bit like you, Bev says with a chuckle.
I may not have a novel in me but I have a draw full of epilogues.
And when push comes to shove I can pump out prologues at the drop of a hat.
It’s the in-between bits I’m not good at.
I could leave them to someone else.
Jilly Cooper, for instance.
She crams characters
Into her novels like clowns
Jammed in jalopies