writing

A memory, a conversation. Words written in a quiet, sad moment.

The Sun drops, heavy with life

A cold white Moon ascends.

How often I have been blind to beauty, that falls softly

Secretly, silently,

Like the night dew.

She pointed out the sun to me

Not by making me look

But by showing me warmth.

Too late you find

Too soon it’s gone.

At the quiet moment, a young man asks

What is the best way to love?

The older man says;

With the heart.

Heavy thoughts kill what is important

But what is important always dies.

Time waits, but then steps forward

Knocks down what you have built

And snatches away all wealth.

Two visions

An elderly man stands in the art gallery,

Before a picture of the Virgin Mary, and weeps.

I see him, tears on his cheeks, eyes swelled in red-dreams.

I can only imagine what he is thinking.

The years have washed upon him

In a frenzy, unexpected, unstoppable

Time has stepped upon him and moved on.

Now in front of such beauty, he weeps and in weeping feels sorry

For all the things he missed, either

In long nights at home in suburbs, wondering what could have happened if only…

Or

Merciless nights in bars, finding new lovers, never settling down and finding, too late

That it is too late.

Both, both miss much.

You cannot have it all,

And if you are lucky

At 90, stand before the Virgin Mary and weep.

 

 

This morning, at the bookstore where I meet old friends,

A man shouts into his phone

“We pay the payroll not them!”

He continued beside a shelf labelled ‘Literary Classics.’

“It’s not those guys who call the shots. Well you try it your way and if that works

Then well done,”

he stops before a shelf of poetry, and his hand reaches for but stops mid-stretch

“But I’m telling you; it will not go down like that!”

Speech finished, he hangs up as he passes Shakespeare.

He leans against a pillar as if he is out of breath

Out of life

And then pushing his phone deep into his pocket he takes the stairs,

Ascends to the street,

And is gone.

Something had taken his appetite for reading

A payroll will starve a poet.

Hand on the telephone

Do you get sad, sweetheart?

Sitting in the park rotunda writing on your phone

When a man comes in and sits near you; He smells of wine and faeces

You leave, hearing him cry out as you go.

You tell me how horrible it was at that moment, his yellow teeth, yellow face, black eyes

I saw him sleeping on a blanket outside a café yesterday, or someone like him.

The flowers of the city have been trampled

The trees are wrapped in protective boards

 men work through the night cutting up the tiles

the scream of their drills echo in the city streets as I walk home.

But alone is really alone.

You have to close the curtains because the glow of the buildings

Light up your room

With painful, sharp white lights

I See the white steam rising from the building rooftops

And wonder where she is

Most likely she isn’t thinking of me.

Instead, she has a hundred phone messages to answer

Remember though-

Sitting in the Roman Room of the museum

How she sat and read her phone, not looking up at the 2000-year-old jars.

How that annoyed, how I complained

Those artifacts of human history, made before Caesar ruled,

Are not as interesting as what Michael or Brett are doing.

Close your eyes and forget,

Life is hard enough without recalling the past, reliving regret.

How will you get out of bed in the morning

If you let the fears of life

Sit on your chest like fat angry devils.

 

city

The day I saw God

There are no more Gods

Still, I have mine.

I ask my Gods for help

And I curse them

I have them in the trees and the rocks.

I was busy, thinking about cigarettes and architecture,

Standing on the side of a road

An old man pulls over in a small truck.

He hobbles out of the car, one leg shorter than the other.

A pretty dark eyed woman

Maybe his wife, younger than he is, sits in the passenger seat looking frightened.

“Do you believe in God?”

He asks me.

My mind races, what answer should I give him?

It would thrill me to say no-

To say something mean about it all-

But I say yes I do.

“Good!” he says pleased, and then invites me to his Church.

As he drives off, I watch the woman in the cabin. She is pretty, her skin shines like money.

You don’t own anything

I lost my sunglasses the other day

I’m not sure exactly when,

But they were good ones

Expensive ones.

I think about them occasionally

I wake early, and I wonder where they are

That empty feeling enters my guts

And I feel sad

I tell myself it doesn’t matter.

But it does matter, a little.

I wonder if other people lose things

And if it worries them.

A three a.m. worry, when it is dark outside, and you are missing something

And you look at the other side of the bed

And it’s empty.

I lost her too,

She left me

That feeling when you know you will never see her again,

you remember following her out of the apartment,

seeing her leave through the front door of the building

Into the cold misty morning

knowing that you will never see her again.

And I woke up thinking about my glasses.

Yesterday, while I walked the city streets…

I found a café in a back lane in the city,

it looked like a nice old place, so I went inside

ordered a cup of tea and some toast.

An old woman, dark, with long grey hair brought me my order

and she stood before me a moment and said I looked like a man she used to know,

only I am a little fatter.

 

This man used to live on a farm,

she said,

he would take her for walks along lonely dirt tracks

they would light a fire and make love when the night fell

all in the open,

under the trees.

One day they were married

and he took her to the city.

She held up her hands and showed me the rings she wore,

this one, she said, pointing to a golden ring

is her wedding ring.

Three weeks into the marriage he started to beat her,

and he would beat her at least once a week.

It was the city that made him crazy,

she said.

But he is dead now

his heart stopped.

I’m glad the beatings have stopped.

She stood beside my table for a few more minutes

looking past me out the window.

The lane shone in the weak light,

its narrow spaces made the city seems taller,

but inside the café it seemed like a country town.

I’ve worked here for forty years; she said finally,

quietly

and moved away, leaving me behind in silence

leaving me with her memory.

 

 

Advice on life

Listen, the cop said to me, the thing that really gets you

Is when you’re standing there and their goddamn phone starts ringing.

I mean she’s been dead for an hour or two and her phone is ringing

And it’s on her.

You actually think you should answer it,

But what are you gonna say?

 

Listen, the cardiologist said to me, the thing is

These people have heart attacks

And then we fix ‘em and get them in for exercise

And the goddamn idiots

Actually complain about how hard it is to exercise

And all we ask them to do is walk a bit and maybe ride an exercise bike

And they don’t want to.

I tell ‘em not to eat cheese because cheese blocks up the arteries

I explain to them that they have to watch their diet

And they say

No doctor I really like cheese.

 

It’s riding two abreast,

The paramedic tells me

The cyclists shouldn’t ride two abreast,

I saw this just last week.

One guy knocked into the other

And they both went under the rear wheels of a truck.

It’s safer to ride single; I tell everyone.

 

I gave up cheese and riding two abreast, and I keep my phone on silent

But still, there’s a lot wrong with the world.

People get hard, and then they get crazy.

 

dreams

I sometimes imagine that I had written

To Kill a Mockingbird

or The Great Gastsby

or Catcher in the Rye

or any of those great novels.

Then I imagine that, because of my fame;

all the women love me

and would stay.

But then I remember that all those authors are dead.

What good to me is her love

if I’m underground?