A Piece of Paper

When we were poor

you gave me a piece of paper

when banks still issued them

and used what little savings you had

to give me the only thing I was lacking

For you had already given me everything else

That I had ever wanted.

 

I didn’t need that

piece of paper

to feel your love

But accept this one

To feel mine

Finkle Spurrt

Squizzle finkle pop sqirzle

Squish squad

Straining to shuffle into view

With one eye it peeks

From beneath a sheet of gold

So fine

It could have been spun

by intergalactic gold worms

With no fear it appeared

on the way to school

 

It took an extra thick lens and

a super small girl to notice the reflection

Suizzle squire finkle fankle bong

Spurrt splat

The gold had sparked interest

And together they sat

beneath the veil

Hidden from white socks

and little feet

unobserved

 

They spoke of Pythagoras

and how bats like to drink mountain dew

at weekends

just like they do.

XXII

Brats don’t give a fuck

Construction was never in my world,

Too cold to miss the game

Noo excuses might see the lovely Suzie

Lucky Suz I call her

A dead cat stretches out perhaps it’s sleeping

 

Cut this wind to the back of me

Billy should have the hot counter on the go –

A pie on the fly will do me

No point in thinking of home time,

It’ll come soon enough

Longing

I’ve learned not to long for things

Not out loud anyway

In case it makes the pixies

Remember what a sense of humour is

And execute some swift response at my expense.

 

I’ll keep shtum, lips pressed together

Heart beating lightly and perhaps

I’ll permit me an inkling of

Something in my mind’s eye.

 

It feels fake to be needy when

I have more than many.

 

But when I’m sure the pixies are sleeping

Or elsewhere making their special brand of mischief

I might open a magazine or click on a link

I might just allow myself to think

 

Oh about what?

Shhhhh!

Lumiere

It came from the top

I thought we were about to

be plunged into darkness

for the whole evening

But it came from above

I saw the prism fan out

light the screen from the

projector box above and beyond.

 

He had one arm around my shoulder

and I wanted him to let go and

move away completely or kiss me,

Either end of the spectrum

would have been satisfactory

But he did neither

And in that under-lit back row

In the bitty haze of the projector’s stare

My regime took shape and order.

 

Crime would only be committed in

the darkest of basements and

everywhere there was light,

there was hope.

Special dispensation was to be given

to writers and artists and musicians

to use black light to create monstrously

terrifying works of splendour and magnitude.

 

When the lights went up

the whirr of the projector caught my attention

Only one more thing for reinvention.

Apolemia

They begin in single file possibly as breeders with a clone already attached they leave their cars in schoolyards and then again in carparks until they arrive in supermarkets pushing carts with kids in them round the aisles and what looked like one or two have joined up in ribbon formation winding around the legs and in front of the stomachs of all that is non-zooid and it’s different on different days but you can find them all entitled carbon copied assigned their own roles by the PTA battering rams on steroids Apolemia you can almost hear them breathe their name in unison.

Tick Tock Holiday Clock

Tick Tock clock dead

No-one checks what the kids watch

on TV when on their  own

Ring Ring Phone Broken

Doesn’t take any time to stare out into space

so you can do it as much as you like

you will never be late

 

It’s the usual story parents fighting

Gas lighting each other

It’s so common it would feel strange if

There wasn’t a row first thing in the morning

And of course, the beginning of the disappearing

uMhlanga* Rocks or was it Sands?

It no longer matters,

it was catastrophic regardless

 

You’ll love Christmas on the beach

They promised

and we as kids agreed with

whatever was presented upon the table

Traditions and promises weren’t kept in our family

Survival was to be flexible enough to spin on a quarter

and keep smiling far longer than you oughta.

 

Tick Tock clock dead

No one checks on who talks to

the kids on the beach

Ring ring phone broken

Doesn’t take a shrink to analyse

they’re telling lies to us to them again

 

Presents opened on a hotel floor

lack the panache and grandeur

of discoveries at home. In amongst the ordinary,

parcels brightly wrapped,

even as large as a finger nail

would be pronounced magic.

 

There’s  no room to play so toys are packed away

and it’s down to the beach for a holiday

of watching long walks and disappearances

While we played in the surf watching

the adults play tag

 

Tick Tock clock dead

No one checks on who gives out

the memories to the kids to keep

Ring ring phone broken

They had to be so much more

inventive before we attached to technology.

 

(*Pronounced UM-SHLANG-A, in South Africa)

Hang Up

Don’t let her speak to you that way

In what I thought was profound and

sound advice to one so much younger than myself

 

But I confused her all the more

 

I don’t know what it means

She said to me, hesitating,  hoping not to offend

 

It means what it says, I said

 

It just doesn’t compute, there are no pictures

in my mind to explain this phrase, she offered

 

I stood there not getting that the image

I could see, existed only in memory, for me

 

Press off, a red X

 

Ahh!

Suicide by Plane

Said bye to the Mrs and the girlfriend too

It’s a long haul flight – got to get this right

I’m fighting to sit in Business

But it’s cattle class I’m at.

 

Got my sketchpad and pen

Ever since I was a little’un

I’ve recorded what I could see

and when I couldn’t see what I wanted

I invented it

 

Lights on – seatbelt on extension

squeezed around. As soon as we’re in the air

I’m loosening mine, I’m ignoring the sign

It’s coming off, no-one is going to stop me

Sorry? Yes, of course, thank you, click click

 

I stopped taking them two weeks ago.

Which ones? All of them. Had enough

It’s over, nowhere left to run

It’s been such a long time since anything was fun

 

As it takes off I can feel the pressure in my jaw

I wonder which of my teeth are falling out.

I check to see if I am lucidly dreaming

I’m not

 

Ear pops. Chewing gum furiously

But it doesn’t alleviate the pain

Nothing one can do on a plane –

No pharmacy on top deck to visit

Just grin, just bear, just sit

 

It was when the plane was in sharp

incline that I put 2 and 2 together.

When I reached 7 I sketch as fast as I can

But by now the lights are down

 

I always wanted to go to Bangkok

Didn’t know that bucket lists

were an option for the dead

I excuse myself from the sleeping row

I’m on the aisle, it’s easy to go

 

Suicide by plane –

Hit the heads.

Sketch not finished

Just didn’t reckon on this schedule

Skin Food

Where, thanks to the Sun

my skin is paper-thin,

I submerge myself in nature blessing.

Portia’s hand steadies mine as

calendula is applied sparingly.

International, ancient, remedy

devised long before my ancestors

stopped painting themselves blue.

I drop down deeply into a part of me

Only another ancient can be part of this process.

Each time I drop down through

I remove from myself another layer

Drop down through another place

I can forget

Stripping though the dermis

until I am left with my skin, paper-thin

and a kind hand to smooth into life’s

dust jacket, skin food

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