This page is where I share some of the pieces I most enjoyed writing.
Blames, maims, defames
Propaganda of the unprincipled
(Cinquain published in Yellow Moon 20, 2006)
WHILE YOU LIE SLEEPING
While you lie sleeping, I inhale your breath
And trace my hand elusively on yours.
The night, as inescapable as death,
Engenders every fear the heart deplores.
For once you were the strong and supple tree
And I the budding sweetly-scented graft.
We bound ourselves together faithfully
And bore the fruit of this most tender craft.
Throughout the years we’ve weathered as the boughs
That battle wind and thunderstorm and drought.
No roots could anchor firmer than our vows
Though in the end all human flesh gives out.
Two lives conjoined so perfectly as one
Not even death can surely bring undone.
(First Prize Poetry, Scribblers Literary Competition 2012)
RED COAT REVELATION
The coat is fire-engine red. Silver buttons march single file from neck to hem, fending off winds that would burrow beneath your clothes like persistent maggots.
Otherwise, it’s a Plain Jane. Functional. Here to do its job, no more or less. You want to dress it up with designer scarves, cute hats and stiletto boots – that’s your business. It has enough to do to keep you warm without pandering to your vanity as well. Your numb fingertips are no match for pockets that could nurture a young marsupial.
As you admire your reflection, you realise this is a coat that promises nothing it can’t deliver: a veritable shield against the slings and arrows of outrageous winter weather.
You’ve wasted money on fashion and fads – trench coats only suitable for Inspector Gadget, bomber jackets with less padding than your own hips and checked fabrics that turned you backside into a table for four. While you tried to keep up with the trendies, your bone marrow solidified like an ancient glacier that even global warming couldn’t thaw. If only you had a coat like this you might have been a different person – someone warm and contented who could go out and socialize on winter nights without a hot water bottle strapped to each leg. Your relationship might have lasted longer than a mild dose of flu. The road to success might not have terminated at Centrelink. And the GFC (Ghastly Family Christmas-in-July when you told your relatives exactly where to stuff their turkey) might have remained a fond reverie. Such a coat could have saved you from emotional and financial ruin.
Even now it seems to admonish you for your rebellious ways, like a parent whose long-ignored advice is finally acknowledged.
You’ve learned you lesson. Solemnly you draw your credit card from its hiding place.
(Originally published in Fair Copy, Official Newsletter of FAW (NSW) Isolated Writers’ Regional, January 2011)
My favourite place is my back yard;
There’s lots of things to do there.
The only trouble is, you see,
Next door’s cat loves to poo there.
I may be playing basketball,
Slam-dunking with preciseness.
My foot collides with something soft
Of questionable niceness.
A cubby ‘neath the trampoline:
There’s nothing that could spoil it
Except when kitty set her mind
To use it as a toilet.
I could be kicking soccer goals—
A future world contender—
I slip and slide in messages
Where kitty is the sender.
I did my best to turn her off
From corners she was craving,
Put old tea leaves and orange peel,
The cat kept misbehaving.
I tried it all and nothing worked.
The kitty wasn’t shooing
‘Til one day Dad brought home a pup…
Now I pick up doggy doings!
(Original version published in Laugh, Chuckle, Smile Anthology, Vol 1, 1996)
THE PHYSIO’S TALE
Sick people flock to hospital for care,
Relief from pain and surgical repair.
But lurking in the space known as ‘The Gym’,
The physio devises treatments grim.
If she must work, her patients should as well:
No leniency shown for fainting spells.
And pain won’t kill you, yet she might agree
That several hundred squats could sting your knee.
She’ll have you do them anyway to spite,
Although she seems remarkably polite.
So when an operation on your gut
Is why your abdomen is widely cut,
She’ll make you huff and cough until you cry
And think that, frankly, you’d prefer to die.
She’ll exercise you till you beg for help.
Her mission is accomplished once you yelp.
No wonder inmates pray for discharge home
Before their panting mouths erupt with foam.
In case you think my tale a little wry…
A physio like me would never lie!
(This poem was a finalist in Yellow Moon’s Chaucerian Challenge in 2004. The brief was to write a modern version of the 14th century Canterbury Tales. I resubmitted the poem to another competition in 2010 and was placed last. The judge’s comment began, ‘This sad attempt at traditional rhymed verse needs some serious physio of its own…’)