February 15, 2017
I remember the lost skirt of Carlton
Nimble and nineteen, perhaps twenty, I saw you;
velvet A-line, satin belt, and my heart dropped open
knowing how you would swathe me in excellence
hang just right, soft as a crop of Labrador’s dark ears.
Student poor, with a world to change, I stood outside,
longing, mental tongue lapping, dressed in thin dream.
Today, girt in husband’s semi-silken wage,
(and the splendid coin of Poesie)
I could command your like be snipped
to the pattern of sweet memory.
But my waist has grown
along with his pay,
so perfect skirt, in time or space,
will always always
Based on a True Incident, this is a very old, but (I think) unpublished poem. It describes a true first world problem, but both Canberra and Melbourne (of which Carlton is a university infested suburb, or just about) are in the first world, so that’s hardly surprising.
Fashion is interesting in that usually only young people look the best in retro or vintage gear; people assume that middle-aged people have been wearing 50s gear since it was new, and just forgot to change over the intervening decades.
Speaking of change, this seems to mark a difference from the usual socio-political cleverness for which this blog is known by some! And hello to you, dear Some.
December 6, 2016
Young dog cups warmth
into her belly —
lots more where that came from
Old dog limps towards the fire
dreams, remembering bones.
We know of the bones to be.
This poem first appeared at the Project 365 + 1 blog for which I wrote a poem a day in June. And yes, I have an old dog and a very vigorous middle aged dog. People always whinge about how quickly their children grow up, but a fourteen year old dog is not an adolescent!
Now I’m off to attempt to write something, and to paint my nails a vivid sparkly green. Christmas demands it.
April 18, 2016
A ‘brilliant young man’ from Sydney
Unfortunately ruptured a kidney —
For his black jeans won’t zip
Round the tenure of hip,
Which perplexed our ‘young’ man from Sydney.
I am the last person in the world to suggest that people should dress in an ‘age-appropriate’ way, which for women seems to mean a sudden desire for demure suits and mousy blonde bobs past the age of forty. Neither am I inclined to judge people by their size.
But when you see a fellow who is sailing into late middle age rigged out in a grungy something that would challenge a very fit twenty-two year old, well it’s not good, my dear. It’s not good approaching, and it’s infinitely worse from behind. Mental vanity can sometimes be expressed in inability to see the body, let alone to mark its changes. Play and pastiche in clothes are one thing, but black skinny jeans are quite another.
Next week I promise a return to my normal politically astute observations of the world. Either that or more dodgy style tips from one who tends to favour Rorscharch blotches in neon colours.
This series is proving great fun and shows no sign of ever ending. This poem was actually the fourth one I have written, but as the first one was also about a woman, I wanted a man to feature as well! And the third is so toxic (and identifiable) that I may keep that for my own amusement.
You can see which other poets are posting on Tuesday by checking out the sidebar here.
March 9, 2015
A timely monster
And if I could drink youth in
through my eyes — a vampire
of glance, lapping it from
perfect blush of skin —
would it be possible not to
drink and rise, leaving years
like a phone lost in cushions?
And yet, and yet…
before my eyes suck, remember
the rash redness of life
before it wrapped itself in time?
To take, and lose a burden,
is to lift another,
cutting into hands or mind,
like an overloaded bag.
So let them pass, and let me yearn
and learn to stop, just here.
I’ll sit, and plait kind memory
through this smoked nostalgia of hair.
Very traditional matter there, about the passing of time, given a sprinkle of Polidori. I like ‘my eyes suck’. Certainly not over-poetic! Monday was a public holiday in Canberra, so I did a little revision of this poem, and decided to post it.
More and more I find myself unable to wait the months that some journals take to say yes or no to a piece. I pity the editors, but I value my own work more! This blog now has many readers (hello to you all, from France to India to the Americas to Binalong) so why not self-publish?
Of course, I am foregoing the huge piles of pelf that poetry usually attracts, and there are some journals and anthologies that I really want to be part of, but I do like the immediacy of this medium. Particularly when I can find such cool pictures for free at Old Book Illustrations!
Other poets enjoy that too, whether they are posting their own poems, or those of others. Read the works of the other Tuesday Poets. They are definitely worth the clicks.
March 25, 2014
The Coming of Age
Knock knock at the door:
Quiet and insistent.
Not Dickinson’s courtly Death,
taking me for a ride.
No, this is another visitor,
who doesn’t wait for me to answer.
But she leaves three calling cards:
sensible shoes, false teeth,
and a Zimmer frame,
subtle as the Harbour Bridge.
Still young enough, I chase Age
down the curvy street.
I throw the flat shoes at her.
I bite her with the plastic teeth
(puppeted in my hand, please note).
And the Zimmer frame?
It holds up my climbing rose.
How long, though, before
I cling, and shuffle, oh so slow,
with carefully engineered stride?
I’ve been writing a few poems about age recently. This one was first published in The Mozzie, Queensland.
Age doesn’t worry me that much, really. So long as it affects me in no way whatsoever…
The Tuesday Poets have discovered the secret of eternal yoof. Press this feather and so will you. (Note: no promises will be fulfilled. But there will be poems.)