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tiny sparks of the unforgotten

December 1, 2021

tiny sparks of the unforgotten
unbidden, out of context, and quite bewildering

most song and comedy fragments can be found in YouTube
but the conversations and passing comments that have somehow stuck
are not replayable
so cannot be checked for veracity
I must just trust that the recollection is sound
this is potentially dangerous

why these particular ones are stored is as much of a mystery
as why they have been retrieved

occasionally the source of the prompt can be found
aha!  that’s why that’s in my head
but usually it’s
no idea

while we’re on the topic of the unforgotten, the ability to reel off childhood telephone numbers is a life skill of no apparent practical value
but it’s easier than remembering my current number


November 26, 2021

passed by
couldn’t say no

our mutual friend

and of course your voice was in the air
and of course I noticed a guitar on the wall
and of course it fell to the floor
and of course I tuned it and played

the old tunes came out
the beers went in
the crowd similarly ebbed and flowed

another memory
of another night
to file affectionately with the others

hey, did the guitar fall
or did you push it? 

noon rain

November 22, 2021

noon rain
after a morning of January weather
here in the back end of November

we survived the newly recrowded riverside
and traffic shock of water festival and now
watch all those significant dates stand to attention
in the calendar

knowing that it will be a swift slide through
to that January weather – that is
if the January weather will come in January

maybe it will show up elsewhere

for now, though,
noon rain and bacon and eggs
and then back to the screen
to plan and avoid planning
to work and avoid working

those perennials
like the rain

Notes from the metropolis

November 7, 2021

it seems the shouty-in-the-street and
loudmouthed barangs are back in
my neighbourhood

someone’s chicken has a lot to say

I thought of my friend who left in a hurry
and how little she would recognise now

apparently the rains are still with us

most of the old gang of motodops
have returned to the corner

the waves of greetings
give us permission to acknowledge
how much we have missed

building and construction continues apace
at a pace I cannot fathom
so that drilling noise is never actually gone

apparently the rains are still with us


November 2, 2021

the city lights emerge
from the great slumber

we are still a little sleepy
and hardly an eyebrow is raised
when the patrol passes
their uniforms gazing into
gleaming screeens

life as a conduit
which flows through itself
into constant becoming

while questions
still form
beneath masks
the corners and
pavement are
and the simple
pleasures returning
as all our anticipations
are made flesh

we waited
we are rewarded
we are again blessed

the mango lady’s eyes

October 6, 2021

and so they pass and so they pass
the feet and the wheels and the feet
workers, wanderers, nobles and fools
up and down the mottled street
under the everyday mysteries
in the mango lady’s eyes

and so they pass and so they pass
the hours and the days and the weeks
tinkers, tailors, pickers and wastrels
up and down the scattered street
under the givings and the blessings
in the mango lady’s eyes

and so they pass and so they pass
the feet and the wheels and the feet
selling coconut, sugar cane, fruit and fish
bitter and sour, fresh and sweet
under the grind and the gristle
the glint and the glimmer
the glow and the gift
of the mango lady’s eyes

what I couldn’t do then and what I can’t do now, and the wisdom to know the difference: a bit of a manifesto and a bit of beating of old drums

October 2, 2021

don’t tell me life is short
life is unfathomably long
I’ve been an adult for a little over 30 years now
and there’s every likelihood I’ve still got 30 ahead of me

life isn’t short
youth is short

and in recent years there’s been a lot of
graciously giving away the things of youth
and all that jazz
and for sure it’s been long yards since I blushed
with the actual colours of youth
but still
in these dank days
I’m feeling a new welling embrace of the benefits
of adding all those days that turn into years

okay, so some days bits of me hurt that didn’t hurt before,
and then a month later it’s other things
but it seems a worthwhile exchange

steps tend to be surer
even if the legs and feet are less reliable

said goodbye to a good head of hair a long time ago
and now the barber on the corner is always pleased to see me

I warm to different stories now
and when revisiting old ones I am often astonished by them
from this new vantage
even though I see no significant change in my values
or what you might call goals –
writing, making music and fellowship
are still the things that make it all worthwhile

I am blessed to no longer ever spend time trapped in discussions about
real estate
reality TV

I wonder at things I have hard-learned and now rejoice in

I have given up trying to be competent at stuff
only to find that
the competency has showed up anyway;
in the more practical cases it most certainly hasn’t 
but I’m buggered if I’m going to bother with those ones anyway

the nothing-new-under-the-sun principle is more clear now
and the  younger generations go through
the same grinding motions as we did,
even though they’re smarter than we were

we know the lines that they’re making up as they go along
we just still don’t know the lines we’re making up as we go along

funny how it doesn’t work so well in reverse and that
the lessons of maturity only reach us when we’re ready for them

this old cat is still up for learning some new tricks
but he asserts his right to pick and choose

walking placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remembering
what peace there is in silence
and in holding one’s tongue

Lay your ya-yas down for a moment, then resume

August 26, 2021

there is always the beat
but some days come
to muffle the drums

and we are in muffled times
it’s rare to find the hope-filled fanfares
of earlier days

in this our season of uncertainty, surely
so much more important are those
that made the razzamatazz
that gave the pomp its

charlie’s good tonight, i’n’ee? 
charlie’s always good
charlie’s good

a city waits

June 11, 2021

a city waits

food delivery drivers fondle telephones
and vague sentries sit in vague sentry duty
as the time ticks by

waiting for gates to unlock
and doors to swing open
much veneer has had the sandpaper
and fatalism is clear on the rough surface

reds and yellows and waiting for green
in a country where – as it’s often been said –
traffic lights are more of a suggestion

a lethargy born of too much guessing
counting until there’s nothing left to count
haggling with fate is rarely productive

bursts of colour, some will fade, others nervously flicker
on those city blocks where such things are anticipated

on other blocks the answers are clearer: not yet  

things fall apart

May 30, 2021

I have nothing to teach
I barely have time for all the learning I must do

stories dissolve
interpretations develop
facts shrink
things fall apart

necessities and priorities shift and change
imperatives vanish
decisions wither into habits

things fall apart
I have nothing to teach
things fall apart
I have nothing to teach

exposed to memory, worlds warp
while the present steadily congeals into itself
in pursuit of instance

I have nothing to teach
things fall apart

these fragile cannisters of ours contain
all the leaps and plunges and burps and whistles
that somehow we strive to balance
within the invisible maze of rules
that we are promised
we already know
but we don’t
and we barely have time for all the learning we must do

and still the heart will pump
and the toe will tap
and the muddling through is done
to the burbling soundtrack
of melodies weaving/rhythms insinuating/
through the static

and I have nothing to teach
I barely have time for all the learning I must do