Front Yard Thoughts
He sits listening to the Sunday-buzz
Of distant mowers, drifting
From well-kept lawns nearby.
He heard a sigh, and turning, he sees
A young mother, exasperated,
Looking down at her tiny companion.
The child, eyes lowered, stamps a foot,
Waiting to be berated –
A scolding that never comes.
The mother, then aware of the loud attentions,
Says nothing, lifts the infant
To her bosom, and continues on her way.
He leans back in his chair and allows
The sun’s glare to warm his upturned face.
He closes his eyes.
For a few moments he chases the sun-spots across
The inside of his eye lids.
But soon, they too, are gone.
“It is days like this”, he says to himself
“That it is truly wonderful to be alive”.
He knows he is right.
The Sunday papers are thicker than usual,
Dumped on the grass, wrinkled by dew.
He begins to read of far-off places.
Even the horror stories: war in Iraq;
Fail to dampen his sense of well-being,
He pities those who live in fear.
But remembers that many of those he holds dear
Still make their homes on far-away shores,
Well within reach of Osama’s claws.
Who should he thank for his position of safety?
Surely not God, Jehovah or Allah?
For are They not the cause of so many wars?
Or are they just names to explain the unexplained?
To justify why we are so afraid
Of thunder? The Ocean’s fury? Or a hurricane’s ire?
He doesn’t know, and even those with faith
Cannot be sure.
Not until the end…
Instead he thanks Providence, because surely
Not everything, as some would have it,
His smile flickers. Realisation. Like a pot-smoker,
Who looks up at the Milky Way
And is daunted by the insignificance of his life.
It is not paranoia. Just truth. He will die.
And in that moment he will be alone.
And, unless there really is a god, that will be it.
He shuts his eyes again, and again
The sun’s after-glow warms his heart,
As does the sound of surf on the nearby beach,
And the laughter of children in the park,
And the aroma of fresh-cut grass,
And the sweet smell of burning charcoal on a backyard barbecue.
He thinks to himself:
“I was right first time…
…It is wonderful to be alive”.
Voice of America
Furtive whispers in the dark,
Scattered voices and footsteps
Padding carefully across boarded floors.
I am not meant to be here!
This life is not for me!
Bruises don’t rub off.
Pain won’t wash away.
Scars of an inner battle,
Apparent in the cold light of day.
But who to hate?
My life is still before me!
It’s still not too late!
The voice inside
Cannot be heard by others.
And the voice outside,
Mutters unkind words.
Exorcise my body!
I have not my own volition!
Looking for answers
In a world full of questions.
Separated by condition.
Spare me this therapy!
Ignore this tradition!
Body taped and bound.
Burnt leather cuff.
Cold steel to bare skin.
Forehead, nose, chin.
“Give your son to redemption?”
“Your son?” Then these are your sins!
Adultery in a small town
She looks wonderful as usual
Wearing a flowing, summer dress,
Whipped up around her knees
By the gently-blowing breeze.
It shocked the community
When everyone found out,
That this vision of loveliness’
Honour was in doubt.
She had ever been the doctor’s dutiful wife,
Lucky to lead such a wonderful life.
But life, they say, has many turns;
It seems, this time, she took the wrong one.
He’s a carpenter by trade,
Salt of the earth, a no-frills man,
His wisdom and knowledge he took
From experience not books.
His wife is god-fearing,
(perhaps less afraid of the devil –
An unspoken observation based
On her penchant for sloe gin’s taste).
A small, demure mother-of-three,
That rules the home with a certain tyranny,
Remained unaware of her husband’s digress
Even though her bridge partner knew.
People have often murdered for less,
But in this tale there’s no crime of passion;
Just a broken heart set free,
A small price for adultery.
Whose heart? It’s not hard to guess –
The doctor’s wife shamed,
Falls foul of her beauty,
The seductress is blamed.
The carpenter an unwitting accomplice,
Hooked by the warmth of her kiss,
Is allowed back home,
He knows he has used all 9 of his lives.
So what has become of the doctor’s wife?
Did she continue her wonderful life?
Not so, someone always gets hurt,
In a small town no one forgets this kind of dirt.
The doctor’s brave face
Was soon replaced by a gloat,
When he got the house,
The car and the boat.
In fact she got little, in summation,
Nothing more than a bad reputation.
How she wished for the anonymity
That she’d have enjoyed if she lived in the city.
Extraction from unconsciousness
Comes at a cold, wet price.
The obsequious voice remains.
An unfamiliar scene is blurred,
Viewed as through an insect’s eye.
A perspiring face hovers above,
Slowly becoming clear.
Hard table below, prostrate
With an etheric odour.
Uncertain memories return.
A second, propitious, face appears,
His voice less servile,
No rancour in his manner.
Questions are asked.
Synaptic Impulses fail,
Cordiality begins to fade,
A frown deepens; a trace
Of frustration crosses the second face.
Anger creeps unbidden into his tone:
Accusatory inquiries seep into
Awareness. Confusion still holds sway.
Pain receptors boil
Corporeal mud pools.
Breathing comes through a mask,
Consciousness quietly slips away.
Alert. Stirred by a loud mechanical hum,
Newborn eyes reveal a halogen crown.
Haloed with white light, insertion
Begins. Propelled deliberately into
A gleaming Formica™ tube.
Confusion has been replaced with curiosity.
Forced paralysis cannot restrain the eyes,
Scanning the interior for clues.
Anxiety waits patiently to appear
Then enters stage left
When the purpose is clear –
A cerebral scanning device.
Scanning for what?
Injury or malediction?
Floods back into consciousness.
Fingers tighten in a cotton grip,
Contracting muscles, evidence
Of the ache within.
Sound of comfortable shoes running,
Replaced by the din
Of frantic ancillary staff.
A calming, baritone voice
Takes charge and administers
Slow awakening. Clarity.
Blurred eyes brighten.
The perspiring face and unctuous voice
Once again hover uncomfortably close.
No questions. Just wretched answers.
Cannot ignore, tear ducts comply.
Eyes blur anew.
Salt beads drip like acid
On auto lacerations.
Grief, regret and sorrow,
No relief from drugs.
Ears fill, saline plugs
Blocking out horror
Cannot rise. No warm embrace,
No empathetic bosom in which
To hide. Night falls within.
Numb. Cold. Scarred.
Surgery will not prevail
Upon such wounds.
Continue to haunt even now.
Time has not healed all.
Buried memories skulk
Off stage. Life spent
Avoiding their cue.