‘Prison’

Just started working 9-5 for the first time in a year. Hard to get back to the daily grind after book-writing and poetry. Here’s my take on Week 1, with a bit of satirical humour thrown in for good measure

 

‘Prison’

 

It feels just like a prison with no bars

Not being used to regimented ways

It appears like a facility for those

Who need some help re-positioning their days

 

With no card I’m unable to get in

I ring the bell and someone comes to help

It feels like something’s missing from the tree

The bird used whisper happy tunes each morn’

Now no-one whispers anything to me

 

Is it lunch-time yet? I try hard not to look

At the clock – the more I look the less it turns

Confusion has its place in that first week

How the hell, ever, will I learn?

 

I sit and think but sometimes I just sit

Do this, do that, in sequence every time

I sit and think but most times I’m amiss

A sour grape dying on the vine

 

Across the way the grapes are reaping wealth

Their beauty is the essence of the dream

I wish I could attend work by stealth

Nothing’s ever quite the way it seems.

Live to fight

Feet, coloured yellow –

Move at speed –

Shades of green

Adorn the ground

 

Billboards changing –

Take your seats –

We’re bouncing in the round

 

Seagulls take up

Residence

And coach on high alert

 

Dropping veterans

For youth to build –

Fans think it will subvert

 

What once was strong,

Like Coventry –

He was primed

To out-perform

 

Ah, the good old days,

They held it high

But now, they’re out of form

 

The President –

Encompassing –

A culture that is rife

 

With a cold (or is it flu?)

That’s prevalent –

Ubiquitous, despite

 

The ability to cheer

To love what angers some

To shout and yell in support

Of the mid-fielder, on the run

 

He carries the ball down the spine

The team-mate, to his left, is clear

The handpass is perfection –

A hip-and-shoulder, and he’s near

 

The man who carries everyone’s

Expectations in his foot

He drops the ball, he kicks it straight

His goal, the scene-stealer, to boot

 

The scene gives of

Fanaticism –

Objective over-ruled –

Zealousness a special treat –

Tastes like a helix – like a spool

 

Beyond the backdoor arguments

Of avarice and spite

The paper-pushers run an industry

Constructed from the contract’s might

 

The microphone – required

It’s written on the page –

Held out to reach a sonic pitch

That keeps the player sage

 

Back ‘on deck’ and it is tight

Precision wins the game

The difference between

Right and wrong is

Written in a name

 

Will he go on to stardom?

Does he even have a say?

Perhaps! But if, and only if

Free agency’s the way

 

The crowd erupts – the game is won

The team’s theme song must be played

Everyone’s a winner as

The dollar sign’s displayed.

Conjunctivitis

Held together – elasticity

Frail – loosens – breaks

Durable – invested care

Broken – stumbles – shakes

 

Outer wall – extremity

Injured – punctured – hit

Inner sanctum standing tall

Candle – burning – lit

 

Hand once soft and supple

Hand becomes forlorn

Self – trickster – knowledge – bow

Simple conjures worn

 

Tired – tattered – sunset – near

Twilight reflects affray

Brittle, batter – needless – matter

Nearer end of days

 

Quiet into this goodnight

Shout, fight then disabuse

Noise – victory – silence – prayer

Radio on mute

 

Harpsichord sounds sweetly

Orchestral – in good tune

Trumpet – buzzing – breezy

Haunting – droning mood

 

Days – long gone, forgotten

Days – ahead, concern

Aggravate – surroundings

Ponder – protest – muse – unlearn

 

Fortune – future – time to think

Peter – Heaven’s gate

Nicer, kinder, gentler, fairer

Yesterday – too late

 

Away – beyond – emote – anon

Behold – appear – affect – repeat

Regret – surpass – degustate – fast

Allow – surrender – cease!

 

Postscript: a poem that deliberately leaves out conjunctions – those special words which connect words or clauses to make a sentence.

NB: The odd conjunction still finds its way in at times.

Bart Simpson and the little girl

Her feet didn’t touch the ground

Hard when in the air

Dummy was her parents’ new best friend

Brought silence, to be shared

 

Bart Simpson kept her company

Twisties fell to floor

She smiled as she turned her head

Inquisition knocked on door

 

Movement, ever, oh so fast

Tablet entertaining

Attentive of the screen, her own

Made most of time remaining

 

Silently she cried aloud

As if she was on the screen

The tattooed arm of adulthood

Words needless, hardly seen

 

Thongs on table

Relaxed in time

Soon to land again

 

Centrifugal focus

Goes unnoticed

Who was she? Where?

And when?

 

Postscript: This poem was written whilst in a plane on a domestic flight from Sydney to Brisbane. The little girl across the way from me was, as you can glean from the text of the poem, busied by treats, her dummy…and Bart Simpson.

Poem – My bird

The bird seemed to follow my roving eye
As he walked beyond where I lie
He seemed to know, with eye I spy - 
Sitting there that day.

He never seemed to have a care
No matter for how long I stared
Or how controlling was my glare
He was there, it seemed, to stay

He gave out a little chirp
Like page from a book, like an excerpt
Like a song performed at a concert
He flapped from chair to chair

He was regal in nature, and replete
He'd had a little bit to eat
He walked with ease, with those clawed feet
As I got the camera out

I realised the camera was obsolete
My phone would do better, would always beat
The phone's quality, the camera couldn't meet
Of that I had no doubt

The bird stood atop the chair, to reflect
I told him; 'stay there, don't neglect'
Attention sent, ne'er deflect
To bird sitting on the floor

The bird, he turned, to his right
Knowing the bird on the floor was within sight
He waved his wings, as if in flight
Before he moved away

Yet how was I to know he was a 'he'
He could as well have been a 'she'
So long as it was either 'he' or 'she'
'He' must be one or be the other 

Is this a poem or a diatribe?
For until now I've not described
What he (or she [or it]) looks like
And how it came to be...

I happened to be sitting in the rain
Under cover, (heat was hot), the day the same
Noiselessly the day begane
And then continued on...

As bird arrived, with clawed feet
'Hello', it seemed to say, 'we meet,'
Though nothing was said when we greet
We merely doffed our 'hats'

Black and white, with long neck
His eyes, no matter - oh, what the heck!
I still don't know, not now, not yet
Perhaps I never will

But somehow this bird seemed a friend
The way he'd look and turn his head
It's hard explaining, even when
I knew he wouldn't stay

He looked at me, right in the eye
Turned his head from left to right
Never went out of my sight
Well, not now at least, 
Not yet

Looking me right in the eye
Makes me wonder; 'Heavens, why?'
I didn't push, I didn't pry
To find the colour of his eyes
That day when we met

No matter whether rain or shine
With me laying, sitting, there, he's fine
Never once did he whinge or whine
We talked 'bout little things

'Bout the simple things in life
Weather, health, things of that type
Simple things bring pleasure, like
Bring happiness and fun

He's my bird, I hope you see
Black and white, he sat with me
Not away on some pine tree
But close to where I lay

My bird finally flew away
I said; 'bird, I'll see you another day
Even if I'm far away - 
I'll know just where you are.'

I returned and saw you 'round the bend
Beaked, clawed, winged, my feathered friend
We greeted, like only we 
Could comprehend - Our story - 

Close the book...

The end.

Poem – I knew too

I knew that I didn't know
What I'd never known 
Before

I didn't know I'd always know
What I'd had in store

I knew you didn't know
What I didn't know 
You knew

I knew I'd always know
You'd never know
What I didn't know - 
Of you

I hadn't known you'd known
I didn't know you knew 
I knew

But I'd always know that
What you knew of me
Was what I knew of you - 
Too!

Poem – Taxpayer Thomas

Taxpayer Thomas’s wife would be on tenterhooks
Wondering what her husband’s response would be
Would he be dejected, shout and yell
Or would he dance and prance with glee

He’d toil away at a job disliked
To pay his family’s way
So he saw his refund as his hard-earned reward,
‘A reward for my troubles,’ he would say

‘Not just your way,’ his wife would add,
‘But paying for those that cannot work,
Like John & Debbie Tucker,
And poor old Nelson & Mary Burke.’

Tom’s finger pressed against the page,
Against the envelope
Pushed it open, took out the note, and said;
‘S**t, it’s gotta be a joke.’

‘Honey,’ his wife said, excitedly,
‘It’s not like you to be obscene.
What on earth can be wrong?
What can it possibly have been?’

‘Look what they’ve done,’ Tom replied,
‘They’ve added a chart to my refund check.
It tells me where my tax dollars go.
Oh, what the bloody heck?’

By now Tom’s wife was adamant
Her husband had gone quite off his tree.
He hadn’t spoken like this before,
Not since his days at sea.

The chart, it was before him
In colors blue, yellow, red and green.
Twenty-three thousand went on welfare,
He wished he hadn’t seen.

Seventeen billion dollars a year
Went on Disability alone.
He’d seen it in the paper
Yesterday, when he was home.

Tom, (well, the taxpayer in him at least)
Threw the paper to the floor,
And said to himself (as you do);
‘I can’t take it anymore.’

His wife was always careful
To see the other side.
‘How could people less fortunate
Get by,’ she said, she sighed.

‘The welfare system exists for a reason
And we taxpayers pay our share.
But at the end of the day,’ Tom’s wife thought,
‘Someone has to care.’

She quietly put her arm around
Her husband’s shoulder, on a whim.
Gently, surreptitiously,
She knew she could mould him.

Tom’s wife could feel him releasing
All his inhibitions and frustration.
He was no longer concerned, she felt,
About the social welfare of the nation.

At last Tom had come around,
He could see the other side
Until next year (when his refund came again)
And he’d have a hissy fit, and cry.

Poem – Swings and round-a-bouts

Happiness found in day at Fair,

Worry left at home.

Sadness knocking on neighbour’s door

As Concern’s left lying on the floor.

 

Excitement joins Happiness at the Fair –

Anxiety lost along the road –

Sleeplessness found in another’s bed –

Loneliness’ is Gloom – Gloom sees red.

 

Delight joins his friends at Fair,

Tiredness found in nursing home.

Obsession lost in shopping mall,

Misfortune, clumsy, took a fall.

 

Delirium hops on round-a-bout,

Happiness, Excitement, watch and shout.

Pessimism, ill at home, sheds tear –

Apprehension crashes into Fear.

 

Exhilaration on slippery slope, enthused,

Delight, Delirium watch on.

Displeasure sick, taking pills,

Misery rugged up warm, with chills.

 

Paradise at Fair, mates join the throng,

Harmony sings a happy tune –

Optimism enters their world to share

Their pure amusement at the Fair.

 

At home they live in ‘nother world –

Hope lost in spate of Sorrow, Gloom

Whilst the friends at Fair, from swing, get down

They laugh aloud, run into Clown.

 

Paradise yelled out; ‘We’re home, at last

At the Fair we had a blast!’

 

‘But we saw Phobia along the way.

He jumped the fence to get away –

Misery loves company, they say.’

 

Around the house was the smell of Fun

Displeasure, Pessimism, Misfortune, gone

Cloud went too –

As Sunshine shone.

Poem – Oliver

Oliver strolled to the highest mountain
To seek out a magical sight.
It was a mountain greener than the greenest of pastures,
It spoke of goodness and light.

From the mountain-top Oliver saw the cliffs,
Far to the west they stood.
On top a four-leafed clover found
By the wee man wearing a hood.

A clover was lucky, four-leaves to be sure,
So rare that to seek and to find
Would give good luck for time immemorially,
Attached to the finder and to his kind.

A wee little leprechaun has special powers to search
For what others find barely at all.
Faith, hope and love, a three-leaf clover can give
But the fourth leaf keeps one enthralled.

Oliver the shoemaker can hide the clover away
In his shoe, and there it will stay
Until others attach themselves to the little green man
And they try to take it away.

Then the others ask after the leprechaun’s gold,
Pots of it they think he does have.
“You’ll never take it away,” the little man says.
At the end of the rainbow it’s safe.

But the wee little man could not hide the truth,
A lie he never could tell.
So he moved his pot of gold from the end of the rainbow
Down to the water well.

The Jester had listened, intently he’d heard
All that had come from the ‘crowd.’
He had nothing to add other than harmony, verse
And with that he sang this out loud;

“Roll over, roll over, that four-leaf clover
Become the leprechaun’s friend
Roll over, roll over that four-leaf clover
Can’t wait to see Oli’ again.”

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