Peeling an egg

An off-white speckled egg
The shell complete
Seamless, impenetrable
Heavy in the hand.

The first crack on the bench
The satisfying crunch of shell
Like feeling the marriage cup shatter under-foot
Reminding me of all relationships
Where tough people can be vulnerable;
Where to be resistant to forces from
Sudden piercing emotions
Makes it easier for cracks to grow

I dig at the crack and scatter the
Lightning traces, the fragmentation of the shell.
Some bits drop to the bench
A scattering of off-white lies and half-truths
Shared secrets that bind us together

The soft white cushion
Bounces robustly in the hand
I look for the opaque lining of denial
Around the white surface, roughly
Tug so that the protective shell that has caged the egg
Can be lifted off
bits of egg-white cling to the fragments
Elements of trust and belief that
Permanently attach to the armour
Of lies

I tear like a hungry animal
Careless in my greed
And end up with an imperfect shape
The egg-white pocked like a moon.

The honey golden glow of yolk
True love’s fertile centre
My prize
I devour it to strengthen my love
Like a cannibal absorbing the strength
Of his enemy.

Old man talking

A half finished roll-me-own

One end chewed and soggy

The smoke rises and falls of

Its own mind

Hanging between two fingers

With the intention of falling

But not the commitment

 

His rheumy eyes

Clouded with pain killers

Masking

A faded photograph

Moving, peering

Like moles not quite

Breaking the top soil

A wet tear irritates his skin.

 

He pauses

Sniffs coughs puffs

Wheezes

His brown black teeth

His too red gums

His tongue constantly breaking

Through dry lips

An annoying inquisitive child

 

His voice rasping and crumbly

Like a burnt biscuit

Never straying from

The pattern of half

Lost words and merge memories

Laughing at unsaid jokes

Breaking when his thoughts

Scramble for coherence

Or when he realises

There is no one sitting near him

And he is the island

In the sea of practical sofas

In his adjustable bed

In the dark

 

In his soul

He dances through his memories

Preparing.

 

Everything Ended

Everything ended

And then it was quiet

The dust settled into the cracks

Fine particles of disbelief

Torn pieces of votes

Ripped in disgust

The shuffling of shoes fading into

Half-forgotten echoes.

A gentle breeze

Made of collected sighs

And the faint splashes of tears

It was like the air after

Thunder and lightning

Tore a hole of discharge

Vacant and desolate

The bush after a fire

Lots of burnt trunks

And smoking branches

And no hint of regeneration

A dead starting point.

 

Spiderweb at Dawn

Glistening spheres reflecting

balancing on silk

Scattered on a spiderweb

 

A cartographer’s map

Towns and villages

at the junctions of highways

 

A close examination reveals

It’s all the same town

Each drop, a slightly different angle

But all have a mountain in the background

A building on the right

A spreading tree sparkling with dawn

 

The web is a multiverse of decisions

The spheres branch into discrete outcomes

In one a tavern closed forever

In another a tavern sleeping

Before the day awakens

Another globe, a mansion on the cusp

The owner rising from slumber

All the same man but not

All the same building but not.

 

Does silk connect decisions and outcomes

A pathway to travel between them?

Is the spider predator or guardian?

To catch the travelling morsel

To protect the lines

So that each decision plays out

Before the sun evaporates the outcomes

 

If this is but one web of a multiverse

Then there must be more

 

Each web collecting

Each web reflecting

Each web existing.

Adventures with Dad Jokes

This is a compilation of three stories I told on Facebook’s Dad Jokes Australia Page.

1. Got my son real good. He was talking about his maths exams and how he had not prepared for it. He had to calculate the surface area of a cube. So he guessed the method and was confident he got it right, Next he had to calculate the surface area of a shaded part of a trapezium. I waited until he finished describing the method he used, once again he guessed the method. Then I pounced….

I asked if the trapezium had wings
He said “Dad, don’t you dare complete that thought…”
Of course I ignored him.
“Because that would be a flying trapezium.”
“OMG Dad, that’s terrible.”
But wait, there’s more….
“And since you took a risk on the question” I continued,
“Dad, I swear I will jump out of this car and roll roll roll”
“Would that make you a daring young man on the flying trapezium?”
“Dad you tell worse jokes than any of my friends telling bad jokes.”
Was worth every second.

BTW he passed the test, but did not ace it.

2. My wife, my daughter and I were driving her to school. We were travelling through some bush and that prompted a conversation on bush craft, and how Dad (me) was terrible at bush craft. I said yes, I am terrible at bush craft but your mother was great at it, so great that she new the names of trees. Without thinking my wife said “Yes I do….That’s Fred, the one next to it is John, Just past that is Roger….” Daughter and I cracked up.

3. A great way to annoy your son during a game of Uno. Any time it was his turn to play I said “pick up two, Thomas” ANY TIME. The first and second time he’d stop to look at the cards. After that he got very annoyed and sometimes got quite flustered. The payoff came several times during the evening. I had got the right card and said “Now I can quite legitimately say “pick up two, Thomas” before playing the card. One other family member played the card against me and I got in “Now it’s my turn to pick up Two” But the biggest payoff was the laughs at the constant repetition. Best. Game. Of Uno. Ever

 

Discussion: Arctic Crossing

Last Saturday I went with my family to Castle Hill library.  It is one of the best librarys in Sydney.  There’s a lovely cafe off to one side, easy to read signs on the bookshelves, books sorted by genre and classification (of course), really comfortable seats, and an innovative children’s area with a wooden castle and a great wooden dragon hanging from the ceiling.

While we were there, we met a lovely woman.  Wendy chatted with her about back pain and the like.  She was going to a meeting.  It turns out it was a meeting of the Fellowship of Australian Writers (Hills Chapter) and they were having a one off workshop at the library, which was not their usual meeting place.  They invited me to join them for the poetry workshop.

The poetry workshop was hosted by a Canberra poet.  Her theme was the use of colour in poetry.  One of the exercises was to write a six-line poem using words and colours provided.  The colour was in the form of a paint sample sheet, the word was written on a small piece of paper.  This was an exciting idea.  I received “Arctic Crossing” as a colour, a kind of muted off-white and the word “Cloud”.  It was almost too easy.  I conjured images of clouds swirling like penguins over a frosted landscape, and hence the poem.  I now suddenly realise that the act of penguins swarming like that belongs in the Antarctic and not the Arctic.  But I’m not going to change the poem for that.  Call it artistic license.