silent partner

this morning I remembered myself
as a small boy
stretching to greet the day
with hands that could capture sunlight
or think that they could anyway

it took me by surprise
and I admit I almost cried
to think that when I breathe my last
he will be there by my side

my silent partner

3 x 13

the day is pale with frost
birds huddle together on the wire
like paid mourners

the nurse told me I had mild concussion
and let me go
thirteen stitches seemed unlucky

that was thirty-nine years ago
three times thirteen
I do the sum
I count the cost

the day is pale with frost
birds huddle together on the wire

thirteen of them

yardarm

life grows thinner
with the thinning of my hair
I’m as unenthusiastic
as elastic on old underwear
socks that won’t stay up
pills that won’t go down
is there any decent reason
I should really hang around
except to watch the sun
till that lovely moment when
it goes over the yardarm
I can have a drink again

[first posted Apr 4, 2015]

Ithaca 4

Birds play ocarinas on the roof
as I lay here and bargain with the truth,
on my island in the dazzling blue,
crickets doing whatever it is they do.

Ulysses once stood upon this shore
and tried to rouse his mariners once more,
there were no sailors left to raise a sail,
warriors grown thin and worn and pale.

Truth must have its way from time to time
and bludgeon you discreetly from behind,
I’ll deal the way I’ve always dealt with truth
while birds play ocarinas on the roof.

map reference

when history crumbles
so does everything

we are nothing but a list
of names
dates
map references

I remember the addresses
we have lived at

and one persimmon
on a bench between us
where we discovered
fruit
too astringent
to be enjoyed

wrinkles

everyone knows very well
when a tortoise loses his shell
then everything goes to hell
everything goes to hell

oh misery misery me
I’m as wrinkly as can be
and a book is no company
for the evening

now the girls won’t give me a look
what fun can you have with a book
wrinkles was all it took
just wrinkles

[first posted 25 August 2014]