5min pressing a day (#338)


The locals all crawled-away long ago
hiding under stones and in holes
surrounded by large prickly bushes

A nest they share with spiders and earthworms
snails, slugs and scorpions

The sky will never fall on their heads

There are people passing in the middle of the night

The flowers had wilted in the sun
by noon parched through lack of water
without sustenance they will not last long
eventually they will bend
until their flowering head touches the ground

The people walking-by
by moonlight
dark day of the night
clearly their curly hair is related
to some sort of madness
if not the cause of it

They will not stop until their job is done

Coming out at four or five
hundred years into the
empires reign

Having rescued the manuscripts
carrying them past the border guards
some will not make it
turning to dust before being rescued

Disguised as boxes marked
old clothes and rags
or bags of grain
the border guards run their bayonettes through them
before finally letting them pass
not all will survive

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5min pressing a day (#337)


News from across the globe
it rains an ocean of sorrows

So learn to swim

Push yourself out into the currents and eddies
let them swirl you around
and carry you along

Look up into the sky
wash your eyes
in these venerable showers
oceans of rain

Spend the afternoon
washing spoons
carefully straightening the bent ones
others might throw them away
straightening bent spoons is not difficult

A noble activity

If the afternoon has not finished
and the rains keep falling

Then fold things
starting with clothes
folding shirts and skirts
pants and socks
then find other things to fold
bags, bits of paper
crumpled from use
crumpled from neglect

Put the books in order
titles on the spine reading from the bottom-up
arranging the crayons
is always difficult
by size is the easiest way

When you finish
go outside again
look up into the rain
the best way to view the rain
is to look straight into it

Plant some wildflower seeds
and wait for them to grow
if you can’t do that
then knit them
all of the flowers
in the canopy of the jungle

Go inside and start again
throw everything across the room
start folding again

Eventually you will find
you have caused
the rain stop

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5min pressing a day (#336)


Mr and Mrs Renggo
carrying a cardboard box down the corridor
they had been planning to throw it away
someone had told them that there was a place
where they could leave it
for safe-keeping

Unwanted Memories
third counter on the left
after Surplus Love
they’re always busy in there
I tell you

Says the cheerful gentleman
at the Unexpected Disasters counter

We could have simply thrown them out of the window
or taken them out one sunny day
dug a big hole in the ground
and poured them in

They’re not all bad, you know
there’s some really good ones in there
you will look after them
won’t you
we entrust them in your care
Unwanted Memories is that counter
over there

Passing the Misappropriated Affections counter
it is unusually busy there
they were told
more than the usual amount of cases

A letter slot in the door
small packages will fit through
they can be heard falling onto the floor on the other side
wondering if they were damaged
when they hit the hard floor

Things are so sensitive in these parts

There are also boxes-full
often left by the door overnight
or in the weekends

They would have required a lot of time
to carefully package and drop-off

At the Unwanted Memories counter
the grumpy attendant, Jones, mutters
typical! it’s full of other things
Mr and Mrs Renggo shudder
a little bit
thinking that they will have to take their unwanted memories home
and sort them out

Affections with ill-fitting loves
surplus to requirements
free to a good home
I hope you find someone who needs that
says Mrs Renggo

Look at that!, says Jones
distant promises
of future lives
very unusual he says

Snapping suddenly
what are you doing
still here?
go now!

Mr and Mrs Renggo turn to leave
wiping away a tear
we’ll look after them good
says Jones
until you return

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5min pressing a day (#335)


Dorothy and Donald
lunching together
the Ministry of Social Annoyances
and other inconveniences

Dorothy talks about her day
a minute by minute
moment by moment
of the days events

Donald, with no space given
to respond
utters hmmmms, ahhhhs,
the occasional yes
that’s nice dear
at regular intervals
whilst looking out the window
imagining the pressure in the room building
to a grand crescendo
ready to burst at any moment

He will open the door
the words will all fly out
spraying under the pressure
into the unsuspecting environment
swirling down the street
like autumn leaves
the wind chasing them away

Let’s go for a walk

Going down to the art gallery
looking through the glass doors
instead of going in
they will walk around
together – five, ten, fifteen
twentynine laps of the art gallery
Donald describes the intricate fluctuations
of his emotional life
a dramatic landscape
of imagined events
every detail must be described
at least seven times

Dorothy yawns
nodding in agreement
whilst fixing her gaze
on the recently blooming hibiscus
as they walk past it
yet again

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5min pressing a day (#334)


A group of them
sitting in a cafe
there is a large pot of tea
between them
in the middle of the table
various small pastries
in varying states of eatenness

At first I thought it was me
I thought that the publishers and editors
were conspiring against me
they and the literary academics
they say one by one
but then each of them discovered
individually and on their own

It was only literature that they detested
so don’t take it personally
it is a complex situation
having to support
whatever their bosses had told them to support

The literati all look out the window
each taking their own angle
seeing their own little bit
of the passing life

The journalists are saying the same thing
in their camp
they have been replaced
by machines that will spew out facts
in an acceptable fashion
they had the science team build an algorithm for it

I remember in the old days
travelling overseas you’d always get stopped by customs
with your typewriter
it’s not like that now

Too true,
these days they buy their news
from a news supplier
if they don’t make it up

The web people are doing just fine though

Looking out the window absently
do you think it would be preferable
to be run over by a Mercedes or a Nissan
well the Mercedes does have a certain charm to it doesn’t it
that’s what people say
do you think it would be preferable
to be cut down by a handcrafted weapon
wielded by a gentleman
in a suit
or a woman in couture
either way sounds most excellent
do you think it would be preferable
to be squashed flat by a meteorite
a gem encrusted rock
or a chunk of concrete falling off an old building

It has been said
that all pain is resistance

Oh really?
my cup runneth over

Let’s leave this tired scene
go for a walk down the road

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5min pressing a day (#333)


Livingstone and Poynthoven had for a long time been in dispute
certainly as long as either of them could remember

It was all about the origin of prahok
Livingstone had long claimed that he had synthesised it
in his laboratory
buried deep in the bowels of the academy
one Thursday night
after drinking gin
and watching Coronation Street

Poynthoven has his doubts
about the ability of gin to provide that sort of inspiration
it is beyond its ken he would say

As he published photos of his own expedition
into the jungles of Borneo, Siam
and Khmer, where he claimed to have found it

Livingstone looks down the length of
his long nose
in distain
not possible, he says
subsequently publishing contrary photographs
clearly retouched

As for academic qualifications
well that is a red herring
he says
publishing his own qualifications
gown and mortar-board
standing in front of an American flag
‘University of America’
a scroll in his hand
tied with red ribbon

Poynthoven scoffs
at this nonsense
publishing his own photo
standing near the flowering
Bunga bankai
Amorphophallus Titanum
jar of prahok in his hand
‘University of Life’
etched into the photographic plate

They will have their moment of reckoning
in court
both having decided
to call Gordje von Strom
as their expert witness
a move they would both regret

Having earlier seen the prahok growing
on the side of a petrie dish
and before that remembering
scooping it out from inside the Bunga Bankai
later under cross examination to confess
that he had been paid
individually and by both parties
to enhance the photos

Apologising profusely
for the trouble he has caused them

As he walks to the stage
to collect the
Grand Discovery Prize
at the academy
offering them a left-over bottle
of gin
and a dab of quinine
for their assistance
in the successful completion of this project

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5min pressing a day (#332)


The great discourse

Emperor Wu
and all of the others
sit on the edge of their seats

What will he say
what will he say

I don’t know
I don’t know

And that good folks
is the truth

Anyone who says otherwise

Why is the sky blue
except for today
what really happened
ask my lying eyes
who really knows
he does she does
and why is it
that in the great pavillion
of lovers and fools
there is always someone
who will fall off the balcony
into the swimming pool
and as for science and history
what is good and bad
and what will happen next
and why did things happen the way they did
and who was right
and who was wrong
and how can we fix
all of the broken things
that lay at our feet
sweep them up
the broken hearts and lives and things
sprinkle them on the rose garden
and what makes us want it
different from how it is

I don’t know

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