5min pressing a day (#399)


A choir of irises
on the edge of the cemetery
folk who died
from too-much sadness

Did they really do that
Lucas asks him mum

Not really
it is a cemetery for actors
drama queens
people who couldn’t run fast enough

People whose ears were faulty
whose memories were faulty too

She hopes that he will never find out

The choir of iris flowers sings every day
every day
when there is no wind
they sing to all who will stop
and listen

Through the cemetery
a trail of feijoas
each with a bite taken from the side

It goes to the seashore
that path
from there no-one knows which way it goes

The leaves all wait for the wind
to rise
jumping up
they dance as a cloud
like birds
thinks the irises
in the pause between verses

There is room here for us all
says the cherry tree
as it shakes off a few more leaves

I didn’t need them anyway

Watching them swirl
my flowers wait for spring
for a sunny day
and ease the sadness here
looking toward the irises

But the iris have no flowers
their leaves slowly
turn brown
curling in the wind

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5min pressing a day (#398)


It seemed like a good idea
at the time

We would park the piano
at the boatbuilders
and she would build the boat around it

That way it would fit
into the tiny cabin

With just enough room
for the piano tuner to pass
down the side

When we make landfall
once every three months
or so
as we sailed the South Seas

Taking with us the trusty Lee Enfield
that someone had brought home
from a war
many years ago

The stories or war were all terrible
and the rifle sat in the cupboard
all those years

Wrapped in tartan
opened – occasionally
for a new smearing of grease

We would sit on the deck
and shoot seagulls
and fish
unfortunate enough to swim
near the surface

Taking turns
alternately to play Debussy on the piano
and sear our game
in a charcoal brazier
on the deck

When it wasn’t raining
or the waves weren’t lurching
through the wire railing

The Southern Ocean isn’t the best
place for romance
or to retire

We discovered

Instead we found a small house
with a garden
by the sea

as we set loose
our failed dreams
onto the tide

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5min pressing a day (#397)


Two gentlemen stopped
at a motorcycle repair hut
on the side of a busy road

Mr Renggo and Mr Batara
on their way to the fish market

The serviceman
Mr Ahok
prays over the motorcycle
in the hope that it will get better

Whilst the gentlemen observe
the vendor across the road

A cat fight
in full swing
Mrs Rizzo and Mrs Abies
scream at each other

It is about meat
Mrs Rizzo says that the meat
was old
Mrs Abie says
her cat found it delicious
this morning

In the competition for Mrs Abies meat
the often cat wins

Mrs Rizo in her lividity
tears at Mrs Abies corset
the gentlemen blush
imagine its contents spilling out

The corset holds

It is well-known that her corset
is made of very strong stuff

Don’t bother the goddess
with petty concerns
says Mr Ahok

As he hands the key back

Don’t bother the goddess

She is usually quite
with affairs of the realm

Saying that this motorcycle needs more
more than his prayer
maybe you should pay the faith healer
down the road

Or just love it
a bit more
a bit better

Mrs Rizo straightens her shawl
and leaves

They do that every Wednesday
says Mr Ahok
as they push the motorcycle away

Just love it a bit more
a bit better

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5min pressing a day (#396)


By one-fifteen
in the afternoon
managing to get one sock on

The other sock had been nicely straightened
and was resting
draped over the back of the chair

It would only take a few seconds to put on
it is just a matter of waiting
for the perfect few seconds

Perfect moments come only
at odd and unpredictable intervals

They are difficult to foresee

By three the sock had moved closer
to the chair

At four
Bolsheviks marching noisily
up and down the street

They became green
without the influence
of chlorophyll

Don’t worry about them
they come from a place that has

We will lend them our craft

Our dirigible
our inflatable boat
will take them far away

Hopefully to the middle of the ocean
where they will notice a stream of bubbles from the side
as the craft deflates

The world can be a callous and unpredictable place

Asleep by nine
happily inspecting dreams at ten

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5min posting a day (#395)


Making decisions
they had a penchant for making decisions
not good decisions
but strong ones

The strength of the decisions
that’s what was most important to them

Burly chassis

They hadn’t noticed the room
slowly filling
with radioactive decay

Pieces of them
fall off

It will eventually eat them

Nasty stuff this
the cleaner says
wiping some off with her finger
putting her finger in her mouth

Opening the windows
and hoping that it will blow away
doesn’t help

Thankfully my world
is just beyond

Of the decay

A world most noted for
A world defined by

Books and notepads
scraps of paper
with things scrawled on them
thoughts and ideas and dreams

Caught as they flew past

A line of a poem
A line of an epic

The poem will get to the end
we estimate

The epic will
take the slowest possible route

Outside the leaves fall
flowers sprout
watermelons grow fat
all at the same time
as ice forms
around cold hearts

Don’t believe any of it

The aurora falls
into the sea

The cleaner arrives
trying to wash it all down the pipes

All of the notes
and scraps of paper
fragments of dreams

The quicker
we wash it all away
The quicker
we will forget

Some of the ideas are too big
to pass through pipes
and get stuck there
in the plumbing

Ideas prefer flight
they like to be set free

Floating them off
on the tide
will suffice though

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5min pressing a day (#394)


At a cursory glance
the training program
might resemble something
from North Korea
in their darkest days
or the Red Army

But only at the most
superficial glance
desks arranged in a grid

Since we replaced the SAS guy
with someone
a bit

We have seen the most amazing results
at Miss Tiffanys School
for budding pianists
and ballerinas

It seems an unlikely combination
but I assure you
it is not

The new trainer
Von Strom turns the whiteboard around
beginning to erase

Sir! What are McGordons
eye rolling exercises?

Something to break fixation
replies Von Strom
as he erases the board

One of Miss Tiffanys
marvellous innovations
was to invite guest speakers
with extraordinary experiences
of being alive
people who had
been astronauts who had flown beyond
and the possibility of return
mountain climbers
trapped for months
with only their mind
surrounded by snow and ice
political prisoners
left for months
in darkened rooms
polar explorers
who had had
to amputate their own limbs
without anaesthetic
for a while it was tantric yogis
mevlev sufis, zen buddhists
and others
who had intimately explored
the intricacies
of being human

We have retained what is effective
supplementing and
superceding the earlier programs

The next part of the program
bringing the students
face to face
with their greatest pain

Their own pain
and that of their peers

This must be done
with the utmost care

The students are never told
what is happening
they are given all that they need
to feel

When you have done that
found your own way out
of a maze of contradictions
then you can begin
the technical exercises

The ex SAS guy
really was
the most unfortunate choice

The students could play Beethoven
amid a hail of bullets
a cloudburst
of shrapnel

Anyone listening
would be counting the notes
and measuring the spaces

Now Chopin comes to life
watching from his sick-bed


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5min pressing a day (#393)


Some mothers would feed their children
in hope
that they would become clever

They would stand for hours
frying them
until their skin fell off
all of the kids skirting around her
and her smelly frying

For days
the house would smell like fish

My mother was much simpler
she gave us books

Books! What good are they
good only for holding the door open
or closed
on a windy day

We would wring out their contents
and sponge them over ourselves

There are other ways you know
says Normy McNormNorm
my mother would set us puzzles

Us too says Rick
puzzles and problems

Once she drove us into the middle of town
coaxed us out of the car
calling out to us
find your own way home
as she drove off

Mine would simply teach us
how to do everything
that she could do

If she didn’t teach us
then we would watch

The last to speak
at the retired politicians
therapy group

Sighs, talking for a long time
about how all of the problems that we have now
derive from the choices we made then
but they seemed to be the only option
at the time

His colleagues are getting impatient
but what did they give you to make you clever

They bought me spectacles


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