APAD 10: Gorn swimmin’

Gorn swimmin’
At the end of me workin’ day
I stops at the beach
ditches me boots
and the rest of me clobber
’cause the sea is me joy
When he was younger
before he was too old
he’d take us to the beach
not that he’d ever swim
he’d rest on his stick-to-fold-out-seat thingo
and watch us play
in the sand
in the shallows
and we, both him and us
would beach our troubles away
The funeral was as good
as funerals can be
a long life well-lived
a well-loved
we walk to the fishing club
tell stories old and new
as the water pats gently at the sand

At the Dog Beach

At the Dog Beach 
On the broad ankle-to-knee shallow
women tuck skirts into knickers
men clasp thongs behind their backs
children skip and splash
dogs stop         and go
twist and splash
greet and flee
On the far edge
beyond the wreck
where the sea floor drops away
and the setting sun golds
the distant silver city scape
a man yells and curses
as his dog frolics
the beach is not yours
he tells another couple
people like you wreck it 
for everyone, he repeats
and curses again
What’s going on,
I ask my companion
who has spent the last minutes
watching the remote-controlled plane
and marvelling
at how long it has stayed aloft
his dog is out of control
he says they say
We search the sunset beach
for a patch of sea
deep enough to wet our dogs back

APAD 8: On the Train

On the Train
Three teen boys open the door from inside,
then loudly call for gratitude
from the gorgeous girl who enters.
At her non-response, they swagger
in body and voice
past where she sits,
then on to the next carriage
One frequent traveller
calls each station,
pre-empts the voice-over instructions
to remember to touch on and touch off.
What was that? she asks
of every unexpected noise.
A student scans a submission,
his companion a quiz.
Hospitality workers sigh
their work before them
and behind.
A couple field chat
from a woman who yawns as punctuation
in the conversation she is really having with herself.
Others sit in silence, eyes down
left to their own devices.
The sun shines on,
the airconditioner blows
and on the track
a sparrow chases a moth.

APAD 7: Before

In the fold of the hills where we lived
shadows moved but never disappeared.
On the ridge behind the house was a rock
sharpness worn by sea winds.
We sat there most Sunday afternoons
after Mass, after Sunday Lunch
and dreamt of the wonders
the sea would one day bring.
Look at what you have, said Ma,
not what you lack,
not what might come.
But after the crop failed again
even Da looked to the sea,
because what we had then
was not enough to save our family.

APAD 6: What Nonsense!

What nonsense!
Look in the puddle,
what do you see?
I see a crocodile looking at me.
Her teeth are sharp,
her tail curves long.
Oh, no!
Look in the puddle,
what do you see?
I see a hippo looking at me.
His mouth is wide,
his teeth are huge
Oh, no!
Look in the puddle,
what do you see?
I see an elephant looking at me.
Her trunk is long,
her feet are huge.
Look at the sky,
what do you see?
That big, shining sun
will vanish them soon.

APAD 4: That Feeling

That Feeling
when there are less pages ahead
than you’ve read
when you can’t read on
but you can’t stop
when you are unaware of the words
only of how they make you feel
when the story lifts the window-shades on so much ugliness
shines barely a salt-pinch of hope
when the ending is too far away
and too too close
when you are gob-smacked, breath-holding
utterly wrung-out
when you finish
when it’s done
when it’s over
yet still you carry it, chew it
think it
talk it
even when you are sure you can never write again
because you will never be that good
drink it share it live it
because this is how it’s done