Posted in Antarctica


My back aches
eight hours bending over a sink
too low for tall people
too high for short.
Washing mixing bowls
roasting pans
cookie trays
the stainless steel and aluminium framework
needed to build meals for 1200.
Echoed warnings from the interview
work is hard – and without glamour.

At shift’s end we move again.
The third night
the third bed
the third building.

or cock up
our accommodation is not ready
the boss hopes this the last temporary berth
but makes no promise
anything can
and does happen – reason never necessary.

Bleak beyond belief
high walled double canvas tent
MASH era
flickering fluorescent tubes cast hostage light.
Twenty 1950’s wire strung hospital beds
ten down each side.
Open plan.

Lights out
dishes whirl past
Sleep bursts awake
directly opposite
in full view
bill boarded by complicit fluorescence
a naked woman.
I thought I’d died and gone straight to heaven.

For the back story click Backstage



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.

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