Posted in Antarctica


JB went to university aged 35
he said he felt conspicuous
“ 9 ft tall with red hair
old enough to be their fathers
what do you expect?”
9 ft was an exaggeration
6ft five, with red hair – and prophet’s beard.

Before study he worked in a building supplies depot
insulation department.
thick blankets of salmon hued fibreglass batting
cut into pillow sized wall and ceiling warmers
and colloquial
known as pink batts.

Almost everybody arriving for the first time
said it
he said.
“ Hi Batman …….. heard that before”
upbeat slid to puzzled disappointment.
I told him they thought it humorous
so humour them
apparently humour thins after 1,000,001.

Skua : a migratory gull
South polar skua (Stercorarius maccormicki)
found in Antarctica over summer
a bigger, more streetwise seagull
with less scruples
always the first to arrive at a crash site.
McMurdo, hog heaven for skuas
all those people – and all that rubbish.

It wasn’t always possible to pick first timers
except on fried chicken day
they pointed at the wings and drumsticks
“skua,” and laughed heartily
disappointed with wit’s reception
surprised by our lack of humour.

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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