Posted in Death


Margaret shouldn’t have got the job
by logic she was runner-up
second choice
second best.
Her references were good
but swiss cheese work history
solid with gaps
“ chefs,” she shrugged beaming
it’s what we do, work and travel
travel and work
a great ticket to see the world.”
Despite the willing vivacity
there was something of an underdog about her
backing the underdog  ….. such a human reflex.  She got the job.

In other times she would have been labelled gay
she had that quality – gaiety.
bossy, in an endearing way.
An individual. An unreformed smoker who enjoyed football
and rode a motorbike – 650cc
arriving and departing cigarette in one hand
helmet in the other.

The delegation stood at the door
two or more, storm clouds. Always.
“ about Margaret
could you speak to her …….. about body odour.”

It wasn’t easy. She was unaware and hurt.
How is it that summer can end abruptly
passing directly to winter without autumn
cold and dark.
Standards declined. Sick days rose.
Counselling. Warnings. Dismissal.

Six months elapse to an unexpected question
“how old was Margaret?”
39, recall thought
a quiet woman wonders if this is her
in the back pages
……graveside service today 2 p.m.’
it is yesterday’s paper.

If only
Later I learned of the psychiatric history
and admissions
It relieved me of the stalking guilt.




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.