Posted in Death


The town was conservative
flat in topography
horizontal of opinion
the workplace a model of the town in miniature
a Monday to Friday Sunday School
well scrubbed, well attired, well attended wellness
speaking out permitted in response – by invitation. Gently.

Except for Steve
scruffy, irreverent, opinionated
Iconoclast in residence. Wise guy extraordinaire.

Steve didn’t belong to the union
claiming unions promoted mediocrity – heresy in a Keynesian Court.
At staff meetings he would flip flippant asides
clenching the assistant director’s jaw
squeezing sniggers from the less brave.
I admired him enormously
his wit
his outspokenness
his individuality.

Three decades and four careers later
Steve is doing the same job
in the same place
is the same wildcard joker

Time knows better
he had rare, specific skills
was difficult to replace.
his barbs mischief, not ideological confrontation
irritating, not stinging
more housefly than wasp.
He didn’t need the union
conditions and pay universally applied.Win-win.
I still like him – a lot
but admiration has ceased
understanding came to know
he was a conformist – a very clever one.



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.