Posted in Before the Rain


Mum saw it
she and Dad were keen – very keen.
My dissertation supervisor said it was a great opportunity,
thought I had a good chance.
I asked Bill
he performed that phantom movement – hand to mouth,
his thinking pose he called it –
had quit 10 years ago,
“but not a day goes by I don’t want one.”

And then he spoke.
He told me he’d been married at 21.
Two children by 28,
a third at 30.
Said he was 42 now –
I might think that old … “but it wasn’t – just wait ”
and life was good.
for 20 years he share milked,
working 6 days a week,
“14 hours a day … making other bastards rich. ”
And then an obituary –
without rancour or regret
“I’m not old – but I never had a youth.”

At that moment
with his granite physique and beard
he seemed like Moses : a second thoughts Moses,
one who knew sin essential to redemption
–    “go down south son …. fuck anything that moves.”
I took his advice,
it changed my life.



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.