Posted in Rituals


Her mother told me.
She was too gracious,
too dignified to relate self-acumen
would have thought it boastful
“skiting,” was how she’d have classified it.

The manager of a busy totalisator agency
managed to convey she wasn’t, but
perhaps teller supervisor.
In pre-electronic days, the time of punch tickets
more than occasional, less than often
a punter came in for winnings –
winnings from a ticket that didn’t … seem quite right
might have been altered – ex post facto.

Then auntie would say
“ I’ll just get the manager to check this ” –
wait five or seven minutes
nine times out of 10, the punter had gone,
if not
she would say,
“ the manager would like to send it to head office
come back on Wednesday,” or whichever day after tomorrow.
Nine times out of 10, they didn’t,
if they did,
she paid out.
Her branch had lowest fraud in the country.



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.