Posted in Rituals

White and Black

Assigning roommates was proof or rebuttal of fleeting intuition
some rules inviolate
only legally married could occupy the same room –
couples not married, long or recently formed
men to the left
women to the right.

Man + man
Woman + woman
night shift + nightshift
roommate+ roommate = get on with it. Most did.
sometimes a clash
sometimes they clicked.

Diane and Alison : nonidentical twins
tall broad and blonde, slim and dark
“ Blocka ” the slim one called the other
‘ blocka.’ Australasian for block of flats –
two story concrete apartment buildings.
“ Miss Alison,” reference to an earlier life as a early grade teacher.

Just as a cocktail party quietens to two people
so to the workplace
I asked Diane
about her roommate’s behaviour
why the predicted hypothesis so wrong.

“ Alison’s always been a good girl
a model child,
perfect pupil,
a diligent student,
an exemplary cadet.
Here no one knew of the typecast
she can play bad girl with no shocked whispers.
She has, 
and it’s fun –
gamekeeper turned poacher… old as sin.”



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.