Posted in Rituals

Mouth and Money

Without responsibilities –
wife, children, school expenses
the elephant at the table –
mortgage: 14, 15, 16 percent and climbing,
it was easy to say,
“ I wouldn’t put up with that shit.”
Seasonal worker … just for the harvest
rent – cheap – tiny,
minute, even for a 1-bedroom cottage
the rest for groceries, booze,
and what the locals called wacky baccy.
Often I caught the looks –
sometimes  I saw envy,
on other occasions, memory.

An orchard
in a small town with not much else on offer
six permanent staff and owner
everybody knew had a menacing loan –
he’d made sure
and would often say
“ I’ve really only got work for five ”
and most days
at 3:45 pm,
4 pm,
4.10 pm,
give each a task he knew would last
60 minutes, 45 minutes, 30 minutes
finish was 4.30 – no one dared.



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.