Posted in Passages

Business Hours

A local restaurant one evening, phones still stationary,
not yet clever and unleashing the plague –
He came in late, sat in the corner, alone.
There were several furtive glances,
then an almost Mexican wave –
a ripple of nods of agreement and eye contact –
yes, it was ….. Billy Connolly.
It took a while … then a patron found courage –
approached him, taking a napkin or menu to autograph.
No problem. A smile, a few words and a handshake.
The single drip became a trickle,
then flow,
then torrent.

The wait staff intervened,
but the star waved them away.
talking to all who wanted to talk –
the night grew late and food cold …
……. until no more.

generous and patient,
someone remembering before fame,
who had not forgotten
draughty provincial halls, budget hotels, cheap motels
and camper vans.
Being undercard and captive to agents,
and two or three shows a day, everyday
contracts drawing blushes from Shylock.
Or those passed on the way up,
the ones lacking talent or luck – faded pasts
leaving him to continue, lonelier
courteous with his current status
not curt with the encroachment upon it.



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.