Posted in Chutzpah


Unlike many
he didn’t have to lie about his age.
Almost all his friends and workmates did,
not to buy alcohol,
go to an R-rated film,
or a bar
but war : 18 was the minimum, he was 19 – a veteran.

They didn’t think of it as conflict or
only adventure ….
a trip to Europe, then home by Christmas
– he was: five Christmases later.
Travel, yes, Gallipoli, France, Belgium,
England twice for hospital
and Canada on the way home.
A lonely trip home, unfamiliar faces
most embarked with not there, no longer of this world.

At home in the South Seas
the small towns of his home province hosted the returnees,
parades, ceremonies and dances.
At one
an attractive auburn haired young woman
they catch eyes and dance
an address is given, perhaps a kiss.
He visits the next afternoon
the door is opened by her mother, bearing a rifle
and telling him to be gone in, the direction from which he came.



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.