Posted in Chutzpah


It opened onto the loading dock,
where the trucks, growing more quickly than the planners planned
squeezed in, unloading all the goods needed for 24/7 surgical hospital
– the door used by tradesmen and service staff –
kitchen, laundry, cleaners,
the better dressed, better status-ed staff used the main entrance.
Upstairs downstairs
more front door, back door.
It was for some, where they made their last exit
where the solicitous hearse, masquerading as a suburban station wagon
waiting patiently,
had right of way.

In these times I would act as a form of security
keeping access clear and shooing away lingerers
easy normally, word travelled the building like water,
from a burst main,
for most etiquette or superstition found reason to be elsewhere.

The fruit and vege man was relentlessly cheerful,
always a big laugh and a quip,
a barrow boy literally
pulled in alongside and proceeded to wheel in sacks of onions,
cartons of lettuce, oranges and bananas,
just as the undertakers wheeled out that distinctive
zipped bag stretcher :
“ Gee, that’s how I feel today.”



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.