Posted in Before the Rain

Face Value

It was the question of a child.
“Why is Angie’s Job being extended
and mine terminated – there must be a link?”
“No.” And he is disappointed in me
didn’t think I was “like this …so … so … small minded.”
The door was closed
the discussion did not remain behind it
at morning break : silent hostility – sore loser.

A palace guard forms around Angie,
she becomes someone I seldom see and can’t get near –
never alone –
never unaccompanied
a person only at distance,
as if guardians fear a stalking tongue, or worse.

Before leaving I must I return books and periodicals
the library is a former dwelling
a wall has been removed
two rooms where there were once three
forming an L
around which I am not visible
she comes in.

“….Hhhhhhhh hi”
ringlet hair
looks electrified
silence pours slowly – treacle on a cold morning
“I feel like I took your job.”
I was angry – angry beyond belief
but sexual pride still rises
an attractive woman
pert and shapely
girlish and womanly – innocent and knowing
“I wouldn’t worry about it.”

She would be over 50 now
I wonder if she still has her most valuable asset or,
has time faded her to a single look.

Posted in Before the Rain


Hypothesis : what if a renta Santa Claus said “no.”
“No,” to a Barbie doll, Play Station, Jurassic Park Dinosaur
or “yes”
and the Christmas morning stocking is empty
a child recognizes him out of uniform
and challenges absence.
How might he feel?

We had found friendship early
through cricket
and shared delight of the absurd.
He told me not to worry
“you want lose your job… I promise you.”
He said, “promise,” as if making one
a solemn vow – to a not to be messed with God.

After the decision and the appeals
after the realization there was no back door
or fire exit
after the date was set, he came into my office
as if he knew
as if intuition told him it would be quiet and empty –
just the two of us – and a broken promise.
Santa not delivering an urchin’s heartfelt wish
awkward circumnavigation of my packed up space
hands flapping uselessly at his sides
“lots of people here should have gone before you.”

Then he was gone.
I saw him every day, for what was left of my time,
but never again did we talk … he was broken by the broken promise.
Then I was gone
when I came back, he was gone – to his maker.

Posted in Before the Rain


It wasn’t an easy time
confusion increased by two bosses.
The public paternal one,
face engraved with sorrow
the one declaring injustice,
lamenting the appalling task he had to undertake.

And the one when the door closed
no audience = no warmth and no humour
coldness … coldness as sanctimony
the sanctimony for what is no longer –
of a worker promoted to the inspector.

Empathy – there was none
the differences sharp and ragged –
me young and unformed
he had been 45 at 16.
His generation grew up with the Rolling Stones
it was impossible to imagine Bryan having sympathy for the devil.

Intuition always felt
he wanted to check my dwelling –
for fast women and other wildness. I wish.
Truth should be fair
of his 32 charges
No one was younger – or more single
carless and green during the hydrocarbon dynasty
I might have seemed a poet amongst Rotarians

He said he had done everything in his power
time spent as a manager convinces me he didn’t.
He wasn’t a dishonest or cowardly man
just not a brave or honourable one.
The sort whose silence gave passage to Hitler.