The Eucalyptus Grove

The other day I was feeling nostalgic and old, which in my case, sometimes manifests a poem (or my attempt at a poem). To Carol and Griselda

I always feared the eucalyptus grove. 
But to get to castle rock,
And brag to hesitant bones that our minds
still had the power to rule our wretched bodies.
And that time
Mighty time, unforgiving time,
had no harness we couldn’t break …
We had to pass through the eucalyptus grove.

Our walk till then, under open skies,
With horizons both east and west 
As far as the mind could fathom 
Of the ocean and the mountains,
The cows grazing in the fields
And ships heading out to sea,
The city below with all of it’s nooks and crannies exposed 
Deceived us into lazy thinking.

And then, to toad-croak mating songs, we’d enter the grove 
Pelted by pods and petal-less flowers
Twigs and eucalyptus dust from
the murmuring and jiggering …
Constant flapping of earth bound wings
Trapped and endlessly wailing …
Even on a calm day … Gum trees.

Oh the smell!
you would say and lapse into thinking
You could win
One more madcap challenge to the Outback,
Just one more time with old Matilda
Riding Black
Just one more time,
A skinny dip in the Indian Ocean after 
Days of sweat and dust.  

The boughs are cracking over head and we are drifting, I know not where … 

Then let’s run! Run through the eucalyptus grove.

Something was always lost or stolen
each time through that grove.
Could you feel it?

No, I couldn’t either.
Not at the time.

Then let’s run as fast as we can,
through the eucalyptus grove.

B-sides and Backslides

Guess what I received in the mail today all the way from Singapore…

This book was sent to me by a lovely lady named Damyanti Biswas whose blog Daily (w)rite  focuses on subjects of far greater import than mine.  She’s also a acclaimed author whose work seems to span many genres.  And (as if that wasn’t enough) she is the force behind We Are The World, in Darkness, be Light, a group of bloggers from around the world who inspire to restore faith in humanity through stories of hope. 

From time to time, Damyanti also hosts guest bloggers.  Recently the title of one of those guest posts caught my eye.  Dear Writer: Are you a Good Scavenger?  Here’s a teaser:

Conversations overheard and snatched. Tying down the balloons of scattered thoughts. Finding a wry insight into an unusual sight. Turning over an image for a pun. Decoupling couplets. Allowing a rhythm to run rings round your head.

They’re the poetic equivalent of doodling, writing exercises you do to limber up. – Felix Cheong

At last, I thought,  another writer for whom a cafe is a place to eavesdrop!  Another writer who sees a stranger on the bus and can’t help imagining where they’re going and why.  I responded that I when I scavenge thusly, I feel like a vampire wantonly taking what is not mine. I guess he liked that comment because Damyanti sent me an autographed copy of his book (with a very nice note from her).

B-sides and Backslides is a collection of poems which Mr. Cheong wrote between 1986 and 2018 and put on the back burner.  We all have those pieces we’re sure aren’t good enough. But we can’t quite throw them away because either we may be wrong or because we hope at some point to have the wisdom and skill to figure out what they’re missing.  And so with that in mind, Mr. Cheong has “remastered” his early pieces “for contemporary consumption, complete with my own version of liner (linear) notes.” 

(don’t know what this hashtag means though, do you?)

Anyway, thank you Damyanti and Felix!  I’m sure I will enjoy the read!

Goodbye 2015


Christmas will never be the same without this lovely and fun lady!

I did not end the year with a list of bests and worsts; nor did I start the new one with resolutions. There are reasons why, of course, but let me just say 2015 provided a lot of challenges and brought many tears to those in my family. I am not lying or trying to gain brownie points when I say that you, my blogging buddies, have been a bright spot in an otherwise difficult year.


Goodbye and good riddance 2015!

As a thank you I’mddduke.128.625110 posting a poem by Duke Miller who regular readers will recognize as my reclusive, social media hating buddy down in old Mexico. This poem, along with a group of others he’s currently working on, is from his WIP Spider In My Mouth.
For fans of his work, I’ll post them under the Poems tab at the top of this screen.



i’m trying to redefine cringe
as a good feeling
by shaving the contours of my eyeballs
into the shape of a big wooden door key hole
the gold kind with rust that frames little old ladies
dead and unattended
sitting in rocking chairs
i’m having trouble
my friends tell me to stop
but i can’t
the rocking chair is on lay-away
and i don’t want to lose my deposit

How about you?  Happy to see 2015 in the past?