Sunday, January 29, 2012

CCLXXVI - I'm Not Normally Like This.

 Sunday Scribblings had the topic "Normal"
It was a few weeks ago - I'm a slow writer.

I’m not normally like this.

“Weirdo! You’re not normal!”
Said to insult, or trying to.
But is normality really
Something worth aspiring to?

How dull would life be
If everyone were the same?
Uniformity and conformity:
Normality by another name.

If we were all the same
Would anyone ever miss us?
If we had no defining features
Would anybody kiss us?

I’m sitting on the grass
Surrounded by colour and noise;
But is it the very same garden
If seen though another’s eyes?

We are all so very different
In both open and subtle ways;
Even identical twins
Will have their separate traits.

But the plain and undeniable truth,
Presented clear and formal:
If everyone was just like me
I’d be considered normal.

© 2012   J Cosmo Newbery

Saturday, January 28, 2012

CCLXXV - Is that all there is?

Carry-On Tuesday had the prompt:
"Is that all there is?"

Is that all there is?

Is that all there is?
He said with dismay.
I had such high hopes
And have come a long way.

Is that all there is?
Just a harp and some wings?
Dressed up in nighties
While everyone sings?

Is that all there is?
What is there to do?
The Muslims at least
Get a virgin or two.

Is that all there is?
Death is too much:
Watch from above
But not able to touch.

Is that all there is?
I’ve lived a good life
Only to watch the milkman
In bed with my wife.

Is that all there is?
Eternity is a long, boring spell,
Is there some way to buy
A day-pass to Hell?


© 2012   J Cosmo Newbery

Thursday, January 26, 2012

CCLXXIV - Appendix to "My Barbie"


A blokey addition to the previous post,
Built on Dorothea Mackellar's verse 
beginning 'I love a sunburnt country'.
Please don't get excited, I do eat salads in real life.

I shun a well-dressed salad,
A mix of greens and beets;
Of grated carrot dressings;
Of things a rabbit eats.

I love a hot steak sandwich;
I love a chicken breast;
But never let it be forgot
A well-browned chop is best.


© 2012   J Cosmo Newbery

My Barbie (repost)


Australian poet, Dorothea Mackellar, wrote the poem "My Country".
It is something of an Australian icon and most Australians know a bit of it,
especially the line that reads "I love a sunburnt country".

I wrote this two years ago but I really like it so I am putting it up again.
Australia Day, 2012.

My Barbie

The love of stew and couscous
Of rice and sushi-ed fish;
Or orange sauce with duckling
May be your favourite dish.
Strong love of stir-fried chicken
Noodles or gourmet pies -
I know but cannot share it
My love is otherwise.

I love a gas-fired barbie
With tongs and forks and things,
To carbonise some lamb chops
Or steaks and onion rings.
I love her cast iron hot-plate
I love her spacious grill,
For family or for parties,
My barbie fits the bill.

Standing tall with manly pride,
(Clutching a beer, of course)
You char-grill anything that walks
Then top it off with sauce.
It doesn't matter what you cook,
Snags or chops or game,
Dose them well with tomato sauce
And they all will taste the same.

Core of my heart, my barbie!
She shows that I'm a man
Who can do his share of housework,
Drinking lager from a can.
When the little woman's fuming
At the mess around the bath,
I can stick my manly chest out
And boast I do my half.

Core of my heart, my barbie!
I polish you like gold
The centre of my manhood
To cherish and to hold.
Under the plastic awning
Beside the wheelie bin
You are my pride and joy,
I gaze at you and grin.

A twelve ring gas fired barbie
Is a vision truly grand! -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
A kitchen holds many splendours,
With rice cookers and woks
But I know my gas-fired barbie
Can incinerate an ox.

© 2010 J Cosmo Newbery

Sunday, January 22, 2012

CCLXXIII - The Bone Fence


One Minute Writer had a topic "Prison"

The Bone Fence

Rules and regulations run our lives,
Controlled by Governmental elves,
But the strongest rules that hold us in
Are the ones we write ourselves.

We temper what we say or do
To avoid the proverbial stink.
A nasty question’s always there:
What would the neighbours think?

But do they really care at all,
These people over the fence?
Surely the problem’s theirs, not yours,
If they chose to take offense?

So, in deference to the social norms,
We keep our hearts withdrawn.
Is it really such a terrible thing
To dance naked on the lawn?


© 2012   J Cosmo Newbery

Sunday, January 15, 2012

CCLXXII - The Soloist

 Sunday Scribblings had the topic "Tribe"

The Soloist

It’s four o’clock in the morning:
A swimmer is lapping the pool.
Sometime later, my alarm goes;
And I curse it for being so cruel.

A well-structured diet of raw protein
Helps a weightlifter prepare to jerk*
I have some toast and some coffee
And make a sandwich to take off to work.

The runner relentlessly circles the track,
His cartilage pounded to jelly.
I shower with my back to the mirror
To ignore the bulge of my belly.

The cyclist is pushing the limits,
On the monitors, the heart-rate red-lines.
I enjoy a quiet and relaxing evenings
With a relatively decent bedtimes.

There’s no denying the dedication
Of athletes in pursuit of their dream.
But there’s not one bone in my body
That wants to be part of their team.

“It’s Gold, Gold, Gold for Australia!”
The announcer screams with delight,
Don’t  give me that tribal nonsense;
I’ve gone to bed for the night.


© 2012   J Cosmo Newbery

*Well, that’s what they call it...

Sunday, January 01, 2012

CCLXXI - A Day in January


A River of Stones had a challenge
on Facebook to write something insightful
about the small things in your life every day in January.  
Rather than doing a set of 31 posts
I compiled them all into a composite about one day in January.

A Day in January
It’s dark but there is the sense that others
Are already awake; sounds from beyond the thick
Velvet drapes and cool cotton covers:
With utmost patience a magpie feeds its chick.

The gentle cooing of the doves on the roof;
The lorikeets crippling the unwary with scimitar nips;
The ravens’ mournful cawing, remotely aloof;
 Wattlebirds tout “Hot pies, hot pies, chips, chips, chips”

Cars pass up and down the street,
From the tyre’s sound, the road is dry.
A jogger pounds away his knees and feet.
Distantly, a tram clangs and trundles by.

The room hangs over me as if made of wool,
Or as if an overly embracing creeper.
I want to yield to day-break’s pull;
Beside me the rhythmic breathing of a sleeper.

Warm bodies move restlessly in nightshirts and
Crawl out of the covers, into the musty gloom:
With the parting of the curtains,
The greys dissolve and colours flood the room.

The movement excites the feathered kin
Who sense food will soon eventuate.
Kitchen scraps, neatly diced, in a well-used tin
Are delivered with deference to the sacrificial plate.

Plum jam, home-made with love and care
Awaits to have after the feeding of the fowls.
Served on toast where all the seeds are there;
It’s good, I’m told, for the movement of my bowels.

Hot, black and syrupy, perhaps excessively so:
Espresso in a china cup of purest of white.
However else the day may come or go,
There’s some consolation that it started right.

Who is that in the mirror?  Watching me   
Prepare to lather a stranger’s face?
Grey hair, wrinkles and sagging skin sting me
With the truth about time’s relentless forward pace.

Against a wealth of previous experience
I check the to see what is happening in the news.
The basic stories have a strange intransience,
Just the names are changed, and the locations too.

A mug of coffee, the second one for the day,
Goes with me as I go to see how the garden sits.
New weeds, new flowers,  new growth and decay;
Insects and possums vie for the most tender bits.

Warm, succulent, juicy and red
Satsumas that survived the possum horde
Are a plum prize of the fruitful garden bed,
Some are eaten fresh, the rest are stored.

In the garden, plants get gently squeezed:
Geraniums, basil, mints and verbenas;
The heady aromas so rudely released
Transport your mind to distant arenas.

As if in giant cobwebs, the grapes are draped
In netting, to deter the birds;
Last year not a single grape escaped
The rotten little pecking…um…herds.

My companion when prowling the garden
Is a pair of good, strong secateurs;
Prune hard and then beg a pardon
Works better than asking permission first.

Many years ago, when she was going into town,
My grandmother had a special city-only treat:
A pork and pineapple sandwich, white not brown,
From a small shop, just off Flinders Street.

In her memory, I made such a meal,
With some of the left over weekend roast,
It’s the closest I come to genealogical zeal,
And to my Granny, I raised a silent toast.

Forty expected today, quite unpleasantly hot;
That’s one oh four in the old Fahrenheit scale.
Air-conditioned, the cinemas seem just the spot
To escape from reality, in all it’s over heated detail.

Meryl, as always, was right on the mark
But pools of light flicker as cell phones intrude
And strangers beside me, crunched stuff in the dark;
Is two hours too long to go without food?

We exit from our dark and plush cocoon
Into a seething whirlpool of humanity.
I feel out of place in this mad cartoon
And leave at once, to protect my sanity.

The day has knocked the plants around:
The hydrangeas are hit quite hard,
The lettuce lies limply on the ground
And the raspberries, crisp and scarred.

Salvias are upright and enjoy the heat;
Cold drinks do a roaring trade;
The driveway cooks unwary feet
And open-beaked birds stand in the shade.

Zucchinis, known as courgettes to some,
Grow faster than you can collect them.
But it doesn’t take long for the welts to come
If I handle them without protection.

Cold and amber, the tall glass is dewed
With beads of condensed appreciation;
Beer that has been so carefully brewed
Is an elixir, deserving heartfelt adulation.

At the end of the day when the work is done
Few rewards will so wash your dusty cares away
As a cold beer; sometimes even more than one
If it has been an overly dusty care-filled day.

The evening is hot, the mercury yet to fall
Relief in rain, we are told, is on the way.
The Bureau is 60% confident in it’s call
But, disbelieving, I water the garden anyway.

Out for a walk, beneath twilight skies,
I greet passing strangers with a cheerful ‘Hi!’.
Some respond with a start, as if caught by surprise,
While others avert their gaze and hurry by.

Tending to the charred offerings on the grill
Of a four-burner, gas-fired barbecue;
Gives man, the hunter, a throw-back thrill
And, as before, leaves the salads for his wife to do.

Mosquitoes announce their presence with a whine,
That turns sane people into anxious self-hitters.
There are those who swear on Intelligent Design
But none give a reason for these sucking little critters.

A quartet treacles through the night,
Playing Mozart, with mathematical precision.
The music is a sublime delight,
An escape from reality’s mundane prison.

The gentle caresses in familiar places;
The discarding of clothes that encumber;
The culmination in a loving embrace,
A genital sneeze and then so to slumber.

The rain does come, in the middle of the night,
The air is of the earth, a sense of life on-going.
The patter on the roof is a visceral delight
And the storage tanks are overflowing.
The house is now quiet, darkly, softly so;
A clock marks the measured steps of time.
The moon casts a timid, tentative glow;
And somewhere a possum eats my vines.

© 2012 J Cosmo Newbery