Canto CCCLXVII

When daylight prods into the travel cot
and baby girl alerts us to the fact,
I rise to lift her out without a thought

and place her down gently at the exact
mid point between my pillow and her Mum’s.
Sometimes we all agree a silent pact

to sleep another hour despite the sun…
and you can take your leave now, dearest reader,
these iambic confessionals are done

and I’m anxious to reinforce the border
between my family’s bubble and the world.
The ebb and flow of linked Terza Rima

continues elsewhere, endlessly unfurls—
the words that I lobbed in were only pebbles,
the flow was always there, as eternal

as rivers that vanish below ground level
to leave the jurisdiction of the ear.
Some of the world’s worst poems are immortal.

The verse endures, the poet disappears.

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Canto CCCLXVI

The moon is waxing gibbous, my verse wanes
as I build to my closing, five stress whimper,
tomorrow’s sky will host a round, blank page,

and my work will be done before September
draws the dark across the lunar face
and piddles on the summer’s final embers,

so Dante can stop spinning in his grave.

Canto CCCLXI

Some can argue it was poetry
that sent us to the moon and that science
was but the tool for realising dreams

while others may say that the main agent
of inspiration was the Soviet threat,
a pissing contest for world dominance,

to fly the flag in view of our planet.
But on the day that Armstrong leaves the earth
for a third time, the footprint that he set

on that dry surface will hold greater worth
for all the unborn stargazers to the come
than any flag that signals who was first

among the proud tribes of our shrinking home.

Canto CCCLVIII

Perhaps Basho was the greatest teacher—
seventeen breath sounds for a jug of wine;
no tips on how to approach publishers;

no pissing contests for the greatest line.
Just forge the renga’s links and then drift off
along your lonely, narrow path again,

a lone figure approaching the Great North.

Canto CCCLVI

It’s typical that for the final batch
of Cantos I’m beset by writers block.
Perhaps the best ideas have all been hatched

and now I’m counting days, eyeing the clock,
repeating myself, treading tepid water,
chalk scoring cell walls, recounting stock.

To write of happiness can be compared to
trying to make pottery from porridge.
Contentment is a greater bane for writers

than searching for a word to rhyme with “orange”.

Canto CCCLII

The most the Jazz bar patrons see of me
is when I slink outside with a bin bag,
loaded with plate scrapings and nappies.

Imagine if I ran in, lost my rag,
and freestyled beatnik poems to the squeal
of saxes high pitched as slaughterhouse pigs?

I doubt we’d recreate the birth of Howl,
it would only kick up a local stink.
Today’s jazz isn’t counter cultural

it’s just a pop commodity, like Punk…

Canto CCCXLIX

I pity those gold medalists who now
must find another path to amble down
with no track lines or baying crowds to show

the fortuitous corners they must turn
after the big sponsors have rode the buzz
of their triumph until the spark is gone—

before the speech circuit, reality shows
and openings of musty village fetes.
I empathise a little for I know

that all these quirky Cantos that I write
will soon be relics in the cyber cloud
when I down tools in almost a fortnight

to find some other ways to be ignored.

Canto CCCXXXIX

Today I reminisced about the poet
who wrote a sprawling, keening elegy
after the death of his most treasured pet,

an albino hedgehog. Sincerity
is a true rarity within our art.
Indiscernible from parody,

its force tugs at the most sinewy heart,
while intellect gags at the homily,
and packages its dismissive retort

in thick wads of chickenshit irony.

Canto CCCXXXII

A poem is a slender shred of paper
twirling through the slender thermo currents,
almost invisible amongst the capers

of all those hooting hordes, those heaving torrents
of bodies filling up the stadium.
It snags on a wire fence with flitty patience,

awaits the bedrock of a human palm.

Canto CCCXXIX

The last time I tackled this book of poems
(another copy, from the library)
was on our Honeymoon—the distant foam

(beyond our sunbeds, hissing at the beach)
was laced with jellyfish; the throbbing tide
would drag us quickly off, out of the reach

of any rescuers that might have tried
to dredge us back from the South China Sea.
The lines could never catch, perhaps my mind

was still softened by jet lag, so I’d sleep
until the clouds blew in from the rainforest
to send us back to watch Malay TV

as Orangutans shrank into their nests
and binturongs wrapped their constrictor tails
around thick, swaying trunks as the tempest

blew over in time for our evening meal.
Right now, the sun is squinting through our blinds,
the bills come in and undergarments flail

as the wash cycle clicks from rinse to spin.
Even our little girl, dozing next door,
has come to know the torpor of routine.

The lines that sailed over my head before
all spark to life as I read them again.
Some poems fail on bright, exotic shores—

they need the dry tinder of the mundane.

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