Barbecuing with the Cat

In the coolish air, of a summer’s length eve,
on the patio where border Violets heave
lush with too much rain. The grill is low, well oiled
slow baking buttered potatoes and all foiled.
To the side the chicken burgers to season.
Intense calm, I watch it all. Cat looking on.

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Kicking things Around

This is my first attempt at writing a dialog for a play in a very long time which I did for a writing assignment.

[Bert Henrid pushes the door bell and waits on a screened in porch with big wicker chairs sporting bright yellow cushions. He’s middle-aged, wearing a long sleeve shirt, track pants, an old fedora and running shoes. A well-worn pack is on his back into which he slides a paperback book. The inner door opens and Bert takes off his hat for Elise Rearden, also middle-aged. She’s wearing stylish clothes but has her hair tied in a bun and rubber gloves on.]

Bert: (pulling the screen door open) Elise! How are you?

Elise: (giving Bert a quick hug) Good, Bert. Great to see you. How’s Moira?

Bert: (stepping in at her gesture) Still recovering but we think she’ll be up and about soon. The Doctor says she was just overdoing it a bit.

Elise: Wow! I must call her–I’ve been meaning to–

Bert: That would be terrific. I’m sure she’d love to chat.

Elise: (turning and shouting) Del?

Bert: How about you? How are you doing?

Elise: (turning back) Fair enough. Nothing to complain about compared to Moira. (she grinned and showed off her rubber gloves) Just dishes. (turning again and shouting louder) Del! Delmar! Bert’s here.

Bert: (chuckling) I take it a game is on?

Elise: (laughs and exaggerates a shrug) What else?

[Thumping is heard in the background.]

Bert: The beast arises.

[Elise snorts and covers up her mouth as Delmar Rearden pads into the hall from the basement door wearing slippers. He’s roughly the same age at Bert with something of a spare tire bolstering his middle. He smiles when he sees Bert.]

Del: What’s so funny?

Bert: I was wondering what was taking you and speculated that it might be some kind of group activity involving some abused ball.

[Elise laughs out loud and leaves the front hall. Del and Bert watch her go. Del shakes his head turning back to face Bert.]

Del: A guy’s got to have a hobby. Can I help it if I like watching foreigners take a knee? (he scrutinizes Bert more closely) Crap. Did you walk from your place again? Dressed like that?

Bert: (shrugs) Guilty. It was pretty hot out there. Maybe we should have our meeting on the porch?

Del: (wrinkles his nose) Absolutely. Elise wouldn’t want you to sweat all over her upholstery.

[Bert grins and steps back opening the screen door for Del. Bert slouches out of his pack and they sit down facing the audience. Bert sets his hat on his pack.]

Del: Can I get you a drink? That’s, like, at least four miles and it’s a hot one out there.

Bert: It’s nice here on the porch. (he reaches forward and pulls a water bottle out of a side pocket) I’m good for water.

Del: (shakes his head) You know I could have picked you up: I called for this meeting after all.

Bert: (takes a sip and then spreads his hands wide, cocking his head slightly) I like walking. It’s my alone time.

Del: You already walk to work everyday.

Bert: Yeah?

Del: Well it’s a bit much, don’t you think? Especially this summer, it’s like 90 degrees out there. I remember when this porch was awesome in the summer.

Bert: Feels ‘awesome’ to me. Anyway, I assume this about the coming executive meeting?

Del: Sure you don’t want something cooler to drink? Maybe we should go into the air conditioning and risk the wrath of Elise: I’m worried about you.

Bert: (laughs) I’m not doing a marathon out there, Del. Just walking. You should do it sometime. It’s great exercise.

Del: No thanks. I like my air conditioning. Especially this summer. Really, man, I worry about you sometimes.

Bert: Don’t worry about me, I’ve got to do my part. Now what–

Del: (leans forward) What part are you talking about?

Bert: (holds his palms up shaking them at Del) Sorry. Didn’t mean to say that. Now back–

Del: (he looks like he’s sweating now) What part?

Bert: Calm down buddy. I’m just saying that if I choose to walk that’s my own business, that’s all. You wanted to meet so let’s meet.

Del: (sits back and purses his lips) This is you being all environmental lunatic fringe, isn’t it?

Bert: (he laughs, uncomfortably trailing off into a silence where he’s staring seriously at Del) Maybe. But like I said: this is my business. I’m not telling you to–

Del: (shakes his head slowly) Yes you are. You told me I should walk more. That would stop my gas guzzling, right?

Bert: (pauses) I said walking would be great exercise actually.

[Del clenches his jaws and stares quietly at Bert who stares back.]

Bert: (leans forward) Look Del, I’m not telling you what you should do with your life. That’s up to you. Chalk it down to me being strange and leave it be. To tell you the truth– (reaches down and pulls out his paperback displaying it front of Del) –it’s a great way that I can get some reading done.

Del: (leans out and squints) ‘The Sheep Look Up’?

Bert: Science fiction. Interesting author though it’s somewhat dated now, in some ways. (puts the book away) Anyway. What did you call me over to discuss?

Del: (shakes his head a little but then sits back) Okay. Right. I’ve had three emails and an actual letter mailed to me with parents complaining about issues with their kids. They don’t like the requirements we’ve laid down about every kid having to use SPF50 sport sunscreen at every game. Apparently some brands cause– (adopts a whining tone) –eye irritation.

Bert: Okay. We told them them they could sign a waiver–

Del: (shakes his hands impatiently at Bert) No. They, and this has been coming from more than a few over the last few months, want us to build inflatable soccer domes like they have up in the capital. But it’s not only the sunscreen. Sheila, married to that new executive member Pete Watterson, is some kind of nurse and says we’ll need to start thinking up strategies that prevent heat exhaustion. The answer to that is dome too unless we make little umbrella beanies mandatory. Can you imagine the cost of domes?

[Bert grunts.]

Del: I had Phil look into some numbers. It would make the membership fees go up at least 200%! Maybe 300.

Bert: Wow.

Del: So I need you to draft up a flier explaining the costs and have everyone email their vote about whether they’d really want to support this happening. You could liaise with Phil to get the facts. Do you think a mock up for our next meeting is doable?

Bert: I’ll get it done.

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Porkoum Fest or Famine

Every August the Ribfest is due.
We make a mess of ourselves in public,
proud and conspicuous, in the long queue:
got to pick the right ribs and to those stick.

We make a mess of ourselves in public
gaudy signs, milli-thin, stretch sky to breach.
Got to pick the right ribs and to those stick:
we trudge past trophies, altars before each.

Gaudy signs milli-thin, stretch sky to breach,
bring the kids! Later, see Death Metal Band!
We trudge past trophies, altars before each.
See the kids spew in the Bouncy Tramp-land.

Bring the kids later. See Death Metal Band
proud and conspicuous. In the long queue
see the kids spew in the Bouncy Tramp-land
every August. The Ribfest is due.

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Appetite, Entitlement, Appetitlement

We, planet hungry,
take our fill so zealously.
Entitled first world.

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The art of Peter Cross

Remember album covers for LP’s? Those were the days when you’d get a sizeable piece of art along with your music. Peter Cross did some of my favourite album covers of all time. His art is intricate, funny and often filled with little Easter eggs. I’m especially a fan of the covers he did for the solo work of Anthony Phillips, an underrated original member of the group Genesis.
Check out the link above and you’ll see what I mean.

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Gymnopédie No. 1

That gymnopédie
halting my heart beats too calm
do I perceive more

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Miss Celia Leblanc’s whirlwind ride to the Humber

The JS Witness protection program was in the badlands cutting lumber
and Miss Celia Leblanc hated every bit especially in regions lumbar
but she couldn’t complain against bad luck. Really: up was her number.
One day, in the badlands woods, a wild turkey caused her truck to tumbler
and she slid crashing into a cliff frail and sandy but just as cumber
as any you could collide with. Time is long, out with only a sandwich of cucumber
and tree blubber to drink. The sun looked a delicate shade of wavy umber
when from out of the forest she heard a “Zonk”. Was she dreaming in slumber?
No. It was the hippogriff stridumphing along. Shocked he shouted “St. Columba!
Is this the Leblanc who clonked me just days ago? Zonk! Or do you outnumber
us all with identical twinning?” “No. That was me. So sorry to encumber
your life once again.” “Zonk. I be no lubber or grubber or Leblanc snubber!
Fate has rolled her dice and cast us in a crazy coed, unspecific clubber.”
Celia’s brow knotted but she was interrupted. “Nay. Don’t be a quiet disturber,
Tis kismet; it’s predestined. We must not tarry to marry, you cute landlubber!”
And they did and I witnessed and they honeymooned in the estuary at Humber
where the Ouse and Trent meet for there is a castle to go plonk in! It’s rubber.

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