Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Hard-Boiled Poet"

I was watching a dying fly spinning in the dust on my desktop and taking a shot of rye – me, that is, not the fly. Some people use alcohol as a crutch, but I prefer it as a drink.

I lived in a writer’s block on Narrative Drive. It was just off Memory Lane near the Information Superhighway. My neighbours were Budda, Krishna, Jesus and Mohamed. They lived next door in the Messiah Complex. But that’s not important right now. I looked in the mirror and reflected – I’d grown accustomed to disgrace. My life had been tough - I was born in kitform, but managed to stick myself together to become a model citizen.

There was a knock, and this girl at the door: all coal-black lips and blood-red eyes - obviously dyslexic. She looked the type who liked pulling the wings off angels. She said “what do you do?” I said “me? I’m self-unemployed. What about you?” She said she was a fortune teller. I said “in that case I demand to see my eternity”. She said I looked like a man with a great future behind him. I said “yeah, I wanted to quit when I got to the bottom, go out on a low”.

But she was upwardly nubile and came at me oozing grievous bodily charm.
I said “whoa, doll, I don’t believe in sex on a first date. I believe in getting it out of the way long before that. We should have met last week. You see, I’m a hedonist of my time.” But she just hung around like a regrettable tattoo. She said “you think this has been a mistake?” I said “doctors bury their mistakes, I just sleep with them.” Well then she got mad and said I hadn’t been treating her as an object lately, and that it was lucky my face wasn’t my fortune because I looked like a bum. I said “at least I’m a crackup. You wanna hear another joke? – three guys walk into a bar-mitzvah ….”

She said “stow it, you drink too much.” I said “hey, I don’t need alcohol to be interesting, but if it can discuss a little philosophy that’s fine by me. My life’s an open book.” She said “yeah, it’s just a shame it’s a comic.” I said “orr, don’t get sore sweetie, three bits of advice: never shop when you’re hungry, never propose when you’re horny and never call a dog Lucky – it won’t be.”

She said “you’re so cynical, where’s your optimism?” I said “optimism?
Optimism’s believing your call is important to us. Optimism’s me buying a wine-rack. Optimism’s me believing you walked through that door to offer this hard-boiled poet a job … by the way, my fee is 25 puns a day plus expenses, more if I’m firing blank verse.” She looked at me blankly. I said “you got the picture. So what’s the case doll face?” Well, then she spilt the beans - my breakfast, all over the desk. While I cleaned it up she said her father, this professor, was in trouble …

So that afternoon I found myself at the university outside this door with a sign that read Caution, de-construction in progress. I entered to find the professor being whipped by an obese transexual leprechaun in a jockey uniform. Something didn’t add up, and it wasn’t just my two-dollar Chinese calculator. I said to the prof “you look disturbed”. He took affront and said I looked like poor white trash. I said “strictly speaking I’m more Lower-Middle-Class-Semi-Educated-Slightly-Tainted-Recyclable-Refuse. But I shouldn’t mince words – you end up with syllables All over the floor. Anyway, what’s the problem, Prof, spill the beans ….”

Well, as I was cleaning his beans from my pants, he said I had to help him because his life was trying to kill him. He said he had nothing to lose and then he lost it. He talked about how he’d spent his deformative years as an ambience driver, but that he’d been sacked for disturbing the local resonance. He tried taking a trip down memory lane but got mugged again. I said “nostalgia sure ain’t what it used to be.” He agreed, and said he had a lot of hang-ups and that I could call him well hung. I said I’d rather call him insane, and to quit blubbering and cut to the chase.

Well, turned out he had this fear of inventing new words. I said “how curious, what’s this condition called?” He said “I don’t know, maybe Lexiphobia.” I said “Lexiphobia? It’s not in this dictionary. You must be making it up.” Well he started screaming, “there I go again, there I go again!” before jumping out the window and impaling himself on a gargoyle. One-way ticket to the eternity ward. The guy was an idiot anyway. But hey, I’m not throwing stones ‘coz people who live in glass houses are exhibitionists who attract perverts and get sunburnt.

Case closed. (Ow! My fingers!)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Bloody Cadel!"

I caught up with a poet mate the other day at a pub performance. He’d just come off stage to a patter of bitter applause after reading a new poem, something along the lines of “the streets are full of bloody Cadels, hell’s bells budding Cadels, packs of peddlers going pell mell, hell’s bell’s bloody Cadels …”. I said “mate, I know Cadel’s got a Welsh name and a weird head, but we’re all Australians now. Isn’t it a bit petty and mean-spirited to begrudge the man his glorious page in history? To have a go at him is as cowardly and un-Australian as it is to attack pokies and smokes”.

He said it wasn’t Cadel himself, but the legions of lycra loonies he’s inspired, and that on a recent drive to Wollongong he’d had to duck and weave through about 6000 of the bastards. “They’re in plague proportions”, he whined, before going into his pet rant about sport-versus-art in this country, blah, blah. He said something about Margaret Olley winning the Tour De France, but I’d switched off by then. I let him froth away for a while, then tried to hose down the hoary old sport/art furphy, and lay to rest the idea of our supposed national obsession with footballer’s gammy groins.

I said “mate, at the end of the day we’re not in the same ballpark. I’m trying to keep the ball in your court but you won’t do the hard yards and stick to the gameplan like a good team-player. You’re always wanting time-out for a spell on the bench when I’m trying to step up to the plate, raise the bar and tee-up a hole in one. I mean, here’s me giving a hundred-and-ten percent, jumping hurdles to make every post a winner, and you won’t run with the ball. You’re always dropping the pass when I’m trying to kick a goal. I mean, I’m not playing hard-ball or calling time out for a line-ball but it’s not a level playing field. If I’m first past the post you have me side-lined in the sin-bin for foul play. I mean to say, everyone gets stumped on a sticky wicket occasionally, but you can’t just throw in the towel when the chips are down. If you win by a nose an inch is as good as a mile in this game, know what I mean?” But I don’t think he did. In fact he was crying. I said “sorry mate, but in my book sooks don’t get a guernsey”.