Ive never been partial t.., p.2

I've Never Been Partial To Girls Who Swear, page 2


I've Never Been Partial To Girls Who Swear

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  for a local dance

  to be somewhat lacking in symmetry

  but not

  they agreed

  in spontaneity

  for a moment

  the macintosh and the one-legged dug

  were as one

  loupin’ an whirlin

  in a gyration of their own design

  it must have seemed forever

  to the old geezer

  in the macintosh

  reeking of neglect

  but in reality

  was not much more

  than a birl or two



  the fingerless glove broke loose

  from the one remaining impaling tooth

  and the one-legged dug went wheechin

  through the air

  totally unlike a Frisbee

  only to be caught safely

  by the wheels

  of a passing articulated lorry

  so leaving

  a battered and bloodied old geezer

  in a macintosh

  reeking of neglect

  to painfully reflect

  on his hitherto lack of respect

  for proverbs

  Note: wheechin – pronounced wheekin


  Sarah’s recurring encounter with a moth

  Written on a plane coming back from Australia where we'd been visiting with Marguerite's brother and wife Sarah, who'd just given birth to wee Toby. We found all sorts of things interesting – from the multi-coloured flocks of parrots that the locals take for granted, to the enormous variety of road-kill. Just when we thought we'd seen it all, we discovered pantry-moths – those mad insects whose only purpose in life seems to be flying into your face or landing in your coffee.

  Sarah’s recurring encounter with a moth

  that bloody moth is here again

  slowly driving me insane

  it sneaked right through the windowpane

  how, I’ll never know

  if it comes near my mouth again

  this cup I’ll throw

  just knew it’d fly into my face

  uncaring of my personal space

  I’d love to put it in its place

  how, I just don’t know

  but to wipe the smirk from that insect face

  would be worth more than gold

  such painful creature of the night

  what deity gave you the right

  to charge my peace with sudden fright

  yes! I’d like to know

  what slight I’ve caused to angel above

  or de'il below

  my tranquillity is my own matter

  without this need of constant flutter

  lending fuel to words my lips do utter

  I didn’t know I knew

  my language on this springtime night

  is way past blue

  so let’s both agree to say goodnight

  part company without the fight

  or the “pantry-moth-trap” comes out tonight

  this I know I know

  to live one day beyond this night

  you’d be wise to go


  spark of greatness

  One of the true legends of my youth. Hughie used to dream of being able to sink fifty pints of beer in one day. One of the real characters you meet only too rarely in life – he never quite managed his dream – though I recall he got very close on a couple of occasions. This is pretty much a true story – the day of the door at the top of the stairs – though the full story will wait for another telling. This is only a small part of that fateful day – the part where we took a breather in the Miner's Welfare hall – to put down the timber we were carrying on our shoulders and rest awhile before the long walk up Linden Ave – only to find that Hughie had won the jackpot on the pokies – so maybe his dream could finally be realised after all...

  spark of greatness

  sunday lunchtime

  down the miner’s

  fav’rite pokey

  pays double bars

  Hughie’s mission

  sink fifty cold ones

  silver columns

  line up the jars

  hullo there lads

  sit doon aside me

  just seen yer Meg

  you’ll need a beer

  two fairy liquids

  for the dynamic duo

  but your no’ wi’ me

  ‘f she comes in here

  narrowly escaped

  her shootin daggers

  big bosoms heaving

  her breath was hot

  yer dinners ruined

  burnt tae a cinder

  like auld shoe leather

  on the pot

  ye’d best slip doon

  the road tae ma hoose

  she’ll likely cool aff

  in an hour or three

  best take the back way

  we’ll soon be cozy

  ah’ll get ma Mary

  tae fix yer tea

  see thon gless son

  it’s German crystal

  cost a packet

  the cut’s dead braw


  dae ye no believe me

  chuck it hard

  against that wa’

  a cornaptious man

  aunt Sheena called him

  he was colourful

  for sure


  how Mary stood it

  her cheerful banter

  a marriage cure

  bolt from the blue

  poor Mary left us

  had some sickness

  we never knew

  left three lassies

  poor wee Janey

  just done her

  final year at school

  Hughie lost

  that spark o’ greatness

  his legs they were

  the first tae go

  he followed Mary

  three months later

  a character

  I was glad to know

  old Hughie

  he fought with Mary

  a marriage built

  on toil and strife

  but ol' Hughie

  he loved his Mary

  Yes, he loved her

  ... more than life


  lunch without you

  Marguerite's always been a keen cyclist – ever since those days riding around the Trossachs on the gold ten-speed – didn't Billy Bourke end up with that? Twenty years or more later and she's still cycling every Saturday morning and I'm fending for myself – only the kids are now all grown up – so mall-ratting has kind of lost it's appeal. Countdown is a well known chain of NZ supermarkets.

  lunch without you

  standing, perplexed

  at the bread display

  of the local Countdown to terminal hunger


  but unable to make up my mind

  I wonder

  not for the first time

  what it is about this stuff

  that you find so attractive

  when it appears to me

  as if a giant teenage dough-boy

  has upchucked

  after one too many yeast-nogs

  unable to choose

  I think of you

  hope you’re having a good time

  I sometimes wish

  you’d think of me

  as your pizza bread

  or fresh Hawaiian twist

  and rip off my outer packaging

  to savage me in the carpark

  without regard for proprieties

  but then I realise

  I’m neither hot nor fresh

  standing, perplexed

  at the bread display

  of the local Countdown to eternal starvation

  it is difficult

  lunch without you



  I went back to Scotland in 2000. Many of the family were now quite elderly and while it was a sad time, it was also a very funny time – my return seemed to take some of the elderly relatives back years and we all had such a laugh – my mother said she found out things from my grandmother that she had never known (sadly Grannie died three months later) – so all in all a mixture of laughter and tears. Uncle Ally had reached that time and place where he just sat there and no-one was sure how much he was taking in – he hadn't spoken for a couple of years. We told the family what our plans were for the coming week and how we planned going up to Oban and make our way from there up to the Isle of Skye. At this point Ally let out a huge snort of derision and eventually this story came out – basically true but with a fair amount of artistic license.


  a suit of pinstripe blue

  glossy patent leather shoes

  Ally sparkled as he walked up to her home

  but he’d forgotten all about

  as he asked his sweetheart out

  who they’d have to take along as chaperone

  they took the 8:14

  with a change at Glasgow Green

  bound for Oban on a fine September day

  Ally’s heart beat loud with pride

  as his girlfriend took his side

  and he prayed for plenty tunnels on the way

  the day was going mighty fine

  until Ally checked the time

  surprised to find that it was almost three

  lunch had cost him 2 pounds more

  than he knew he could afford

  so with Aunty he was dreading time for tea

  the sea looked mighty nice

  a trip specialled at half price

  they even threw in sandwiches for free

  he coaxed Aunty on the boat

  checked it still could float

  grabbed his sweetheart and the 3 put out to sea

  the water it was calm

  the September wind was warm

  seagulls on the wing across the sky

  as the boat returned to dock

  a gust lifted Aunty’s frock

  Ally laughed until the tears came to his eyes

  the plank was just so wide

  it was moving with the tide

  ignoring all the safety lessons taught her

  the plank it gave a crack

  feet up, flat on her back

  there’s no way on earth he could’ve caught her

  from his suit of navy blue

  to his patent leather shoes

  clothing, dignity, prospects – they were mince

  he was chilled through to the bone

  next time he’d stay at home

  and he’s never been across to Oban since



  It's nice to think about being the hero – but not all of us are filled with heroic attributes – forgetting birthdays, wedding anniversaries and suchlike – well, sooner or later, we all do something that upsets the love of our lives – and what then? Maybe we should focus on those little things a bit more...


  some men move mountains

  sail the ocean blue

  ‘bout this stuff, I just haven’t a clue

  I can’t move mountains

  oceans I just don’t do

  but I’d cross puddles

  ... for you

  darling you know that

  I try so hard

  but my list of achievements are pitifully few

  ‘cause the can that I can

  just ain’t worth a damn

  still I do what I do

  ... for you

  they say that little things

  they count the most

  and little is something I know I can do

  all that heroic muscle

  is such a damn hustle

  you know the little I do

  I do for you

  if ever you need some

  words from the wise

  don’t worry your pretty head about price

  ‘cause that intelligent gent

  ain’t worth a damn cent

  my expert advice is free

  ... for you

  if I could just do it

  I’d ride a white horse

  fight your battles and be your own shining knight

  you know that chivalrous man

  just ain’t worth a damn

  darling, please settle for puny

  again... tonight


  queen of the foodcourt

  We've definitely become a shopping mall society. A friend was in my office one day and had to take a call to deal with a major family crisis – his teenage daughter had been barred from the local shopping mall and was about to commit all out war on society due to the massive injustice imposed upon her – his proffered solutions were instantly scorned – he simply didn't understand her – go to a different mall indeed... how could he be so stupid.

  queen of the foodcourt

  wet sunday afternoon

  court in session

  her majesty expansive as she lines up her soldiers

  cut price fashion icon

  henna the lipline

  gum chewing courtiers boost courage with lies

  they call you the queen

  queen of the foodcourt

  royalty won by cruelty and gall

  you love it, want it

  can’t live without it

  soon your crown is really gonna fall

  coffers are depleted

  boredom is rising

  crusading army sent to prey on the helpless

  compulsory taxation

  mission accomplished

  gum chewing courtiers win Time Out as prize

  breach in security

  stately tension

  knights deliver news from the corners of the kingdom

  hark the new princess

  army threatening

  gum chewing courtiers contrast courage with flight


  around a burning oil drum

  Party at Liz's place when she lived in Oxford. One of those magic nights where all sorts of interesting people got together. Nick's wonderful music floated out over the rose garden and we were entertained by one of the strangest dance groups I've ever met – a troupe of mannequins orchestrated by a gentleman purporting to be the self-proclaimed mayor of the village. Very much in his cups, he insisted to all and sundry that he would not, under any circumstances, reveal the secret of his plastic ladies.

  around a burning oil drum

  hands in pockets

  breath condensing

  talking to the self-proclaimed mayor of Oxford

  he refuses

  refuses to disclose the secret

  of his plastic ladies

  enviro whiner

  concerned for plastic

  carelessly tosses an empty beer bottle

  into the fire

  into the fire as he bids goodnight

  bottle exploding

  the yoyo guy

  feeling no pain

  once more reeled in by drunken cohorts

  smoking jacket

  his smoking jacket adds sweaty perfume

  to the burning plastic

  the Glentui wind cuts to the quick

  Ann-Marie’s tent a sorrowful sight

  Nick & Steve rock an old Scots air

  the rose garden is buzzing tonight

  new found friends

  worse for the weather

  relentlessly invading personal spaces

  too close for comfort

  too close for comfort so it’s follow the mayor

  into the moonlight


  Bela Lugosi did his own makeup

  A flight of imagination. This examines that instant in time when you realise that, as much as you love your partner, she has now moved on. It could be
something as simple as a glance, the way the head turns when you speak. Written for those who struggle with being single again – we count ourselves very lucky to have become an old, happily-married couple. Long may it continue.

  Bela Lugosi did his own makeup

  disenchantment walks in

  as the furniture of my mind

  is rearranged

  by the sadness in your eyes

  a new order is established

  a new establishment gives orders

  in a language too young

  or too old

  for the new me

  to understand

  a galaxy of questions is born


  only to struggle like baby turtles

  across my mental coffee table

  in a fruitless search for comprehension

  before leaping


  into canyons of despair

  krakatoa eruptions of understanding

  lend magma to a tsunami

  of tortured emotions

  dramatically pausing

  picture perfect

  before rushing maniacally

  to wreak havoc

  on the shores of


  the newly established regime

  once more constructed


  and reconstructed

  without thought for design


  or method

  Bela Lugosi did his own makeup!

  the trivial pursuit of trivia

  provides a momentary hiatus

  in the tinnitus

  of confusion

  before thoughts

  black as the Earl of Hell’s waistcoat


  without mercy

  through my Notre Dame

  like nails on chalkboard

  tart retorts

  retracted without utterance


  as self-realisation

  reflects the pompousness of my predicament

  and truth

  unwelcome as telemarketers

  retrieves your picture from the wreckage

  restoring it


  to the left hand corner of the piano

  only suddenly

  the music is no longer in tune

  and I glimpse


  that your image

  has no shadow


  take me home

  We all get homesick every now and again. But, strangely enough, when I get a bit nostalgic for home, it's not so much for the people and places I grew up with, but more for a time and place where I only spent a few memorable weeks. Marguerite and I spent a very happy summer, so very long ago, touring round Scotland and one of the most memorable times was on the Isle of Skye where we stayed at the foot of the Cuillan mountains.

  take me home

  sunday summer melts the peat bog

  mighty cuillans pierce the sky

  great sea eagle, solitary

  mystic spirit, circling high

  breathe the air of ancient wisdom

  gentle giants quiet and strong

  delicate hues of purple heather

  mountain breezes sing their song

  mist descending quick as blinking

  dangerous footing on the scree

  colours scurry into shelter

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