Not in lockdown

I awoke knowing I had to attend a local pathology lab before working from home. Google maps to confirmed an opening time of 6:30 am.

The hot shower resulted in a centrally heated glow emananating through my body. Do I need a coat? Surely I will be okay in shorts and tee. Unknowing if I needed to be fasting or not, I headed out without a coffee.

The cooling 13oC air enveloped my body on exiting. After a couple of minutes, I had to head back for my face mask.

Upon arriving at the clinic, a man was on his way out, four people were seated, and there were four chairs to spare. I sat nearest the entrance. At this point I was far from awake. Why then had I sat next to a source of blasting music? First thought was, a television, no a radio. For a fraction of a second I considered moving seat. After all it would have gone unnoticed to my peers; absorbed by their phones.

The bespectacled used head stowage and push forward methods to escape the irritation of fogged up lenses. While playing word puzzles, solitaire, and Woodoku, I chose to do the on and off, repeat motion.

I made a mental note of the people in front of me. An unnecessary waste of brain power as we all had handed over referral forms to the mufti clad nurse. She was keeping them and us in strict chronological order.

Between patients, the waiting room was treated to melodious stereo as the nurse sang along.

Eventually, I allowed myself to be pointed into the collection room. Robotically settling into the wide throne like chair with wide arm caps. The identity checking and arm choice over, I ‘scooted’ over to the left. The tourniquet attached, fist clenched, ‘you’ll feel a sharp sting’.

A few minutes passed, gaze averted, lulled by the occasional soft popping and scraping noises of the tubes being swapped over. I was jolted from trying not to think about the ache developing in my arm by the nurse. ‘Oh, are you okay? I drifted off there. A mini meditation’, she said.

Commencing the five minutes walk home, I reflected on the sparse number of cars, the sunshine delivering tepid warmth, and how fortunate we are not being in lockdown.

Daylight phantom

There stands an old gum tree, it’s immense;
Next to land, ringed by a solid fence.
Embedded in the trunk very deep,
Black metal cashbox, safely to keep.

Behind a bench, a slight figure forms,
Drawn face, cold grey eyes begin to warm.
‘The grip, scrumpox, burns, warts, sores, or chills?
I’ve tonics, lotions, pills for all ills!’

‘Cure’s on hand for aches, pains, blisters, gout.
Best int’all land,’ voice raises to shout.
‘Tinctures, potions, ointments, aplenty.
Discount to you when buying twenty.’

On emaciated frame hangs down,
A tattered and faded teal plaid gown.
‘Hark my words, come on over’, she sings.
Meanwhile, an unseen bell faintly rings.

A visual echo of eons ago
Of wise woman’s travelling, healing show.
Demise foretold at birth by a seer,
Jealous fakes will spake lies about here.

She’ll die unwed, two score years and ten.
Deed to be done by ignorant men,
Committed to burn without a trial.
People to watch come many a mile.

The solemn gloom filled day came to pass.
Remains interred below the scorched grass.
Mage’s cashbox lay in restless sleep.
‘Til life from death, a tree grew to keep.

Townsfolk give the woman, widest berth.
‘No place for phantoms on this green earth!’
Together, moon, sun shine; Winter sky.
Apparition fades at death knell’s lie.

There stands an old gum tree, it’s immense;
Next to land, ringed by a solid fence.
Embedded in the trunk very deep,
Black metal cashbox, mem’ries to keep.

The above is the second and final draft of last week’s post Black metal cashbox poem.

Black metal cashbox

There stands an old gum tree, it’s immense;
Next to land ringed by a solid fence.
Embedded in the trunk very deep,
Black metal cashbox, safely to keep.

Behind a bench, a slight figure forms,
Drawn face, cold grey eyes begin to warm.
‘The grip, scrumpox, burns, warts, sores, or chills?
I’ve tonics, lotions, pills for all ills!’

‘Cure’s on hand for aches, pains, blisters, gout.
Best int’all land,’ voice raises to shout.
‘Tinctures, potions, ointments, aplenty.
Discount to you when buying twenty.’

On emaciated frame hangs down,
A tattered and faded teal plaid gown.
‘Hark my words, come on over’, she sings.
Meanwhile, an unseen bell faintly rings.

Townsfolk give the woman, widest berth.
‘No place for phantoms on this green earth’.
Together, Moon, Sun shine; Winter sky.
Apparition fades at death knell’s sound.

There stands an old gum tree, it’s immense;
Next to land ringed by a solid fence.
Embedded in the trunk very deep,
Black metal cashbox, safely to keep.

Crinoline and lace

The busy arch filled facade of the block sized Treasury Building, conjures up images of crinoline encased ladies, enshrouded in lace.

This late nineteenth, early twentieth century, Italian Renaissance style, former Queensland state government administration building is faced with sandstone ashlar. It glows warmly while basking in the late afternoon sunshine.

Since 1995 this edifice has housed a casino. When viewed in the early morning, traces of the over rouged lighting strike a discord of grotesque elegance. I wonder what will occupy this grand old lady when the nearby newer model is debuted in late 2022.

Embrace the kink

Two years ago, I started this post with just the title.

As a toddler, I was endowed with platinum blonde curly locks. By the time I started infant school they had morphed into straight plain brown.

When the barnet began to feather flick from my ears and extended well beyond collar length, my three years younger brother, and I were marched to a tonsorial parlour at the junction of Northfield Road and Fellows Lane, Harborne.

There in a bay windowed, cream gloss painted room, containing two adjustable chairs, upholstered in deep brown cracked leather, facing mirrors, we were shorn.

The stout balding, cleanly shaved barber, wearing a white jacket, seemed so very old. I enjoyed sitting high up on a plank across the arms of the chair while my mother reminded him, I had a double crown. I have since learned the unruliness of the left side of my head is due to a cowlick.

Each time we went, my brother and I had the same cut. I discovered today, it is called a mop top, although ours was short at the back. The style did not change until I was old enough to go to the barbers alone.

In my late teens, I admired my brother’s long wavy hair, emphasising his bikie, hard rock, and heavy metal persona. Being the eldest, my lot was one of self imposed responsibility. As previously posted, societal conformity was the order of the day. To hide in plain sight, I chose to wear mine off my face in a quasi Simon Templar fashion.

For forty years, I yearned for curly hair, although never enough to try a perm. Instead, I relied on clipped cuts, gels, mousses, waxes, and creams to achieve straight uniformity.

In 2014, hairdresser, James Burrows was the first to talk to me about my fine flyaway strands. He used sea salt spray, comb, dryer, and powder to create the tidal wave like cut in the picture above.

Brisbane or ageing, combined with inclusion of non usual humans have proved to be the catalyst for realising my dream of wavy hair. The current barber introduced me to scrunch drying, reinforced the use of hair powder, and suggested using balm left over from taming my beard to achieve separation of tresses. A day or two after washing, I am now able to embrace the kink.

humanity

encouragement and kinship; life’s gifts


passing; mortality’s reminder


laughter foretime, subsequent silence


heart-strung connections, now memories


warm reminiscing; cold light of day

Boutique twilight development

Over the last few years we have been casually searching for the perfect place, within budget, to spend our twilight years.

Yesterday, we visited our first boutique ‘50 plus lifestyle resort’. Located 52 km north of home, it is serenely quiet compared to townhouse living with background noise of rail, aircraft, road traffic, and people going about their lives.

The estate is bounded by council owned forest on three sides and is walking distance to a shopping centre.

The complex’s clubhouse, 25 metres lap pool, jacuzzi, bowling green, barbecue area, and outdoor seating are nearing completion.

Lyn showed us around the available options. All reasonably spacious with higher than usual ceilings, fans, air conditioning, larger kitchens than we are used to, and most importantly, detached and single storey.

All had a front garden and a covered porch. Also, alfresco areas at the rear with around 1-3 m to boundary fenced sides and back. We liked the layouts and finishes of the homes.

Lyn let us know the average age of villagers was 60 to 80 years. Unfortunately, finance may be tricky as leasehold property is unpopular with lending establishments.

Even though I pine for seeing the sky from inside our abode, rather than the three storey house next door, perhaps we are 5-10 years too young to reside in a twilight development.

Recurring dream

Spanning decades, fear’s icy ectoplasm shocks my heart. Destination scene’s known as lucid dream materialises, only the route varies.

Deep within a dwelling, an unobtrusive timber shuttered room. A postern door opens to an unremarkable tree crammed yard. Overgrown spiky, entangled stems, ramble. Daylight barely penetrates the gloom. A sodden carpet of mildewed leaves, twigs and decay smother the ground.

Heady damp earth scent permeates my being as unseen hands claw, scrape, shovel, revealing a petrified hatch.

Dark downward sloping subterranean passage snakes forks, twists. Roughly hewn stone echoes footsteps, breath, rustle of clothing. Stepfather’s flaccid luminescent presence lumbers alongside.

Ever further trudging through the sordid depths. Always aware of being followed, no sight nor sound. At last, cavernous space reveals an ovoid mound. Knowing it’s secret, I turn to leave the cadaver, never will she make thirteen.

If I am not guilty of wrongdoing, why the anxiety of being found out?

Reflecting while writing; perhaps this is the resting place of my innocence and suppressed femininity.