Examples

Killing the Piano

We tried to save you with small ads.
Free to good home, must collect
but nobody called.

We tried schools and churches,
community centres,
but none were prepared to accommodate you.
No room for the past,
no use for tradition,
and each back turned
was another key condemned.

Once we dragged you a hundred miles north,
and later a hundred back,
my faithful friend as I learnt how to play,
from Three Blind Mice
to Für Elise and the Nut Rocker.

But for years you stood,
lid down, barely touched,
except by the clumsy fists of children,
bashing a blind fortissimo,
untroubled by rhythm or melody,
unaware that every good boy deserves favour.

For years you stood,
an obstacle,
an inconvenience,
silently slipping out of tune.

It fell to me to strike the killing blow,
consign you to the fate we’d tried to swerve.
Behind the crack of splintering walnut
I could hear a heart
breaking.

 

Old Fred

They know what he drinks,
and that he likes it in a glass with a handle.

They know he never comes in on Tuesdays.

They know where he sits,
and how all of his stories
have changed over the years.

They know his kids and grandkids,
although they’ve never met,
and on the day that he doesn’t show up
they know who to call.

Old Fred beermat

Street Food

When the new restaurant opened its doors,
the words on the window read Street Food.

I asked if the food was cooked in the street.
They said, ‘No, it is cooked in a kitchen.’

I asked if the food was served in the street.
They said, ‘No, it is served at a table.’

I asked in what way, could they say, this was street food.
They said, ‘Get out of my restaurant.’