Breakfast milk, earlier today.
This poem came from its epigram, a Kurt Vonnegut line that struck me while I was reading Slaughterhouse-Five.  If you've not read Kurt I recommend him.  He's a SF author, but also very much about everyday life; philosophical without being full of himself.

If he has a flaw it's that he's a little too aware of trying for an 'everyman' quality, of making his characters all John Q Public, but you have to respect his trying.

Anyway, as I only took the one line, and then completely reinterpreted it, you won't find a lot of him in this.

BCE, of course, stands for "Before the Common Era", which is what archaeologists now say in an attempt to remove the built-in cultural bias of "BC".  Personally I prefer MYA (Million Years Ago) but that's for dinosaurs.


Everybody is supposed to be dead,
to never say anything or want anything ever again.

—Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Time happened so long ago.
The milkman's note is deep carved
dead-language, symbolic, on the door frame.

Evidence for breakfast can be sifted
from the archaeological layer:
people ate toasted grains, bread,
fruit preserved in storage jars.

They may have wanted extra pints
which the milkman didn't leave.

If I still spoke that language
I would pull a message from the potsherds,
write a learned paper, a coffee table book,
show how civilisation faltered
a voice was raised
a door was slammed...

It was all over long ago—
I make notes with some detachment.



A small, quirky, offering, this time...

How people really think about the World, and their life in it, is one of the great unacknowledged elephants of our time.  We think we're these cool, calm, rational beings and...  ...well basically "rubbish!"  We're more than a little ape, and apes are quite monkey, and monkeys are quite reptile.

This barely touches on that, but there may be some self-deceit going on...


These events become parenthetical,
sliding past your real life (moments in doorways,
rain-beleaguered; nights in anonymous hotels)
unexamined. You can prove these things don't happen.
The normal rules preclude kissing young ladies
(behind the curl of hair around her ear) naturally
you have no habit of checking
it isn't going on.


Blue of the morning (with reading)

By Rowan Peter [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
A city morning, earlier today
This is a recent poem, so I apologise to those who have already seen/heard it on poetry forums.

However I'm just in the mood for it, so here it is again.

This whole poem sprang from the first line, which in turn I stole from a song.  The poem then turned out to have nothing to do with the song.  It's not unusual (that's not the song). Poems do turn out with no relation to their inspiration.

Some poets have questioned whether I need the last two words.  I went forwards and backwards over that and in the end I kept them.  What do you think?

Blue of the morning

For reasons unknown to me,
perhaps because there's steam between
two tiny buildings way down there,
or possibly because a car alarm
has been sounding one minute
in every six minutes
for the last half hour, or maybe
it is eighth floor ledge air decorated
but not at all warmed
by the hint of distant
sausage sandwich, or then again...

I am come with E-flat saxophone at port-arms.
I have risen too often prior to dawn
and walked on every street
I see from here, the debris
and sparrows, the pigeons one eye sleepy,
the guy with the broom and barrow,
the early office drones flitting through
like casually lobbed tennis balls
come randomly through one window
of a slow twirling ballroom,
bouncing once, and exiting
via open terrace doors.

Or possibly not, maybe it is not
the evolution of graffiti on street-side
equipment, nor the occasional blip
of bistros in and out of existence. Maybe
it isn't seeing the same faces come round
and again, and maybe that's the woman Mona leaning
on a lamppost... or maybe not.
Possibly none of this is it, possibly...

it is the possibilities of the situation,
the group of situations, systems, traffic,
people, complexity arising
in a super-ramification of overlapping
cadence, patterns that start with a line
in a restaurant menu, continue
behind a pawnshop window, and end
in the pocket of a tram driver
where his smart-phone marks time and bookmarks
places in this and other worlds

where maybe I have also wet the reed,
inserted it, tightened the screw...
and maybe finally this is it, because it isn't the city,
the air, the complexity or the people. It is all of the above,
a summing into something with no summary,
detail that won't express in language I can voice.
OK, lift instrument, breathe,
and begin...


Massachusetts State Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance Survey System

A sonnet...  This came from watching a YouTube video about sexual health in various populations.

I had no reason for watching that, but YouTube is the master of the random education.  Everything I know about large explosions, wacky Japanese marble-runs and They Might Be Giants comes from YouTube.

This study was interesting and noted several curious points, none of which I intend to repeat here.  However it was conducted by the eponymous Massachusetts State Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance Survey System, whose name is excellent, and whose stock in trade must be phoning random strangers to ask about their sex lives.  Presumably during the evening meal.

Massachusetts State Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance Survey System

People who have sex, unprotected by the bonds
of matrimony; people who elect the wrong candidates,
spend too many evenings getting canvassed
in their offices; people, people who need people;
unlucky people; people without two coins to rub
against a pie; people who lie, or whose friends lie
and who do not know; people who eat lotus,
junk food, polystyrene cups; people who pour syrup
left handed into the bath; people who laugh
at the staff with the questionnaire; people who care
too much, know too little, do not read
the warnings which are amply provided; and,
above all, people who were out on the evening
when we picked their number to randomly call.