I am not sure whether it was The burnt banana bread Or the under-spiced Over-baked biscuits That did it But I am thoroughly Sick-as-a-dog Fed up to the back teeth And beyond With the schoolyard B*llsh*t bakesale Not just the politics The cut and thrust Of who gets to bake And who gets to buy At the thrice termly Repeating misery That is the fundraiser Conspicuous, competitive, Consumption For a school committee With more money Than common sense Soliciting donations: Baked goods; sweets; Good-as-new toys; Dictating requirements: Own clothes; costumes; Odd shoes; socks; Random coloured shirts; Hair ribbons; headgear; We all pay for a day Out of uniform Or suffer culinary torture Face it, ladies I can actually cook But my kitchen will never be One hundred percent Gluten or nut-free I don’t want to poison Anyone (by accident) And I resent the waste Of good ingredients This charade entails Let’s just forget it The whole in-crowd Phenomenon What are we, twelve? Phooey to the PTA! Us working mums have Bigger problems Than dusting off a dirndl To play at housewife On a weekday afternoon Though what you choose To do with your own time Is none of my business. And that was my Considered, rational, Personal perspective Before we ate the Glitter-encrusted Muffin of doom That somehow gave The entire family Galloping gut rot (Even the cat) Don’t ask me how I no longer care We have run out of Buckets, bog roll, And fresh underwear Seriously, Screw the whole thing! I am switching to Online donations At least they don’t Require that I provide Correct change Nor that I invest my Hard earned paycheck In industrial quantities Of bathroom bleach And antacids Only to be sneered at By the clique of Suzie home-maker And sycophants Holding court At the school gate Judging me and mine For our contribution To the latest cause
Snake Oil, Sass and Razzamatazz
I envy those women in the magazines
It goes back to something missing from my teens
Their white trouser, silk blouse lifestyle
When pimples and bad hair were my style
Do I deserve their barefoot walks on the beach
With a dog whose perm is out of my reach?
Can I emulate their effortless charm
In a climate where thick vests are the norm?
And as advertising copy is rife
Where do I sign up for their perfect life?
With a spouse who is polite to my mum
And a car that is the envy of some…
Or is that only alive on the page
While we sigh, we buy, but bicker and rage?
What has happened to us living the dream
In a home of painted white wood and cream?
How are we supposed to manage to burn
All the endless stuff they tell us to earn?
And as pensioners smile sweetly at kids
While their offspring bust a gut on the skids
Keeping families from floating away
Working harder, longer hours each day
For an ad campaigner, trainer, shamer
Knows no namer, public blamer
Never better, next trend setter
Panty wetter, promo debtor
How is this for living the dream
We grip tighter than our miracle cream?
Where is this freedom
When first they told me
Work makes free?
I look around
And know I’m lost –
What’s free I buy
At such a cost
No youth, enjoyment
In minted coin
As all are robbed
Of our free time
We’re bobbed and jobbed
And pensioned off
Freely to freeze
As Winter brings us
To our knees
A lifetime spent
While taking care
To save on food
Is hardly free
To those who drift
Through twilit streets
And shopping malls
In suits and boots
No longer knowing
Why they strive
For Freedom finds
Few left alive
I am untouched by death, it seems
My brow so cool, and arid eye
No flicker at the suicide scenes
Of friend that waited, soon to die
And hastened with impatient crime
To strike a blow and choose his time.
Not I, the sobbing, shrieking wreck
That tears their clothes and hair to match
The inner maelstrom kept in check
You’d scarcely hear my voice – the catch
Unnoticed by my colleague’s grin
Unless I choose to let them in.
At reading of another act
Of violence in public space
It is not terror strikes my heart
I cannot lie to save my face
Though all around are tearing fast
I’m calm and cool – it brushes past.
On hearing tales of chemicals
That kill en-masse, so far away
Of sniping shooters winging girls
Who want to go to school today
The sum of Arab Springs and Falls
Cannot unbuild emotive walls.
I’ve known it worse, or so we say
Explosions and effects galore
I saw a film, but yesterday
I can’t be feeling any more
Of Realism, High-def blow
Paid for my ticket, saw the show.
Though broadcast pictures fill the News
I’ve seen too many other views
In my short life to be amused
By one more shot of life, abused
While Western minds are overfed
On what we’re sold, and so, misled.
What heartstrings I have left to tug
Beside ideas I fondly kept
Lie buried underneath the rug
Old fashioned views, soft-celled, inept
Far too naive to hold so late
Beyond their expiration date.
Missing, like the cool breath of spring with the windows sealed and the heating on. I looked everywhere, but could not find what it was I sought. Eventually I was drawn outside, away from my safe haven, comfy cocoon, nest of nostalgia. Drawn outside to the vast emptiness of grey. The buildings, trees, sky, pavements, even the people, leached colourless with the daily grind. Scrabbling to inject a small painted eddy with each gossip magazine, buying the gospel according to St. Vogue, Cosmo, Heat, in a vain attempt to reignite a spark of something to warm the outer echelons of wasted grey matter in their meaningless, empty, automatic existence.
Chakras blaring, I slice through the crowd in a beam of light, airy red and green, pausing to gaze at the signs, tripping over my feet and smiling gaily at the blank, vacant stares of astonished and outraged indifference. I pass them by.
Still searching, still questing, thirsty for something more than the cold, consumer products that continue to be supplied without demand. Unnecessary. The limp sandwiches, curled in their cardboard, and the leaky coffee cups uncomprehending in their crassness. And I feel embarassed for them, these minor distractions. They clutter us up, steal spare time, waste our dreams, anchor our wanderlust and tie our shoelaces together, sending us tripping, tottering off balance until our world only appears normal when viewed from the appropriate angle.
Bent out of shape, the life collects at a corner, in little pockets, much like a zit, cheerfully growing bigger and more bountiful until some officious teen decides to squeeze it to death, and creativity is lost, scattered to the dusty ends of the earth like pus exploded on a mirror. Distasteful, too much life – suppress it, cover it up with beige face paint and pretend it’s not there. Censorship, by the people, for the people. And my itch only grows, it seems. In inverse proportion to all attempts to squash it, until it is so big it no longer needs a soapbox, or a rooftop, but is ready to take on the world even without us. I sigh, acknowledge the digression, give myself a little shake and return to my path.
Oh, for my own wooden wanderings. I choose freedom over falsehood, yet build upon the cold, hard, steely-eyed framework of society. The foundation garments of rebellion, are now to be worn outside the ashen trappings of civilization.
The glade of flowers must exist within the sharpened wolf-ridden forest and perhaps it is that this little red riding hood is looking for? Stab to the heart of a problem and find only dust and bones. Soothe your way in and discover a wealth of living warmth. Fondant moisture, unsuspected, lurking in the depths. Yes, depths. The world suddenly takes on a third and an other dimension, and I find myself satisfied, my thirst slaked, comfited at the glorious mystery of which I have partaken. Colour and light bursts forth around me and I am renewed. The world shifting and righting itself upside-down.
Things settle to a more comfortable location. Tesselations occur, interacting and teasing in their kaleidoscopic patterns. Turned on their ear, yet righted, I continue to turn in the world’s wake. A spinning top, all colours blurring to an all-feeling brown of newness.
On the eve of it all
Surrounded by the spoils of men, milling, swirling, competing for attention, wanting for nothing, yet craving every piece of trash that passes by. We live in a desolate age, where pile upon pile of fancy packaging coats our conscience, wraps our brains and seals the deal with a loving spritz of forget-me. How I long for simple rivalry, without the harsh clamour, wish the humdrum, mono-not-chrome existence to once again hold sway. I pray for need, I beg for demand, rather than the overabundance of what is supplied to those without such a borderline. Edgy, a fringe movement hanging on the silk of their own party dress and swaying gently in the consumptive breeze. I could live in a world of lithographic memories, brown and fuzzy, dog-eared and beautiful in its imperfection. Order amid the chaos of life without pixels. A stream of unconscious thought, growing to a river, and crashing down the butter-mountain, swallowing up all those in its path.
Through mists of sleep I spread my wings
And soar past many fickle things.
All that bears glitter children prize,
Yet childlike, I, to my surprise
Can see no value in such stuff.
Though teen-hearts dream, I cry enough!
And long for far-off simple days
When gifts meant more than pleasure-craze.
I should not preach, but here I boil.
Why must we our children spoil?
For in the gifting of such trash
We barely feel the daily lash:
Consumers all! Now eat your sweets,
Break your toys, foul the streets!
But do not let me hear you say,
The old will do for me today!