Schneider

We had nothing but rags
Bags of old costumes
Piled in the corner
Of a dusty room
Discarded scraps
Of forgotten dreams
So I taught myself to sew
Building a tapestry
Of my patchwork life
Knees folded on the
Chilly bathroom floor
Its cracked blue lino
Like ocean waves
The tattered curtain
Tucked up over the rail
Learning to navigate
By feel and intuition
As I frowned
Squinting at my needle
Trying to get the thread
Through a tiny hole
In the mushroom-coloured dusk
At the awkward age
Of thirteen years and one month
I wore them out
My colourful creations
And people stared
Admiring and mocking
In equal amounts
When I grew
Good enough
That you could see
Design in my skilful
Manipulation
Of throw-away stuffs
I sold some
For coin, or bartered favours
Tailors can be born
And they can be made
I took commissions
If you could describe it
The perfect dress
I could draw it in my head
Then threading your dream
Through my careful fingers
Seam by seam
I could make it
Come alive

Endangered Species

There’s a man in my office
Who’s saving the whales –
One tin can at a time.

It goes back to childhood’s
Conservative craze
When he knew snails were more than just slime.

A sensitive boy scout
And always prepared
He’d tell you what tigers remained.

Not overly social,
But gosh, how he cared
Desperate all must endure unchanged.

Through his hormonal years
While his peers were all pairing
Ensuring Man stayed off the list;

He was fasting for turtles
While classmates kept staring
Too busy by far to be kissed.

When he took his first paycheck
Back home to his mum
Her delight at his fortune fell flat

He announced his intention
To keep his old room
And to spend it protecting the bat.

He has hundreds of coupons
From cereal boxes
An album with stickers galore

Saves ham from his lunchbox
To feed to the foxes
And nags me to recycle more

But though he is frequently
Smug and annoying
We all do our best to keep calm;

For somehow we feel
Though the whole thing gets boring
The planet appreciates John.

When he went round the local
Recycling plant
It was feared he would not be the same

For the sight of machinery
Making its mark
Only spurred him to heighten his game.

The ice caps’ diffusion
In over-fished seas
Left him feeling for what seals were left

Such emotions, confusion
Brought him to his knees
‘Til unable to speak, eat or rest

He was forced to relax
Under medical orders
To stop writing to his MP

And was sent to recuperate
Far from our borders
With sun, sand and sea therapy

He moaned through the flight
With the stewardess fussing
He just couldn’t bear to give in

Such terrible guilt
Carbon footprint increasing
He wanted to scream at the sin

Now back at his desk
We are careful to tiptoe
Each time we recycle a can

For the breakdown he had
Caused his temper to flip though
Our John’s now a shell of a man.

I worry his type
Now seems harder to find
As I watch the poor guy stumble past.

It’s a shame the ecologist’s
Losing his mind
For I fear this one may be the last.