The loud purring Of a sensitive soul Rumbles across my lap A gentleman-mouser Whose claws are rarely Sheathed in my flesh Save for those few Accidental motions. He pauses in his Hypnotic kneading Of careful paws Twitches a whisker Opens a lazy eye We are content Devoted Familiar and Current Provider of ear-scratches Precious moments spent together Do not last as long As they once did Those rare islands Of near-silence I try to spend Writing. Such a distraction Is sadly unacceptable In company My failure to stroke Soft furry egos While fingers Play over lettered keys And coffee cools At a careless elbow Lead to gentle taps Polite, then more insistent I frown and mutter Trying to shake loose Some old ideas From new forehead creases Transmit them to my dusty screen Before the next Set of demands is issued By the charming pout Of the other House Tyrant Whose three-year-reign Continues to sway The working lives Of all her subjects. It is not enough. I cannot please all Of my many masters Not this day. As gentle snores fade to yawns I sift through the tired Dog-eared card catalogue Housed temporarily for safekeeping Within my rapidly emptying skull Brain cycling faster The vocalisation Begins in earnest Close behind my ear “Miaouw!” He is starting to insist “Pssst! Shush!” It is a futile gesture To try to silence An old friend The search continues There are paws on my shoulder Tapping, prodding A hint of sharpness A gentle shove Hot breath on my neck Can I find a verbal noun, Subclause, or synonym To convey my sense Of panic at the first stirrings Of any sleeping creature Under four feet But still a giant? Too late. “Mummy!” I hiss my discomfort At the sudden perforation Of my thigh. Time’s up once again.
Something is missing from my little world
Time passes so swiftly it’s almost absurd
As soon as my first daily job has been done
I’m already late starting on the next one.
Oh when will this treadmill let me catch my breath?
I’ve been working so hard, though young, I feel like death.
When finally homeward I wearily tread
It’s hardly worth sleeping, much less going to bed.
For changing to nightgown, brushing hair and teeth,
Wastes such precious time that I get no relief
And scrambling through supper and other routine
Makes senseless my efforts to rest or keep clean.
Even on the weekends, my work’s never done
As between friends and fam’ly, my time’s not my own.
Before I am ready it’s Monday alas,
And the whole wretched cycle starts over apace.
I take a breath, to clear my head
My stomach sings a hungry tune
My eyes are tired, my legs like lead
Freezing here beneath the moon.
I wish I could awake my mind
Some beauty I should love to find,
But closed-up shops
And ticking clocks
Are all the night will offer me.
Time slips by me like a drunken lover, giggling and giddy in the moon’s unearthly glow. The lines that are appearing, poetry, wrinkled as a newborn, aged as the hills. I laugh to see my face crinkle, this new mask that gloves me and cloaks me and hands me a cane. Perhaps I should go toward the opera house, after all, I do seem to be dressed for it?
Shadows whisper in the twilight as I stagger downward, stumbling on paths I used to know. Old friends desert me, then resurface, years later, surrounded by the spoils of their own adventures and their own spoilt offspring, clamouring for the future.
I digress, moving at tangents from topics I no longer care to discuss. Is it all over yet? So soon? I wonder at my own, comforting mortality, then see the plastic faces in the papers and shudder. Not my pipeline, frequency, whatchamacallit, wavelength? Not my style.
And raincoats let in water, wellingtons are worn in place of sandals, underwear becomes the latest craze and the world sighs as it flops over, turning itself inside-out in the name of fashion.
I mark the seasons, birthdays, holidays, nights when I sleep well, with a sort of passing satisfaction. Nothing matters so much it is lethal, no problem is unsolvable, and yet I slow down, grinding to a halt, paralysed by movement, breathless through static. And all of Time kisses my body in a quiet portico.
I am bathed in sand, asleep, awake? I lie alone and listen for each passing footfall, each second, each heartbreak, each life.