Enter Home Planet News 6 POEMS By
                 Donald Gardner                      ...Poetry Page 1                                           ...Fiction Page 1 _______________________________________________________________________________________________

          Room where I Write my Poetry

         Room of misery,
         cynic's kennel,
         and the thoughts that will not come,
         save images that do a belly flop
         or flap like fishes drowned on shore.

         Shut up like a selfish monk,
         back turned on the world, its joys,
         as if despising ordinary happiness,

         recording dark stanzas of grief,
         afraid of the wide world, its cruel lures.

         Sometimes terrified I hit the street
         and the street hits back
         with noise and carnage,

         so I rush back to my wounded den
         and compose a diatribe against turpitude
         and no poems come.

Pushing the Envelope

Who put us in one in the first place?
Did we choose this disguise?
Our poor bones as we were squeezed through the letterbox.
In the dark of the letterbox
I broke
free of the envelope.
Words I spoke,
words of prophecy.

Multitudes of other envelopes simultaneously burst open.
A sound of envelopes rubbing together
like footsteps sliding over melting snow.

I saw a world
where nobody was a dead letter
or needed returning to sender.
Or rewriting.


Fear of Rats

Rats are no problem.
They are part of our human world.
We are never more than five metres from one of them.
It's a secure feeling.

Have you ever been kissed by a rat?
An affectionate little nibble.
Sophisticated whiskers.
Its accidental bite.

I had a friend once.
Her daughter was punk.
Kept a rat like they do.
Where she went Ratty went,
a white epaulette on her shoulder.

Slid down the sleeve of my jacket
like a rope tumbling down a shaft.
Its little fingers on my skin
tickled me pink.

I foresee a new kind of rat
escaped from the genetics laboratory,
breeding like a multiplication table,
big as a person
and dead friendly.

I'm not sure about rats.
As they tumble down history,
their press has largely
been bad.
I'm drawn to them somehow.
They have huge charm.

Sure they don't mean to
do you any harm.

         Fly as Pet

         Some people have a dog
         I have a fly
         follows me around
         more faithful I know not
         keeps close to me
         if I move he does
         if I leave anything
         on the kitchen table
         could be a dog
         he wolfs it

         If I leap into bed late at night
         pull the cover over
         my head
         and stick my nose out
         coming up for air
         he's made the perfect landing
         you guess where

         Would you keep a fly as a pet
         take him out for a walk
         with a mini-mini-scoop
         for his little poopie-doop
         would you take him out for a walk
         a long one a short one
         a last one?

The Wrinkled Sea as Viewed by the Wrinkled Seer

From the dizzying height
of seventy years,

like Tennyson's eagle
I look down on my younger self.

Far below me
a young man

is setting out in life.
Hope fills his sails.

Little fool, I say,
he has no idea.

But then I remember
the joke's on me.

If only I could stop him,
swoop down from my vantage point

of impotent knowledge,
and seize the twenty-year-old brat

I once was
in my disparaging claws.

"If you'd seen what I see,"
I'd ask,

"would you have done things differently?"
And he replies

"Like it or not
for worse and for better

you are my me.
We are mates for life.

You are the price I paid."

Exercising my Right

I take him out
on his retractable leash -
never miss a day.
And round he trots,
salutes the fire hydrant and
sticks his nose
where other little rights have been.
He's the cutest thing!

Then I tuck him
under my arm -
too much of a great outdoors,
little right could catch a cold -

and home we go
into the warm.
It's cosy here,
just the two of us;
he's not even
an issue
once our door is closed.

(Standing on the table,
he may put
his forepaws on me
and lick my nose.)

Don't need do anything,
just be
at home with me.

And I kiss him
on his darling muzzle.
"You may be small," I say,
"but you're pretty much
all I've got."

(Hope no-one climbs through the window
just as I'm putting the finishing touches
to our evening meal.
Steals him when my back is turned.)