Flamenco fantacy

Weathered hands and ancient wood
make soft the harshest winter night
to turn a lonely soul
towards more comfort things.

Soleare in a fire’s glow,
wine to share its ruby wealth.
I listen now and dream,
inventing days.

His fingers write of life
in smooth arpeggios –
heartbeats hanging on a thumb
as sympathetic feet
send staccato statements
through darkened streets.

Faces watch with distant minds –
companions in a nowhere world.
For now, there is no tomorrow,
only the moment.


Fast food

with no blue ribbon
Un-kept promises.
In the shadows of hunger
we digest those lies.

Only the dollar value of the meal
holds any meaning.

Obesity is someone else’s problem
and diabetes is some kind of vegetable.

A meal in a moment –
the world moves on
wrapped in a sesame seed bun.

Peter Rondel

This week

Writing is an all-consuming exercise. From plot to paper, characters materialize, some borrowed from real life experiences and others simply figments of your imagination. Either way, they are real and the relationship becomes intimate. It has to if those characters are to be believed.
The novel grows slowly, with re-writes and fresh ideas but the ending still seems a long way off. This week has been a struggle, not because of writer’s block, but as a result of other pressures and concerns. These are mainly financial.
Living on a pension and paying rent I can barely afford, leaves bills I can’t pay this fortnight. If my Internet gets disconnected, I’m in trouble. I will lose my emails, face book and the ability to monitor my Amazon pages. If the power goes, I will have nothing left at all.
In the meantime, I shall keep writing and post here when I can.

My toaster hates me

We have strange relationship
my toaster Berne and me
he isn’t very friendly
and I doubt he’ll ever be.

I keep him nice and shiny
and free from all those crumbs
but he has a nasty temper
when my turn for breakfast comes.

I turn that little lever down
to the medium setting place
but when I turn my back on him
he turns it up a pace.

Smoke soon fills the kitchen
and the smoke detector screams.
The neighbours all come running
it’s less drastic than it seems.

How do you tame a toaster,
with a temperament so bad,
whose evil plan since he began,
was to drive his owner mad?

A Gnome called Fred

Gnome garden3

A Gnome called Fred

Somewhere in my garden shed
you’ll find a little gnome called Fred.
He used to stand out on the lawn
that was before the dog was born.
His hat was green his coat was red
he stood out by the flower bed.

He used to hold a fishing pole
but now it’s gone, there’s just a hole
through his right hand where it used to sit
I’ve looked and looked, but can’t find it.
His coat has faded in the sun
his eyes don’t show that sense of fun
and his smile is all but worn away
by sprinklers that run every day.

I couldn’t stand to see him there
unhappy in such state of wear
so I put him in a warm dry place
intending to repaint that face,
renew his coat and replace his hat,
but I closed the door and that was that.

The years went by and the kids have grown
the garden has been left alone.
The dandelions went to seed
the flowers all replaced by weed-
you can hardly see the flower bed
or the moss clad stone where once stood Fred.

Perhaps when Summer comes again
and we see the end of the winter rain
I’ll bring him out into the sun
and finish what I’d once begun.
Together we will then restore
the beauty of those plants once more.

Then fresh and bright old Fred will stand
back in his place, with pole in hand
with his bright red coat and pointy hat
he’ll protect the goldfish from the cat.

The Richard and Lucy affair

Richard was a solitary man by nature and could never socialize. Even family gatherings were avoided, with the use of various excuses. Lacking even a rudimentary sense of humour, he found the crude jokes and innuendoes too embarrassing.

He had, on occasions, attempted to befriend the woman at the library but she remained aloof and offered only the required courtesies. Her apparent lack of interest always dented his confidence, pushing him further into his isolation.

He met Lucy, purely by chance, at the supermarket. Laden with her cumbersome shopping bags, she was struggling with the heavy load.

“Let me help you with that. I’ll find you a trolley.”

She’d stared up into his blue eyes that seemed so far above her. His six-foot frame was well proportioned, while her own diminished five foot seven seemed to embarrass her. There was something alluring about the woman, with her big brown eyes and shiny dark hair tied in a ponytail. Richard guessed that she must be about thirty as he continued to stare admiringly at her face, until he remembered the trolley and rushed away to find one.

They met at the supermarket several times over the following two weeks and chatted as they navigated the aisles. Eventually he plucked up the courage to invite her to dinner. He prided himself on his culinary prowess and looked forward to the opportunity to cook for someone else. She paused for a second or two before replying.

“I’d like that, thank you.”

A small rack of pamphlets offered something to write on and he rescued a pen from the depths of his pocket. Lucy watched with some amusement as he scribbled his address and handed it to her.

“Would seven o’clock Saturday be okay? That gives me time to knock up a good meal.”

“You can cook?” She sounded surprised.

“Is that so unusual?”

“Perhaps not.” She regretted asking the question. Had she offended him?

Richard laughed and eased her conscience.

He spent most of Saturday preparing a meal that he hoped would impress her. Lobster mournay and a highly decorated pavlova. With the meal ready, he laboured over the dressing up of the table. His one and only tablecloth was ironed and the cutlery polished. He decided to forgo the customary candles, thinking it a little too cliché.

Lucy arrived a little before seven and Richard could do little but stare, dumbstruck by her overpowering beauty. She blushed at his attention and broke the silence. “Did you do all of this?” She waved a hand in the direction of the table, impressed by what she saw. The promise of a romantic evening brought all of his fantasies to life.

As he attended to the task of opening the wine, Lucy strolled around the room, admiring the collection of ornaments and picture. She paused at a framed photograph on the sideboard and picked it up. Frowning, she carried it over to Richard and pointing to one of the figures, she asked, “Do you know him?”

“Of course, that’s my father.”

Lucy’s mouth fell open as she stared at Richard with a look of disappointment. “He’s my uncle”

Dinner passed in friendly silence and Richard wondered how many more first cousins he had.


Her name is woman

She is the face,
the face of feminine warmth –
warmth that attracts
like inescapable gravity
drawing your eyes towards the smile,
a smile that creases the corners of her eyes
in a display of unbridled honesty.
She has the way of eloquent eyes
that say so many things in secrecy.
She is the voice of soft sweetness
that washes over an awkward silence
then feeds the temptation to speak.
Moments ago she was a stranger,
but suddenly you have known her for ever.
She weaves a spell that only she can
to find tenancy within your soul.
She seeks to impress, quietly
without assumed supremacy
that mars so many of such beauty.
That first encounter, like a fresh tattoo,
will live forever in your mind’s eye
and when those moments are no more,
you will search the hours and the days
for a chance to visit that vision once more.
She is beauty, she is desirability,
But she is unobtainable –
and her name is woman.

Blue and the Brahman Bull

Blue never heard that angry bull,
he was busy rollin’ smokes.
The sound of hooves was all drowned out
by the noise from the other blokes.
Only when the laughter stopped
did he raise his head to see,
a very angry Brahman bull
that was closin’ rapidly.
There was no time to leap aside
or climb up on the gate,
he had to think of something quick,
before it was to late.
So despite the flies and mozzies
and an army of red ants,
he quickly lost the leather belt
and dropped his denim pants.
Some say it’s just a fable
and believers now are few
but I was there, I saw it
and I swear that it’s all true.
That massive bull stopped snortin’
and stood there in a trance
when it saw Blue standing in its way
not wearing any pants.
The bull stood silent, staring,
then dropped its massive head
as it looked back through its open legs
then turned its back and fled.
When it comes to yarns and anecdotes,
my book is almost full
but the best one was the day I saw
that jealous Brahman bull.

The Magpie and the Kangaroo (From children’s poetry book)

A Kangaroo went for a walk
on a quiet summer day,
and came upon a magpie
with a curious thing to say.

“I need to build a brand new nest,
the wind has broken mine.
I need a better place to live,
your pouch would do just fine.”

“I really don’t know,” said the Kangaroo,
“It’s never been done before.
My pouch was only made for one,
would it carry any more?”

The Magpie made its Magpie sound
and then puffed out her chest,
“I really don’t need too much room
to build a brand new nest…

I’m tired of hiding in a tree
I don’t want to try again,
to sit there in the howling wind
or in the pouring rain.

I’d keep it clean,” the magpie said.
“You’d hardly know I’m there
and when those nasty tics arrive,
I’d pull them from your hair.”

“My pouch would be much warmer,”
the Kangaroo agreed
and as it is as wide as me,
there’s more room than I need.”

The Kangaroo thought carefully,
in a wise and knowing way…
“But I’d worry and I’d wonder,
what the other ‘Roos might say,

I really would look silly
of that there is no doubt,…
as I walked about the countryside
with a bird’s head looking out.”

So sadly, nothing came of it
though they argued round and round.
The Magpie still sleeps in a tree
while the Roo sleeps on the ground

The Ace of Spades

Somewhere out near Boulder there’s a rusty spade. I mention it because it’s significant in the history of the gold rush days. I’m probably one of the few who knows about it now. You could pass it a hundred times and never notice it there beside the old track. The blade is stuck in a large boulder, rather like the Excalibur, as my grandfather had described it. I’ve never tried to extract it and never would. It’s the way it came to be stuck in that great piece of rock that makes it special. I came to know about it from my grandfather. It was his father, my great grandfather, who owned that old spade and the story that goes with it.
Back when Kalgoorlie was a thriving King Solomon’s mine, so to speak, my great grandfather spent the last of his meagre savings on a few tools and enough stores to last about three months. He’d heard about the gold finds out there and decided to grab a piece of the fortune. Like so many others, he wasn’t really prepared for the territory, the weather or the work. Oh, he did find gold, enough to fill his old snuff box, but it took months of digging to do it. He traded it in and bought more provisions then went back to his site. Each time he collected enough gold to do so, he went back to Boulder and sold it.
I first heard the story when I was twelve. My grandfather and my father were sitting on the verandah steps drinking beer. I knew it was rude to eavesdrop, but something that my father asked really caught my imagination. “So, did he actually find any gold?”
Granddad took a long drink from his beer mug and laughed. “Yep. Never more than you could hold in a matchbox, in fact he stored it all in an old snuffbox. That was the only thing left, that snuffbox – still got it to this day. If you want it, I’ll bring it up next visit.”
“What about his wife? She never went out there?”
“Not on your life – too fond of discipline. She was influenced by Edith Cowan. She was a strong, no-nonsense woman, while he’d do anything for a laugh. I think Dad got fed up with her controlling ways and lack of humour. It came down to a choice of running off to sea or gold prospecting. He used to get seasick so the gold was a better option. Paddy Hannan had struck gold out Kalgoorlie way and as always happens, things got exaggerated and tales of big gold strikes were attracting people from all over the place.”
“What did his wife have to say about it?”
“Nothing. She woke up one morning and he was gone. With me and my brother to raise; she wasn’t too impressed. Her mood did improve a bit when Dad managed to send some small nuggets back to her. She took up teaching down in Fremantle to pay the bills.”
“So what became of him? I take it he never made his fortune?”
Granddad slowly stood up. “Hang on, I’ve got something that should interest you.”
He went into the house and re-emerged with a cardboard cylinder. “Take a look at this.”
My father slid a roll of paper out of the tube and unrolled it. “It’s a map.”
“That’s the location of his old dig. It was registered at the local office and when it all happened, they sent it down to my mother. I don’t think she even looked at it – just threw it into a drawer and left it there.”
“Have you ever tried to find it?”
“I did do once, a good few years ago. Took three days to find it; I only knew for certain that it was the right place when I found what was left of his hat, wedged in the fork of a tree. It still had his name inside on the hatband.”
“Did you find anything else?” By then I had moved closer, disregarding the impropriety and trying not to be noticed. I didn’t want to miss a word.
“That’s the main part of this story. The actual dig is now just a hole in the ground about fifteen feet deep. It’s overgrown with weed now. About fifty feet away is a group of big boulders, just sitting there like someone had dropped them there. Anyway, the biggest of them had a spade stuck in its side. Jammed in there forever I reckon, just like that Excalibur.”
“How did it come to be like that?”
“Well, after about three years, Dad started to get a bit troppo, you know, talked to himself all the time and never seemed to recognize anyone when he came in to Boulder – not even at the pub. Others recognized the signs but couldn’t do much. I got the drum from an old feller in the pub there. He told me what happened.”
Granddad noticed me lying face down in the corner and waved a hand in the direction of the back yard. “I think you should go and cut some fire wood down near the shed, young feller.”
I remember that day like it was yesterday. A big mob of cockies were flying from tree to tree and making a heck of a din. Dad seemed unusually intolerant and threw a stick up at them but they didn’t seem to notice, in fact they made even more noise.
Granddad died a couple of weeks later. It seems that he knew that his visit that week was to be his last. It took me nearly twenty years to uncover the truth. I’d come across that old map and as the days passed, my curiosity got the better of me. Armed with the map and no idea of how I would find the site, I drove out to Kalgoorlie where I eventually did find it. It was several miles east of Boulder in an area now owned by a big mining company. There wasn’t much to see, just a big hole in the ground that never led anywhere and that great boulder with the spade still stuck in it. The metal fitting that once held the handle was rusted away and the shaft was split and bleached white.
The registrar’s office was open and smelled of antiquity; that old-wood smell that only comes with age. The wooden floor had worn to a hollow just inside the door and a well-worn track was trodden into it, leading to the counter. The computer seemed very much out of place on that old desk. The man who sat behind it looked up as I entered, staring at me through a very powerful pair of spectacles. He looked more like an undertaker and I surmised that back in those old days, he probably would have been.
“Can I help you?”
“I hope so. I’m researching my great grandfather’s history. He once had a mine east of Boulder. I just want to know what happened to him.”
The man got up. He had something to take an interest in, at last. “What was his name?” He moved to the computer and sat down.
“McLauchlan – Andrew McLauchlan. Eighteen ninety four I think.”
The clerk set the computer to search and stood up. “Let’s see what we can find.”
He seemed like a different man now, quite happy in fact. I heard him talking to himself as he sat down at the desk and read through the papers that the computer had produced. He took his time and grunted occasionally as he read. Eventually he stood up and handed me the papers. One page was of particular interest. It was a small article from the newspaper of the time. Great Granddad had chosen to follow in the footsteps of several other miners when he lost everything in a poker game. The hole in the ground at the old site was made when he sat on a case of dynamite and lit the fuse. It was that explosion that drove the spade into the rock and completely evaporated everything that had existed on that spot. I was shocked to learn that a number of miners were known to have done the same thing. Disappointment and loneliness eventually got too much for some and they chose that way to end it.
This then was the topic of conversation all those years ago, when I was banished from the scene and sent to chop firewood. Perhaps they were right, and the story may well have given me nightmares. I’ve got a large photo of that spade in the rock, in a frame on the wall; it’s a great conversation-starter.