Mister Mac

A line of light across the road,
Like a beacon shining across the deep.
Raised hand,
Eyes adjusting,
It came from a window,
Of the home of Mister Mac.

This light keeping back the darkness,
Shines on an image of a young couple.
Two lovers exchanging a glance,
A moment in which only they existed.

In place of loss and might-have-beens,
Visits bring a mirror image of an aged father,
Delivering scorn, shame and impatience.
Mac realises duty is a sad shadow of affection,
As he watches his son drive away.

Small window,
Failing vision,
Creaky rocking chair,
Watching the world go by.

One day a small boy makes his way,
Across the street to Charlie’s door.
Charlie wanting him to stay,
Tells of adventures in pioneer days,
And promises a surprise next day.

At first light the boy crosses,
Told to look next to the shed.
Waiting there bow and arrows,
Made by shaky old hands and dim eyes,
In the hours between.

No braver act was ere achieved,
By armoured knight on stead,
Than when Mister Mac,
Seeing injustice from his window,
Took cane in unsteady hand,
And pursued bus stop bullies.

Window and eyes fog over,
He still sits in that small room,
Longing to see the boy at play.
The boy who chases the loneliness away.

Gerald Lee Jordan
Nelson NZ
24 January 2013

Potatoes and Onions

Hoeing,
Digging,
Scratching,
Crawling,
Harvesting potatoes and onions,
Hard god damn work.

Crouching,
Kneeling,
Leaning,
Sweating,
Dizzy from digging those taters
And pulling these onions.
Labour suited for nobody.
How’d I get stuck in such shit work?

Watching those fruit pickers,
Standing up all day,
Wearing big hats,
Which don’t drop over the eyes.
Reaching up to the sky,
Enjoying the view.
Sneaking a bite when nobody’s looking.
Can’t do that with onions and taters.
Lucky god damn bastards!

(To Pappy)

Gerald Lee Jordan
Diamond Harbour NZ
16 January 2013

Poor Town

Highway through a small town,
Cut in half by the freeway.
Dreams never realised,
In shops seen from the road.
Painted signs giving in
to the battle with time.
Like an old patient in a hospital gown,
Not giving up,
Though the end can be seen.

A passenger remarks that the town is “poor”.
Does age equate with poverty?
Do broken dreams mean destitution?

A poor town has no dreams.
A poor town has no families.
None of this is visible from the road.

Lack of imagination,
Lack of insight,
Lack of equality,
Lack of freedom.
This is a poor town.

Such cannot be seen from the windows of a bus or car,
Speeding down the motorway.

Gerald Lee Jordan
Diamond Harbour NZ
15 January 2013

Love is an alibi

Love is an alibi,
Conceived by the ego.
Camouflaging greed,
Encouraging libido.

Enjoying the pleasures bestowed,
By the object of the other.
The other is stimuli,
The beloved remains self.

Gerald Lee Jordan
Diamond Harbour NZ
15 January 2013

Behind every face

Behind every face,
There is a door,
A door which has never been
Opened before.

Some are regal,
Some are weathered,
Missing a handle,
Or missing a latch.

Some say “Keep out!”
Written in blood,
Written in chalk,
Or on a sign purchased from a shop.

Some have police tape across the door,
Some have a wreath from Christmas before.

Some have peep holes,
To see who is knocking.
Some have glass windows,
Frosted or not.

Some are inviting and some are eerie,
Some are antique and some are ornate.

Sadly, all are locked.

Gerald Lee Jordan
Diamond Harbour NZ
14 January 2013

Town Fathers

Creaking in the wind,
As whispers in the night.
Shaking with the breeze,
Dancing to an invisible melody.
Rubbing branches together,
Huddled, circling, building momentum
For the assault.

Their roots run deep,
Nourishing upon our remains.
Secrets heard, witnessed, extracted.
Unseen under foot,
Sensing vibrations –
Walking, working, the entanglement of lovers.

Bodies standing at the edge of town,
Witnessing arrivals,
Departures of all kinds.
Viewed as benign,
They keep silent record of the existence of man.

Flinging themselves to the heavens,
Caressing the stars,
They mock our scratching on the earth.

One in town understands their sinister intent –
Well, two, counting the child.
These hear the whispers,
These see the meetings on moonlit nights,
These feel the motion of prying roots under foot,
But are silent from fear –
Fear of retribution in the night
And the scorn of others.

As that child returns as a man,
He hopes these memories were but the fancy of youth.
Smiling at the notion of such spawn of nature,
He approaches his town.
Stopping in his tracks,
He sees them.
Recognition.

Their plans continue,
The town slumbers
To a sylvan lullaby.

If only they knew,
they would go to the edge of the town,
they would chop and burn,
digging up roots,
freeing themselves of the poison
which has consumed generations.

Picking up his belongings,
Heading out of town,
He passes their sentry point,
They whisper and smile as he passes.
Their prisoners are safe – for now.

Gerald Lee Jordan
Diamond Harbour NZ
13 January 2013

The flame

In the darkness,
The deep void,
It bursts into existence.
Stretching into the night.
Sharing itself,
Creating shadows where it meets the abyss.

To protect it,
To nurture it,
To keep the darkness at bay,
Becomes all consuming.

No memory of what existed before,
Fear of what will be after,
Defining all in its presence
And its interaction with its negation.

So many threats –
Rain, the wind, the loss of its fuel.
At first it is imagined to have always been,
Then it is imagined that its fuel will last forever.
There are whispers in the darkness about the end,
But these cannot be believed.

Then, in a terrifying moment it is realised that its fuel
Will not last forever,
That in time it will go out,
Extinguished,
Lost in the darkness,
As if it had never been.
Terror.
Denial.
Refusal.
Slow bitter acceptance.
Anger,
Apathy.
Settling into the fear.
Trying to imagine the coming darkness.

Will it be painful?
Will there be awareness?
Or will all cease with the darkness?
To be feared?
To accept as a warm embrace on a Winter’s night?
No way to know.

Only to watch the light flicker,
To remember how it once danced in the night.
Not to turn away,
But to bask in those last, precious moments,
Before being swallowed by the night.

Gerald Lee Jordan
Diamond Harbour NZ
11 January 2013

Bravery

Bravery to which few could aspire,
Facing the enemy,
Refusing to turn.
Most wait in fear for this unspeakable one,
But he did not.

Putting on his coat and hat,
Brushing his hair and tidying his cravat.
He stilled his shaking hand,
Looking directly in the mirror,
Managing a forced smile.

He would not be caught unaware,
He would not turn and run.
Bravely, he would meet on his own terms.

With a quick slash,
The crimson runs,
There, it is done.

Gerald Lee Jordan
Diamond Harbour NZ
11 January 2013

Waiting for the end

His name was “Jones” and he had served in a war,
Or such my mother said.
There was drool down his chin,
And porridge encrusted on his shirt.
I tried to imagine him a fighter,
But giggled instead.

Mrs Hawkins had a past not to be mentioned,
Not exactly details were shared,
But rather hints and raised brows.
I knew better than to ask,
But gathered that it was worse,
Much worse than what took place between the pages of the magazines,
Which my brother has under his bed.
What could be worse?
I was too young to know.
I looked at her,
Teeth out,
Breasts on her knees,
And was thankful for ignorance.

Mr Fitzpatrick had owned the town bank,
He has refused money to many in need,
None forgot or forgave,
Excluding those in the home with him,
Who had the sweet mercy of dementia.
He sat in a pool of urine,
And couldn’t reach his sippy cup.

My mother enters the room.
I take her hand and walk happily away.

More than four decades later I sit halfway in the middle,
Between that child and those awaiting the end.
They are all long buried and forgotten,
Except by me and you.

Gerald Lee Jordan
Diamond Harbour NZ
11 January 2013