Anyone Home?

First published in Verse
Copyright © 1997 John E.Tranter

I can hear the stop-work whistle
down at the Club, can I go home now?
Then I see Grace Kelly,
          the young Grace Kelly!
'Starlet Fever', that's what it is.
I keep hearing the word 'workaholic'.
Echoing, echoing. The Doc says
          take a tablet.
How do you feel down there? Okay?
Take a dive. Bite the bullet. It's
the jim-jams, I've got the jim-jams.
I think he said 'phenomenology'.
I keep hearing jackhammers, it's
the jackhammers, that's what it is.

Do you know Jacky Rackett?
          Do I know Jacky Rackett?
Lovely type of a feller. Dropped his packet.
I keep hearing syllables, polysyllables.
Do I know Sherelle? Young Sherelle?

Then I hear an Appaloosa, getting closer,
the clip-clop racket in the bracken, then
a clattering gallop on the gravel,
          I hear the hullabaloo.
How d'you do, sir. Jacky Rackett?
Top o'the Paddock, sir, the witch's cat.
Then I can see Grace Kelly again,
up close, it's getting warmer.

Down here in Third Class it's getting warmer.
Pull the toggle. No, blow the whistle.
I keep hearing the word 'histrionic'.
Is that better? Snug in a rug?

Do you know Gary Langer? Barry Langer?
They were both practising solicitors.
I keep hearing polysyllables,
          then jackhammers.
Now that's a clavier sonata!
That's the cat's pyjamas! No,
it's the Appaloosa! Barry! Gary!
How are you going, you old bastard!
I keep hearing these unpredictable
polysyllables, it's like the Name of God.
Isn't God indelible? Indivisible?

I can see a Californian kitchen, I'm
visiting Gidget, isn't she cute?
I can almost reach out and touch her,
gently. I pour us a Coke and it bubbles.
Is this Paradise? Is it really Paradise?

Hey, there's Jack Napier. Jack Napier!
Absolute type of a gentleman. Wouldn't
hurt you with a barge pole. Jack's
a jumper. Jack invented the calculus.
Then I hear a rustling noise,
          highly magnified.
I think I snapped the tape

at the pain threshold, then fell.
Oh Sherelle, will it ever diminish?
Will it ever diminish, and fade away?
Gidget, I'm carrying Gidget, on the beach,
and I stumble! Bugger it!
Down at the Club, the Workers' Club,
the stop-work whistle, should I go home now?
I keep hearing 'intelligent,
          very intelligent'.
Push the toggle-button, the green one,
the illuminated one, no, not that,
the other one! You'll feel
worse at first, considerably worse
at first, until the medicine. Oh boy,
some party! Were you there?
          Was I there?
I keep hearing 'medical, paramedical'.
Don't you think it's time to pull the plug?
Push the button? I can see Paul de Man,
Paul de Man, is he in Heaven?
I keep hearing 'shoot, parachute'.

Okay, what odds would you give me?
Push the toggle-button, bird-brain.
This one, or that one?
Go home, time to go home.
Quick, put on the Nazi uniform.
He says 'Quick, Sherelle, do as I say!'
Why should I?
          Why should I?
Who do you think I am? He says -
famous Chinese proverbs - he says
'Quick philosopher, dead solicitor!'
Who do you think I am? Paul de Man?

I can hear a whistle, an emergency whistle.
Now I can see the tropical effluent.
I think it's moving in our direction.
Dark stain.
          Dog paddle! Back-pedal!

That's funny, I can't hear a thing.
                    Anyone home?

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"Three Poems & an Interview".