13 March 2013  Author photoMelbourne-born poet, Peter Bakowski, keeps in mind the following three quotes when writing poems  ‐ “Use ordinary words to say extraordinary things’–Arthur Schopenhauer, “Writing is painting”– Charles Bukowski, anand “Make your next poems different from your last”–Robert Frost. Visit his blog http://bakowskipoetrynews.blogspot.com



Portrait of Jean Rhys, 1979

I’m too here,
a once exotic specimen,
wings burnt
by your glare. 

I hobble
to my further drowning
in distasteful rooms,
to my further droning
in sympathetic ears,
to view the further sagging
of myself
in every looking-glass. 

I’ve memorized English poems,
the songs chambermaids and chorus girls sing
when they are too alone,
what men say to convince you
up a creaking flight
of boarding-house stairs. 

I know the difference between
flattery and fawning,
loneliness and solitude,
the cost of each kiss given,
each cheque cashed. 

I’ve travelled,
left many places
ahead of the landlord’s footfall,
the crucifying wife. 

I’ve known rooms,
their tapestry-hung walls
flecked by the light from chandeliers.
Other rooms too
of hard chairs
and the eating of gritty porridge,
each incomplete winter window
stuffed with newspaper. 

I’m a chore to nurses,
muttering in my dressing gown,
smeared with lipstick,
stained with rouge,
propped up with a cane,
assisted to the toilet. 

Only writing is important.
But truth and fiction
are too late for some. 

I didn’t change the world
or myself.
London fog, personal fog,
I glimpsed something necessary in both. 

What is life? A holding on and a letting go.
Some trip from dignity to despair
with more than a little
dancing and drinking in between. 

I haven’t any conclusions,
only the books I wrote.
The nib of my pen
scratching for vermin,
preening my ruffled feathers,
fending off attackers,
including myself. 

Now I dictate words
to last visitors—
David, Sonia.
It’s the blind throwing of coins
at a dented cup.
Some fall to the carpet. 

I’m nearly dust.
Open the window.
Let the curtain
be my sieve. 


Portrait of Erik Satie, Paris, October, 1899

Granted these days, my number of tomorrows unknown, I resist
Rushing. Leave me to stroll through Paris, which enchants
And confounds me, as would an octopus with feathers. 
The way sunlight falls through the horizontal slats of a park bench
Interests me more than many paintings in the Louvre. Most art is      
Too polite. It needs to poke its tongue out, pull its pants down. Children                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Understand my music. Their ears are not full of hair, politics and
Dinner party gossip. Meanwhile I stroll, pause at a favoured café,   
Eavesdrop, watch the ballet of waiters gliding from kitchen to table.


Visiting my mother

Your confined self,
your hallucinating self,
your blanket-clenching self,
pulse beneath your hosting skin.
You’re angry, marathon runner,
that the finishing line has been moved.
The way you lived,
the way you didn’t live,
each has exacted their price.
I move nearer to your bedside
but the syllable you strain
to shape, crumbles.

I look through family photo albums—
evidence of all your capable years. 

Each dutiful visitor soon quietens.
Their platitudes have little use
in this disinfected room. 

Sister Anneliese reads you a card
from a German friend
who no longer visits.
She pauses to wipe
the sweat from your brow.
Your former neighbour Jean
looks up at the wall clock,
rubs at a buckle on the strap
of her handbag.

I walk with her
away from your
diminished self,
along the long corridor
of the nursing home
and down the lift
into the vital world.