Second Guessing (2023)


In the Park
Well Well Well and Well
Rock’n’Roll Cat
The Stamp Collector
Essay Title
Second Guessing
Inaction Man
Café Espionage Mission
Johnny Pessimist
Are you Alright?
Ticking Time Bomb
Funny Old World
Mannequin Street
Rainy Night Night

In the Park
Birds gossip about weekend strollers
twittering and ridiculing panting joggers.
Olympic faced kids whizz round on their tricycles
and monk-faced bellringers meditate on bicycles.

Lesser-spotted warbling hermits get ticked off
by ‘I-Spy’ book-carrying hermit spotters with binocular eyes
while ear-phone music-listening loners chat with mallard ducks
who tilt their heads with my-oh-mys.

Grass grows a millimetre a minute for hallucinogenic cats
and dogs, off their leashes, get a rush of fetching sticks.
Trees play green light, red light statues with the park keeper
as leaves turn brown-yellow-purple psychedelic.

Well Well Well and Well

As random as a random turn
and heading for a fate
I sealed it in an envelope
and second class did wait.
And when it came I opened it
and whispered out aloud.
Well well well and well, said I
well well well and well
then thundered out some lightening
and puffed a big grey cloud.

Higher than a drama high
and playing down to low
I didn’t say goodbye at all
but said a sad hello.
And when my bucket hit rock bottom
I pulled it out my well.
Well well well and well, said I
well well well and well
then laced my drink to let me drowse
until asleep I fell.

As wondrous as a rainy bow
I didn’t seem to mind
and tied a knot with string to spare
and read a message signed.
And when a diggy dog did dig
a treasure trove was there.
Well well well and well, said I
Well well well and well
then stopped a stopwatch on its way
which didn’t seem to care.

So, shredded as an ageing fleur
and crumbly as a cemetery
I asked if anybody here
could die of immortality?
And how I gasped when then up-popped
a real talking rabbit:
Well well well and well, said rabbit
well well well and well
but if you find whatever it is
hide it quick as well.

Rock’n’Roll Cat

Got a lot to learn.
Got bridges to burn.
Got a dream to get away.
Got waking dreams that stay.

Got days that last forever.
Got a life never ever after.
Got medicine under a mattress.
Got a treasure hunt at the chemist’s.

Got a discount on something free.
Got a detox kit for being happy.
Got an escape plan with no exit.
Got a password easier to forget.

Got memory lapses
that bounce back when it counts.
Got a turntable to spin LPs
Got something so cool it might freeze.

The Stamp Collector

Collected stamps stuck on envelopes.
Got masses and masses of them
from masses and masses of fans
from all over, and dating from all over when.

Letters overflowed gushing with ink.
So many thoughts it made the stamp collector think.
Thinking big like an idol, thinking small in all humanity.
Somewhere in between there was the stamp of rebellious authority.

When it got too much, couldn’t read any more on any day.
The fan mail office got on with reading and answering them anyway.
The biggest stamp collection beyond any stamp collectors’ childhood dreams.
Line after line of get your fill lately philately stardom.

Essay Title
Music changes the world
but the world doesn’t change. Discuss.
And when you do
Make sure you mention them and us.

Second Guessing

Am I scared of death?
Or am I just scared of pain and what a pain
I might be before I die? I’m nowhere near my last breath
but it’s getting nearer.
Being born again
might be a blessing.
Most of what has happened so far
has been second guessing.

Inaction Man
Get Inaction Man!
Super discount bargain
with special button
saying ‘Maybe’ to every decision.

Comes with a free pack of cards
with a hundred call-for-action dilemmas.
Delight at Inaction Man’s face
when it scrunches up and he shrugs his shoulders.

Batteries included
with various extras to make you laugh
such as a plastic press-to-kick foot
to kick him up the arse.

Add to the enjoyment with Action Friend
with recorded voice to get upset.
An ideal accessory who despairs
You’re so infuriating! and Have you made up your mind yet?

Buy both now and double the fun!
Amazing prices so don’t hesitate!
Offer closes soon!
Don’t be the Inaction Man they all love to hate!

Café Espionage Mission
I’ve finally met you. Today, for the book.
Seen you around before, always on your own.
Intrigued me, liked your look.
Then there you were in a cafe, alone.

Made the most of my opportunity.
Made sure you couldn’t help but eavesdrop small talk with the café lady,
Was on my way out but asked to offer you your coffee.
You said thanks and, as I left, you smiled at me.

What’s your name? You look the same as me.
Just a chance meeting. Next one when?
Might have blown it but leave it to let be.
If chance luck is in my favour, we’ll meet again.

Johnny Pessimist

He went to bed
as late as possible
so as to wake up so late
he might possibly miss tomorrow.

He had no one in his sights.
No one had him in theirs.
Often felt like the blind leading the blind
on a blind date with ghosts waiting with dark airs.

He told himself to snap out of it but snapped.
No cards matched as, in his house of tarot-cards, he’d hide.
Surrounded by positivity,
he turned in, surrounded by voices in his head saying he’d lied.

Are you alright?
Well, but feeling nauseous.
Homesickness takes a swipe but I can’t hit or get back.
Did you feel something so strong it leaves you oblivious?
Have years been bottled up so long they’re fizzy tears going flat?

Glimpse dolphins far away.
Just the once, and a billion times more than anything before.
Did you hope for something that led you astray?
Did blood get bloodier than gore?

Ticking Time Bomb
there’s a ticking time bomb
under the pillow
one day it will go off
and the whole world will know
lessons learnt never were
as pop-up dinosaurs lurch forward to crush graves afar

Funny Old World

As elected thieves send out bills to legally steal,
pyjama wearing party animals borrow
a few more hours from the night to not keel
over as someone says:
Don’t let things go to your head tonight
cos it’s still down to earth tomorrow.

Funny old world innit?
Funny old world, yes it is.
As badly recorded voices outside have a hit,
some even bounce off some stars. And It’s all showbiz.

Meanwhile cool cleaners
clean up their act while bible hoovering the floor.
Some call it pigeoning, some call it parroting,
some say gotta go and enter the exit door.

Funny old world innit?
Funny old world, yes it is.
As badly recorded voices have a hit
some even bounce off some stars. And it’s all showbiz.

Mannequin Street

Cracks on walls
bring fears that buildings will come crumbling down
with cries of Everyone out right now
‘cos of no foundations underground.

I gotta run for my life
leaving my life behind.

as dead screen stage guitarists destroy their guitar
in a rock n roll grind.

No one reacts.
Nothing is shocking enough.
A shopping street of mannequins stare out over rubble
as kids play football with what’s left of their stuff.

Rainy Night Night

Sweet dreams, dreamer.
The moon tucks you up for the next day.
Raindrops fall like a teeming screamer
and worries wash away.

Rainbow eyelids droop.
Multicolour brainwaves break.
In a night and day loop,
eyes open to awake.

Once there were soggy leaves underfoot like a carpet.
Once the moon had an umbrella.
Once falling asleep to rain was routine.
Once dreams came true as predictable as the weather.

Yes, it’s lashing down outside.
Yes, worlds out of control collide.
Yes, it’ll be alright.
Yes, nighty night rainy night night.

All poems and collages by John Di Girolamo

Completed April 2023

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