The wrong vehicle for this town now on VerseWrights


I’m excited to announce that my poem “The Wrong Vehicle For This Town” is now published over at VerseWrights. What makes this extra special is that as well as my text and audio being featured, fellow poet, Paul Mortimer, has recorded his own reading of the poem on video for VerseWrights. If you like what you see, do check out his other poems on the site, and take a look at his blog Welshstream.


With our ambitions


With our ambitions, we left home
determined to strike out alone,
for home comforts we had no time
nor bought into family lines,
rejecting the already known.

We left shelter for the unknown,
left our loved ones so we could roam,
trying to seek something sublime
with our ambitions.

But we would never find a home,
as we had had, again. A tomb
of company buried glad times
where dearest voices used to chime.
Now we just think on those spent times
with our ambitions.

Living the Goffman Life


Defining social role as the enactment of rights and duties attached to a given status, we can say that a social role will involve one or more parts and that each of these different parts may be presented by the performer on a series of occasions to the same kinds of audience or to an audience of the same persons.

Erving Goffman (1959), Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.

When I was…

being kissed

by a stranger
at at train station,

I was a giggly
teenager again.

When I was…

at conferences

I became the confident
public speaker.

When I was…

visiting old friends

I was the same old
“Ro” once more.

When I was…

the tourist,

I became the naive
questioner, asking

why some, and only some
American football players

looked like they were
ready to serve wine

(those white towels
tucked in their pants).

When I was…

with my best friend’s son

I was the doting

When I was…

with new acquaintances

I became the attentive,
listening ear.

But now I’m back…

and I have to be admin:

join the groupthink
of committee meetings.

I roll my eyes…

for a part of me

wants to be
Courtney Love!

The Acknowledgement

20131019-215941.jpg[map of the 853rd engineer’s station and activities in India]

His opening remark:
“My brother said
New Zealand girls
are more attractive
than Australians”

I’m not sure how
I’m meant to respond,
but he moves on quickly
to the question he
really needs to ask:
“Have you ever
been to India?”

He’s Denver born,
Chico residing,
and some ninety
years old.

I reply positively in
the negative, and one
night reveals a lifetime:

WWII choice –
Air Force not offered,
so Army or Navy.
Army – negative –
foxhole digging,
so, Navy?

“But, I’m a small guy,
I couldn’t risk
being put on a
Army it was..

Twenty nine days at
sea, then the forty
and eight trains
(40 men or 8 horses)
to Chabua, India,
where the
853rd engineers
built bridges in
Assam valley.

No holiday,
but took day
trips on military
flights to

War ended – he
was late home,
as he’d been a

Total time: 26 months.

All I can do is acknowledge.

Trivial Pursuit


As a bright teenager,
I wondered how adults,
who weren’t
– all that,
knew so many facts
and took so many
trivial pursuit slices.

Fast forward >>>
twenty years >>>

“Which country produces
the most olive oil?”
The eager, over-confident
PhD student expels
quickly, quietly:

I shake my head.

She looks at me
as if I’m mad –
she’s recently visited
and Italy is known
for its Olive oil.

“The question is about
quantity not quality –
we need to say Spain.”

Spain wins us the question.

But I’m left with another:
Why, when I’ve
accumulated all these
trivial facts –
knowledge dust that
clings revealing themselves
in a certain slant of light –
can I not remember
what I did last week?

Off the hook

I woke up this morning with a fishy song in my head:

Throw me back into the river
with the other tiddlers,
there’s no wisdom on land.

Throw me back into the river
with my scales a quiver,
far from the dry, dry sand.

Throw me back into the river
I don’t want to dither –
I won’t waste my lifespan.

Throw me back into the river
there I’ll feel a shiver,
where lovers offer their hand.

Thrown back into the river,
the mighty, mighty river,
I’ve completed my plan.

Thrown back into the river,
the mighty, mighty river
dee dee dee dee dee dee…

(To fade)