“I never drink wine”
it’s whisky – see, the stag on the label?”
Renfield, taking orders as always,
ferries drinks from bar to table.
There’s a heap of capes on the counter.
On a stool, there’s Jack Palance – who,
for a creature that lives on blood (and beer),
is looking quite substantial.
George Hamilton is swaying
and giggling at Bela Lugosi
who’s trying to do his party piece
with a pint glass, matchbox and coaster.
But Frank Langella’s disappeared –
ah, those lips, those eyes
were enough to snare the barmaid –
no phony fangs required.
Klaus Kinski’s in a corner
where small cries can be heard.
They may be his – but no-one’s keen
to ask if his drink is dead.
So Renfield orders another round
and longs for eternal life.
Says the barman “Is that with Kahlua?”
and pours him one, over ice.
There’s nothing pink about cancer
though there’s a whole rainbow of pain:
skin scalded by radiation,
and orange with betadine stains,
the needle bruises, greens and blues
slowly yellowing as they fade,
the scarlet of an angry scar,
and the black of a sunken vein.
There’s nothing remotely pastel
in stark choices that must be made –
which body parts to sacrifice
in the hope that some can be saved.
And it’s not just for princesses –
their princes can also be claimed.
In horrible equality,
all are hairless, sexless and drained.
It gnaws at families, and friendships,
till only the strongest remain.
No, there’s nothing pink about cancer;
it’s cold, and it’s cruel, and it’s grey.
Oh bother – it’s Poetry Day,
and here’s me with nothing to say.
I wish I could rhyme
but there’s simply no time –
not this week, anyway.
I’ve not had a moment to think –
the washing machine’s on the blink.
I’ve got loads on my plate –
life won’t co-operate –
and the dishes are still in the sink.
I’m sure I’ve appointments to make
with the bank – and with friends – and that cake!
Oh, I’ve promised too much,
like the chocolate fudge
that I’m not even sure how to bake…
If I just had more hours in the day
surely everything would be OK.
Oh, come back next year –
maybe you’ll see it here,
the poem that (this time) slipped away.
Each month we arrive for our regular date;
there’s wine in a bottle and crisps on a plate,
but we can’t begin yet because somebody’s late –
let’s have wine, and then start on the book.
There’s discussion of husbands and children and lives
(slightly confusing for those who aren’t wives)
and gossip about those who haven’t arrived,
before we can get to the book.
Now another whole bottle of wine is gone,
so our hostess puts the kettle on –
‘Anyone fancy a strawberry scone?’ –
and we still haven’t got to the book.
One hasn’t finished – don’t tell her the end!
One thinks it’s the best book that ever was penned.
One hates it – she’s passing hers on to a friend –
but at least we’re discussing the book.
Now the wine is all gone, there’s no food left to eat,
so a date is arranged for the next time to meet,
and we make our goodbyes as we sway down the street –
maybe next time we’ll finish the book!