Mosquito Est Morte! (An Opera in the Making!)

Once my life was so tranquilo
With my hundred sweet bambinos,
Now I’m cryin’ all the time
Because there’s only ninety-nine!
The hand of God (or so it seemed)
Smacked my son and now he’s creamed!

How I tried that hand to veto!
Oh! That heartless huge bandito!
Pay, he will, for murderous deeds:
It’s he I’ll see for my next feed!
But to him I’m incognito
So I’ll leave one huge graffito!

Then he’ll rue his evil crime –
Justice truly is quite blind!
Though my heart will not be healed,
This criminal won’t be concealed!
My banner on his arm unfurled:
“One Less Mosquito in the World!”

Stephen Tomkins
9 August 2016
Manila

Play Nicely with the Other Children

A new preschool recently opened across the road from me. Thinking about enrolling my youngest child, I asked if I could sit in for a morning to see if I would be comfortable leaving my son there. “Sure”, came the ready reply from the professional-looking Principal.

Over the next hour or so, the place filled up quickly with bright-eyed two- to five-year-olds. The first formal activity was Show and Tell. This will be illuminating, thought I.

Maria was the first to stand. “I brought in a set of Daddy’s old knuckles”, she said, proudly displaying a worn set of knuckle-dusters.

“Aren’t they illegal?” I murmured to the teacher.

“No. They’re ok in this State,” she replied. “She’s not going to use them anyway….”

Next was Alphonse. I thought my surprise for the day had passed. I was wrong. Three-year-old Alphonse whipped out a hunting knife, beaming from ear to ear.

“Isn’t that…..” I began.

“No. It’s ok in this State. He’s hardly likely to use it on anyone, though, is he?” she countered.

I gave her a very doubtful look which she happily ignored.

Miriam now took centre stage with her Grandfather’s Luger which, she proudly informed us, he had taken from a dead German officer during the war.

I cautiously rose to my feet.

“Don’t worry”, said the teacher, laying a comforting hand on my arm. “It’s so old I doubt it even works. In any case, guns don’t kill, people do. And Miriam doesn’t look like a killer, does she?”

Miriam gave me a disarming smile.

“I suppose…”

“That’s nothing,” boomed little Joshua, as he staggered to the front, desperately trying to carry an M-16 assault rifle.

“Oh, come on!” I exclaimed.

The teacher could see where I was heading and cut me off. “They are perfectly legal in this State!” she pronounced. “And we do insist on the standard magazines rather than the oversize ones. Anyway, guns don’t…”

“I know, I know,” I replied.

For some reason, I was not feeling particularly comfortable at the thought of my three-year-old immersed in such a culture.

I lay awake that night trying to make sense of it all. Suddenly, it was all crystal clear: fists don’t punch – people do. Knives don’t stab – people do. Guns don’t kill – people do. Nuclear weapons don’t destroy the planet for centuries to come – people do. The solution is simple – ban people!

Not me, of course, I’m perfectly rational. If you disagree with that, then you clearly have a problem. So, I’m afraid, you will be banned.

 

Stephen Tomkins

19 July 2016

Sydney

Two Cats and a Tom

I have now decided to branch into short stories as well as my poetry. This post is my first foray into that style. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

lol-cats-photos-M-OpenBarFinal

Two Cats and a Tom

The waitress led me to a table by the window in the bar on the top floor of my luxury hotel, overlooking Hong Kong’s magnificent harbour. The constellation of coloured lights winked as I sat and ordered a drink. As luck would have it, at the next table sat two Cats and a Tom.

“Puh-leeaase”, said the Tom. “Gravy train, gravy train”.

I wondered what language he was speaking.

“He’s had his snout in the trough for years”, replied Cat 1.

Ahh! Here was a language I understood. The Cats were fashionably dressed with tasteful jewellery and makeup while the Tom was casually dressed with his hair smothered in “product”. I doubt that it could have moved even if the super-typhoon off the coast had appeared in the bar. While the trio sat still, their tails whipped back and forth (as is the way with cats) to indicate their minds were working overtime.

Cat 2 interrupted her grooming to mumble something, at which the others nodded sagely as if something profound had just been said.

In the far corner of the bar, the pianist began playing and the singer began yowling off key. There was no doubt I was tired but I began to wonder if I’d walked into some private bar for felines. My fears were confirmed as the conversation continued.

“He had no idea when he worked on the line,” (this was not a reference to the Internet) continued Cat 1. “So he moved into management as soon as he could.”

My eyes had now adjusted to the half-light and I could make out the painted claws gleaming and clearly ready for action.

Cat 2 now made another contribution, “I was there when a passenger had a heart attack and John (not his real name) went into meltdown. I had to take over while he pretended to direct the action. He got an Excel award and I got nothing! Hello! I was there too!”

“Typical!”, replied the Cat 1.

“Would you care for another champagne?”, asked the Tom.

“Ooonnnee stip closerrrr”, shrieked the singer in the background. Somehow the glass appeared unaffected.

“Oh yes!”, purred the Cats.

A whip of the Tom’s lustrous tail was sufficient to bring the waiter. “Three more champagnes please,” said the Tom. He continued, “We used to do shuttles to New York. They were sooo tiring.”

I must have missed the connection.

Cat 2 replied, “Just about everyone from my initial course has got an Excel award but I haven’t yet. I don’t understand why.”

“But the most tiring of all,” moaned the Tom to no one in particular, “were the Mumbai shuttles. They were shockers.”

Cat 1 now entered her own orbit. “I can’t wait to get back to Tokyo. Being downtown is so much better than being out near the airport.”

“I have leeerrrrved yoooouuuu!” droned the singer. Another patron burst into enraptured applause. I was uncertain as to whether he had enjoyed the song or was simply relieved it had finished.

As I quickly drained my glass, it occurred to me that I was glad that the motivation for those who care for me inflight had so much to do with my wellbeing. Cats might fly! Another day in paradise.

 

Stephen Tomkins
8 July 2016
Hong Kong

Photo credit:
johnlund.com

 

 

This Humble Bean

IMG_0742

This humble little Bean, untouched by human hands,
Growing unmolested in the soil of distant lands.
Valued more than dollars, pounds and even life itself,
It doesn’t linger long upon the tree or café shelf.

Its devotees may contemplate the meaning of the Bean
In sample-selling salons here and there and in between.
A life spent in such contemplation, surely, is well spent.
Ten dollars for a cup of Joe? Yep! It’s worth every cent!

Pulling, pressing, percolating – don’t care how it’s done!
I need a double shot right now – I’ll take it on the run!
Who cares about the price of oil or gold or other things?
What matters is the warming buzz and joy that coffee brings!

Stephen Tomkins
22 March 2016
Sydney

Check-Mate

I am a tradie-person, as cool as cool can be:
My plumber’s crack is round the back, just where a crack should be.
I jump into my tradie-ute, ‘cause bigger’s so much better,
(Despite the freezing cold outside, I’d never wear a sweater!)
Consult my phone and, all alone, reschedule everything.
I’m breaking all my promises. See? That’s the tradie-thing.

I’m racing down the highway now, ignoring all the signs,
‘Cause racing’s what we tradies do yet somehow get no fines.
“Yes, I can fix all that for you, the price is (quite outrageous)”.
Enthusiasm level now, for cash, is quite contagious!
“I’ll see you maybe late next week” and lucky you will be.
You’d better do the job yourself – I’ll tell you that for free!

Stephen Tomkins
22 March 2016
Sydney

I’m Not Crazy!

Insanity runs in my family,

The author of constant calamity.

He sped to my sister

And tenderly kissed her,

And then rushed over to me.

 

Detected in me fertile ground

And smiled at the treasure he’d found.

As he messed with my head,

I retreated to bed –

To this day, that’s where I’ll be found.

 

Stephen Tomkins

15 February 2016

Perth

Unintended Consequences

candlestick

Jack not so nimble,

Jack not so quick.

Jack failed to clear the lit candlestick.

Awake and unconscious,

They both took their turns,

A most tender place for those third degree burns.

He’s now held together with pieces of wire

And sings boy soprano for St Michael’s choir.

 

Stephen Tomkins
2 March 2016
Sydney

 With apologies to children everywhere…

Photo credit:
http://www.buzzle.com
kizaz.com

bull-leaping

Sorry For Being Born

The-Overly-Excited

Arrive at airport, cap in hand.
My bags are packed, my travel planned.
“Oh! The glamour!” you may think
But I’ll be treated like I stink!

As airline staff on cheap staff travel,
All careful plans will now unravel.
So I approach the hallowed desk
Where staff may check-in at their risk.

Like an insect, I am viewed
And told to wait in voices rude.
In holding pen, we congregate
And hopefully await our fate.

In muted tones, we quiz each other
And try obliquely to discover
Just where we fit into the list –
My category must be higher than this!

At last they start to call some names,
And so begin the churlish games.
Those lucky few will get on board,
The rest of us will sit here, bored.

Like music to my weary ears,
I hear my name as chaos clears.
They take my bag, give me a pass,
And tell me, “Move your bloody arse!”

I sprint now to the Customs queue.
Amidst the throng, I wrestle through.
On my watch, I check the time –
My God! How long’s this frappin’ line!

Finally, I get on board,
Wedged between two giants! Lord!
So strong the scent of garlic is,
There’ll be no vampires here for years!

I’ll need no seatbelt come what may:
Restrained by blubber, I will stay.
Come meal-time, there’ll be nothing left.
Cheap travel is a wondrous gift!

JHJ

Stephen Tomkins
7 January 2016
Sydney

Photo credits:

http://www.businessworldtravel.com
theegyptiantraveler.blogspot.com
acollectionofmusings.wordpress.com

Winners Are Whiners

313172_1344831622_harper-finch-lawyers

Doubters may just doubt and the haters may just hate,
But if you don’t get this right, I may have to litigate.
Excuses can be made and those waivers may be signed,
And legal advocation I may even have declined.
But now I have a lawyer and a famous one at that,
So if you don’t settle soon, we’ll do more than have a chat.
The High Court’s now the venue and it shouldn’t take too long:
You see, it really doesn’t matter whether you’ve been in the wrong,
‘Cos my lawyer’s a performer and she charges by the minute
So I may just be the loser even if my side should win it!

Stephen Tomkins
22 December 2015
Sydney

Photo Credits:
http://www.jobdescription101.com
www.criminallawyers.com.au

 

Holiday Cheer (or The Throne of Regret)

latenighteating_850732_n_lg

Last week (don’t you see?) at a quarter past three,
A solemn fridge-opening took place.
He stood there and looked, at the things raw and cooked,
With the blankest of looks on his face.

His arms stretched out wide, open doors at his side,
Silent, expectant, oblivious.
And yet, all the while, despite “MAX” on the dial,
The temperature crept up – quite insidious!

Having waited some time, in this unmoving mime,
Hoping something’d jump out for his meal,
He started to cough, as the food – it went off,
And his fate, in the end, he did seal.

Though the food tasted weird, and congealed on his beard,
His hunger outvoted his sense.
As the Holidays went, he began his descent,
In the bathroom, he made recompense!

Stephen Tomkins
3 January 2016
Sydney