Lockdown 28/28

DAY 28 – Anzac

This is the end
my beautiful friends
some people think it’s all over
they’re running onto the pitch
past the beaten enemy
lying prostrate on the grass
as they take the goalposts down
for a souvenir of a tumultuous victory

Actually no, sorry
as you were
carry on biting your nails

You see it was always going to depend
on the final score
when the whistle blew
to tell us
to stop going around the bend

There’s to be extra time
and if anyone breaks the net
in the next few days
there will be penalties
the agony will continue

The strive for a victory
we never knew we were playing for
will take another five days
another Anzac weekend
a working week
will never feel like a lifetime again

Lest we forget

DAY 27 – FaceTime
How do you switch this thing on ?
It is on
I can’t hear you
You heard that
No I didn’t
You must have
Are you on mute ?
I can’t hear you
See the thing like a microphone ?
With a line through it ?
Yeah
Haven’t got one of those

Shall I call back?
No don’t switch off
The screens gone dark
Hello
How do you switch this thing on ?
It’s doing something
For fuck sake
I heard that
Oh, I can see you now
I can see the top of your head
Can you hear me now though ?
Yes, its 3am
No, is it ?
Yes, its dark


Does the virus do that ?
No, you do. There a time difference.
Why are you in bed. Are you ill ?
No, it’s 3am
Oh yeah, you said.
Are you staying safe ?
No choice. Chip shop and pub shut


Are you staying a safe distance away from people
Some of them definitely
Everybody
I don’t hate everybody
God preserve me. How do you switch this thing off ?
Are you there ?
No it’s 3 am
Are you asleep ?
I was.


Have you been drinking in the afternoon again
I’m going now. I’m tired.
See, that’s the drink.
Christ, I need one now
See.
My battery is about to die
Don’t you have a spare
I’m in a tunnel then
I sense hostility


Are you in your pyjamas
Oh shit, yeah. I’ve been out too.
Have a pleasant afternoon
You too.

DAY 26 – Love
Love, actually
is all you need
unless of course you wanted
to go to level 3

In which case
you’re not yet free
as our top bird
needs to be convinced
before she gambles it all
on red

You’ll soon be free to worry
about the stuff that stole
your sleep at night
as soon as you turned out the light

You’ll soon be free to eat and drink and spend
not caring enough
or being a good enough friend

You’ll soon be free
to focus on what really matters
instead of complaining
mad like hatters
about a lack of bargains
or the size of our savings

Love, actually
comes at every level
and it’s free
as a bird

DAY 25 – Half
There are half full kinda guys
and half empties abound
there’s no mistaking too that
there are plenty numpties around

Hey, the future’s so bright
we’d better wear shades
with lots to look forward to
even if you’re not getting paid

Zoom meetings in your pants
giving the finger to your boss
you’ll never get a better chance
to not give a toss

Not so much jet lag
and deep vein thrombosis
processed food on a tray
then sick in a bag
or queuing neurosis

No more breathing in farts
from an unknown source
no more sharing a cupboard
designed as a bathroom
with hundreds of people
who are totally gross

And don’t blow your forex
on duty free
you don’t really need
rediscover your own country
cause after all
even terrorists
are all on annual leave

DAY 24 – Orbit
Ground control to Captain Tom
with all your medals on
you’ve really made the grade
orbiting your garden
for the twenty million quid they’ve paid

God bless the NHS

Three souls return
from their lockdown in space
a tin can of isolation
from where they’ll see
how everything has changed

How something else
has also made its way
around the globe
uninvited

Soon it will be ok
to handshake or hug again
but for now
the stars look very different today.

Ground control to the ISS


DAY 23 – Senses
Ah, the sweet smell of success
better than the rest
we all deserve
after all is said
and done
and the enemy is gone

Better than the bitter taste of defeat
for some who’ll never be
the way they were

Not speaking its name
nor apportioning any blame
we’ll try to feel the same
about what we saw
as the old future

Knowing exactly what to expect
in a world of indifference
will require talk of wisdom
and some sort of sixth sense

DAY 22 – WHO
They are mostly white
although definitely some blacks
of familiar note
dusting themselves off
as they calmly break the morning

Sounds carry with a gentle northerly
oddly pleasing to the ear
so early in the day
as the old girl next door
traces her last precious memories
whilst keeping in her own time

Then temporary silence
until a radio fizzes into life
bringing the news
that the sales are back on
and the orange one isn’t
sharing his toys any more
as is his imperfect practice

WHO would be surprised by that ?

DAY 21 – Happiness
Happiness is a long walk
in the woods
with or without a dog
although it helps to stop
every 1 – 2 metres
to sniff something
and check for other two leggeds
who may be getting
too close

Wisdom is knowing that
careless talk costs lives
when straying too far from home
and believing everything you read or hear
even if a bloke down the pub said
as of course that’s not allowed any more

Freedom is being able
to laugh often whilst
covering your mouth and
avoiding a coffin and of course
accepting you’re slightly mad
as you’re on your own

Faith is believing in something
someone or whatever gets you
through the day without the tension
you daren’t mention

Listening to the Dalia Lama
tells you to change things
if you can
and if you can’t
be calm

DAY 20 – Sometimes
Sometimes
it’s not what you say
as much as the white space
of what you don’t

Sometimes
it’s not what you pretend
to like
in order to be polite

Sometimes
it’s not what you do
for someone else
who needs it more
than your own time

Sometimes
you should know better
than wish for it when
it’s already there

Sometimes
it’s just the way you feel
but don’t really say it
out loud
enough

DAY 19 – 19
Soon be back to the new normal
not the old version, hopefully
as it caused the problem
previously

Paranormal maybe
nah, not a ghost of a chance
of a little clairvoyance
in a new world order
and I don’t mean a queue
at the supermarket

Cold war maybe
5G
Bruce Lee
comedy silence
without the crowd
just shouldn’t be allowed

Dirty tricks
MI6
orange headed lunatics
no more heroes on Netflix
anymore
saving us from dreaming
of a first class cabin
in a sinking ship

It’s good to be positive
but only about the future

Testing times.

DAY 18 – Women
Low level propaganda
some might say
with kindness, positivity and empathy
the order of the day

Kiwis need her
brand as our leader
even if it is an iron fist
in a velvety glove

Eisen faust they call that in Germany
where the death rate is low
and a quantum chemist
can easily show
a reality tv host
where not to go
when he’s rating himself
and being miles to the right
of his self-centred voters

Samettinen is velvety in Finland
despite sacrifice
and a refusal to bet
on a roll of the dice
and the ultimate debt

The Danes went early
losing billions of Krones
but their lockdown is easing
without many moaners

So there’s clearly some hope
as alarm bells keep ringing
for those that can cope

It must be a girl thing

DAY 17 – Calendar
Our relationship was strong once
ordered you might say
with never any doubt
what was happening
every day

We knew our roles
albeit the picture would change
regularly but without surprise
dependent on the season or page

I would pin you against the fridge
with magnetic memories from another time
for a daily, sometime hourly reference
to remember to
stock up on wine

To compensate for memory loss
or an unusual event
we were primed to miss
on production of excuse
of deliberate intent

But now I really wonder
about the point of it all
now that days are simply days
of staring at the walls

There’s nothing in particular
to dream of days we’ll fill
except the end of lockdown
and return of my calendar girl

DAY 16 – Tease
The world right now
is one big lap dance

You can look and dream
but not too much
at stuff you can’t yet touch

No chance
keep your social distance

Searching for toilet roll and flour
just don’t pass the hours
as you can’t go on dates
or go to cool bars

So as hard as it is
be patient in your bubble
you’ll just have to wait
and stay out of trouble

DAY 15 – Bacon
The Easter Bunny is arguably more popular than
Jesus who had an uncanny ability to turn
Water, which we all need to stay out of during lockdown
Into Wine, which we all drink to much of in lockdown
Giving us a daily Hangover for which the ideal cure
is a cup of tea and a (Kevin) Bacon sandwich

DAY 14 – Half Time
Well it’s half time
in the game of our lives
no other sport to report
not even WAGS
with their designer handbags

A game of two halves I’d say
there’ll be plenty red cards
the way some of them play
the ref will be tested
to let some of them go

I think we’ve the edge
with the magic sponge
and all
oranges and biscuits
and cups of tea
keeping our eyes on the ball

We’ll play like a team
as you would think
and they’re only as good
as their own weakest link

So when we bring on the vaccine
with minutes to play
we’ll have washed our hands of them
and then we can say

no credit to them
we deserved to win
so volley your tissues
straight in the bin

DAY 13 – Doctor
So a poem a day
may not keep the doctor
who saves your life
two metres away

It may not be the elixir
but it’s a painting in words
and while it won’t always fix ya
it should bring tears
of joy or sadness
whatever’s preferred

It’s sometimes the white space
of what went unsaid
the right and the wrong
that came out of your head

It’s a song that rhymes
or a display of beauty
shedding light in dark times
a self-imposed duty

To some it may be useless
or be about saying sorry
united
perhaps over excited
when others may worry

It’s not right or wrong
or our feelings of guilt
it’s a throw of the dice
of how you once felt

DAY 12 – Hello
Hellometer
The way you say that
determines your mood
and your general attitude
to taking a short walk
with a bunch of strangers
with whom we can’t talk

Could be the number of times
you get a reply
or a filthy look
like a poke in the eye

Some days a real grumpy face
is really just telling a tale
of wanting some peace
from the whanau
and oh yeah
if you have a dog
you better watch out
you better take care
cause Santa is definitely not coming
to your town
even if he is local

Maybe they’re scared
or had sadness before
maybe compassion never darkens their door
or perhaps its quite simple
that when you look at it
they’re really and truly
just sick of this shit

DAY 11 – Spanish
Read the news today, oh boy
about this virus
that’s trying to kill us
where there’s not a vaccine
that anyone’s seen

It’s highly contagious
and we dress like bandits
if we want to go out
except everything’s shut
as the bodies pile up

But wait, no
that was over a hundred years ago
where the blame on Spain
seemed to be in the main
because of no news
as to the cause of the flu
to keep morale high
and ease people’s pain

Ninety years later
it all became clear
no reason to doubt it
as the internet is here
to give us the news
genuine or fake

That’s a judgement
we all need to make

DAY 10 – Bridget & Blake
Imagine Bridget Jones (20th Century Diarist) and William Blake (18th Century Poet) meet in the park.

Won’t drink so much
or sulk about not having boyfriend

See the world in a grain of sand
and hold infinity in the palm of your hand

won’t behave sluttishly around the house
or smoke so much

will give clothes to the homeless
and find a better job after all this shit is over

See heaven in a wild flower
and eternity in an hour

will get out of bed straight away
and buy exotic underwear

Poison of the honey bee
is the artists jealousy

will be kind to others
and clean house of extraneous matter

Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight

will buy an ice cream maker
and avoid emotional fuckwits

A truth that’s told with bad intent
beats all the lies you can invent

will lose weight if in love
see exotic underwear above

DAY 9 – Pine Trees
I’ve gone back to the archives and adapted this one written 6 years ago on Te Ahumairangi Hill.

They used to be all over
a dense enchanted forest
and a place to shelter
from the harsh sunlight

There was a swing for kids
carved out of one tree
where after dark we could pretend
to be young again
and innocent

You can still see brilliant blue though
whilst harbouring thoughts
of faraway places
like home

We sit together now again
on the same stump
Charlie and I
not natives
you see, what I mean is
the view isn’t any different really
but so many of us are gone

It had made me angry
that such things of beauty
here longer than me or you
had become firewood
in a moment or two

Then years later
perspective
and a new kind of breath-taking
has come upon us
the world a lot less enchanted
this deadly virus

DAY 8 – Tae a Virus
Had a dream about
buying some land
was gonna give up the booze and

Aye that’ll be right
just look at the state of the place
how’s about I take my haun off yer face

See you
ye wee invisible bastard
there’s nothing brand new
or pure dead brilliant
about folk stuck at home
many on their own
fae the Borders to the Orkney isles
forcing their smiles

We’ll soon have ye on the run
with the spirit of Bannockburn
and the water of life
to drive you 500 miles
from our door

Saorsa ( Freedom )

DAY 7 – Kiwi
Seems like yesterday
all our troubles
and being in bubbles
seemed so very far away

Oh, hold on a minute
are they here to stay then ?
Yeah
Nah

She’ll be right though
our fearless leader
not content with a painful draw
the one that got away
she wants us to hold our nerve
not just flatten the curve
we know how we can play

Smash this thing
that came uninvited
by keeping our Tiaki
and being united

If that all sounds too much
Ardern up

DAY 6 – Ted
It’s day 6 already he said
I’m reminded by Ted
staring out the window

I’m not sure how he got there
but he tells me it has changed him
this isolation
this crisis
that’s makes ISIS
seem pretty lame

He wonders about the new normal
and what it will be like
when it’s no longer new
and we’ve found someone to blame
for ruining the game

Then Ted points out that his team
just can’t lose right now

Ted is a wise bear
be like Ted

DAY 5 – Rap
If its all starting to get you down
flouncing around all day
in your dressing gown
thinking about dinner
just after lunch
flirting with daytime tv
over a robust red wine and such
bat shit crazy conspiracy theories
and dreary weather at the end of your tether
bloody tourists needing slapped wrists
causing trouble
blowing their bubbles
supposedly working from home
talking to the cat
and imaginary gnomes
and that tickly cough
you’re going to laugh off

Well look on the upside – who cares about
the price of petrol
or running for the bus
or bedhead
or products
or sales on tv
or political shit
like Brexit
and in your own space
no one can hear you scream
Well actually…..

DAY 4 – Chairs
Sitting in her musical chair
she wondered when it would begin again

She had made friends with the darkness
to mask the sadness she felt
having lost her touch
with much of what she knew how to play

Wishing the daylight away
she was desperate to fall into her dreams
with no guarantee they would be
what they seemed

Tears are no substitute
for playing by ear
confronting the fear
and putting it to bed

DAY 3 – Sirens
Here comes the morning rain again
falling relentlessly like little rocks
on the tin roof
breaking the sound of silence

A brief lull
enough for the birdsong
courtesy of the Tuis and Bellbirds
and a small plane to pass suddenly overhead
carrying who knows what

He says hello to most of the others
just a wave at the headphones
seems there was an earthquake the other day
that no one really cares about
Unusual in these parts

Surreal
the unseen enemy
we cannot hear
for which a cure has not been found
only the sound
of sirens

DAY 2 – Checkout
I hope she makes it
I say out loud to my dog
as the ferry drifts away across the Strait

The girl at the check out
just wants to eat a pie
and sleep
hug her Mum
before the rules change
and her bubble bursts

As we scramble
for the last of the wine and flour
she begins to cry
leaving the front line
and clutching her minimum wage
for the darkest of hours

DAY 1
Don’t they get it ?

Well, maybe they will
if they don’t keep their distance

despite the insistence
of those who know

that even the elbow
is now a no go.

© Ash Cheyne – March/April 2020

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