a sharp eye
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by George Anderson




Canada’s Godhead`


Ascending the stairs

to the Great Hall in Toronto

in the Hockey Hall of Fame

is like entering a shrine-


the closest you can ever get to Heaven in Canada-


the white marble staircase

the stained glass ceiling

the shining icons encased in glass.


As I stare at amazement

at the Art Ross Trophy

a boy about ten

wide-eyed ambles by


& whispers

to his dad

in hushed tones


as if in the presence

of the Devine:


"Can I please touch

the Stanley Cup?"




a line, (a short blue one)



The Job Interview


The panel of three women

ask me about my experiences

with working with kids.


‘Not much,’ I admit, but tell them

I come from a large family

& have played heaps of different organized sports

at high school & for local clubs:

ice hockey, baseball, basketball,

soccer, volleyball, ten pin bowling-

even table tennis & chess.’


I can't remember much more about the proceedings,

but afterwards,

I was checking out the youth center’s facilities

and a middle-aged woman from the panel approaches me

& we get talking.


‘I used to know your mother Joan before she passed,’

she incredulously tells me. ‘We used to swap baby-sitting duties.

When I moved to Elmhurst, we unfortunately, lost all contact.

You probably don’t want to know this-

but I have actually changed your nappies dozens of times!’


As this image is slowly sinking in, she smiles and whispers,

‘Don’t tell any one yet, but you’ve got the job.’




a line, (a short blue one)



Jury Selection

for Mary Hooker (1958-2019)



“Can I see you again on Tuesday?”


“I wish I could,” I tell her, "but I have to rock up to Court that day."


"What for? Been on the piss again?"


"No, of course not. A jury is being empaneled and I may be selected."


"Poor thing."


"It may be interesting. Perhaps provide some material for a new story."


"Well, I've been called to the bar twice in my lifetime,” she says.

“ I don't think the justice system at all benefited by my participation."


"Why’s that?”


"The first time - you won't believe this - I was in labor when they called.

I was too preoccupied to make it.”


“No shit?”


She emphatically nods and then continues.


“The second time occurred a couple of decades later after we moved to Dubbo. 

The Court Clerk asked me as a matter of course if there was any reason why I should be barred from the proceedings.”


“There sure was’, I explained the Court Clerk, ‘Do you see the accused over there?’"




"Well, he's my son."


“Amazing! By chance, was he the same child you were in labor all those years ago?”


“Sure was.”



a line, (a short blue one)



The Reading


The young woman approaches me

after the reading & tells me how much

she loves my work:


“You must spend a lot of time rewriting,

redefining your images,” she says.


”No. Not really.”


I explain to her how I try to knock off a poem

in one, perhaps at max, two goes -

then move on to the next one.


“I’m not like, say, John Tranter who might

make a hundred or so drafts of one poem.

I don’t have the patience or inclination or talent

that a poet of his calibre has devoted a life time to.”


She nods. “Yeah, too many poets overthink

what they do. They lose that spontaneous

quality I find remarkable in your best poems.”


“Yes, I totally agree!” I tell her smiling broadly,

my limp overly rehearsed lines now hardening.




a line, (a short blue one)





She always insisted

when the time came

& she was forcibly placed

in a nursing home

by her children or the


she would lead the revolt -


she’d organise mad parties

& drink & bonk faster

than anyone.


Yet when time eventually snuck in

it took the inoperable form

of 18 cervical tumours.


And as her clock wound down

the pain was like a cobra


& it strangled the bejesus

out of her & as she whimpered


& screamed the deranged fangs


of death




a line, (a blue one)


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