Welcome to Eureka Street

back to site


The lattes have been had

  • 11 September 2019


Selected poems


The Misanthrope’s Sonnets


I’m not too fussed about the news

or panellists with stupid views.

I’ve been around. I’ve paid my dues.

I like the sound of cockatoos.


I like a band that plays the blues

but not the ones you ply with booze.

I like straight ales, not boutique brews.

There are some drinks that I’ll refuse.


Don’t book me on a boating cruise

unless it’s on the River Ouse.

I’m not a fan of blue tattoos.

They say I’m deaf as Billy Hughes.


These days I don’t get billets-doux.

Why is it all my wives were shrews?



I’ve done some things I don’t excuse

but feel no need to grace the pews.

I don’t like damsels and debuts.

My name’s no longer in Who’s Whose.


I’m told these days I don’t amuse.

It’s true, at times, I’ve done a fuse.

I’d rather talk in ones than twos.

By three p.m. I need a snooze.


And, yes, I’ve broken some taboos.

My mother told me: ‘Don’t use youse’.

Love ‘s not a word I’m prone to choose.

My car’s a brute on kangaroos.


A man should need what he pursues.

I don’t read books. I read reviews.



Not unlike the teenagers

they were so long ago


they feel a shyness and a fear

taking off their clothes.


Gravity has had its say

regarding shape and size.


Their bodies are a narrative

permitting no disguise.


There’s been no rush — or just a bit —

the lattes have been had.


They’re caring less each minute should

the children think them mad.


No longer shy between the sheets

their craziness makes sense.


The universe proved complex but

they’ve found the present tense.



You’re well away if you are born

in some half-decent age and country


half-decent parents too

a chromosomic Y of course


half-decent stretch of education

a few small early disappointments


to stop your being smug

while swimming in the larger pool


rejoicing in your genes

a kid or two with someone who


is not too short on humour

recurrent gigs or sweet career


with something extra done quite well

and recognised as such


four score years of this and more

with nothing too drawn-out or dreadful


waiting at the end

quietly off to bed one night


and stone-cold in the morning

not long undiscovered


the send-off you don’t live to see

fairly well attended


your few half-decent anecdotes

tellingly re-told


and maybe some half-decent god

to check you off the roll



The bakery is Vietnamese.

A little shy and smiling,

the woman at the counter


tells us later she

has recently flown in to help her

hard-pressed aunt and uncle. 


She doesn’t quite let on from where

(Hanoi? Old Saigon?)

I think about the French and how


all empires in their lazy turn

contrive without intent

the one