The Tour

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  1. The Welcome

“Namaste, welcome to our wonderful land,

Esteemed guests, so honoured to meet you,

For everything I will be your helping hand,

Our Timeless Horizons, it is so very new.”

 

Our guide then asked where we heard of it,

‘Timeless Horizons’ not a name before met,

The price was good, seemed the perfect fit,

We all agreed, we’d found it on the internet.

 

Sunil, the tour guide, had the blackest of hair,

Tall, chocolate skin, with the whitest of teeth,

Grooming immaculate showing greatest of care,

This most striking man we felt so far beneath.

 

We all huddled in a small Delhi hotel room,

All of us Americans, bar the lone Englishman,

India was so foreign we could be on the moon,

But we all looked forward to this exotic land.

 

Getting from the airport, the traffic too scary,

Their disregard for lanes, and constant beeping,

Only for languid cows they seemed to be wary,

So many close calls had some of us weeping.

 

  1. Old Delhi

“Watch out,” we all cried at our fellow tourist

As a local urchin reached deep into her bag,

Wrenching it away, she displayed her big fist,

And the boy scampered off to find the next bag.

 

We had travelled through the historic Delhi city,

With a people mass few of us had ever seen,

The seething millions, some wanted to take pity,

Others wanted to take photos, was this being mean?

 

A naked man walked through the crowded street,

His penis swaying like an elephant’s trunk,

Hog’s heads on the pavement, would they eat?

Two eunuchs skulked around appearing to be drunk.

 

“My friends this shows our wonderful culture,”

Sunil commented as we disembarked the coach,

Overhead wheeled many a ravenous vulture,

Beady eyes decided what food they would poach.

 

At a mosque it happened the pick-pocket incident,

And then two of our party were late to our bus,

Where could they be? Anger we started to vent,

In time they returned saying “What was the fuss?”

 

  1. Agra

“How ya goin’? My name is Baz and this is Shaz,

And we are Aussies, from the Land Down Under,

And these are our mates called Johnno and Caz,

We’re on your tour, there was a booking blunder.”

 

We all looked stunned at the newcomer four,

Loud, brash, young, with accents so different,

So how could our tour cater for any more?

They’d be difficult to accept, we were diffident.

 

“Namaste,” Sunil said, but we looked dismayed,

“These people will join us, so sorry for the error,”

We grudgingly said hello, introductions were made,

To our very close-knit group they felt like terror.

 

To worsen matters we were struggling with fitness,

We all had ‘Delhi Belly’, even after Sunil’s warning,

With the newcomers this added to our tour sickness,

Stops had to be made for all even by mid-morning.

 

But the Taj Mahal distracted us, as we were in awe,

The majestic temple, one of the world’s great wonders,

We posed for a tour photo, including the new four,

For a moment we forgot all Timeless Horizons’ blunders.

 

  1. Rajasthan breakdown

We sidestepped the hawkers in the fort at Jaipur,

Saw women carrying loads that made us all wince,

We took photos of locals, they were so very poor!

The sun beating down did not make them flinch.

 

The only thing well fed were those drowsy old cows,

They dozily drifted across the very busy roads,

We drove through the desert for hours and hours,

As locals went through life in their sweaty abodes.

 

The Aussie four they were becoming oh so difficult,

They sat in other’s seats, no respect for routine,

What were they saying? Were they all in a cult?

They yelled, cracked jokes, causing a big scene.

 

And to make matters worse in Ranthambore,

As we were on safari, it was so very hot,

Just as we were photographing a tiger’s great roar,

The four jumped up and ruined our shot.

 

Along the road life it could not get much meaner,

The coach broke down, was it made in China?

Stopping at some place offering ‘Lunch & Deener’,

It was ironically named: ‘The Lucky Diner’.

 

  1. The Final Straw

Then the coach eventually started, AC kicked in,

Sunil assured us, “From now it all will be right,”

So persuasive, our worries appeared in the bin,

Plain sailing for the tour must surely be in sight.

 

Then it happened, in some run-down small town,

An incident to make the tour end abruptly there,

A shock to our system that made us all frown,

A worry so bad to put some grey in our hair.

 

As a cyclist road out, our sleepiness it ceased,

The driver swerved, we all exclaimed, “Wow!”

As our coach ploughed into the well-fed beast,

Several of us yelled “Oh no!”, and “Holy Cow!”

 

  1. Epilogue

“Oh Harry, ‘Tour Disasters 1’ it rated so well,”

“Good to hear Art, and the network will do 2,

We put that group through the worst of hell,

They didn’t have an idea that all was not true.”

 

“See some of their issues we certainly orchestrated:

The Aussie intruders, they threatened their order,

But we didn’t do the pick-pocket, their tour was fated,

Delhi Belly played a big part like a foreign marauder.”

 

“And the slick Sunil is an actor from Bollywood,

What’s his stage name? I think it is Sunny Roy,

Next time, we will get a big name from Hollywood,

An actor more out there, Sunny was a little coy.”

 

“The company ‘Timeless Horizons’, it was a big fake,

We’ll have to think up a new name, that one’s used,

And we’ll need a new story line to seal their fate,

And we also have some new passengers to choose.”

 

“But the tour ending it certainly was not scripted,

The coach was supposed to swerve, miss the rider,

When the driver hit the cow, that wasn’t pictured,

He wouldn’t go on, thought the road was wider.”

 

“Even though we had to cut the very last episode,

Our executives, well they had a very good feel,

Though there was a dead cow lying on the road,

The ratings were so high, it was all so very real.”

 

Run Faster, Master

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We’re off in this race for the Masters –

‘Masters’ sounds dignified, read old;

Which of these codgers will run fastest?

There’s some ‘gun’ in the field I’m told.

 

We’ve lined up at the start with head bands,

Dicky knees, arthritis and that condition;

We’ve done our stretches and flexed hands,

Like a Richard Simmons’ video rendition.

 

Now loping along at no fast rate,

Like slow mo in that Chariots flick;

We’re building up a sideways gait –

The winner is so hard to pick.

 

Over there, that guy is the Prancer:

Lifts his legs like a hackney horse;

He should become a ballet dancer –

I wonder if he’ll finish the course.

 

And right next to me is the Shuffler –

Thought he was that old Cliffy Young;

Sounds like he needs a new muffler –

If he wins I’ll be biting my tongue.

 

And just up in front is the Treadmill:

So adept at running on the spot;

Heard he’s been taking a blue pill

To have a long stay in the cot.

 

Oh, I’ve lapsed into a runner’s daze;

Dream of getting physical with Olivia!

Her head band and lycra still amaze –

Why is that look so destined for trivia?

 

Now a flashback to my running start:

My mother felt I was taking it too far;

Thought running would enlarge my heart –

But Phar Lap with a big heart was a star?

 

Awake; ‘the gun’ fires away from the field –

Wonder how he’s got into great shape?

He’s shown the rest a clean pair of heels

As he sprints through the finishing tape.

 

And the rest of us amble to the line,

Puffing, wheezing, finding our breath;

Good news: no one keeled over this time,

As we’re running away from our death.

 

Real Life

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I’ve climbed the highest mountain,

Dived down in the deepest sea,

Run with bulls around a fountain,

Swung like Tarzan from a tree.

 

I’ve jammed with Bono and Bieber,

Done recitals of Liszt and Mozart,

Gave sermons to many a believer,

Like Picasso, painted new age art.

 

I’ve done the big stunts of Kneivel,

Starred in many a Broadway show,

Fought in the UFC some call evil,

Won the grand slam twice in a row.

 

So take it from me this is all true

As I’ve lived it all through YouTube.

 

The Pizza Man

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My wind was a torrent of darkness inside my hungry gut,

My face was a ghastly turquoise: I’d been really in a rut,

My order had been misplaced when I’d phoned an hour before,

And the pizza man came running-

Running-running-

The pizza man came running, up to my open door.

 

He had a large case under his armpit; a look of concern on his face,

I had a mouth that was drooling like a hound that just won a race,

I waited with great anticipation as I paid the man the bill,

And how I longed for that Hawaiian Pizza,

That juicy Hawaiian Pizza,

Oh no, it’s a Meat Lovers; hey, but I’ll still eat my fill!

 

(Author’s note: Apologies to Alfred J. Noyes for the take on his poem ‘The Highwayman’)

Gulf War: a poem

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GULF WAR

It was the morning 5.44 if I do recall,

All were trying to sleep for the long haul,

The train rocking gently from side to side,

Like a lilting lullaby to cope with the ride.

 

The train was the domain of the old male,

Relic body odour making it smell stale,

The odd lady amongst the testosterone,

Fragrant roses improved the dank tone.

 

The men divided by how they did dress,

It was plain to see, no chance to digress,

Some donned bright fluro seen from a mile,

The rest were decked out in business attire.

 

This chasm cut deep into the land’s history,

Blue collar versus white was the big story,

What these two did for work had to be noted,

As it even decided how each of them voted!

 

Blue singlets now replaced by high vis vests

For tradesmen with tough hands and strong chests,

Yellow and orange the garb of these herculeans,

They stood out in the train like bright beacons.

 

This the quiet carriage, no noise could be made,

Sound violation and death stares would be paid,

And patrons wanted the same seats, own spaces,

A pecking order of sorts, they knew their places.

 

The scene now set for the conflict that ensued,

Let’s get on with the story without further ado,

We must keep this train poem on the right track,

It was starting to wander, to take another tack.

 

On the right of the aisle sat the tradie in yellow,

Unshaven, he looked like a gruff kind of fellow,

Squat build, middle-aged, tattoos on his forearms,

Callouses could be seen on the both of his palms.

 

On the left of the aisle sat the professional man,

Slim build, bespectacled, with a slight ruddy tan,

He was typing big words, jargon like ‘resultant’,

Might be a banker, lawyer … or even a consultant!

 

The tradie he had a cooling box called an esky,

Emblazoned in our flag it was not very sexy,

To all wishing to alight it was a stumbling block,

As it sat part way in the aisle like a massive rock.

 

Now on the day in question the tradie was snoring,

Sounding like a lion on the plain that was roaring,

In the quiet carriage this noise it was most foreign,

To many awoken you could say it was abhorrent.

 

It must have been a day the consultant was uptight,

An intense look like he had been given a big fright,

Turning to the tradie, he glowered and nudged him,

Would the tradie accept he had committed a big sin?

 

The tradie he stirred and glanced across the void,

Upset by the awakening he seemed to be buoyed,

“Can’t a bloke get his sleep, is that too much to ask?

If you ever do it again, be sure I’ll break your arse.”

 

The consultant ignored the rant, he’d made his mark,

He went back to his typing oblivious of the nark,

But for every day as he alighted from his ride,

He felt the esky of the tradie bump on his side.

 

Next day, the esky upturned, contents in the aisle,

The tradie fuming, face red, looking very vile,

Then he yelled, “For that mate you’re going down!”

All the patrons shocked said “Please quieten down.”

 

The consultant responded saying “It wasn’t me,”

The tradie retorted with “Who else could it be?”

“I’ve got to get off the train now,” he went on,

“Better not be here tomorrow or you’re gone!”

 

Would the consultant return? It had to be seen,

The tradie looking around, appearing real mean,

No consultant, no one this day sitting in his seat,

The void was there, and I cheerfully took his seat.

Say No to Emojis

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Out, damned spot! Out, I say!

Be gone you little buggers

Page huggers

Geez, emojis!

What is the world coming to

when beautiful emotive words

become omnipresent dots?

Will our children learn

to use Symbols instead of Syllables?

Go LOL

Leave OMG

Out with Sad Face

You are the pesky

Seven Dwarfs of messages

So please refrain –

Like for cigarettes, wean yourself off using them

Go on an emoji fast, have an emoji-free month

Instead, express yourself with words

That’s right, words!

And, all I can say in closing, is

<insert the no to emoji emoji>