When Life Plays Out Like a Roy Andersson Film

Folding clean clothes
in a front-facing bedroom, now spare
through the window listless I stare

Until I spy
riding high
upon a small bicycle

This pink-faced giant of a white-haired old man
stopped with his pedalling
a’coasting and a’buzzing

Leaning into a sharp loop
he pulls up outside the tavern
attempts a quick and clean dismount

Nay! Something’s amiss!
Something goes wrong
he’s caught up in the waver of a mid-air kiss

Amongst the bike frame
his boots get entangled
all within unfamiliar angles

Now surely
there’s only
one way this is going to finish

His expression says it all
knows he can’t break his fall
landing heavy like a forged steel wrecking ball

Frail old lady stops by
offers her concern and comforting words
she can’t hope to even sit him up

Enter stage left!
A young Orlando no less!
Verily come to sort out this mess!

To the upturned beetle old man
now dazed and confused
Orlando extends a saviour’s hand

Orlando pulls
heaves him from the ground
but finds immediately they pivot toe to toe

Accelerating on through
in an uneven orbit they spin
until old man, falls down once ag’in

Nearly toppled on top
our hero just able to stop
wipes his brow, takes a breather too

From my seat for this private view
I shout “Lift him from behind, fool!
Knees bent and watch your back too.”

Orlando hears me not
sets himself for a second go
act two, scene one, two hands this time

He lifts and grunts
old man rises, they begin the spin
I cheer, this time hoping they do not hear

Old man two-steps to one side
breaks the rotation
instead, they collide

Fourteen octillion atoms (probably more)
slam into each other
uncomfortably hard

As they brush each other down
towards me they turn, and they frown
I applaud, shout “Bravo! Bravo!”

Shrug my shoulders, clap hands
together higher and louder
there was no other help that I could there offer

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