Stuff in a blog


Let’s not pretend
that stuff in a blog
is poetry.

A blog is a diary
upside down, a silo
where notions wait
for processing
or better times.

Crammed tight
they twitch
in the dark.
They long to sprout
and see the light.

Let’s spill them out
and set them free.
At worst the birds
will feast.

– – –

Rachel McAlpine

Healthy Things


I should never be sick
’cause we have Healthy Things
(says Ruby).

They’re little tiny small things
and they’re a lion. Here, I’ll draw one for you.
There are arrows pointing to their tummy,
with skin dots, pale, very hard to see.

You should always have one a day
so you don’t get sick.
Well, I’ve got the hiccups inside my tummy
so I should have had more.

They taste like — how can I describe it?
Say you were cooking a Healthy Thing
and you just needed two ingredients:
an orange and some salt.

You squeeze out the juice and mix it up,
pour it into a salt bowl
and it turns into a a Healthy Thing.
Hm, how can I describe it?

It tastes like lemon with sour salt.
They’re called Healthy Things
because they’re Healthy
and because they’re Things.


Rachel McAlpine

Advice from Ruby, aged 4 or 5

You want to breathe


You sometimes feel like breathing
but it’s best not to
(says Ruby).

Once you start breathing,
you have to keep going
and your throat just gets sore.

If that happens, there are two things
you can do. The first thing is,
you can have a drink of water
and it goes away and it’s perfect again.

The second thing you can do to fix it
is, you can go “Aahaa, aahaa”.
I’m the only person
who goes “Aahaa, aahaa”.

I hardly even breathe, ever.
Just now and then, like this.


Rachel McAlpine

From a conversation with Ruby, aged 4 or 5

How to act cool


If you want to act cool with me
(says Ruby)
just say OK.

The easiest way to learn
is walking waving your hips.
Watch me. One, two, three.

Everything has to be
waving your hips.
That’s part of being cool.

Not spitting on your hand
like they do in Peter Pan:
that’s gross.

You can’t do acting cool
at gymnastics: you might go wow!
and fall off the bar.

Don’t wave your hips
on the trampoline:
just jump the normal way.

Don’t act cool
at dog obedience school
‘cos you might fall over, especially

if you’re walking backwards.
And if you see stray dogs
leave them alone.

I haven’t learned all the coolness
from dog people.
I learned it from Marone.

I’ll spell that for you.
It’s Ethiopian,
so people can’t spell it.

And don’t walk coolly up the stairs.
Just walk normally.


Rachel McAlpine
From a story told by Ruby, aged 4 or 5 or 6

Facts about zombies


Goblins knock on the door
in disguise (says Ruby). Get them
to take off their clothes.

If they say no,
they’re baddies.
To get them destructed,

take off their clothes.
Then call the police.
Then fight them.

(You know this isn’t real.
It’s just in case,
to save the day.)

If a zombie comes up the toilet
you can whisk off and fight it,
because you know the steps.

Put some Barbie dolls in a row
because zombies hate Barbie dolls.
They’re afraid they’ll chomp them.

You can also shine a light at zombies.
It injects them
and they die.


Rachel McAlpine
From a story told by Ruby, aged 4 or 5 or 6