Monday, 29 November 2010

Leap beer

Bin it--toss it out
Too polite or gay no doubt
Time and energy awastin'
Got a brain that needs replacin'

Emotions are expensive
It said so in the news
and this is a recession
And these are the blues

I shall click the lips of my purse so tightly now
and save whatever coins remain for victory
old horizontal in champaign
Old Flames
It will burn off like the dag on a furry flaming sheep
or the capsule that drops
to the bottom of the sea
as the space shuttle
climbs out of reach
I'm gonna climb out of reach too
I'm gonna climb until I fall
Fall away eventually
with or without event

It's no secret anymore
The secret wanting that couldn't find the door
Couldn't shake the smell
Couldn't find the bell
A blank stare as if you couldn't tell

It's not his fault, he's British.
He's too polite and I'm too skittish.

Sunday, 28 November 2010


Ben bounced like a silver ball in a pinball machine through the Gauguin exhibit. Luckily Veronique and I will make a date to go again. V said she thought the colours had faded in the paintings. Possibly. It's hard to imagine that in such a vibrant place a Tahiti that his palette would be so dull more reminiscent of Degas somber cafe girls with green faces. Some treatment of the figures the same. Some fun with the gallery attendant. Ben had several questions for her. Do you sleep here? Don't you get bored on that chair? Invited her to our house. She gave up her seat and then Ben got busy telling the browsers to mind the rope. Gets involved. Got entertaining the people in Eat. Chats to everyone and why not..He is six and he can do that. And later in Ping Pong, we weren't sure if he could manage to sit still for half an hour before we got seated, but he was dub stepping in the cocktail lounge. ho ho. And even had a few appetizers. Still plain rice and butter or sushi he'll do. And sweet little kite that lasted half an hour along the river. Happy moments. Today unusually good kiddy party. They made things out of clay in a studio. I made a bird man jug. Talked with the kiln lady. Will be seeing her next year in class.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Hotel Sayonara

Custer's last stand. The last abode I had in Napoli, not really, not the hotel...above the hotel. The flashing lights of Otel Sayonara and a pity the H was missing but appropriate as really it struggled for motel status. Really it was a seedy dive with the stench of men who had no place to shower wafting through the entryway. Take a tenner off just for having to endure the smell from the bottom of the stairs. Too late for a deep breath. The door had already buzzed open and shut.'re in it. You are in the shit girl. Maybe it was five men to a shower and six men to a toilet or maybe they just used the shower unless they had to do a dump. I could only guess the details and was relieved to find it was a men only otel. But for me, he would make an exception. He dangled the keys to room 19 with a sick glint in his eye and the spare key in his pocket. His jism master glance had me backing up a mile. I would have spit my guts out, but I was hungry.

The head of the English school was truly sorry. The phone rang off the hook with clients. Contract after contract. The aeronautical high school, the Media Statale, the toy factory in Pozzuoli...friendly Mr. Fracasso. Unanimous. No one had any spare change for ESL teachers once the Twin Towers hit the tubes. Talk of war, financial crisis, who knows ways of out this? no one. No one knew what was going to happen. They only knew how to close their purses as tightly as their lips and wait it out. Even NATO came up with a good excuse. Sorry, tightening surveillance and security. ESL teachers don't have clearance anymore. Half my pay packet for the month, a string of medallioned officials who had one on one lessons.They didn't panic in Rome, but Neapolitans love to panic. It's their default. Panic and default are the same button. They panic on normal days, but no day is ever normal in Naples. I knew nothing about the mafia when I lived there. They were a mythology. Glassed in under tinted bullet proof windows on Renato Muratore's black sedan, I was sure he was incapable of being anything but a nice man who preferred to study using the newspaper. His body guards were just out for the ride. And here we are in Little Bo Peepland--cognac and idioms in his private chambers. Renato didn't panic. That is why he is the boss....a boss with a choice of three cars to drive home in and serving up an agenda that took him several routes home.
So the default for me was to sleep on the floor of Mr. Sacco's school lobby and get up at 7 before the remaining students trickled in. Me just coming out the washroom after a sink basin shower. My back pack in the book closet right next to the xerox machine. After a week or so, he asked me to move on...then I ...I found the door open across from the school...a tidy but abandoned warehouse with stacks of books not dusty enough to be abandoned, but a warm place to sleep and keep my belongings. They found me one morning. I was coming home noticing that the books were piling up and moving. Not a ghost. Someone had actually been there. They came early...two men in suits peering at me sleeping....They said nothing. I left.
From there I went to Pedra Parisi's--a former student. Her parents' house a lovely place at the bottom of Mount Vesuvious. They gave me the top floor. I showered outside overlooking Capri and to the left, the cliffs of Amalfi, Positano, Sorrento and finally hidden away Ravello.


Fiona fiddles with the remote. Technology has gone so far. FF, rewind, tm, emp, fmfb,hm, hmb, hmd km, lmc, lmn, pmn. So many functions. Where's the manual?
Finds manual. Print's too tiny. Oh batteries too. They ask a lot. Let's just put it down and use the buttons. I remember when tv's just had one or two knobs. Less choice....three channels we 13, 23 and 17. and on a good day if the weather was right, we could get PBS out of some ballet, get sum culture or something. Love boat, Gilligan's Island, MASH, and Fantasy Island. The Plane The plane. That and a grilled cheese sandwich with a cup of tea, my afterschool ritual. School ended at 3. Pom Poms 3 to 5 everyday. Thirty new routine every fortnight...Everybody's working for the weekend....Back in Black....Don't stop believing. Some songs stay in my head as we played them over and over again. drive home, eat, out again from 7 to 9 for ballet or modern dance. plus gym class makes five hours of dance or PE everyday.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Polar Mermaid

She swims diagonally down
Past the blue to the gray
Past the gray to the gray scale

The tendrils of a sea anenome wave hello
to the mermaid and a capricorn seahorse
A calibrated soot
Passes night into day and day into night
Presses pebbles of air against the underside of ice
Presses a child's face against the pane to see the sharks.

A tip of iceberg in her fin
A shipwrecked vessel: Bottle of gin
Still sealed in the hold of the diver
gentle din...never tried her

A tomb of scientific pride
Seeking information
Too far, too wide

An anchor rotting deep within the easy reach of home

Decode the intimate
Echoes of whales
Seeking partners
Sonar, Radar
Sixth sense

An anchor rotting deep within the easy reach of home
And all the roads that never lead to Rome

Monday, 15 November 2010

Made of Wood

Joanne Morgan
A tree made of wood, an apple made of cider, leaves made of paper, teensy weensy spider

Flowers made of scent, fields made of romance, branches made of families, skies made of chance

Brains made of thoughts, fingers made of keyboards, brushes made of paint, walls made of doors