Monday, 31 January 2011

A Cake Date

Ripples in the wine
Swish swigging notes of pine
Music till midnight
Cakes--how divine.

Best honey in the world
My birdy bee pie girl
A bumble
A crumble
A whippy cream whorl

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Torso to Torso

Torso to torso
Side to side
Mind unwind with wizened eyes
Knee bend to a deep thigh glide
everything you said, everything you tried
It cried
You beat my why
That  racing heart has beaten
My slow journey down your time
Pressing fingers--finding lines
Between the rib caged skin
Breathe out breathe in
She rests her chin
against his chest.
The best
Deep brown.
Right to left they drown
in the quiet of the time of morning  before breakfast

Who's Glee?

fur dancin'
Wit Who?
step step to know wouldn't you.
what in the name the zippidy doo da diddly ding r u talkin" bout?
I'm just a mindin my owwwwn b.
N I'm just sayin' her name Glee.
Glee-- a close personal friend of mine
And so tell me. Tell me bout Glee.
She's a rootin tootin, cotton pickin.  cheerleadin,vo-calizin,  mercedes mamboin, who's the daddy questionin'. high falutin, cattle rustlin, rodea riding, stetson stonkin, do see do-ing, corn husk reapin,  irmas hygeine obessin, diva offin, cake bakin, spitton ringin, lasso lovin, cowboy cuddlin piece of girly horse dung.
How do ya do.

Saturday, 29 January 2011


Meat hung and yet to dry.
Wring it out.
Your twisted high
Don't go
Out lay about.
Cyber pole
Dancin all the baddies out.

The salt you put in your meal
Ends up in the ocean.
Mr. Greenpeace devotion
Mr. Clean Finger Nails
Afraid to even smile.
Don't save me.
Save a tree.
Salt you
Slow chew
And shit you out

Clutivating a close, warm hearted feeling for others automatically puts our mind at ease.- The Dalai Lama has twitter. But what happens when that person couldn't give a flying fucking shit about your close warm feeling?
Clean your flat.


Can I have this? Arthur holds up a Mcdonald's toy from Ben's toy bin.
You want it you can have it. Have it all. Whatever you like.
Mum, he's taking my Dr. Who. You can't have eveything. It isn't Hamley's.
I meant just a few.

I never lost my water gun but you did. Remember, the first time I came to your house? We had a bath. Do you like baths or do you hate baths. Shall we go out and play? No. It's late and it's dark.

I can get BBC extra on the computer. Can I go on the computer. Ben ten games. I know how to get on the safe internet. What's the safe internet? What's the unsafe internet? The normal one. Oh. Have you seen the normal one? What's this about the normal internet. Oh I see. People uhmm.

What are these? Those are slides. Is there pictures in it? Those are my paintings from.... the olden days? yes, the olden days when people had slides.

How do you feel when you're up in this chair?
Get down from there.
Shall I cut my hair?
No. Don't cut your hair. Your father will never bring you here again if you go home with no hair.

sorry it's only baked beans
i burned the potatoes
Shopping List
cocoa puffs or pops?
shredded wheat
milk, butter, crumpets
fish fingers

If your Mum was completely gone and dead would you cry? Oh Ben you ask the strangest things.
That's a Spiderman arm. It doesn't go with that motorcycle. Where's the sitting down Spiderman? He goes with that motorcycle.
Come eat. We've got roast potatoes and lamb. You will eat it and you will enjoy it otherwise, you will grow up to be skinny nothing men.
I want chocolate Pancakes.

Where is your Ben Ten Watch? Arthur wants to play with it.
can you change the batteries is this remote? Wrong size.

OK. A bath. Can we wear goggles? No. That is not necessary.
But I want to see his willy underwater. Just look at it above ground.
Those are mine. Can we pee together? If you like.

the day is fragmented into a million different duties
as the toys spread apart on the floor.
and the neighbor knocks once more.
The father comes. Says Ben is highly intelligent. Must be all his toys. You must have thousands of pounds worth of toys here. Thank you. Have some. 


Gardener and Garden- Out of damp and gloomy days, out of solitude, out of loveless words directed at us, conclusions grow up in us like fungus:one morning they are there, we know not how, and they gaze upon us morose and gray. Woe to the thinker who is not the gardener,but only the soil of the plants that grow in him.

We are like shop windows in which we are continually arranging, concealing, and illuminating the supposed qualities others ascribe to us- in order to deceive ourselves.


the enjoyment of the mind's lack of discipline, arbitrary feelings, the joy in human unreason...some great dangers to society...actually there are things to be said in favor of the exception as long as it does not become the rule.....The Gay Science.

I did want to do your garden and run along the sea, I enjoyed our're pleasant company, but these things will never be. 

The Big Tree in Sumatra

We'll be alright once we get to the big tree. What tree? We had been walking for days. We had seen many trees. I'd seen a woman who looked to be 85 by the wrinkles in her face running up a hill with a twenty pound bag of rice on her head. We'd seen her coming back too four hours later. She had been to Bukitingi. We'd be there in a few days. I felt like a right tourist. The sweat had trickled down my legs and dried and been washed away the next day by a new stream. The jungle of Sumatra. You want to be careful. Sound advice as I slipped again. I wish he would have told me not to wear flip flops. Flip flops are alright for guides.

I was right. It was something between a mountain and a hill. We're not going to make it down this mountain before sunset. Yes we will. Perhaps without me...not at my pace. There were roots to trip over and the voices of birds to admire.

So we came to the middle of the mountain at night. It was suddenly dark. Too dark to even step. Stepping in the dark down a steep narrow path getting sludge-eir with each footprint. I held on to his t-shirt. His torch...He hadn't brought a torch. I pulled out a postcard. We lit it and moved forward for a while. Even the moon wasn't lighting our way. So dark. tree branches and palm leaves flying in the face.

I slipped and went knee deep in a slimey bog. I saw glow in the dark tree roots. My slippery leg. Seven postcards later, we came to it as he said...the big tree. And it really was a big tree. We turn right here. The shipbuilder's treehouse is nearby. And it was. He had a beard, electricity, and running cold water. I lifted to my leg to tap to rinse off the mud, but it was moving. The mud was moving. It was leeches. Foot to knee leeches...a mixture of blood and black worms. They laughed at the screaming tourist. Only leeches. Here, just flick them off. He scraped them off my leg with a newspaper. The leg had been sucked and eaten like a chicken bone. Little holes everywhere. It continued to bleed. Any bandages? I fell asleep on a bed-like bench with my guide nearby and leg wrapped in newspaper like fish and chips. 

Friday, 28 January 2011

The Cooking Lady on Channel Nine

The cooking lady on channel nine
is pinafored up and looking divine
with a rolling pin
some flour in the bin
She's reading the label on the pint of gin
and recipes with nuts and seeds
She has grown to love these.
It's surprising that inside her there is not a tree.

Butter can get very hard when it is cold
You can form it when it's warm
Into any shape for form.
Butter melts sooner than the spoon that holds.
It over a flame.
Fling it in your mouth.
The medicine has begun.
A Barcelonic Brandy for some fun.

Frequent the palace and dress
for the place where the rabbit meets Alice
in underground lace.
Course it is nice when the icing falls off of your
But you shouldn't eat the icing first.
Icing and cake together...a full meal.
Fold the page over
Reap the nutrients
And browse the menu.

A fennel feathered pot
of oxo cube based lemon
soupy haberdashery of twig like tweed
tied up in tyme.
I'll have the fenneled ox horn please.

F is for function
Press F and function
Enter it into your brain

Teas in a tight space
Teas with a spice mate
Drink me to the bottom
and we'll read the leaves
of autumn in the news.
"Drink me." It drips on the
trampoline that ripples the only trace
Swivel rip the mask from the clown
faced night choke
walk in on the tight rope.
three beers for my balance please.

Sebum in the hair tells you everything.
Under the forensic light
There was evidence enough to say
she had failed brilliantly
like a diamond.
She was shown the way a disco ball
lights up a circus tent.

The sailor made a whirlwind up
when there was no breeze.
It blew him from the sea.

In palm tree captivity
the sandman blows to sleep
huff me puff me
the row boat, a fleet

Awfully human thing to do
to go with the flow
undertow and me
You can't compete with the undertow.
Its music takes you where you need to go.

He brushed off the sand that ran
through his fingers and his hair to his rescue as he laid ashore
damp seaweed...a fine pillow
grit in his teeth once more
it gets everywhere
simply naked from the storm
the sort of storm you only have with me.

She's happy enough
You can taste it in her biting
the plastic off her sandwich
as he puts his sandwich down.
Eat me.

Cripple the dead
so they fit in their tombs
make room and
save flowers for me

Drop bills at the Monaco Safeway
Injure the landscape
with your tin of peas
I'll dredge up the cup
and read the leaves
as they fall in the autumn
of your knees.
it said
drink me to the bottom
and we'll read the leaves
of autumn.

Don't do a do good thing
do a bad thing right
don't do a bad thing
do a good thing tonight.

I don't know if you know who I am
You've got the wrong person
She disagreed enormously
as he cuffed her
and took her away.

When did you start?

When did you start being a parent? I think it started in the waiting room, wondering where I would be living while reading House Beautiful. My flat was too small to have a child in and it had too many stairs for me to take. I was on a waiting list for a council flat and lived in a hotel. There were occasional chats with the women next to me if they were alone. The shimmer of a wedding ring would catch my eye and I'd think about how comfortable they must be. And how they only had to worry about what colour they'd be painting the room. The simple joys of a normal life.  A regime. A reason to make dinner at a certain time. The couples were the danger...couples and women with their mothers or friends. Mine was thousands of miles away and had recommended an abortion. Make your own bed and lie on it. I don't want a child ruining my retirement. I've worked hard all my life. That wouldn't have been good company anyway.  My social life had revolved around the school where I was head of the English department and once I left, I was soon forgotten. I hated seeing the couples. But the midwife was lovely.

A few years went by of looking after him day and night. A pleasant blur now. Pictures to remind me. I took him out with me to parties, art events. We had a great circle of friends. And a lovely flat after four moves through temporary accommodation. Was lucky in the end. Landed on my feet. And now, he's six and he has a lovely attitude, good school, and a loving grandfatherly neighbour who dotes on him and me too.
So the darker parts are over. And a smooth open horizon awaits. I love you Mum. You really need to get a Dad. Then , if you die, I will still have an owner. That's what he said today after school. What about Tony? Tony's too old. He worries about me dying and being left alone. He asked about his dad. Did I cry when I saw his picture last time? No. You were very brave. 

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Clash of the Titans

Clash of the Titans tomorrow. J has asked me to come in especially to diffuse the tension between Fletcher the fabulous flaming gay and Gareth the extreme Christian. Dinosaurs did not exist and gay people should not walk the earth according to his views which he never presses on me but apparently has to other people. G does not like to paint wedding plates for gay people. He has not met Fletcher before. I think it's very wrong.And it is. Ben at French. Last week he said...I don't know any French, so I wrote it in English. Can't imagine they are learning anything. Just a taster.

It had been rather subdued before I arrived...not a tension, but a gently getting on politely passing ashtrays of paint to one another as needed. I walked in to a "Here's trouble."  Nice welcome from Fletcher whose imagination works overtime as to what I get up to in real life. We all burst out laughing. Love the way Josie is painting a wedding plate and says....I've made this woman far more beautiful than she actually is. He won't recognize her. "You should charge a tenner more." Love the way the husband walked in moments later. There was a cup and a plate and the woman looked different on polygamy. Gareth got in a joke. Fletcher is full of quips and punches. He seems to think my life is wilder than it is...and then expands on what he knows...the stream of comings and goings. Overlapping? He is a devil. He twists it up.  Don't recall a thing. Josie says the boots with the buckles send the wrong message. Intimidating. Oh? They look like Dom boots. Oh? Ben picked them out. They are the most comfortable shoes I've got. I'd be afraid of you if I didn't know you walking down the street. Oh? That was honest. Because I look different? No. You walk like a storm trouper. Hmm. Interesting to know. I don't dress like Little Bo Peep, but I'm not a cross-dressing buckle whipper from Soho. I do get more phone numbers if I wear them. Look Jo, you've been out twice this week. You do more than you actually think. Thanks to Veronique. She drags me out.

The boys are in the bath. Not a school night. Andre's name has changed to Arthur. He is Andre at home and Arthur at school. As long as they keep the toys on the carpet. Rayguns out. Can I have this football? Ben said I could have his match attacks. No I didn't. Don't cut up the shuttlecock. In one piece thus far. 

Super Ben

It was a proud moment. This morning's assembly starred Benjamin in a play called Super Ben about a boy who had lost his super powers and had to trace his tracks to find them. He was beaming and so was I. He had lots to say and remembered all his lines. Animated, lovely happy boy. A nice chat with Americk's dad. Coming over tomorrow for a play date. Grandma misses out on a lot, but that choice was made a long time ago. And it is for the better. It doesn't feel like home, but we are here and she is there. At least people speak English, the ones that talk. I can relate on a good day, but it takes energy. 

Mural--Hedgehogs high on the list

Week three: Weeelll. You'd think we'd be further along, however there is much discussion. A pond theme. We've chosen an abstract design with three base colours: green, pale blue, and mirror for the pond. I'm bringing in next week shards of pottery and shells and glass I've collected from The Thames. This very different from the standard mosaic tiles, so I've suggested that we put them only in the pond.Pond is to the left cut three quarters showing. A grassy slope starting upper left down six inches then swooping diagonally and ending about two feet on the right. The rest is sky. A border with lady birds every ten inches. I can paint the lady birds separately onto tile. I can paint a few insects and slot them in like caterpillars and ants. Animals chosen are the fox because it is city and country and wise. A bird sitting on a tree that comes in from the upper right side. No dogs as Muslims don't like them. No crosses et. al although it is a Christian faith school. WOn't get into that. Another small animal....rabbit. I suggested a lamb but the fox might eat the lamb and scare the children....ha ha ha. Suggested that the children have a quick pole and come up with the animals they like. Hedgehog also high on the list. Still working on small paper. I would myself....have a large sheet out by now and move the animals around to see where they fit in. If space permits, also a dragonfly. Wings look nice in Mosaic. I will be busy this week with the final drafts. 

He Met His Wife in the Park

He met his wife in the park
One day after bark had fallen
off trees along long
pebbled beach
where the lighthouse
Fell into
The sea
and saints without keys had lost
their way home.

I'd sweep you off your feet
If I weren't pushing this broom.

They stopped running and they strolled.
As they mended the day with the tales they told
She found the smooth place between his fingers
and nuzzled there
he cut a slice of pear
and dropped it
in her mouth
She bit his knuckles
as he wiped her lips clean

When they were together
She had the most beautiful mind
And so did he.
Let's go out to dinner before you
burn the potatoes again.
He always made fun of her
and she loved him for that.

He opened a bag of nuts and she
Pulled at the grass with her nails.
They hadn't decided where to go yet.
Plans always made themselves.

There would be a dinner
and some desert afterwards.
there would be a piano playing in the background
and they would dance like the extras in a
Fred Astaire  or Sinatra movie
but remain seated

she hummed a slow movement from
long salty summers
whispered in the moonlight

what we do for love
and what we don't
What we say
and what we won't

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

This Man was Talked to Death

The man was talked to death
And so was the girl.
Who had betrayed herself 
by being too friendly
and too fascinated
and too patient
and too shy
While she waited, 
a tornado consumed the invisible sky
 sucked the man up into the clouds and left the boy 
and the boy
never tried to be any of those things
as he'd never had to
be anything
but himself.
She felt sorry
he felt so little 
for all she felt.
He was too diabetic
to even touch her hand
or say something sweet.
He couldn't know her as 
She hadn't been herself.
So she set herself alight
with the last of the fire
and reincarnated
as something

There's nothing you can do about compliments you've made
but undo them
or the love you wudda gave
but pity the fool who ain't so brave
He's a few years off from being an old maid
Shoo him away and calamine the sting of the
Anal retentive epsom thing 
hiding under his hoody
with a boyscout badge
and a worldwide woody
msned from a girl in Brasil
who's too young to take the pill
safely typing miles away
no idea that he's gay
You'd have to be to watch bike videos all day.
Sprinkle that boyscout water on me
braindeaf empty shell 
of muscle and hair gel.
Feet greener than Peter Pan
Can't take off those shoes and hold
Your fingers or your feet.
My life's too sweet.
Would've liked to see you ride
But all you do is hide.

Semi-Permanent Soul

She walked towards her car. She stopped. She hadn't parked there. Had it moved? It looked exactly the same apart from the rust job being in a different location--on the bottom of the door instead of the top. She gazed a while at the twin-like car as if it were a crystal ball and saw her possible future.

This was an old game....a fourteen year old Ford--same as hers-- driven most likely by the pleasant visitor she'd run into in the coffee lounge. He'd put his portfolio down to stir his coffee. It was over-sized and comprehensive....the kind you take with you when you really need the job. Ten years older--same fourteen year old car. Still piecing things together....MWF here....Tuesdays there...Fridays from 2 to in the boot. They'd had an informative conversation.

"A portfolio?"
"Yes. I'm applying for the new art position....artist-in-residence for next semester."
"Oh. Good luck."
"You teach here?"
"Yes. Artist-in Residence."

Hmm.  She'd had a review the previous week. The art teacher was putting his feet up and giving new graduates a chance to put a notch in their CV by taking his classes.  She'd run into a friend on the El coming back from the interview months ago. The friend passed her the info. It paid just enough to be called a job.

"The students like you a lot. We'd like you to stay...semi-permanently."
Hmm. I wonder if semi-permanent is more permanent than temporary? The new recruit was ten years older than her. Did she really want to be chasing after the same job ten years from now? It seemed that people with MFA's spent their lives floating from one temporary obligation to another. Freedom had taught at The Art Institute for twenty years and she wasn't tenured. Live a little. Dial the number. It'll all be here when you come back.

1-800-ESL-ASIA The booklet arrived a few days later along with a bonus catalogue of fisheries in equally wild excursion if not more so. She'd run the xerox machine out of ink copying her CV. All the schools in Seoul. That's where she was wanted. She'd had an invitation to be Artist-in Residence there...but again, they could only pay a nominal fee.

Weeks later, the phone was ringing off the hook day and night. Fifteen schools to choose from complete with visa, housing, a decent salary, and a one way ticket to Seoul. The questions were strange....nothing to do with grammar or experience or education.

"Is this a recent photo? What number age are you?  What dark is your complexion? Was this taken in the summertime? Are you fat or thin lady? Are you talk English or American? What is your favorite color? You like children? You not married? Do you like Kimchi?"

It was a strange test to pass. She chose Pagoda Junior. They had the least typing errors, a stylish colored logo and called in the daytime. They were aware of the time difference. And they had a color printer...a sign of some organisation. "We will send your ticket. Mr. Lee will pick you up from the airport."

She sold her bed to a friend in her hometown hoping that she'd buy it back in a year's time. She liked that bed. She sold the Mexican bench to her mural painting friend. It was falling apart. They'd had many coffees on it. The antique curio went to Mari who's sister was taking a refinishing course. And the rest went out.

She looked over the clouds and felt nothing. A clean slate awaited. After collecting her suitcase, she searched for Mr. Lee. Everyone was Mr. Lee. She went to the bureau de change and got some coins, made a phone call to the school. The number worked.  "Mr. Lee is there. He is waiting for you. He is short with dark hair." That helps.

The crowd gradually thinned out to reveal one man leaning against a pole smoking a cigarette. "Are you Mr. Lee?" He bowed and managed a hello. He was obviously not paid to speak.  He put her luggage in the back of a very small pick up truck. She had either grown a foot or the world had shrunk. It was toy like. This was toy land.

Neon red crosses lit up the hillsides. "What are those?" They were the signs of Christianity flashing on and off like bars in a red light district. He talked. "You know this game?" What game?
"This ....teaching game." He rubbed his eye in a tired cynical way and shook his head ever so slightly. The engine stopped outside The Love Hotel. Strips of red and white plastic curtain concealed the parking lot for discreet entry. It had a similar red neon sign as the churches....neon must only come in red here....but was heart shaped instead of a cross. The entrance smelled of paraffin. A small round heater blocked the doorway and the attendant who was only a foot taller than the heater rose from his mat and took some cash with his soju swollen fingers. A room, a mat, a heated floor and a locked door. "You lesson tomorrow at eight. I come. I take you."

"Bring I. I bring...I bring you eat. "

Monday, 24 January 2011

Constant Holiday

Swub swub...the holy distance
Hocus pocus prop plane
Hyderabad to Chennai
90 degrees warmer than
where ever you or I
Would even dream of being.
He is always on a tropical island
or surrounded by signs in Swahili
or photographing sunsets.
Does he not tire of this life?
That man is on constant holiday
A hibernation in Idaho
A serious laying low
A reappearance
Hawaii again--because my sister lives there.
Chicago--tired. Let's move to Amsterdam
Serious HQ
 times five to the tenth power
Versailles....How are you settling in? Still in boxes?
Ahh. I'm just going for a swim
In New Mexico first to think things through
for a month or two. There have been a lot of changes.
.....with my old friend.
the one who...yes, we got into debt
Annnnd she danced our way out of it.
We smile.
I step aside and wonder.
I close my eyes.
Preferring not to theorize.
What a life.
Moss will never grow on Mr. Swindle.
Not even on one toe.

Mush Mush

Ben says it was Mush Mush today. Mush mush with carrots. 
His favourite is the tuna that is not fish. 
We got the new Dr. Who action figure, so he is in Tardis Heaven. 

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Arctic Boulangerie--Odder Occupations

Arctic Boulangerie:
Mick Jones had emptied out his attic and was displaying the contents of it down at the RCA. It was my birthday. Richard and crew, we headed down there. Fuzzyhead had concealer on his face that he hadn't smeared in enough for it to be effective. Pradaman had a fresh supply of boutique paper bags-his trademark. Afterwards, to Soho--somewhere sweaty upstairs that felt like a basement and later in the bistro where I had worked twenty years ago when it was Fatso's Pasta Joint. I had a drink with a French baker/painter who had an odd job baking croissants for scientists in the arctic. He was on six months/off six months. I find that one of the most obscure jobs I have ever heard of. He said that there is not much out there in the arctic and so, a good chef is important.

Kari's friend was a doctor on an oil rig. She was the only woman on the rig. She was on one month and off one month. A helicopter came to pick her up. She wasn't even back to shore when the whole rig blew up and everyone died.

Steve tested bombs in the Mohave desert. He said there are no mistakes. They can hit their targets within millimeters.

I was told to look for the tallest man at the port. That would be him, a former rugby player for Italy. He wanted his children to have experiential English instead of lessons and needed someone to hang out with them on the Island of Capri one summer. I did not mind hanging out. We experienced English in the pool that was carved into the rock. We went through the alphabet naming cities beginning with a,b,c etc. "London-we have a house there. Maui-we love the waves. Naples-crazy." We looked down on the yachts anchored in the sea. There was a cook, a gardener, a head housekeeper, a man who served the dinner, and me. The servants outnumbered the family. The dinners were fine. They enjoyed my travel stories. I felt like a modern day bard dining al fresco under the grape vines. The mansion belonged to a friend of theirs. They were just using it for the summer and after, sailing to the Island of Ponza.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

The Deer

She had a quiet day mending action men, flipping pancakes and reading bedtime stories. She found an old postcard on the mantle. There was a deer close by a stream taking a drink. She turned it over. Trev on Tyne. She searched the rivers on the map. They reminded her of the veins in his arms. That place she wanted to go. Ye olde river.

There was something written on the back.The ink was fading.
"Shall we float like lillies in a Monet painting."
Who is Monet?
"Let's drown in the thunder of our own raindrops."
I don't have a raincoat. Furthermore, I don't swim.

"I have painted the town red for you. All the shutters, windows, and doors. "
Thank you but I prefer green.
"I will make the wine cold for you."
Isn't that a Carly Simon song?

"I will just stop here."
Don't stop, just pause.
One day, the postcards stopped.

Point and shoot. He had been teaching his grandson how to hunt. His first shot had grazed the side of a deer. It ran away. They called it a day after a few hours. There was nothing much out there, the end of hunting season. Most quotas full.

He turned on the radio of his spare pick up truck-the one he used in case things got messy. The red and the rust blended well together. Small town-small station. They hadn't bought a record since the middle of the 80's. Tammy Wynette was standing by her man.

They slammed on the brakes. A deer in the middle of the road. Left right left right. It had a wound in its side. He swerved but, hit it broadside. It flew up over the hood; an antler piercing the windscreen.

They got out to move the deer to the side of the road. Then thinking again, by truck or by gun shot, it was fresh death. Threw it in the back of the truck. Hung it up in the smoke shed to drip dry. A few months later, a fine meal and an excellent head above the mantle.