Archives for posts with tag: family
Scrambled eggs-01

By Tom Ipri (Scrambled Eggs auf flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Into your hands
I commend the
beating of tonight’s
eggs. This will
be the last meal
of solid food.

When my Dad was in the final stages of his cancer, one of the few things he ate was scrambled eggs. That period of my life still circles in my mind. It was a strange time when we all continued with the daily activities of feeding him and being with him, neither realising nor acknowledging that he was actually dying.

I still think about what is it was like to be with the ‘almost gone.’ As I do not work in a profession that confronts death on a regular basis, my only experiences have been related to passing family. I sometimes wonder about the ushering performed by those in pastoral or hospice care, medical or funeral professions. How much of their work is solely the task at hand? How much is curating the metaphysical surrender of the body that expresses our life and appetites?

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

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Image from The Delineator magazine, Nov. 1891 via the Old Design Shop.

Image from the November 1891 issue of The Delineator magazine via The Old Design Shop.

November marks an anniversary month for this blog for it was in November 2012 that I started posting regularly. Looking back at the poems posted last year (Nov. 2013), I’m pleased to report that the month’s archive crop is a particularly good one. November seems to be a good month. Perhaps it’s an echo of all the NaNoWriMo productivity. Perhaps it’s the season for creative harvest. Stay posted.

From the archive, today I present “At the right age“. This poem touches on the themes of success, life choices, the current changing social strata-education-work climate and the frustrations of being a young person in the contemporary post-Industrial world.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

The council of the rats.jpg

There’s that thing, that topic that gnaws away in an alleyway of your mind. Perhaps it’s the last acrimonious discussion you had with a lover or the overdraft on your bank account, or maybe it’s a work project that didn’t unfold as planned or your child’s school report. “In an alleyway of thought” considers such matters that the clinging mind chews over.

This poem is included in the collection of Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys, which was part of a year-long project during which I wrote over 129 poems. In the Ocean was the second book to develop from the endeavour.


T: @BeadedQuill
F: BeadedQuill
Books

IMAGE: “The council of the rats” by Gustave Doréhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/49580580@N02/5340390820/. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

“Auspicious Cranes,” a hand scroll on silk attributed to Song emperor Huizong (r. 1101 – 1126). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Regular followers will know that I have a fond relationship with my Dad. Or had, as he passed away in 2009. But every now and then I feel as though he sends greetings. Of course, rationally this is nonsensical, but the part of me that is sympathetic to the metaphysical and symbolic finds these resonances appealing.

Consider the following email correspondence my Mum and I shared the day after my birthday.

My mum wrote, “Was this not your ‘Hobbit coming-of-age’ birthday? Robin [i.e. my Dad] used to speak about his but I was never sure when it was as I had never read the book!”

“That is rather uncanny!” I replied, “It was indeed. I never recall Dad talking about the Hobbit, or this milestone. A number of die-hard Lord of the Rings fans mentioned it to me (I have also not read the book). I shall take that as Dad’s birthday salutation.”

From the archive, a poem about an auspicious and uncanny coincidence that happened on the day after my birthday last year.

Image courtesy of Norfolk-based artist, Nicola Slattery. View her enchanting work at www.nicolaslattery.com

“Taken Care Of” courtesy of Norfolk-based artist, Nicola Slattery. View her enchanting work at www.nicolaslattery.com

The 2×52 project developed in April 2013 when I committed to posting two poems a week for a year. I completed my self-made creative challenge this April when I revealed the 104th poem. Next month (June 2014), all the poems will be available in a book at my Blurb bookstore. In the meantime, here are the 104=2×52 poems listed in all their glory! And for your convenience, so that you can click on the titles that pique your interest. Enjoy!

  1. On a rock amongst rocks
  2. Things of the Heart, Told in Quiet #1
  3. £299 from Strand
  4. A Thousand Scientific Facts about the Sea
  5. Nice Words #1
  6. Benefactor of the Blind
  7. On the Way to Westminster
  8. Solutrean Hypothesis
  9. I don’t work for you (or Modern Frustrations)
  10. red herring
  11. Tarantella (two versions)
  12. Conversation
  13. Pakistan’s Gold
  14. 29oC
  15. An arrangement of strangers
  16. Recycled
  17. Packed Lunches
  18. Tightly Sealed
  19. Another Summer’s Day
  20. Look At
  21. Hairpin (a short poem)
  22. A definition, notably for the cloud-dwelling artists
  23. Instructions
  24. Scherzo: Allegro before the Finale
  25. Impatience
  26. Screens
  27. Leo’s Entries
  28. From a Stone
  29. Autumn’s ripened harvest store
  30. The Character Building
  31. An autumn evening in
  32. Preceding seafaring that was not to transpire
  33. The Home Commute
  34. On the declaration of the first day of the Year of Our Light
  35. What we were all thinking
  36. Emulation
  37. Genuine
  38. Stuck
  39. An address from a lectern
  40. Her magical box
  41. Sun Doves
  42. At the right age
  43. Just Punishment
  44. Every morning, because it’s wonderful
  45. Is it worth it?
  46. A Bequest of Wonder
  47. The Benefits of 320 Kicks
  48. I do. Do you?
  49. Five Consequences of Repeated Actions
  50. To the Valleys
  51. supreme ultimate
  52. Operations Meeting, El Dorado
  53. Without realising it, the postman leaves a poem
  54. Another drop in this week before Christmas
  55. A quiet night preludes
  56. Let them eat
  57. I learnt
  58. A New Room
  59. Philip’s Log: Entries about my moonlit sylph
  60. Pairings
  61. Conscripted
  62. Bursting Art
  63. Afloat
  64. Would you ever live in Heather Green?
  65. London’s Molten Hour
  66. Two poems about grey
  67. My friend Ellen
  68. Nice words of the moment (from autumn)
  69. Today
  70. Outpourings
  71. She’d read it in books
  72. Tube sketch (one of a few)
  73. St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden
  74. Near Liverpool Street, under scaffolding
  75. On the occasion of a dinner party in Kennington
  76. Tunnel Days
  77. London. Is it worth it?
  78. At the moment: £2
  79. the currency of sugar
  80. High-end Liquids
  81. Glomerulonephritis
  82. Dying is probably easier than this
  83. The Age Show
  84. Nice words #2
  85. How do you make a dream come true?
  86. Do engineers dream?
  87. Appropriate Recompense
  88. It’s complicated
  89. Every Sign of the Zodiac
  90. Saying it plainly
  91. The Brothers Three
  92. This morning’s request
  93. Recipe
  94. Kindly exit
  95. In the ocean one night
  96. Degas’s Business Card
  97. A small heart panics
  98. Interior holdings
  99. Reviewing the pursuit
  100. Absorbed
  101. Nearing the End
  102. Different Rides
  103. Spring Wants
  104. Escucha

The facts of a beach-walk as seen by a poet.

Another crowd favourite from the archives. “A fun romance” appears in my book Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys.

Roll up! Roll up! To see
the hairy Caucasian lady
with her mandible chin hairs
protruding since she long gave up
plucking or pulling
or waxing them off. And
nobody else cares to do it for her.
Hairs and cavernous wrinkles! Roll up!
It’s not a wig. That’s naturally grey.
Under the chin? A wattle of flesh.
Stare on at those mandible chin hairs
sprout afresh.

For Doris, 1911 – 1998

My London-born granny, my maternal granny, was considered a handsome woman. She told me as much herself, proudly holding up a 1940s studio photograph as evidence. She remained a strikingly attractive. In these early memories, she was a formidable, confident and vital woman.

In the darkness of her bedroom, she had once shown me how she pinned her long, white hair into the trademark chignon she wore. After twirling her mane into a pony and tucking it under itself, one by one, she picked up and inserted the hairpins laid out on the white windowsill.

Gan Gan had impeccable style and a polished fashion sense. Her home in Newlands was furnished with complimentary imbuia furniture, always gleaming. She did not believe in wearing trousers, but was fond of a jacket and skirt suit. Perhaps this was an influence of her youth in London of the 1920s and 30s.

In my early teens she fell and broke her hip. Over the next five years, as she was shunted from one smelly, dismal old age home room to another, she grew more and more frail. Sensible elasticised tracksuit trousers became part of her wardrobe. Her once well-fed, upright frame crumpled. Her sturdy voice became a wobble.

“Nurse, nurse, don’t hurt me,” she’d plead.
“Gan Gan, for the zillionth time, I am not the nurse!”

Even her magnificent hair became “too much to manage” and it was chopped into a practical bob.

Then there were the chin hairs. We gave up plucking them; too fiddly for us, too painful for her. We tried waxing; also too painful for her. For a period we used depilatory creams. In the end, we simply left them for longer and longer periods of time.

As the plumpness of life left her body and face, she developed this jowly flap of skin under chin, like a turkey’s mandible.

Gone was my beautiful, fiery grandmother who terrified us all a little and would merrily sing “Knees up Mother Brown” or “Pack up Your Troubles”. Instead there was the woman with the mandible chin hairs.

My granny passed away in 1998 when I was 17.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys 
Shining in Brightness

in glasses: wine, cocktails, liqueur,
on plates as cake and biscuits
from two discarded plastic tubs,
a litre of ice-cream

Lonely is the currency of sugar.

I’ve eaten two squares of Lindt, 70% cocoa, as I prepare this post. My head’s throbbing lightly with the sugar rush. Depeche Mode is my soundtrack,

Can you feel a little love?
Dream on, dream on.

I’ve just finished a Skype call with my mum who lives on the other side of the world, as do both my siblings. I chatted with them via Facebook this morning.

Originally I had entitled scribblings of this poem “London lonely”, because there are many of us living in this city who are far from (some of) our family or friends. There are still many who come from this city, or have lived in this city for a long time, who are lonely. It fascinates me that in such a bustling mass of humanity, disengagement and marginality exists. In our loneliness many of us find solace, either alone or with others, in the currency of sugar.


As @BeadedQuill I tweet about my London life (much of which is most merry and sociable) and ex-pat interests, notably in arts and culture.
Visit BeadedQuill on Facebook.
I have two books of collected poems. Click on the titles to preview:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness

Ah, this is a good one from the archives: Tied up in 8 Tentacles of a Goal Octopus.

As an update –

I don’t yet live in my wooden house with a deck overlooking a lake.

For travel in 2013, I took the train to Buckingham for Christmas. As a day trip I went out to Rye and Camber Sands in August. There was a little tango in London over the summer and in early November. Buenos Aires, Shanghai, Morocco and New York still await.

Yeah, well, the doctoral research…

2013 was a year of proactive companion searching which included internet dating, singles events, blind dates and being picked up outside my local  indie coffee shop. All in all, there were about 8 men across 10 months. Too much effort, though good fertilizer for poetry. I am taking a man sabbatical. Currently I am investigating oocyte cryopreservation (egg-freezing) plus fertilization and other options for the future. A different sort of proactive.

I’m still scratching on my much loved, old faithful tomato-box. Today I was focussing on a little Bach Courante. I’ve been working on my bow hold.

I certainly own more clothes than I did a year ago and have a had a few outfit compliments. I’m into wearing a bit of eyeliner. The old school pencil kind. I think it’s about an excuse to use a pencil, on my eyelid.

And as my grand finale, I note that I’m clocking up my tally of titles. I brought out a second book, Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys, in November last year.

Hooray for the octopus!