Archives for posts with tag: profession
Image cropped from a vintage advertisement for corsets from Le Petit Echo de la Mode (Dec. 15, 1901 issue). Courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

Image cropped from a vintage advertisement for corsets from Le Petit Echo de la Mode (Dec. 15, 1901 issue). Courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

How am I supposed to compete
with Nicole, Fully Experienced

who is able to stroke false lashes
onto her eyelids
rather than lose the wily moults
to the back of a chair?

Nicole, with her cream of know-how,
certainly has a drawer of négligée
and suitable apparatus for pranking

Unlike 8 pairs of cotton briefs,
stitched where they give
so as to last another year of wear;
The only bedside apparatus
a weatherworn Bukowski (apparently
to some a turn on).

I bet fully practised Nicole
wears fetish heels as thin and long
as the ballpoint used to spike down
my wares.

I was on Charing Cross Road recently. Swept up in the usual bustle of traversing a London pavement, I kept mindful of my step and the other walkers as we congested around a buggy that had stalled the flow. A scrap of paper under someone’s heel caught my attention. It was a flyer for the services of Nicole, Fully Experienced.

Nicole’s imagined experience inspired today’s poem.

(I am still not entirely convinced about the title, as women who do work in the adult entertainment industry may find it condescending. ‘Skills’ and ‘Wares’ were other options which I considered.)

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

Do engineers dream
of eiderdown chairs
and perhaps a world
without gravity?
	Do they poke
	with soft pencils
	at yesterday’s dreams
	and the monstrous dark
	in the bedsit?
Do they skilfully rush
to the day’s blasting rays
at the stretch of a morning
which never delays?

I know a few engineers and they are interesting people. Many of them have a creative side or an interest in the arts. However, in profession binaries engineering (like those other sensible paths: law, medicine, business) is often set in opposition to creative professions in art, music, dance and writing.

The engineers in this poem are, of course, a one-dimensional group set in opposition with an understood, yet unmentioned artist. These engineers cannot imagine a world where chairs are made of feathers or objects to do not respond to predetermined scientific givens. With an assured, strategic and rational understanding of their lives and the world, they choose to neither entertain nostalgia nor awaken melancholia. In new experiences they are guided by caution, or even attempt to avoid change. But change, like new mornings, proceeds with its own regularity.

To all my engineering (legal, medical, business and scientific) friends who carry artist’s souls, please indulge the binary. To my artist friends – I know full well that many of us are interested in scaffolding, load-bearing walls, the chemistry of glazes and neuroscience research. It is a great pity that in the myth of professions we are set against each other by the monies and social prestige allotted to our disciplines.

Under those blasting rays, may we all sit together on eiderdown chairs, poking at our dreams with soft pencils.

I have written a few other poems about professions and work:
An Artist Works
A Bequest of Wonder
At the Right Age
A Definition, Notably for the Cloud-Dwelling Artists

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
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Books for preview and purchase:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness 

It’s Thursday, 06:15
You wake up to the alarm
knowing you will never 
  win an Olympic medal
  publish a novel
  that would win the Man Booker,
  finish your degree
  or even pay the last R150 you owe
Your first grandchild will die before 
you and each of those candles you lit
in the cave of the chapel
might have been for your lost
	But those little flames did not save you
from the canker fire in your gut and liver
that burned lost dreams and life
in slower motion than every workday Thursday.

This is the second in a set of ‘difficult’ poems.

Woolworths is a South African department store akin to the UK’s Marks and Spencer (rather than the now defunct UK Woolworths).

The described persona of this poem is based on my Dad.

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

This month I once again
neglect to pay into a pension,
fertilize a good egg at ovulation
or further my career. Untoward

outcomes will result! In twenty years
it will not matter 
that I didn’t 
write this poem today.

Not to fear. Come the end of next week, I plan to be on a waiting-list to freeze some of my good eggs. Plus the poetry writing continues.

I now have two volumes for sale. The latest book, Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys, offers insights on life, work and love for the youthful gentlemen of our contemporary times. Shining in Brightness chronicles a twelve-year journey set across three continents and explores the themes of connection, loss and growing up.

Both titles are available for preview and purchase at

Please follow me on Twitter as @BeadedQuill. I tweet about writing and whatever else is happening in my life. At the moment this is a cold and listening to Chopin Ballades.

There are all these Tonys of the world:

Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Lebanese, Eastern European,

who own sewing-machine shops, grocery stores,

corner cafés and sometimes sell insurance.

Anthony, Antonin, Antonio and the more Teutonic, Anton.

But Anton was the opera singer

after he’d worked for a while

on the railway.

Another poem for possible inclusion in “Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys.”

If you enjoyed the above, have a look at my first published volume of work, SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS.

Follow me on Twitter. I’m @BeadedQuill