Archives for posts with tag: Suburbia
Evening issues an amber skein. 
It trails a flock in departure.
In tumblers, it reflects as liquid.
From the road 
into one’s ear, whorls the skein.

When Friday dusk descends, 
often you will hear sirens.


“Lots of sirens. People have been drinking,” noted a friend of mine one balmy summer’s afternoon in sleepy North London. The observation stuck and I often recall it when I hear a siren’s wail on a Friday or Saturday evening, at the end of the month or during periods of celebration that will involve imbibing.

In other news, today – March 21st – was World Poetry Day. Should you wish to enjoy more of a poetry fix, have a look at some of my other posts. There are over 130 poems on the blog for you to enjoy.

Perhaps you prefer your poetry on paper? Selected poems have been published in book form. Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys presents 25 poems of solace for the world weary modern boy. The 20 poems of Shining in Brightness chronicle a formative decade of travel, loss and growing up.

Follow me as @BeadedQuill  on Twitter.
BeadedQuill is also on Facebook.

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I want an ugly pink carnation
with all those serrated
petals overlapping.
The flower must be slightly droopy
and the stem
a little slimy from waiting
in a bucket at the corner
convenience store for those
awkward evenings after
a morning fight when you
know, if you don’t bring home
a carnation as ungraceful as
your inarticulate apology
there will be more of the
same hell to pay.
I have plates.

8/1/14

This week sees the lead up to Valentine’s Day. Predictably the theme over the next six days will be love and romantic relationships. Amateur poets, before they have matured in style and (possibly) earn money/prestige from their work, are often criticized for being love and romance obsessed. The lyricists for the popular music industry, romcom scriptwriters and librettists of sweeping nineteenth-century operas are not called to account for their obsession with this topic. So, for the next few days, let us indulge.

Often as I traverse the platforms, elevators and turnstiles of London’s Underground, I explore poem topics. In an effort to elevate my craft, I have entertained opening lines about burning hatred, deep anger, annoyance, profound joy, a sense of belonging, listlessness, hopefulness. I’ve tried to court many an emotion other than luuurrrve.

Perhaps I am still a young, amateur poet, because it is love – often thwarted, unrequited and in anguish – that fuels my pen. This may also be a product of my life phase. Perhaps emotions of more interesting variety and more expansive human experiences will surface in my future writing. Perhaps I am yet to grow up in the literary sense.

Today’s poem outlines a call for a gesture of apology. The gender of the two characters, the narrator and the spoken to subject, is not made explicit. However, the conditioning of normative heterosexual coupling probably meant that you read the poetic voice as that of woman speaking to a man. (I’d be interested to know if you read the poem through a different frame.) While it is a poem about love and a relationship, there is underlying anger possibly paired with a degree of emotional blackmail. Bring a peace offering and I won’t throw the plates.

In case you’re wondering how much of the poem is autobiographical, because readers often do: I haven’t thrown plates and am not a great fan of carnations. I prefer flowers with a scent and less of a hot-house veneer about them.


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

Oh, good. For now 
sultanas are back at 84p.
(Bizarrely, they were 92p for a while.)
Coffee, my favourite blend, now
ONLY £2! That’s a 28p saving

but coffee’s not on my list 
for today… Kiwi fruit –
Enjoying those at the moment 
(since “basic apples” – I know
they’re the windfall ones –
have risen from 68p in the summer to
the current £1/kg)
Kiwi fruit at the moment: £2 
for 2 bags. So, a 25px2 saving.

Only will I get through x2 bags 
in a week? Fruit budget is £2.
A whole week of kiwi fruit?
But a 50p saving on kiwi fruit
plus a 28p saving on coffee
gives us a total 78p saving!! On a £3 spend
on two items
I had no intention
of buying this week.

4/12/13

Today’s lines bring to a conclusion a week of poems connected by the subject of London life. As you will note from the date, these thoughts were penned at the end of last year. I had relegated them to the not-to-be-seen draft papers thinking that readers surely didn’t want another poem about the minutiae of a poet’s budget. (See earlier offerings “Now here is something to marvel at…” and “£299 from Strand”.)

I was reassured otherwise by a chance reading of Gogol’s “The Coat”.

(Here, a diversion as to how I arrived at Gogol’s short story. My reading had been spurred by online video versions of the famous tale. I stumbled upon these after watching – at @brainpicker’s recommendation – Yuriy Norshteyn’s animated classic, The Hedgehog in the Fog (1975). Hedgehog is beyond enchanting. Watch it now if you have 11 minutes to spare. )

At least a third of “The Coat” concerns itself with the minutiae of salary and budget and the cost of things, notably the title coat. This gave me courage. If Gogol could put such in a story, I could type up about my Sainsbury’s shop and the kiwi fruit and coffee on special.

P.S. I should have bought more of the coffee at £2. It’s now £2,30/ 227g. Happily, a bag of kiwi fruit is still £1 for 6.

I have published two books of poetry:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
AND
Shining in Brightness

Follow me on Twitter as @BeadedQuill.

BeadedQuill is also on Facebook.

They who serve 
	the suction of daybreak,
beneath the earth,
beneath the dew,
beneath the kitchens where there’s burning toast
	and grapefruit,
bury, with the morning light,
their hope of hearing birdsong.


My commuting is less than a tenth of many who live and work in London. But when I am on the move, I often slot in writing, people watching and eavesdropping. Journeys by bus and Tube (and occasionally, by train) have become both companions of and subject matter for my writing. The Tube in particular has featured in a number of poems. Hereunder some from the growing set of related verselets:

Tube sketch (one of a few)
The Home Commute
On the Way to Westminster
Every morning, because it’s wonderful to watch
supreme ultimate

After finishing “Tunnel Days”, I recalled that I had linked daybreak with grapefruit in an earlier poem. In “Dead Star” (2006) I referenced the fruit’s colour and palate-cleansing taste in a description of morning rays.

As @BeadedQuill I Tweet about my life in London, being a poet and my current interests.
BeadedQuill has a Facebook page. Please visit us and leave a ‘Like’.
Books:
“Dead Star” is one of twenty poems in Shining in Brightness, a book of selected poems about travel, love and growing up.
Through the character Emily, I wrote twenty poems offering insights about life, love and work for the Modern Boy. You can preview Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys here.

The man with the notebook
draws attention.
The woman alongside hum
drops her Evening Standard
to glance.
	Left-handed he is
	writing with a ballpoint
	in a Moleskine, A5-sized.

Two page turners 
	across from each other.


The poems this week centre around London and the ordinary, daily observations living in this metropolis offers. Our first poem considers a scene during a tube commute.

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

“His father beat him around 
the head.
Only a little bit
on Wednesdays, after pay day,
or on Friday late,
after the races.
Clean up your mess, boy!”

The teachers preferred 
her creative writing 
to include such
notable topics.
So mature for her age!


In the accompanying essay to yesterday’s posted poem, I wrote about my creative process. Today both poem and essay are a comment on subject matter.

In my youth and during my brief teaching experience, I noticed a tendency towards a certain tone of pathos favoured by school creative writing. Describing meaningful life-knowledge in correct language and with well-chosen form, students showed maturity of expression. Such were the conditions of mark allocation.

As a pupil, when I wrote to emulate the style of this School of Pathos and Poignancy, I knew very little. My own life did not seem mark-worthy for creative writing submissions. There seemed to be nothing of Pathos and Poignancy in what I did know about – my suburban home-life, our small family dilemmas, my adolescent anxieties about would it all be ok, the constant balance of schoolwork and extra-murals and monthly visits to the renal clinic. Oh, how I dreaded Tuesday nights, because it would be tomato-bean-sausage pie for supper. My worst! 

Now I have grown confident about my small life. I have also been fortunate to meet many who have shared of their lives. In these stories have I been touched by life’s school of pathos and poignancy.

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

Yonder far o’er vale and glen
whereto grooms return
and bread is leaven.
This is another country.

Today, outside, is a new room
in which five builders,
tiered upon scaffolding,
cannot hear All Blues.

This is no time 
for saxophone wails.
Stand at the window
and look out

on the fresh planks.
The backdrop:
bared trees and
blue-skied bright.


All Blues” is a track from the Miles Davis album Kind of Blue (1959).

The books, available for preview:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys 
Shining in Brightness

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill

I learnt
not to throw a tennis ball
indoors.
That’s how you shatter a ginger jar.

I also learnt one should not
break a violin bow.
Did I snap it 
or cause the hairs to explode?

If your nose is running,
and your mother is pinning
your ballet costume
don’t move.
If she pins you,
don’t move.
Don’t move. If you do

she will hit you with the thing
closest to hand

which may be
a pair of scissors.


Originally the above was titled with the opening,

A Damn Good Hiding
will never go amiss.

Parenting is surely one of the most challenging tasks. This I acknowledge with deep sincerity and appreciate all my parents have done for me. But poetry will have its way.

For more poems about suburbia with its quiet battles and ambiguity, preview my two published books of poetry:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill