My attempts at composing something in between poetry, prose and nonsense about food …
Tell me –
who are you and
why are you the father of this
ball of joy
which fills cheeks
and teases tongues
and melts on teeth
in every way
You must be a special man.
(2013 – Inspired by Abdul, Ellen and memories of my travels in 2010)
first the boat and then the stars and then
Were you hungry?
I did not realise
You stand night after night
looking the way
you did all those years ago –
from the time the architect declared you
I did not realise you ate
ships, stars, people and –
on some occasions –
or I would have asked you
if you wanted to come
(I wrote this from the great vantage point of an outdoor spa in Island Bay, Wellington, where I saw ships sailing into the house …
It stinks, said she –
the orderly tourist held her nose,
passport in bag,
brain in a different sort of cage
from the one I’d be signing up for
were I to choose a life in the medina
A life of fascination
with monkeys, spices, smoky men –
a life, possibly, of
selling carpets and offering mint tea
to others like myself –
minds trapped, from a lifetime in a society which values
order – money – rights
unable to embrace the natural order of a life that is
– the way life truly is –
– a covered bed of cous cous topped with different things,
no particular order.
(Written in a poetry workshop led by Jackie Kay at the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival, 17 May 2013)
You are a plum, she said, ripe for the picking.
As if on cue my cheeks start glowing, flaring, pale becoming pink, flushing – and I imagine my cheeks turning into plums on a bush and her hands reaching out to grab them and the mutated plum flesh slipping down her throat going into her stomach and her stomach turning plum.
She thinks that I am reacting to her compliment because I am happy with what she said and because we are playing the flirting game.
I let my mind go like a yo-yo to think about plums and how much I like the fruit.
I think about the barista who served me this morning, the way his cheeks glowed pink too, and the way mine did when I saw his, and we did not have to exchange words but began the dizzy dance of delight – taking turns to blush. Every time I go in and I pay for my coffee, he stamps my coffee card not once but three times, we say something stupid about the weather or about burlesque, and he puts way too much chocolate sprinkles on my usual large cappuccino and I run dizzily down the street to work, my cheeks still glowing pink.
And then Cathy the receptionist sees me and thinks I am blushing because I am once again talking to her, the beauty she is. She thinks I am a darling boy and she’s the mother and I’m the son; she thinks that I am someone to conquer, she the tiger on fire and I the mouse in need of cheese.
But I like boys, I finally tell her. I like boys! Only boys! I’ve always only liked boys!
Oh! Oh! she says. Her lips open in a wide O, a chute for all the plums, the outline of the plum seed, a hula hoop of humour.
My cheeks are aflame with a bounty of plums.
(For Justin, with love and boysenberries – 3 April 2013)
It is to sit in glorious stripes
Decked in green, yellow, pink;
Waiting. Looking pretty
Saturated with sugar
Dodging sticky fingers
Sitting fat, arrogant, varied in black, white, colours
Face pressed against iridescent plastic
Wishing, hoping, praying
Upon stars and rainbows
While visions of rotting teeth and grinning tooth fairies
Rain upon their parades
Ornately sitting, low and mighty
Upon our whitened stove
A handle, a lid, a body
Handle just the right size for an average hand
Lid cute as a button, reminiscent of a China boy’s hat
Body deep and hearty as bubbles erupt with
Laughter amidst its contents
Black, black, black,
The black of crows and widows
Killing the unfortunate carrots and curried company within
As they dance their last dance upon the orange
swirls of heat
And yet, with lid upon its hearty self,
New life emerges as dinner is born
Silver lining on a black cloud
The low and mighty covered pot on the stove
Ode to Asparagus
you’re green baby,
tip of a smokeless chimney.
giver of soul
blessing to teeth
you are the footprint of gnomes;
seductive lights on a bridge
marriage partner to soft-boiled eggs;
the beginning of a gentle sonnet
i dip you, twirl you, crunch you, bite you,
and you stand quite innocently
in the setting sun
on the edge of my field,
(Last 3 pieces penned between 2007-2009)