Posted in Poetry

My Street

In my street,

the dads went to work every morning in a clean

suit. Before work, they drunk espressos

and bought new packs of cigarettes. Not my dad.

My dad didn’t smoke, and he only wore suits

for weddings and funerals. My dad baked eight

trays of pastries and fried thirty Berliners, all

before the other dads set off to work. When

the other dads came home from work

before dinner, my dad was still at work.

My dad was always working.

In my street,

while dads were at work, mums cleaned the house,

went to the market and did the school run. Not my mum.

My mum worked alongside my dad in our family business.

In my street,

children went to school in the morning, played

outside after school and watched TV. Not me.

Before school and after school and on school holidays,

I worked alongside my mum and dad in our family

business. Before school, I served espressos and cigarettes

to the other dads in my street. Every Saturday morning,

my mother gave me a list for the market and another

for groceries. Eight-year-old me knew her way

around the fish market and the supermarket, but

didn’t know any of the characters of Sesame Street.

Posted in 52 Poems, Poetry

52 Poems – Week 6

This week’s prompt is to write about the weather. The first thing that came to my mind, was how hot the weather was when my mother died and how hard it was for me to cope with it. This is a still very much a work in progress.

clouds during golden hour
Photo by Hoang Loc on Pexels.com

It was August 

It was the beginning of August

when my mother fell ill, rushed to hospital.

Not just any August,

this was a scorching summer in the Algarve.

Her weak heart quit two weeks later. Still,

the sun stayed stubbornly hot. How could

it be, when everything had changed?

The world would never be the same again,

yet the sun continued hot and shiny and bright

as usual, like she was still here to grill sardines,

for the family to enjoy after a day on the beach.

Like we could still go out for ice cream or gather

around for lazy afternoons around the table.

Why did the sky not show any sympathy

when my world collapsed? How could

there be any on joy on Earth?

Posted in 52 Poems, Poetry

52 Poems – Week 5 – An animal

This week’s prompt was to observe an animal and write about it. I was in the garden when I read it and my dog was lying on the lawn next to me, so this is what came out:

img_20200330_124206978

Kia

Sometimes, I envy my dog. I envy

her ability to idle on the grass

without shame nor guilt. I envy

her knack for loving fully,

unconditionally, judgement free. I envy

that the mere prospect of a walk outside

excites her beyond the code of good manners.

I envy that the sight of any member of our family

throws her into a frantic celebration. Most of all,

I envy the gift of being so easily pleased.

Posted in 52 Poems, Poetry

52 Poems – Week 3 – A Journey

This should have been week 2, but I got these two weeks mixed up, it doesn’t matter. The prompt was to write about a journey. So I thought about a journey in search of happiness, I thought about looking for what is already inside oneself. I’ve spent a lifetime looking for love, acceptance, reassurance, all in the wrong places because I was looking for these things outside myself. So I wrote about going on a journey looking for what you already have. Does this make sense? I hope so.

photo of person walking on pathway near rocks
Photo by Gantas Vaičiulėnas on Pexels.com

Finding home

I set off on a journey, hunched

by a heavy baggage. The path

wasn’t smooth nor wide. Nor

was it certainly, without obstacles.

I trekked up and down hills,

mountains. Crossed over

bridges – short, long, straight,

winding, firm and wobbly. Often

I turned around, often

I stopped to rest, often

I looked back wishing

I had never left home.

I’d been on the road

far too long, longing for home.

But when I stopped looking back,

I learned that I had arrived already.

 

Posted in 52 Poems, Poetry

52 Poems – Week 2 – Body

Here is my week 2 poem, this poem has had a few different versions already, but I’m still not sure this is the final one. It started as My Scars, followed by a version of mind versus body, then I remembered that I already wrote that poem; so I saved that version to go and edit the other poem. I also saved part of the scars, I might used it for another poem, who knows? In the end I decided to express gratitude to what I have put my body through over the years and for the fact that it never let me down. I don’t know if it comes across as I wish it would. Feedback welcomed, please!

 

In Praise of my Body

My body has always been there for me, but

I have not always been there for my body.

My body was there for me when I first discovered

the joys of walking and falling – getting up and

trying again. When I learned what comfort was, the sun

on my kin, the refreshing sea on a hot summer’s day,

sleeping in freshly washed bedding, resting.

My body was there for me, when I discovered love, the

excitement of another’s body against mine. Pure joy,

endless sensations kept in unforgettable memories.

My body was there for me at childbirth, when a life it created

exploded into its own existence. Miracle repeated, despite my

inability to take in the succession of life’s serendipities. It gave

me strength to carry on when I didn’t have the courage.

My body was there for me all through my long working life,

day after day, week, month, year, forever. Long shifts, adverse

conditions, sickness, accidents, successes, achievements.

Never letting me down, never letting me quit.

And how did I pay it back? With criticism, judgement, neglect.

Until I learned to love it, because I am one with my body!

 

Posted in Poetry

Creative Portfolio (11)

Parrot on my Shoulder

 

Who do you think you’re fooling? Everyone

can see through you, you’re nothing but a fool,

not interesting, not funny. Nobody likes you!

But Sandra has invited me for coffee and

the team at work sent me flowers and

chocolates. My sister calls every day.

 

Everyone just looks at you with pity! They feel

sorry for you! You’re nothing but a burden, if you

disappear, everyone would be so much better off.

My children need me, they would miss me and

my mother likes to call and talk to me. You don’t

know the meaning of your words. You’re mean.

 

You haven’t got a clue what you’re doing. What

made you think you could be a mother? You

can’t even hold the love of a good man.

One of these days I will shut you up. The nasty

things you say to me are empty advice, not my inner

voice. I have raised three beautiful children.

 

Your father was right! You’re a disgrace, not even

‘worth the water, you drink’… a waste of space.

Where are your accomplishments? Can’t you see it?

I am starting to ignore you, I promise! For too

long I listened, gave you too much credit.

Parrot, you’re stuffed, a work of taxidermy.

Posted in Poetry

Creative Portfolio (10)

How do I explain?

 

I don’t know what you want to know. You ask

if I’m better like I broke a leg and I’m walking

with crutches. It doesn’t work like that. Today

 

I feel tired, but yesterday I was over the moon.

I don’t know why I feel this way. God knows

what it’ll be like tomorrow. I can only hope it won’t

 

be dreadful. This isn’t like healing a broken bone

or a runny nose, you know? The best analogy I

can give you, is the British weather. If moods

 

were weathers… I can experience all four in the

same day, or the space of a week. I can only

hope that the British wintry days become rarer

 

and the exotic tropical island days become

the norm. I don’t know what it is to be

better and wish people stopped asking.

Posted in Poetry

Creative Portfolio (9)

Let go

 

There is nothing wrong with being average,

let go and enjoy the ride. Being passionate

is better than being perfect. Not every

aspect of a project needs to be ticked.

 

Relax and enjoy the ride while crossing

the bridge from perfection into action.

Average can be satisfying and get the

grades. Let go of perfection and have

 

the courage to break the wall built on fear

of failure. More gratifying than being idle

is getting out there – feel the fear and do it

anyway – you won’t regret it. Correct me

 

if I’m wrong, but this addiction to perfection

has taken you nowhere. Don’t neglect the

power of imperfection. There are lessons

to be learned with fun along the way.

Posted in Poetry

A Poem by Walt Whitman

A Noiseless Patient Spider

by Walt Whitman

 

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.
Posted in Poetry

Creative Portfolio (8)

No – learning to say it

 

“We want to go to the cinema tonight, could you watch the children for us?”

I would, but I’m tired and I need my rest. Ask me another time.

 

“Hey, fancy coming over for a photo shoot? I need to practice for an assignment.”

I already have plans. Why didn’t you give me more notice?

                       

“I’m going to Trafford Centre for some shopping, do you want to join me?”

No. I’m not in the shopping mood, if you know what I mean.

 

“Can you work my shift on Sunday? I really want to watch this match!”

No, I can’t. It’s my first Sunday off in weeks.

 

“Mum, can I have some money for a game tomorrow?

No. If you want games, you must save up yourself.

 

“You’re different but I can’t quite put my finger in it. What changed?”

No, I’m the same. Nothing changed! (I lie.)

I don’t know, you look bright, happier!