Songs of Wild

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I could be wild outsid of poems. Wild and free in my way of being — a flower-eating wind-borne child rolling down small slopes of soil with green leaves of grass in my chocolate coloured hair. 

I want to be woken up at an unlikely hour just before dawn — 4 am — and be walked across an endless fell. I want to drag my feet and complain as I pull my sweatshirt closer to my body. Will my eyes to stay awake. Hate you vehemently until I see an orchard of trees where you teach me how to pick fruit.  

I want to walk back to our dishsoapsmell kitchenette and wash the fruits in the steel sink, in the dark, under tap water cold with the morning. I want us to sit silently at the counter — you on one end, I on the other — and eat the fruit — peel, fibre, stalk, everything — leaving drops of juice that will turn sticky on the wooden table.

I want to eat wild, harvested, young fruit for breakfast in the colourless purple of the morning. The small space before the roosters call and the foxes run back into the woods behind the supermarket. Before welling rain falls at last. In the still, invisible hour when everyone’s dreaming.

And then, just before the sun finds us,
we fall asleep on an unmade bed.    

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Photopaper

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A mind made of photo-paper,
you can’t touch the film with skin
it scares the colours away,
and the photo evaporates,
walks out shyly through a backdoor in the camera,

and it’s as if the moment wasn’t there
you and I with blue mountains behind us,
bad lighting of a setting sun
cheap wool caps we had bought from a small shop
rolling the car windows down

we weren’t there,
you had touched the film
with your cold pink fingers,
and the photograph had disappeared. 

London

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I can see the charm of the city now.

It’s made up of so many little things. People from all over the world and their deep, moving lives, rain and storms of raindrops polka-dotted on the boots walking its stretches. The pips of buses pulling in, smiles, so much music and the sparkling sun-kissed water of the Thames.

It’s a city made entirely of people, whose moving, harlequin lives form the pulse of its coveted heart.

Milk and Cookies

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Milk with cookies is a personality. The milk – hot, cold, or sugared – and the choice of biscuits – are personal and meaningful choices. How soggy you like the cookies, the number of times you dunk them in the milk – these are little signs that make us. 

Back at home, everyone in my family had a different method. 

Mother liked sugary milk, and ate two biscuits at a time, dipping them all the way in. Dey, my young sister, only had salty biscuits with tea. And aunt Ella preferred plain milk with a single, decadent chocolate cookie. They’d eat these at their own times, in their personal favourite corners –  nudged on a chair late at night under the white tube-light, curled up on the swing when lonely, hunched before the television in the afternoon. 

You made milk and cookies something people did together. 

One summer, as we were crouched on the teapoy doing math sums, you brought in biscuits with two glasses of milk and put them between us, no questions asked. And here we are, years later watching a movie, hands sticky with softened biscuit flour and mouths covered in cream-staches.  

This is simple, and quite nice. 

Death, A To Do List

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No one talks about the meticulous chores that follow death, the seemingly vestigial arrangements that one must make without complaint, and without recollecting memories. How after one’s loved ones are gone, buried or burnt and prayed for, one must unsubscribe to the list of magazines and newsletters that keep making their way in through the letterbox. 

Someone must make calls or write letters to close family, and without losing their composure recite the date and time of the funeral. Those around you suddenly seem to look older than their age, wrinkled, sleep-deprived, and soap-smelling. An anonymous guest finds their feet in your kitchen and makes everyone tea, bereavers must eat. 

Often, the place where they once lived, laughed, moved with life in, comes to be settled with dust before someone remembers to clean and mop, contact a broker and sell the property. Things need to be given away, medical bills filed, insurances claimed and bank accounts closed. A police officer might visit to create a certificate of passing. An appropriate photograph is added to the mantlepiece, not one where they look too old, or too young, just right. What do you do with their coin collections and unopened box of assortment biscuits?    

Between the questions, the taxes, the law and the prayers, sometimes you forget that they are, after all, dead. Still made of skin and bones, but lesser in ways you cannot explain, even though all that is missing is breath. O2, Only Oxygen. It’s almost as if they left behind their papers and their home, unorganised and in need of caring, so that you can grieve without pain, live each day more easily than the last, and slowly heal yourself as you fall asleep tired and spent by dinnertime.  

Postcode

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I wrote a lifetime of letters to you
in days of sickness and in health 

When the soup wasn’t salty enough,
and when little Rob was blue, red and other colours 

I invited you to my sister’s wedding
bought flowers, and sent grieving notes on your mother’s death

Wrote my food-in-a-jar recipes
on old postcards,
and stacked them by the fridge 

Papermessages like papyrus breaths
lay piled atop each other, smudged somewhere

The address on the postcards
had a missing house number,
and a postcode few numbers less.

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Guavas

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Trees pass by like poetries,
Planted by different travellers
Passing on the same road.
Different words for seed learnt,
Inside homes of different tongues.

Their green guavas grow,
Like secrets between lush green leaves,
A shady home for birds to sing,
A little fruit for travellers walking in the sun.

 

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Park

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The meeting of breath with breath
Dandelions teased
And cotton dreams swimming in the wind
Comets with nowhere to go

The in-betweens of two languages
Sunshine turning everything black
And colonies moving within the grass
Red ants do not know where skin begins and land stops

Walking a park with lost shoes
Here and there, a little life
A vague understanding
Of movement, worms and birdsong