Sunday, 29 May 2016

A Poem For Today | 20

In your next letter,
please describe
the weather in great detail. If possible,
enclose a fist of snow or mud,

everything you know about the soil,
how tomato leaves rub green against
your skin and make you itch, how slow

the corn is growing on the hill.
Thank you for the photographs
of where the chicken coop once stood,

clouds that did not become tornadoes.
When I try to explain where I’m from,
people imagine corn bread, cast-iron,

cows drifting across grass. I interrupt
with barbed wire, wind, harvest air
that reeks of wheat and diesel.

I hope your sleep comes easy now
that you’ve surrendered the upstairs,
hope the sun still lets you drink

one bitter cup before its rise. I don’t miss
flannel shirts, radios with only
AM stations, but there’s a certain kind

of star I can’t see from where I am—
bright, clear, unconcerned. I need
your recipes for gravy, pie crust,

canned green beans. I’m sending you
the buttons I can’t sew back on.
Please put them in the jar beside your bed.

In your next letter, please send seeds
and feathers, a piece of bone or china
you plowed up last spring. 

Please promise I’m missing the right things.

– Carrie Shipers

Sunday, 22 May 2016

A Stumble In The Right Direction

My brain wasn't feeling notably creative or alert that day. Nor was I feeling particularly strong, and the door was somewhat heavy. I couldn't tell you what made me walk in to that little place, but I'm glad I did. 

Before me were a small collection of pretty swell people.
Like-minded. Big beliefs. Radical characters.
They held their own.
Their art was miraculous, and it glowed.
Their presence was strong, but oh so gentle.

They were the kind of people you put your phone away for.

As I enjoyed the company (and too many coffees), a wave of complete calm washed over me. Without warning I had become overwhelmingly mindful and steady.
Believe me, it was a mighty wave.

Nothing felt like it really mattered any more.
The nonsense and empty conversations that were surely waiting for me at home began to seem so much more manageable.

Every word uttered was soft. It felt easy.
Breathe in no and breathe out yes.
I became so acutely aware of every word. Every pronunciation. Every prolonged 'S' and every missed 'T'.
Any one of them could have declared the world was on its last legs and I wouldn't have winced - I was sure no one else would make it sound so sweet.

The more they spoke and the more I listened, I began to realise they were much like many others I already knew. This didn't destroy anything, not the awe, wonder or the admiration that had grown. It shattered no illusions, I still felt safe.
It was all the more powerful. All the more spectacular.

They were average people, with above average ideas.

When my time came to leave, highly caffeinated with a mind well fed, the door was even harder to open. 
Except this time, it was for all the right reasons.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

A Poem For Today | 19

They amputated
your thighs off my hips.
As far as I'm concerned
they are all surgeons. All of them.

They dismantle us
each from the other.
As far as I'm concerned
they are all engineers. All of them.

A pity. We were such a good
and loving invention.
An aeroplane made from a man and wife.
Wings and everything.
We hovered a little above the earth.

We even flew a little.

- Yehuda Amichai

Wednesday, 11 May 2016


I feel so full.
Full of all things.
Good and not so good.

Hurt and heartache.
A liver still quite intoxicated.
A heart beating a little too fast.

Two croissants and a cup of tea.
My mother's love and my father's gumption.

And a growing fire,
of excitement and anticipation
for what is just around the corner.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

On Stress, Abandon & Everything In Between

That's the thing no one really braces you for. Or maybe they do, but it doesn't really make sense until you're neck-deep in shit, is that stress is not just one layer thick.

Excuse the Shrek reference, but it's like an onion.
It goes on and on, yes in slow succession, still, don't doubt its strength.

Sounds agonising, doesn't it?
That's another thing, it's not, entirely.

Don't declare me a fool just yet. I know, it can be remarkably uncomfortable. And I would always advise that you don't make it home.
The more I grow, the more I believe that it's important, as human beings, to acknowledge that discomfort, and sit with it, comfortably.

And stress?
Well, stress can be pretty useful. It helps us decide what is worth that treacherous discomfort, and what is not.

And some things really aren't worth it.

I spent eight months bracing myself for battle each morning. 8am, sharp.
And each morning, I felt my body tense with an arrogant fear. And that fear, that stress, well, there wasn't any damn value in it.
It didn't make me better.
It didn't make me stronger.
It was to be survived.
And while there was a speck of value in biding my time, there was a whole heap more in leaving.
And leave I did. I abandoned it.
I left because ultimately, I believed in greater things.

That's the other loop hole that's easy to miss.
The truly spectacular process of discovering what you believe in.

There are things I believe in.
Whole-heartedly, without question, without fear.
Beliefs that shake me.
They're mostly simple, but the beauty of simple is that often, it aligns with stress evolving.
That shiver becomes something quite magic.

For me, on occasion, sitting down to write is the scariest thing to face - in fact, I've spent the better part of the last few months avoiding it.
Equally, it is the most important thing I know to do.
It moves me forward, makes me better, stronger.
It is a belief I manifest.

It is worth every ounce of stress, fear and bone-shaking awe.
And that is entirely the point.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

A Poem For Today | 18

We are always asked
to understand the other person's
no matter how
foolish or

One is asked
to view
their total error
their life-waste
especially if they are

But age is the total of
our doing.
they have aged
because they have
out of focus,
they have refused to

Not their fault?

Whose fault?

I am asked to hide
my viewpoint
from them
for fear of their

Age is no crime

but the shame
of a deliberately

among so many


- Charles Bukowski.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Dear May...

You are my last little fix of this place for a while. And you have no idea how pleased I am to see you. 

A hazy metaphorical grey fog hung over my head for the last two weeks of April, refusing to budge and sometimes it was difficult to summon the desire to simply get out of bed in the morning. But the mist is beginning to lift and I think the promise of, as Mama calls it, "a big adventure" has a lot to do with that.

You're the end and the beginning.

The start and the finish.
Hello and goodbye.

Goodbye to feeling trapped. And hello to a dose of free.