Category Archives: Drunken Poetry

I hear the pitter patter

Today I saw the city cloaked. The Shard wore a veil to shyly hide its heights while the Gherkin shrugged its shroud about its hunched shoulders in mourning for the Summer passed now beneath the ground. Ben tolled away, concealed as usual, but his mask was sheathed from the rest of us, the spires shooting blindly towards oblivion. Those circling the eye graduated briefly to those hidden heavens, only to return to earth, triumphant or disappointed, depending on the make of them.

Oh wait.

After complaining to you endlessly about first the cold and then the heat, I want to do anything but complain about the sudden onset of constant rain and creeping mist in London.

Therefore I offer up to you instead my equal-top-3-fave-poem EVA…

HONE TUWHARE – RAIN

I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence
rain

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

the steady
drum-roll sound
you make
when the wind drops

But if I
should not hear
smell or feel or see
you

you would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me
rain.

Advertisements

Haikus: the forgotten masterpieces

Since I’m away with the folks I’m breaking out the drafts I never published. Round one: taking it back to my haiku roots, from right after losing my job and before the sun came out again after 8 months of darkness…

 

I wrote some haikus
In my head the other day
But then I forgot them.

I think that I started
Berating my nemesis:
Fuck unemployment.

‘Have a job’ they said
‘It’ll be awesome’ they said
But it was a LIE.

Or maybe it was
About the endless season
Rain, hail, but no shine.

Winter is coming
But can’t seem to quite get there
Wish he’d just fake it.

Maybe just an ode
To my two favourite bevvies
Coffee and Vino.

Oh how I love it
When you slide down my gullet
Get in me my friends.

If I could recall
Those other masterpieces
This would be better

But since I cannot
Let’s hang our heads together
At these lame haikus.

Nothing says Christmas like ‘haiku’

I hinted in my drunken Christmas ramble post last night that there would also be drunken Christmas ramble haikus! I seem to have broken the radio silence by being obsessed with the holidays away from home, and what more appropriate way to express it than with 5-7-5? If you read my former poetic efforts, you’ll know the comments ruling that you must respond in kind. Let’s get poetical!

Christmas is coming
To empty your bank balance
And fill your liver

Santa doesn’t know
That my Chimney’s in London
And plugged against rats

Heathrow doesn’t stop
Must maintain the 12 million
On Picaddilly

I’m scared the reindeer
Will end up in the turbines
Vixen for dinner?

Even if he comes
There’s no carrots for Rudolph
I can’t afford them

We say we’re orphans
But we’ll see our parentals
If they manage Skype

Have to arrange it
So they’re not yet arguing
And we’re not yet drunk

Time difference be damned
We’ll be sozzled either way
‘Spirit’ of Christmas

Open with ‘sorry’
That I’ve sent you sweet f-all
Coz I’m a failure

Wish I was crafty
But can’t afford wool or thread
Also, I’m shithouse

London could redeem
Itself with a white christmas
But that’s for Scotland

Rain comes to London
To beat Christmas spirit down
Into the gutters

At least I avoid
The barrage of Christmas tunes
Can’t afford the shops

Hell yeah Facebook friend
Tell me how you’re loving life
Back with the family

No, I’m not jealous
My family are crazy town
And en-zed’s so dull

Okay denial
Yeah I’m dreaming about it
Maybe I’m wistful

Hanging at Meg’s house
Waffles from Other Mother
I’ll mash banana

Far too many gifts
Holly opens everything
If we leave her alone

Mother and daughter
Are all over the Chasseur
Hide from grandparents

It’s healthy to drink
A cask between two today
How else would we cope?

Back to the UK
And the transport is striking
Good work and fuck you

Thought that there’d be lots
Of fellow Kiwi orphans
They’re all outa town

Thank gawd for LD
Taking in a poor orphan
I’ll bring the booze eh?

Let’s get out the roast
That comes ready in tin foil
We’re so domestic

I guess that I’ve never
Been a one for tradition
So now I question

Don’t know the reason
For the season of tinsel
White baby Jesus?

Capitalism
Is suddenly on me
And I want to flee

Never been much of
A communist or hippie
But Christmas does it

I would just like to
Be with those most dear to me
You know who you are

You bunch of mo-fos
Are so freaking awesome-sauce
You’re ‘in my heart space’

Merry Christmas y’all
And all other holidays
Arohanui

xxx

S

Update: The Christmas Blues

The Blues

 

I recently wrote a blog about how I was feelin’ a bit bluesy in London town.

This was, to be honest, difficult for me to write, as I felt I was potentially disappointing interested parties and circumventing the unspoken rules that govern what you post on Facebook and what you tell your family. In my case, this blog marks a weird intersection of it all.

I guess I don’t really know who reads this, but I assume if you do, you’re interested, so kia ora!

I also recognise the need to maintain a certain level of decorum, in case of potential-employer google enquiries, and the fact that I might not want every single one of my Facebook friends to read my innermost rantings. Weird how it’s easier to share with strangers right? Oh no, wait, that’s a core tennet therapy. It all makes sense now.

Anyways, the point is that I have really pushed myself to put myself out there with this blog, but there are certain posts that make me feel extremely exposed, in a good and challenging and fucking scary way,

Telling you all that I was feeling a bit bluesy coming up to Christmas was definitely one of these times. Being brought up with ‘crazy’ therapist types has makes me probably more open than most with my innermost workings. But I have never completely dropped the need – instilled as a young child with a young mother cut off from her family and screwed over by a douche-bag – to protect my mother’s feelings from my feelings.

Mother, I know you know it’s hard for me to say this, and I know you admire me for being out there, here, with it all, which is endlessly encouraging. And I love you for letting me be and share, which is extremely brave in your own right because I know I expose you as well.

But I felt that it was important to share, because I knew I could not be the only one.

I have people who think Christmas is a magical time of twinkly winky lights and fairy tales and endless receiving and eating… who are suddenly without the things or people that have always made this time great for them.

I have people who remember beautiful holiday seasons who now have absolutely not-amicable divides down family lines and have to wade through the political mires rife with bombs of the stubborn indignation of ‘I am suffering most’.

I have people who worry because their peace-keeping talents are not there: they can’t drink the wine so that Uncle Bob doesn’t have it all, protect cousin Jeff from being forced ‘out’ before he’s ready, shield Aunty Susan from the constant queries about her marital status.

I have people who have lost their people, whether this year, so that it is their first Christmas without them, or long ago, so that the ache passes unacknowledged by others every -eve.

How do you tell your excited workmates ‘my brother died this time last year’ or ‘I can’t go to my family for Christmas because they accept my abuser and not me’ or ‘my family won’t accept my [other culture/ethnicity or same sex] partner?

How do you say you can’t forget the Christmas you were taken away from your family in the middle of Christmas lunch and no one stopped it? How do you forget the Christmas you wrapped your own presents, thinking they were someone else’s, only to realise as you opened them? How do you forget the time you weren’t allowed to call your Mum coz it wasn’t Her Christmas?

I really don’t mean to be all doom and gloom (although I have written some slightly dark Christmas Haikus tonight (yeah, haikus and Christmas totally go, what’s your problem?), and in real life I’m not completely anti-festivus. But this is Christmas away from home. This is Christmas away from family. This is Christmas in London.

It’s a crazy mixed bag. And as much as the holiday season has been an aside to me before, it seems to have become a bigger issue away from home.

More than anything, I want to acknowledge the people who’ve contacted me since my last blog post. As much as I’d love you to get amongst the community and comment on my blog and relate to other people who feel as you do, I’m so honoured that you’ve been inspired/provoked/moved by my ramblings and got in touch with me somehow.

It is so extremely gratifying to know that I am not ‘the only one’, but I will also never call out someone who doesn’t want to go public, so I just want anyone who didn’t know it already to know that I’m here, and so are a whole lotta freaking awesome thoughtful intelligent kind wicked-cool awesome-sauce folks.

You people are so much more valuable to me than a sparkly tree with disposables underneath that I don’t quite know how to express it. But I will do my best to be the best and brightest I can be this year, because that’s the most I can offer to those far away. I will lead by example, and I will go out into the world, and I will find some way to reconcile my NZ self against my kiwi-in-London self. And those two selfs will be friends and make friends and break boundaries and hold hands and hope.

I would say ‘Merry Freaking Christmas’ but I’ve rather a feeling that there will be a good few posts before Christmas, so Merry freaking the-world-didn’t-end instead!

 

The Six Month Blues

It’s been a bit of a rough week.

I know it’s been much rougher for a lot of people out there, but hey, if you can’t whinge about your small problems in the big world, what is a blog for really?

You may think my ouvre is all about the whine and grumble, but most of the things I complain about are the little differences and cultural incompatibilities that I find fascinating and like to explore and get other perspectives on. I also know that no one really wants to hear about anyone’s travels beyond ‘what’s your favourite country?’ and there’s not a lot you can say about a show or exhibition to someone who doesn’t have the possibility of attending themselves.

If you’ve been following the up-hill-and-down-dale adventure of this blog, I apologise for the radio silence of late. ‘Life’ has been getting in the way a bit lately, and when that happens, I have a tendency to hibernate and get obsessively into someone else’s world through a book or tv series. The urge to bunker down is rather exacerbated when it’s dark at 3pm and barely rises above zero degrees.

Then there’s the fact that I haven’t the money to do much else. I’m pretty sure everyone thinks I’ve been exaggerating the situation, but on Thursday last I woke up to a dead computer and no money on my phone to call the Apple gods. Never mind, do it at work. Got to the tube, and found that both my main and spare Oyster cards had exactly £1.20 on them (not enough for either tube or bus fare) and none of my bank cards had the £5 minimum top up. Had to use my NZ credit card (conversion rates ‘n all) just to get to the office, of course it costs to call Apple so I couldn’t do it from work, and when I finally got through, they had no appointments until 2013.

These are all extremely trivial first-world-problems, and it grinds my gears just to hear myself complain about them, especially when the very complaint contains the richness of my life: the abundance of technology, having a job and access to emergency funds, and the fact that I got to choose to come live on the other side of the world in a giant fantastic beast of a city.

I knew even at the time that my mini-meltdown later that day was out of step with reality, and was clearly just a last straw that (temporarily) broke the camel’s back. And so I turned to a fellow Kiwi-in-London and sometimes traveler to dark places, who always has a perspective on ‘the crazy’. What she said instantly fit with what I’d been gradually starting to feel:

I had the Six Month Blues. 

The first month away from home is all excitement and nerves and new places and fresh faces. It’s what you’ve been working towards for so long, pinching all those pennies, and then pinching yourself as you finally stand in front of things you’ve studied, and read about, and dreamed of all your life. Of course it’s daunting to go so far away and know that you won’t see a lot of dear people for at least <insert Visa eligibility>, but it doesn’t really sink in when you’re having adventures and it’s only been weeks since you’ve seen your Ma.

You knew month two might get a little rough. Suddenly the travels are over and it’s time to set up a real life. Job and flat hunting are awful wherever you are, filled with rejection from jobs you don’t want, and flats you wouldn’t possibly consider back home. Hunching over job sites and sleeping on pull-outs is giving you aches in all places, but at least when you go out you meet up in Trafalgar Square, or walk along the Thames, or go to the British Museum, or find a bar in Soho where Brits tell you in their sexiest accents what a rockstar you are for moving to the other side of the world.

Month three is what you’ve been waiting for. You’ve got a flat, you can unpack, you can make friends with your new flatties, you can chill out in your own space, you can put your things in the shower (oh small joys after travel!). You’ve got a job, which gives you the structure you’d been starting to miss, puts you in the city every day and therefore close to (and able to afford) everything you want to do. Suddenly there’s shows, and after-work drinks, and day trips. You start to know your way around, you get braver, you take night buses, you fall asleep on night buses, you take three more night buses, you somehow get home. You’re doing it!

The fourth month starts to hitch a little. All those shows are adding up, you hate your job, and suddenly you have to move again. Maybe you have a few more wines on a Monday night, but you’re not gonna cry over it. You did this already in Month Two, and you’ve got your shit way more together now. Much easier to flat hunt when you know where you’re going and how to get there. The job might suck, but at least you have one this time. And maybe just switch a few of those shows for free exhibitions and have a few more nights in with a £2 M&S soup, rather than a meal out in Covent Garden.

Month five is pretty much the same. And maybe that’s where the problem lies. The excitement of novelty has worn off a little. You stalk through the crowds in Leicester Square with your eyes firmly on the ground, and you’ll do anything to avoid Oxford Circus. The joy you were starting to find in just going for a wander as a free (and often rewarding) bit of touristing, has become inaccessible now that the dim and damp have set in. Suddenly the one-suitcase-worth of Summer clothes you brought from home and the hastily-bought bare minimum of bedroom essentials from Argos isn’t cutting the mustard, and a day trip to York is sacrificed for a day searching M&S for socks, gloves, hat, tights, coat, and some goddamned waterproof boots. Luckily though, once these things are found, there’s some little nuggets that were booked away ahead of time: a weekend in Wales, a bus trip to Bruges, a play, a festival, a movie, a party. Though it might be cold, there are friends and fun and the twinkle of a first cold Christmas approaching.

That’s when the Six Month Blues hit.

Despite all the amazing things I’ve been up to, and have planned to come, that one day knocked me flat. I think it’s because all of the fantastic things are mostly hanging out in the one category of friends and fun. This is just one piece of the pie chart that I measure my happiness against, which also includes family (tho’ my definitions are different to most), love-life, work-life, home-life, money (to bring comfort, the ability to do/have the things I most want/need, and being my own back-up), and a vague sense of future (I like to work towards something).

The problem now, then, is that a bunch of the categories are in the red. Always a dedicated saver thanks to growing up poor and insecure, the disproportionate cost of living versus wages in London has all but eradicated the stash under my virtual mattress. My new flat is much better than my old one, because it’s permanent, cheaper, and closer, but it’s also colder, and once again filled with people that I barely see. My job continues to challenge me –  not mentally or professionally, but in a personal, bite-tongue-or-walk-out-door way. I also now know that I won’t have that job after this week until April, and so the hunt begins again, and as much as I want something different, I also want to pay my rent in January.

The thing about all of this though, and the reason I’m baring my guts publicly, is that it’s all okay. I wanted to share so that other people in the same situation could stop feeling guilty if they’re not having ‘the best time evaaaa’ all day every day. When you’re doing a limited-time-deal like this it’s easy to feel the same pressure as New Years to live up to other people’s expectations of what you should be doing. But it’s okay to occasionally go to bed at a normal hour and watch Dexter reruns.

As soon as LD said those words ‘the Six Month Blues’ I knew she was exactly right, and that it was alright to feel that way. It does not mean that I don’t love it here. It does not mean I’m not still ecstatic that I came. It does not mean I want to go home. It just means that things aren’t always all good in all areas. It just means that I wish I could have a job that was going somewhere rather than just ‘a job’. It just means I need to pinch those pennies A LOT tighter, but keep getting out there doing cool free stuff and seeing the sights.

It just means it’s the holidays and I miss my people.

Arohanui xxx

Vignette: All the angry ladies

I’m walking into a posh mall in a thinks-it’s-posh part of town, and yes, there’s mall-zombies everywhere and I’m doubting my decision to come, but dammit I need some stockings. I weave and duck through the dawdling crowds and others do the same – making writhing trails through the slow-moving tsunami: sheep dogs herding, birds finding zip trails.

A young black woman, all trendy leather and bright nails, stops and turns to a trio of old-ish people – actually one is proper old, the mother-in-law I presume. I think she’s turned to apologise for the shoulder-bumping she just gave the oldest biddy, but she yells, with theatrical force, “if you’re going to be that slow get the FUCK out of the way!”

There’s no escalation, it’s full battle zone straight away, and I wonder how her day’s going.

It seems to be over, but then oldish biddy chases after, nabs her by the shoulder, faces off, squats slightly at the knees, tilts forward, and brings her accusatory finger up to mirror miss young thing’s combat pose. They go at it like they’re high school enemies, and Mrs White-middle-class’s face darkens to an unflattering puce. I’m sure Miss Thing is reddening too, but her lovely mahongany hue hides the ugly undertow.

I want to tell them to breathe as their temperatures and volumes skyrocket. They assault each other with words and waggled fingertips, one sharp and cheerfully orange, the other blunt and pale. Spittle flecks and they flinch at this incursion, which offends more than men’s fists. At home this would be unacceptable, call-the-police, get the straight-jackets ready behaviour. Here the tide flows around their unreasonable island, with only smirks or the complete ignorance of earphones.

It ends with a storming off and Miss Thing thinks she’s won, it seems. Mrs White-middle-class stands all shaking head and bewilderment and surrounded by pats on the back. She thinks she’s the victim, and she was unfairly assailed, I know, but I shake my head at her as well, at the explosion as her more practised facade fell away just as eaily and violently as that angry young woman.

 

 

Haikus on London (Let’s Get Poetical)

Some of my new blogging pals* (aka people I stalk on the internet) are obsessed with Haiku, and use it for all sorts of not-very-poetic topics, such as moustaches, wees, douchebags, and other opportunities for gratuitous swearing. As I am extremely good at being obsessed with stuff, I thought I’d offer up Kiwi in London as another inappropriate haiku topic, so here goes…

The Night Sky

Oh the starry skies
Of London are streaked with gold…
Oh wait, it’s a plane.

Sad Folks on Trains

Presumed crack whore sits
With a hacking racking cough.
Is it rude to move?

Personal Space

Get the fuck out of
My personal bubble or
I’ll cut your hand off.

Trapped on Tube again
With ten thousand Londoners.
At least I’ve got friends?

Chavs

But what is a Chav?
Don’t ask this in public or
You are in danger!

Local Coffee Guy (aka Immigrant Work Policy)

Architect back home
Then left Poland for London.
Now I make coffee.

Other Local Coffee Guy (aka Marry Me?)

You remember me
And know just how I like it:
Tall hot trim latte.

Seasons in the [Sun]

It may rain all day
But we hold hope for Summer.
Fuck me it’s July.

Mistaken Nationality

Australian I?
Did I say ‘thong’ for flip flop?
Just ask where I’m from.

The Tellybox

Great British Bake off
Is England’s new obsession.
I’ve never seen it.

Shamefully not so
The Only Way is Essex
So shit but good shit!

Went to the filming
Of the Jonathan Ross Show
Look I’m on telly!

Visas

Are you a Briton?
Would you like to marry me?
We could be happy.

 

To follow in the mad fashion of said pals*, all replies must be in haiku form. Yay!

 

*Including Le Clown, The Cheeky Diva, and some other carnies.