I’ve rediscovered the pleasure of cereal with fresh blueberries eaten in the sunny morning on my balcony. I’ll miss this terribly in the winter, when it will probably be dark and most certainly cold when I eat my breakfast, but one can find joy in it anyway. This poem came out of thinking about dining on my balcony in the fall, which I couldn’t really do last year for lack of outdoor furniture. After October and November wrote themselves, I simply had to keep going.
I realise this is not an ode but I couldn’t come up with a better title, so you’ll have to live with it. It’s inspired by Maurice Sendak’s beloved Chicken Soup with Rice — which taught me the months of the year — and by Molly Wizenberg’s delicious food essays in A Homemade Life, which I’m sad to have finished reading.
I should note while most of these are things I’d eat for breakfast, I should very much like more than a slice of bread and a mandarin orange. That would be a paltry breakfast, indeed.
An Ode to Breakfast
In January’s cupboard forage, a slice of bread and a mandarin orange.
In February’s dim and gloom, leftover soup with a silver spoon.
In March the weather starts to turn; for bacon and fried eggs I’ll yearn.
For April I’d like eggs poached, scrambled, boiled or on some toast.
In May I think I might just try to bake a morning apple pie.
In June I must not forget to make a basil omelet.
In July’s berry dream, a plate of waffles doused in cream.
For all of August, if you please, a bowl of cereal with blueberries.
In September’s temperamental weather, I think yogurt on granola’s better.
In October I shall eat hot pancakes on my balcony.
In November’s rainy weather, a bowl of porridge and a cosy sweater.*
For December’s hopeful snow, maple syrup poured on French toast.
apples crisper than ever imagined greet me immediately and yes, kind sir, I will see you again soon.
the hall is stuffed with scents and warm colours that suggest the turning of fall into Christmas. I cannot wait for the next two.
at the market I move in slow motion, with thoughtful decisions and careful handling of the earth’s most sacred gifts for which I have a delectable passion.
suddenly the presence of honey, maple and bread intermingle with curiosity and my senses urge me without hesitation to ask for a plump loaf of sourdough which I shall with butter enjoy later.
hues of pumpkins, squash and apples overflow amongst varieties of mushrooms, potatoes and dried fruits, all the colours and textures singing the plenty that is the harvest here, even so late in the fall. this is abundance.
I leave with luscious beet greens slung across my back and deeply enjoy the sight from the corner of my eye.
it makes me feel somewhat of a peasant or… something special… a collector of sorts.
a perfect day for a walk.
to pass time I follow people to a cluster of studios in the most unlikely place for the Eastside Culture Crawl which I had not planned to attend. when I am wealthy I will buy other people’s art and gourmet cheese. today my wealth is my experience.
happily timed my bus arrives and I cradle my earthly belongings.
a young man strums an acoustic guitar at the back of the bus, a surprising reminder of when I once did the same.
sunlight pours in across the city and the trees, between the branches, the dead leaves
it’s a perfect day
it was dark inside, and outside the fog had rolled in, shrouding everything, and through which the neighbour’s light glowed softly. and yet I could still see shimmering clearly a star — nay, a planet — in the black sky. the moon lit up the top of the fog’s arm that stretched over the inlet, yet I could not see the moon. little time had passed since I saw its reflection, perfect and white on the still water. its face looking downward and half hidden, the moon played hide-and-seek behind the thickest part of the cypress, thick enough to block it from entering the house. but I knew it was there; on the sparkling dotted glass its shape blurred and crackled. tonight it was shy but it will soon light up the darkness like a second sun, come fullness.
A funny little coincidence, perhaps? A classmate from my social studies course on blogging posted about a particular talk at Northern Voice 2007. It’s called “Why do we blog?” Presenters are Darren Barefoot and Alex Waterhouse-Hayward, two Vancouver bloggers and professionals. The funny thing about it is that I visit Darren’s blog regularly, so a familiar name was a pleasant surprise. (I’ve had NetNewsWire closed more than open for the last month, however, to concentrate on my studies, so my activity everywhere has been more sparse lately.) Darren will talk, among other topics, about his research survey results. Please take his survey about blogging. You could win a prize! More information about the event(s) at the Northern Voice website. It’s missing a link to Darren’s blog.
I’m organizing the neglected parts of my office since I moved in here. In a stack of papers I found a sheet I must have ripped out of my “Poetry” binder from the early days. This looks like it was written around grade 8. I don’t usually share this stuff but I found it striking that I would feel this way when I was 13, 14 years old. (I think the teasing stopped after that until grade 12, at which point it was friends of friends. Great.) By the way, for those of you reading this that aren’t local, we do high school grade 8 – 12, no middle school. That was probably a good thing for me.
Betrayal’s all I’m ever getting these days
Poor hopes, lies, friends not really friends at all.
Lies are all I’m ever hearing these days
Poor hopes, getting betrayed
Freinds who take advantage of the gullable one
I guess not friends in the end — swayed
Thought I’d get a great bargain
Thought I’d get a good deal
All they want is a junk food meal
Maybe a few sour grapes on the side
Wine and dine in this steel inferno
Like a porkchop in a synagogue, poor thing…
Pity on them they don’t see the harm they’re doing
(Too busy with their own thoughts and hair
Do they care? Whatever… yeah, so?)
Destroying their little company
Rumours of all sorts spreading rapidly
Spreading their diseases and drug-addicted drugged hope
while mourning i told someone who did not know him
who he was to us, who he was to his family,
who he loved (his wife and sons, the center of his universe)
what he loved (oh he loved his cars so much!)
and how his strong will to live helped others fight
the same battle
though it claimed him in the end,
for us all.
goodbye, old friend. we’ll see you soon.
after his memorial and on the way home, i found a penny on the floor of the bus. that morning a friend had dropped one and didn’t pick it up, so i thought, alright, i’ll pick this one up; it looks old, too. i turned it over and discovered it was a rare find indeed, then stopped short. it said 1940, his birth year. i think it was a parting gift from him. so thank you, old friend, for making that moment special. i’ll treasure that little item forever.
I wasn’t surprised to see the name Steve Martin on the spine of a colourful book in the library. (I was, however, surprised to find myself in a library.) I heard about his film Shopgirl based on his book, so I knew he was a novelist. What I didn’t know was he has more than one!
The story is narrated by a man in his early 30s, Daniel Pecan Cambridge, who has a number of odd quirks. He’s essentially crazy, but not clinically insane. He makes certain rules and limitations for himself, and has an undeniable fear of “8 inch high curbs.” (Eight inches!?) Apparently Santa Monica, where the novel is based, does not have many accessible curbs. Daniel gets around the long way by using scooped-out driveways. For some reason he has no fear of stairs! Anyway, he enjoys visiting Rite Aid, making magic squares in his head, and writing essays — or at least he realised he was good at it when he won an essay contest… twice.
Some of his quirks remind me of things I did as a child: “don’t let the grown-ups see you!” or not allowing myself to have either foot on the floor when a car went by, while waiting for someone. Or eventually being oddly decided to not take a book out of the high school library for a full year.
Try spending a few days without saying any word that contains the letter e. He may be crazy, but he’s a genius.
Next up: Citizen Girl and Le coeur est un muscle involontaire
Previous favourites include: L’Amour Mallarmé (Guy Moreau), Kitchen (Banana Yoshimoto), and A Far-Off Place by Laurens van der Post. (You may remember the movie of it starring Reese Witherspoon, but the original story’s hero is a young man.)
Lately I’ve gotten back into doing magnetic poetry compositions on our fridge. I FINALLY got around to putting the rest of them up there (we moved in a month and a half ago and I had only put up a fraction of it), and the two of us here are enjoying making weird, funny, and perverted phrases. We have the Original Magnetic Poetry kit.
I found interesting but older article about a writer’s fest where the little magnets were invovled, San Francisco’s Litquake Festival. (This year’s is in October for those of you in or near SF, which I am definitely not.)
Anyway I got thinking… what about starting a blog or website (maybe a Flickr thing would be more appropriate) specifically for the public to post their magnetic poems? I think images are the best way because it translates the thinking and the physicality of the poetry. Not everyone has a digital camera though, or a webcam, so making text-only available is smart as well. Is anyone interested in helping me with this? What do you think is the best format?
i’m realising how poor my french is now, having not taken any classes in it since winter 2000 … geez … and having little practise since. i’m kind of bored, and since i don’t talk to my pals in french all that much, i might as well cure that boredom and rusty french with a good book. my favourite is L’Amour Mallarmé by Guy Moreau. the thing is, i need like a “roman jeunesse” because my french isn’t quite good enough for a real adult book. i’ve tried. vocabulary is too slim.
a friend’s recommendations:
le petit sauvage – alexandre jardin
danielle steel’s novels in french
perhaps even some articles on subjects i like (see “themes” list at right). i had a fairly easy time reading a short bit about an industrial design piece that found itself in my coursepack. any good design sites in french one can recommend?