So…… I haven’t posted in a while, ahem, oops! This is mainly due to the finishing of a degree, a trip home for a fantastic family wedding, and now hunting for a job. I haven’t had much time to sit down and write anything chunky, like an article, review or recipe, but I am one of those people who writes really bad poetry when there’s a spare moment (usually during a commute, or just before bed, or something else mundane). I’ll write in notebooks, on napkins, my phone, even on store receipts if I have nothing else on me – honestly, it’s better than meditation when I’m particularly frazzled!
Anyhoo, once I realised I hadn’t posted in a while, and being short on time, I went through my notes and found a few poems I’d scribbled down. These two I wrote with a sprinkling of Greek mythology, something I don’t often do, but it made for fun writing! It’s a little odd to be placing my words in so many territories, but then again, as an immigrant I don’t often find myself occupying geographical absolutes. I’m popping the poems up together, and I hope at least one of them has a little something of interest for someone out there. The first one I wrote as I crossed Waterloo bridge on a cold winter’s night: I was really homesick, I had just read Cavafy’s Ithaca, and I was feeling just a touch resentful of the ‘journey’. The second one I wrote after a particularly gruelling day of political news – I imagine Kronos to have oddly small hands 😉 Enjoy!
Homesick [Response to C]
I read of Ithaca, then,
Finding my mind poor
You opened me, Datura Wrightii,
Poured the sea into my skull,
Now I see Cyclops skulking
On the muddy river bank.
It glares at the towering spikes;
Bloodshot, regrown, never sleeping.
As it squats,
Fat Sauron sneers, taunting me too:
‘Remember Nobody, nobody, no body’
Sirens wail as they pass
‘Πάντα στὸν νοῦ σοὔχεις τὴν ̓Ιθάκη’
I feel I have heard it before, but I can’t remember
Beyond this sodden Ogygia –
I remember that purple aroma, Zeus in summer.
Her love woven into fast nets,
Hephaestus working molten rain upon our roof.
I yearn to return to her
But she is gone.
Her perfume lingers on the olive knots.
The geese have flown.
Is that what you mean?
Do I carry Scylla on my back?
I hear Penelope has wed Poseidon.
My feet will not pace along Cairo’s rich banks,
‘Slowly’ you whisper, so slow I’ll be.
Perhaps some wisdom will visit me.
Ah! I long for the wealth of Ithaca!
I ate my children,
As I had promised them.
I consumed their flesh,
As is my right.
I gave them life, so that they could give me power,
Is that not what we agreed?
My father was a hardly-familiar dictator.
I was born of his lust,
And so I took it from him
While my mother cheered and wept,
I made my own paradise with it.
My power is absolute, absolution,
My rules so perfect, they do not exist.
My children practice self-tenderisation,
Indoctrinated mental cannibalism,
While quietly I devour it all.
It is not my fault;
They love me for it.
It is my right
One they gave me by living.
Still, when I spit out their sinews stuck in my teeth,
Sometimes I feel flecks of gravel pass my lips.