Derek tastes of earwax

Derek Tastes of Earwax

Cool mint clink of the beer glass,
he holds it up to the light,
spies the bottom with his eye,
and grabs the sloppy seaweed bar cloth,
then several turns inside the glass:

squeak – sharp

squeak – lemon

squeak – sherbet

glass shines as new
ready to receive
heady liquid hops.

Zinc tablet dribbles peter –
“‘Ere ya go, mate!”,
he lands the pint with
a chocolate thud.

He’s grown accustomed
to the taste-sounds
of his pub and his locals…
well, almost…

The door creaks soaply open,
the call goes out:
“‘Ow goes it, Derek?”
He tries not to cringe
at the earwax appellation,
mutters under his breath:
“Damn you wet nappies
There’s no need to shout…
certainly not THAT name?”

Today at dverse we are working with synesthesia. The poem above is very loosely based on a BBC Horizon documentary, where a publican experiences tastes when he hears or thinks of words (earwax and wet nappies being taste examples he gets for certain names). I’ve extended the synesthesia into tastes for general sounds, as well as names, in this fictional scene.

I’ve also dug around in my archives for two short nature poems that also have synesthetic qualities. One is from 2006, and the other from 2010 (Tui is a New Zealand bird).

Sun Sounds

The sound of the sun
on freshly rained grass
brings out the awakening
dew of the lotus heart

Tui haiku

20130531-105910.jpgphoto credit: Sid Mosdell via Wikipedia

Song of a tui
light refracting through glass
tuneful rainbow


Pattern seeking


Rouged cheek on orangey, gold tan,
liquid forming (through backdrop sky)
a momentary Mohican,
then gravity recalls the dyes.

Reptile skull, or beveled helmet,
unique form with unknown preset,
solidity obliterated –
mind’s patterns disintegrated.

Over at dverse we are writing poems based on the abstract art of Leovi (photo by Leovi)

The Lost Garden


I went to the garden of love.
And saw what I never had seen.
A Chapel was built in the midst.
Where I used to play on the green

William Blake

Restless thoughts continually plagued,
could find no rest in town abode.
Heart and soul sought sanctuary –
my mind then turned to childhood roams.
Imagining kind nature’s scenes:
sweet blossomed air, while courting dove’s
wings flutter over fresh dewed grass,
where I could rest from life’s trouble,
and all I wish to be be free of.
So, I went to the garden of love.

The journey was eerily new,
yet with sense familiarly mixed,
indicating it was the old.
Few landmarks could I recognise,
topography had so much changed –
none of which I could have foreseen.
My longing for nostalgia – dashed,
yesterdays will not come again.
I wept for what used to have been,
and I saw what I never had seen.

Green and browns had all been displaced.
Rich textures: moss, bark, soft petal
with brick and mortar were replaced.
I stood as stone amongst the wreck,
speechlessness held me fixed and numb.
Bereaved of what used to exist,
gradually, my rage built up.
All I could see was ugliness.
All I loved was now sorely missed –
for a Chapel was built in the midst.

People filed past in pensive mode
through the temple’s cold, rigid jaws,
where painful rules shackle shadows,
casting out joy for miser laws.
Where love’s song had softly echoed,
I found nothing but cruel routine.
“Your either with God or against” –
warmth lost to controlling regime.
The sight to me was so obscene
where..I play..on the green.

Today at dverse Samuel Peralta has us trying our hand at Glosa, which involves starting with another poet’s quatrain, and then writing four new, ten line stanzas, where the last line for each stanza uses a line from the quatrain (lines 6 and 9 rhyming with the last line in the stanza).

The trouble with Jason (suicide by cop)


At school (when I knew him):

His ringed finger points from out of his hammer fist,
cygnet glints, not of pretty stones, nor amethyst.
There for maximum damage should he need to strike with it:
angular, aggressive metal indexes his digit,
his ring appears to have legitimacy –
knuckleduster disguised as fashion jewelry.

As adult (in the news):

He wanted to go out “in a blaze of glory”,
but, his death was futile, tragic, somewhat gory.
He chopped..his own..finger off, call..the cops.
He ran at them with sword and fake gun.
No choice, but to end, what he’d begun.
The bullet entered his chest and heart, he would soon be dead –
Last words: “Nice one mate, but you should have shot me in the head!”

Jedi Skills of Grace, my Chinese-Buddhist Sister


I return, lunch consumed.
There’s still time before the
Dalai Lama’s public
teaching resumes.
Grace’s smile radiates greeting,
as she beckons me
with her hand.
“Join us” she instructs.
Curious, my face questions –
“We go see Dalai Lama:
special group meeting”.
No hesitation – I join.

Back of the arena,
we file through double-doors
They close behind us,
and we wait corridor corralled,
expectant with hope and excitement.
I chat to Grace, I chat to others,
group majority are strangers to me.
As I stand in my new herd,
a feeling gradually becomes conscious:
my normally diminutive height, now,
sees me with my head above the crowd.
It dawns on me that I’m the
ONLY white person here,
everyone else is Chinese!”

I look back to the doors –
should I retreat/escape?
But the group is moving,
I’m caught in the rip-tide;
no use resisting, I’ll see
where it takes me.

Security looks serious:
black suits and glasses,
big shoulders, folded hands,
wires curling from ears,
observant, trained to spot
anomalies, like me.
He steps in.. to..I don’t know…
I suspect interrogate or extricate,
but Grace dismisses him with
a wave of her hand, and the words:
“She part of our group”.
Security steps back, echoing:
“She’s part of the group”.

We continue along
white winding passages,
until we reach backstage doors.
We are about to enter the room
where we’ll meet His Holiness.
Again we have to pass security.
Different, but the same:
suit, glasses, shoulders, hands,
wires, and me: white and wide-eyed.
He steps forward to waylay me.
But Grace is there with her Jedi skills.
It is as if she’d trained under Obi-Wan,
her “She with group” translating to
“These are not the droids you’re looking for”,
he repeats and steps aside…we enter.

He Holiness speaks in Tibetan,
his translator repeats in Mandarin,
Grace whispers English in my ear.
He holds hands with Grace, as he
moves amongst us, photos are taken,
and his robed attendants
give us blessing pills.
I’m heartened by his youthfulness –
soft, glowing skin, so healthy.
But, all too soon he has to leave
to take the stage once more.

In the quiet that follows, I ask:
“Grace, I wasn’t supposed
to be here, was I?”
She looks puzzled, I continue:
“the meeting.. was for Chinese..”
She frowns at me, wags her finger.
Etiquette of time and place no matter,
as she remonstrates:
“YOU know better – we all same heart!”

This is rather rough, due to its length, but it is so memorable, it is hard to shorten. I do have a photo of the meeting, but 1) I don’t have permission to reproduce it on a website, and 2) many group members fear repercussions for their family members who are still in China, if it was known they were familiar with the Dalai Lama. Instead the picture is of the blessing pill gift. Linking in to dverse

The wrong winter

I wish for a winter walk.

Not the cool, clear, sun-burning walk of the blue skied South,
but the bladder tightening winter of the North, where..

Blood brambles through hedgerowed fingers pricked with frost,
leaves crack, twigs snap, echoing the rise and fall of brittle bone,
as each breath smokes numb, chill-toed warnings.

Branches, sparse stage, for a frugal Robin’s
solitary song of seasonal poverty,
bow humble, unlike..

Proud Ponga, warrior Nikau – always fully robed,
leaving me.. ever-green for a British winter.

Ponga: New Zealand tree fern; Nikau: New Zealand’s only endemic palm tree. This poem can be read in conjunction with Foreign Fern’s English Frost

White Mouse

Flea market,
antiques shop,
gold and brass,
a vase embossed.

I don’t know where,
but I’m care-taking,
watching over
vintage furniture.

Disruption, interruption,
disquieting threat –
anxiety of protection.
They want..
the little white mouse, who
doesn’t belong in
this collectible house.

Wish to rescue,
wish to do,
but what and when?
In despair tears rise,
as I open – my eyes.

Heart beating me awake,
starting my day forlorn.
Shake the dream
from my head, like
a leaf from my hair,
but this one sticks:
a spider’s webbing
of baited feeling.

An hour’s drive –
the feeling stays.
Smiles and welcomes –
the feeling stays.
My speech draws nearer,
I’ll soon move to take my place inside.
I linger, a moment longer, outside..

white car trashed.

NOW’s my time to
save the mouse..

and so off I daSH..

Temptation – a Limerick

20130512-082842.jpg (image from R.A.N.D.O.M.)

Mary has us writing about temptation over at dverse. I’ve been tempted to go and see the new Star Trek film, so I’m short on writing time, and so offer a humble little limerick:

A woman who had sought redemption,
spent many years in contemplation.
She finally emerged –
going on a big splurge,
for she found she preferred temptation.

The Master


She is always in search of the Master.
Forever chasing her wisdom vision:
live philosopher – not alabaster.
Seeking inspirational companion
to end spiritual journey’s solitude,
and find truth, her long sought after mission.
Occasioned moments of beatitude,
as souls connect, caress and mingle meet,
but this gives way to slight ingratitude.
No mere mortal human can dare compete:
she wants a grander, ultimate Master –
of a capital “M” he is deplete.
Urgency builds, she won’t let it past her
until she finds – she is – HER own Master.

Tony over at dverse has as experimenting with Tezra Rima