Immigrant’s Song: a Poetic Blog

Fee

You pick it up like cigarette or a mint,

roll it round in your fingers try the heft of it

try on the accent like a cap feel it slip

don’t you ecky thump me you dumb ass thick git

Fi

I have worn my flat cap, I have seen

the smiles which we provoke,

you in your cap, me in me cap.

Shall I get a duffle coat

to wrap this foreign body in?

Or, if an anorak, shall I be forced

to spot trains, not merely ride in them?

Fo

Dare I eat a gooseberry?

Dare I pronounce it?

Fum

I practice my “ooo” sounds

like some run round ragged rocks.

Say them now: Duke, tulip,

Dewsbury.

Eee

The next person to mention

Trump, Vietnam, The Deer Hunter,

Laredo, will get a clip right up yo’ head

By

Oh, bring me me flat cap,

a bit o’ black pudding!

I shall carry white roses.

I shall drink my beer strong,

my tea weak!

The fish shall lay down

with the chip,

the eh

with the up.

Gum

h

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A List of Things Currently Missing In Action (MIA), Most Likely in Our Bedroom

  1. My specs. (1)
  2. My Sun Specs (2)
  3. A small statue of the Egyptian god Thoth, in his baboon form.
  4. My Kindle (3)
  5. A beautiful orange & gold blouse, the gift of old friends
  6. A semi-see through, black-and-red witchy blouse (I believe it says, “Protected by Witchcraft”) (4)
  7. Earrings. Approx 5 single ones
  8. A way to open one of the drawers under my side of the bed (5)
  9. My small collection of Space Pens (6)
  10. My cash card (7)
  11. My self help book (8)
  12. My 2nd 2020 diary (the Tesco one)
  13. My ability to sleep, in particular, without hurling

(1) Yes I know: if I could find my glasses, maybe I’d have more success finding everything else. V funny.

(2) Do you sense a trend starting?

(3) It’s in a pink case, ffs. How did I manage to lose that??

(4) I’m reasonably certain approx where the two blouses are. I want to find them whilst they still fit.

(5) OK not a thing in the sense of the others, but I sure hope I can find the knowledge soon. I have several pp of diary to find & flame.

(6) Just as likely to have been lost at my last job. They were great for slipping into your pocket to use when needed.

(7) Not stolen: no one else has used it but me.

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Being with Birds

A picture of a robin in our garden, taken several years ago

Interrupting this blog to go feed the little – and not so little – feathered guys. And possibly one small squirrel…

I have no pets, save the wild birds. They aren’t quite as cosseted as the cats – and one of the rats – were. Thanks to the Beloved, who kept feeding them when I was poorly – and my friend L., whose example I followed when I first began to feed them, my enjoyment of watching them through the kitchen window has only flagged when I was ill. This, despite having a cat(s).

Cat & pyjamas: back garden, three or more years ago

Al E. Cat (shown above), along with Jake, was one of the most persistent and successful of hunters. Rest in Peace, dear cat people I have loved. I hope there is lots of tuna, and small rodents, wherever it is you are.

Feeding the birds, and how I talk about it – not just to the Beloved, but also to the birds themselves – is a good indicator for how my mental health is. If I’m feeding them, and talking to them, things are (probably) ok. The only reason birds haven’t featured on this blog, this month, is that I still can’t find my camera, and the camera on my phone is not very good. Hence, although we have a robin who is a semi-regular at the fatball feeder, the robin photo is most probably that of a different bird. Without looking it up, I don’t know how long a robin can live.

A reasonably chuffed looking blackbird: Doncaster, June 2015

I built a relationship of sorts with the blackbird shown above: that was, if he realised I was putting out food, he would find someplace close to perch. Plus, he didn’t mind if I watched him eat. Blackbird is probably my favourite garden bird: he’s handsome, and smart with it. I have seen one, and possibly its overgrown adolescent child, near the feeder, if not actually on it, earlier this month.

If sparrows could speak, and be heard through the kitchen window, they’d probably ask me to stop praising them when they eat, and encouraging them to eat. They are our most regular customers, but we have seen bluetits, a great tit, collared doves, and at least two wood pigeons.

Blackbird, July 2015.

Sadly, I’m writing this inside, rather than in the garden. One of the pluses, for me, of feeding the garden birds is it means I go outside at least once a day. A persistent non-Covid cough, plus the lockdown rules, and the reasons behind them, means I’ve spent a lot of my post-hospital time indoors. Which would be fine, if I had spent more time on my current Work in Progress (WIP). Of course, I didn’t. It’s an urban fantasy, and I’ve sadly become a bit unstuck over how to portray the Sidhe (faeries).

I’m also supposed to be doing some weeding, planting, and general tidy up in the garden. I started great guns, but my interest apparently soon faded. Mind you, it wasn’t helped by the fact we’ve had so much rain.

I have been out more recently, in two different parks. The trees were a glory to see, and I also got to see two collared doves have a disagreement in one park, as well as wood pigeons, starlings, blackbirds, and even squirrels. The other park has a large aviary full of parakeets, and – I think – cockatiels. I even talked to the park blackbirds, which may be an eccentricity too far.

I hope you get out to see your favourite birds, and catch sight of some wonderful trees, this holiday weekend. Whether that be in a wood, a park, or your own garden; and whether you are enjoying Spring Bank, or Memorial Day, I wish you a blessed Sunday, and Monday.

The light and swans on the water

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A Walk Down Crazy Street

Photo credit: Crazy Sheila

Just how mad was Alice, anyway? And was she mad in the sense of “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore”? Or in the mental health sense of the word? And would I be proud, annoyed, or indifferent if the council changed my street name to Crazy Sheila Street?

I’ve had nearly a month since the Psychiatric Powers That Be (P2TB) revoked my sectioning. To be honest, it’s been a pretty good run. I’ve done some writing, some housework, some cooking, even some socialising with the Beloved, and the lovely young woman who is in a “support bubble” with us.

Feeling a tad of melancholy yesterday, and today. Why? Well, partly because I still have my American tax return to do. That tax return is one of my mental health triggers, and the reason I considered jacking in my American citizenship. But, hell, although both my parents are dead, and the flights are extremely expensive, the USA was my home, and still is home to many people I love.

Art by the fabulous Tom Brow

The above was the initial cover for “A Yorkshireman in Ohio”, the sequel to my short story collection,”Koi Carpe Diem”. “Yorkshireman” is now known as “When Stoats Go Wrong!”, and has a beautiful new cover. Am I going to leave the original cover to occasional use on this blog, or my Facebook page? Am I hell. Sooner or later, I’ll fulfill my intentions to use the image on a sweatshirt. And, of course, if “Stoats” ever gets finished, it will be the illustration for the story “Yorkshireman in Ohio”.

I’ve had a bit of fun recently on Twitter, asking if there were a bipolar flag, would it be half black, with tears; and half white, with the word “ooops!” on it? This got a few likes, plus the question, “What about mixed episodes?” This is a good question, and prompted me to ask myself, “What about the times when we’re all right?” Would the purely black and white version harm the campaign against mental health problems’ stereotypes, and stigma?

It’s tempting to fill this blog with pictures, rather than write some more. I want to continue writing, though. Lately I’ve been a bit lax about writing the latest Work in Progress (WIP), an urban fantasy titled “An Harm it None”. I’m up to nearly 7.5k words, which would mean I was finished or nearly so if “An Harm” were one of my long short stories. I’ve also been writing around one poem a week, and seriously considering submitting some to a new poetry mag, “Northern Gravy”.

Leaving writing behind, and going back to mental health, I’ve been thinking about running and/or helping out at a “Time to Change” stall at Doncaster Pride, assuming that Donny Pride goes ahead this year. I do hope it does, it’s a great event.

After a bit of research, it turns out that the anti-stigma movement “Time to Change” closed back in March this year. This is a shame, as I helped out on a number of their stalls several years ago, and they were generally good fun. Doncaster Pride, however, looks to be taking place on 7 August, in a local park.

I’m going to go back to bed for a little while, then get up and get on with my day. Wherever you are on the mental health scale, I wish you a blessed Sunday, and a good week.

A clay snail I made on the ward many years ago, and gave to a friend.

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A Horse with No Name v The Man

Portrait of a kitty as a young clerk: April 2017

Some Sunday fiction for you

“You must have one,” the ginger tabby said.

“Why?” replied the horse.

“Well, form filling, for one thing. You see -”

“Yes,” the horse agreed. “I’m not blind.”

“Stop interrupting. Do you want my help, or not?”

“Yes please.”

“Then be a sport, and tell me your flippin’ name!”

“Mum and Dad weren’t big on names.”

“Do you know their names?”

“I just told you: Mum and Dad.”

The ginger cat sighed. Which is to say he washed his face with his paw.

“It’s not easy being a sentient horse in Doncaster,” the Horse observed, as he gazed at the

dole queue of humans, cats, stoats, and a small aardvark wearing a black beret.

You can call me what you like, it doesn’t mean I’ll show up.

The cat finished washing, pulled in his tongue, and said: “Being a sentient feline isn’t

exactly a big bowl of tuna, either.”

Slowly, the cat removed the lanyard which held his photo ID (in the picture, it was clear

he was asleep). He then proceeded to shred the pile of papers on his desk,

then shed on them, for good measure.

“Vamos, my equine friend – it’s not as though I can address you by name, after all –

let’s blow this joint. It’s not as though you have any chance of achieving your dream job.”

“What, being a donkey at Scarborough seaside?”

“Shall we discuss it over a pint of milk and a gallon of water at the Bird and Baby?” the cat

suggested. “Visiting the pub is one of the few advantages of being a sentient mammal in

Donny.”

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White Wine Supernova in the Back Garden

Cup o’ brown joy

It will come as no surprise that today’s song – yes, I’ve gone back to that – is this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI-5uv4wryI

Champagne isn’t really my thing. I do miss having the occasional glass of cold white wine. And what better place to consume it than a lovely garden?

Sadly, my garden isn’t lovely … yet, at least. I am trying (1) to turn it into a beautiful plant filled experience, with the addition of several bird friendly feeders & features (eg, the RSPB birdbath, which needs to be moved to a level bit of ground, assuming there is such a thing in our garden).

I’ve been listening to a lot of Oasis lately thanks to Youtube. I particularly like “Champagne Supernova”, and of course “Don’t Look Back in Anger”, the video of which features Patrick MacNee, looking like a fine example of an older woman’s eye candy. Oasis is better than I remember, possibly because I was too taken at the time with Blur’s “Woo hoo!” song.

Chaircat of the garden: Beltane, 2017: Al E. Cat

Sadly, I will be without feline company this year, unless some of the neighbour’s cats choose to pop by, and stick around. I really should set up the chair (above) and see what/who I catch. That chair was a regular cat magnet as far as the late Al was concerned. I seem to recall that Jake also loved those chairs.

I’ve just come in from spending an hour or so out there, planting and weeding. I’d almost forgotten how nice it can be to sit on a garden chair, and have a cuppa.

It’ll probably have to be tea and cake – or biscuits – for me, for the time being, rather than wine and cheese. I’m on some/one med which doesn’t mix well with booze. Nothing wrong with tea and cake, though. Even better than a champagne supernova.

(1)I can be very trying.

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Doctor Who, & Poetry

Sometimes even the Doctor comes a cropper. Cat played by the late Al the Pal.

I had a dream a few nights ago: no, it didn’t feature a giant cat, but it did feature David Tennant (the 10th Doctor).

In the dream, I was a published poet in numerous magazines. Someone was helping me go through an almost endless collection of magazines, trying to find my poems. In the course of this, we saw a lot of poems by Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor), and, to a lesser extent, David Tennant. After that the dream changed. I don’t remember much else.

Who’s da poet?

I had another dream about poetry a few days earlier. I remember next to nothing about it, save that when I woke up, I was thinking of The Song of Amergin. “I am a stag of seven tines. I am a hill of poetry. …”

What does dreaming of poetry signify? Or dreaming of Doctor Who? In the case of the former, I think it means I’m taking my poetry much more seriously these days. As for Doctor Who, it probably indicates I’m thinking about when the new series starts.

I can’t say “only I would dream of Doctor Who and poetry in the same dream”. I’m sure there are more poets out there who are also Doctor Who fans. But there can’t be that many of us around.

Embracing my weird: with Gerald C Dalek, & Jake the Cat. 2004.

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