(Things Left Unsaid)

I was running out of the house to work the other day, but couldn’t find my notebook. Turned out later, that I’d actually managed to leave it at work the day before, but at the time, I needed something to write on. If I don’t have paper, I’ll need it, so I try never to go out without some. Also, I can read back through my old stuff.

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on a train.”

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So I picked up one of my old notebooks, hoping for a blank page or two, and came across an old half-finished poem that I’ve attacked.

This one is inspired by two Young Learner teachers at my school. The style is like the notes that Claire makes on the language she aims to elicit from children – she makes the most ridiculously complete notes, which are useful when you want to steal ideas. And the idea and concept come from Kirsten, who hates to teach anything related to family, because for some children, herself included, talking too much about your family can reopen some painful wounds.

As you’ll see in a sec, it’s kind of an experimental style. I’ve actually written three or four more verses of dubious quality, so for now, they’re cut. Here’s the poem:

(Things Left Unsaid)

This is my (sister),
(her) name is (Claire)
(She) works as a (teacher)
with (long curly) hair.

“Are you good friends?”
“Yes we are.” / “No we’re not.”
(She) (always) wears (hats)
when the weather is (hot).

(She) likes (over-ripe) peaches,
(sweet ooze down her chin,
that she wipes with her finger
and sucks it back in)

(she) (laughs) when (she)’s happy,
and (hides) when (she)’s sad
(the truth from her family,
the troubles she’s had).

(She) hates (stormy nights),
that’s one of (her) fears
(though the lines on the window
are raindrops, not tears).

(She)’s (older) than me,
and her birthday is (missed,
when she once ran away
for a man she had kissed)

I love to (remember)
my (sister)’s (blue) eyes,
(the look that she) gives me
when (she rolls them and sighs).

(She) (died) last year,
and now (don’t you see),
now (she)’s (whoever)
I want (her) to be.

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Forward Planning

The writer in the new decade

I can’t believe I’ve only been back in Barcelona for a week. I’ve already done so much! I think the milder weather has got me energized; in no particular order, I’ve celebrated Old New Year (it’s a Macedonian Orthodox thing), I’ve been to see my gorgeous godson Eloy (now 1 month 20 days old – my new camera has a Baby Mode), I’ve taught my classes really well, I’ve GOT A JOB IN JAPAN, I’ve been out drinking at a Stammtisch, I’ve played cards with my flatmates, caught up with Lily, and had meetings and a Spanish class.

Me and my godson

You may have noticed one stands out on that list. Finally, the company I want to work for has contacted me and I’m going to Japan at the end of April. Expect this blog to change with it. I am SOOO excited. Japan is an adventure to me, and one that I’ve considered going on for years – if I’d taken a Gap Year, I would’ve gone there. And now I’ll be living there! Albeit for only three months, but maybe I’ll get the bug and stay.

It’s a huge relief, too, because it’s the first time since… last April… that I’ve known what I’ll be doing in 3 months time. Going from impulse to impulse is fun, but it’s nice to have some kind of forward planning for a change. It’s almost like my life has direction or something mad like that.

Despite all this craziness, you’ll be pleased to hear that my creative brain has finally kicked back in – just after New Year, too, and without any resolutions in that direction. My little notebook is starting to gather nuggets of ideas and poems that’ll hopefully be up on here in no time.

Today’s offering, though, is taken from 100 Love Sonnets, by Pablo Neruda, and translated from the Spanish by Stephen Tapscott…. my Spanish wouldn’t do half as good a job. It’s unnamed, but numbered LXXXIX:

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When I die, I want your hands on my eyes:
I want the light and wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me once more:
I want to feel the softness that changed my destiny.

I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep.
I want your ears still to hear the wind, I want you
to sniff the sea’s aroma that we loved together,
to continue to walk on the sand we walk on.

I want what I love to continue to live,
and you whom I love and sang above everything else
to continue to nourish, full-flowered:

so that you can reach everything my love directs you to.
so that my shadow can travel along in your hair,
so that everything can learn the reason for my song.