Food Goes In, Poetry Comes Out #2

november 026

Spaghetti Bolognese, The Gallery Cafe

6th November 2013

It was the garlic bread that did it,
tempted me to take off my coat
and settle into some spaghetti Bolognese.
Now, it might seem that I don’t eat my greens,
but rocket’s just too bitter for me,
so I move it aside and dive right in.
And I confess, I tried just one tomato,
because I don’t like them raw
but the veggie meat-like pasta
has me begging for more.
I twirl it in tomato-y bliss,
taking bites of my bread;
garlic breath may make a smelly kiss
but my heart it found when I’m well fed.

november 033

Mi Casa Burritos

7th November 2013

I’ve just eaten the most disappointing burrito.
I picked chicken, pepper, salsa verde – simple. Or so I thought.
I checked if it got heated up and they said that yes, it’s freshly made.
The foil wrapper felt toasty but it was mostly just the pepper, roasted
and quite tasty… But the rest was just disgraceful.
I’d spent nearly seven quid on something quite disgusting!
And I’m pretty sure it was gone-off pigeon and not chicken.
I’m really not sure where they plucked that meat from,
but I simply couldn’t finish it, or else I would vom!

Nando’s Sestina

13th November 2013

Table Four. How spicy do you like it?
Hand over loyalty card to get stamped.
A free half chicken built up over time:
A dedicated peri-peri fan.
Regular chips, corn on the cob, please.
So much food, but I’ll manage it just fine.

I’m sat on my own and I’m feeling fine.
It won’t be much longer – I just know it!
Cutlery, water, spicy sauce – yes please!
Back at the table, I count what’s been stamped
On my Nando’s card, showing I’m a fan.
Waiting for my food, looking at the time,

I need to make sure that I leave on time
And just when I think it will all be fine,
On the table next to me, a new fan
Sits down, away from his mum, I know it:
Trouble. Loudly he spoke, loudly he stamped
His feet and blew down his straw – oh please!

I wanted to ask could you move him please?
Back to his mother, I haven’t got time,
I’m writing a Nando’s poem. He stamped
Again, walked flailing his arms around. Fine,
I guess I will have to put up with it.
Guess I felt sorry for my fellow fan.

Clearly, his mum knew he was such a fan:
I got my food, he got his, seemed to please
Him, and yeah, he didn’t need to fight it,
A wave of silence fell over us this time,
Mouth filled with food and everything was fine.
Bet his mum didn’t miss the way he stamped,

But he had stamped for food, didn’t say please.
I’m a big Nando’s fan and it was fine
But next time –  that boy should put a sock in it.

november 098

Pad Thai, Thai and Lao Street Food

14th November 2013

A regular favourite, I always get the same thing,
still plated up, I was excited to mix it in –
noodles, egg, buts and proper prawns,
the only niggle I’d say
less salt, extra spice,
but for £7, I can’t complain –
this Pad Thai is pretty damn nice.

november 128

Chicken Satay and Chips, Charter House Bar

20th November 2013

Reading Proust under the glow of red lights,
I forego the salad for chicken satay
and hand-cut chips. Leaving the bed of rocket,
I feel plump as a pillow. I remind myself
to get my blood tested for high cholesterol.
thinking about salad, ‘maybe next time’
becomes my mantra. Now, for some Sage & Time.


Bean Chilli and Naughty Natas,

The Gallery Cafe and Nando’s

27th November 2013

Not my favourite kind of beans…
pretty sure one was a carrot,
but it felt wholesome, fresh
vegetables and a perfect dome of rice.
I sat near the guy who only comes in for free Wi-Fi.
At 7pm, it closed. Fuck!
he exclaimed into his laptop.
and I wondered what to do
with my spare half an hour.
On route, I passed Nando’s,
turned in for a hot chocolate and
custard tart, a warm space
until another door opens.


Camden Market

30th November 2013

There we were, huddled by Camden Lock,
shovelling noodles down our necks
in case the wind cooled it too fast:
December just around the corner.

Everything deep fat fried

and crispy. I took a bite of broccoli.
That’s one of our five a day.
The containers could not stop the cold:
Your departure just around the corner.

Don’t Fritter Your Fiver

Since I’m saving for my MA whilst on little more than minimum wage, and, I’m pretty sure this recession stuff is still rolling, I thought it would be useful to think of little ways to save money.  One tool I should point out is the Drink Aware website, as it promotes healthier drinking habits too.  Out of interest, this month I kept track of how I’ve spent my fivers.  Although I have at times given into the urge to splurge on sale items I can’t afford, it is often the little things that add up and make all the difference between a a healthy balance and, well, overdrawn.  As my mum always says, ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.’

So I looked at ways that I have been frittering my fivers!  This way I can see what my spending habits are and whether I am spending it on necessities or luxuries.  It went a little something like this…

– 04/01/12: £1.50 – Basmati Rice from Iceland.

– 07/01/12: £3.26 – Chocolate Crêpes, Terry’s Chocolate Orange, and 5 Aero Xmas Trees, from Sainsbury’s.

– Chocolates and a present: £4.50, from Sainsbury’s.

– 10/01/12: £1.52 for postage of poetry submissions.

– 21/01/12: Dessert at Nando’s.

– 26/01/12: More chocolate.

– Various: £2.60 to get to work in Epsom.

So, looking over my spending, I spend a lot on chocolate, which tends to be when I’m visiting my boyfriend.  I had a feeling I was doing this and told him maybe we should try not to do it so much.  The only necessities were the rice and travel for work.  The postage was also a wise spend.  And the present could be argued as unnecessary but I think it was worthwhile!

Okay, I’m partial to a bit of chocolate in the evening but I think I can go for a couple of days without (as I write, there’s a strip of chocolate in the cupboard which I am foregoing to get some things ticked off my to-do list.  So, if I stopped buying as much chocolate, I could save approximately £10-15 a month.  That’s £120-180 a year!  That could practically get me a festival ticket or a cheap holiday! That could buy me more poetry books – even though I have around 10 to read, my Gran got me a membership for the Poetry Society which I want to use.  And I think supporting poetry is probably more important than chocolate (although that arguably helps with serotonin levels and increases happiness – yay!)

So, if you fancy not frittering your fiver, you could use it to buy some poetry… perhaps even help me out and get a copy of my book/eBook, as I could do with the feedback (and the chocolate money – okay, what if I promise I won’t fritter?)  So, I’m not doing anything silly like giving up chocolate, but I am thinking more wisely about spending so much on it, so maybe I’ll only get some if it’s like a really good deal! 😉

I’ll end this post with a new poem that Matt and I are going to use for a project we’re working on.


New year, same you; but with added shine,
a slicker rhyme, I’m feeling fine,
each day is mine – and I’m on fire.
I am climbing, I am always getting higher,
as I shoot and grow,
my roots, I know, are firmly on the ground.
I am free to feel, myself, so real,
I am finally unbound.


No Space to Think

So, this week I went to Jawdance.  I had to go after Chris Syrus, and his poetry band.  He was delivering a great message for some school children, and it sounded great combined with the musician, and the female singer had an amazing voice!  I thought I bet I’m next.  And I was. Still, it went okay and there were a couple of people who said they enjoyed my poem.  I had been to Nando’s (again) with Hannah, but she had gone.  I had got a sore throat after talking to my friend Natalie on Skype the day before (I’m not sure how big a part the conversation played) and I was starting to feel even worse.  Although I couldn’t find any online material on her, Subi Shah was another highlight.

On Thursday, my boyfriend Matt (who isn’t picking up his phone grrr… hence I’m making use of the time by writing this and watching Stephen Fry on BBC Iplayer.) … where was I?  Okay, so we went to Wetherspoons for some dinner and made it just in time to the Donald Hope Library, which I had never been to before.  I’m not going to lie… I could have really done with the £25 prize, but the winner gave a great speech.  Gutted that I didn’t even make the top 5, but there were some kind comments, and I’m happy to try again next time!

Kathryn Corrick was guest speaker for my MA course this week and we were set a task to create a story from one of two photos from her Feet on the Overground project.  I attempted at a Twitter/Facebook story but it didn’t work, so as a back-up, I did a YouTube video.  As I’m so busy, genius that I am, I dried my hair whilst filming the still photograph and created a kind of train movement/sound image, which I annotated on the website itself, with speech bubbles.

I got offered background work in a film, but being realistic about money, time, MA work, and wanting to see my boyfriend this week… I had to pull out.  But it seems like MSFT is a great place to look out for opportunities like that.  With this cold not getting any better, I am in deep need of a rest… and going up to Norwich for a few days is the closest I’ll get to a rest these days!  Funnily enough, the next event I’m going to is a Speech Motion one!  I’m hoping to feel better by then, but at the moment I’m powering through my last shift of the week at Sainsbury’s.  I just hope UEA London have sorted the bloody heating system out, because if that room gets any colder I’m going to shrink away into a giant wooly scarf.

Also!  Russell, who puts together Apples & Snakes London events, says I’m overdue for a guest spot at Jawdance!  Watch this space!