04 July, 2016

Strange Days

Warriors, poets, and warrior-poets: I bid you welcome.  I trust that all is well, with you and yours.  These are strange days indeed, but first, let's fire up the trusty ol' tetsubin before we get down to business.




I'm up before the dawn chorus, this morning, which gives me the opportunity and the means: we have a 2010 Mansai cake from Essence of Tea (nee Nadacha) on the table.  The sweet thrills of this cake rather take me by surprise; I wasn't expecting to be thrilled, at 4 a.m., and yet thrilled I appear to be.  Apricots, dried fruits, humidity, sweetness - I am enthused.

It is my ambition, in the coming months, to write up some of the (copious) notes that have accumulated, as accretion is wont to do, in my journals.  I beg your patience, with respect to their arrival, and your tolerance, with respect to their quality; there is a certain rustiness in my ability to write, but rust can be worn away with sufficient elbow-grease.  Let us grease together.

To say that these days are "strange" is not quite to do justice to the batsh*t craziness that seems to typify life at the moment.

We have come a long way together, you and I, on our respective warrior-poet journeys, have we not?  When the Half-Dipper was started, I was a humble graduate student; I was subsequently a humble post-doc; then, father to two mighty warriors (one of whom has just finished his first year at school!).  I remain humble.  As of ten days ago, I am "tenured", which is to say "sufficiently knackered so as to be put out to pasture".  My colleagues refer to me as "professor", which is both extremely unnerving and simultaneously alienating.  Even my old boss uses the title, although, it must be said, not without irony.

A few days later, my countrymen voted themselves out of the European Union.  Much ink has already been committed to this subject, and I will not bore you with my own opinion, suffice to say that literally every single person in my life (personal, professional, adversorial) is of the same mind on this subject, which appears to be on the other side of the argument from the majority of people in the country.

Imagine the Republican Party and the Democratic Party suddenly having no leaders, nor firm idea of what should happen next, and you have some insight into the substance of these recent times.

Balliol lunch
after the referendum -
sauerkraut noodles

Friends, let us shoulder our lances and our quills. It is time to drink some tea - surely, this is the only cogent response to these Strange Days.

25 April, 2016

Travel-Worn Satchel, I-VIII



I
safety video
plays while I watch
the jet of steam

II
phonecall from Shanghai
hello - I think your wife
took my suitcase

III
toddler chooses
the next track for our journey -
God is a DJ!

IV
all the questions
are provided in advance
Chinese press meeting

V
flapping in the breeze
the hem of her summer dress
caught by car door

VI
england, nether-lands
separated only
by clouds

VII
no! no! not ours!
she squeals as I point at the
yellow ferrari

VIII
fat loud abusive
learning new words -
beijing taxi