Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gorilla - A Short Story.

Gorilla has the most interesting face of anyone I have known. There is something profoundly primitive about him. He doesn’t talk much and wears a blank expression until the chance to beat someone presents itself. A glint appears in his shifty eyes, he becomes a ball of repressed anger, and everyone who knows better, splits. His real name is Martin, but I’m not supposed to know that. Gorilla is Azul’s brother.

“Babes, do you like surprises?” I had asked Azul last night.
“No, I don’t” she responded, “surprises always seem to go wrong.”
“Well, I love surprises,” I said with confidence – she’d like what I like, like most girls do, I figured. But she didn’t change her tune, though I still didn’t believe her. What girl doesn’t like surprises?

We’ve been dating for three months, you see, but we live in different towns. It’s just as well, because she says her friends can’t imagine what she sees in me. She’s pretty smart and works at a taco stand. Me? I dropped out of middle school, but I suppose I must be wise or something. She always tells me I am ‘streetwise’, whatever that means.

My surprise for Azul is to show up on her birthday. Of course she’ll be taking me out for a burger... she always seems to have money!

I called her in the morning to set things up. “So Babes, it’s your birthday, huh?” Calling her Babes sounds very macho, eh?
“Yes it is, coming over?”
“No” I lied, “I’m broke. Probably gonna stay home and watch TV. What about you?”

“I’m not sure yet” She said sounding OK with it.

“You’ll be home all day?” she asked.
“Yup, can’t go nowhere.”
“I might drop by later. You’ll be there?” She said.
“Sure.” I smiled. She bought it. I guess that’s my “street-wisdom”. She’ll never expect me.

Later that day I took the bus to her apartment with my last two bucks. I knocked but no one answered, which seemed strange. It had started to rain now, but I went to her window and looked in. It was dark, but it looked like she was doing her nails by the bed. I rapped on the window but she didn’t move. I flipped my phone open and called her. But damn! I was getting wet.

“Where are you?” she said as my phone credit ran out. She’d call back - she always did. I peered in again wondering why she didn’t move. Then I thought how she sounded strange, strained. A little worried now, my mind putting the scene together, I ran to the front door and tried to open it.
“What are you doing?” I heard Gorillas big voice ask behind me.
I turned around to see him staring blankly.
“Azul’s in trouble,” I blurted and resumed ramming my shoulder into the door.

“Are you sure?” the unfazed Gorilla asked.
“She’s slumped over by the bed and not moving! I think someone tied her up!” I screamed.

By now, there was small crowd gathering, and with a single massive kick Gorilla brought the door down and we quickly found the figure slumped by the bed. It was her back-pack.

Gorilla coolly flipped open his phone, dialed and put it on speaker while handing it to me.
“Gorilla?” she said
“It’s me Babes, where are you?” I asked, a little mad and confused now.
“I’m on your front step in the rain, you idiot. Where are you?” she responded hotly. I only heard Gorilla shift and grow, but I didn’t see a thing.

(Thank You Andrea, for rearranging it).

©Naan Pocen

A Prisoner of Hope.

I’m waiting – a Prisoner of Hope
Holding so tight to my dreams of you
I’m waiting – a Prisoner of Hope,
Hoping to take you where the song is new.

All this time together
And we’re still strangers
The hurts and pains are all that we share.

At the edge of town
Where the sun goes down
And the beauty of sunset is beyond compare

There I’m waiting – a Prisoner of Hope.

In the days gone by
We lived a big lie
And pretended every day that nothing was wrong.

I see the light of a new day
Calling me away
Perchance one day we will find where we truly belong

I’m waiting – a Prisoner of Hope
Holding so tight to my dreams of you
And I’m waiting – a Prisoner of Hope
Hoping to find where the song is new.

©Naan Pocen

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Count the Abacus

Lovers and Best Friends. Don't we all have them!!

I love my friends, especially those of you that give me a good cue to blog about. I have heard it said that men and woman are from different planets and I always say it’s a lazy cop out for people to refuse to understand someone just because they’re of a different gender. Still sometimes I find myself face to face with a situation where I find it really incredible to accept that the seeming naivety of the man in question is genuine. Unfortunately, for the most part it is.

And I say unfortunately very loosely here, because even though I empathize with the complexity of understanding the opposite sex, I fail to see how two and two won’t give you four if you have the abacus right in front of you and all you need to do is count!

I am not going into specifics here for respect of my muse (you know who you are). I love you to bits, you know that, but it’s very difficult not to touch the core of the matter here, so I’ll use my example and touch on your situation. It’ll make sense, you’ll see.

Now first question.

Why does a woman wear a form fitting outfit that reveals every delicious curve on her body? Yes, it is her size and it isn't tight....just revealing. True, but aren’t there also clothes her size that hang loose? She chose that particular style for a reason. Wanna guess?

Why does a man that is only a friend suddenly interested in knowing why that other fellow seems interested in you? Hey, you’ve both been good friends for a long time and he is only looking out for you…..or is he?

Why does she wear that wide-necked blouse, then tops it off with a very eye catching necklace that rests between her cleavage? OK, that was the size it came in. True, but why do you think it lies there?

Last question, but before I ask, I need to point something out. I have a great relationship with all my ex’s - ALL OF THEM, and I won’t find it out of place AT ALL if either of them calls or reaches out to me…. and they do too, often enough. Now with that said, I (Naan) regardless of what an awesome relationship we had in the past and how great we get along now, will never ( NEVER) consider an ex a ‘best friend’ material, very good friend, yes, best friend. N-E-V-E-R…..but this is just me, and more power to you if you can. That said.

Last week, I received an email from someone in my past. It was totally unexpected, and in a sense a pleasant surprise. It was then followed by a call a few hours later, then the very next day, then another email, you know, to find out what I had been up to and such, nothing wrong with that.

This person and I have a great relationship and we do check on each other often enough. But after 8 calls, five emails and two text messages in the span of four days, my radar picked something in that right away. This person had easy access to me and could call or write whenever they wanted, but for some reason or another had always been too busy with their lives; the demand of the job, parenting a pre-teen alone, living in another city….the usual. And I appreciate all of these reasons as it echoes my situation…..suddenly however this super busy person has the time to suddenly ‘drop by’ for a Pizza.

“Are you bringing the kid along?”

“Oh no, he’ll be at his grandma’s.”

“Aren’t you working? It’s a week day?”

“I could throw away a perfectly good day for a dear friend”

“O…..K……lunch then? Because I work this weekend and love my beauty sleep.”

“Lunch isn’t enough to catch up….you know? So many good memories…?”

Well, yes, some men are rather shallow like that, they just blurt it out. Women are subtle…..I won’t tell how the conversation ended, but long story short…..or rather, last question. Why does this understandably, super-busy person suddenly has a few hours to grab a bite and talk about old times? Hey, we ARE very good friends……could it be that something about my status threatens something about his place in my life?


Let’s quit hiding behind the guise of being naïve when an ex is making their presence felt, even if in subtle ‘friendly’ ways…..there is always a catch…..

So…. very good friends with ex eh? You may want to lay a more solid foundation of what you are building right now before you go playing lovers and best friends. Dude, count the abacus; it’s right in front of you! And I tell you this because I love you to bits and I want you happy….see? I told you I’ll make you anonymous and I pulled it. Yay!!……Seriously though, the obvious is always obvious if we care to look closely enough.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We are Infections! Yes we are.

I have been thinking today. There are basically three kinds of people. Those that infect others, those that get infected and those that don’t infect yet profusely refuse infection. And from my experience, the most pleasant of the three to be around are those that have managed to create a healthy balance of all three. And the most unpleasant are the ones that cling to one trait and refuse the others. Believe it or not a little bit of infection and infecting is good for the soul and so also is resistance to infection.

I make it sound like a disease and I suppose in a sense it is.

I believe every person starts at a point, as a blank sheet, a clean slate. The experiences we have and the people we encounter begin slowly to paint a picture on the sheet that is us (And yes, we infect others as much as they infect us). And for the first few steps of the journey, we take in what we are presented with, partly because of its novelty and partly because we are waiting for the picture to become clearer, to make sense.

Some people are lucky enough to see almost right away that something is wrong with the picture painted and they resist it, and instead create a new theme for the painters to follow (remember the painters are the people we encounter and the experiences we live), and creating a theme is all about us deciding for ourselves how we want our pictures to be painted and what it will reveal eventually.

Others are less lucky they wait until the picture is almost done and recognizable before they halt it. Two things happen here, there is then either a heavy feeling of hopelessness at realizing how much damage has been done and submitting to the ugliness of that picture as one’s fate, or beginning the process of erasing it. Now the second option takes a lot of strength courage and determination.

Erasing a painting is nothing like erasing lead on paper. We’re talking colours, hues, textures – trying to make all of that a bland blankness is extremely difficult but not impossible. So in order to even arrive at a point where the general idea of the picture painted is dissolved, a chopping, chiseling and shedding of one’s personality occurs until by the time you arrive at that dirty but plain blandness of an erased picture you are someone else, albeit still you.

Again at this point, you can decide to hike up your spunk a notch higher and attempt to draw a new picture on the dirty canvass, maybe not with as many colours, but textures and hues and shadows, and with enough determination you might be able to create a silhouette that is breathtaking. Not all is lost. Alternatively, you can rest. And most people do and it’s understandable too.

The third kind of person is the sort I call the coward. That’s the one that doesn’t like the picture painted, stops it midway, refuses to decide on a theme and basically is suspicious of anyone that attempts intimacy. Worse still hasn’t the courage to retrace their steps to recreate the picture. So, they carry on with a half painted canvass that says nothing yet is loudly colourful.

Interestingly though, the whole experience makes us to a certain degree infective, some are rather imposing with themselves on other, probably for fear that if they don’t ‘do’, they will be ‘done for’. Others are just too exhausted from resisting that they settle for whatever infection is imposed on them and the cowards although hardly ever infect anyone, fight infection profusely.

Infection is not altogether a bad thing because (believe it or not) there are those that have learned the hard way and have realized that life is all about sowing what you reap. They infect positively because it’s what they hope to get in return, even if not from the same channel.

What I am saying is, NO ONE ever has the perfect picture painted by just being passive. Activity can create or destroy, but the ability to be recognize the creating power and to reach for it, takes initiative….SO, the question is, what does your painting say? What do you want it to say? And what are you doing to make it say just that?

Saturday, September 03, 2011


I wish I could love you from before the flood
Till well after The Second Coming of the Jew.
Wish I could love with all my blood
Like the wriggling worm loves the flesh of you.
Wish I was yours alone to make you fine,
Time and again I lay my life on the line,
But, baby, I’m cheated every time
By this Vagabond Heart of mine.

Wish I could take you home right now
Pay allegiance with all my soul to you alone
Wish I could be faithful to you somehow
Be yours to love and hold, be yours to own
I’d save my life for you alone but it’s no use.
My blue blood boils at the voice of my Muse,
Her siren call I just can’t refuse,
This Vagabond Heart you must excuse

Wish I was the sweet dream you dream every night
The morning sun that kisses your waking soul.
Wish I was the passion that gives your eyes their light,
The refining fire that purifies the gold.
The deep in your calls to the deep in me,
You can make me all I ever wanna be,
But a fatal impulse keeps thwarting me
This Vagabond Heart will be the end of me.

©Naan Pocen

Tailing Iscariot.

He walked with a ring on his ear
He thinks pain is in tears:
I have lived with pain for a long time
So a simple head nod
And soft painful sighs
Speak to me more
Than a thousand sad words
Or a torrent of tears.
He walked before me boldly
He believed the world
should be conqured with offensive rage
But I have fought too many times
And true victory isn't
In the little battles
But in being the conqueror
At the end of the war.
He walked with his loin cloth baring his butt
He wanted to lead the way;
He truly felt he had it all figured out.
He wanted to put me in place,
But the bare sight of his nakedness
Revealed a vulnerability
That I cover; standing behind
Made me his shield.
He walked fast, looking up, barking orders
He forgot that sometimes when
The wind is speaking, we can only hear in silence
I heard the warning
But I could not convey it
He was still howling and gliding on
And heading toward the trap;
And I saw him fall.
He should get up and carry on and be.
He may get it at last
That pain is beyond tears, rage never conquers
And no one ever does it alone;
None knows it all or figured out.
He may even realize
That our true strength is
In our very weakness.
©Naan Pocen

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I lose with Style!

I have a big mouth!

And I don't mean the size of my smile. I have a big mouth .... or rather a (sometimes) over confident trust in my knowledge about things I am passionate about, a certainty and trust for my source of information plus a dash of cockiness putting my point across (Hey! It takes a recipe to make Naan - trust me!)

I found myself in a situation that led to a bet on a matter I knew so well, like the hair on my chest (hey! I know my chest...) and so naturally I knew I'd win....I lost! And losing (for me) entailed wearing a tie to work, taking of photo of it and blogging about it. Me and my big mouth eh?

What can I say? I felt very silly walking my daughter up to her class at summer school with a few heads turning to look at me. I was like 'Come on girl, of all the colour of ties to wear, you picked the bright one to that dark face'. But I held my head high and wore a boldness about me as though it was intentional. I think it paid off too because one of the mothers told me how very 'stylish and original' (her words). Thank goodness my glasses are photochromic I could hide behind them.

Well, I got to the office and I blended in nicely, it was nothing new - Just Naan being Naan. Heck, who ever heard of a shoulder-less top and a bright TIE!!???!?!?? I must tell you, it took a good cause to make me keep that tie on all day; a celebration of someone rather charismatic and very special; it's his birthday you see. Happy Birthday Andrew (And you too William).

So there! I wore a tie. I took a photo. I blogged about it. Heck! I am a loser with STYLE.....oh, and a big thank you to Dani for taking the photo, you're a doll!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


“Fanchie?” I called to my daughter who was in the kitchen when I heard the crash.
“Scusa Mamma,” she said in her I-am-guilty voice.
“Stand where you are, DO NOT MOVE.” I quickly rinsed my toothbrush and headed that way, to check the damage. She had gotten into the new habit of breaking things in my kitchen because she wants to do the dishes. It was my Batman mug. I just had coffee in it a while ago.
“Scusa Mamma,” she said again and started to move.
“FERMA,” I said, “You DO NOT move until all this broken pieces are cleaned up.” She looked at me somewhat confused. I normally would make her clean up her mess and I suppose she expected to clean this one too, but there I was telling her not to move.
“I’ll clean it,” I clarified.
She smiled.
“I was only trying to clear the table,” she said. I smiled at her. Lately she has been exhibiting a sense of responsibility a little too advanced for a five years old and I didn’t know how to deal with it. I wanted her to be a child and to enjoy her childhood.
“It’s okay,” I said, bending over the pieces with a waste bin. I started picking the bits.
“I’ll help you.” She took a step towards me. She was barefoot .
“NO.” And a piece cut right through my thumb and index finger.
“Shoot.” I instinctively raised my fingers to my mouth but was aware she was watching me. “this is what happens when you break mugs.” The irritation sounded in my voice. She nodded, I could see she was fighting to keep a straight face.
“Mamma is sorry, I didn‘t mean to yell at you.” With that she broke into a wail and I exhaled. Now that’s a normal child, I thought.
Well another habit she developed is to cry until it becomes one long annoying sound with no connection to the original reason why she started it in the first place. She carried on and I ignored her because I knew any minute now Arianna, the babysitter, will come and it will be all over. As soon as the doorbell rang she stopped and ran to it.
“Sono brava?” Fanchie asked Arianna without even saying hello.
“Of course you are a good girl,” Arriana responded with a puzzled smile, "and hello to you too,” she added, ruffling Fanchie’s mad curls. She took a hold of Arrianna’s hand and led her to me.
“Arianna said I am a good girl,” she announced.
“Of course you are a good girl,” I replied.
“But Arianna thinks so,” she said as though Arianna’s approval was more authentic than mine. I smiled and looked at Arianna who simply shrugged and smiled back.
“I’ll be back in an hour,” I said.
“Tranquilla, today is my day off so you can take two if you want,” Arianna assured me, then went on to ignore me as she went over her plan for the day with Fanchie. Which reminded me to be thankful I found her as a babysitter. Unlike any I had used before, there is never an idle moment for Fanchie with Arianna. I headed out.

Amleto was shining his tumblers when I walked in.
“Ciao Bella, come va?” he greeted, I nodded and planted myself on a stool in front of him. There was a beautiful calming music in the background playing. It was an improvisation of Yanni’s Almost a whisper. It was soothing. I let it wash over me for a while then I remembered why I was there.
“Amleto, un bicchiere di vino per favore,” I ordered a glass of wine, feeling a bit awkward.
“Frizzante vero?” I nodded. He set the frizzling drink before me, I picked it then cleared my throat.
“Listen, I need to find the boy that bought me a drink yesterday. Do you remember him?” “Him?” he said, nodding to the far end of the bar and there behind the pianoforte was Matteo playing. I felt a weird sensation wash over me as I realized the music playing was indeed a life performance and even more so from a boy I already found fascinating.
“Impressive,” I said as I sat there mermerized by the beauty of the sound. The way his fingers caressed the keys and his big green eyes fluttered in oblivion to the rest of the world made him somewhat delicate. Who is this boy? I thought. For the eight years I had lived in this little town, I had always gone to Amleto’s for my drinks and I had mastered the faces of the regular crowd. I even learnt to spot the visitors, most of whom were regular tourists. Matteo had a local accent so he must be from around but I didn’t recall ever laying eyes on him. He was good on the pianoforte and I found myself wondering what else his hands were good at.
“Why do you want to find him?” Amleto interrupted my thoughts.
“Who is he?”
“What do you mean who is he? He told you his name yesterday didn’t he?”
“Yes, but who is he? I have never seen him here before.”
“What difference does it make? Rapallo is a tourist town so people come and go, what does it matter?” “He has a Genovese accent Amleto. He’s from around here.”
“You don’t want to know him,” Amleto said in a tone rather protective.
“Oh but I do. Very much.”
“He is a lot younger than you, you don’t want him.” It sounded almost like a warning.
“What does it matter to you how old we are?” I asked suspiciously. Amleto had never been one to really care who was lusting after who. He was content serving drinks and treating all his customers equally. There was a protectiveness about him towards Matteo that was almost paternal.
“Is he your son?” I asked. He laughed. It occurred to me for the first time that he might just be. I had never let myself think of Amleto in any way besides the guy behind the bar. For the first time it hit me that he could have a family and probably a life quite different from the one portrayed behind the counter.
“Is he?”
“No, but I knew his mother though. She died when he was very young and I had watched him grow. He is a very good boy but very delicate and I care a lot about him.” Amleto said. I felt a thin rush of anger wash over me. I may be a decade older than Matteo but I was not a sex predator. I didn’t like Amleto’s attitude. I chose to ignore it because it was the first time in all the time I had known him that he had been in anyway disagreeable to me.
I sipped my wine in silence and drifted away with my thoughts.
“Ah, you came,” I heard and turned around to find those big green eyes looking at me. I didn’t even realize he had stopped playing the pianoforte.
“Matteo,” I said, offering him a handshake, he took my hands and said
“I am Matteo.”
I laughed.
“I know that.”
“I haven’t been to this little town in ages, I keep forgetting how expensive things are here in Rapallo,” he said, sitting next to me. He exhaled then ordered for a glass of frizzled water. I watched him quietly as he drank. He was delicate, he had a really beautiful face, very symmetric. It was the sort of face that I usually found unattractive. I am not a big fan of perfection in humans. I found faces with a crooked nose for instance more interesting than ones with nothing to criticize. Matteo‘s face was perfect, yet there was something in his eyes that made me forgive his perfect face. It was a hunger, a yearning, a cry, for something I couldn‘t figure out. What was it about him that made Amleto so protective.
“So, where are you from?” I asked finally. He turned around fully to face me, he stared at me as though trying to see into my soul. I noticed that he didn’t smile much although his eyes were always tender.
“I’m from here, but haven’t been home in ages.”
“So where have you been?”
“The UK mostly.”
“What brings you back?”
“I don’t know.” He frowned briefly as though contemplating the question.
“So, who are you? Who is Binta?” He directed the conversation back at me.
“A single mother, a writer, an English teacher.”
“You told me you were a sex therapist.”
“That too,” I said laughing, “although not certified.” I didn’t know why I was still claiming to being that, especially since I knew very little about the matter. He nodded.
“What do you write?”
“Short stories, poetry and general interest freelance, but I am currently working on a novel.”
“What is it about?”
“A woman. It’s a little difficult to describe.”
“Sexual awakening.”
“So how old is this woman?”
“About my age.” I saw his first smile.
“Not really, just fiction, but it’s in a memoir style yes, which is why I decided to make the main character female about my age, can’t imagine trying to be someone else.”
“It is a memoir then,” he insisted.
“A fictional memoir.”
“I’d like to read it, if you’d let me.”
I nodded.
“What happened to your fingers?”
“He took my hands in his and ran his fingers over my Whinnie the Pooh band aids.” I smiled.
“My daughter put that on for me.”
“She broke one of my twin mugs and I cut myself cleaning up and she felt bad about it.”
“Twin mugs?”
“I collect mugs in pairs.”
“Why?” He peered into face pulling my hand to his chest and drawing me closer to him. I didn’t know if he was feigning interesting but I found it intoxicating
“It all started when I decided it was time to find the love of my life and settle down. You see, for me, sex and love had always been interchangeable. So finding the love of my life automatically meant bed-fellows and breakfast for two.”
“And how long ago was that?”
“About ten years.”
“How many pairs have you got?”
“Thirteen mugs, twelve now with that one gone.” He leaned away and let go of my hand.
“How many pairs?” he repeated.
“Right now, none.” I thought I saw a ghost of a smile quickly wash across his face.
“So when do we go shopping for the next pair?”
“When I find Mister Right,” I responded when what I really wanted to say was ‘I shop alone’.
I found the conversation a little awkward then. He was in my intimate space and it bothered me somewhat. I have never had problems talking about my sexual relationships before. Not that I considered this conversation really about sex. But I didn’t want him touching a topic that may likely never concern him. As much as I found him fascinating, I still could not really marry that to the fact that he was much too young for me. Which was why it felt like I was desperately trying to pervert an already sexually active child. My mind went back to when my aunties had asked me questions about our encounter with Magdalene. Did they feel any sense of moral responsibility towards me at all then?
“I’m glad you dropped by here today,” Matteo interrupted my thoughts, “Amletto wouldn’t tell me how to find you but he did say you drop by almost daily so I came hoping….” He looked away suddenly. I smiled.
“I really like you and would like to get to know you better,” he added. He seemed slightly nervous. He was fidgeting with a bottle top. He had really beautiful hands. He didn’t look at me. I stared at him in silence. I liked him. A lot. I didn’t feel that clandestine sense of lust I felt the previous night. The feeling that afternoon was odd. I couldn’t really describe it. It was a sense of wanting to protect him, it was almost maternal but in a weird way incestuous because I kept looking at his mouth and wondered what it would feel like to French kiss him.
He reached over and picked a paper napkin from the holder at the far end of the bar then scribbled something and pushed it over to me.
“That’s my number,” he said. I took out my cell phone punched the numbers and dialled. His phone rang.
“And that’s mine,” I said. I didn’t want to be left with the option of calling him. I didn’t consider myself a traditional female waiting to be wooed, but I couldn’t quite define my attraction towards the boy or how to treat it. It felt safer for me to give him the option of taking the next step, whatever that was.
“I have to run now,” he said, standing up, “I do volunteer work at the cat shelter and I’m expected in about thirty minutes.”
“What cat shelter?”
“The one by the theatre.” I looked at him blankly. I had no idea one existed. He flipped open his cell phone and showed me photos of a few furry felines.
“Would you like to adopt one for your kid?” I shook my head.
“You like cats,” I stated rather than asked.
“Very much,” he said and his eyes lit up, “I had one for sixteen years then it died and I haven’t replaced him yet. But I constantly need the purr of a cat so I get a daily dose of that at the shelter, which is why I am volunteering,” he laughed for the first time. I smiled.
“I better get going,” he leaned over and kissed my cheeks, his were soft, warm and stubble free.
“I’ll be in touch,” he said. I waved and watched him leave. For a split second, there was a familiarity about him that made my heart beat faster. This feels like the Rohn experience all over again, I thought.

....To be continued.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's like being caught with my hand in the cookie jar!

Hallelujah! I just saw here, from the multiple uses of lemon that I got at least one thing right! My kitchen counter cleaner is good and eco-friendly.

I use a mixture of lemon juice, vinegar and water to clean my kitchen counter and my glass coffee table, I got the recipe from a friend when I complained about being possibly allergic to store bought, all purpose, cleaning sprays. I don't know about you all, but I am bit of a cleaning freak when it comes to areas or surfaces that my food (kitchen) and body (bathroom) come in contact with. So I am constantly cleaning. For the life of me, I haven't found any of those supermarket products that don't make me sneeze or cough while using them. Annoying. So my friend asked me to try the LVW concoction and voila! It does the job well and doesn't irritate my air passage at all.

I have this crazy idea, that if I cook a meal on a dirty cooker surface, it'll be full of germs, so I have my cooker tops ALWAYS cleaned before and after cooking. My sisters think I am a bit of a cleaning freak. …ok, off topic there….. What I am trying to get to is this, I usually await the beginning of anything – a week, a month a season - to implement a new resolution. So (you guessed it). I spent most of yesterday planning what new changes I would implement starting August 1st.

I have for years been thinking I ought to change my ways, but so far that is all I have done. Think. Yesterday, I took my kid to McDonalds, feeling guilty about it to and fro, yet I did, because I didn't want to come home to cooking, while nursing an annoying cold.

A friend of mine said to me, when he learned I had fed her that junk "Do the best you can, dear, do the best you can" and for some odd reason it followed me around all day like a stubborn mosquito! The interesting thing about it all, was I got the feeling it was said with so much conviction, yet no judgment, which was probably why I couldn't shake it off.

So this morning, I fed her milk and biscuits for breakfast….not home made biscuits I'm afraid. It beats the iced tea and biscuits I normally would let her have though. She normally would ask for iced tea and I'd indulge, but when I suggested milk instead, she was all smiles and actually thought it was a treat! Poor child.

I see a repeat here and it bothers me. Growing up, black coffee and eggs on toast was breakfast for me and I see her having the same unhealthy choices I had as a child…..

Lunch was polenta and parmesan cheese, not sure how healthy that is. Interestingly, my child is a vegetarian, in that she doesn't quite like meat or animal protein, can't explain why, she hatse fruits though. The closest she has come to eating fruits is in flavoured yogurts.

I am not very creative in the kitchen I am afraid, so healthy eating will certainly be a challenge. I have for so long fed on fruits and veggies due to lack of interest in cooking rather than healthy choice, and I have allowed her to make an equally lazy choice. Only problem is I ingest a healthier variety than she does….talk about being irresponsible!

So I go around surfing the net trying to come up with possible ideas ( we'll begin this green living by detoxifying our bodies first) and I found this link. It felt like being caught in the middle of sinning! Why should it be? Is it probably because I see a confession of acts I wish were mine?

I shall make a simple plan to begin with. I'll come back in a week and tell you how we did. It's going to be a crazy week. I shall be super busy, but I won't use that as an excuse (I hope) to put off being responsible another day. Wish me luck.

Streetwise (Excerp)

“That colour looks good on you,” he said. I turned around and a pair of beautiful green eyes were smiling at me. He was looking from my turquoise t-shirt to my face and back. My eyes travelled to his soft, pink, unsmiling lips, then back to his eyes. He was barely a man. He smiled. I smiled back.
“It’s a tricky colour to wear but you carry it well,” he added, then settled his firm butt on the stool next to mine.
“Thank you,” I said. He smiled again. I let my eyes travel his whole length. He was beautiful. He was slim and trim with a wide chest and a narrow waist. He had the body of a man, but there was a frailty about him that sort of took the edge off his masculinity. He was about my height - one metre seventy-four.
I returned my attention to the book and was lost in it for a while.
“I’ve never known anyone to read at a bar,” he interrupted me. I looked at him. There was something delicate about him that I couldn’t place my finger on. I had just crawled out of another foolish relationship and was still raw from the wounds I was nursing. I saw the warning signs flashing at me from the start but ignored it so it was no one‘s fault really, still, it was unpleasant for the short while it lasted. I had decided, the previous day, after much thinking, that I was through being nice to men.
Amleto’s bar was just five minutes from my house and I often went out there for a drink and a chat. It was late afternoon, just about the hour most people were through with work for the day but too early for drinkers to ingest enough alcohol to boost their courage for chatting up.
“Campari and soda,” Boy man ordered. I returned my eyes to my book.
“I’m Matteo,” he interrupted again.
“How old are you?” I heard myself say before I had the chance to think. I wanted to swallow my tongue.
“Twenty-five.” He didn’t seem to find my question odd. He took a sip of his drink, while looking at me over the rim of his glass. His eyes were deep, I felt myself drawn to them. It felt like I was getting into a trance.
“What’s yours?” he snapped me back to reality.
“My what?”
“Name?” I felt foolish. I started to laugh and ended up with my wine bursting through my nostrils. He flipped out a paper napkin and handed it to me, then started to laugh too. His laugh was throaty and rich. We laughed for a while together.
“I am Binta,” I said at length, after I contained myself.
“Unusual name.”
“African name, Arabic origin actually.”
“I like the sound of it,” he nodded with a slight frown on his face as though he was trying to see the name.
“Un nome molto bello,” he added, clearing the frown and smiling again.
“What do you do for a living?”
“I am a sex therapist,” I said. I was pleasantly shocked at myself. I had no idea why I said that. In an attempt to redeem myself I decided to redirect the conversation but my attempt was lame.
“Where do you go to school?” I asked. I was half teasing.
“I work with Telecom.” My surprise showed.
“Where you born and raised here?” Italian boys his age were usually either still in school or working at some dead end bar, being lazy and feeding off their parents - at least the ones I had met. He was a refreshing change from the norm.
“I don’t know any Italian boy your age that has a decent job.”
“What do you mean decent?”
“Well you’re not tending tables at some dead end bar.” He threw his head back and laughed that throaty laugh again. I found myself wondering what he would sound like in bed.
Binta snap out of it, you’re through with men, I thought, but there was something about the boy that drew me. Amleto cleared his throat and gave me a not-too-pleased look.
“I didn’t mean that disrespectfully Amleto,” I smiled lamely, “at least you own the bar, that’s different.
“So?” I returned my attention to Boy Man.
“Born and bred here in Liguria.”
“There is something about you, can’t place a finger on it yet. You‘re a cross between a boy and a man.”
“Maybe because I am a lot more mature for my age?”
“Cocky I’d say.” I found his cockiness attractive though. I gulped down my wine.
“Give the lady another serving Amleto.” He turned his eyes on me, I met his gaze and held it.
“How old are you?”
“You don’t ask a lady her age,”
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“Do you want to be?”
“On what?”
“I don’t date women younger than thirty.” I gasped. I wanted to laugh but I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was serious.
“Older women fascinate me.” How? I felt like asking but decided against it. Here I was a thirty six years old woman listening to a twenty five years old boy telling me woman my age fascinated him. I must say I was tempted to tell him how old I was. There was something about him that made me want to know him better .
My phone rang. It was Ariana, my baby sitter.
“Ciao Ariana, dimmi tutto, tell me,” I said into the telephone and she reminded me that she needed to leave an hour earlier today.
“Scusa mi, I forgot the time, I‘ll be there in a minute” I gushed. I gulped down the wine Matteo had ordered for me.
“Thanks for the drink,” I gently rubbed his back. “It was nice meeting you.” I made for the door.
“Ci vediamo domani?” Amleto called. I had forgotten to pay my bill.
“Scusa mi,” I made a beeline for the counter.
“Domani,” Amleto dismissed with a wave of his hand, “I’ll see you tomorrow,” I blew him a kiss and headed out.
“Will I see you again?” Matteo called after me.
“Yes,” I responded.

That whole evening, Matteo’s words echoed in my head repeatedly.
“Older women fascinate me.”
What was the fascination? I wondered. Was it physical or intellectual or mixture of both with the scale leaning towards one more than the other? Oddly though, I found myself hoping the fascination was sexual. Sex for me had always been about intimacy between lovers. I never could, emotionally, separate love from sex, even though intellectually I could. The thought took me by surprise because it was the first time I had consciously let myself think of sex apart from love. I mean what else could this mean? I certainly wasn‘t thinking of Matteo the way I would of a man I would want to be in a relationship with. To me he was barely a boy. But a sexy boy in his own right. Sexy enough for me to think of him in a deeply intimate way without the slightest hint or intention to love him. Now, whether or not I really am capable of loving anyone in the sense that I understand is another matter altogether.
That isn’t to say that I have never been in love before. Although, I never could understand why the initial intense feelings I developed for the men in my life withered away eventually until I was left wondering what it was about them that drew me in the first place. My ex husband told me once that I was incapable of loving anyone because I was a taker. I had laughed. I knew that was not true….or was it? I have had a couple of lovers after him. Relationships that seemed promising in the beginning but withered away almost before they started. The most recent left me burnt and disgruntled but it also snapped me out of being in denial. I am a needy person.
How can I not be? Growing up as a middle child with my brother being Mama’s pet and my sister being Daddy’s little girl left me battling to prove I was worth being someone’s favourite too. Obviously it never took root at home so I sought it with whoever showed the slightest interest in me. And thus began my twisted understanding of love….in sex.
Mama was deeply religious, almost to the point of being fanatic. And she had custody of us after the divorce so (naturally) we soaked up her Christian dogma like dry sponges.
Sex was a sacred act between two souls destined to be together for life.
Sex outside of marriage was wrong.
Masturbation was a sin.
Homosexuality was even worse….worse still, even the thought of sex was wrong. I knew then that I was destined for hell, since sex was something that was perpetually on my mind - not necessarily the thought of wanting to indulge. How can I not have sex on my mind after encountering Magdalene?
She was the first person that introduced the idea of sex to me when I was barely five years old. She was of my grandmother’s generation.
It was during the Christmas vacation. I remember walking down the road, with my big sister and our grandmother (we called her Iya) leading the way. We suddenly bumped into Iya. She had stopped, took hold of our hands and looked around furiously as though looking for the quickest escape. I was trying to figure out what the danger was when I heard Magdalene’s shrill laughter as she rocked her tiny hips back and forth, talking to a group of girls a few metres ahead. They feigned being offended by what she was saying when indeed the glee in their eyes shone like rhinestones.
“Vaku, bring your little girls here for some life saving lessons,” she called. Grandma was trying to escape before Magdalene saw us, now it was too late. She held up her head and in as calm a voice as she could manage she responded.
“We are on our way home Magdee, it’s way past their lunch time,” grandma said pulling us along and attempting to walk right past. The path was narrow and Magdalene was planted right in the middle of it so it was impossible to pass without pushing past her. We stopped. I looked at her, trying to figure out what grandma thought was wrong with her.
She was petite. I was about five years old at the time but I didn’t have to look up to look her in the eyes. Although she wasn’t much bigger than I was, she had the body of a woman. She also had the oddest eyes I had ever seen on a dark skinned person. Hers were a pale shade of grey. I liked her. Especially for those eyes.
“I was just telling these hopeless ones here that sex is not just about procreation, they have to learn how to do the bed dance to get the most of it,” she said gyrating. Grandma put a hand each, over our ears while pressing the other ears to her hips. It was hopeless. Magdalene broke into an erotic dance and whooped while the silly girls continued feigning their disgust. But they remain planted there, obviously absorbing what they could from her.
“Can you do this?” She said looking directly at me. She thrust her hips back and forth, moaning with each thrust. I emulated her and the young girls she was entertaining burst out laughing. I laughed. It must be funny I thought.
“It is not funny,” grandma told me, silencing my laughter, then turning to the little woman, she gave her a tirade of warnings about whose minds she was not permitted to mess with. There was an exchange of words for a moment before grandma dragged us away with her, fuming like a dragon drunk on petrol on the verge of a hangover.
“Iya, you don’t look too happy,” my teenage aunty Talatu said as soon as we walked through the door.
“We ran into Magdee,” Iya simply responded. My auntie made a face. Later on she and two other aunties called us aside to find out what Magdalene had said that had upset Iya that much. “She said something about eating cunt,” I had told them. My aunties burst out laughing, I could see that rhinestone glee in their eyes.
“What else?” Talatu pressed.
“She said that the one with the cunt should have the most fun. That it was designed to work that way.” They shrieked and gave each other a high five. Although I remembered Magdalene’s words perfectly, it made absolutely no sense to me at all.
“What is a cunt?” I had asked.
“It’s your minnie, but you mustn’t use that word, it is for adults,” Talatu had told me.
“And people eat that?” I couldn’t imagine who would be stupid enough to let their minnie be eaten, it must hurt. I crossed my legs.
“Yes, people eat it,” aunt Hannah responded.
“How? Why?”
“With a willy. Didn’t Magdalene tell you that?” she asked seeming slightly uncomfortable when aunt Gloria nudged her ribs. Apparently the petite woman was notorious for her detailed sex education.
“What’s a willy?
“That’s a boy’s minnie.“
I asked a few more questions and was at ease to discover eating a minnie didn’t hurt. Still the overall idea didn’t make much sense to me. What I came away with was that boys and girls were not the same in their drawers - girls had minnies and boys had willies. Up until then I thought the only difference was that girls had long hair and wore dresses and boys had short hair and wore trousers.
Another interesting thing was that ‘according to Magdalene’ (my aunties didn’t want to get in trouble in case word got out of what I had learnt that from them, so it was easier to blame it on her, after all we had had a Magdee encounter), if willies and minnies rub together it was the sweetest thing on the planet. My first mission henceforth was to find a willy and see what it looked like, then who knows, I could rub my Minnie with it.
Although my first sex education drew a definite line between love and sex I had never really consciously separated them until now - because of Matteo. I decided I would return to Amleto’s and try and track him down.......To be continued.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Man Called Papà

I do know how to put myself in a rather tight corner. Ever since my writer’s block lifted, I have pushed myself to extremes, working on two anthologies and a poetry chapbook, all almost completed. The latest being my attempt to finish a novel by September, in time to enter it for the Mslexia Women’s novel competition.

I received my last copy of Mslexia from my subscription (which I intend to renew by the way) and found that they are inviting bloggers to guest blog for them, and the first thought that crossed my mind was 'Hey, I’ll apply’.

The problem of course is I have not blogged in ages!!

Still, I have written a handful that I had hoped to publish in a weekly succession here with the hope of attracting my target audience for the September novel, which the working title is ‘A man called Papà’ by the way.

So, fingers crossed, I shall be writing to Mslexia for a chance to blog for them. Wish me luck.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Receiving kindness from others begins with you being Kind to yourself.

A day after Christmas, I was in a creative art meeting with some really talented people. I got caught up in a conversation, a woman wanted some relationship advice, why she would trust the judgement of a bunch of ladies she knew nothing about besides a common love for a hobby is beyond me. I for one am clearly not the picture of someone that has it altogether relationship-wise. Either way, I listened. She asked some rather pointy questions about men’s behaviours; the confusion of dealing with someone that goes AWOL too often, then shows up when you least expect him to, showers you with attention and gifts then vanishes again, leaving you wondering if you’ll ever figure out his moods. The one thing that came to mind was ‘He’s not that into you’.

Funny that I should feel that about her situation, as I have had to deal with such situations myself. But I didn’t tell her. I didn’t feel it was my place to. Heck, she knew this person better than the rest of us and should be able to answer her question more than any of us could. I did think though, how common a situation that is - finding oneself enamoured with someone that isn’t that into you.

For example, a lot of people (especially men) seem to think I am independent, because I pull my own weight. I have never had to depend on a man to support me financially. Now that isn’t because I don’t want it. Heck, it’s part of our (women’s) DNA to want to be taken care of and protected. However, if all you’ve experienced of men are takers, you learn early on to pull your own weight, and somewhere along the line it becomes such a habit that you can’t break it even when the opportunity to, presents itself.

Now fast forward to shady relationships I’ve found myself in, where the guy continually reminds me of how independent I am as though it was a noble achievement. I am thankful for having had learned early on to be self efficient, but heck, I do get tired every now and then and sincerely want to find a refuge where I can hide and rest. But I cannot sincerely blame the men I attract. My self sufficiency has always been my first foot forward. I believe it is because subconsciously, I want the man in question to know right away that what I am looking for isn’t material. But hey, let's skip the pigeonholing and encourage more self-reflection and personal responsibility.

The truth is, I have been good at projecting what I am NOT looking for, but I haven‘t quite been clear on what I wanted, so can I really blame the men for taking and not giving? I mean, heck! It’s human nature to want to find something or someone to exploit, and if one finds a person that doesn’t care for their money, what’s to stop them from exploiting you? And if we make room for vagueness because we want to give them a free rein to choose and decide, can we sincerely claim the right to feel offended if their choice of treatment towards us is hurtful? If you are looking for a certain kind of commitment, do yourself the courtesy of being clear (to yourself first) about WHAT you want, as long as you are clear on that, you will be able to judge early on if you are getting it from the person you are investing yourself on.

It is NOT wrong to have specific wants; it saves you the trouble of being bitter with someone for not living up to your expectations, and if they choose to walk away, when what you want is made clear, then that tells you, you are with the wrong person. Someone (you included) that doesn't have the courtesy and kindness to be upfront and be clear, instead of being vague in their communications, just shows a lack of respect and decency.

Back to this woman’s question, WHY does her man do the AWOL and Make up too often? Simple, you (not necessarily her) are that needed boost to his ego. He loves you yes, but it’s more like, he loves the way you make him feel about himself. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with loving you for who you are. He has a life and has priorities and you aren’t one of them. But he needs you, because, like everyone else, he gets in a funk every now and then, and that’s when you become useful.

That’s when he comes back after the AWOL with an explanation for his absence - he was working on an intense project; his boss/partners were on him for a project that needed to be concluded urgently; he had to deal with some unexpected personal tragedy; he went to a retreat somewhere, where there was no telephone signals; he was out of town (when indeed he was probably sitting at home watching cartoons, or spending time with the person that really matters him); he was ill….the list is endless. The shit of it is that they are all legit and believable, and heck, even acceptable explanations.

But let’s be honest here, when you want something (or someone) and you want them badly enough, you will MAKE a way to be available ALL THE TIME, at worse anticipate you unavailability no matter what. You may say, yes but he emails when he can, he sends text messages, he is very sweet when he finally surfaces, that has to count for something? See, he isn’t exactly an idiot, so he comes with the right attitude - missing you and showering you with whatever makes you tick, because he knows that with the right tweaking, he gets you caressing his big fat ego with your adoration of him…..He will go AWOL as soon as he is satisfied.

Now here is a home truth. Most of the time, these takers tell you from the onset that they are not that into you, but it is often times so sugar coated that we ignore it. We are responsible for being kind to ourselves. Be specific to yourself what you want in any relationship. If an FSA (f**k service agreement) is what you are after, be clear about that. If you want a relationship with a certain level of commitment and accountability, be clear about that too. Do not be coy about sharing your opinion on the matter with the other person either. What is most important is to pay attention to what the other person is saying to you, especially when your expectations has been made clear. It will save you the trouble of making excuses for their bad behaviour.

Trust me, there isn’t a pain as painful as longing for someone that is not that into you. It is sad for you to like somebody that doesn't like you the same way, and that's tough enough. But there's nothing like the torture of waiting and hoping and longing and making excuses and dragging it out. If you take away all of the waiting and hoping and longing, all you're left with - at worst -is, 'I like him. He doesn't like me.' And you‘re done. You can move on.

Now, you have two choices, the next time he disappears again, let him go, and go get a life yourself, or wait for the next make up visit, because it will come as soon as he finds himself in a funk again. A taker (man or woman) will do anything to get what they want from whoever is available. Be kind to yourself this year, Define what you expect and go for it. It’s out there waiting for you, you just need to recognize it. Happy New Year!.

©Naan Pocen