Nearing the end of the first week of obscure writing prompts developed by me messing around with homophonic translations of Portuguese phrases in the fine art CV of multimedia artist Brigida Baltar, because what else does one do when one is writer-in-residence inside a modern art gallery’s archive files??
First up, a lovely tiny poem from Lisette again
She explains for the hundredth time as she sets the timer and steam wefts its course along kitchen wall to ceiling cloud. I pretend not to remember so that I can savour her voice.
A poem from Hannah McKay
I’m not too keen on the slimy slippiness of macaroni cheese;
pebbles in the mouth poppiness of peas;
noxious fumes of cod and salmon;
lump-throat gristly-ness of gammon;
unplumbed depths in a bowl of soup;
or creamy sloppy potato gloop.
Give me clean tastes, coriander, spice
black beans and lime
finding happiness with rice.
A great folkloric piece from Ann Cuthbert
You think to slow me down, to counter
my attack but I enjoy it –
it’s the only time I get some proper peace.
You scatter grains, sprinkle seeds, leave sacks of rice.
Once it was a bag of salted nuts.
I can’t resist, have to turn back.
The rhythmic repetition calms me as I count.
Sometimes I vary language – thirteen, pandrah, achtzein, douăzeci –
I’m a polyglot, I’ve got the knack.
You’ve called me many names across the ages –
foul fiend, Lilith, Nosferatu, Drac.
But the one that makes me happiest is Arithmomaniac.
(Folklore from many countries says that a vampire can be stopped by sprinkling seeds, grain or rice in its path because it has a compulsion to count them.)
And then mine, a fictionalised micro-memoir set in 1996 Hong Kong.