Breakfast

child-hunger-food-eat

“A child scrapes the leftovers from his meager lunch at a refugee camp in Kutupalong, Bangladesh. More than a million Rohingyas, originally from Myanmar, are living without basic amenities in government camps like Kutupalong.”


Source: Sushavan Sandy, Nurphoto, Zuma Press, February 21, 2017, wsj.com

Like the white puff

dandelion

I contacted a well-known artist to discuss the possibility of drawing lessons. As a child, I used to draw all the time. It absorbed me completely. At some point, writing replaced drawing and what had once been second nature (drawing) became foreign. But the urge to draw had remained. I missed its simple and primordial pleasures…

When she asked me why I wanted her to teach me drawing, I replied, “Sometimes you just want to sit back and be led.”…The artist peered at me thoughtfully for a moment. Her blue eyes were clear and perfectly lined with kohl. Finally she spoke, with the hint of bemusement. She said the students who came to her were always full of hunger. They were seventeen-year old aspiring artists and eighty-five-year-old retired businessmen. People of mourned, mislaid, or unmined creativity. Their yearning was like the white puff of a dandelion. All she had to was blow gently and watch their creative spores lift, scatter, and take seed.

~ Kyo Maclear, Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation 


Notes:

Jimmy

open-gate-bo-bartlett

Tuesday.

I’m leaning back in the chair.  The bodies on the teleconference are shifting, their paper shuffling is booming on the mic. The update continues, I’m fading, drifting. I look up at the clock and it tugs me back, way back.

It’s hidden inside, in a dark space, deep in a corner on the edges, frayed but biting.

~ 1967

I was a child. You were a child. A Boy.

The schoolhouse had two classrooms, three grades in each room, one row for each grade, four to six students in each grade.  Three rows of heavy steel, four legged desks, each having a pocket for school things.  We were in the First Grade.

He was oversize in first grade, having been held back. Tall, thin, with hunger hanging from his bones. His brother was already categorized as a Juve, his Father an alcoholic, in and out of small jobs and a Mother desperately trying to keep it all together, and losing.

Faded jeans, not from stone washing, but from hand me downs from his older brother, or from a flee market sale. Everything wrong-sized, tattered and carrying a whiff of moth balls. Laces on too-big shoes loosely tied. Hair long, unruly and badly in need of a sheer. [Read more…]

Browse among books like a crazed sheep

book-reading-black-and-white

Although I steeped myself in an incredible amount of reading material, it merely expanded the void, fattened the darkness inside the cactus. Nothing was born from there… . Despite that, I read more and more, growing endlessly fatter of soul until I could not move because of my weight. Just as the mouth takes in food, my eyes avidly devoured everything. No doubt my brain was swelling up from its morbid, chronic hunger. Even after I came to that cottage, my daily task…was to continually browse among books like a crazed sheep.

~ Kurahashi Yumiko, “Ugly Demons


Notes: Quote: Literary Miscellany; Photo: Tilburg, Netherlands 2015 via Your Eyes Blaze Out

It was unbearably joyful.

hand-fingers-grab

It’s Friday night.

The windows are open.

The indefatigable crickets perform a single note concerto in a continuous loop. Gentle gusts of wind rattle the blinds and signal autumn, the chill taking a soft bite of the humidity. Zeke lies the path of the breeze of the oscillating fan, and snores.

I’m awake.
The Body spent.
The Mind and its chatter, ever-present – Working.

In a hunt for a sleeping aid, I flip on SiriusXM Radio and pan through selections.

BBC World Service kicks off a segment on World War Two titled The Leningrad Symphony.  I never cared much for History in school, and in life which accounts for a penchant for repeating mistakes. The moderator, with her soothing British accent, drew me in. [Read more…]

Breakfast

child-food-hunger

A boy eats a free meal, part of a program by outreach group World Mission Community Care, at a slum area in Tondo city, metro Manila.  (Photo: Romeo Ranoco / Reuters)


Hunger.

food-hunger-children

If my life weren’t complicated, I wouldn’t be me.
This is triggered by the tail end of the book title by E. Lockhart:

If my life weren’t complicated, I wouldn’t be Ruby Oliver.

Ruby goes on to say:

I can’t forget things, or ignore them–bad things that happen. I’m a lay-it-all-out person, a dwell-on-it person, an obsess-about-it person. If I hold things in and try to forget or pretend, I become a madman and have panic attacks. I have to talk.

Travis Bickle (De Niro/Taxi Driver/1976) pops in: “You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talking… you talking to me? Well I’m the only one here.”

I can’t forget things, or ignore them? Most certainly Yes.
Not so many bad things happen, and I’m (very) grateful for that.
I’m certainly a lay-it-all-out person (often to much regret),
and boy, can I obsess. Master class here.
As to a madman,
that depends from which side of the desk you are sitting on in evaluation.
And, as to having to talk, not so much.

It’s Tuesday morning.
It’s overcast. It’s drizzling and traffic is snarled.
I’m running late to a 9 am start at a volunteer event at a Food Bank.

There’s a logistics snag.
The Food Bank manager wasn’t expecting us for 3 hours.
There’s frustration etched in her face, but she puts on her game face and scrambles to coordinate activities for two corporate groups, in a space designed for one.

She proceeds with her introduction: [Read more…]

It is an issue of private shame

Hungry-Child

James Harrison, New Statesman: The Foodbank Dilemma:

“…A young clean-shaven man leads an older, grey-haired, battered-by-life-version-of-himself to where Tony stands. Tony greets them kindly and asks the younger man who referred them to the food bank. There’s a moment of startled silence. Then the younger man says gruffly, “It’s not for me, it’s for my dad”, and looks down at the floor. The colour flushing his face makes clear his embarrassment…”

“…School holidays are the hardest time because you have to feed your children three times a day. That’s why I am coming here now…”

“…Normally I eat porridge in the morning to fill myself up and then often I don’t eat at all myself in the evenings. But today is the start of the kids’ holidays and so they don’t get the school meals, they have to eat all their food at home and I just can’t manage…”

“…Not having enough food is a very private issue…It is an issue of private shame. People eat mostly within the home, and so what people eat, and the ways in which it is inadequate, people keep to themselves. And it is an issue of private suffering. If you are not getting enough food, or the right kind of food, you absorb the misery yourself. The cost is embodied by you. It is your body that becomes unhealthy…”

“…people turned to food aid as “a strategy of last resort”, when they have exhausted all other possibilities, including cutting back on food and turning to family and friends. No one I met used a foodbank lightly. Louise had been skipping dinners for months before she went to Coventry Foodbank. She finally attended so she could feed her children during the school holiday…”

“…I saw a young woman break down into floods of tears when the food was brought out. She was overwhelmed by the idea that she could feed her family properly that night…”

“…Another man, too shy to talk to me, told the volunteers he had walked miles across the city to get a referral and then a few miles more for his food that afternoon. He didn’t have enough money for the bus fare. He sat, exhausted, cradling a cup of tea, rocking backwards and forwards, before making the same trip home again. This time laden down with his bags of food…”

“…I am down to the last pound or so on my electricity card and I am really starting to worry about that. And so I have been going to bed really hungry for a week or so. It’s my second trip. I was really worried about coming the first time. I was ashamed, but everyone has made me feel so welcome, and told me not to worry. This time I feel more comfortable. I hope my benefit issues will get sorted out soon so I don’t have to come again…”

Read full article here: The Foodbank Dilemma:


Image Credit: shescribes.com

 

As you prepare your breakfast

candle-flame-light-dark

As you prepare your breakfast, think of others
(do not forget the pigeon’s food).
As you wage your wars, think of others
(do not forget those who seek peace).
As you pay your water bill, think of others
(those who are nursed by clouds).
As you return home, to your home, think of others
(do not forget the people of the camps).
As you sleep and count the stars, think of others
(those who have nowhere to sleep).
As you express yourself in metaphor, think of others
(those who have lost the right to speak).
As you think of others far away, think of yourself
(say: If only I were a candle in the dark.)

— Mahmoud Darwish, “Think of Others”

 


Credits: Poem – The Journey of Words from Darwish’s book Almond Blossoms and Beyond. Photograph: bdak89

Monday (Anti) Mantra. Always. Always this…

melon-light

how you can never reach it,
no matter how hard you try,
walking as fast as you can,
but getting nowhere,
arms and legs pumping,
sweat drizzling in rivulets;
each year, a little slower,
more creaks and aches, less breath.
Ah, but these soft nights,
air like a warm bath,
the dusky wings of bats careening crazily overhead,
and you’d think the road goes on forever.
Apollinaire wrote, “What isn’t given to love is so much wasted,”
and I wonder what I haven’t given yet.
A thin comma moon rises orange,
a skinny slice of melon,
so delicious I could drown in its sweetness.
Or eat the whole thing, down to the rind.
Always, this hunger for more.

Barbara Crooker, How the Trees on Summer Nights Turn Into A Dark River


Notes:


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