Carpe Diem Haiku

“Here Put This In Your Pocket, It’ll Look Like You’re Carrying A Friend…”

“…..And remember, just don’t smile
Change your shirt, ’cause tonight we got style…”

What pathos, the epitome of delusion. ‘Meeting Across The River,’ by Bruce Springsteen is the Great American novel, and a must as accompaniment to Kerouac’s haiku below. When you listen , click here  to read the lyrics, simply…wonderful.

So the task today set by Chevrefeuille at Carpe Diem  is to use the haiku below by Kerouac to spur one to write one in similar tone, mood and spirit.

Neons, Chinese restaurants
coming on -
Girls come by shades

This is a haiku from a man who has been there. I can imagine the slow strobe effect of the neon lights painting the different women with different colours as they drift into the bar from the street. It brings to mind one of my favourite places when I lived in Bahrain, the Seashell Hotel, owned by the Bahraini prime minister, and in fact a brothel. The women who worked there were from Thailand, the bar staff from the Philippines and the waitresses from Ethiopia. I worked in Saudi Arabia at the time but came across the causeway most nights, driving on a road I have learnt is statistically the most dangerous in the world. We saw it all, I mean all on that road. I used to dress as an Uzbek in those days, with a ornate skull cap, as the terrorists were out and about in Saudi Arabia, dressing up as police and setting up roadblocks to find westerners. But I trusted the Saudis, implicitly, and knew if they ever heard of any danger they would discreetly tell me.

My Texan colleague next to me when I drove used to dress as a Saudi, until our Saudi friends told us there was no way he could be mistaken for a Saudi, even from a distance sitting in a car. For a Texan he was quite deadpan, and after a dangerous morning drive in the mist, which needless to say caused its fair share of accidents, we were driving back at high speed as one did. The highway arched around a long corner.

“Watch the dead guy,” he said evenly, as we came around the bend in the four lane highway.

“Yeah,” I said.

An accident had just happened, and someone had been ejected from one of the cars. We raced by, on to the border, not blinking an eyelid, the Texan drifting back to sleep. Those were the days.

At the Seashell I would smile with the charming hard-working, underpaid  Ethiopian waitresses and wait for the woman I shared a flat with, Pray Wa, to finish working, then would cook her breakfast before falling asleep.

“How many more  breakfasts ’till I get a free night?” I would laugh from the kitchen.

“Many, many more,” she would shout back in an ongoing joke that would shock friends and relatives.

neon lights change colour
her face goes red, blue, then yellow
-inside she stays the same

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Opinion

Ten ‘Things’ We Could Not Do Without

10- Blues. What was the world like before the invention of Blues? Impossible to conceive. BB King, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Eric Clapton, Luther Allison, Taj Mahal, and so many more. You cannot breathe without blues man, how did they before?

9- Tea. In tea friendship, the Japanese saying goes, To say the least. What can’t you say about tea? There is everything in a cup of tea, best drunk in a papercup, or from a flask, or a glass, among friends, lovers, alone, in the morning, afternoon or at midnight. If the world stopped to have a cup of tea,…

8- Tango. The definition of sensuality. You do not use words to describe the tango. Everything is in the accordian and high heels. And inner thigh.

7- French. There is not a more evocative, beautiful language. Period. Granted, it is just a slang of Latin, but no French woman has ever paid for a copper bracelet in my shop, just saying, “bonjour!” guarantees it is free… The language is style itself. When I speak French my voice is in a different octave, and everything is more relaxed.

6- Politeness. The absence of politeness is like the absence of fresh air, or sunrise. When travelling to countries where people are very polite like Iran, where politeness is the culture, it is a sheer delight. Afterwards one misses it like a life without tea or blues.

5- Deserts. Like the tango. Words cannot describe a desert. Imagine an environment that changes a little bit everyday as sand dunes reveal new curves and lines , always warm, where you can sleep outside every night in a perfectly and naturally-cushioned bed, without any mosquitoes or flies. Sheer luxury. Desertification is much underrated..

4- Rain. Rain in the desert is like diamonds. But rain anywhere is beautiful. Rain separates parasites from those who want to enjoy life deeply. I have heard those who curse rain but expect beautifully orange carrots from their supermarket. The whole Bollywood film industry survives on that dance in the rain; rightly so. No-one should own an umbrella. Especially not the queen.

3- Fish n Chips. The royalty of food. None better. Served with tea. Tetleys. Malt vinegar a must. Big chips. You simply have not eaten if you have not had a decent fish supper. Better than any food in France, except a meal shared with my new French neighbour who recently got locked out of her flat, but that is a whole other delicious story.

2- Immigration. Imagine a country with only rednecks. With boiled or deeply-fried pork and overcooked potatoes, wishy washy music without soul, and racism as humour. No spice, zest or colour. Blond hair and blue eyes ruling, and nice high alcohol abuse.. Immigration has been the one overriding success of the modern era. I hate whiter than white countries, with suspiciously pure thoughts. The pilgrims were intolerant, ignorant people who would have all died off without native Indian help, There are those among us that revere religions from the Middle East , yet act as if the people from that area of the world are in some way inferior to “us”. Weird. Most don’t even know where the Middle East is: rednecks.

1- Trekking. There are still people who still drive their cars two blocks to drive cigarettes. Unbelievable. And that people still smoke is actually funny. Talk about sheep controlled by the corporate world. The tobacco stuffed into cigarettes bears little to no relation to the much milder tobacco smoked in the peace pipes my friends, it has been engineered to be much stronger, much more addictive with higher levels of tar, even the lite brands, which is compensated anyway with more chemicals. So buy a pair of canvas slippers and walk in a desert instead. Walk, for days, sleep at nights, through the desert sands. Glorious.

And now, just because…

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