5min pressing a day (#685)

#685

Dorothea wove her way
through thick crowds
like a bookworm
that has eaten an
exciting story

Chewing through the thrilling bits
without a pause

That is how Natasha remembered her
first visit to the market

Dorotheas stall was at the
further extremity
of the market

This place is for those in search
of deep
spiciness

It is a certain type of person
who will make it this far
she says

Natasha followed
meandering
and at ease

Finding time to stop
only
when something exotic caught her eye

It is a good thing
that bookworms
are slow

She thought
every time that Dorothea turned
looking back
to see where she was

My stall is one of the more
affordable stalls

The sign is somewhat
weathered

Heart repairs

Peeling paint
some of the letters have almost
vanished

It is too hard
for them
here

Few people ever stop

Mr Carruthers is one
of her customers
coming
every Thursday
after bowls
she pulls on her long woolley
helmet
that’s what she calls it

Passing through the market
hoping she will not be seen

Natasha will mind the stall
while Dorothea is on holiday

It’s good to take your own advice
occasionally
she says
tracing
with her fingertip
a line around a large map of the world

That has been glued to the counter

With areas having become worn away
by people pointing at them

Large cities
sometimes whole islands
and countries
erased
then drawn back in

In a way that doesn’t necessarily reflect
the lands depicted

We avoid constricting measures
she says to Natasha
pointing to an area of sea
speckled with islands
dotted here and there

There is where
you will find me

A place where old cyclones go
to quietly pass

I trust things will be well cared for
while I am away

Mrs Carruthers will arrive today
at about two o’clock

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5min pressing a day (#684)

#684

After Doris drunk the coffee
Natasha had noticed
that she seemed to become
braver
taller
and more
muscular

As she and Stella carried
Doris off the aircraft
she knew
that what she had
quietly
thought
to herself
was indeed the case

That all of those muscles
would eventually become
heavy
flab

She was more concerned
that Stella
would drop her end

Natasha had guided Stella to hold
Doris’s feet
knowing that she is a bit
clumsy

Natasha had acted
as though the feet were
expendable
as though the feet were
of less value
than other parts of
Doris
if Stella were to slip on the stairs
or fall into a hole

Carrying Doris
off the aircraft was quite
difficult

The aisles are very narrow

Natasha stopped at the door
to thank the pilot
and the crew

In my world
we always say thank you
to the pilot

Stella was not paying attention
she had caught her vest
on the fire-extinguisher

Even if the pilot gets lost
landing in the wrong place
in the wrong country even

We say thank you

Even if the pilot crashes the plane

We still say thank you

Doris has fallen
into a delirium

Muttering to herself

Everything was cut into seven pieces
there were seven of us

Stella yanks at her vest
pulling the fire-extinguisher
off the wall

Diving to catch it
and it bounces down the steps

Natasha is still able
to hold the top half

The cabin-crew says
don’t worry
about the fire extinguisher

The rest of the passengers are waiting

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5min pressing a day (#683)

#683

With all of the turbulence
Natasha found to difficult
to focus
on the hills

I wonder why they chose
to plant all of that
gorse ?

They could have planted
so many other things
Frangipani
Cistus
or Fig trees

Natasha gets excited
with every patch of turbulence

She loves aeroplanes
so much

Imagining many men
in their sheds
making screws
and tiny impellors
for turbines
and pipes
to direct fluids and gases
to their various destinations

Arriving at the aeroplane factory
in a line of little vans
full  of screws and trimming tabs
tail-planes and jet-engines
carefully handmade
numbered
tested
wrapped in tissue
put into hand-printed boxes
and delivered to the factory

Men with grey engineers coats
wiry grey hair
and overgrown moustaches
turning to wave goodbye
to their creations before they leave

She is always so amazed
that they can fly
amazed that they can land
amazed that someone could imagine
all of those various parts
and how they would fit together

She loves
how even in normal flight
strange noises can be heard
from inside the of the aircraft

Like messages
from the very heart

That was the thought that she had
the moment
they hit the runway

She loves the way
that pilots sometimes have
to struggle
with cross winds
sudden dips
and gains
in altitude
levelling the wings
at the last moment
to land the aircraft
in a straight line

Stopping within the length of the runway

And how it was
that even when they hit the runway
hard
like this

That the wheels
and undercarriage
didn’t snap-off

She loves aeroplanes so much

Doris seems to have fainted though

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5min pressing a day (#682)

#682

At the airport
Doris and Stella both ordered
coffee

Doris’s was
double
strength
in a large mug

Natasha had her thermos
of tea

A ‘special’ tea
from her planet no doubt
said Doris giggling

Planet Natasha

Dropping three sugar cubes
into her coffee

Stella elbowed her
misunderestimating her strength
knocking the milk jug out of her hand

They were able to mop-up the milk
that Stella had spilled
with a tissue

Natasha ignored them
seemingly absorbed in watching
the flower vendors
wrapping bouquets

As if bouquets
were something
that made her sad

She is looking in the hope that she will see
an orange flower

She had been unusually sombre
after what she now referred to as
‘The orange flower incident’

As if it were a notable battle
in a major war

The orange flowers
had inexplicably wilted
and fallen

She had spent all summer
watering them
and watching them grow

She hadn’t been following
Doris and Stellas conversation

She thought she heard Doris’s voice
speaking as if reading
from one of her university texts

‘The imagination
is a strange and powerful thing
…it can cause the smallest
and most insignificant thing
to grow
disproportionately…
even if has no solidity
or reality…’

But it wasn’t
Doris speaking

Hopefully
I will sit next to the window
watching the clouds
until I fall asleep

Until then
imagining a world
without orange flowers

Which seems quite unbearable

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5min pressing a day (#681)

#681

Doris has entered a competition
a quiz

If she is
the winner
she gets to ride home
on a
brand
new
bicycle

It will have a bell
to let everybody know
that I am passing

She says
talking aloud
to herself

And streamers
from the ends
of the handlebars

And a tall
whip
arial

With a flag

A pennant

With a picture
of
a
plum

A black plum

A Black Doris !

Stella and Natasha
are on the sofa
by the window

Discussing Natashas lost origins

Does it mean
that I don’t know
who I am ?

She wonders

Without believing herself

Stella suggests that she write a letter home

Even if she doesn’t know where it is
it might find its way there
and they might be able to help you
return

The first sentence says

‘Sometimes it is as if
I have landed
in a field of
barberry’

‘Things here can be so sharp
and scratchy’

She puts down her pen

Looking out the window
she sees two elderly gentlemen
Mr Forbes and Mr Dyson

They are standing together
amongst some tall grass
looking downward

They have been there for hours

Looking at the grass

What are they looking at?
Stella asks

‘ A field of grass perhaps’
says Natasha
changing her mind

What is Doris doing?

Remembering things

She is currently remembering
fifty recipes
that use balsamic vinegar

Just in case she is asked
in the competition

Her bicycle
rides around and around
her imagination
ringing its bell

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5min pressing a day (#680)

#680

The Forbses had left on Friday evening

It had been a beautiful day
clear and sunny
very little wind
and quite acceptable temperatures

Natasha wasn’t able to
make it
to the airport
to say goodbye

But she went to the beach instead
where she could
wave
to the plane
as it flew past

All was well
until Monday
when a sudden storm
of strangeness
caused all of the orange
flowers
in the garden
to die

Only the orange ones

Natasha spent two
days
in bed

Not getting up until lunchtime
on Wednesday

She was to be seen
from then on
in the garden
at nights
digging

Illuminated
but an uneven light

Candles are not good
as lighting
for excavation

When Stella found out
she started bringing her cups
of coffee
and hot chocolate

Usually she would spill
less
than half
on the way

Natasha would wipe away the sweat
with her black armband
drink the coffee in a single gulp
and start digging again

I have to bury them
before the Forbses return
next week

The orange flowers

Said Natasha
wiping herself again
leaving a thin smear of
mud
across the front of her face

With her
black armband

The orange flowers
were their favourites
and mine too

Natasha
what will you tell Mr and Mrs Forbes
when they get home?

They will want to know
what happened to them

I will tell them the truth
that there was something like a wave
a gust
of unease
from the heart of everything

Then they wilted
and died

We were all planning
to spend
the rest of our lives
talking
with them

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5min pressing a day (#679)

#679

It had been a strange day
in the garden

All day
it had been strange
All week

Natasha had taken Stella
for a walk

To the front gate
to inspect her flowers

Most of her flowers are
tiny
many people don’t even notice
that they are there

Thinking it a shambles of unruly plants

Usually I walk-out
the front door
at 8:00
in the morning

And have made it to the front gate
by 12:00
just in time for lunch

After a relaxed meal

Turning around to face
the way we had come
and begin the return trip

By a different route

You must always return
by a different route

Natasha said to Stella
earnestly

Don’t go home
by the same way you came

She said
as though she were saying something
different

The flowers in the back of the garden
will feel neglected

If you don’t visit them

It has been strange
in the garden
recently

The persimmon tree had been in full flower
for a long time

Stella slipped on the side of the path
almost falling
Natasha was able to catch her
arm

Falling on the roses
would have been most unfortunate

Gordje von Strom did it
just last week
since then he has been pulling thorns out
of his whole body

He says he had a lapse
whatever that means

Maybe he went blind

Anyway the roses haven’t
spoken to him
since then

The persimmon flowers
seemed to freeze on the branches
even though it was
summer

We thought
they would last and last
forever

They were so
beautiful

Then on Monday
after such a long time
they all fell off

In a single gust

I was very sad
said Natasha

I loved those flowers so much

At that moment Stella
knocked over
a garden ornament

A cast sculpture
of Cassandra

No one else has a statue
of Cassandra
said Natasha
as she set it upright again

She is my patron
saint

No-one had ever listened to her
before

Cassandra

And now she has
fallen over

I hope she will be okay

Brushing some specks
of compost
off her elbow

You know
that the Frangipani tree
has been at odds
with the Clematis

The Clematis had said
your flowers are pink
just like the pink flowers
amongst the grasses

The Frangipani
looked away

I don’t know what
has got into them

It has been very strange recently

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