I am a Monkey in the Chinese horoscope and very pleased to be one, although I recognise some of the less desirable traits all too well (low boredom threshold, need constant stimulation, can be lazy and too clever for their own good). However, the year of the Fire Monkey can be surprising, full of conflicts and uncertainty, but also full of new beginnings. The last one was in 1956 – and what a year that was!
For dVerse this time we are looking at fortune cookies (which are not even Chinese) and the enigmatic little messages they contain. My ‘fortune’ is: ‘Your shoes will make you happy today’.
My shoes make me happy every day.
They fit when clothes have seized up and burst.
They snug my toes in wrapped warm delight.
They point accusing in red-tempered glare.
My shoes were once my masters.
I hobbled with calloused vanity
on wobbly stilettos or platforms of skyscraper height.
Now I am myself
and my shoes punctuation,
underlining the essence of moods every day.
… after we returned from the summer holidays and all through the house… cobwebs and dust bunnies were having a party. The washing-machine was churning at full pitch, the fridge had started humming but was bare and hungry. ‘Twas the weekend before school started, so lists were pinned up, checked and found wanting. Protractors had been bought and lost, felt-tip pens had become separated from their lids and were gasping for rehydration. School clothes and pencil cases begging to be legibly marked with the child’s name. Not for the first time, I wished we had given our children shorter names. Shoes had been miraculously outgrown during the holidays. Haircut appointments needed to be made. Telephone messages listened to, some of them requiring replies. Several bills had floated into our postbox and needed rather urgent payment. Above all, we needed food. But supermarkets on a Saturday are a nightmare. I braced myself for battle with wonky trolleys, careless people chatting in front of the aisles I needed to access, the endless queues at the cashier…
I drag the shopping bags inside the house to find those two bouquets waiting for me. Soundlessly. Shyly. I wonder. I approach them gingerly. I see a little note: ‘Happy anniversary, darling!’ It’s the first time since we got married that I had completely forgotten our wedding anniversary. I thought forgetting was something that men did. Or at least my man. And, just as I call out, blushing, my family rushes downstairs in an avalanche of love. One bouquet, they explain amidst giggles and gurgles, was not enough – they could not agree which one was nicer: romantic or exotic. Finally, they decided that Mama was both.
Samuel Peralta is hosting at the dVerse Poets Pub (sadly, for the last time) and he has asked us for a prose poem. Not quite sure if this qualifies – I fear it’s more prose than poetry. But one celebration I haven’t forgotten is Chinese New Year: Happy Year of the Wooden Horse, everyone!