Thursday, April 23, 2015

Introducing Surf Sounds: Poems by Roger Higgins

Today is all about a party invitation – 

I am very proud to be introducing Surf Sounds, the newest volume of poetry by Australian poet Roger Higgins!

Tonight we’re celebrating the book’s south American launch.  Please join us the CafĂ© Musetti in Providencia for an evening of fine wine and finer words!

Jenno, the fabulous new owner of Musetti has selected some seriously nice wines to sip on his primary-colored sofas, and the evening is going to be as solidly pleasurable as Roger’s poetry. 
Come on by!

Date: Thursday 23 April 2015

Time: 20h30 – 23h00 

Venue: Cafe Musetti, Santa Magdalena 87, Local 1, Providencia, Santiago 

Roger Higgins is an Australian who has traveled widely and lived in (alphabetically) Canada, Chile, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, and the USA.  Roger is an engineer by vocation, and has utilized his pen rather more than his camera on many of his travels, bringing together his physical and emotional responses to the environments and situations which he has encountered.  First versions may be written on paper napkins or pieces of paper tablecloths, the backs of boarding passes or the notes screen of a mobile phone. Roger has been published in both magazines and journals. His irst collection Hieroglyphs, was published by Friendly Street Poets 2008. His most recent collection Surf Sounds, is published by Liquid Light Press 2014.

Roger Higgins' poetry is both day by day and exotic. The poet washes his socks and jocks when he showers. He prefers description, narrative and irony to self-dramatization; there’s a lot more to Surf Sounds than ocean, beach and desert.
~ Graham Rowlands, Poet

Surf Sounds can be purchased through amazon, Liquid light Press and Lulu.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Autumn Rains Bring Unexpected Gifts

Thunder!  Lightning!  Power Outages (small ones). RAIN!
            We have had our first rain of the Autumn season and it was a good one - howling torments and running around like mad closing summer-open windows as the rain poured in.

The morning after, I sent this email to Mum: 
            This morning we discovered that our open windows had let in a piteous trail of refugees - all the summer spiders and pill bugs, coming in out of the rain. As for ants  - the ones that live in the bougainvillea outside the bathroom window got flooded out and headed straight in a body towards dryer pastures.
            Mr Tabubil met them before I did. There was much howling.
"They're coming in EVERYWHERE!"  
            "What are? From where?!"
            "Ants!  Lots and lots of ants!  I don't KNOW!  EVERYWHERE!  Do something!"
            I squeezed a lemon so I could break their trail with citric acid and went in. I've found.... six ants so far.

            A very large part of me would love to see Mr Tabubil go work for a year in Papua New Guinea for a while, just for a sense of perspective.

Mum wrote back:

            Mr Tabubil needs a good tropical experience all right - with ants and cockroaches and spiders and geckos - and snakes of course. Did I tell you what happened to your father when he opened his suitcase on our return from PNG last week? In front of him and myself, a gigantic cockroach climbed out of his valise. It was awfully big and I had to go thumping after it with a shoe. 
            This cockroach had hitchhiked its way across  border crossings to lend to strut its stuff in front of all the not quite as gigantic, Australian cockroaches. The bold effrontery of this specimen.  I am sure it had plans to improve on the gene pool of Australia's cockroaches. I did eventually lay waste to its plans with a final and more enraged assault. I suppose in a way, it's speed and cunning, pitted against - ???  --  I guess I could only offer 'size', gave it the huge advantage.  My size meant nothing against its deviousness.
            Have you noticed how hard it is to exterminate a determined insect!?   

Yes, I surely have.  Mr Tabubil has as well.  Mum and I can't really talk, of course.  My deep-freeze Canadian Mr Tabubil might be climbing the furniture but he holds cards of his own.  When the giggling starts, all he has to do is mention Mum's Canadian Bear bells.  And bear stick.  And bear flare.  And the car she picked out because it looked square and solid enough that a hungry bear wouldn't be able to roll it on the first go...

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone!  Best wishes to all on this totally non-sectarian day of chocolate, finger-paint and bunny ears!

This year, I celebrated by dying chicken eggs with a friend and her two small children.  Bunny ears in place, the kids parked themselves at the kitchen ledge mixing bowls of food-color and vinegar.  Danette and I had a slightly more haute-couture technique in mind. 
            It is very elegant and simple - you take a stack of thrifted silk ties with nice bright patterns, and you cut the fabric into squares, and you wrap and tie the silk tightly around the eggs, and you boil the eggs in water with vinegar for quite a long time, and when the eggs are cooled, you unwrap them and you find that the patterns on the silk have transferred artistically to the eggshells.  It's very simple and very elegant and very lovely.
            Danette and I leaned on the kitchen ledge and snipped and wrapped and tied, while a small child dunked boiled eggs in yellow food coloring and solemnly explained that we did this to honor the Easter Rabbit, who once a year pooped out chocolate eggs for all the good little children everywhere. 
            My eyes crossed.  "Are you sure that's not the Easter Chicken?  I thought the Easter Chicken laid the eggs, and the Easter Bunny gives them away in baskets." 
            "Nope."  The small child fished the egg out of the yellow and held it half-way in and half-way out of the red food coloring, making a sort of ombre effect. "The Rabbit poops, and we get them under our pillows."
            Who am I to argue? The Easter Bunny and the Easter Chicken haven't graced my house with the Big Hop in years - I'm old enough that I'm expected to go find my own eggs.

The kid's eggs turned out fantastic.  Kid #1  did a whole Jackson Pollock thing with dribbles and stripes drawn on with a wax candle, and Kid #2 wanted pure colors -

            "Not even a stripe?  Or your name in wax?" 
            "No thank you." He said politely.  "I like mine just plain.  They're perfect."  
            And they were. Really.

Ours, on the other hand…
            Our haute-couture eggs didn't come out quite exactly like the ones in the internet tutorial.  We had wrapped the silk as tightly as possible, but somehow the patterns on the silk didn't adhere to very much of the eggshell, and where it did stick we mostly got lumpy streaks and smears, and one of the ties turned out to contain a very unstable dye that gave everything a base shade of purple. 
            Some test-dyes might have been advisable, in retrospect. I might have done quite a lot of preliminary research, because after-the-fact, the deeper I looked into things, the less simple the silk-dyed-egg technique apparently was - there is quite a lot of crosss-chatter on crafting sites trouble-shooting the elegantly simple instructions and suggesting where to get lots of fresh silk ties in a very big hurry. 
            And most of the eggs burst during boiling, and they hadn't been very nice eggs in the first place, so the blotchy swirls smelled unpleasantly sulpherous and not at all like anything an Easter Rabbit would want underneath her in her Easter nest. 
            They were not, in short, our best efforts.

Mr Tabubil was very severe when he came home. "Not a failure.  Don't use that word.  Did you have fun?"
            "Well - "

            "You all enjoyed yourselves, didn't you?" 
            "I guess - " 
            "Then it wasn't a failure, was it?" 
            "I suppose not." 
            "Right." And then he spoiled it all by giggling. "It's exactly like one of those Pinterest Fails. The instructions look so simple and clear and go step by step so that absolutely anyone can do it - they just don't tell you that doing it correctly needs five years of art school or an apprenticeship with the Culinary Institute of America. The result at home is… less polished.  But you had fun, right? That's what counts."
            The swirls on our eggs were lovely, when you really looked at them, and didn't compare them to the perfect internet version. I went away and ate some chocolate rabbit poop. Non-sulpherously.