The Flu (poem)

Dear readers,

The flu is doing the rounds throughout Honduras, and it has latched on to me. Now I have the song, “When two sides go to war” echoing through my brain. Yes, Nick Rogers is hereby declaring war on the flu.

I wrote short poem about having it. Enjoy.

The Flu

When one has the flu,
There aren’t a lot of things for them to do;
‘Cept drink tea and stay in bed,
Knock back Panadol to clear the head,
Scoff vitamin C like you have no fear,
Even if it gives you days of diarrhea.
One must be wise and get some rest,
In your jimjams and a non-stanky vest.
Stay warm, wrapped up and have tissues on-hand,
‘Cos when the runny snot comes you’ll be sinking in sand.
Your voice goes deep but you don’t sound sexy,
You don’t look it either being that sweaty.
Take a sleeping pill and let the sueños kill it off,
And chew on a lime to get rid of the cough.
Stick vapour up your nostrils and suck extra hard,
And stay away from dairy products and nosh with loads of lard.
Soon your sinuses’ll unblock and you’ll breathe again,
And you’ll have a leaving party called, “Goodbye phlegm“.


Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig

Dear readers,

This isn’t a review. Just an update. I started reading Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig a couple of weeks ago, and according to Kindle I’m 9% through the book. As you can tell, I’m reading it slowly. I’m a slow reader in general. Though this book is to savour. In so far, I can feel already tell that this is a masterpiece.

It was written in 1976 by Manual Puig, an Argentinian author. It’s about two prison inmates, Molina and Valetín, talking about a peculiar woman in a movie. And that’s all really I want to tell you so far about the plot, sorry to say.

What I like most is the stream-of-conscious tensity and the bickering narrated through dialogue almost like a screenplay. It’s was of course made into a play and a movie. The flow of the dialogue is unique though, of very good writing craftsmanship, which I recommend all other writers to read, to see how Puig acquires a humorous yet thrilling and tense tone. It intrigues and impresses page by page, which is not common in many stories, where you turn the page subconsciously for the sake of the plot. This is different.

I was attracted to the book as I am a fan of Latin American literature, as well as books that display a uniqueness in their narrative. I also enjoy a unique narrative. That word “uniqueness“; it’s what makes books fly off bookselves according to publishers and agents, although rarely are they as excellently written and engaging as this masterpiece, which stands the test of time, yet keeps it secluded away from the average reader. Maybe it’s the subject, maybe it doesn’t seem gripping enough for some, maybe it’s because one of the main characters is transexual, and this was written a little ahead of its time for the 1970s in a very religious Latin America. Who knows. I enjoy it and appreciate it as a work of art.

I now put this out to the readers and writers, which books do you find unique with a great narrative?

Leave your comments below.

Guns. Debate.

Dear readers,

I don’t like commenting on the US all the time. I’m not from the country nor is this blog about the US nor have I passed substantial time there. I’m sure some people from the US don’t like me talking about their country, especially where politics and US culture is concerned. Yet the country fascinates me, as it do the people. It’s so vast and polemic and difficult to comprehend, especially where you are born and raised in a small nation, like many other countries, so heavily influenced by the US, culturally and politically. But I think the one issue which the world watches on in horror (while scratching their head) is the gun problem.

I don’t understand guns. I’ve only ever fired one. It was a pistol and I used it to shoot at an empty Coca Cola can. I missed. While holding it, I felt a physical and psychological weight in my hand, a killing tool so to speak, an advantage over another person or living creature, which I can’t say I enjoyed. I’ve played paintball too, and also felt how dangerous the weapon could be, if in the hands of someone intent on causing harm. I’m from a background and culture in the UK that is anti-gun. I now live in a country where there are lots of guns, although I would still say the average Honduran is still largely anti-gun.

So, seeing these mass shootings and massacres in schools or public spaces shocks everyone across the world, but it doesn’t surprise us. I can’t begin to think how many shootings I’ve seen or heard of on the news, yet the reaction is almost monotonous, when it should provoke change or reform of some sort. Anger and prayers, digging information on the killer, family life, mental health, how he or she got their hands on weapons meant for war, not self-protection or hunting animals. Celebrities speak out, NRA deny responsibility, and then gun owners bellow their consistutional rights, then…nothing. It happens again a few months later, more family members and friends lost so violently, more polemic views on guns.

It is easy to tell that I am on the anti-gun side of this debate, but as I mentioned above: I don’t understand firearms, nor have I had the opportunity to use one for a worthwhile reason. Hunting or protection aren’t a great concern to me. I’m sure a gun would be if you lived in a poor neighbourhood or the US outback.

I invite people on both side of the debate to comment (with calm), especially gun owners. I don’t really need to know your consistutional rights, but more your personal reason for owning a gun. Do you own what could be described as a machine gun or assault rifle? Why? Why do you have it?

My second question about these assault weapons is whether the NRA should be doing more to prevent ownership of these tools, especially those which are against the law? I hear many of the atrocities caused are by semi-automatic guns that have been easy enough to get hold of. Bear in mind, I don’t know the US laws and legislation. Then again, I know that policy makers are reluctant to change. Why?

I’m open to clean debate. Feel free to make your comments.

I’ve Turned Into a Puddle

Dear readers,

It’s very hot today. I am begging for a storm to come along to rinse down Honduras. I’m being careful for what I wish for and not hoping for anything hurricane size, but it’s like a constant greenhouse, relentlessly spanking us with its heat. There’s no breeze and the humidity is hanging in the air. If you’re not in a room with air conditioning or a fan, you’re going to struggle, and if you have no water, you’re a fool.

A sweat angel – courtesy of CrossFitRook

I played the fool today. I had to walk across the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos ranch without a bottle of some trusted H2O and I was almost seeing double on arrival of my destination. I knocked five cups of water then walked back and needed five more. My shirt was stained with sweat and I was talking gibberish, and I guess I still am in this blog post.

I will continue this gibberish in the shape of a poem made up of Limerick verses. You might think I’ve lost my mind. Maybe I have. Maybe you have. Maybe you will have reading this poem.

I’ve Turned Into a Puddle

Turned into liquid form,

This wasn’t the shape I was born,

I used to have legs,

To walk me to Gregg’s*,

Now the heat’s got me seeing a unicorn.

I used to dream of living in a hot place,

Now I walk around with a permanent red face,

Floored and befuddled,

I’ve turned into a puddle,

I’m no longer part of the human race.

I could be used to put out a fire,

Or be the tears of a crier,

I could be a drop in the sea,

But I’m sure you’d agree

That this isn’t a life to aspire.

*A pastry and sandwich chain in the UK

Debate: Donald Trump

Dear readers,

There is something new occuring everyday. Tweets and adult film stars and hirings and firings; it makes one dizzy, but it’s also very tiring.

We understand what he is about and who he appeals to. He steam-rolls through scandals and it seems to do him little harm apart from his reputation, which wasn’t positive in the first place.

Yet many still scream from the hilltops, saying how much of a nightmare it is for the US and the world. There seems to be an obsession of hate against him, although it doesn’t seem to be hurting him or well-aimed enough. However, while everyone is distracted by his Tweets and scandals, he is passing through laws that do not protect the environment, healthcare for the poorest, and cancelling immigrant programmes, that is likely to harm the US economy rather than create jobs for US citizens.

What’s your take on it? Is it hysteria? Is it distracting the US from real issues? It’d be interesting to read some views from Trump supporters.

Bonjour Tristesse and A Certain Smile by Françoise Sagan

Dear readers,

Finally. I’ve finished. I don’t mean that with sarcasm or irony; more of a Au Revoir Tristesse, as it is a sad couplet of novellas. But all the same, they are quite charming and make you chuckle.

Françoise Sagan was 17 or 18 when she wrote Bonjour Tristesse in the 1950s, and then A Certain Smile was published a year or so later. I had heard of Segan from my mother, I think, who has always had a love affair with French culture, language and literature. In fact affair is the perfect noun for these two stories, as infidelity plays a vital role in both.

Both stories are somewhat biographical. They’re written in first person and from the perspective of a teenager. Bonjour Tristesse is about a wealthy Parisian girl who holidays in the South of France with her beloved yet free loving father, who has invited a girlfriend half is age, while also inviting another lady. This causes fireworks and a lot of meddling and trickery from the father’s daughter.

I can’t say much about A Certain Smile because the premise of the story is the affair; I shall not share more, although it seems to be written by a slightly more mature Segan. In fact both stories are well above her age. She demonstrates a philosophical view of infidelity, a depth and understanding of human behaviour and adult relationships and temptation, showing disregard for the cheated, while somehow knowing there’ll be painful consequences.

I can’t say I’ve read masses from French literature written the 1950s. Saying that, I’ve read very little in general from the 50s. It’s hard to say if it is groundbreaking. I understand that France was very Catholic and conservative at the time, so a girl to speak so freely about her affairs might well have been refreshing, or caused a fuss, at least.

I’ve read some negative reviews about both, although especially aimed at Bonjour Tristesse, claiming they didn’t like it as the characters weren’t likeable. I’d say that these characters made the novel. They are flawed and amoral for sure, not relationship material, but they’re perfect for an infidelity plot. The males are the more careless, irresponsible characters, while the women aren’t much better. What I like is their female indecisiveness, broken thoughts, bouncing between love, temptation and remorse. While there’s a fair amount of melodrama, the characters have a realistic bite to them, written liberally and innocently, but also with great technique. Very inspiring.

They also have hint of Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s; the bipolar moods mixed with the style and charm. Funnily enough I read that Françoise Sagan and Trueman Capote we close.

There were various quotes and snippets that made me chuckle or reflect. These are just some:

I am writing ‘God’ instead of ‘chance’, but we did not believe in God. We were fortunate enough in the circumstances to be able to believe in chance. – Bonjour Tristesse

It seemed to me perfectly normal to live your life without experiencing any genuine emotion. Living, essentially, meant seeing to it that you were as content as you could be. And even that wasn’t always so easy. – A Certain Smile

When Luc was on the scene things moved very quickly, they really speeded up. Afterwards, time seemed to lapse back with a bump and be once again measured out in minutes, hours and cigarettes. – A Certain Smile

They ought to give one cinema over to mediocre films, just for people who are short of companions. – A Certain Smile (personal favourite).

Would I recommend it? Yes. To those who love French culture, thought and charm. I preferred A Certain Smile to an extent, but it does drag on a little. The monologues are fine, but the rollercoaster of emotion and the disregard for people’s lives gives you a sombre feel at the end.

I’m sad to finish it, although like the men in the book, I’m glad to move on to something different.

I give it 4/5.

“No Hay Luz”

Dear readers,

Tegucigalpa has just been rattled by a healthy storm; a real electronic romper-stomper, the ones you can only find in the tropics, where you feel literally metres away from bolts of lightening. I’ve seen worser storms, to be honest, and I don’t think it was strong enough to have a name or a category storm. Saying that, this isn’t a challenge to the Gods to give us a more heaftier storm, yet this one did cause several flash floods throughout the city and knocked the electricity out for a few hours. Not only that, it left our dog Vicente a little anxious.

Nonetheless, the city needed a good rinse off, after the weather reached unbearable temperatures, causing several fires especially in the nearby areas to the city. Some of these fires were started by land owners burning rubbish or clearing bush. One fire cost the lives of two firemen, which has left the city in mourning for the last couple of days. Unfortunately, I can see many more perishing if the authorities don’t do more to punish this type of behaviour, or the people don’t change their mentalities who start fires which grow quickly out of control, especially in the dry season.

Therefore, thank God the rains came. The people wanted water; they got aplenty.

It was nice having the lights go out, apart from the fact that it stopped me having a late lunch. My mobile phone was already without juice, so I got to go back to basics of writing under candle light with pen and paper. I enjoy having no electricity, being in a state of inconvenience (not for too long, mind). Being disconnected from the web and social media and the miserable news of late felt refreshing; so refreshing that it inspired a poem, written after the storm had passed.

No Hay Luz

The digital silence soothes the senses.

Devices dead and lights blanked out and telephone conversations ended with no goodbyes.

Coupled by the looming darkness; the city illuminated only by moon and starlight, after thuggish clouds moved on to pulverize other lands.

And cars struggle on down streets converted into temporary rivers, given birth by a petulant, stroppy storm.

The noise, oh that noise, of life chirping, happening, rebuilding its strengths in the aftermath.

Voices of nature, of geckos bickering in the candle flicker and the rain dropping its last drips on window panes and tin roofs.

And impatient moans and groans of neighbours, “No hay luz“, obsessed with being reconnected to that woven web.

Away from the narcissism of Facebook and the feuds on Twitter and marathons on Netflix and games that kill time from more fulfilling joys;

I embrace these lonely moments, disconnected from news and WhatsApp and the idioces of humanity.

Simplicity, a route to a natural joy, with candlelight and pen and paper and cup of water.

No music, no radiation contamination from cell phones, no obsession to look at surplus updates.

Life wins.