Horrible Poem No. 2 — The Premium Economy Haiku

Turbulence at lunchtime.

Shrimp curry everywhere.

Centrifugal force.

Me, at your place, at 2:30 am, on my 17th glass of wine:

“Blah blah blah blah blah politics blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah”

You, physically dying to go to sleep.


I forget how tiny newborns are, tiny human burger patties that cry and make faces. On Monday I went to see B at the hospital. She’s had twins. The Foxes have gone from two to three, to five, virtually overnight.

I was starving afterwards and I made our way back to the city center, ate french fries by Jiriho z Poděbrad, and went to sleep in the same nearly unbearable funk I’ve been in since last Saturday.

Yesterday MPDB wrote from across the sea and said let’s drop everything, let’s run away for a while, let’s go to Morocco.

Lena, who is an actress and who is pregnant with her second child, and in whose Chelsea apartment I stayed one December while visiting New York, sent me a nod, said she understood. About the blue hair thing. And that made it — well, not OK exactly, but better.

Leevi, who went to the same high school I went to except the one in India instead of mine in Norway, and who sat with me during our first lecture ever at the London School of Economics, wrote to say he quit his job and is now training as a massage therapist.

We’re on our first divorces, second children, third big career lurches. Maybe because we want to want to have blue hair. We’re wearing someone else’s clothes at a runway show, and they’re fitted with temporary pins and we can’t wait to get backstage and get back in our sweatpants

nothing quite fits

it’s couture, but it doesn’t fit

Last night Borek and I went to the Czech Grammys, the Ceny Anděl, in Karlin. I wore all black and put on yellow shoes, and tried not to do anything stupid on live television again. We sat between a Czechoslovak Idol winner and an organizer who looked like she wanted to vomit all over me whenever we made eye contact.

That’s the kind of first impression I make.

Or maybe it’s a Prague thing. It’s not like Toronto, which wants to flirt with you at every turn. I’ve never quite found my sea legs in coastless Prague. It’s a different culture, I tell myself, and you have to adapt to being nearly puked on at landmark contemporary cultural events out of the disgust you provoke, because they sure as hell aren’t going to adapt to you and your yellow shoes and your intrusive Mediterranean hellos and good mornings.

So I smile and clap and drink a fourth glass of wine, and think about how everything in my life is wonderful, and I want to torch it all like Nero did to Rome, and play with the ashes.

My boyfriend has blue hair now

It’s a coloring wax that comes from a pot he had sent from Japan. The English instructions are a mess, but it’s hair wax. You finger, you rub, you rub. And so now my boyfriend has blue hair.

He washes the blue off in the shower before going to bed so he won’t stain the pillows, because he’s sensible and practical (even when he rubs blue wax from Japan on his hair).

But before that he sits at the kitchen table, typing on his laptop, and I look at him and think how odd.

I used to fry my hair with colorants and I had blue hair for fifteen minutes, a million years ago, when I was a mess in London and didn’t know what to do with myself.

And then that stopped. I wanted to fit in so that I could afford to be free eventually, and instead, the half of me that craved conventionality toppled over the half that needed to do whatever the fuck I wanted and wear the consequences on my chest like a military medal. And I don’t know how to calibrate it now, any more than I know how to desalt soup.

Everything feels too tidy, I’m too punctual. I wanted to be reliable in order to hold on to what I needed and now I am, but look what’s happened.

I want things, still.

I want to have an odious, impractical little car with no heating in the winter, something like a Fiat 127, absurd like the iron spiral staircase in my loft which starts and ends inches away from a frosted glass wall. A wall someone is bound to smash through sooner or later —  because sooner or later people slip on staircases.

I want to stop pushing text around a google doc like it’s an uneaten piece of cauliflower on a plate.

I want to rewind life and do it exactly the same way, but better.

I want to cry for a reason again.

I want to want to have blue hair.

You know what I mean?

Things you forgot to take with you

A toy goat, because you liked goats. It lives on a shelf in my apartment now.

A very small mug from Cape Town.

A slight uneasy feeling whenever I look in the mirror for too long.

A pair of dark green boxer shorts, with the elastic band so worn they fall right off.

A book by Kenzaburo Oe which I’m pretty sure you never read.

A picture of the two of us and your sister.

A toothbrush, probably.

A notion of not having measured up when my birthday comes and my phone buzzes and it’s never you.

Horrible Poem No. 1

It’s Tuesday and I haven’t slept for two days, and I am sitting in the audience at Lucerna with two glasses of prosecco making their way into my bloodstream. Daniel Barenboim, a very busy man, is on stage talking about the songfulness of Smetana’s MaVlast via Kubelik.

The moment he starts bitching about Czech Airlines’ habit of playing Vltava when the airplane lands in Prague, I realized I’ve had it with this bullshit week and turn to Borek, who is sitting next to me, and tell him I hate poetry.

Then I tell him I hate a number of other things, most likely not interrelated in any way, because this is what happens when I don’t sleep. I hate poetry except that of Mario Benedetti and Pablo Neruda, and I hate asterisks that go nowhere, and people who say they could care less, and people who say no pun intended when they haven’t made any (WHY!), and many, many more things, and I try to keep my voice down because we’re live on Česká Televize.

Borek thinks for a bit. Then he begins to recite a poem:

Hey you

I hate you


Every one of you



And cranky I am

That’s why I hate you

I tell him it’s a horrible poem and I am going to put it on this blog, and that makes him very happy. So here it is.