A morning off in Philadelphia.
State Flower (The state bird is the Ruffed Grouse!)/ Social realism. Granite relief murals on the side of the 9th Street Post Office. / City Hall. The figure on the top is the city’s founder, William Penn. There once stood a sort of gentlemen’s agreement that no building could be built higher than he stood. / Reading Terminal Market / Where the Constitution and the Bill of Rights was signed. And where I got growled by security guards for bypassing the 200+ people waiting in line to see the Liberty Bell across the road. (Pro tip: the back wall of the room that houses the bell is made of glass!) / Chasing Dreams. Outside the National Museum of Jewish American History. / A cute place I can’t remember! But I’m sure Benjamin Franklin had something to do with it. / Oh, Nerd Street. / Above an ice cream parlour. / A handsome fellow I almost got run over trying to say hello to, near Penn’s Landing (if anyone knows his name, please let me know). / And then, after all that, I curled back into bed at the hotel with my jet lag and these treats from Reading Terminal Market. / Okay…and maybe also these. (Coconut and Key Lime from Beilers. They were 95c each, and honestly so good I can’t even. Sitting on a pristine hotel bed, in the dappled morning light, on the other side of the world, eating a donut may be my new experience to beat.)
(Click on the photo’s to enlarge.)
With joyous love and tremendous thanks to Phantom. Who have been so kind as to invite me to perform at this:
If you know anyone in Philadelphia, make sure and send them along. It’s going to be really something.
‘A little kitchen makes a large home.’
While I make dinner they sit at the kitchen table. Their limbs swinging from chairs they still have to climb on to. There are always pens and paper there, in a reckless pile. Scissors making fast confetti of yesterdays masterpieces.
I have a poetry show tomorrow night; I’ve been practicing to the bathroom mirror. They applaud in all the right wrong places, which makes me feel special. Theo writes his first poem.
‘Clouds brung rain
the sunshine brung light
Kings and knights
fight with their swords
I couldn’t be prouder. He doesn’t want to read it aloud to me, though he tells me I am a good audience. He says he will only perform it at the Pallet Pavilion, where I did my last show. Straight to the top, Bubba. To the moon.
Meanwhile, while the vegetables steam, my daughter makes something elaborate. A piece of paper, folded as a fan. Covered in hieroglyphics of deep meaning, if the fervency of their scribble is anything to go by. It’s covered in glue.
‘Mama! Put on your boots and get me some string! I have made a fox trap! We need to hang it in a tree right now! We’re going to catch bad foxes in the garden! …are there foxes in New Zealand? I’ve made this! Just in case!’
I tie up the ends with a length of pink wool. I do it all wrong, naturally. I’m just he capable hands of my daughters vision. She takes over, the former metre cut down by little pink hands in little pink scissors; she’s ruthless and maniacal, mad with power. Tiny pieces of fluff now stuck on to the fox trap.
And I realise, just now, I’ve had a child’s hood, liberated from its jacket (perhaps to catch foxes) on my head this whole time.
Mabel: ‘This is so spicy I have to eat it with one eye closed!’
She says, of a kiwifruit.
I just had my daughter scoot after me, bare-bottomed on her potty, across the wooden floors.
‘I CAN SEE YOU MAMA! I AM COMING TO GET YOU!’
I try not to laugh so hard that she can still understand me when I say ‘look out for the rug!’
Then, as she sat on my lap, readying herself for the bath, she did an enormous, resonant fart – omitting the type of smell that shouldn’t come from a person so diminutive – and literally laughed so hard she cried. ‘SMELL MY STINKY FART!’ she roars, desperate for breath. ‘SMELL MY FINGER!’…I don’t know where she gets this stuff. Honestly, I think it just comes to her.
Life is made up of moments like these.
I’ve just gotten a new passport – the old one suffering too many beer-soaked nights as my only I.D; all my stamps ripped out and given away with my phone number, over the last 10 ridiculous years attempting to be casually glamorous. Though I am fated to forever look like a German boy in my passport photo. Many a bouncer has sucked in through his teeth, ‘Geeze, girl!’. I know! I know! I was 19 and life was hard, you know? Yellow isn’t a flattering colour for me; I know that now. No one looks good under-lit.
Theo is looking over my new one; it encompasses so much that he enjoys: technology, the idea of travel; rules and regulations.
‘Mama? You look adorable in this photograph in your new passbook.’
Life is made up of moments like these, too, remember.