The British Museum


Nereid Monument

When I left the hotel this morning to get some tea and pastries, I wasn’t sure yet how I’d spend the day. After few hours later I was touching the Rosetta Stone.

The British Museum was on my list of things to do in London, of course, I just didn’t know which days I’d visit. The weather isn’t hot here, especially not compared to North Carolina this week, but it’s humid enough to get me sweating on long walks. It’ll turn cooler tomorrow so I declared today a museum day.

I love museums though I’m a little uncomfortable with the British Museum since a lot of their collection has been obtained through conquest. None the less, it is impressive to stand in front of the reconstructed Nereid Monument from ancient Lycia. It was tomb of some king who died almost 2400 years old. Definitely the oldest gravestone I’ve seen, even if it has been moved quite a distance.


The Rosetta Stone, partially hidden.

The star attraction of the museum is the Rosetta Stone. It’s the exhibit with a clot of humans around it. I was able to push my way to the front to get a good look through the glass but it didn’t seem polite to linger. The stone is hefty. I didn’t expect it to be as large and thick as it was. Nor did I expect the Greek text at the bottom to be as tiny. That was delicate work for someone 1800 years ago.

I asked one of the docents if there was always a crowd clustered around and she said that was sadly the case, however if I wanted to touch it, there’s an replica in another exhibit hall.


As close as you’ll get to a selfie.

This other Rosetta Stone rests on an angled pedestal for easier study and there was nobody around. I ran my fingers along the cool black rock, caressing the etching, getting intimate with the hieroglyphic and Demotic script, feeling both the earth and the man who carved it.

In this same exhibit hall there were other objects that weren’t replicas but real things available to be touched, under the supervision of museum employees. I held little silver coins cast 2000 years ago, no bigger than a dime, upon which the Latin inscription could still be read. I touched a 6000 year old Egyptian bowl in which women would keep their eye makeup. But most impressive was a 300,000 year old flint axe head fashioned by men before the last ice age and it was still sharp.

I understand why our mothers tell us to look but don’t touch. The Rosetta Stone would be smooth from all the fingers running along its surface for all these years but there’s nothing quite like holding a piece of history in your hand.

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Brompton Cemetery


Today I walked to one of the so-called Magnificent Seven Cemeteries of London. Brompton Cemetery happens to be nearest my hotel so, despite sleeping in, I still arrived in the middle of the morning. The north end of this expansive graveyard is beautifully overgrown. If I was searching for an ancestor I would have been aggravated but instead I could enjoy the beauty of nature growing wild among the monuments.


20180619_113008The rest of the grounds were pretty well maintained and while there are plenty of famous graves, none were famous to me. I noticed a Blanche Roosevelt‘s grave because of the life-size statue and then I saw that she was from the States and became a Marchesa, sort of a 19th century Grace Kelly. I wondered if she was one of the Roosevelts from New York but after a brief search online, I doubt it.

For any football fans who are still reading, Brompton Cemetery is right next to Stamford Bridge. In fact, I could see the top of the East Stand while wandering through the graves. I walked around the ground but didn’t take the stadium tour as it was almost time for the Colombia-Japan match which I watched at the Chelsea Pensioner pub with two humans and two dogs.

I love Europe.

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London 2018


London streetscape near the Royal Albert Hall

I regret to report that my streak of consecutive World Cups has ended. I was unable to get tickets to any of the matches in Russia and thought it best not to try to buy game tickets off from the black market there. Of course, ending the streak with Brazil 2014, where I spent a month on vacation for a multiple of both five and ten years birthday is a pretty good final tournament for me.

As a consolation vacation, I’m spending two weeks in London. I watched the Sweden-South Korea over fish and chips at the Hoop & Toy pub near South Kensington station. That was one of the few places where people weren’t taking selfies. I can’t complain too much since I’m also a tourist here but expect no selfies from me.

20180618_103029Unless it’s in a cemetery, of course.

One of the monuments not getting much attention was this statue of the composer Béla Bartók. He would live in one of the flats not far from my hotel when he was performing in London.

After a sleepless seven hour flight and standing in line for two hours to clear customs at Heathrow, I’m done for the day. Normal travel blogging begins tomorrow.


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Poetical Science

money-money-money-1241634-640x480To further my poetry career,
I’m going into politics.

Imagine how many expensive
suits would pay good money
for a poem on demand
written by a big city mayor
or governor. They’d line
up for blocks with stacks
of cash offering words
like eminent domain,
deregulation and immunity.

And if I could get elected
president, the CEOs and lobbyists
would buy so many books
they’d need warehouses
to store the boxes.
I would visit stadiums
from Moscow to Jerusalem
packed with cheering citizens,
encouraged to attend my readings.

They might give me a wreath of laurels
but would I ever get an honest critique?

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Who Needs Sight?

This poem was from this week’s Living Poetry Prompt, believe it or not.


Who Needs Sight?

I’d rather be blind
than struck deaf.

Vision is too distracting.
I don’t need eyes
in the back of my head
to hear someone approach.

Who needs sight
when we swim
in an ocean
of sound?

Bubbling laughter of women
Harsh taunts of blue jays
Summer wall of cicadas
Distant mourn of coyotes

Tip tap of falling rain
Cursive swirl of wind
Sharp crumbling leaves
Singular silence of snow

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Potty Training

The image below is from Living Poetry’s May Visual Poetry Prompt.


Potty Training

There is no greater joy
in the life of a parent
than when their furry
child poops outside.

Then life can settle
into a routine,
no more high alerts
whenever the puppy
leaves the room
or begins sniffing
the corners or circling
a suspicious spot.

A doggie door
and fenced yard
means no more midnight
emergency diarrhea
walks or mad dashes
home after working late.

Dogs are more than bark
alarms and crumb vacuums.
They are our primal companions
and the young of both species
need to be house broken.


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Last Slice of Life

Thirty poems in thirty days, hope you’ve enjoyed my work this National Poetry Month.

For today’s prompt, write a closing time poem. Or another way of coming at this prompt is to write a poem in which something is coming to an end–like this month’s poetry challenge. Could be the end of a concert, an era, or whatever else must come to a close.


Photograph: HANDOUT/AFP/Getty Image

Last Slice of Life
for David Goodall

When there’s less than a glass
of wine left in the bottle
I finish it before it turns to vinegar
even if it was delicious.

Especially if it was delicious.
I don’t leave the last slice
of pizza to molder in my fridge
nor the last piece of pie.

Life can be just as fleeting.
Why cling to the last days
like a car that spends more time
in the shop than on the road?

If I decide someday
I’ve lived too long,
don’t cite archaic laws
of God or man.

The only thing I truly own is my body.
Let me go in peace.

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Notes from Underground

For today’s prompt, write a response poem. Respond to whatever helps you get your poem written, but my thought is that you should respond to one of your poems from earlier in this challenge.


Notes from Underground
(in response to Cavern of Green)

Tree houses are quite poetic
and just as practical.

Imagine swaying in the wind
like living on a boat at sea,
books falling from shelves,
wine spilling at every gust,
insurance policies and pizza
delivery unattainable.

Instead let me dig
into the side of a hill,
windows facing south
to catch the sun’s rays
while we rest in the strong
gentle grasp of the earth.

Hurricanes and tornadoes
can rumble over head without concern.
Earthquakes won’t be a worry
here in Carolina until the politicians
give the fracking rights
to their best campaign contributors.


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Whoops Wave

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “(blank) Wave,” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “Tidal Wave,” “Next Wave,” “Friendly Wave,” “Heat Wave,” and/or “Sound Wave.”


Whoops Wave

The women wore their summer dresses
for the first time that spring
at a handicrafts street festival.
I was admiring the art
when a beautiful young lady
approached, smile beaming
like a laser to my eye.
I raised my hand to wave
but only got as far as my chin
when I realized she wasn’t looking
at me. I quickly converted
the wave into a tuck the hair
behind the ear motion
and hoped she wouldn’t notice.

That’s called a Whoops Wave
and she was focused on the handsome
young gentleman standing behind
me. Lucky bastard. I remember
when I was him.

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Pon Farr

For today’s prompt, write a story poem. Think of a story, could be a long, complicated, winding story, but for a poem, it may make more sense to make it a short, direct story.


Pon Farr

My friend should have let me die
but he was an emotional human,
prone to irrational outbursts.

He risked his career
to save my life
by bringing me home.

Home, where every seven years,
I must return to lose control
else die an undignified death.

Home, where the stark beauty
and austere landscape
enforce discipline.

Home, where she waited
in clear precision
for my desire.

Or so I thought.
She challenged my right,
declared my friend her champion.

Were I not deep
in the blood fever,
I would’ve understood,

countered her tactic
like any gambit
in three dimensional chess

but I fought as an animal
to pass my genetic material
to the next generation.

My friend lies in the dust,
my ahn’woon around his neck,
the fever passes.

He should have let me die
then I would not have killed
him, my captain, my friend.

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