Corona and philosophy

Corona and philosophy

Recently I read Corona Becomes First Major Beer Company to Adopt Edible 6-Pack Rings that Feed, Rather than Kill, Fish

Well done you guys! Though it’s better in a bottle to be fair.

Reading this brought back memories of Zipoliti, Mejico, 1987. Sitting at Casa Teofila one night with two fishermen and Carlito, a mystic who makes jewellery from found objects on the beach and a guy who travels back and forth from the US for a reason he is reluctant to disclose.  “Import – export,” is all he would say.

We had been hanging out a while when a large rumbling rumbling vehicle drives by, it transpires it’s spraying the wilting crops. It’s been three years without significant rainfall, but they are spraying, I’m told, pesticides. No one mentions this instead everyone puts his thumb in the top of his bottle of Corona and gestures to me to do the same. I’m like, “Porque, que pasa?” Then the explanation comes.

I’m thinking what the hell are we breathing in then? Attempt to ask; I don’t know the conditional tense but it’s understood in any case. “Eh, no pasa nada Anita.” Roughly this translates as, “Nothing to worry about.” Shrugs all round. So Mexican. Hate to generalise.

Perhaps so Zipoliti, where the rubbish was not collected because of an oversight by the government according to some. Instead it’s just dumped in the bushes, the place where many would have a shit, where the travellers were directed to have a shit, where the few pigs ate the shit. One time I was startled by an inquisitive pig.

Zipoliti where garlic is a cure all. Have a cut; wash with seawater and wipe with a clove. Have a fever, take garlic soup with a raw egg broken and stirred. Eat a clove a day, come what may.

Ziploliti where there was so much intrigue, love and magic. On the wall of Teofilas was a representation of the yin yang sign – two lizards each chasing the tail of the other. The mystery of the import – exporter was revealed when Teofila had to go to the bank in Puetro Angel, the next village, and white lines appeared on the table. I heard one of them say, “Que precioso, el rosa!”

Many of my questions to local people would be followed by a shrug. Followed by my childlike, “ But why?” The answer was always the same, “Asi es,” it is what it is. I found this mildly frustrating the acceptance of so much poverty, unsanitary conditions and neglect. One afternoon Carlito took me to a meal on the beach. I appeared to be the guest of honour. A pretty grand affair. Fresh fish, fresh lobster and crab and salads and of course tequila.

Small children, hard to say their ages, ran around the table but didn’t join us. I couldn’t help noticing some of them had bald patches on the head. I asked our host why. “They don’t get enough vitamins… asi es.” Suddenly I didn’t feel very hungry. All this show for the gringita, I was the only woman at the table, why? It was often hard to know who to trust, to know their motivation.

In general I found the locals hard to read. Teofila was sometimes gruff with me but as a single parent with four children and a restaurant to maintain that is not surprising. Our arrangement was washing up a few hours a day for a hammock. Travellers came and went. Some Europeans settled there were the Swiss guys who only seemed to have one interest which was to buy weed, smoke weed and sell weed.  Their main man, Guru, the others told me lived on a rock for a month, they pointed it out to me. This perplexed me how do you live on a rock? How?


Image by  Paula McInerney from

Of those I met only Carlito I truly trusted so one night when the moon was full, the tides were high and a storm approaching he asked me had I tried peyote, would I like to try it? Of course I said yes. As we sat on the beach he said, “Are you ready to meet the little man?” I imagined it would look like a mandrake but inside he pulled from one of his many pockets something which looked like a dried button mushroom.

In 1953 Aldous Huxley first tried mescaline under the supervision of the psychiatrist Humphry Osmond. He described the experience in The Doors of Perception published the following year. He documents it showed him “for a few timeless hours the outer and the inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with survival or to a human being obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally, by Mind at Large … an experience of inestimable value to everyone and especially to the intellectual.”

I had yet to read this and had no idea I was about to enter another reality, another realm I still have access to. It opened doors of perception that have never really closed, I understood asi es on a whole other level, but that is another story recorded in my poem Que Onda in the unfinished mini collection Violent Beauty.

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Star Trek quotes for our time

Star Trek quotes for our time

I had no idea these were a thing! Proving time travel is indeed (possibly) I found the following

On the 45th

Believing oneself to be perfect is often the sign of a delusional mind.

Data, to Borg Queen, Star Trek: First Contact


Borrowed by BoJo

If I can have honesty, it’s easier to overlook mistakes.

Kirk, “Space Seed”

On climate change

Curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want.

Spock, Star Trek

Poem: Ode to Earth

Poem: Ode to Earth

My garden is not much bigger

than a cats toilet and all too often

used as one. Locked down,

growing is our therapy. Pots, planters,

any patch of ground will do.

It’s the warmest April on record

but no ones talking about that.

I have seeds to sow,  first sigh deeply,

bow my head, dutifully

shovel up the cat shit and notice

a migrant strawberry plant that has mysteriously

taken root is already in flower.


A poem from Anne Enith Cooper 


Wrote this some time during lockdown when, like so many of us, I found the gift that is growing things. I’ve begun to appreciate the healing it brings especially in the circumstances of so much death and suffering. I planted wildflowers, jasmine, lavender and a sunflower. The sunflower was a gift from a neighbour, the lavender, a cutting from another neighbour, has not fared well but the rest is a riot and a daily sense of wonder. I’m blessed to live in a place with such generous neighbours.




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Diary July 2020

Diary July 2020

As lockdown eases I reflect on lockdown achievements which pretty much boil down to getting an even tan, growing a sunflower to the heady height of three foot (so far) and mastering the yoga headstand. Ok there has been a few poems, a couple of open mics, a couple of black lives matter protests. I must not forget I entered lockdown with a considerable amount of anxiety, depression, IBS, insomnia and fatigue, before I get all judgey on myself.

Much of this has abated due to a cocktail of daily meditation and yoga, bit of walking, smoothies and supplements. Going anywhere is still an achievement given my current energy levels, the fatigue is the last symptom of my recent malaise to shift entirely. Nevertheless this month sees me returning to Groundswell  working from home on their citizen journalism project with

While pubs and restaurants are due to reopen we are urged by the clown that  masquerades as our premiere to show restraint, his actual words being, “Let’s not blow it now,”  So just when you thought government advise could not get anymore fuzzy than the lamentable, “Stay alert,” here you have it. And of course if it all goes horribly wrong it’s all our fault for getting carried away. That message is coming over loud and clear.


Though pubs comes only second only to hugs (and perhaps the hairdresser) as things I missed during lockdown can’t see myself in a pub anytime soon but am boosted by the announcement that international travel is due to open up and I allow myself the luxury of contemplating a return to Cortijo Romero Andalusia, Spain, due to reopen this month, for some spiritual sustenance. Perhaps in the autumn…..

Dates for the diary

Hope to get along to the Poets for the planet meeting taking place Tuesday 7th July, waiting for a link. Recently found this link to our Poets for the Planet visit to Resonance FM on international women’s day about a week before lockdown 

anne-enith-cooper-poetry-photography-poets-for-the-planet-2020Image Henry Beaumont

Taking some poetic wisdom to Brixton Bookjam at the Virtual Lambeth Country show in the Literature Village Sunday July 19th from 6-7pm alongside Ashley Hickson Lovence, Bryan Beadyman, Elizabeth Okoh, Zelda Rhiando and others. More info To join go to use password ‘hello’ or Facebook Live #brixtonbookjam


#amreading Nine Gates: Essays by Jane Hirshfield

#amwriting a bit more about wellbeing, watch this space

Writing prompt: Lost lizard found after 10-day, 4-kilometre hike through Winnipeg

Writing prompt: Lost lizard found after 10-day, 4-kilometre hike through Winnipeg

Play with this one; use the headline or image as a prompt. Set a timer for ten, fifteen or twenty minutes and freewrite and see where it takes you. Then consider what you have just made. Is it for just for fun, or does it feel it needs development, does it welcome a form?

Rules of the freewrite. Keep your hand moving, don’t stop or cross out, don’t worry about spelling or grammar. Don’t think, just write, follow the words just see what comes.


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Photography: Let’s go fly a kite

Photography: Let’s go fly a kite


Strikes me the kite is a metaphor for our existence;  the sight of a kite fills one with a joyous buoyancy, a moment to pause, to escape. Yet it is an illusion of freedom, the kite like us earthbound during, as some would call it, this earth walk, this life.

This image was created with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 in 2015 with x20 zoom fully extended. Shot in Brockwell Park. This is a great little pocket camera, very light and  versatile.  It has since died and been replaced.

Diary June 2020

Diary June 2020

May slams into June in a blaze of protest originating in Minneapolis, Minnesota  as a black man called George Floyd dies after being held with a knee against his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.  Black Lives Matter protests sweep across the USA, through Europe to Hong Kong and Australia. They are large, they are young and they are racially mixed. More than solidarity the protests respond to their national and local issues. We meet in Windrush Square Brixton to take a knee. Statues fall and a million conversations blossom.

Health still not great and as the sunshine that had been sustaining me gives way to bleak grey skies my mood drops. I hear the air ambulance less often of a night. I plant a herb garden and feel abnormally proud of it. I’m given a tomato plant and find myself on trend if the number of tomato memes are anything to go by. Watching the miracle of growth is an antidote in the presence of so much death. Only the USA and Brazil exceeds the U.K. in coronavirus deaths at the time of writing.


The lockdown appears to be easing but are we ready? Non essential shops open 14th June because the shopping experience is so vital, like air, like water, like what? Like non- essential items one assumes. We are all so easily seduced it would seem. I include myself in this. On the way home from a blood test I buy a day glow pink football in Poundland because it’s pretty along with knickers and hand sanitiser.

On this date it is reported the UK coronavirus death toll rises by 36– the smallest daily increase since lockdown began however four days later  it’s back up to 135, taking the total to 42,288

The UK strategy is under scrutiny yet still the blustering and blathering prevails. Our test and trace, which barely exists, is world beating we are told. Yeah right.

Some articles of interest

And of course it is the 36 month anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire on the 14th June. Still so many in temporary accommodation, still so many homes with unsafe cladding, still no arrests, no prosecutions.


Some dates for the diary

On the solstice weekend we have We Love the Betsey 20th June 6-10pm

and Poetry from the Grassroots 21st June 7.30 – 10pm

#amreading The Temple of My Familar by Alice Walker and Natives by Akala

#amwriting about the breathe, about liberty and justice, but if I’m honest it’s not exactly flowing.

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Poem: Colour Blind by Lemn Sissay

Poem: Colour Blind by Lemn Sissay

Colour Blind – A poem

Posted on October 9, 2011 by Lemn Sissay

If you can see the sepia in the sun
Shades of grey in fading streets
The radiating bloodshot in a child’s eye
The dark stains on her linen sheets
If you can see oil separate on water
The turquoise of leaves on trees
The reddened flush of your lover’s cheeks
The violet peace of calmed seas

If you can see the bluest eye
The purple in petals of the rose
The blue anger, the venom, of the volcano
The creeping orange of the lava flows
If you can see the red dust of the famished road
The white air tight strike of nike’s sign
the skin tone of a Lucien Freud
The colours of his frozen subjects in mime

If you can see the white mist of the oasis
The red, white and blue that you defended
If you can see it all through the blackest pupil
The colours stretching the rainbow suspended
If you can see the breached blue dusk
And the caramel curls in  swirls of tea
Why do you say you are colour blind when you see me?




Zen Things

Zen Things

This time of forced isolation for many of us and a distancing for all of us is prompting many of us to contemplate our role here on this earth, our purpose and direction, to consider not just why we are here but how.

I have been attracted to zen, since returning  from the Camino de Santiago in 2000 to find a beautifully bound book entitled Zen among the pile of post that had accumulated in my absence. To this day I’m not sure where it came from.

I’ve had occasion to describe myself as a zen Marxist, an expression that made Alexei Sayle guffaw when I introduced myself,  soz for the name drop it was just a book signing.

Zen is much misunderstood neither quite religion nor philosophy rather it is akin to a state of mind that has been described as “mind without mind” while The Urban Dictionary describes it as “a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind “ a state that is both peaceful and relaxed.

This below is the best summary I’ve seen of how to attain that state explained with simplicity and it strikes me as a good guide to achieving wellbeing generally and good mental health particularly at this uncertain and anxious prone time.


Further reading

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Diary May 2020

Diary May 2020

A month of bad hair enters another, health is on the mend finally after the lifting of excruciating abdominal pain which has plagued me since February though the mood lift I anticipated with this still eludes me. Time is no longer measured in minutes and hours but a daily death count, one that is disputed daily though to my knowledge no one has yet used the expression cover up.

The sentiment, “Isn’t it strange” long gave way to “isn’t is awful” as figures of the deaths of key workers emerge. Those that risked their lives and did not give the ultimate sacrifice, no, whose lives were taken cruelly by a combination of a deficit of PPE and bad planning. Easy to see how the figure of death as a ten foot black clad, bent backed, androgyne swinging a scythe emerged in popular culture.


Zoom seems a poor substitute for the emotional support and physical connection we all need at this time but it’s pretty much all we have. Looking forward, as XR put in in a recent newsletter, “if there is one thing that this crisis has made clear, it is that there is no going back. No going back to business as usual that pushes us further and further into the abyss of a climate and ecological loss.” And, as laid bare by this crisis, the huge inequalities and injustices. This outcome will be, imo, not automatic but something we must fight for.

Wednesday 6th May

Attending our first virtual poets from the planet meeting see Facebook for details.

Sunday 10th May

Joining Poetry from the Grassroots 7.30pm – 10.00pm for an evening of poetry that bites back.


Worth mentioning Lambeth Libraries have an online quiz every Wednesday at 5.00pm and Lambeth XR have an online Poetry cafe every Tuesday at 1-2pm

BREAKING: Roger Robinson has won the RSLOndaatje Prize 2020 for his collection A Portable Paradise that picked up the TS Eliot prize earlier this year when we were all able to get out and about. Love Roger for his earthy wisdom and generosity. I have turned to his Think Like an Artist, a free series of tips and advice, many times.

The Royal society of Literature said in their facebook post, “Only the second time in the Prize’s history that a poetry collection has won! A big thank you to this year’s #RSLOndaatje Prize judges: Peter Frankopan, Pascale Petit and Evie Wyld and to the Prize’s sponsor Sir Christopher Ondaatje.”

You can buy ‘A Portable Paradise’ directly from @peepaltreepress


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