"Josef walked quickly and Thomas had to hurry to keep up with him. Cold air burned his cheeks. They stopped several times, for reasons that were never clear to Thomas, to lurk in a doorway or shelter behind the swelling fender of a parked Skoda. They passed the open side door of a barkery, and Thomas was briefly overwhelmed by whiteness: a tiled white wall, a pale man dressed all in white, a cloud of flour roiling over a shining white mountain of dough."
Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
This week I am all about washing lines, launderettes and greasy spoons. Bagel shops and bakeries can be glad to have made it to a close second.
When I say bakeries I am thinking of the ones you find in places like Leeds; tiny, crummy, a little bleached looking with wide open windows and sorry looking displays, bags of buns and eccles cakes. Nothing costs more than twenty pence and you can get instant coffee while you wait. The women wear pastel and oddly shaped tabards and sometimes, if you're lucky, there will be a bin of out of date Space Raiders or Monster Munch.
I am a bakewell girl myself but I was always tempted by the sturdy looking budnt cakes or even a cheesy scone. Bakewells come in silver foil caselets, cakes and scones in paper bags. Everything is labelled with a jagged flourescant price tag and at the end of the day (which if I remember rightly is lunch time) you can come away with a baked bargain. Oh Northern bakeries I miss you!
I had not thought before About what it might have meant. And if I had, In the vaguest of ways, It took place indoors In a Bexley kitchen, Lace at the windows.
But you drove to the woods.
You drove to the woods, Parked your car And walked Alone. Tracing fungi secrets, Bright pebbles in your pocket, With wary fingers. Amanita Muscaria, Red cap. Peeping tomahawks Edging at your fingertips, Scalping at your skin.
You drove from the chemist With his small leather smile, And from your husband Who never smiled at all.
You drove from your daughters Who you had cultivated like oyster mushrooms Little, wide skirted things In the dry and arid heat of Rhodesia. They would lift their sticky hands And sallow faces to you as though you were The small cervices of light Peeping through gaps in the shed walls. Their skin was mushroom flesh, And their voices crept. You loved them But they followed you like the moon, Turning ever so slightly, On stalks around the room.