A Good Year of Sorts – A Playlist

The continuum: loss, numbness, turmoil, (self induced) heartbreak, surrender and (finally) finding a peace of sorts.. Here’s to Beginning, Again…

The Playlist

  1. Mad World – Gary Joules
  2. Wish – Lighthouse Family
  3. This Too Shall Pass – Yolanda Adams
  4. Shadowfeet – Brooke Fraser
  5. Father Me – Rick & Cathy Riso
  6. Read All About It – Emeli Sande
  7. Airplanes – B.O.B
  8. Love Alone Is Worth The Fight – Switchfoot
  9. Volcano – Rapture Ruckus & Jonathan Thulin
  10. Redemption Days – Josh Ojo
  11. Something New – Axwell Ingrosso
  12. Shake – MercyMe

A Pilgrim’s Prayer


For Mag 269

Here beneath
The glow of your halo,
Mother of God,
With clasped hands
And humble spirit
I bow in supplication,
Bringing a prayer
For redemption, for
Absolution from this
Weight, this burden
Of deferred hope.

The crash of thunder,
Flash of lightning,
Fire and smoke,
Echoed across seven hills
Is etched in my memory
A callus chafed raw
By this journey,
This unceasing battle
Of Self and Spirit
Of good ambushed by doubt

Mother of God
If you hear, or are near
Pray for this sinner
Now and at the hour
Of escape.

Of Journeys and Endings…



When March finally dragged itself to an end, I remember thinking that I hadn’t felt as stressed as I did at the time since 2008, 2008 being a nadir of sorts; one that ended up with me quitting my job and heading back to grad school, my version of navigating a delayed quarter life crisis.

So out of sorts and form did I feel that I took myself away to the Starbucks in Union Square, one Sunday after church, ordered the most decadent hot chocolate with cream on offer and proceeded to have a conversation with myself. What quickly became apparent from that exercise was that there were a number of pressure points which were driving my malaise.

Work was one of those. It has been an interesting – if difficult – year. From being dragged into a project at work with strong personalities on both sides of the table and poorly defined deliverables to the pressures of sub-par oil prices on the long term viability of the North Sea  business, trepidation has been the underlying emotion I have associated with work all year. With the pressure to deliver upwards of 20% reductions (75% in the long term McKinsey surmise),  in order to bring lifting costs in line with prices, cuts in projects were inevitable and more than a few good people had to leave, voluntarily or otherwise. This had a two fold effect – creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear, but also leaving one with survivor’s guilt every time yet another acquaintance got the heave-ho. The question of what constitutes appropriate etiquette around leavers remains open, at least for me. Does one call or text to commiserate, or does the ostrich manoeuvre suffice seeing as HR matters are of a private and confidential nature?

In tandem with the work issues were pressures on a personal level; big decisions I needed to make with wide ranging ramifications, spending which was spiralling out of control due to unforeseen circumstances associated with an acquisition I made at the turn of the year, and a sense of cognitive dissonance over my continuing world view issues.

There is a sense in which April, and NaPoWriMo 2015 was perfectly timed, particularly for the opportunity it presented to process the questions, ambivalence and unseen turmoil I was wrestling with. It was hard going, particularly as prompts weren’t necessarily timely for me given the time differences, but all told it helped that I could ‘steal’ lines  from La Reine and feed off the Komunyakaa-esque imagery of some of the pieces Tolu put out with challenging regularity.

I would like to think there has been an upswing (small and barely perceptible, but there nonetheless), the origin of which I would have to trace all the way back to a competency assessment interview I had with an outside consultant brought in to assess the team. Going over my background with him resulted in the unintended consequence of providing some much needed perspective for me; on  just how far I have come since being the bumbling twenty something year old new hire hassled by a police man all those years ago in Eket, to leaving (and surviving) 2008 and a few detours later arriving at where I am at the moment.

With time, and more reflection, it has becoming increasingly clear that of the myriad of decisions – some of which I agonised over to no end – that have taken me from there here, only a comparative handful have been truly life defining. The first big fight I had with my parents – over the choice of an under-grad major – in the end mattered very little as both options could have led me here. Ditto for the choice between Newcastle, Manchester and Cranfield for grad school. Perhaps the most critical was one I took most lightly, sending in the application for that first role which set me off on this path of pretending to know a thing or two about rust.

I have learned, and am learning that that ad for that iconic Scottish brew Johnnie Walker Scotch just might have been on to something:

Your entire life;  every routine, every risk, every moment, every step forward and every step back, has led you here to the next step and it has the power to change everything… Your entire life, all of it leads to the next step. The chance to define yourself by where you’re headed instead of where you stand.

And so, I keep walking…



For Mag 268:

The dinginess within
cannot hide the beauty
that lurks here, hidden
beneath the patina
of age and wanton neglect.

Haste hinders the
unveiling of poise,
of grace carved out of
ugly rock, of error
transmogrified* by
intense, pregnant intent,
into a towering edifice
of strained sinews and abs
chiseled to perfection.

This is no drowning
Narcissus sinking
into a  murky river
of swirling self indulgence;
this is David, bare and broken
saved by the master’s hand.

The image in the mirror is of Michaelangelo’s David, seemingly condemned to exist as a flawed marble damaged by hasty workmanship until Michaelangelo turned its very imperfections into the basis of a masterpiece.

NaPoWriMo Day 29 – Giving Stars

roamers - shoe


Four stars
for the Chelsea boots
in brown; five
from Wood,
for their soft leather
and inner cushion,
for how easy they fit
his wide feet
and how they arrive
in time for spring
and the promise
of new beginnings.

One star
from Miles, for how
they fall apart; split
at the heel
after seven months of use;
for how
they’ll harm your feet,
and fall apart
as though sawn in two.

From Joshua, just three stars –
because they arrive damaged.

For the Day 29 Prompt at NaPoWriMo, to write a review; culled from a few reviews left on the Amazon page for the shoes above.