Peter Daniels, Work & Food
Peter says, 'Leona Carpenter, who runs Mulfran Press, was involved with Vennel Press in the 1990s alongside Richard Price. Vennel published a series of “Brief Pleasures” which were A6 pamphlets with themes, one of which was my Blue Mice. I was very pleased when Leona was starting Mulfran with a similar series and was able to publish Work & Food. As the Mulfran Miniatures were to be illustrated, I asked my artist friend Moira Coupe. She was fun to work with, and also satisfyingly careful about getting the right relationship of image and words. Work & Food was a possible title for the “long awaited” collection, but at least one person reading the manuscript wasn’t happy with it. I thought a more precisely themed group of poems about work and food would go well as a pamphlet, and use the title which I did quite like. The pamphlets come with an envelope in a little transparent sleeve like a greetings card – you do need a display copy, though.'
You can buy Work & Food here. And here's a poem from it, with accompanying illustration:
The Guru’s Coat
I’m going outside in the evening rain:
it’s not cold yet, but the wind’s begun.
We’re allowed to borrow the Guru’s coat
without asking, and I need to use it
but people still wonder, “Does he know what he’s done?”,
with their looks that call me to justify the loan.
The coat’s a big blanket blazoned with his face:
I walk it up the night street, wear it on the bus.
I broke the Guru’s favourite pot.
I don’t know how to replace it
and I’m not satisfied to learn
that I’ve already been forgiven,
so I go looking: but this mission’s embarrassing.
Determined I’ll go home with something,
I think of a shop with pots in the window.
I saw it last Wednesday, and it isn’t there now.
Instead there’s a railing, like any in this town,
spread with a coat I can claim as my own:
a patchwork of red and yellow imitation furs,
a hood of silk, and buttons like stars,
but as I lift it, it snags on a spike
that rips it to pieces. And so I go back
and I hang up the Guru’s coat in silence
with nothing to show. The disciples don’t notice,
busy cooking pancakes on an old iron stove:
a thin coat of batter, that keeps us alive.
Peter Daniels, from Work & Food (Mulfran Press, 2010)