Thursday, 20 November 2014

time

Time.

it’s a crappy title, i know.
but time is a gift to myself on this night of dry palms
sinking with the light turned low and the quiet murmur
of the disc in the CD drive (friends s02).

there are certain streets near my house that i don’t often walk down.
when i do nostalgia slaps me
and the smell of the season is like a greeting
from a pitifully forgettable
friend.

it reminds me
of those smells in the city that bring me back
to a time i thought i had no reason to ever remember and
i wonder why such a thing
is captured in all its exhaustive detail.
and then the things like train times and
the day i get my period i constantly fail
to recall.

i’m not sure where i’m going with this.

i wonder why it’s so hard to connect, sometimes.
like a plug’s been pulled or the shutters drawn down,
like the old lady milk bar owner pulling
closed the heavy glass door
flipping
the sign and leaving the bread
in the same spot in the window.
surely we all know Wonder White is crap by now.

the woman next to me on the plane said i looked rugged up
and i told her i regrettably was. (35°C, flying north)
there wasn’t much else to say and everyone clapped
when the pilot landed.
            i made up a memory about my mum and i
            think i was less lonely without it.
            “it’s hard to get rid of made-up things,” she said.
            well ^ what the fuck does that mean.

when i came home i felt my house hold me and we treated each other politely.
today it feels a little stuffy like a large breasted aunty hug.
            and all we’re doing is our best
            and all we’re doing, all we’re doing.

today under the tree i flicked a spider off a mother’s leg
and received financial / love advice. i drank wine from a plastic cup
and pissed on my own foot. my dog
barked at another dog
and its owner lady backed away with a vaguely concerned expression.
over her shoulder she told me she saw a kangaroo
in the carpark at safeway. “that’s fucking beautiful.” said the mother (not mine)
and she lipstick kissed me on the cheek, later outside the car.
i felt good and greasy
sweating out the day.

there’s a bench near my house, just off the main road
shrouded by trees and it smells nice there.
we used to line up nearby, when there was a fire drill. we had to count
our place in line and remember
our place in line. sometimes i sit there to sober up and walk home.
sometimes i sit there to think and be
anonymous.

remember last summer-
that time we were angry at each other
but came to mutually appreciate a frog, its squishy reflective body
clinging to the pool fence. it was night time
and i couldn’t see your face. but your feet
left little puddles
on the hotel lobby tiles.

and remember summer, the summer before last-
when the days were suddenly longer like the snapping
of an elastic waistband, suddenly
the slack falls feetward and gravity
pulls us close. and in the soupy dusk we sat
and felt time melt down the trees.

this summer - in the taxi
i felt as if my insides had disappeared.
i was a vulnerable casing to nothing
but a tide of feeling. i felt and you felt
my hand. i felt myself
vanish. i lost a lot of time
thinking about that.

i remember one summer
we sat on the deck and sweat
pooled in the crooks of our elbows.
we ate mash potato made from powder and drank
from plastic cups. i dreamt
of my mother sitting in a tree refusing
to come back down. i woke up scratching mosquito bites
with dried blood under my fingernails.

summer and summer in the anxious morning, over coffee
and a shared toothbrush. you said in the mirror ‘do you have a second?’
and it’s funny that you had to ask. in the anxious
morning and summer and summer, the hours
ran down my spine. 
it only took a second
to bring us back to us.
i have so much time
for you. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Spring.

I'm lying in my underwear, thin
film of sweat and the heavy
breath makes a wave
through my window.  
From where I lie the trees
are upside down, morning 
masturbation with the sigh 
of a season's arrival. 
Spring is here 
to perform open heart surgery.
From where I lie (on the trampoline
this time) the grass ripples 
like a body beneath me. 
The blood in my eyelids
cocoons my vision, and I can see 
the birds. I can see their wings.
I run for the train 
like water down the drain, I fly 
on baked pavement and breathe
with the newness of it all.
I'm standing
in a new-home dream, my hands
cradle your milkshake skull it's a 
quiet gathering 
under my eyelids, tonight. 
Wind rips through my bedroom
and upends my heartbeat, jawline
buzzing with the second coming.
From where I lie (underwater 
this time) I find myself thinking
of teeth and tongues, I'm a stranger
perhaps, to the want.
Soaked to the bone with spring on
my breath I find myself feeling
the weather in my head, and I savour the seconds 
of knowing / not knowing
anything. From where I lie
(in my head, all the time)
I'm listening to the snap crackle
of oil in a pan and the steady
thock of an onion chop, 
the grainy whispers of TV sitcoms
and the water wind-chime of wine
filling my mum's glass, the trees 
whispering to each other and I find
myself feeling the house in my lungs 
and the house,
it breathes beneath me. 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

toothpaste.


/////

all their faces seem far away while my memory fades.
to be alone and to be lonely are concepts whose differing attributes
i struggle to comprehend in a sustainable way and any
given day the logical mind can fall at the feet
of the deeper root, the circular and ever circling core of
(??) H u m a n // what it is to be
                                                ------‘i want to go to the party because i want to be around more people than just you.’
i said-
to myself-
and struggled musing and remusing the definition of what it is to be cruel and
the conclusions i came to eternally slipped through my grasp.
standing in the mirror the only thought that seemed to stick
was one of vague and                       almost hopeless
understanding that my reflection and i
should treat each other more politely.

today i stayed in bed with the firm
belief i was doing what i wanted and i fell
into the same spiral of asking myself
what it is i really want and answering
with an incomprehensible description of a memory that held a stable contentedness, a memory
attached to no person or place but closely linked
to the average and quiet pride one feels when doing something
as mundane as washing one’s week-old socks.
in the malnourished state of imaginationless stupor this
contentedness
was grandly, and cyclically,
unattainable.

a month after turning eighteen three and a half years ago i tripped acid
and experienced a seemingly tangible (yes) epiphany
surrounding a concept I had
coined the ‘sunday feeling,’
meaning feeling
blue and rather depleted and rejected
by the never ending expectations that seem to take and take, as if what little
control we had over ourselves to begin with was slowly
being chipped away, and on top of that sits a somewhat
esoteric preemptive
sense of failure, like a blanket over what
could only be described as a husk of our former selves,
all the while contemplating with a general resolution and yet also much disgust
the (always looming closer)
monday to come.

            today i stayed in bed with the fragile belief  (as if to believe it any harder would make it too painfully true - and so as not to drop it, i held it in tentatively cupped hands in favour of my sanity, lest it completely dominate and destroy all that I have carefully set up in my internal world)
            that monday (employed here as an arbitrary placeholder to signify both the day of the week, and the general failure that is to come, both within the following days and generally within life, in an almost constant but not necessarily consistent, or predictable, pattern)

            is always coming.


/////

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

water.



i.
i live in the House of the Sleeping Goat,
i answer to a different name, these days
and they send me flowers wrapped in prayers.
i am my only god.

ii.
my body practices the art
of imitation. i’m learning to be more
than a reflection sitting on another’s cornea.
today i’ll be a shotgun.

ii.
forgiveness, they say, is
a slow and quiet walk, a sigh in the dark that
no one applauds. forgiveness, i say,
is the courage not to run.

iii.
the blood in my brain is forming a wave
and i’m soon to flood you out. say goodbye
to the carpet and the paint
in the House of the Sleeping Goat.

iv.
i spent months scrubbing the
floor of my womb and it
took a long time to get here. all things,
love included, are scoured off today.

v.
my mother grew my body inside her like a flower
and i’ve sucked the sunlight from this ugly place.
don’t run, little dove  kneel to the water  after all,
it’s coming for you just the same.  

Sunday, 29 June 2014

time and time

~

I wrote this about a funny slice of my life that I shared with Seb in Sydney and sometimes memories that are kind of sad and kind of important are the clearest in my mind.

~~~~


I wake after only a pocketful of hours spent lightly sleeping under my black silk sheet that I’ve taken with me round the world for the last three years (lightweight for packing), and it has a certain smell that reminds me of a bus ride through Germany and the song We Three by Patti. Outside the decrepit hostel window is a brick wall coloured blue by the sleepy morning light that’s struggling to rise and shine but already it’s warm on my skin and the air is salty. I snooze my alarm and stare at the ceiling which is close to my face cause I’m a top bunk girl this morning and tomorrow is the last day of the year and we’re both excited to start something new. My knapsack is brown leather with chunky zips and one half is a shade darker because my Dad once spilt a coffee on it in Paris it was his bag once. He said the Parisians laughed in the cafĂ© when he knocked the cup and he laughed along with them to be polite then kicked a chair over on his way out. I don’t know what good a thing like that achieves but I’d probably feel like doing the same. Small victories that no one else remembers. I slept in my clothes and now need only put on my kimono and Docs, with my rings on my fingers I roll a smoke for the road and whisper hey i’m leaving to Seb who’s sleeping and I crawl into his bunk for a full body hug and it’s a strange thing to know that we’re both leaving this weird hostel in this weird part of the world and travelling in opposite directions. I stand in the doorway and we whisper bye and Seb’s a shadow in a cave and I take a mental picture cause we wont see each other for month or so and I’m jealous of the time that passes around us. I cross the creaky hallway and snake downstairs to the outside air now fresh and warm and the sea is at the doorstep, I feel a part of the post card looking out at the sand and the coastal homes that face the sun and smile down on bondi like boxes with faces. The construction workers are ants in orange setting up cyclone fences in preparation for the new year’s celebration and I gaze at the little path we walked the night before to the look-out point to look at the tide playing cat power and passing the time with a smoothie between us and a smoke passed back and forth. My cab arrives and when I’m in it I close my eyes and pretend I could be anywhere in the world. At the airport I order a bloody mary and re-read the last few pages of In the Winter Dark because I’m not ready to put that one away just yet. My heart’s in the Sink and my gypsy half’s still in Sydney while I watch the ground get closer at Tullamarine and life has a way of sneaking up on you sometimes. 

~~~~

My beautiful friend Eilish wrote this song using some words I'd written and I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful creative types.

~~~~

soap sud skin I’m falling
through my mind and time
and time again
I find you sitting drinking
wine and smiling
in that way that makes me
wanna tear down the sun ‘cause
I’m done seeing clearly

no light shed on my
masochistic victory

and I’m blinded by the smoke machine
and the men are scared
of beautiful things
I wish your eyes weren’t so mean I
wish you weren’t scared
of beautiful things.

pockets full of calling cards
and freckles like a slap of stars
that spell out run bitch, run. I’m done
re-thinking all the words and sinking
my hands into dirty dishes I’m
pretending to pray in that optimistic way
as if a high power
would give a shit about us
but anyway I wish I didn’t
give a shit about us today

kisses like leeches
unceremonious taking
and taking, you’ve been throwing rocks
at my window and didn’t anybody tell you
I’m not home for you anymore

I live on a plane and I’m always
going somewhere (in my mind)
the cabin crew are tiring
of my calls for Hendricks and lime but
I’m going places going places going places
sorry to leave you behind, I’m fine
on my own two feet I’m flirting
with a goodbye letter written in caps cause you don’t know
how to love without hurting
but I’m going places going places going places
sorry to leave you behind.

~

Monday, 23 June 2014

Winter Solstice.




On the first day, it rained.
            We woke up to sky’s roar and the heavy weight of salt in the air. All the windows were open and damp patches appeared on the sandy carpet. Alison sat on the grey wicker couch and read Norwegian Wood for the fourth time, drinking cup after cup of black coffee. If I drank as much coffee as her I would vomit and die, but anyway, I guess she’s got a stomach of steel, as they say.
            I busied myself trying to fix the plumbing, out in the rain, which stung the eyes and bruised the dusty driveway. I pitched up a tarp, tying one end to the roof rack of the car and the other to the broken socket where an outside light used to be. I sat on my haunches over the hole in the ground and broke tree root after tree root in an attempt to clear the piping. Poor trees, thirsty and looking. It hadn’t rained in weeks and yet today the sky had opened and purged down on all us unsuspecting bastards.

The beach house in winter was a bleak little adventure that occurred more out of necessity than for enjoyment or the fulfilment of any escapist needs. Checking the power, checking we hadn’t been robbed, leaf blowing the driveway, clearing the gutters. That sort of thing. It had to be done. We arrived at night on Friday, coming from work with our bags packed and sitting in the car from that morning (which felt so long ago). The drive was quiet, we switched half way. When Alison took the wheel I counted street lights and hedges, then I counted other cars, then I counted cows. When we arrived our key didn’t work because Tim had changed the locks last year and we had never gotten the new key (because we forgot to ask) and we were both embarrassed and mad and didn’t talk while I hoisted Alison through the bathroom window, which never locked properly anyway so why Tim bothered to change the locks was beyond me. We went to bed swiftly with heavy feet and didn’t push the twin beds together like we usually did because we were tired and because I was afraid to ask lest I be rejected. In my own small bed my body warmth was insufficient to heat the blankets and I lay in a ball and tried to count my own heartbeat. In the morning it was raining.

On the second day, it drizzled, but was clear enough to leave the house.
            We went to the beach. We drove down the main street, past the pub and the florist and the gentrified bakery and the fish and chip shop, which had evidently closed for winter. Everything looked pretty lonely and sad and I wondered where the locals were. Maybe there were none; maybe the town was entirely occupied by holiday couples that fled in the colder months for fear of growing old in a place like this.
            At the beach we let the dog off his lead and he trotted along the shore, occasionally breaking into a gallop when his nose caught a smell, then slowing to a canter again to sniff at the brine that coated the hard sand. We walked the usual walk, which was long and fulfilling, and we didn’t talk, because Alison clearly didn’t want to.
            The tide was higher than usual and we had to climb the rocks, steadying ourselves against the cliff’s edge and occasionally holding hands when necessary. The dog clambered onwards, unphased and relentlessly energetic.

We reached the area that was usually full of little rock pools and colour and other people. The tide had covered everything that usually sparked our interest and so we stood, backs against the rocky face of the cliff and looked with our eyes at the sea. It was flat and foreboding and treated us with indifference. The dog was happy sniffing seaweed on the rocks, and every now and then turned his gaze skyward at a seagull.
            ‘Look, sharks,’ said Alison, pointing.
            ‘I think they’re dolphins, actually,’
            ‘Oh.’
            I felt unwarrantedly happy at this small communication. Then I felt lonely again.

At the house, we cooked pasta and sat by the fire. I let pine cones dry out on the hearth then added them to the building flames, enjoying the crackling sound and enjoying not thinking of anything much. Some parts of winter at the beach house were nice. Alison read and said little, and I thought about putting my hand on her knee, but then thought better of it. I didn’t know what was going on in her head.
            Later at night, I pushed the beds together and dragged in the old fan heater. The quilts smelt like mothballs and sand but were heavy and dry. Alison came in in her clothes and got undressed with her back to me. She smiled when she climbed under the covers and this little victory was enough to keep me satisfied. With the lights out, my sense of hearing sharpened and I listened to everything that was close to me – my heartbeat, hers, my breathing, hers, the heater, the dog at the foot of the bed whose breathing was inaudible but his presence was noted. And then the second circle of closeness – the wind against the house, the immediate trees, the flapping sound of the tarp that I’d forgotten to take down. And then everything else – unexplained and unidentifiable bush noises, the rustling and cooing and the talking of trees.
            ‘Let’s go home tomorrow,’ I said.
            ‘Thank you,’ she whispered.
            I curved my body around hers in the dark, and our warmth spread out like an open sky. I listened to my heart pump blood in time with hers.