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,’
            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.

Friday, 20 June 2014

call me up i'm always home

Again again, that moth wing flutter
as it beats itself to death against the glass.
Again again I drink down my masochistic victory-
heartache pride that leaves me
I’ve been caught up in the post-incident way of thinking and you
                  are always walking back and then away again again
let’s get married and live by the sea, let’s turn a blind eye to the teeth sinking
sensation of all
                  those dog bite remarks.
                 let’s forget
                           each other
                                   and learn
                              a new language – how to love
                                                              without hurting.

And the crowd goes wild.

Who am I to bat an eyelid, teeth marks of my own and there
I was dancing being shy and drinking wine
biting my own tongue, again
and now
I’m wearing armour built by a subconscious need to
don’t you know me by now?

I’ve been rattling through my days watching evening sky turn grey and
                  for something to happen.               Who am I
to bat an eyelid
thinking of flesh and perfume.                         Who am I
but a very normal pile of bones and yes I’ve got potential
                                    to inherit arthritis perhaps
and I’ve been wrapping daisy chains around my family tree
and my date of birth just
happens to be the number of shock treatments she
                  incurred and I’m wondering
where that leaves me, sitting under it all
the weight of waiting
for something to happen
And the crowd goes

I’m stuck again in a dream-like memory of winter at the beach
                  and the warmth of your limbs around mine and I’m
                  writing a story about how much I hate
                  about it all and all it does is make me
                  think some more. You know
                  you should have known better. Didn’t anybody tell you
how to love without hurting?

Your words unceremoniously left 
your mouth without a backwards glance and 
being on the receiving end is a bit like 
holding a package of hate mail that the sender 
has no memory of posting. Hello, how are you? Fine thank you -
except I feel like chewing off my fingers. Yourself?

I’m left here holding these dirty knives.
Bits of conversation stuck to cutlery
lipstick smudges on ceramic and insults in an hourglass
flipping over and over, moth wings against glass, played out on repeat
in that little part of me
that likes to feel (despite it all)
i like to feel
again, again.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

then we joined our feverish lips in a kiss tasting already of the bitterness of future regret.

With the usual knee-jerk reaction I questioned those words of sincerity and implied good will 
and took it to a place in my mind 
that I imagine is some sort of vortex of            manipulation 
and destruction, as predicted 
words came out churned and my cement mixer mind 
got it wrong                and got it wrong again, and with the manic 
flickering of a sparrow’s impulsive movements 
when trapped in a coffee shop I flew out the window      (of my inner eye this time)              
and found myself in a space no longer dulled down 
                    by the weighty blanket of you-know-what with a capital D
instead I found myself in a place              where I saw those words circling in and out of focus and focus is what they always say to do and I tried and failed 
at least at first 
but her words echoed around while my eyes (still shut) flickered 
to the scene described 
and I found myself in a meadow.
She said ‘You are now walking through a beautiful green meadow-’
Instantly of course I found myself in the familiar PC background 
of primary school libraries 
and an image appeared of a book on horses              with its plastic dust cover 
worn and nearly broken, my sense of self 
is rather worn and nearly broken but I’d say that’s a common opinion 
for those who sit in this chair and reach for their water bottle            or tea or a tissue or any 
substitute for a cigarette when you don’t want to talk but don’t want to look like you can’t
and hydration is the key, so they say. 
And with all my good intentions of self reflection 
                 I couldn’t see the trees for the forest                      or the forest for the trees 
and her voice rang clear while I tried to disappear into oblivion under the shaking realisation 
of my own anger at everything and everyone. 
She took me back to the meadow again-
She nudges me along; giving me prompts, ‘Start with I want you to know-’
‘I want you to know,’ I said out loud to a room full of plants, my voice 
was an aimlessly directed arrow 
that gained momentum among its own echoes. 
I said out loud poised on the edge of PC background meadow occupied by me 
and the other capital d-
‘I’m not a failure.’   

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

running through my circuits like a heartbeat


I’m not sure if I’m alone locked in land
dreaming of the sea and the sand, sweating over these pots and pans while 
your black tongue works its magic with undetectable damage 
and yet here I am holding these dirty knives
I can make myself feel all right
I heard a poem under lamplight with the soft breath of a small
child and
there’s a rusty consistency to the words I heard, rattled around by a phone call
my brain snake blocking certain empathy to any one man did I ever tell you-
you had blue eyes, just once
and there’s nothing more to be said out loud, I can dream away the little stings
paper cuts on unfairly fair skin
perhaps we were never meant to recreate god’s wings, perhaps
these little games are just tricks of the trade to a battle scared victim of self hate
and bring me all the little prayers and declarations of love and loyalty
and I’ll show you why it means shit all
faced with the unknown truth, written on the wall in my inner child’s crayon
it says
‘I learnt something new.’ I reply;
‘I’m learning all the time, learning to like this old flesh of mine’
who’s to say there’s a wrong way to spend our time, and I’ll spend it with
a smile please and thank you. who’s to say
how it’ll sit with me tomorrow but right now there’s a fleeting feeling
that those crooked bathroom tiles really have seen it all
and the peeling paint isn't so bad when it smiles down
in a quiet street of shadowed eyes watching, I’m a lonely house unlocked and 
the air of my future is thick and threatening
in its aura of unknown potential.