Bay of Byron, Beckoning

Wrote this one last week while the weather was typically awful and I was feeling nostalgic. Then I did a drawing because pictures just make everything way better.21979429_1786273251401213_464085556_n Byron Lighthouse (2017) pencil, ink and acrylic on paper.

Five months of inclemency in this southern place
where choosing a hoodless overcoat is risky business.
A bold move, brave move. To think you can assume the weather.
Umbrellas with patterns, colours and trims. Charming accessories,
they are not. Burden under bigger burden.
Cumbersome, wet and space claiming instead.
Winter is dead but its spirit weighs heavily on Spring.

I love you, Melbourne, but your greyness clouds my heart too long.

Bring me back to my birth place:
Bohemian sun land at the far-most edge of East.
Air that asks for hearty breathing,
filling lungs, filling mind, fill whole body full of life.
And gold is how it feels; magic, star-born gold.
Waves swell. Heart swells.
Clarity in purest form, let me soak you in.

Where’d he go? To Wategos. To be with the bottle-nosed.
The lighthouse shows the sailors home until the sunrise greets it.
The rocks the seals claimed long ago, unbothered by the lashing sea.
Faraway icon of faraway world. Different realm. Unbiased peace.
I embrace all and it accepts me, lest inky-glopped jellies say differently.

Nearby Cabarita, may your sea cradle my sister.
Ash in rock pool, swept away.
In the water, twirl and sway, to the flow.
Here, found beauty in debris and
air gives balance to ocean and land.

The crab knows her path, only walks it differently so,
I’ll take my beginner steps, once more, at The Pass,
by the small lagoon shore, toes curled in sand, I stand, I say,
I am, for you are, Universe. Maker and upholder. Upholder of me.
We are each other’s. I am of you.  A force to counter gravity.

Oh, Byron, you’ve left your mark.

Mockingbird

Thanks to Jim Burton at Base 9 Tattoos, Moonee Ponds.

Tattooed on my skin for threatening its permanence would be to sin.

*****

I want to be the mockingbird and sing the melody. The music not to raise alarm, forever never meaning harm, the sweetest sounds in one.

She sung the song of sixty. Pray, I hope it fixed thee the same as I, at sixteen where empathy was taboo. Dear Boo, I understand you better. No one ever need be fettered for their peaceful, unique soul. I confess I chain myself at times for love that seems too whole.

But with love I won’t grow tight. Send my heart into flight. I want the mockingbird’s height, however small her body be. Be she free so humbly.

I will be the mockingbird of grace and good example. For hate’s the world’s worst fever and intolerance, too ample.

I want the will of Atticus; to see with Scout’s compassion;
to learn Jem’s gentle patience; feel with Dill’s whole heart for life.

Send your song out, little bird, so love like this may fill me. I never once fell for a story more. Fell for words with magic in them, wished to forge my passage with them. I too, could inspire.

So oh, dear mockingbird, give me power on the page. Let my sentences be sage and full of heart for that’s what made me start hoping that one day, possibly, I might write as strongly as Ms Lee.

For Trying

I wanted to upload a video but my plan doesn’t do videos and I don’t want to upgrade yet so I went and made a sneaky YouTube channel specifically for it, which I kind of didn’t want to do until I got better at music but there you go. Watch it here so my writing makes more sense.
TRIGGER WARNING: This post does briefly make broad and gentle mention to suicide, grief, and mental illness. But this is, believe it or not, a positive piece about growth, strength and the pursuit of happiness.

I can’t do all the fancy finger work like Dallas Green yet. I couldn’t work out the end so I just varied it slightly from the rest of the song. I don’t have the best singing voice and this is the only song I’ve managed to sing to while playing, without it being awful but it doesn’t matter. This isn’t really about my musicality. It’s about trying and being brave.

This guitar is, to me, the most stunning instrument there could ever be. It was one of Chloe’s – my late sister, who left us on her own terms. It seems odd to call her late for she was always at least 30 minutes early to everything. Death seems rather uncharacteristic of a person you once only ever knew to have a pulse though too, so I suppose she does a few things differently now.
She was the strongest person I knew but even the fiercest of us have limits; an end of a tether.
Since her death, I’ve struggled. Naturally. In trying to carry on, I watched my relationship of two years, eight months break down. I got caught in a brief but scarring psychologically and sexually abusive dating relationship. I gave too much of my heart to someone who decided too late that he couldn’t give me his. All the while, I grieved with an emptiness that was only temporarily filled by others. The truest fulfillment has come from making art and nurturing myself.
Mum thinks I have depression but I don’t. If I went to get a diagnosis, maybe they’d say I do but I believe doctors are too fast to make that call these days and people listen to doctors. If you say it enough, it also makes it easier to become it. Engrain it. Solidify the hurt. Make concrete of cement.
Personally, I don’t feel like giving pain a greater sense of glory or control with a heftier name is going to help me. This is no disease of the mind. I still think too optimistically for that. I have felt depressed. Little has seemed easy for a long time but depression is not a possession of mine.
I will confess instead, that I’ve been dealing with a lot of unresolved pain and lately, I’ve felt particularly awful. It’s been as if I built a dam of sticks and mud and resilience and someone came along with a hatchet and ripped holes in it. It’s caused all I’ve withheld over the last fifteen months to flood out, all for me to deal with at once. I haven’t known what to trust. I’d just started feeling good, at least despite exterior situations. I hadn’t felt more securely aware of myself since a brief while when I was seventeen. My self-care was paying off. But while you can control what you do for yourself, you can’t always control what happens around you or the effect it has.
I sing this song to no one but myself. Because though I’ve been trying hard to stay focused, there are always other things that are going to get in the way, get me down, make me crash. I’m sorry for every time I neglect myself. I’m sorry I did it for so long.

Upon my most recent resignation to defeat, I started to feel almost hopeless –almost because I’m unsure I could ever be totally bereft of hope. Life of late seemed largely full of disappointments. I’ve cried a lot. I figured I should stop expecting any good thing to remain good. That I shouldn’t get so excited about anything and then I won’t be so let down. That I shouldn’t invest so much in anyone because it hurts too much when one after the other, they leave or inspire such unhappiness that I leave. It seems that apathy can be contagious. If I’d let that rule me for longer, I could see that being depression.
But that’s just not me.
On Thursday, a bunch of guys at uni I’ve been wanting to befriend all year showed me a kindness in asking me to join them after class. It brightened my whole outlook. A tram assistance officer made friendly conversation with me on the way home just to reinforce that even strangers can care. On Friday, two people made effort to get to know me. One of them even introduced me as a friend when encountering others he knew.
It’s not in my nature to lack enthusiasm for life for very long, nor is it to miss the good to be valued in others. There is beauty to be found, right down to the way a person speaks. Just talking to someone, even briefly, can have such an effect. Kindness breeds joy. It certainly did for me. So, I’m not going to give into loneliness and ill-faith. I have too much love to give for that.
Some people don’t deserve that love but it isn’t about them. It’s about finding the ones who do and I need to be one of those people for myself. Always. Because when it comes down to it, the most solid thing you can know in this world is yourself and we’ve all got to be our own strongest person.

Evocations Down Tracks (Seventy Stops to Think Back)

My tram trip is haunted by memories now.
Northcote is spoiled for me.
But I won’t close my eyes,
I’ll watch each storefront go by,
Staring steadfast with strength,
At all the places which remind me of you.

I’ll stare ‘til it doesn’t hurt to see them anymore.
‘Til feeling fades from history
And the streets lose their connection.
‘Til your loveliness to me,
Shadowed by your volatility,
Feels like less of an infliction.

But, oh, let me glide through it simply,
More smoothly on tracks than road
Because I still get chills on the bus through Kew
From the more awful man who preceded you.

IMG_2341 (3)b&w

The Eighty-six: Vacant Window Seat Opposite (2017)

 

 

Letters

A new poem and one of my better ones. I hope you find its beauty both despite and because of its sadness. Sometimes the most beautiful writing comes from hurt.

*****

Letters

I wake from you haunting my sleep,
telling me you love me but that it can’t be.
You don’t though;
———–that’s a fallacy;
———————_fallacy my mind concocts
—-only to hurt me.
The whole dream, you never speak,
—-only write to me,
——in letters.

So, ripped prematurely
—-from sound,
———–_unconscious
————-relief,
I write you back what you’ll never see:
Of pain, proclamation, apology.
Mark my defeat in this elegy
And I tell it all,
———with letters.

Here’s a man I liked before
but he strikes no feeling from my core.
Not anymore; could he evermore? He’d let me
——————————————————down
———————————————————-again,
————————————————-I’m sure.
Greater awareness of what to search for,
he can’t compare to what I came to adore
But he’s good at speaking
——his letters.

He asks again, am I sure?
from my body, away my
————————-…soul tore
—-My heart is numb
—-so it’s no longer raw.
I let him on me but could never think before
how sex could seem a corporeal chore
And my mind is blank ;
——-no letters.

In hours followed,
questioning:
was there reality in that liaising?
Thoughts waft above me,
———————–swimming.
Words turned  a l p h a b e t  s o u p,
———————–jumbling.
Visual_-_focus_-_fumbling.
I can’t see the thoughts
—–for the letters.

I’d hoped it’d help speed the healing
but that only works with lesser feelings
—-too rash was I in dealing
——with this listless quaking keeling
——–of my hopes with
————————you –Fuck!
I was so sure, no more, be gone these letters!

Letters
spelling words
—-filling sentences of thought
When will my brain free my heart
—-from such excess distraught?

Quietly Unacknowledged Pieces of Everything

grevilleas003.jpg(Reminiscent of a time that wasn’t so damn cold.)

Outside is always warmer than in. The deck, the courtyard, the driveway, the front lawn, that strip of weeds around the side which is all but forgotten except for when someone needs to use the second clothesline. They wrap around the house like a blanket lain over a corpse in a feeble attempt to warm it back to life. I want to rip the flyscreens off the windows. Those dusty light inhibitors, hideously framed in a greenish-mud coloured steel which obscenely attempts to take on the appearance of bronze. The windows are latticed with the stuff; hindering sunlight, hindering heat.
The only way I see there is to delay my time amidst the shadowy gloom of inside is to stay out. Avoid it altogether. Make the most of the sun’s presence before it runs off to play hide and seek for the next six months – a game where we are perpetually the seekers.
I venture around the tiny courtyard and come to notice for the first time in my four months of living here, how dishevelled it is. Tufts of grass grow through the pavers – not grass, no, weeds – and they pile about the edges of the fence in unkempt yet peaceful disorder. It is 4:39. The late afternoon sun casts golden light as equally as it casts its shadows. The two sorts harmonise, dancing lazily together in that way which always instils a comfort in me; a sense of ease and nostalgia for the thoughts I’ve had before, walking through this same dappled glow.
There’s a bush which I walk past every day with furry, delicate, plentiful foliage. I hadn’t recognised it for its geometry yet. It reminds me of giant pipe-cleaners bent about to stem off one another. Different shapes of leaves on every plant. Stepping stones around to the side. I didn’t know the central heating unit was right outside my window. There’s a scraggly tree outside the living room that I’d seen from inside but never out.
From the view down the driveway, the front looks better maintained. In closer inspection, it’s only that the grass has remained short, bullied out of growth by the weeds that dominate the borders. An overgrowth of twiggy, pink-flowered shrubs nestles deep into the flower bed and past it. It’s so thick that I couldn’t possibly return around the side from here. The sun is so strong I can’t look west. It is 5:09. Crickets stridulate. A dog barks somewhere and I imagine it’s a boxer – it’s probably not. Two crows reach the climax of a dispute and separate to designated lengths of the powerlines. The collective cry of cockatoos breaks through the air. Miner birds drink from the bird bath and fly off with startling shrieks.
There is a sweet smell lingering; a mix of grevilleas, blue gums and warm earth. These are the artworks only dusk seems capable of making. Early Autumn dusk.

Doing Time

This was just a fun little piece where the stimulus was to imagine or remember being at age four, sitting on the floor somewhere. All I could really think of specifically was this one distinct moment where I got a timeout at daycare. I don’t remember what it was for but I was certain that I’d just been caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and hadn’t actually had a part in the shenanigans. I managed to make up for it, however, so that there was reason for me being there by the end of it…
(Character name changed so I don’t get sued.)

*****

She’s sitting amidst three other children on the floor to the right of the chair where the ‘carer’ sits. Without much care to ever offer, this carer is more of a warden; all big and staunch and frizzy curled and smug – Sandra.
She was never liked and now she is liked even less after this injustice. The girl on the floor was framed, I tell you! She had no part in this crime and yet she is persecuted along with the real culprits.
Doesn’t she get a trial? With an advocate and convincing evidence? A timely verdict, delivered after much deliberation by unbiased representatives of the Delacombe ABC Childcare Centre which is ruled as truth under the eyes of the law? Surely then, she would not be facing this incredulous sentencing. Does her history count for nothing? She has been an entirely upstanding citizen of this centre. No priors, nothing.
And yet here she is; the faded azure linoleum cold and hard, sending chills up her spine and prickling her legs with goosebumps. The legs of the chair frame her view like the bars of a jail cell. They frame the lonely and disparaged Rosie – the girl’s greatest companion. There is a look of abandonment in her beady black eyes as she sits, half slumped to one side. Her brown fur is matting from the love she would usually receive and she seems out of place with everyone else’s imprisoned plush friends – she doesn’t know these toys.
Sandra rises out of the red-turning-pink plastic of the chair. It’s a peculiar thing for a warden to do; abandon her post. Then the thought ticks over: it’s just so tempting to reach out and grab them. This girl could be a hero, save the day, save her comrades, save their stuffed counterparts! She reaches a cautious hand out and scoops the miserable lot up from under the chair. The quartet of troublemakers reunite with their dear ones and rejoice–  there’s just one small issue: Sandra is now storming back, disgruntled, nostrils flared. There is no stage two; little Kaela didn’t think that far ahead and before she can concoct a new strategy the jig is well and truly up. The toys are snatched back with a whirl of indignant fury and some whole extra ten minutes are stacked onto their sentences.
Sandra sits back on the seat, glaring down with a look of brutish disdain. She likes her authority. Her wide figure spills over the sides of the seat. The cold fluorescents cast down bleak, uninspiring light, as if they too hope to crush a child’s spirit. So this is what it’s like to do time.

“NO JUNK MAIL, THANK YOU.”

What a subjective phrase. I like catalogues because I like looking at things; they aren’t junk to me. Although, they inspire wanting and so it’s probably a good thing that we don’t get them at my house. People don’t want unless they’re stimulated to want. I already feel stimulated enough.
About one year and 4 months ago, I was, for some reason, obsessing over getting the perfect shot of that shonky letterbox amidst the trees. It belonged to a house that wasn’t mine and it felt like a very sneaky feat, but I got it in the end. I forgot to put my camera on the most typically appropriate setting for the light and so it came out a little more exposed than intended. I like it that way though. I think it reveals better why I was so smitten with the image I saw. It was calm, even in the most ragged wind. Lively, with the leaves dancing and catching the light as if peridot could grow as foliage.
These are the hushed subtleties of my weary hometown called Ballarat which warrant it charm. They are also frequently the very things that go unobserved and unappreciated.
This type of modest beauty is in every place; you just have to look.

img020Taken: January 7, 2016. Instant film photography

Sunshine Cherisher

In week one at uni this year, we were instructed to go out and affect people with our small, unobtrusive pieces of art; to write and/or illustrate on little sheets of paper and colour the campus with our sentimentalities. The lecturer made it feel sneaky, encouraging us to target the science buildings, “Because I think they need more art in their lives,” she said.
I wrote a poem. As it was March I was conscious of feeling the last effects of leftover Summer. Gladly, the weather didn’t turn quite so quickly as I’d feared but now it has begun to fade, to fall, to be fickle; in true Autumn style. Already I feel the cold inhibiting me but I seek comfort in extra blankets and warm tea in china cups. I wish that the cold wouldn’t endure so well but it’s still not quite enough to make me want to move to a warmer climate — my love for Melbourne also seems steadfast to persist.

IMG_1313editWritten: March 9, 2017

Reasons For Words Written

I’ve always written better than I speak. I am particular with many things and my language is one of those things. It must be right. It must communicate my thoughts, feelings, knowledge and reasoning as succinctly as possible. And if it doesn’t, I am frustrated.
Writing is a stronger vehicle for such things. It takes time to perfect but there is much more time allowed; time for patience and a more accurate way to articulate my words.
I feel strong when I write. My own words carry me to enlightening depths where I unearth things about myself and the world, which otherwise would’ve remained ungrasped.
It may seem this is more to do with allowing oneself time to consider the situations of one’s life and less to do with noting it down in words.  However, when I think like this I know that in time, the full meaning of these epiphanies will become fragmented, lost, ephemeral. They will never be as complete as they were when I first discovered them.
If I have a pen in my hand, mind and body work as one along with the sticky ink that glues my thoughts to paper. Through a carefully constructed system of letters making words I find a piece of the spirit me and bring her onto the page. I want to write her down for future reference but the thing is, she keeps changing. It’s a good thing; it means growth. It means I refuse to stay stagnate but it also means I am never completely definable to myself. I think that’s probably a good thing as well for if I am not a mystery to myself, what on earth would I have to occupy myself as internal dialogue? If I knew all the answers to myself, I think I’d grow intensely bored because nothing I’d ever do would seem spontaneous or unpredictable. I wouldn’t have that wonderful feeling of being on the cusp of self-discovery anymore and without that, I think I’d be entirely unfulfilled.
And so, I hope that I spend my whole life never fully knowing myself and yet desperately trying to in the same instant. As I write myself out, I understand past-me better and, of course, I can’t know who future-me is at all until she’s present. Right now –and perhaps forever– present-me seems unsure. She isn’t whole. She doesn’t know how to be. She seeks comforts to fill the gap which she knows are not perennial, nor reliable.
I hope that changes. With all my heart, I try to make it change but I need to work out why it’s so in the first place. Maybe properly recognising myself as an artist for the first time in my life will help. And maybe sharing my art with the world will help to inspire me and inspire others.
We can only hope.