You guys I wrote a song. It was very poignant and original if you pretend that Joan Baez never wrote Please come to Boston, it was called Love, Live With Me In Canberra, told of heartbreaking romance over the backdrop of our fair capital.
It had one chord, a new one that I invented on ukelele.
It passed away quietly, after 20 minutes repetitive melody.
Those close to it said they wanted to ‘remember its time with us fondly’.
Cunt = c-bomb
Capitalism = c-bomb
Child = c-bomb
Canberra = c-bomb
Notes on Newcastle
Waking up before the others on Sunday and taking a bike through the fresh sea breeze streets already promising to bake in almost tropical heat through the mess and bustle of the almost city, the spit of mainstreet sprawling from town, with KFCs and petrol stations, closed cafes and antique shops, the mysteries of the past locked behind glass - to the Woolworths settled in its carpark. And afterwards riding home back through the backstreets of Mayfield with all sorts of goodies in my backpack. Streets lined with wooden old happy houses each in a handkerchief of garden and their own idiosyncrasies - all passed too fast for more than an impression. The road hard and wide under my tyres, the trees, wild and unfamiliar as the sea breeze, and the sky, soft like biscuit dough, about to be put in the oven.
Partying with the crowd expelled from TiNA on its closing night, to the ocean baths. Trust, nakedness and dancing to LCD soundsystem. Swimming in the water thick with salt, full like blood, full of biophosphorescence, little bodies glowing and sparkling under my splashing, seeking fingers. People sprawled around the baths in happy talking groups, the stars sprawled overhead echoing the pinpricks of light under my fingers, the city sprawled at our backs, and the coal ships sprawled across the horizon, out to sea. The Arcade Fire song Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) playing, and the universe in all its extent and microcosm laid out before my eyes - this sprawl of lights reaching from my fingertips to further than light can travel in a lifetime. Yes, we can never get away from the sprawl of suns.
A French Canadian offering me rum and kisses. He is a permaculturist, and we recite soils terminology to each other with cement under our bare feet and always the crashing of waves on the other side of the concrete pool.
Loam, Ordovician, micorhyzia, silt, limestone, shale.
The zine fair - in a ballroom, wooden floor, black ceiling, mirrors. I arrive off the 100 bus, with the whole Lucubratory in a small brown suitcase. I sell most things, not quite sell out of anything. Meeting pretty people, buying pretty things. Taking pleasure in trades and swaps and giving gifts. Nicky pays $1.80 and a silver whale tale pendant in exchange for Lucubrations, It’s now around Amelia’s neck with happy glass beads. We paint our nails. Hers light sky silver, mine sea blue. Under harsh neon light, no windows, only mirrors, the fair seems completely outside of space and time, we are all Elsewhere, a true goblin market.
Later, I took pleasure in buying everyone jugs at the Great Northern with the zine money. Zine money is not to be gloated or saved or used to repay long forgotten outlays in paper and ink, hours spent bent over collage table or InDesign. Money from zines is to be redistributed in the spirit it was accrued in, with generosity, curiosity and gay abandon. Beers under the light from the dwindling sky.
In the evening, Venetia and I see a new moon over the railway bridge. ‘If you see a new moon - but not through glass - you must turn over a coin, to bring you luck’ She explains. I fold a silver fifty cents over my fingers, and focus on my breath, in and out, a lungful of lucky, lucky life.
upon being the custodian of half a cabbage, at the pub, late on a wednesday evening.
I cradled it like my first born, first prize-won-brassica
while Amelia lamented loudly that it was not more
that it was not a whole cabbage, or a purple cabbage, or somehow greater than the sum of its leaves and cling wrap parts.
this complaint by proxy nearly had my cabbage confiscated
but I clutched it to my breast and declared that I had never been as happy about leafy vegetables as I was now
not quite a lie, there was that time with the silver beet from choku bai jo
but that was a long time ago
having a cabbage at the pub attracts comments the like I have never known.
"put it with onion and olive oil" Evelyn said
"put the lid on and let it steam, no one likes an overcooked cabbage"
I didn’t feel alright about drinking while in charge of a cabbage
or keeping it out too late
and as we left the bar
were accosted by a group of jocular gentleman
that I should make a stirfry
cumin, paprika, little bit of chilli powder
"and make sure you chop it very finely"
he called after me
as we rode into the night.
all twangy music sounds like twangy music. twang.
let us chose the structures that contain us
hold us steady as we twist around them sprouting leaves and flowers and fingers and paper cranes.
let not those same structures constrain us
like a cage too small for a battery hen
stunting and ingrown
or the way jelly sits unknowingly in its mould
Let structure be something we may chose
like walking down a street of mansions and small cottages and
A-frames and skyscrapers and teepees and tree houses and cardboard boxes
all with their doors flung wide
so that we may trip lightly into each one, and try them out for size
and if we wander past them all, and the words in our minds do not answer any houses’s call
let there be an empty block at the end of the road
where we might somehow build our own.
Whyyyy, oh heavens why, do artists come to this city to perform, and then make condescending remarks about it? What. What makes them think that’s ok? Where does insulting one’s host town enter the realm of good manners.
Don’t presume you know this place. Don’t assume we wanted to know that you don’t think much of it. Don’t bother to come back, we’ve got better things to do than be insulted by someone we were willing to listen to, to give our support.
Ironically, it’s the courses that I hate the most, I get the best marks in. World, why do you reward me for being cynical and lazy? Why is it seemingly so easy to write something, but so difficult to write something that I’m happy with, that I feel is meaningful or change-making?
Spend more time with your chickens
Read Shakespeare, start writing like Shakespeare
Hear a poem by Eleanor Jackson, start writing like Eleanor Jackson
Listen to the names of trees
whisper them to yourself as you fall asleep
always have a pen, a pencil
stop cutting your hair
spend more time with your chickens
learn the name of a boy who writes poetry
start writing poems to him
you dedicate them silently in the breath before you begin
whisper variations of his name as you lie awake at night
listen to something of the trees, start writing like the trees
learn the sound of chickens
spend more time with your name, just being with yourself
start writing like the sound of the chickens
always have a pen about you, a pencil
spend time not cutting your hair.
Four earthenware teacups
and a thermos of Chinese red tea
I always say thankyou to the earth, he said,
red tea in the snow
as we sat
beside a lake
a bloody splatter
red on white
watched us in the twilight
ascending forever, rocks and snow
biggest and youngest I’d ever been near to
raw earth rising
you can read time in the landscape
does things to my chest
scalding hot tea
soaring on my condensed breath
ribcage tectonic plates colliding
this land has no horizons
this land is still blooming
Another good thing
about sleeping with you
was in the tasteful nook
where I keep condoms
I found that other pair of headphones
and my favourite