Euphoric that I am finally here, and stricken that it is for only one day, my one eyed taxi driver drives us to who knows where, I don’t care, I could sit in this taxi all day.  I am in my own personal parade, so excited to be here that I feel every bus we pass, every car, every tuktuk, every bike, every scooter, every buffalo should be stopping and waving their hands or hooves at me, screaming out “NAMASTE!  WE KNOW YOU ARE ONLY HERE FOR ONE DAY, BUT WHAT A DAY WE WILL MAKE FOR YOU! HERE IS A LADY THROWING CHICKEN NECKS ONTO THE STREET, THERE A PACK OF DOGS, THERE MEN PULLING TREES OUT OF THE GROUND, HERE A KID TAKING A DUMP! WELCOMMMMME!!!!!!!””” and I would say back “why thank you, India, you fucking stink to the point of gagging and I couldn’t be happier about it” and then we would all shout HOORAY! and drink delicate rose flavoured lassis together, spreading our elation in the filth, whizzing past the incense, the shit, the yelling, the constantly constant music, the glittering and bored horses, until the taxi driver stops and it looks nothing like Ghandi’s house.

Three hallucinations

August 15, 2011

1.

Something heavy lies across my legs and I open my eyes.  A curtain, a beautiful velvet curtain! I stroke it with the grain, against the grain, and the two people sitting beside me watch my hands flicker through the air.

2.

I can see you.  Peeping around the curtain at me.  Standing behind my bed as I lie here.  I can see you.  I won’t be long.

3.

She holds up a finger, an antennae, like she’s trying to find a stronger signal.  “You can’t hear that?” I can’t, and I ask what she’s listening to.  Smiling, humming, her mind becomes a scrapbook of forgotten and remembered tunes.

January 24, 2011

She followed slowly, taking a long time,

as though there were some obstacle in the way

and yet – as though, once it was overcome,

she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.

– Going Blind, Rainer Maria Rilke

The Nurse

January 20, 2011

It’s that once-every-twoyears-day when women lie back, grit their teeth and hope that a) it won’t hurt and b) that everything will be normal. I put as much thought into what to wear on these days as I do on dates: long singlets or skirts are good. Both make me feel like I’m holding onto some scrap of dignity while a complete stranger reaches inside me with a stiff pastry brush. And the sensation. I can’t even describe it, but I have to shift in my seat when I think about it. Like I’m trying to back away from something. The nurse isn’t much older than me and has a tattoo across the top of her foot. Her name is Sara and it seems she likes ivy and pretty black flowers.

Her: “You’ve never had any smears in the past that came back with any issues?”
Me: “No.” (As I take off my pants and drape them over the chair.)
Her: “Have you had any unprotected sex in the past two years?”
Me: “No.” (Suddenly struck, with my undies halfway down, by the complete falseness of this statement.) “Actually, yes. Just not in the past six weeks.”
Her: (gearing up for some form of sex based responsible behaviour talk) “Was this in a relationship or…”
Me: A relationship. (Placing my undies on top of my pants and standing awkwardly, so awkwardly, in the middle of the room.)
Her: But it’s ended?
Me: Yes. (Instantly I burst into tears)

Her face melts and her beautifully small hands flit around her face, through the air like she wants to hug me but isn’t sure if she should.

Her: “Oh god, oh god. I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t even have asked”
Me: (sobbing, naked from the waist down and pulling my tank top down as far as it will go) “It’s ok, really, I never know how I’ll feel day to day. Don’t worry. It’s ok.” (I press the heels of my hands into my eyes.)
Her: “Did he end it?”
Me: “Yes”
Her: “Do you think you’ll get back together?”
Me: “No. He’s a stubborn mule.”

We stand and stare at each other. I’m so thankful I wore this long tank top. I have no dignity, but I can fool myself into thinking that I do.

Her: (face reddening, crumpling, falling) “Oh god. I’m going to cry too, cos the same thing happened to me.”

Tears fall down her face and we stand in this tiny room weeping into each others eyes.

Her: (sniffling) “Ok, lie on the edge of the table with your legs falling apart.”
Me: (voice shaking, flooded with tears, shifting my legs) “Like this?”

As she reaches inside me I brace myself for the usually present pain. She’s very good. I feel nothing. I hear nothing except for both of us weeping, sniffing, lost in our own worlds of disappointment and regret.

To Her Door

January 10, 2011

A short post today.  Ten years ago this week (or last week….leave me alone with your nit picky details!) my entire family, cousins, aunties, everyone walked to the top of Hartz Mountain.  It really is one of the most beautiful places on earth.  Tasmania is magical, healing, beautiful, exquisite, wild, confronting, this, that, everything, everything, everything.

So you should go.  If you haven’t.  It is my spiritual homeland, I would like my children to be born there, I would like to grow old and die there.

My memory of To Her Door is this: packed in a car with all my cousins, driving down a dirt road after a day of extremely challenging hiking, and marvelling to myself at the quietness within the car.  Everyone’s ears and minds tuned into the song, my cousin Sam (who has recently moved from Karratha to Gladstone…I know…the dude don’t do things by halves…) mouthing the words to himself, ears open, eyes chasing the horizon.  Bodies happy.

This is my last Paul Kelly post!  I know!  Thank you, Mr Kelly.  You really are something else.  Every time I listen to you sing I am filled with hope, with a belief that people get by despite their fuck ups, in spite of their unavoidable        human-ness.  And I need that.  I am not a very brave lady, and your songs make me feel like I don’t have to pretend to be.  So….you know…..thanks and that.

How to Make Gravy

January 8, 2011

Now.  I was planning to write this on the 21st of December, thinking how perfect it would be to write a post on the 21st of December about a song/story that takes place on the 21st of December.  What an amazing coming together.  You would have loved it.  For realsies.

BEFORE the 21st of December, when everything was normal, when everything was good, I had thought that I would spend the day baking, writing, getting ready for the Malteser and I to drive to Newcastle on Christmas Eve.  What I ended up doing on the 21st of December was wandering around my parents’ house in Tasmania in a daze, counting the number of days since I’d been made single.  The 21st of December – 10 days since I don’t know what, 10 days since my heart froze and shattered into dust.  Ten days since my slate was wiped.

How to Make Gravy is the best Christmas song written.  Apart from Silent Night, but that’s about Jeebus, and you know.  Jeebus.  Hmm.  I don’t know.  But How to Make Gravy aint about beautiful tiny peaceful babies, it’s about fucked up dudes who are feeling it.  About wanting to be somewhere where they can’t be.  And that’s more my speed.  Especially at the moment.  Especially when on the 18th of December I’m watching the Rockwiz Christmas special and I’m sending the Malteser an email with our recipe for Maltese bread pudding, the way we made it last year at Christmas, the way he’ll want to make it this year, and as soon as I send the email Paul Kelly walks out on stage and sings How to Make Gravy.

My Christmas ended up being quite good.  But what I wouldn’t have given for a piece of that rubbery, tasteless Maltese bread pudding.

With a little glace cherry on the top.

December 13, 2010

Describe someone crossing a room, and try to do it in a way that won’t perish. – Shelby Foote

 

I don’t know what this means yet, but I know that it’s very beautiful.