So I’ve decided to give this place a little colour/jazz/oomph
in fact, a lot more,
in addition to the words, of course.
Photograpy’s the medium, and you can now expect monthly collections of things that catch my eye.
What kinds of things?
I’m excited, and I hope you like them.
Starting December 2017, with photos from November 2017.
Featured image is of Lake St Clair, Tasmania, Australia
The following poem was originally published in September earlier this year in Verge 2017: Chimera and is available at Readings and online.
The £1000 Bend
is scraping thin
between two things
that will not ever meet.
it’s holding onto handrails just out of reach;
the brightly painted bars
running overhead but not ahead
to hold you steady
as the faint electric whistle
cultivates a home
against the rhythm of your dreams.
Sometimes it lives in scared strewn things
screaming Shakespeare in reverse
too afraid to sit amongst the people
gambling on their £1000 bends.
It breaks the bones
of suburban homes
struggling to find a foothold in a crowd
as the tunnel closes in
at six o’clock
and the rails are beaten to a bend.
It’s warping iron tracks
and making glitter from graffiti,
pretending to be Michelangelo
praying in ¾ time
along a soundscape uninvented
You break facades
and paint them fresh,
tattoo the underground with compositions
and listen to the echoes
that beat like broken metronomes
skipping inside bars untimed
to the direction leading home.
You breathe the £1000 bend
like it’s the thing with feathers
and dare to waltz into skies of grey
as the weather stains in untimed droplets
to cries of engines and of people
who all start to look and feel the same.
Route maps and itineraries line your pockets
wearing along well folded lines,
as they leave unappreciated
little scabs of secondhand existence
in a notebook of apologies.
But before the steamrolled tracks
grind to a stop
you cannot drop
your fearless gaze.
Having lived, and breathed, and gambled,
you continue to bend
a thousand pounds to search your soul.
The privilege of witnessing a love like this has been my heartfelt honour. I post this speech, the one I gave on their day, with their full consent.
I hope that when you find your own love, you will know.
I trust you will.
I am feeling so many emotions right now, but within this immense happiness, I am also feeling very lucky to be the youngest of so many loving sisters.
In particular, I have been blessed to have shared a wealth of experiences with Thuy. Together we’ve climbed the most reverent mountains and jumped into limitless skies. Imagine stretching as far as you possibly can and realising that the sky was not the limit. And never was. Skydiving with Thuy was like holding the impossible. Such moments in life, are truly, exceptional.
Those of us who are privileged with loving Thuy and being loved by Thuy, know that there exists a kind of love that is more than an absence of something like fear or doubt, and more than simply the addition of something, like warmth or safety. Instead it is the kind of love that forces you to redefine your limits of expression. It is expansive. Much like the universe.
So if you imagine the planets and stars as happiness, joy, support, and so on, and the vacuum between as space cleared to highlight those things that make life beautiful, you get fairly close.
But exceptional love, isn’t adding up the planets and the stars and subtracting the dust. It is the very fabric on which the universe exists. It is the landscape to the architecture we build. By default, everything we are becomes a narrative told within this fabric, this space. And exceptional love is the kind of space that is always expanding, equipping you and inspiring you to design your stars, together.
Since I was little, Thuy has always inspired my understanding of the world to expand into new dimensions. From the strength of your reach, the depth of your person, the heights you can climb and the volume of your voice, my navigation through life has been underscored by a sisterly love so encompassing and so generous, it is always larger than yesterday.
Thuy is my biggest cheerleader. There for me in the worst of times, and the inspiration behind the best of times.
So when Thuy met David, I felt like I kind of met David too. In the way that sisters talk about what happens on dates.
And then, I actually met David. I remember thinking how quiet he was. But in retrospect it was probably because I was nervous and talking an absurd amount. But David will do that. Listen to you with the most generous ear, even when you’re not saying much at all. And the more I get to know David, the more I know he is the kind of person who does not simply possess qualities. He isn’t a vessel in which kindness is carried and from which it is expressed, rather kindness forms and is cultivated from somewhere within. And that is much rarer.
Thuy says David gives the best compliments. You might be tempted to say it’s easy when it’s Thuy he’s complimenting after all. I think the best compliments are genuine and precise. And I think David is meticulous and thoughtful in such an admirable way that can only manifest itself as the pervasive support integral to love.
I know, however, that Thuy and David’s love for each other can only be defined by their own dimensions. It seems that everything they do stems from an internal, conscientious choice that is then expressed. And they do so, consistently, and generously.
Everyone, these are two, exceptional people, and as is often the case with exceptional people, their love is just so.
Thuy, David, I wish for you always, a beautiful, limitless sky. I know your story will be exceptional.
An immense grief anchors this city, tethering Hiroshima to its past. To be here is to carve your emotional real estate bare and lay it in offering. Such tragedy cannot be contained within one person. Hope for peace cannot be contained within one person.
I had not known school children were mobilised during the war and that because of this, so many more had died that day on August 6th, 1945.
I’m sitting here, just having exited the museum. I am sitting on a bench behind the children’s monument where countless paper cranes hang in offering. There will always be an absence in our history, no matter the time elapsed. But peace is the result of a collective hope, cultivated.
The cranes collect.
The garden is cultivated.
The city moves and yet exists in reverence. I think about the immense pressure the world is bearing and I wonder about negative pressure. How it was a second blow, returning for an encore in a city already devastated.
Everything is consequential.
People died, are dying.
Trees grow upward from damaged soil.
Sakura season comes again.
A city rebuilds.
I am still preparing for the unimaginable. The unspeakable scenes we continue to rehearse each day in this world are enough to fill a person. A class of Japanese school children recite words in unison before offering their paper cranes. Their contribution adds to the collection, filling the row of little clear booths facing the monument.
A bell rings.
It is not the physical presence of paper cranes but the consciousness of their purpose that imbues me with a pin prick of hope. And that is hope enough.
Declare your goods:
Exotic dirt-danced shoes
In a two-part tango
Across a coast
Designed by dancers
Powdered streets with foreign footprints
Photographs of family
Embossed in minds
The blueprints of a future
A finite forever
Saturated in salty scents
To set ablaze
A Golden Gate
Of International Orange
Stitched with pride
In unabashed glory –
Seven shades of soulful souvenir
A distinct new State
Moments to mark in time
You must declare your goods.
I was left breathless
Hoping and wanting and finally loving
The way you seemed to be looking
In my general direction
It was a crowded night
Filling with people, intentions and drinks
I saw the way you parted that sea
To walk in my general direction
You smiled and nodded
A flicker of acknowledgement too casual
A way to express any thoughts
You had for passing my general direction
And I stopped myself
Hoping and wanting and finally craving
For a way to erase my hopes that you
Would be more than in my general direction
A person has not the luxury of dispersion
To mushroom and fade in the subtlest way
It is not possible to become so innocuously beautiful
A whisper of smoke or a lingering scent
Could never have been such a clumsy form
Coats of perfume and and fluttering voices
Are mere approximations
They are cheap substitutes for existing between states
It is a privilege to be so subtle and treasured
And a blessing to be so inconsequential
The most recent expert in existence I interviewed nodded as their shoulders shrugged,
A non-linguistic interlocutory cue signalling the exact disposition we share,
I shrug my coat on
And nod to acquaintances
I shrug my coat off
And nod in acknowledgement;
I concur with the expert — it is impossible to know.
It’s red and it’s golden
Wet and gorgeous
This night as it rains
My shoes fill with water
My eyes fill with water
By the way the city just is