‘I am constantly resisting other people’s attempts to reduce the Pacific to one thing—I want to disturb all of that.’ —Teresia Teaiwa, E-Tangata, October 2015 ‘Professional sports have constituted an alternative work arena for many black men. In that world the black male body once used and abused in a world of labor based on brute force could be transformed; elegance and grace could become the identifying signifiers of one’s labor.’ —bell hooks, ‘Gangsta Culture’, We Real Cool, 2003, p.21 I am the first person in my family to attend university. On my first day, Dad dropped me off […]
I have longed to move away but am afraid; Some life, yet unspent, might explode Out of the old lie burning on the ground, And, crackling into the air, leave me half-blind. – Dylan Thomas, I have longed to move away I read Thomas’ poem when I was twenty-one, squandering a life in my comfortable childhood home in Sydney. As the youngest of four in a traditional, severely conservative migrant family, I felt for the first time reading this line as though the poet had grabbed my ribs and bent it to expose my throbbing, nervous heart. The yearning […]
I must admit, I usually avoid answering queries about what I’m reading. It seems a question so embroiled in judgement. Is what I read a judgment of what I do not? Will my taste as a writer be judged by my choice—is it too populist, too literary, too genre? Part of me knows that this is absurd, a fear brought on by imposter syndrome or some other unnamed paranoid condition that infects those who write. Even so, the self-consciousness is there and hard to shake. The reality is that I rarely choose my own list anymore—especially where fiction is concerned. […]
Every day after the final school bell rang, I sat on the paved brick of a stranger’s front yard under an old tree. My schoolmates and I wrote our names in the dirt, picked flowers and played handball until our parents arrived, one by one. Every day our big white Tarago would arrive, my mother at the wheel. One afternoon, the car didn’t come. The company dwindled until only I was left. Finally, the teacher on duty took me to after-school care to sit inside and wait. While other children drew and read, I sat quietly at a desk. I […]
‘We’ve come a long way’ since, say, May 1901, when our first prime minister, Edmund Barton, told our first parliament that ‘the doctrine of the equality of man was never intended to apply to the equality of the Englishman and the Chinaman’.
Make sure you lock the back door when you come in from the shed, his mother had said. She always said it, because he came in ten minutes precisely after her ten minute pre-dinner call, to wash up and be ready to eat.
Central to strong Jewish diaspora support for Israel is a homogenous Jewish community that rarely questions the basic tenets of Zionism. This has been constant in the Australian Jewish community for decades with barely a whisper of dissent.
I envy my neighbour’s bigger ration,
but he won’t play in this way.
He stays indoors. I invite him
to watch. His no is final.
He is loyal to his house
and paints his stairs.