On Monday evening, I volunteered to provide food assistance to the residents of the North Melbourne housing estate in lockdown. Before my arrival, community volunteers from the local mosque had just delivered some food. Across the way in Flemington, Sikh community volunteers were providing trolleys of hot meals to residents. Stacks of staple food boxes sat outside the entrance foyer of each of the housing towers waiting to be distributed. We stood among a sea of uniforms and officials—Victoria Police, Fire Rescue Victoria, State Government staff—in varying degrees of Protective Personal Equipment. Some were in surgical masks, with or without […]
It seems everyone is tweeting about freedom of speech. So let me tell you a story about freedom of speech and the exceptional case of Palestine. In the days leading up to Israel’s proposed annexation of the West Bank, and in the shadow of Australia being one of only two countries to vote against a UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning the illegal annexation of significant parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank by Israel, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed. I wondered why those who profess to care about racism, oppression and injustice rarely dare to tether their […]
There are books that I’ve been avoiding lately, and others that I’ve stared down from across the room, unable to look away. There’s a compulsion to this avoidant-attached approach: I both want to be emotionally destroyed by a book and, simultaneously, want to feel nothing. These books I’ve been avoiding and courting—each details the effects of trauma, domestic abuse, and how the body holds memory. Since first reading about Carmen Maria Machado’s in-progress memoir In the Dream House a couple of years ago, I’ve been waiting. When it arrived in the post a few months ago I pushed it to […]
I was asked by a white woman poet friend yesterday to account for my role in the @verityla Stuart Cooke mess. My role was this: I tried for weeks through private emails to the editor to get them to see the piece was problematic. I did everything I could to raise the alarm, within.
Painting is a silent art, yet so few artists have mastered silence—in Australia, Jeffrey Smart; in America, Edward Hopper; and in Denmark, Vilhelm Hammershøi. If I do not dwell on Smart it is because I sense his debt to Hopper; Smart was born and raised in Adelaide, and though I have wanted him to win my love he has only won my admiration.
He places his hand on her waist and now they’re dancing, a sped-up version of a waltz that’s completely at odds with the song blaring tinnily out of his phone speakers. Inspired, she takes his hand and spins into him then back away, a bastardised version of the classic ballroom move.
I’ve worked as a teacher of English as a foreign and second language for many years and know how to teach the difference between the word ‘house’ and the word ‘home’. I teach that the former is a structure made from concrete or bricks, mortar or wood, while home is a conceptual idea of place and belonging.
The first time I tried to record frogsong
it wasn’t a frog at all, just an insistent
cricket broadcasting his urgent message
to all the females in the neighbourhood—