I’m sitting at a communal table in an inner-Melbourne cafe; from the back of the laptop opposite, a row of cryptic-looking cartoon characters—all heads, no bodies—are grimacing and mugging at me with odd-shaped mouths. A woman at the next table says ‘winter is coming’ and her companions laugh, because they are in on the joke. Out on the street, a child waiting for a tram is rendered a mere stick figure under his/her oversized, fluffy head-dress: yellow with big black eyes and rosy cheeks, instantly recognisable as Pikachu the Pokemon. And I wonder: what does it all mean, this ocean […]
When I was about 36 weeks pregnant, my workmates threw me a little goodbye party on the last Friday afternoon before I began maternity leave. There was cheesecake and Twisties and everyone else downed brimming glasses of sparkling wine. I remember being so relieved that I’d made it through eight months of pregnancy while working. The vomiting, the constant need to wee, the pain of being regularly kicked in the ribs and bladder from the inside. And I was proud, because even though any little error I made was instantly attributed to baby brain by my colleagues, I didn’t think […]
If you’re not John Bolton, stop reading. This isn’t for you. Though if you could pass this on to John Bolton for me, that’d be great. Cheers. John, how are ya mate? I hear you’re trying to kick off another illegal imperial quagmire in the middle east again. Tut-tut John, you already have two wars on the side, you’re a greedy little bugger trying to kick off a third, who do you think you are, Burt Reynolds? Check your mustache and your privilege mate. Anyway, do you like movies? Clearly you see anyone hailing from anywhere east of east Connecticut […]
i. The most I’ve ever dreamt is seven dreams in one night, back to back. I remember the first three dreams. I bothered to get up and write them down. It happened after I read Natsume Soseki’s Ten Nights Dreaming, a book of ten short stories based on ten dreams set in different time periods. Four of the ten stories begin with ‘This is what I saw in my dream.’ This is what I saw in one of my seven dreams, scribbled down half-awake/asleep: ‘Cars slowed to a crawl. Hazard lights on. Lights that do nothing. Penetrate nothing. A dust […]
I am acutely aware while visiting other places that I am in the home of the ancestors whose stories since ancient times are preserved in the land, seas, skies and atmosphere. These stories of country live inside us and are ‘the extraordinary literacy of place’, of ancient land titles, and are similar to understanding the old stories of places that the British landscape writer Robert Macfarlane might describe as being the ‘intricate stories to map the landscape’.
Tell me more about New York, her mother says, shifting on the overstuffed couch to make room for Clara. The green leather creaks. You really are in the big smoke now. But then it’s not all that wet, is it? It’s wet enough, Clara answers. Wetter than it is here in Melbourne. Her mother sighs. I don’t know. Last year Osaka had 1624 millimetres. And New York was what, 58 millimetres in February?
As my 20-year working life at the University of Melbourne was coming to its natural end by teaching for the last time an introductory subject on modern poetry during the first half of 2018, Andrea and I were planning to spend the following four months travelling in the far north of Australia, first crossing the Great Sandy Desert on the Tanami Track up from Alice Springs to revisit a community in that desert where we had lived for most of the past two years, and then crossing and recrossing the area of Western Australia known as the Kimberley, a craggy region of spinifex, boab trees and laterite still sparsely populated and still unforgiving to the unprepared.
What is the peculiar
consolation of a sky
like a violet lamp
above a crunched-foil sea?
Meanwhile, your mother
does not love you.