Dr. Irvine

I had a job in a Sydney shoe shop

with Irvine Welsh in 95

he was a small 23yo Scottish woman

I was a noodle goth, 18

Trainspotting had just come out at the cinema

my friends did heroin

got arrested stealing mobile phones from cars

while I

did time in the storeroom

avoiding customers

Irvine and I took bellydancing lessons

drank Irn Bru in a Glebe café and

dossed in Bondi Junction

with the latest blue-bottled wine

it was before Facebook so

he will never find me now

 

Photo: John Broks on Unsplash

Lessons

 

I learnt permanence from the beach

the way the sand never shifted

and the dunes stood still

a dead spike-backed fish

forever there, the arcs of tides

ancient and fixed

 

I learnt love from the sea

constant, predictable

ever reliable

turn your back, nothing happens

risk free

and the rocks, so orderly

 

I learnt life from the wind

always that solid blue

careful, unchanged

no cloud-claw wisps

nor breeze-tossed leaf

to mar my view

Lost times

windchimes and fingernails

I miss you

do you know?

the pain

of never-enough

and not-the-right-time

a hole

old and bitter

defeat

must be brave

afraid, what sits

on the other side,

lying and lies

lost moments

and cry

over far-away fingernails

and the corner

of your eye

 

 

Photo: Claire Doble

Oh my word, GloPoWriMo  – global poetry month – starts today! I checked the website yesterday and it’s a miraculous Covid-free zone. WTAF? Awesome. Not sure I’ll manage a daily poem this April but I’ll definitely do a few!

Name it

 

Disbelief – it’s hard to believe this is happening. Or that it’s quite real.

Grief – immense sadness for the loss of life as we know/knew it.

Fear – I’m afraid, not really of getting sick but of the unknown. How long it will last? What will it mean for the world when we come out of this? Are the freedoms we’re giving up (grudgingly but willingly) going to be restored? How long until the fabric of society starts to unravel? What about for my kids? Their social lives, in some ways, are more tenuous, but also more resilient. What will the world look like for them at the end of this or down the track? Will it be merely a blip or a huge game-changer?

Hope – things could get better. The collective coming-together of everyone across the planet or even just everyone in my street. The environment breathing a sigh of relief with most planes grounded, much heavy industry at a halt (I presume? Are kids still mining cobalt in the Congo?), way less cars on the road etc.

Compassion – I mean, are those kids sill mining cobalt? Even if the mine has shut, would their lives be better? Fuck me. And, closer to home, so many facing financial difficulties, grappling with mental health and physical confinement. Illness. All the things.

 

How is my heart doing? – I have learnt a lot about how to cope with difficult things in the past few years. Particularly over the past 14 months or so, I have gone inward and deeper on the lifelong journey of feeling and negotiating my emotions. This is rather than numbing them out, attempting to ignore or run away from them.

I’m grateful for this ‘training’.

I’m glad I am strong, even in the midst of feeling highly vulnerable.

I’m relieved I can still exercise outside on my own. For how long, who knows?

I’m surprised to be working in one of the few ‘growth industries’ during the Covid-19 crisis, Communications.

I know my situation is better off than many, if not most, and that I am lucky. But comparison is not helpful and I must also acknowledge how I’m feeling: disbelieving, fearful, grief-stricken yet also hopeful and compassionate.

 

I will write some more poems this week. I think I need to.

Thanks for listening.

 

Photo: from this morning’s run – this gent told me (from a safe distance) to turn around and see the rainbow! I snapped a pic of him as he walked away.

The law of nature

 

can’t stop touching

my face

sucking fingers

biting nails

turn my cheek

to be licked by the wind

run at birds

who beat, beat, beat

wingflashes of white

in sea-salt air

they’re still scared

of me, I’m alpha

right?

the world has not

changed its laws

fragile, stupid, greedy

glorious

needy

I want to swallow the sky today

Is it mine?

ripples in water

make perfect art

for no one

to own

devastated

reinstated

again, again, again

can’t stop touching

my face

 

 

Photo by Alimo 26 on Unsplash

International Women’s Day

a rule follower

breaks me

no longer hit

she’s happy

calling down the line

I’m older

she’s wiser

recycled earrings fly

listen

I say, I say, I say

she tells

how the birds went away

and acid anxiety eats

what drink soothes

for a time

we talk

bushfire lives-

get blown sky high

this way

women

hold each other

on a Sunday

 

Photo by Shwetha Shankar on Unsplash

Dirty pictures

pornography of weapons

on the page

what they inflict

see the blade?

curve of trigger

barrel’s deep plunge

sphere of grenade

imagine the blood

a tank

a wank

a way to outflank

enemies

fire in the belly

a hole

torn

fabric of life

shorn

covet these

objects

of war

don’t touch

whore

where is

mother love

or

woman’s touch

in such

violence

displayed

Photo by Vladimir Palyanov on Unsplash