poetry

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

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

Mothballs

 

sometimes remember Bondi

but the moments I’ve known

were in flats with bad circumstances

too much booze

or a car involved

phantom cigarettes

it can’t be the fires

the old smell of shared hallways

in run-down brick blocks

and the naphthalene of

grandparents’ blankets

with sea brine and

stale schooners, a scarred benchtop

we were there

remember?

it was only ever one night

here and there

upstairs

in Bondi

 

Photo: Bondi Beach by Yang Xia on Unsplash

2020 words and goals

Happy new year, happy new decade! Hard to believe this will be the sixth year of Clairevetica. Where does the time go?

I like to write these goal blogs, mostly for myself to refer back to. Here are my

2019 – mid-year life update

2019 goals

2018 goals

2017 goals and words – consolidation & realignment

2016 goals and words – small, incremental changes

2015 goals and words – surrender

previous words – don’t rush in where angels fear to tread

I was originally about just putting writing goals here but I think Clairevetica can take it if mention some of the other stuff that’s important to me. It’s my space! So, in no particular order, here’s my update / goals / ideas for the year ahead.

Running: I had a goal to reach 1,000kms in 2019, which I achieved. This was not easy, I noticed late November that I was way behind and made the slightly rash decision to run 5km/day for the rest of the year to hit my target. I achieved this and with some spare change (plus a couple of rest days!) I’m pleased with this and I’ve set myself the same target again for 2020. I said I’d like to do one or two half-marathons in 2019 and I managed one. The move from Switzerland to Australia meant things were a bit all over the place in that respect. I will try to sign up for two halfs in 2020. Not sure I’m ready for a full mara yet.

Fitness: a new one! Fitness is becoming increasingly important to me as I move into my 40s. I plan to incorporate some more strength training this year and I’d like to swim more again (I used to do a fair bit of swimming). Since I live on the coast now, this should be a no-brainer. I’d also love to learn to Surf! 🙂

Sobriety: It has been almost an entire year since my last alcoholic drink and a full year since I last got drunk. Definitely the best decision I made in 2019.

Writing: I managed a decent amount of writing in 2019. Including writing about 150 blogs on the sober support website I joined. Since returning to Australia, I’ve done a fair bit of freelance and that has been mostly enjoyable. I’ve been trying to focus more on writing articles about things I am truly interested in rather than ones to merely pay the bills.

Novel: In the last quarter of 2019 I did an 8-week novel-writing course, which was good. I’m probably going to do the follow-up six-month course as, with both kids in school this year, I will finally have those precious few hours per day to devote to it. In retrospect, I was overambitious to think I’d be able to write the novel in 2019 with all the change and upheaval. But I did think about my WiP a lot and took positive steps. And I have refined my approach. I realised, for me, it’s not so much about churning out the words (I am pretty decent at that) but spending more time refining each section in shorter blocks/ bursts and that’s hopefully what’s going to be my process.

Short stories/submissions: I did have one short story published this year! But I’ve basically stopped submitting to literary mags etc. It takes too much time and the payoff is not amazing. I think my energy is better spent in the above and below, penning poems. I also decided a while back I would not submit/enter anything that had an entry fee.

Poetry: the poems just come when they do. It’s interesting to observe how, the past two weeks while on holiday, I have been more inspired to write more poetry. Maybe it requires a bit of difference / out of comfort zone or eye-opening to new things.

WORDS

Finally, I have been in the habit the past few years of choosing a word or words to be a sort of mantra for the year. In 2019 my words were ‘Wild’ and ‘New’ and there was definitely huge amounts of both those things.

In 2020, my words will be ‘Raw’ and ‘Curious’

Curious – because I’ve discovered that a sense of openness and curiosity is one of the best ways to ‘get out of my own head’ and divert negative thoughts. If I remain open and interested, I am far less likely to allow doubts and insecurities rule my thinking or actions. I’m also getting interested in spirituality! So this is a good quality to bring to that.

Raw – I hesitated on this one. The idea of being raw and vulnerable scares me. And really, that’s why I chose it. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I suspect that to be truly curious and open, as per my desire above, one must also allow for a certain rawness and stripping back. The best writing can come from here too, which is both exciting and terrifying!

So that’s where I’m at. What are your goals, writing and otherwise, for 2020?

Photo: night-blooming cactus flower by Claire Doble

Grave Yard

Bushfire moon

an eye prickly with tired

in the night

things expire

by day

the sand’s a ribcage and

there’s always dead things on the beach

is it unusual?

Embarrassed, shy by my

disconnect

I do not know

I’ve been away

it takes a year but

didn’t ask

in case

no one has noticed and

I’m afraid

what that might mean

 

I didn’t set out to write a series of ‘bushfire’ poems but I guess I did and it seems appropriate for this time of year in NSW, Australia as we’re suffering some bad fires at present. Where I am is OK, we are safe, but there’s smoke in the air most days. 

 

Photo: Claire Doble