Yesterday I started a really positive piece of writing about what one can do in a hotel room to keep themselves fit and mentally well. It was partly a way of coping with my own struggle with being detained by the Australian government to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Blogging keeps me busy in my seventh floor room of the Novotel on Collins Street, Melbourne, and who knows, it might help others. Thousands people have gone through it and there’s more to come. …
In 1986 we hooked arms and you put your head on my shoulder
The cold bricks of my parent's house
Protected us from the frightened world.
Above, Halley's comet drew it's celestial path
We watched it's flaming passage and thought about 2061
I was fourteen years old
And in love with you.
In 1986, on the other side of the world, Chernobyl
The watchers on the bridge would die from a shower of radioactive dust
Whilst we giggled about boys we liked
and whether unicorns existed.
In 1986, school children watched a space shuttle
Disintegrate into a million pieces
The Soviet Union launched the Mir space station
Parents watched children suffer mad cow disease
And David Bowie was the Goblin…
Escaping sharp granules of sand stuck to sleepess sheets
I am pulled shoreward, perch cross legged
Lotussed on angular rocks
Tiny lavender molluscs bite into anklebones
Cold tea tree breeze drifts between shadowed rocks, warms
In reefs of glistening quartz and tangerine lichen
Parts each trembling hair bristling on tender skin
Touches clavicle, lips, third eye
I am aware of corpuscular drifting
Skin transforms into translucent kelp catching sunlight in shallow pools
Two tides pull - the drawing of saltwater in and out of the bay
And the blood flowing home to the heart
My fingers are drifts of seaweed
Where wrens chase insects. Their sharp chirrup
Gathers in my throat
I spread my cormorant wings
Shake salt from oiled feathers, becoming
Black spinnakers chased by updrafts.
I am here. I am here.
Mindfulness is really as basic as attention. For beginner meditators, the most intimidating thing about it is sitting still for hours not thinking, as if that’s even humanly possibly. It’s what the mind does, thinking. It’s impossible to stop it. But after a while of thinking about mindful practice, it becomes less about thinking and where you turn your attention to.
I can go days without meditating — in the cross legged, serene and peaceful meditative seat that is our held image of this practice. Sometimes, I feel a bit guilty about that — as if I’m not being yogic enough. …
Love crashes through glass like a wild thing
Everyone says: be afraid!
Courage to let breeze through weakens
when hearts shrivel.
Two choices -
Nail planks over panes, or find the oil for the winding mechanism.
Children love blindly, some say
Stern words tell children: calm down!
Spinning tops joyfully whirl then still, gather dust
In lonely attics.
Winging through doorways, a lost starling
Flutters down chamber walls
Flutters through aorta passageways
Flutters within glass lungs where breath is sharp with too-big gulps
Til the cry: No! You shouldn’t be here!
Those memories of pain!
Those old fears!
'It'll all be okay' he says.
The bird gently lands and settles in its old nest.
When my Grandmother died, I was in Wales, and didn’t return to Australia for the funeral. I asked my mother if she’d played her favorite tune, as she’d wanted. Mum shook her head sadly. She just didn’t think of it. There was so much to think about when her Mum died. All that paperwork, the invites, the catering. The photographs. I found this heartbreaking. Grandma loved Louis Armstrong’s ‘It’s a Wonderful World’ and had mentioned she’d love it played at her funeral. She thought it’d make people less sad. It was a wonderful world. …
‘What have I done wrong?’ she asks. She has paddled towards me three times now and I have pretended I haven’t seen her, dug my paddle deep and made my way to where the waves were starting to line themselves up again after their initial wrap around the Point.
The coast gets crowded in the summer. Lawyers and doctors with their holiday homes and surf skis. Uni students with hipster single fin malibus, waxed beards and no leg ropes. Tanned wives with black bikinis and gym bodies. Husband and wives with matching wet-suit outfits and legionnaire hats. Fathers showing off with a pair of children hauled upright as they stroke into waves, screaming at them to stand up, stand up, or pushing kids onto waves with a shout of paddle, paddle, PADDLE! …
The water brings sweet relief; like ice cubes on a sweltering day, or warm hands placed on sore shoulders. It is not a feeling she can adequately describe to others – more of a sensation that is without language, yet still, the words come precisely because the sensation lures in the language, makes her formulate it into sentences she knows will never be adequate. They comes like the waves – swell and rise like yeasty bread and then sink again below the level of her conscious mind. …
Once, or twice, or maybe more than that (but I’m not telling) I crept out of the bedroom window, one leg stretched unreasonably so that my crotch pressed uncomfortably against the frame til the tipping point brought the other over silently. I would not have been discovered, except I’d made the mistake of being over excited about my escape. Going to bed early claiming I was ill caused something quite dangerous to trigger in my mother. Her empathy caused her to open the bedroom door a touch to check on her eldest, only to discover I was away and gone.
Returning late at night, stoned and tired from a night with a man far too old for me, I hardly noticed the house lit up like a lighthouse calling me in yet warning me at the same time. I never crept out again, carrying shame for doing so though my parents scarce remembered it twenty years later. …
In Oliva’s painting ‘Absinthe Drinker’, le fee verte is this enticement: a temptress, luring men to her bedside. Depending on which side of the absinthe debate you were on, this bed could be a fatalistic one that led to certain evils or one that became about transformation, allowing the mind to drift into creative realms coveted by writers and artists alike. The photograph below shows famous poet Paul Verlaine, who, dying as a life long alcoholic, was said to curse absinthe which he blamed for his own ‘folly and crime, of idiocy and shame’ and supported it’s abolishment from society.