Melbourne Summer

Posted on Monday, December 22, 2008

Relentless wind and dry heat
trams roll by my aching feet
heavy limbs
an ocean within

A day full of city sounds
nothing like a small town
strangers smile
a friendship begins
caffeine conversations
let the summer in

The last orange beams stretch across the sky
bursting at the horizons seams
a Melbourne summer is all I need

Sundown in the park
swapping stories in the dark
skin that stings
from all the good things

I’m a little girl once again
catching beetles in my hand.


Posted on Friday, December 19, 2008

It is in our nature as human beings to forge and seek out connections with others. Whether it is long lasting or fleeting, the desire to form bonds with others is an essential component of our make up. To connect with someone, on any level, allows us to feel real and gives meaning to the hours we keep. Everyone has something to offer. Even if you have to dig a little deeper to discover what that is. To connect with someone enables you to see life through their eyes. You open new windows of perception and for the briefest of moments, you may even get a glimpse of your place within the whole.

I have just recently made a new connection in this city. What could have remained a strictly two-dimensional exchange has now eloped into something of worth. Strangers weave in and out of my day in countless numbers. The guy that operates the tram on my way to work; the lady that makes me a juice in the morning; the couple that live across the hall from me; the young boy who works in the salon across the road from me; the old man that asks for change on Acland Street; the guy that makes me a coffee before each shift... I interact with these people through a mutual exchange of needs and wants, and yet I know nothing about them. I see them more often then I see my family and close friends, but due to some bizarre social construct, remaining anonymous is held in higher regard than making the effort to connect. These people are not cardboard cutouts. They all have a role to play. Behind the perceived two-dimensions is a person with a story to tell. Inside the private life of every stranger are passions, doubts, love, love lost, lust, longing, indecision, discontentment, plans, goals, hopes, ambitions, scars, broken hearts and rusty parts.

The need to connect has never been greater in today’s cyberspace race. Sites such as Facebook and Myspace have opened the floodgates to forming new connections. However, in an online environment such as these two sites, the quality of connection is questionable. Since when does social networking overshadow real friendship? Why do people add me as a ‘friend’ but never choose to connect with me in the real world? These sites nurture quantity over quality. Seeking out new ‘friends’ via this medium is nothing more than a numbers game. You don’t even really know who is dealing the cards.

So here’s a new philosophy….When you intersect: connect. Take time to consider that the person you are interacting with is exactly that, a person. Just like you and just like me. Blur the lines of social normality and walk away from that exchange with something real. Add that third or even fourth dimension to a perfect stranger. See the fire in their eyes when they speak of the things they love. Watch for the moment when they realise they have just shared something so intimate with you, a complete stranger. This moment is golden. This is the moment where you see with perfect vision, the thread that connects us all.

Nothing else matters, except for the moments we keep.

For Youth

Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One day I will wake with an older face
And my bones will creak like worn floorboards
My hands will one day be creased and dry
With crows feet etched besides my eyes
My hair will change to different shades of grey
And lose the shine it once had
My feet will ache with the weight of the day
And my eyelids will grow heavy at sunset

One day I will wake with an older face
And the fire within may subside
This is when I will place my faith
In the regeneration of new life
I will watch my grandchildren play
And light up with the magic of youth
This is when I will turn to you and say
‘My life has been full’
Knowing all the while it begun with you

One day I will wake with an older face
And pray for the great beyond
Where all the aches and pains of old age
Sink deep like a pebble in a pond

Haiku 4

Posted on Sunday, December 14, 2008

It flows through my veins
Red and thick and full of pain
My heart beats his name

Haiku 3

Posted on Sunday, December 14, 2008

A search for meaning
A fire that burns inside
Taking me higher

Haiku 2

Posted on Sunday, December 14, 2008

Reluctant he stands
Behind a coffee machine
His heart is elsewhere

Haiku 1

Posted on Sunday, December 14, 2008

Like a volcano
His love waits dormant within
Waiting to explode


Posted on Monday, December 08, 2008

I can’t believe I agreed to this. There is just something so unbelievably grating about guided tours. The very structure of the idea goes against my very grain as a traveler. I detest the rigid tour guide whose job it is to punctuate the beautiful scenery with useless commentary. His monotone voice is creating an unfavourable soundtrack to my first visit to Cambodia. My experience is being jaded by a complete stranger dressed up as a faux Steve Irwin. His little khaki shorts and matching button up shirt is an ideal ensemble for any Indiana Jones premiere, but serve absolutely no purpose amidst this tropical backdrop. More importantly, what is this Englishman actually doing working as a tour guide in South East Asia? I imagine the answer has something to do with the abundance of opium and the ensuing passage of time lost in smoke filled huts.

“I think I want to abandon ship and swim across the river to safer shores” I say to my partner in crime. I turn my head to see his face and he is sweating profusely. He has wrapped his white singlet around his head and gives me a reassuring smile.

“Jules, relax! It’s only for an hour, and plus it’s free!”

What seemed like a good deal at the time has now eloped into the longest hour of my life. Spend three nights with us and you receive a free guided river tour. What they failed to mention was that your tour guide will forever taint your Cambodian experience and leave you with a long lasting distaste for double khaki.

“Alrighty you lot, here to our left we ave the small village of Khatoa. Made famous by it’s opium fields, this village is home to about three hundred people and we’ll be stopping off ere for a about thirty minutes while you lot have a geeze round alright?” Bingo. Looks like Indiana Irwin is in need of his next hit. We make our way to the front of the decrepit boat and I breathe a sigh of relief when my feet hit the muddy banks.

“Wow that was hectic! Annoying Englishman much?!”

He gives me that look that says “Jules, stop being so intolerant”. I don’t even know how he manages to convey that look of his. I do believe it has something to do with the angle of his blue-green eyes and the ever so suggestive grin that waits at the corners of his mouth. He has the kind of eyes that make me want to confess all my sins before him. It’s like he already knows my most intimate thoughts, but waits to see whether or not I decide to tell him anyway.

“I know, I’m sorry, but I just didn’t visualise this to be my authentic Cambodian experience. I feel like such a heinous tourist on this shot-gun tour”

I can tell that my attitude is starting to frustrate him ever so slightly. Circles of sweat have started to form on his forehead and I realise that the last thing he wants right now is to have to deal with his uber irritated and sarcastic girlfriend. He wipes the sweat away with the back of his hand and places both his hands on his hips.

“Ok, well let’s go exploring then, we have half an hour to kill so let’s wonder around this little village and find us an ‘authentic’ experience. What do ya reckon? Sound like a good plan?” He’s using his ‘sweet Danny’ voice. His non-confrontational Danny tone. It usually works a treat in calming me down but not in this instance. I am adamant that he is to blame for this predicament. Another fine example of why isn’t always the best option. I can feel my jaw clenching and my patience slipping away with the humidity. I do my best to swallow down the need to verbalise how this entire situation could have been avoided. “Ok Daniel, let’s do it”.

Ahead we see the other tourists making their way along the main track to the heart of the village. They walk in packs and are defined by their fisherman pants, Birkenstock sandals and their multitude of cotton wristbands that broadcast ‘transient pseudo backpacker’. In the distance I can see a Coca-Cola sign, the red and white beacon of the western world. I feel like I am visiting Asia’s version of the Gold Coast. I tell myself that it’s only for half an hour and that I’ll get over it eventually.

“So touristy hey? Don’t ya think? Don’t ya reckon it looks real trashy?”

Finally, he echoes my thoughts.

“Yeah man, it’s like the Goldy Vs Nimbin on an Asian acid trip. It disgusts me.”

“Ha fully, it’s like Cheeky Monkey’s meets Lord of the Rings.”

“Ha! It’s like Cocomanga’s meets Cambodia.”

There’s a pause.

“Yeah…that last one sucked, I got nothing” I say in resignation.

“Well, how about we go down this little track instead, it looks way more interesting and less haggard, and we can meet back up with the pack before we get back on the boat? Don’t ya reckon that’s a good idea?”

“I do Daniel, its brilliant”. I feel my senses come back to life again and that stirring feeling inside me returns. He takes my hand in his and we walk side by side down the track less traveled. Everything is so lush and green around us. There is a constant humming in the air of small insects going about their day. The wind is laced with the sweetness of sugarcane and coconuts, and my legs itch as grass seeds stick my skin.

“Alright Daniel, if you could hear one song right now, what would it be?”

“Ummmm, hmmm, let me think…hmmm, one song…ok, I would hear Incubus ‘Pardon Me’, I love how full that song is”.

He starts humming the melody as we walk in zigzags in and out of the banana trees.

“Ok, next question for you Daniel. If you could only eat one fruit for the rest of your life, what would it be?”

He lets go of my hand and walks behind me as the track narrows. He is silent for a long time. I decide to answer my own question. “I think I would have to choose the mango, as not only is it substantial, but it is so ridiculously delicious and flavorsome. Either that or maybe strawberries, equally as tasty and so cute and bite-sized. Actually, maybe pineapples, because they are so sweet and juicy, kinda like you”. I wait for him to giggle or to at least propose a rebuttal to my suggestions but I hear nothing. I turn around to face him and he has the weirdest look on his face. “What’s up man?” He is looking around him as if he has lost something. “What is it man?” I ask again. I see the beginnings of panic painted across his face.

“Fuck Jules, I can’t find my watch, I think I’ve lost it.” He pats down the pockets in his shorts and checks inside his backpack. Nothing.

“Hang on, I’ll check my bag” I say, and rifle through my belongings but find nothing.

“It’s cool man, it’s just a watch, it’s replaceable, just buy a new one, and fuck it, we are on holidays so we don’t need to know what time it is anyway. The universe must want you to be timeless for a while, roll with it baby!”

He is suitably unimpressed with my response.

“Or even, we need a watch to see what time we need to back at the boat so we can get back to our room tonight”. Ok, point taken.

“Well, we can just estimate man. It’s not like they will leave without us. We’ve probably been walking now for about fifteen minutes so yeah, we should maybe start heading back about now”. I walk towards him with my arms outstretched. I give him a hug and tell him to chill the fuck out. I embrace him until I feel his body surrender to me, taking away all of his tension and frustration. We stand entwined as the waxy greenery envelops us.

“Lead the way D-Sal” I say whilst putting my backpack on. I look down at his feet as he walks in front of me. Those feet have served him well. They are the feet that have taken him all over the world and bought him back home again. They are the feet that twitch and itch for new sights and cramp at the thought of being tied down. They are the feet that lay next to mine in the middle of the night.

“Ok, so if we came from that general direction then we need to kinda go this way” he says as fallen branches crunch beneath our feet.

His voice sounds mildly puzzled but I choose not to question it. He stops abruptly and his bag crashes into my chest. “Thanks idiot, I didn’t need those breasts anyway”. I swear he doesn’t even hear me or register that he just body slammed me.

“Fuck Jules! I have no idea where we are, I can’t make out the track anymore, where the fuck are we?”

He is becoming flighty and it’s scaring the hell out of me. I ignore the alarm bell going off in my mind. There is just no fucking way we could possibly be lost. I don’t want to even entertain the thought.

“It’s cool man, we’ll find our way back, let me see, so if we came roughly from that area, then we should just scope around here for the track and follow it all the way back, easy”.

My voice is not my own, I am immediately suspicious and sense myself going into auto-pilot mode. This only happens at crucial times. All my emotions shut down and I am able to function on the most pragmatic level. I have switched into this mode only a few times in my life; two particular car accidents come to mind and one circumstance involving of a badly broken heart. I presume it has something to do with human conditioning and the primordial instincts of flight or fight. Whatever it is though, I am grateful it has its place within me.

“Jules, I’m not trying to psyche you out or anything, but I really do think we are lost babe”.

I can tell he is one step away from full fledged panic.

“Alright, how about you stay here, and I will walk over there and see if I can find the track? Just stay here, I’ll make sure I won’t go out of sight, I just want to get my bearings ok?”

I can tell that he wants me to be the one who stays put, while he goes off to seek out the track.

“We’ll take it in turns ok, I’ll go first, see what I can see, and then if I am unsuccessful, it’s your turn, ok?” There, a happy medium has been reached. He says absolutely nothing and his wordlessness makes me quietly uneasy.

As I walk away from him I make sure I am talking out loud the whole time so he can keep track of where I am. Surfboard shaped palm leaves slap me in the face as I negotiate my way through the tropical foliage. The midday sun is beaming down from above and my entire body is covered in a salty film. Little black bugs stick to my face and I am starting to regret the fact that I wore thongs. I look down at my legs and I am covered in the finest paper cuts from the dense under layer of plant life. The little red lines of broken skin aren’t enough to cause pain, but are deep enough to cause irritation and a general discomfort.

“OK DANNY! I AM JUST CHECKING OUT THIS LITTLE CLEARING, I’LL BE BACK IN A SEC OK?!” I scream out to him. He doesn’t answer but I know he can hear me. He must be morphing into full fledged panic mode by now.

I look around but nothing looks familiar to me. I am stuck in a maze of greenery and insect laden air. I am frustrated and thirsty. I bet this is karma for shooting my dagger eyes at the tour guide. Please get us home safely universe.

When I make my way back to Danny, he is sitting on top of his bag, looking defeated.

“Hey sunshine” I say as I wipe away the sweat from his forehead. He leans his head on my stomach and wraps his arms around my waist. He remains completely silent still. We stay together in this pocket of time, unmoving and mute, and wait for some kind of salvation or clue to fall from the canopy above.

“What happens if we really can’t find our way back Jules?” I feel his arms tighten around my waist.

“Whatever happens will happen man. The director obviously wants us to be lost together for a bit, possibly to add a dramatic twist to the plot of Danny & Jules. It could be worse; at least we have our health and each other. Besides, it’s not like we have anywhere we need to be”. Although that last part is true, it would be reassuring to actually know whether or not we would be spending the night in our two-star hotel.

Again, he says nothing. His silence is beginning to creep under my skin like a shiver.

“Talk to me Danny, don’t go all quiet, it does my head in man”.

“Sorry, I am just trying to work out a plan of what we can do. I think we are best to stay here. I don’t even know what direction we came from anymore. If we stay right where we are, we eliminate the risk of getting more lost, ya know what I mean?”

I don’t even really comprehend what he just said. All I keep thinking is that if there was one person I would prefer to be in this situation with, it would be him. Even in the worst case scenario, if we didn’t get found and we were to meet our tropical death, at least I would go to my grave laughing. At least the progression from being lost to dying would be filled with moments of absolute hilarity, would you rathers, and philosophical interpretations. I’m sure there are worse deaths to be endured.

We decide to stay put and to set up a makeshift camp under a leafy banana tree.

“Um, I don’t think we should sit there, aren’t banana trees a haven for snakes?”

“Jules, the only snake you have to worry about around here is the one in my shorts”.

I am disgusted at his response, but for some reason I can’t help but to smile. Maybe it was the heat, or maybe it was the fact that we could actually die out here that made me instantly horny. I walk over to where he is sitting and bend down to kiss him. He gives me a wry look. He feels it too. It makes no sense for us to be keen in a situation like this. He wraps his hand around my neck and pulls me closer to his face. All I can taste is the salty sweat of his skin. He pulls my body on top of his and I wrap my legs around his torso. His hands slip under my dress and grabs at the curve of my back. I can feel the heat grow between my legs as he pushes his hips into me. He lifts my dress over my head and kisses my breasts. One hand moves inside my undies and I moan as he makes contact with me. I take his face in my hands and swallow his mouth as I rock closer and closer to that place I want to get to so badly. He takes off his shorts and pulls me back on top of him. Words spill out from my mouth as he pushes deep inside me. Rivers of sweat run down our chests and my hair sticks to my face. Pins and needles fall from the sky and shower down around us. He pushes into me for the final time and I watch from a greater height as I make my way back down into my body.

From a distance the rickety boat drifts away from the muddy embankment. Cotton clad tourists sit side by side as a man dressed in double khaki lists useless facts about the Cambodian forest.

Meanwhile, beneath the cover of a banana tree, two lovers lay in a tangled heap as fallen leaves stick to their naked skin.

Across the Seas

Posted on Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Long distance love affairs aren’t what they used to be. Today’s technology has really paved the way for us lovers who are separated by the seas. Hand written love letters have been replaced with text messaging, facebook and my personal favourite, skype. This doesn’t mean it makes it any easier though. If anything, it makes it all the more frustrating. To know exactly what your beloved is doing, through regular status updates, late night texts and instant messaging, definately makes the miles in between fade away. But in no way does it bring them any closer to you. It’s like being told exactly what you are receiving this year for Christmas, but without being allowed to actually unwrap and enjoy it. You have their love, but you don’t have them next to you. Instead, you rely on a computer screen and temperamental internet connection to keep the thread weaving between you.

The future of the future.

We place so much importance on future prospects. We plan and organise, we re-plan and re-organise, we move on to plan two and then three and then we assess our back-up plans. When does forward thinking morph into wishful thinking? Is our faith so brittle that it threatens to crumble at the first obstacle? To depend on forward planning, in the context of relationships, is to set up boundaries and barriers to what otherwise could have been. We need to remember our young and naïve friend, spontaneity. To be spontaneous in our decision making is to really hone in on our gut feelings. Our instincts need to be on the forefront of the choices we make. If it feels good, then go with it. If something isn’t feeling right, then it probably isn’t.

Life is best lived in moments.

Too much forward thinking can get you into trouble. Too much structure can leave you feeling boxed in without much room for error. What we forget is that we are meant to make mistakes. Just because we don’t poo our pants and eat crayons anymore doesn’t mean we aren’t subject to poor judgment. We are so acutely aware of making mistakes that we don’t put ourselves in situations that warrant on the spot decisions. Alternatively, we use forward planning to foresee any possible crossroads in the future, and we already make our minds up before the coin has even been flipped.

Inside us is a universe.

We are all individuals. Our personalities, our past and present experience, our hopes and our dreams, all converge to make up who we are on this day. What you feel now may not be what you feel in one week, one month, or one year’s time. Nothing is set in stone, nothing is guaranteed. Considering this, nothing should be taken for granted. It is more realistic to believe that anything is possible, rather than crunching the numbers and arriving at a perceived outcome. It’s humbling to think that everything around you is in flux: an ever changing, ever morphing universal continuum.

You got to have Faith.

There is a difference between forward planning and faith. Faith is intangible. It is the unison of truth and hope. It is quiet contentment and gratitude for what has yet to unfold. It doesn’t predict the future, but it connects you to the future in a less structured way. It fills the quiet night and calms the rising tide within your mind. It is the flicker of something stirring inside you, something that doesn’t let you sleep at night, something that craves your unrelenting attention. You use you faith like a drug, and let it run thick through your veins.

In a world that screams out deadlines and action plans, I am grateful to step up and say this: I choose to own each and every thing I feel. I choose to listen to that voice within. I choose to be here, and nowhere else but here, in this moment. And because of this, he is no longer all the way over there.

He sits listlessly inside my chest, and watches me as I undress.