Friday, 30 May 2008

On hearing You're in my head resounding arcs and rhythms I can not catch I pushed my hand right into her and still didn't find my own face

Clumsy in my actions I'm coating everything in ash, catching my feet on this insides of my trousers and walking into walls. Its a kind of doll revolution, tear off your own head and I'll bowl you down with it. I'm making you this offer. Bring rhythm back to my words and I'll tie canaries to your shoes. Happiest on her hands its not like she's got her own face on. This is a kind of theft. There are blank pages humming with rhythm. I can feel them but that typing is all wrong. Clattering clattering is not the sound paper wants to hear. It is softer, there are round shapes and line breaks but all I'm arrhythmic not hollow but something quite like it. The shape I am chasing has patterns apparent. I can hear it in my head like an atlas traveled prawn, I told you clownlike this is a kind of theft. Snug bud pickle sprat jug eel. There's no place for the word sound Mexico farther off than Australia. The shape I am chasing has patterns apparent. Line breaks turnip owls fool's loaf and yeah I did my own sums.

Fed, watered and chaperoned

I wasn't expecting to be sucked into a glass bottle and stoppered as I sat sipping at my soy latte with vanilla. Sitting in my usual island cafe at my usual table I might expect nothing more than to sit and sip my coffee and stare at Creamboy as he talked. It wasn't that I couldn't think of anything to say its just that I'd been sucked into a glass bottle and stoppered, Newtown has a way of turning on me when I least expect it.

Isolation does that, it swirls somewhere merrily above while I walk below, happy in my own way, then it tires and comes to rest round my shoulders. Creamboy was talking about Bathurst but my mind was in Mudgee. I left something in Mudgee once but he was talking about Bathurst. Creamboy's going to Bathurst for a few months, its a doctor thing, he was saying I should come and visit him but I was thinking about Mudgee.

I was thinking about the last time I saw Mudgee, I drove over the mountains in my old roofless 70's jeep to stay with a friend of mine who'd kicked the city one last time before buying fifty acres, a tall pair of wellies and a herd of cows. The contents of her house were there all there in Mudgee flashing city lights across the dusk in her front paddock. She was taller and thinner and had hair like a stranger. She lost things in the city, her lymph nodes and her younger brother. I left something in Mudgee once, something important, something reflective.

Crowds surged round the cafe and I remembered why I call it the island cafe, Superman won't sit there and I know why, he told me once with a forkful of cake halfway to his face and a magnetic chess piece in his left hand. Creamboy downed his hot chocolate in three mouthfuls and set the glass on the table with a careful thump and a wry smile. There is always a strange temptation to ask him to heal me somehow as though I could lay down and by naming the parts of me that whirr with universal noise he would quiet the human condition but I think that about a lot of people, not just doctors.

Creamboy was talking about Mudgee and saying it was in the middle of nowhere, not like Bathurst, that's not quite so nowhere as Mudgee. He was talking about the separate pockets of his life, how his friends sit in quiet opposition to each other and he floats between them unconnected. He was saying I must know what that's like, when everyone is separate but I was shaking my head and sipping at my coffee. Newtown was waist deep and sinking. I sipped at my coffee ever grateful for my island, shaking my head and rattling my invisible boat shuttles and bobbins. I was thinking its a weaving thing, my existence, I weave people through each other tight as I can. I dance through the gaps with my drawstrings and cupcakes pulling invisible threads until everybody knows everybody and you could pull focus on them one at a time and we'd all be there. Its a matter of existence. Its about glass bottles and frames of reference and knowing that I'm not enough.

Didn't I throw you out a window?

Yes, I'm quite sure I did.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Yes

The essay is finished, proofread and submitted. I am too tired to dance so I will sleep en pointe but first I will read these children's picture books, the titles amuse me:
A Hug for Tug
Too tight, Benito!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

I have some issues

With this.

I believe the argument should not centre on the artist and whether or not they are famous. It is time for abstraction. The real issue is censorship, with a side of criminal law, and censorship ought to be discussed in broader terms than one artist, author, exhibition or book. Censorship is a wide blanket that can cover us all. It is not useful to speak about the merits of the artist or the artwork as a kind of defence against censorship, that tactic feels to me like the onus rests squarely with those that would argue against censorship. The shoe should be on the other foot. What possible rational argument can there be for censorship of this kind, I am yet to see any.

Parts of this discussion must be heard in court, it must be established whether or not a crime has been committed. Art is not exempt from the law and it must be established whether or not a crime has been committed. If a crime has been committed then this is good and rational argument for censorship in this particular instance as the models are now technically victims of crime. If a crime is found to have been committed, if a crime is constructed from black letter technicalities and creaking cogs of elderly judicial minds then that is a separate matter and the law itself should be brought into the argument. I do not object to the law machine examining objects brought before it, that argument can easily be distinguished from the matter at hand.

Censorship in this instance has been fired like a cannon from a corner of the community and it is difficult but not impossible to argue against them. The artist should be removed from the argument, the specific should be pushed down because what we are talking about here is people being naked and some people saying we should not be allowed to look at them, this is censorship and I object. We shouldn't need to go through this again but it seems that we must. This is censorship and I object.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

The essay is not finished. I have stopped working on it at seven minutes to midnight. I have ceased to useful thoughts. Yes. It is nearly finished. I need only finish the appendices, stick in some handy references which I will find in my lunch break tomorrow. No. I am not normally an advocate of retrospective research.

This is uninteresting. My thoughts have begun to sway and it is not unpleasant, this kind of tired, the tired that comes at the end of being useful. I wish to say something, to write something, to pelt sentences like stones but there are none and I must content myself with the shuffling ritual of showering then finding my way into bed. I long to stay here in this calm white void state but I am slipping down in my chair, my eyelids lowering and raising like a moored ship. My lips are pressing together in a flat heavy line, my elbows and shoulders sink floorwards. All tension drains through the floor into the landlord's flat below. My tongue rests loose in the bottom of my mouth. Breath becomes motion as I rise and fall. I feel tidal.

Bat signals

Everyone's been sending out bat signals of distress. Last night they were coming in thick and fast by phone, email, online chat and text message. I was trying to work on my essay but instead I was discovering my own lack of boundaries. If someone's in need of something human like comfort or hope or an understanding face to take the full force of their rebounding rage then all other options drop off my list of possibilities. I can't turn them away.

Distress. Dis ease. Despair. I have enough of my own but still I soak it in like sunlight, like I'm basking in the warmth of it. I'm not doing this on purpose. I usually deploy shields but they're all down, I've been sending out my own bat signals. My essay is now late, it is not finished but neither am I. Tonight I will do this. I will lay down my briefcase and take up my lecture notes and I will work until it is done. I will set aside weariness and the low throb in the centre of my spine. I will work until it is done.

Last night I should have said this. What steps are you taking to help yourself to feel better? Are you doing the things you are supposed to be doing? Are you rolling this distress downhill faster and faster to watch it gather momentum or are you drawing small important lines in your sand. What steps are you taking to make yourself feel better? If you need me, if you're reaching for the buttons or the dials or the sneakers or the keys that will add your straw to my back then stop, please, just for now. Let's all take one big step to the left and set the dimmer switch on the bat signal to low.

Monday, 26 May 2008

That's not electric light my friend its your vision growing dim

Oh yeah, its come to this. I'm still working on that fucking essay.
Things impeding work on my essay:
My uterus is tying itself into extremely small and intricate knots
I put too much chocolate powder into my hot chocolate
My left foot is asleep
It is dim in here because I broke all the light bulbs in my lamps, this was not on purpose
I am cold
There is too much goo on my face
My right arm feels like it is on fire
I have a headache
I object to this
I am so tired, so very tired
My house is still disordered
I will never be loved and this disheartens me
I can't remember where my pie dishes are
I thought my socks were black but they are very very very dark blue and not black at all
My mind has gone, thoughts, if I ever had them, have powdered and I am sitting with a head full of nothing but chalk dust and a globe spinning in sympathy with the sun

Pub floors

My two favourite kinds are sticky and bouncy.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Do it for nothing more than the money

I've been writing stupid emails and sending them to people. I've been apologising to some and terrorising others. I probably didn't need to do either but sitting on the floor between a tower of baskets containing hats, shoes and handbags and a six foot stack of cardboard it just seemed like the right thing to do. Nobody has replied to any of those emails, maybe they never will. I'm telling everybody I don't need anybody. I'm doing this while anxiety eats at any semblance of sanity and my essay sits in the bottom of the abyss. The Spatula offered to help with my essay but I couldn't think of a way into thinking about the damn thing so I said thanks but no.

I'm digging foxholes but what I really need is airstrip. I need teams with laser beams and someone to make my lamps go again. Its dark in here now. There's two bags full of ski boots next to my bed. I've never been skiing, I've never owned a ski boot. There are four empty bookcases in the middle of the hall. I keep making injokes with noone but myself about a song Brian May wrote about Freddy Mercury. Too much love will kill you in the end. I was doing it last night. People were finding me incomprehensible so I tried to explain about Brian May's hair and the song that popped into my head for no reason. Petey-O put his arm around my shoulder and gave me one of those looks, an its alright kid kind of a look. I was being incomprehensible, there's a table in the middle of the lounge room. I need to call someone but I've been sending stupid emails.

I will fight them on the beaches

Recently I said: Discard your notions of the Western Sydney Artist as the new Noble Savage.

TimT said: BTW, what's all this about the Western Sydney Artist being the 'New Noble Savage?' There's only one word in that description that rings true, and it's not the first two.

So I replied:
Lately I've been hearing some arts commentary lauding the unique bravery and spirital, cultural overcoming of odds to create - when the artist comes from Western Sydney. Like they had to climb over razor wires, like they don't have thought and education and backyards in which to construct things like it was some kind of miracle that someone from 'out there' had a thought or an idea not involving their family bbq or the size of their television screen. Like Western Sydney is a millstone weight of disadvantage, like geography pushes people into a new kind of species, like they are crawling in gutters and someone blocked out the stars. This broadcast imagined vast tract of suburbia as concentration camp has gone far enough. I will fight them on the beaches.

This morning

I sat on an office chair, put my feet on the box of files and made myself French toast. I ate it inside the half constructed bookcase shell lying flat on the lounge room floor. I ignored the DVD bathtub and showered next to the wardrobe. I am evolution.

I'll be drinking til we meet again

I'm not going to walk you through this. The inbox inside my telephone is empty, that's the only thing that's empty. The bathtub is full of DVD's there are office chairs on wheels in my kitchen, the table is piled higher than the top of my head with books. I tried and failed to access my kettle and there is nowhere to have a little sit down. I am sharing my bed with two boxes, one basket, seven books and a plate with the corners of toast, I ate the rest of that toast on Friday morning.

I still don't know what happened really. I know that it definitely started with condiments and now everything is upside down or in the wrong room, this is a not a metaphor. The cat is confused and somebody put their sneakers in the pantry. Last week I decided I would write cover versions of poems in short story form. I am sick of the musicians and their freedom, Grizelda made herself pasta bake for dinner and The Spatula ate cereal for breakfast every morning. This week I decided to sit sensibly in my warm jumper and write my essay and The Peachettes systematically dismantled my carefully assembled still life.

Superman canceled cause he's sick and I was disproportionately upset, somebody has filled the hallway with chests of drawers. I was on my way home from an emergency trip to Ikea, I was pushing a trolley with my impulse purchase white steel locker, two lampshades and one scented candle. I was trying not to vomit a one dollar hotdog and lingonberry soda in the carpark. I was disproportionately upset and wishing it was possible to wind back two days and stand in a house without a wardrobe in the middle of the bathroom.

My brother arrived and he smirked at the chaos, said he definitely did not want to be helping with this shit so we walked to a cafe and waited for Boli. Boli told me he wondered what in the hell I was thinking when I first told him I was moving into a sharehouse in the Inner West. He looked at me and he was thinking about the horizon. There are pillows in the kitchen sink.

The Hoptoun, geological anomaly, guaranteed to be at least thirty degrees in there, no matter how cold it is outside. Fault lines and lava. Spencer took to the stage and three songs in I thought I have had enough of this shit. They've got everything we ever needed, songs, presence, skills, magic, they even have the fucking trousers.

I'll tell you about my bias. I expect more from my friends, I expect rooms to explode and audiences set on fire or I cringe and that is why I am sick of this shit. Gig after gig after gig Spencer's band, The Holy Soul, cancel sentences in my brain. They shake out reason and my arm rises unconsciously with the heel of my hand pressed out in reverent salute while the crowd surges around me calling for more. I'm sick of this shit where Spencer packs venues and rolls light and the hard edge of rock right through the middle of every fucking person there then wakes up on Monday morning and goes to his shit job.

So I'm standing on the footpath outside The Hopetoun sucking down cigarettes and pink lemondae with Boli and my brother. Up walks Artboy and fuck me if this day just didn't get worse. This is how it used to be me, my brother, Boli and Artboy at Spencer's gig but that was before The Holy Soul were good and Spencer was just trying on his rock face to see how it fit, that was in The Swamp Bar at uni, that was before I lived in a house with filing cabinets and oil paintings on the front verandah.

Something's shaken loose and I'm rattle walking in circles again. My essay seems fucked beyond redemption, fail this and I have to pay back the grant money. My home has vanished and I'm living in that junkyard from The Labyrinth, Artboy has pulled off my permanent bandages and I'm a walking, shaking, heartbeat away from panic. I sent Artboy a text message as I watched him cross the road and walk down some dark street. I was pressed against the wall of The Hopetoun standing next to Madam Squeeze, surrounded by friends, flanked by friends, I was standing in the middle of my very own Roman Turtle formation but the words still came out and now the inbox in my telephone is empty and there's six mugs in my sock drawer.

Friday, 23 May 2008

11 o'clock and all is well, now

It started with some loud discussion about condiments, I could hear them from my room which is situated at the opposite end of The Peach from the kitchen. I'm not sure how it happened, I was trying my level best to work on my essay and for once I was actually making some progress. There was stomping up and down the hallway, there was full scale yelling there was door closing and opening, in short The Peachettes were at war.

The Spatula stomped off down the hallway and Grizelda came into my room, I cleared off my armchair, sat her down and rolled her a cigarette. It is my firm belief that non-smokers should smoke in a situation like this one. Grizelda was angry, the kind of angry that eats your words and leaves you staring with a hand on your heart to keep it from leaping out of your chest. I thought oh dear, this is not ideal. The Spatula entered soon after and my essay quietly slipped into the abyss.

I should have been angry. I should have thrown the pair of them out but I thought there is possibility in this situation. The Peach has been in an advanced state of discombobulation for some time now. The corners are all dust and the carpets high and lumpy where we have all been sweeping and sweeping things. Sometimes it is possible to cast a wide net of calm and paint words across air and breathe them like balm. A discussion about condiments had lead us into new territory.

So we talked and despite their anger and their tears and the mess raging all round us like harbingers of doom we decided to rebuild this city. Tomorrow I will work on my essay in my office, away from here, away from the commencement of large scale recombobulation, our grand plan. I will return to The Peach before 3 because that is the hour when everything changes.

We are rearranging all of the communal spaces. We have a grand vision of The Peach rising from the ashes. We have a plan at working at living together. We have been thrown together here by disaster, misadventure and the jagged shapes of broken love. The time for camping and dreaming of a time when our lives were real or longing for our lives to begin again are over. I have lost an evening of much needed study time but I have gained hope and a library. I will make the ridiculous declaration that more people should yell at each other about condiments more often.

Let's be perfectly clear about this

I fucking hate writing this essay. They were right all along, marketing is evil, even if it is creative arts marketing.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

I still want to punch Marcus Westbury in the face

But its against the rules to tell you why until I finish this essay. Why not read this in the meantime? Or you could think about whether or not yelling at stars is a stupid waste of time or even think about this, is it not odd that the first thing everybody thinks is pornography? Since when did naked equal porn and I would like to add, distastefully, that Lolita is a splendid book, it has an astonishing rhythm.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

We regret to inform you

That Dale Slamma has been banned from all non-essay related activities until further notice. Feel free to write your own Dale Slamma blog post in the meantime.

Sock it to me - hypothetically

I will give you one million dollars but you can never wear socks again.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

I don't want to talk about this

I have erected a series of one way mirrors and by some bursting miracle I am standing on both sides.

There is a problem with this blog. There is a problem with this ridiculous necessary daily ritual. I have conducted a series of rigorous and scientific tests whilst staring at the kettle watching steam catch on the window.

The problem lies squarely with any blog post concerning Superman. They are flat and empty and what is missing is myself. Here is the problem (can I remind you that I don't want to talk about it?) Superman is a new friend and I am uneasy. He has slotted happily into my adventures and traipsings across this city. He has slotted easily into the places that I normally go alone. He is a welcome companion and I do not desire his early absence, as I do with so many, after a mission is done. He does not cause me to step cautiously or dress appropriately, he does not pour obstacles into the sanctuary of The Peach but there is an end to this easiness (can I remind you that I don't want to talk about this?).

Superman is a new friend and is not used to the mad scrawling slate of my mind so that when I sit and type it comes out flat. It comes out as though there wasn't a thought in my head, as though I don't walk around singing words and flicking at the edges of the universe. I feel that the record of whatever adventure he was included in must necessarily, in part, belong to him (can I remind you that I don't want to talk about this?) and that I can not write it as my own.

I type over people, I type over them and watch as they fall with exclamation eyes and question mark lips, this didn't used to be a lie. In twelve ways this has nothing to do with Superman and everything to do with me. I am not deliberately censoring myself, its not a question of thinking then unthinking.

Spencer might be on to something. Spencer reckons I panic and run from people, from all people and he might be right or he could just be walking around writing songs in his head with his long stride and fingers that reach all they way to the bottom of the pringles jar but then again that might be selling him short.

I'm not used to making new friends. I'm not used to people listening to what I say, I'm not used to being accountable for the ridiculous torrent of words I call conversation. I'm not used to being made to think.

I'm a soliloquy, I'm the aside to audience, I'm the one in rags rattling a single coin in a paper cup.

Now I'm thinking that my problem is simple one. I'm frightened that my friends are there out of habit. I'm frightened I am both boring and the most unusual thought you ever had. I'm frightened that I'm the thing that awaits when you go over the top with your gun and your helmet. One day everyone will look up then walk away. I'm nesting for their revolution.

Now I'm alarmed because this chain of reasoning has less to do with logic than the drawer full of unsharpened unused pencils I move from house to house year after year. I used to be the one in crazy feathers dragging opal chains in the dust clattering rattletrap into the blue that is bluer because of the lamps. I have wearied myself with this need to be homespun and absent with a tray of clean tea cups.

I'm not making sense. Did I tell you that I don't want to talk about this?

Let my own lack of a voice be heard and thank you for making pancakes

It wasn't because of the swirling cold trailing across first one part of me and then another. That's not something I need to say, its a leitmotif, the unsanctioned spontaneous incidental music to thought. I committed the small crime of assuming that Superman would be late so I crawled out of the shower at ten past six draped in towels but there he was ensconced in an armchair in the rear of The Peach.

How now can I turn and focus on what must be done? This waking day shrinks and expands and Superman has the distinct advantage of transporting himself across Sydney to a different space, one without film echoes and half finished crossword puzzles. You know, you really shouldn't smoke in bed but in this house it is a a sanctuary from cold and the others shrugging off art like an unwanted coat.

After pancakes and the communal raft of existence over coffee Superman decided a film was necessary so we moved speakers and newspapers and rolled a joint. I wrapped myself in something warm, fending off the trailing cold and welcoming the artificial haze. I lazed and smoked and huddled on this bed and Superman pressed play. Some films walk across moments using your footprints as its own.

Grizelda had dropped us near the restaurant in Paddington and we crossed a road and walked a block and the cold trailed across first one part of me then another. The restaurant, housed in a boutique hotel, had a small but grand entrance. The tables were low and the chairs had arms. I dropped the cushion from my chair then moved to a neighbouring table. We calculated, carefully, the cost of things and just how much we could consume, for free. This is the dinner competition dinner. This is Superman kindly acting out a small part in my long list of life as experiment. The two cheapest mains were to our liking and left, enough, just enough for a bottle of wine. The small list of wine we could afford fell into two categories, wine we could pronounce and wine we could not pronounce. It is not difficult to discern which wine we ordered.

Conversation, as it is with Superman, was often easy, sometimes light but always alive. We argued, vigorously, from our different corners about the possibility of a government sanctioned sound effect to be played immediately after being hit in the face with a pie and idea of an object possessing a subtle height. The food was an elevated level of existence standing in clear contrast to the weeks where I forage in the pantry for a dry biscuit seeking only the absence of hunger.

The wait staff could have frightened me, but they didn't. Superman had to test the wine and I think his artful draping of a scarf helped him in this matter but I'm not sure. When the almost frightening staff were looking away we swapped plates and the pastry from the lamb shank pie scattered clear to the horizon. The other plate, the one without pastry was a kind of chicken heaven, the kind a chicken would never dream about.

The wine continued and the hired piano player drifted away, replaced by a woman with light fingers. Her two small children stood by the piano and sang in their floral dresses, it could have been anytime but a glow appeared where none had been. The wine continued and the edges of my mouth went pleasantly numb. The wine continued then we walked the length of the wallpapered hall. Superman disappearing briefly behind a door marked "the dungeon". The potential for waking inside Fawlty Towers was never far away.

We walked down Oxford St in a bid for coffee while the cold trailed across first one part of me then another. We were too far from cafes and the late night bookshops so we climbed into a cab and ordered Newtown where I have already drawn my shapes and I can pull towards me coffee at will.

Walking home to The Peach I thrust my hands in my pockets, my red leather gloves an ineffective shield, my red leather shoes becoming invisible as the cold trailed across first one part of me then another. I poured rum for no wine could be found. Superman transformed into a troubadour, relating things only in song. Cat food isn't ordinarily laced with Valium.

This morning's pancakes have vanished and I wish only for the absence of hunger. I must turn now to the things that must be done, pushing away the echoes of film and ignoring the loss of my footprints. The cold trails across first one part of me, then another. This is where I turn the heater on.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Like getting beaten over the head with a rainbow

That's how it went.

Then we watched Indian cricket and WWF with the volume down so we could play Mondo Exotica, fifties lounge tunes and tiki tales.

Good lord.

Thankfully there are cigarettes.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Apposite

Today today today I hit my head and rubbed engine oil in my right eye. It was an accident and I sat in the gutter with my things strewn across the road wishing for urgent rescue, none was to be had. When I finally arrived at the office, battered and with one crazed red eye I stared momentarily at the spinning lady of doom.

I can make her stop and spin the other way, at will. Superman says this is because my left and right brain functions are balanced. I am developing a different theory. All day I argued with myself out loud. I did not realise this until Robert mentioned it as I was leaving, he found it amusing, I find it alarming.

What if I am not in balance with myself but in fact locked in an eternal battle of left vs right. What if this is the reason that I can neither fall off the edge nor climb to the top. I am smashing things then tallying the cost and sweeping the floor. I am piling things neatly then setting them on fire while I call the fire brigade.

Last night in Sappho's cafe I sat at a round sandstone table, like an upturned cotton reel, with Spencer, Madam Squeeze and Superman. We were listening to poets. They were casting out words and I was flailing with my nets and traps. There were ten glasses, two wine glasses, one tall and faceted bottle, one sugar cannister round like a column and five small and flat, white ceramic saucers.

While the poets spoke low into the microphone I imagined I was standing. I imagined I was standing and hurling those glass things against the sandstone table with merry arms and infernal strength. I imagined a night illuminated by flying shards and the stunned arc of people watching in awe as the fragments froze in midair. What beautiful things we make.

What I was actually doing was sitting on my white plastic stool, my left leg folded over my right, my knee pointed towards Superman and his listening face smoking a cigarette over my small red notebook listing the number of glasses and saucers and tea spoons. My left foot was pressed against the column of the sandstone table.

About face



I am tired of being silly. I want meaning and an intellect to bounce things at. An intellect that will stand while I bounce things and see what they hit or how they splat when they hit the floor. I am reading Marcus Westbury's essay "Fluid Cities Create", I'm responding in my quiet way with spinning words and pondering thoughts solid as objects.

You see, I have friends, some marvellous and necessary and others broken pointed things to prick my feet on and some I am so unsure of, so unsure as to what it is that they are doing in my life that I have to poke at myself to see if I am real. I am not tired of my friends, in fact I want to gather them to me with steel bands. I want to wind them through me until I have an infrastructure. I have friends but I hunt them in packs. I want to stand them in lines and walk straight down the centre looking neither left nor right simply feeling their presence.

I have family, it is fractured and unusual and far away but it is there. I have friends and family. I have friends and family. This is not a useful mantra.

I am not coming to pieces. I feel strong and positive, I'm lining up shots and splitting trees but it has come to my attention that I am tired of being silly and of launching, always launching. I want a constant companion not this interchangeable could be any one of you sitting with me existence. I want someone to sharpen my intellect on, someone so solidly there that I am unafraid of empty spaces.

Its not about that old foe romance. This is about building a treehouse to dive from and retreat to. A boxed thing of wonder run through with clouds and growing solid from the spinning earth, something that doesn't depend on hair styles, tectonic alignment or the scythe of careless wit.

The most powerful man in the universe

After a night of poetry then mediocre hamburgers in a shop with terrible music Superman and I retreated to The Peach. I was cold so I crawled under my doona still wearing my clothes which led to the surreal experience of flitting in and out of sleep while Superman read me excerpts from reviews of the movies "Masters of The Universe" and "Prayer of the Rollerboys" between singing bouts of "Flash! Aha! Saved every one of us". A different kind of poetry.

It ended suddenly with my decision not to sleep in my clothes like a trashbag, not on a Wednesday night. Ablution solution and now with clean teeth I type. I have notes and thoughts and stored words. I counted glasses and made table shapes in my mind. There were imaginary shards of flying glass and I pondered ways of busting through walls of metered rhyme. These things will wait, you will wait, until tomorrow.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Eye for an eye and a baby for a baby

I am throwing out my socks, two by two. I'm wearing them first. I'm wearing socks all day then coming home and throwing them out at night. It is the best thing I have ever done.

Grizelda is in the kitchen mixing foul lemon mixture, she means to drink nothing but water and foul lemon mixture for five days. The Spatula sits on the lounge with her head peering out from under a half inflated air mattress. She's been blowing it up for a while now. Every now and then I wander down the hall and see how she's progressing.

I'm sitting in my room chatting idly on Fspazbook with Superman. The cat sits in the window sill. Its a still and ordinary night in The Peach except for my mind. Its clicking through gears and finding the right speed. At last I am beginning to be calm about this cursed course I am doing. I do not enjoy it, I resent it and despise it but now at least I think I can do it. I don't like churning out these boring pointless posts with half a crazed eye turned to my textbooks. I might have to reach some kind of compromise.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Callan Park is melting in the dark

Today gravity cast a wide arc and it was I standing slow and strong at the centre. Globes described in symmetry. I was neither pushed nor pulled by unexpected tides. Yesterday was different. Yesterday I hurtled up and down the Blue Mountains. I watched my mother stuff her letterbox with rosemary and Rita crunch a slow continual crunch in a bid to stop the vomit.

Last night tipped on the edge of disaster. I made it home at ten to six, a ten minutes before I was due to be collected by Superman. I was harried, hungover and discombobulated. I placed my handbag in the hall as the phone rang, it was Superman, "Arrrrrrgh" was the first thing he said. He was running late so I sat on the edge of my bed to think about which tea cup to use. It would have been sensible to walk to the kitchen, switch on the kettle, warm the pot, measure the tea and begin my ritual but I sat on the edge of the bed in yesterday's clothes.

I woke suddenly in a panic, it was pitch black and I was wearing my shoes, it was ten to seven. I'm not sure what happened but my confusion was at an all time high. It took several attempts to successfully open my bedroom door and stumble into the hall. I was babbling and incomprehensible, Grizelda seemed amused and I was further alarmed at being the one watching someone else be calm.

Superman arrived and I attempted to explain my panic and confusion but my eyes were half closed and I was distracted by his hair which was, for the first time, differently arranged. I'd been sleeping with my shoes on, this seems important to mention.

In the end there was time for noodles before the band but things were not right. Superman was folding and unfolding himself, the levels were off and the drums were falling apart. The car battery went flat, I don't think this is because I did not say goodbye to Spencer, we had to phone for roadside assistance, I do not think this was because I bought an apple pie for a dollar. We had to wait for half an hour, I do not think this is because I put the unfinished pie down on Superman's cheeseburger wrapper and then watched while he ate it.

I stared from the passenger seat of Superman's small car while a drunk man turned his wheelchair in circles.

This is tired and unmoving. This is less than a simple laying out of then and then next. Superman and I drove around for half an hour, as instructed, to recharge the car battery and it was not unpleasant. I almost bought firewood but this was after Superman drove into a dream and a conjured dinosaurs that turned out to be a serial killer. There was sandstone and waterfronts and dull lights shining for the isolated and broken. Callan Park was melting in the dark but batteries prevent things from stopping.

It would have been a disaster but there was a gentle acceptance and calm good will and in the end Superman and I had tea in our cups and cushions at our backs, we'd had dinner and seen the band. We'd sonared our way across the Inner West with the good mission or traveling time. After the shower, after Superman went home, I sat in the rare comfort of an empty head, my sheets were clean, my hair was clean and the confusion was gone. I made one good decision then wished for rain.

Empty head

That's me.

Empty head and heart and fridge and shoes and mind and bowl and cup and bank and bottle and the tiny plastic containers in the bottom of my kitchen cupboard, the one left of the sink but not under the kettle. Anchor without a ship. Boring and bottomless and eternally here. Everybody cuts their lines, except me.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Subject, object, six month rohypnol

I've been drinking with Spencer, I thought it was gin so we were drinking it lime and tonic but it turns out it was something else. I've been drinking with Spencer and he told me, don't get scared, don't panic and run away which is exactly what I was getting ready to do. I'm not running away from Spencer, its someone else entirely that's causing me to stamp my feet and turn a wide eye towards the horizon.

I've been drinking with Spencer and now I can't work out whether my new heater is on or off or on. The switches don't make any sense to me and the red light glows a constant unhelpful warning. I've been drinking with Spencer but before that there was Alice. We shared a bottle of wine and she turned up the collar on my coat then she held my hand and walked me home.

I've been drinking with Spencer and he said the thing about Alice is that she reminds everyone that's alright to be precisely who you are. I'm trying to think how she might do that but I can't fix on anything. She doesn't do it with words or the way she crosses her legs. She doesn't do it with intentional intentions. I think might be the way she inhabits herself and the air around her.

I've been drinking with Spencer and the words make so much sense inside my head. They are hammering out everything except the essential everything but I've been drinking with Spencer so I'll go to sleep with the exact shape of myself pressed into every corner of my mind. I'll keep the words inside me and I'll unplug the heater from the wall. I've been drinking with Spencer and holding hands with Alice and the world sounds like a song.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Feel the burn

At the gym they have mother's day messages stuck on the wall. They are written on red cardboard, there is glitter glue, they are quotes from the following 'artists';
Tupac Shakur
Spice Girls
Ozzy Osborne
Boyz 2 Men

I am still laughing, half way around the world.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Tetris Restaurant

Newtown was full so I slid in and out of formation trailing The Peachettes feeling sorry as a hangover. Newtown was different tonight, I wanted to howl with the sirens or lay down in the gutter feeling nothing but cold and concrete. I tried sending a message to Spencer but the message wouldn't send, I tried phoning but the phone told me I hadn't paid my bill. I felt like a knocked and ignored ashtray.

I don't know why I didn't pay my phone bill, I don't remember opening the bill and thinking I must pay that. I don't remember opening the bill then setting it down again either. Some days tasks become heavy and I have wanted, desperately wanted to be a person who can slide over the edge.

I'm looking around this room and noticing things have been coming undone. My pants need repairing, there are piles of unopened mail, my sheets need changing, I have no winter coat, incomplete study puddles in corners, the books are unread, the washing not done, even my shelf in the fridge is empty, my calls to friends remain unreturned and over there on the floor by the heater is a knocked and ignored ashtray. It used to be lovely in here.

And now after showers and the brilliant revelation of clean teeth and warm water I have spotted something. The bad idea coffee was curious. He said "I like to walk around in Newtown and laugh at the Newtown people". I kept looking at him and expecting Elliot to be just to the left or coming up from behind, he felt like an empty chair at a dinner party.

Walking home after dinner I ran into someone I haven't seen since Artboy. She put a hand on my shoulder and it felt like sorrow. I think she was checking to see what pieces of my heart I held in my hands. I kept looking at her and memories flashed like a slide show.

The people tonight were bookmarks for pages I've already read so now I'm flipping things around stepping over my knocked and ignored ashtray, taking refuge in my clutter. I'm clanging things together just to hear what sound they make. I'm smoking all my cigarettes and spitting out mantras. I've spread out my pencils and books and magazines and newspapers. I'm wearing twelve mismatched accessories and thinking about pigeons and telephones and apples. I'm leaving the last sentence up to you.

I can't stop thinking

About Finnish rehearsal regulations. I don't have much else on my mind, other than the usual clattering obsessions and the haunting sentences flapping like bats. I'm going out for coffee and hoping to remember to come home with cat food. I'm going out for coffee even though I think it might be a bad idea. I've convinced The Peachettes to meet me for dinner after my bad idea coffee so I can fill my belly and walk the street silent amongst their chatter and the shop windows.

You see he emailed me out of the blue and gave me his phone number. I rang him straight away because he knows Elliot and I thought Elliot might be dead and I don't like not knowing. When he answered he was dismissive of Elliot, gave me a "He's back in rehab, I had to kick him out of the house, that sucked a bit. So you want to meet me for a coffee sometime?".

He's been suggesting days and times by text message. The first one I declined, the next one asked me to suggest when. I turned it over for a moment, put the phone down and walked out into the hallway. I'm not sure why, in the end, I settled on today. I've been thinking of reasons why he wants to meet up with me and I can't come up with any. Not one. I've met him two or three times, by accident when I've been visiting Elliot. I don't think I have anything to talk about with this man. He's some of sort tradesman, in recovery. The first time I met him he told me he used to be a junkie. A gutter junkie was what he said, a gutter junkie that robbed for a living.

So now I'm sitting here wondering why it is that I said yes and wondering what the hell we are going to talk about, wondering if I'm getting everything all wrong by assuming conversation will lapse into pockets of silence while I look left then down and stir my coffee.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Scribe


There's a letter inside this desk. Ink on linen paper. The envelope is sky blue, small and squarer then the impersonal business size. I have addressed the envelope, it sits on top of the flat unfolded letter. The letter sits on the glass writing area of the desk, the glass covers green felt and is held down by brass butterflies. Superman says its the kind of desk you'd do cocaine off but I sit with my ridiculous candle dipping my pen into the inkwell writing letters and dreams.

It belonged to my mother, it was the first lovely piece of furniture she ever bought. I love this desk. It used to sit in the small slanted space beneath the stairs, there was a room there for the desk, a lamp, a leather chair and an old ammunition box full then of family photographs. I don't know how it happened but the drawers are full of generations of stationery. Uncle Bingo's letter opener, Great Aunt Kathy's hole punch, Papa Slamma's pencil box, Grandfather's linen envelopes, my father's rubber stamp with his name and address. I remember when he had that stamp made just after we moved into the big two storey house, he ordered a stamp and built me a bike shed. I was proud of him and his stamp.

I keep meaning to fold the letter, to seal it shut with wax. I mean to affix a postage stamp and carry it carefully in my pocket. I mean to walk the seven hundred and three steps to the postbox and slide it in or maybe I'll pull the handle and place the letter on the little tray and watch it tumble as I let go of the handle, I haven't decided yet.

The letter has been there for one week and four days. It took me five days to decide to write the letter. This letter is proving to be problematic and I think this is because of all the other letters. The striped rectangular box in the cupboard next to my other desk, the square painted desk. The other letters are hand written, long and rambling. I used to wait for those letters. I used to hang my existence on the arrival of the next letter. I don't think it will happen again. I've snapped off the part of me that didn't breathe when his shadow crossed my mind but still I'm cautious. I'm counting the steps to the postbox and locking my desk before I sleep at night.

This letter is proving to be problematic.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Simple

It is easy to have faith in an unconnected other. To encourage without shackles or the possibility of tumbling with the cards. I have done this. I have smiled and pushed and thought what a service, what a support, what an ideological stroking for my ego and the smiling wavering other shaking in their boots but braver now. Braver now they are stitching my words into their lining.

I won't be the one shivering with indecision or waiting and counting words spinning at me from across no less than the ether. I won't be the one pushed out with a long ideological stick. I'm prepared to admit that I've ignored all the lighthouses. I'm prepared to admit that I've dashed myself against this rock and that rock and all of your submerged and lurking bombs. I've followed valleys instead of ridges so I'll work on my echo, bouncing courage back at cliff faces and prising it from the valley floor.

I've stepped into my nadir, getting the azimuth all wrong. I've taken apart your sextant and coloured over all the stars. I'll build new navigation, starting with a way around you.

Ah

Vanished like the red from hair and the words from my fingers. I'm not sure when it happened. It might have something to do with yesterday and two dropped hours clattering around my ankles. I am glad that it is gone. I despised myself when it was here.

Another word for cigarettes

My infrastructure.
A place to hang hours.

Or

Dear Cigarettes,

You are my infrastructure, a place to hang my hours.

or

Dear Cigarettes,

You are my infrastructure. My hours hang on your corners.

or

This is my infrastructure, breath made tangible, my hands lazing through curling hours.

Ring

I'm a beekeeper honey, I can't help it.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

If I try sometimes or Miahi Sora brings chaos with words or I got stuck in my head again or I have powerful, loving, glorious, valorous eggs

Bless Tug Dumbly and his breathing unpronounceable god. I was stuck in my office, not like The Spatula was stuck in hers, I was stuck in a vacuum of thought. I sat for two hours staring blindly at the computer after everyone had gone home willing myself to make a move, one way or the other but I couldn't. So I sat in my indecision unable to move or breathe or leave until suddenly it lifted and I knotted my scarf and turned the key in the lock.

Half an hour later I thought I don't care what happens next. I walked from Redfern to to Glebe with Can't Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones on repeat waiting for the guitar that scatterguns my heart. I wasn't hungry so I stopped at Oportos, sliding chilli dressed with chicken down my throat and reading a short story. I photocopied it for Superman because he needs these words for his chaos. I've anointed it in coffee rings and chilli oil. I've carried it kilometres and read it out loud cause I need these words for my chaos.

I got lost somewhere in Glebe and had to phone The Peach for internet navigation assistance. I wound up at Friend in Hand and sat down next to the one of The Beautiful Boys, a man practically scrambled over me to get the corner seat. I was going to elbow him in the head then I noticed he was the man in a hat that I followed around at the Sydney Underground Film Festival. He's obnoxious and quaint like a typewriter or a rock in my shoe.

Tug Dumbly featured and I remembered words I wrote about him once before. This time the chilli or the words or the vodka are jumping at me from the inside. I want to be clear about this but not right now. Right now I'm toxic with oncoming sleep and the absence of portents. Right now I'm spinning sentences in my hands about Mihai Sora and his beautiful chaos. Right now I'm thinking if it wasn't for the words there wouldn't be a reason.

Meaning will follow

I'm sitting in my office. Its six o'clock. Everybody else has gone home. I'm trying to decide if I want to walk over to Glebe and see Tug Dumbly at Friend In Hand. The usual suspects are busy and that leaves me walking alone through the back streets of Redfern, Eveleigh, Chippendale and Glebe. Do I want to go? Do I want to sit alone at some table watching Tug Dumbly while the others hive around me?

I sure as hell don't want to keep sitting here watching videos of beatboxing flute player Greg Patillo and thinking I might like to be Mark Mordue when I grow up. I need to make a break for it. Home or Friend in Hand. They seem equally impossible.

Send helicopters and mother's little helper

And gunships and battle cruisers and tanks and horses and ranks and ranks of your best archers. I need to get out of here any way I can.

Here again

I'm skittish. I'm likely to bolt. I'll pull this ring out of the wall and drag my anchor across your reef.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Gliss

I'm not sure if its because I walked in half way through the first song, the box office staff cheering at me and saying I had made their night just by picking up my ticket or if it was her. I think it was impenetrably complete which is problematic in terms of tossing words at it. They all bounce off.

The Spatula and I bought these tickets months ago, well before paying for university fees and incomprehensible European washing machines were even thought of. The gig seemed so far away that I had all the time in the world, I had all the time in the world until it was halfway through the support act and The Spatula and I were racing around inside The Peach looking for shoes and keys and handbags.

We found a miraculous parking spot one block from The State Theatre, we had time for The Spatula to buy sushi and stuff it in her handbag, we arrived at the box office just as the bell sounded and the lights flashed. The box office staff asked for my surname, I told them and they tensed and drew closer. "What's your first name what's your first name?" I said Dale and they cheered, with their arms in the air. One of them said "we've been waiting for you, you just made my night". It was most peculiar.

We waited at the back of the theatre with the usher while the first song finished before racing down the aisle and taking our seats. As I sat she sang the song I was hoping to hear. The one I play on repeat. The one I have played on repeat since 1994.

I kept thinking of fairy floss machines and how easy it is to poke in a stick and come out with miraculous amounts of the stuff with the spinning sugar never seeming to deplete. She gathered the music more easily than that, easier than gathering spinning sugar on a stick.

She didn't prepare herself before a song, didn't gather anything to her or even step one small step to the side. She might raise an arm with the first note or bend into the sound as it rose but it was effortless and divine as though the music was always there and she was just pointing it out.

I'm not saying it wasn't powerful and focused and building angels into my architecture. I'm not saying it didn't reach inside and punch out the walls of worry. I'm not saying that it wasn't an answer to the problem of living. I'm just saying that joy, ease and a smattering of arrhythmic sideways hopping arm flailing spaz dancing. The kind of spaz dancing that requires a larger kitchen than my own.

After singing Hallelujah if she had crumpled quietly inside her giant white suit with shoulder pads, if she had fallen kindly onto the flat floor, I would have understood. Sometimes there a silence that follows sound. She stepped out of the silence with such energy and joy as though it had been easy, as though the universe was not now depleted as though music was infinite and hers.

As if that wasn't enough she shook off the applause and the heavy pockets of silent worship. She stepped straight into the next song and showed me just how a gliss can break and mend and break your heart. I felt impenetrably complete. I walked out weighing words. I walked out feeling words in my pockets and shoes and head and stomach. I walked out knowing that words have been weightless all along.



I should mention that it was KD Lang, shouldn't forget to mention that. There are photos on Fspazbook if you're a looking at photos kind of a person.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

INRI

Well we all have crosses to bear. I am standing underneath one and it looms large, larger than the school taught Bruce Dawe cross flying up in my childhood mind. Larger than Rio or the impossibility of running on scissors.

This is my afternoon microwaving baked beans and staring at textbooks, this is my early evening still sitting in this morning's gym clothes pulling at my hair, this is my night gathering intellectual discomfort at the molecular level. This is high level gut wrenching sonic boom procrastination.

Dear Deakin University,

I take back my grant application, I take back my fees, I take back the small promise that I would do this because I have made a mistake. I need my downtime back. I need hours of rolling words in my head and cigarettes in my fingers. I need space between objects and unexpected horizons. I need the pointless wandering in my hallway. I need invented crises and a reorganised pantry. I need the starkness of an empty life and the hard edges of nothing. Dear Deakin university I think I have made a mistake.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Dale for a day

Guest Blogger: Superman

Most of you know me as Superman. This name is kind of a running gag, though the gag has by now almost certainly run away. So before I begin, and in the interests of full disclosure, let me assure you all that I am not actually Superman. The reason this is necessary is that the lovely Dale has asked me to write about superpowers.

Exceedingly mild superpowers, no less.

I find myself struggling with this theme, feeling somewhat ill equipped for the task, because I suspect that to do this well what I really need is the perspective of an artist. Thus, I find myself wanting to bow out, to recede once more into the shadows. However, Dale has given me The Words for the day, and as she so readily points out, Dale is the Captain of The Words. I am left with no other option but to write.

So I walk – with my artist’s pullover warming my chest in the slightly awkward fashion of borrowed clothing – and I take it all in. Attempting to find something to SAY, not simply say. I sit on a park bench and watch – just observing the little things, the taken for granted but essentially human things. And there I sat, deep in contemplation, until the mother of two children frolicking nearby began to regard me with what looked like suspicion - at which point I beat a clumsy retreat.

The problem is that every mild super power I can think of turns out to be a major super power, and vice versa. It all depends on the perspective. Just look at me: I’m Superman, bullets ricochet off my chest without ever leaving a mark. But back on Krypton, I would have been just another kid. Imagine if I tried to tell my buddy Excellentman that I had superpowers… he would have swung me about like an Olympic hammer thrower wearing neon latex, unable to contain his disdainful guffaws.

Dale suggested to me that her impressive ability to throw a crumpled up piece of paper successfully into the bin EVERY time should properly be regarded as a mild super power. Try telling that to an amputee. Or a dolphin. Or a professional basketballer.

Let’s bring this back to art and artists. I am beginning to believe that artists are born and not made. I am trying hard not to believe this, but it isn’t really working. To me, the kind of creativity displayed by the genuine artist is a full-blown super power, possibly the only kind that really matters.

Creative gifts have a certain cultural currency in our world – thus, there are a great many pretenders. It is rare to encounter an artist with honest edge. And even rarer to find one that has had much in the way of recognition. I am sure that Dale will remember a discussion I had with her about scenesters – the scenesters are the pretenders. This is a mockery of what art can and should be. Image shouldn’t really matter – that is ridiculous ‘postmodern’ self-justification, premised on a solid foundation of crippling insecurity. The best of the scenester artists manage to build themselves a loyal entourage – they must, as their ability to self justify depends upon it. The entourage is the reason that they produce at all.

What really matters is what the artist is trying to convey. And why.

I speak of the genuine voice. Of having something to say that should be heard.

And it is now that I speak of superpowers.

Effect

Noun or verb?

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Slip sliding away

Vale Holiday Slamma. I saw him every day, in my imagination. I regret now not fighting for custody. It started back when his brother died. When Artboy and I came home and found him in the kitchen while the cat sat and stared at his small form. She wasn't supposed to sit on the kitchen bench but that's where she was, sitting and staring and twitching her tail. It wasn't sensible to name them so, the older one Celebrate, but they were mine and I loved them.

It wasn't sensible to sing their names as a daily chant while I walked the length of the kitchen fetching bowls and stirring porridge but they were mine and I loved them. We all know Artboy went mad and I was left on the floor with the cat. Artboy's mother offered to help care for Holiday, to take him into her house and make sure he had all the right things so I let him go. I helped her pack his small things into his Winnie The Pooh suitcase, it wasn't sensible of me to buy a tiny Winnie The Pooh suitcase to keep his things in but he was mine and I loved him so.

I never saw him again, missed the chance to say goodbye, didn't even know he was ill. I guess it was good of Artboy to sling me an email. RIP Holiday Slamma.