Distracting dramatics

The last poem was prompted by an intense period of ridiculous things happening. These kinds of experiences are occurring more and more frequently when I am reasonably certain I pose virtually zero threat to most people. It’s a bit of a mind-bender in isolation, but looking at the state of the entire world, Australia can run backwards faster than you can. Check our climate policy score if you aren’t convinced.

At this stage, I would posit the state of race/class relations in Australia is significantly more disharmonious than your everyday person would have you believe. I am not going to back it up though. Here’s one of the ridiculous things that’s been in play for the past 1-2 months.

Workers near my place, long hours, too loud. I approach one worker to find out how long it is going on for and what we can do about it. She wouldn’t answer me so I called the company responsible and they made a plan. Response. 4 weeks of harassment from the workers so far. More details in the link.

I reached out a little to see if there were any local community members who could help with ideas (for keeping sane and not escalating the situation into something even more unmanageable). Here is how that is going: https://www.reddit.com/r/melbourne/comments/e8wknn/what_rights_do_contractors_conducting_civil_works/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x – good people exist.

I always feel as though I have failed somehow when I find myself in a racially charged situation. My mind gets stuck on — this shouldn’t be happening now, there is no reason for it and all my energy is put to work on not letting each incident escalate to the emotional stage.

Yet in so many interactions I have had this year (bar a few amazing friends that I rarely or never see in person) I have been required to swallow hundreds of negative racial images often left unaddressed through a sort of courtesy or expediency.

We’ve got some violent youth gangs and even though there are many races represented in these gangs, the African kids are in a distinctive number and therefore sole perpetrators and responsible for everything wrong in this country. I feel like every second person I talk to wants to orate on the topic and share their deeply illogical opinion with me – I call it African bashing.

I can’t listen to it. I wonder why they want to discuss it with me? In other ways these are not very stupid people — or perhaps they are. Inevitably my response is to leave, or break off communications with this or that excuse and for most of the last couple of years I have been very isolated as a result.

My impression is that the occurrence of racially charged situations is more frequent in my life than when I wrote Go Home, You Black Bitch back in 2012 and more on a par with, say 1979 than what I hoped for in 2019, perhaps because many of the incidents have quite a negative effect on my day-to-day living.

For a bit there I didn’t even want to try to take another breath I was so disheartened.

So it was my secrets I was trying to uncover, the secrets I have in response to the prehistoric racist ideals I am constantly being fed… secrets starting to turn ugly in the dark, and I wrote Private Neutral Secret to be there for me the next time I struggle with it and forget that I am colonised to the hilt and so is everyone around me. To recall that I reinforce it when I am not aware, and most important to me – there is nothing I need to do to overcome racism.

Doesn’t mean I won’t, but right now it is beyond me and survival is not, so we look there, at how we are going to traverse this period.

Peace. x

ps: now you all know why I keep disappearing regularly 😉

Private Neutral Secret

it’s true I heard that in the phase of the neutral mask
time is capable of no effective boundary
no limitation to what can be perceived
like the difference between private and secret

feel the call to push back, minute expansion
to inhale again after a long time beneath the river
growing privately

this journey involves witnessing countless iterations
sense interpretations mangled and put to work
by a corrupt general with much bombast
and little regard for succession planning to wit

there’s also that witheringly decrepit predilection for
emotion-centred reasoning
half the team have jobs that accentuate their weaknesses
the other half simply don’t trust authority

a revolution might be a celebration
a liberation from mortification

a transformation happens countless times every second
catch a few
we might find every turn of events deliciously funny
writing poems on the tablecloths
reciting pi to the eighty-second decimal place
following our intuition so faithfully that we
fall into the arms of the music of the world
where even the mess looks like art
and simple medicine to heal this and that ailment
is in abundant supply

for such a long time I wanted to help the world
by imagining it wasn’t already perfect
none of it makes any difference
I am still a fool on that kind of journey
carrying out decisions that literally arise from not knowing
believing in a future that is guaranteed to be better if I would just[…]

between private and secret
there is a good human and one who always thought they were
between astute and arrogant
there is showing respect and with all due respect
and so on down the list until it is utterly clear
a good human does not perform deeds nor utter words
that demand great secret-keeping

yielding to force is strength indeed
there is no honorable way to keep all the secrets

I gave up fighting every day over forty years ago
wanting to be a good person, wanting to be treated right
it made no difference to the secret White Australia Policy
which cannot be devised by a good human

obtuse and slothlike to comprehend simple things
it dawns

the state is there to protect against people like me, not keep me safe
loyal citizens and corrupt generals are doing their bit
to perpetuate this old bondage, welfare and domination act
a social contract
that keeps the world churning out perfectly denatured natives.

No. I don’t know what a native is.

I just know that in this particular phase of human lunacy
being considered native is not good

these days I wonder why I kept thinking it was temporary
surely everyone would return to their senses
there are huge gaping wounds in the earth
a lot of trees and animals and entire nations are gone
even our miraculous reef was too native for the White Australia policy
while I am still too native for the family photos

I say, do yourself a favour and keep that neutral mask ready at all times
keep your preconceptions small, track down the secrets
when you can see everything, how it travels
the revolution requires no motive power at all
it is always poised on the threshhold of commencement
as there are always people across the world who can’t abide
being represented by a corrupt general

it’s too much shame

In the face of oncoming traffic

If you truly had any respect
for that goddamn elusory aspect,
Higher self or whatever you meant,
you’d follow such things without dissent,
you’d thank yourself and not act too late,
instead of why, who, how, what…? WAIT!

It doesn’t matter about efficacy
and what can be proven,
what matters is leaving this place quickly
it’s time to get moving.

Common Voice Project

If you love words like I do. Check out this cool project… Common Voice

I was researching how to get the Like button back in WordPress.com so I could like some posts without having to receive them via email. Bah! No luck. Ended up surfing (do people even do that anymore?) then about 100 of these. Listening and speaking.

Jack sneaks back to Oakland and falls asleep watching “The Wolf Man”.

As far as I am concerned, they contain the best random writing prompts around today. Fresh and surprising, hehehe

It is similar to “Anno Mundi”.

Seriously, I love the project concept. Voice recognition software still has exceptional challenges to overcome before it is accessible to everyone and getting this database together will likely make it possible for many more developers to start working on those challenges. Perhaps even me.

They kiss once more, and Daren makes Picard promise not to give up music.

If you are feeling a bit community-service-y and have a few spare minutes, you could always come and help.

Yarning about true fiction

There once was a girl who had a bit of a different start to life. For a long time, she listened and considered what she was taught by the people around her. She felt there might be an easier way to live. She had seen something like that once.

It’s hard to say whether it really happened or it was a vision she was working on building along with the rest of the world.

I can tell you she thought about the whole world often, wondered where it ended and began again, where the line should be drawn. Is it the everything or just everything or EVERYTHING?

How do you make two things when we can’t be sure where even one thing ends? This is how she came to feel connected to everything, in trying to find the precise distinction that made you entirely separate from her. It seemed like true fiction.

In a similar way, the thing she heard most frequently about herself was that she was black, while in the early days (when she learned this stuff), almost everyone around her was white.

She did not like being named black, even when she repeated it herself and they all clapped. Another true fiction. To her, nothing in existence was black. Nothing was white. It was just an idea. A dance partner for her era. Whatever the point was, it did not feel right.

After several decades of struggling futilely against the sense of oppression that these ideas with their consequent array of deleterious actions and reactions engendered, she surrendered to the inevitable flow of life – overcoming this and that crisis until she finally lost everything. Friends, family, home, job, belief, security — identity.

Her entire social backpack crumbled under the weight of conflict against a system she was dependent on and had been trained to replicate. A system she didn’t like, but could not escape. A system that qualified, quantified, carved up, dissected, categorised and used life in such ways as to threaten the survival of most things she cherished.

She could not conduct a one-person war. That much was obvious. What could she do to un-train her mind, to stop perpetuating the same arbitrary classification system used to decide who gets sacrificed next? She surely knew whether she opposed or supported it – either way – she would have to move from this position to stop engaging with it.

It seemed very strange to her to do nothing at all. To watch and wait and watch again.

Although no movement was apparent to anyone, it felt to her a lot like she was something tiny getting ready to begin, on her way to the start line – a dandelion seed. A dandelion seed after a small child has inexpertly blown a few of them to the breeze and she is half-clinging, half-leaving, flapping this way and that, just waiting for the wind to bring her home so she can grow roots.

So she can grow roots and sing this word – fellow.

because the world is so beautiful
and the way we are moving through life
we’re all seeing it a little bit different
we’re each building something unique

when someone brings us in
when we want to do the same
because we’re seeing each other
and we’re working on living our art

it’s when you hit me over the head with it
force me to make mine look like yours
we get this deluge of soul-breaking, life threatening, impossible-but-true events

moment to moment

if we would move through our living without diminishing anyone’s world

there’s a way they all connect

have you seen the way light travels?

we are part of that

– 2018

We don’t know how this story ends, perhaps it never does…

We don’t know how this system can be dismantled, or how this cycle ends and the next one begins. Perhaps it never does.

Whatever you call it that has people justifying the denial of rights to anyone, whatever it is that says to us that we will not be destroyed by the very same ideas we all perpetuate, that is some true fiction right there.

Constructive Thinking

“It’s a dreadful case of misapplication!”

At first, I concentrated on the big emotional swings and the ideas that arise during those instances: the way that similar pain from the past gets brought into the present and exacerbates the situation. From then it’s always a race for control because emotionally intense experiences are physically exhausting and to break the pattern/habit requires a certain amount of physical energy. If I am not quick enough to identify where I am in the pattern, it will generally play out until the end of the cycle. If I am quick, it stops immediately. Again being quick requires enough available physical energy.

Now I also notice a more subtle version of the same thing happens at every opportunity and without the emotional intensity – it appeared to me as a rather innocuous habit. Constructive thinking. I was just wondering about things and trying to create better responses…

In fact, every thought is lived through the body, no matter how real the idea is. The nervous system is still receiving signals: danger, problem, do I need to fight or run? How far can I really follow these thoughts before hormones start being released into the bloodstream, before my entire system is responding to an emergency that is totally made up of words in my mind? And where are the thoughts that trigger the physical response that cleans up when the imaginary problem is over, getting rid of the toxic buildup even if it’s just a little?

All in all, it’s a pretty inefficient cycle compared to those times when I find the majority of my thoughts both informative and amusing, instances where I can accept my feelings as true responses and don’t need to add the running commentary from a million different perspectives… which heralds a connections to past similar feelings and a likely exponential increase in intensity…

Constructive thinking and working too hard are linked in this way. I can’t seem to do one without the other arising. So I wait patiently for weak spots or opportunities to allow chaos to interact with the smooth order of that particular set of bindings. A good belly laugh always works.

There is a valid reason for it all, nothing we do is pointless. Yet there is always an easier path, a more sustainable road to walk when this path, the one you have dedicated your life to treading, is wearing you out.

I still think… but I laugh if I notice I have subsequently created a physically detectable response in my body that isn’t joyful. On a good day, I then go dance or eat or do something that puts my body in a different configuration and give the thinking a rest because it’s not helping me. Lately, after what seems an interminable period of waiting, the good days are in abundance.

“Oh silly, you don’t need an emergency to get my help!”

Note: This is the wordy version of what I was writing about with Frilly. The connections I have between things surprises me. Lizard (as in, medicine from First Nations, USA) except an Australian lizard, with a spectacular show of defence and great at hiding is my internal representation of this pattern. I don’t know why.

I write the poems before I know really what message I have for myself. Then some time later, a day, a week, 2 years sometimes, it becomes backlit, highlighted, centre stage with a bang! Then I am so grateful that I jotted down a few words that came to me and my trust grows…

Lizard laughed to himself. “Snake,” he said, “You are looking for shade and I am looking for shadow. Shadow is where the dreams live.”  – Jamie Sams/David Carson


Frill-necked lizard, Image: Jannico Kelk

don’t know how many times I have to keep repeating this:
stop fixing yourself

frilly and me hiding behind trees
so beautiful when he’s scared
I could learn a thing or two

always day and night
spinning on the spot
orbiting one centre

as if it was a fixed point in the universe
as though there was only one face that anyone could abide
as if there is only one way to be

made up of a trillion carefully selected special pearlescent moments
fashioned into the most intricately woven, stunningly-presented choker

I’ve been shown in countless ways
I don’t belong anywhere I have already been
these rituals for the old gods don’t belong either

it’s too much work: adornment
I am glad I got the wild hair that reaches it’s peak in movement
frilly would starve to death trying to be like me
his body knows things mine cannot
from another time