Show us your roots

I walk this earth with a gaping hole in my heart the size of ten men. I come from an ancestral line that I was born to without the human right to ever know. I was a bastard child made legitimate by the process of adoption. There is no way for me to answer questions about my ethnic or cultural ancestry with any degree of accuracy. According to the state I am a white person. All cause or occasion for my distinctive “coloured” appearance have been erased from official documentation.

I say coloured because this was my adoptive family’s considered response to my being bullied and discriminated against for being a black child in a country that had official policies regarding the race and appearance of their citizens – “You are not black, you are coloured. You are a half-caste”. I tried it out as a response and, of course, it resulted in much hilarity from those who were ridiculing my appearance in the first place. To them, to be coloured was an even bigger crime than being black.

I have listened to many stories through the years, yet the story of my lineage is incomprehensible to me. It has many variations, all arising from a similar source. Each version of the story includes a number of racist or bigoted statements that directly impacts the way those stories are processed in my mind. Invariably, I continue to summarise the entire story of my birth as – I have no right to family or heritage because I am black and adopted. There is contention on this conclusion. It upsets people, so much so that it has now become an untruth despite the first story I was told containing sentences like “My parents did not want any black children in the family.”

I’ve been African, I’ve been Australian, I’ve been Aboriginal, I’ve never been called Irish, occasionally English, due to the extent and articulation of my vocabulary. I’ve never been called Tanzanian. All these things may or may not be elements of my ancestry, how would I ever be sure? At best, I am considered a migrant, yet I still cannot answer the question, “From where?”

In later years, I also discovered that I’ve been privileged due to the physical location of my birth and the “lightness” of my skin colour. Obviously it came as quite a surprise that I have now simply become the very lowest category of person in the pecking order of any society today – with no effort on my part whatsoever. No biological change prompted this transition from being despised generally to being despised for my privilege. I know that light-skinned privilege is absolutely real against the background of an entire community of black people in a white system. Yet, there is no classification of blackness here in this country except those ideas put forth from migrants and avid followers of US politics.

We do not have an established black (non-indigenous) community to compare my experiences with and see, yes people who look like me get a far better deal in Aussie society (compared to whom, there are so few). Even if we did, I am excluded from any kind of fledgling African Australian community due to this privilege – or so I’ve been repeatedly informed. Not being a migrant is relevant here also but I can’t figure out whether it’s good or bad to people who give me a hard time on this point. I just know I am wrong, and I have never gotten over the disappointment of the attitudes people delivered after waiting my whole life for the first wave of migrations from Africa in over 50,000 years to eventuate. In retrospect it’s hilarious that I was looking forward to it.

I’ve encountered racial discrimination in every area of my life, in every month of my life, from every category of human in life, with such consistency that it is impossible to imagine a life without these aspects. As far as I know I am biologically unacceptable to every “group” of humans I have encountered so far, families notwithstanding.

There is always an exception to the rule. I was at the Invasion Day March in support of First Nations/Indigenous/Aboriginal community on January 26, 2020. (Australia Day, which also coincides with the invasion of Australia by British migrants). Walking through the city I noticed these two distinctly opposite experiences:

  1. Quite a few Aboriginal (blackfellas) recognised me on sight as belonging and called me “Sissy” with welcoming and respectful smiles – I had never met any of them before.
  2. A white lady was attempting to pat me on the head and saying my hair was fuzzy whilst congratulating herself for overcoming her inherited racism by attending the march, yet at no point was it possible in her mind that I may be aboriginal. She spoke about her empathy at length to the Palestinian friend I was marching with. I was neither welcome nor invited to the conversation.

It took all of my emotional resources to come to terms with the idea that I may be Aboriginal, it was one of the earliest things my mother said to me when I met her. Now upon seeking clarification last year, I find that I am not Aboriginal any more according to her. I am humiliated by this. My entire ancestry has now become African (whatever that means as a distinction from every other human on the planet). So it was with much gratitude and surprise to be reminded that Blackfellas (including me) don’t see things in Whitefella terms unless their skin is already as white as the driven snow. As far as my experience so far shows, if they are able to pass for white, then that is the prevailing perspective upon which they consider all the humans around them; white supremacy – eugenics – percentage of human versus savage/native/indigenous. I am proud to say I have never passed for white a single day of my life.

In addition, I have never understood this propensity for people disadvantaged by the White Supremacy system to legitimise the classification game against themselves. As a child I tried to take it on board, but the idea rejected me just as much as I rejected it. It held/holds no logical or rational basis. It has nothing to do with the truth.

At a performance in a Moslem school a few years ago, I received a shower of hugs from the young girls there when I told them my best answer to the question of racial identity or makeup… “I am 100% Australian, I am 100% African, I am 100% Aboriginal, I am 100%, Tanzanian, I am 100% Irish, I am 100% English and whatever other categories you want to add in. I am 100% human. There is no part of me that can be separated.” Still, in my heart I wish I could have said for sure, you know, my father’s family was such and such and my mother’s grandmother was such and such, from this or that place, and I have second cousins in blah blah place, but I have no way to get concrete answers. No right to them because of how/where/when I was born.

I do not apply my conclusions to individuals, it’s a collective summation of my experience, a broad brush viewpoint. People are people and regardless of how they present or the disparity of attitudes they display, I take them all as I find them with as much patience, compassion and acceptance as I can. So for every group that has rejected me there is always at least one person who accepts me in the most beautiful way, even if only for a moment. I treasure these contrasts, they offer the smallest glimmer of hope that somehow, someday perhaps, there will be a tiny group of people I can become acceptable to; and glory of all glories may they be as colourful and diverse as this gorgeous earth intended us all to be.

As it stands though, right now there is only me. If you are also deprived of your ancestry or your dignified place in this world, may we walk beside one another knowing that our loyalty and fortitude have been tempered in the fire of never belonging. We, the unclaimed, do not reap the fruits of the destructive force that’s been sweeping the globe for centuries, leaving a trail of devastation in it’s wake. We are instead, the future.

How to be hungry

This is a bit of an odd post for me, and quite long, so I won’t be offended if poetry readers skip it. Mostly it is published so I/it can be there for myself if it happens again.

Last week I had the distinct pleasure of a totally new and profound experience of hunger. Of course, at first I approached it like a problem requiring an urgent solution. You know, do something, anything, I’m used to overcoming problems.

I tried to take my little bit of money to the usual grocery stores but the buy-in price for something nutritious was so much higher than my available dollars, not even one thing that wasn’t junk food could I really afford, except perhaps milk.

Real food (the GST-free stuff) is ridiculously overpriced in this country lately. So-called fresh food is often shipped in from the USA so the quality is as terrible as the prices are high. Before anyone gets offended, a lemon that is shipped from the USA and made available to consumers here in Melbourne cannot have been anywhere near a tree for months, but it will still usually cost you nearly $2 and you would be lucky to get more than a tablespoon of juice out of it, naturally. They generally taste horrible (not actually ripe and never will be no matter how long you wait) and it would be a miracle if such an item still had any nutritional value. It seemed stupid to waste the little I had on fake food that might not even get me through a single day.

I live in a first world country, nobody should ever be hungry

Yes, I reached out to a friend or two, but they were totally unconcerned. For them my situation was impossible to comprehend. I live in a first world country, nobody should ever be hungry for long without the means to correct it.

Still, after a few days of just drinking litres upon litres of water, I couldn’t take the hunger any longer and my mind switched out. I was no longer in a familiar state, the demands of my body were so intense that decision making was becoming increasingly complicated – the more I tried to “think”, the harder things became. I did a bit of crying and stressing out, but then I noticed that behaviour produced such an intensifying of my discomfort, hormones or something, that I had to force myself to stop. Every standard behaviour used far more energy than I had available so I had to drop it all.

After a couple of days I was already dizzy, vague, shaky and very nauseous, not to mention the hunger pains and various other aches and stiffness all throughout my body. Low energy was probably an understatement.

So I waited. I was scared. Not thinking, not moving, except for just enough to get the occasional glass of water. Eventually a different mind took over, highly alert but in repose, knowing that to do or think anything that wasn’t going to immediately bring the nutrition I needed was simply wasting my limited resources. Awareness of even the most basic of bodily processes became finely attuned, I no longer had subtle urgings, instead loud and insistent demands, much like the intensity you experience when you’ve waited too long for the bathroom, except this intensity was for everything I needed: air, food, water, safety and even more surprisingly for me, physical contact with other humans.

Unfortunately, about half of the world’s population lives like this for most of their lives

It is not so easy to imagine this feeling unless you have experienced it. Thankfully it’s only happened a few times in my life, but never for this long and never with no prospective income on the horizon and the subsequent brain crash. Unfortunately, about half of the world’s population lives like this for most of their lives, first world or not.

There is no question in my mind that I am irrevocably changed by this experience. I can honestly tell you that all ideas about morality, social considerations, planning for the future, taking actions according to one’s will, etc… simply don’t come into it from such a state. You cannot morally judge a starving person’s actions and expect any message to be heard through their ears, other than “I would rather you starved to death.” If you bring them food, they will probably eat it but they will not hear your words nor be particularly grateful for your moralising, only for the food. At best they will act in a way that encourages you to bring more than they need right now so they can eat again soon. At worst, you will be trying to throw them in jail because of their behaviour.

I want you to really know that it doesn’t matter how the situation arose. Most of us would think that knowing how it happened and forming opinions or making suggestions on what could have been done to prevent it is relevant here, it truly isn’t. There is nothing theoretical nor hypothetical about such an overwhelming experience of physical reality.

So after just a few days of not having access to enough food, the fear is intense and real

So after just a few days of not having access to enough food, the fear is intense and real, the ability to process high level abstract concepts becomes extremely limited, instinct for survival is at the forefront of everything I do.

If I did not systematically and strategically go to each store I could find until I discovered a shop with reasonable prices on the basics I think I would have stolen food and I would be in the (in)justice system right now. Early morning deliveries to shops just sit there on the pavement tempting all kinds of very hungry folk like me and it took a bit of convincing myself not to just walk off with at least one of those loaves of fresh bread. If I had dependents I am sure I would have done it (and then perhaps got myself shipped off to a new penal colony on somebody else’s land where sooner or later we ended up hunting the natives for sport). As it turned out I could manage no more than two outings per day to scout around and I learned that on an empty stomach, three glasses of water in quick succession gets me about 40 minutes of walking around for each outing.

I admit I was a little jealous of his beef strips and mountain of frozen veggies

After much deliberation, I managed to get some food for about $3 first, then another $6 worth using coins that I found around my flat. The shop assistant was mystified by the process of counting coins as though she had never seen such strange tokens nor learned arithmetic, and I felt ashamed. The African bloke behind me smiled and said, “Yes I know it, you have counted out what you can spend.” I could tell by his shopping and his attitude, he was or had been in the same situation. I admit I was a little jealous of his beef strips and mountain of frozen veggies which was more than my budget at the time. He was right though, it took me ages of checking out the price of almost everything and adding up on the calculator and counting coins from one pocket to the other before I made my final purchases. My brain was so sluggish but nutritional value for money was the only thing in my mind. That food has kept me going. I don’t remember any meal I have prepared before this period as being so satisfying.

I will admit I am still at a loss as to how to get regular vitamin C on this budget though.

This week I have a little bit more cash, through some unexpected good luck for which I am eternally grateful. I have to tell you how much fun I had planning out my next food shopping with this new awareness. Body speaks. Must eat.

It still took about three hours and four trips to various places to get all these items. If I’d gone to my usual stores I might have spent over $100 to get a similar volume of food, but there’s no way it would have been this coordinated and calculated to maximise nutrition and would have required a second or third spend later in the week. You can see how I used my $49 budget below if you’re interested.

What I bought and prepared

  • lots of chicken drumettes 5
  • lots of very ripe tomatoes 4
  • capsicums 2
  • fava beans 3
  • olives 7
  • garlic 2
  • frozen spinach 0.9
  • frozen pastry 2.3
  • feta 4
  • eggs 3.5
  • onions 2
  • olive oil 8
  • parsley 3
  • brown sugar 2.5
  • lemon 1.4

Things I still had left over

  • carrots
  • turkish bread
  • pasta
  • yoghurt

Today is advance cooking day

You have to know how glad I am that I know how to prepare delicious meals or I would find this entire experience depressing. However, I also know how much energy being depressed actually uses now so I am doubtful that depression would be considered a viable response to very many situations in the future. (No I didn’t know it was optional until I was starving.)

This morning I prepared the sauce for shakshuka. Some I will use with eggs and some with the remaining chicken drumettes.

The fava beans are soaked and ready for ful mesdames which will slow cook all afternoon. Will eat with bread, olives, tomato and a parsley, lemon and garlic dressing.

With the pastry feta, carrots and spinach I will make two types of pastry parcels (carrot/feta, spinach/feta).

Some stuff will go into the freezer until I need it. If there is any yoghurt left and I can track down some mint, I will also make cacik with a donated cucumber I have.

That last capsicum is yet to find a purpose so I will probably grill, peel and store it because they usually cost me $3-$5 each, but right place-right time last weekend to get a couple for $2.

Already done

I had dinner with a friend yesterday, puttanesca pasta with a kind of garlic bread the day before, half a dozen roasted chicken drumettes the day before that. I still have yoghurt and apricots left for early in the day until that runs out. Over the weekend I made breakfast coffee cake with oats, brown sugar and five spice and that took me 5 days to get through. So yeah I had oats and flour plus a load of spices at home when I was super hungry but I couldn’t figure out how to prepare them without other ingredients.

I also made snagball pasta late last week from marked down sausages and canned tomatoes and shared it with my friend who donated the funds — would have come in handy when I was really struggling but he didn’t hear anything I said until I had restored enough energy myself to recount the whole story. That was $5 of beef sausages, $2 of canned tomatoes, onion, chilli, garlic and $0.65 pasta, so about $9. I can hardly believe how many meals that created, it makes you so full and satisfied. Snagballs is my name for meatballs made by frying chunks of raw, skinned butcher sausages which is cheaper and quicker than doing it all from scratch.

Drop a note if you would like to know how to do any of these meals or if you are local and want to know where I found the bargains. I am sure there are Facebook groups for this kind of thing, but you need a lot of energy for all that scrolling, and seeing as nobody plans ahead for how they will handle the threat of starvation, it’s most accessible when you don’t need it.


Breakfast Coffee Cake
Breakfast coffee cake with oats, brown sugar and five spice

The experience has created a simple rule for me. If someone is hungry near you, including yourself, give them food or help them get it. Never mind setting up a plan to eat next week or next month, filling in forms and waiting for approval, this is how the government and charities work. I didn’t qualify for any of the free food around except possibly dinner once per week and at the time I found that out, I couldn’t wait another 5 days for it. Many places still need you to pay even after you qualify, so if you are homeless (how would you prove this so you could qualify?) and can’t find any coins, you are up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

… we all need food every day.

Nothing else can be done until a person has enough food. Everybody needs it. Social welfare programs repeatedly fail to understand this if I am being kind, but it’s rather obvious that you are punished severely for falling below the poverty line, or any other line, in our society, regardless that it seems the system is designed to get more and more people into a desperate state of need rather than less. And don’t get me started about those who will feed you God and/or shame with your dinner, hunger exists prior to religion or morality. The only saving you need at that point is the kind that puts food in your belly, sinners or not, we all need food every day.

To me, it says a lot, to live within a social structure that requires people to pass all kinds of tests repeatedly, to get fed. Excuse me, but our Mother, the Earth, already provides. How much extra work and overwhelming stress do you put into getting yourself fed properly in this system? We have been sold on the convenience of our current system, but is it convenient? Ask your body. If you really listen you will be surprised.

You gotta love a system that leaves newborns to self-manage because they are too black for the country’s assimilation policy.

I have since noticed that a large part of my long term dissatisfaction or challenges in life are simply this basic problem in one form or another; difficulty getting my basic needs met. It’s been a significant challenge since the day I was born judging by the stories from my adoptive mother of how at 10 days old when she took custody of me, I had huge boils in various places and did not bother to cry any more when I needed something. You gotta love a system that leaves newborns to self-manage because they are too black for the country’s assimilation policy.

Also, nobody really wants most of the types of jobs on offer these days, they don’t suit conscious human beings and it’s only that we must do them if we are able or we may not survive. Even when you do have a job or other kind of income, getting the essentials is not a given and frequently just moves the problem around. Particularly when you try to follow the social dictates but you’re not able to be conforming enough to make it into the privileged class (more people than is ever acknowledged).

Whether you have lots of money or not, whether you are in this or that social class, I bet most of you don’t have the time because it’s still a bit complicated and stressful to get good wholesome food that keeps you healthy unless you are living in a situation where you can grow/forage or exchange with others and your job is awesome and not stressful at all and doesn’t take all your time and attention and you aren’t bothered by the news and, and, and… I can hardly believe I used to go on diets when I was younger, what kind of absurd mind trick is that?

After months of trying to survive on very little I still feel a bit guilty for eating more than one meal per day at the moment, but my body tells me I am too depleted to sustain such a stupid idea in the first place. I also still feel kind of weak so it’s tough to also feel very confident about the future at the same time. Thus I eat now and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

It was a short time in the scheme of things, so this is not any type of complaint. It’s simply an underscored experience.

What makes me happiest about this entire story is now I try to share more meals with others without obligation. I know that whether or not they express gratitude, eating well is one of the most important prerequisites in the world for a human being to thrive; as grandmothers and mothers the world over have been showing us since the beginning of time. It’s also the simplest and purest expression of love I think anyone can offer – I want you to survive – please eat!

Much love to you all.

I want you to survive – please eat!

Shout out to Leah Potter at Sunset Soup Kitchen who shares food with long-grassers in Darwin every night, no questions.

And then there is this other way, but I’m not convinced

I’m always looking for one small thing
one minute of light!

Hey just a second, can’t you give me
this moment before it spoils and we have to
revert to life on the clean-up crew?

Same, same, same
every human interaction yields collateral damage.

It’s always us when it goes wrong
And me when it goes right, as if
it could be defined somehow. There is
no easy path that isn’t simple. Hunger

needs eating like alone needs closeness
At this point we don’t care what we eat
or whose heartbeat is the port where we
find shelter from the storm.

All that matters is that we move arms and legs,
the whole body/mind/spirit if need be.
Whatever it takes to get what I need.

I feel chastised
and humbled,
possibly shamed,
but I don’t care.
I am full of love.
I don’t understand
yet, why
I am grateful
and it hurts.

It’s a quantification situation,
great mathematics are in play,
iterations and recriminations,
joy is fucking out the window.

If there were no five-syllable words
I would not write,
I would beat the drums instead.
Not everyone sees language.
This way.

And I am still too cheeky
for my own good.

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

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.