December 22

Take care, my friends.

This is not a time to be internal,
too many energies flying around.

Nature, people.

That which is empty will fill quite quickly,
that which is full will empty quite quickly.

It’s that kind of time.
Solstice notwithstanding.

If you have a wish
now is the time to
demonstrate it to yourself
in some way.

As if the gods were waiting
and all you need do is hint
at half an idea
and the world shifts
to make such a thing possible.

Hope is a double-edged sword though,
so watch out for the pricks.

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 😉

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.

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

Frilly

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

Metaphorical Mountain Climbing

It was only when I finally accepted the reality of my situation within the dominant paradigm that things started to really shift and rearrange themselves in my internal landscape. It occurred once I gave voice to the understanding that I would never be fully acceptable regardless of whether I followed every rule laid out before me or I ignored them, whether I shut up or spoke up, whether I was naughty or nice, whether I loved or hated. Sure, the language and particular brand of oppression and punishment varied, but the established and reinforced image of “unacceptability of everything associated with Robyn because she must make amends for the terrible misfortune of not being born white” was overwhelmingly persistent.

This is not an idea I picked up via fanciful and naive notions combined with a misunderstanding about society, rather it’s a perspective that was deliberately drummed (or beaten) into me by various people and circumstances throughout my life, such as the White Australia policy intended. The actuality of my being in this society, in this time, in this body, with this mind and animated by this spirit is considered to be some kind of offense to creation, or likened as such, by many a supreme white god during a brief moment of you’ve-got-a-chip-on-your-shoulder righteous indignation and hold-the-liniment-while-I-deliver a tongue-lashing clarity. And I’m talking about the non-racist supreme white gods, don’t get them confused with those other types(!).

but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive
—Audrey Lorde, A litany for survival

I’m not going to gloss this…it hurt. To fully accept the level of oppression you have been living under when you are not literally running for your life every day, will likely plunge a person into some kind of temporary depression or anger, grief, whatever. It hurt like I didn’t think I would survive it, and to be honest I am not so sure I did. Eventually, it did stop hurting so acutely, as anyone who’s been through anything can tell you. Once the shock and devastation subsided, after the tears and rage exhausted themselves, beyond all that pain and self-pity and many miles past the “why can’t it be different?” phase – I began to understand simple things.

If everything I do is already tainted because it is done by me, it follows that I am free to be and do as I please. Let that taint be my insignia.

It surprises me that there is no more worrying about avoiding potential consequences and no more wasting my energy on frivolous attempts to be understood, welcomed or appreciated. There are no more external masters to please as they have already proven that they cannot be pleased by the likes of me. My days are no longer populated with “Yessirs” unless I totally accept that behaviour in the moment as my choice and my honour. More importantly, I am now in a position to set my own standards and to judge, to draw boundaries and define borders, to erase and replace them at will, but never to be judged. No, I absolutely do not confer upon my oppressors the right to judge me.

It is inevitable in a divide and conquer approach to discrimination, that I would have no peers, so who would be left to judge me in any meaningful way? Of course, I am not oblivious, all manner of people will have a crack at passing judgement on their fellow humans, but these judgements are well below the standard and level of humanity to which I aspire, thus rendering them entirely irrelevant within the context of my life. Similarly, my judgements are irrelevant to rural families, sporting heroes and every single one of the political candidates in the recent election, to point out a few. We are each operating in entirely different reality frameworks.

The mental image I hold for this set of experiences is akin to climbing a mountain through all kinds of weather, until the moment you break through the cloud barrier into pure sunlight and clear air. At this point, we become invisible to those who remain at the base of the mountain.

I posit that there is no greater gift for freedom than to be considered utterly inconsequential and therefore to be consistently overlooked.

I ask you in all sincerity, is there a greater advantage to the cause for freedom than spectacularly failing to inspire people to want to use me or enslave me to serve their own agendas?

My measures and markers for success are no longer dependent on the persistence of white supremacy as a social norm, and in this manner the race war within has ended and the human journey has begun.

*

It begins and ends with awe

The earth people keep calling me
The sky responds with my voice
Water passes everything along

The sun people are blinding me
The stars look through my eyes
Fire is making everything dance

The wind is refashioning reality
Seeds, cells and leaves go on a world tour
Weather is transforming everything

Too many ways to enumerate –
Existences, vistas, vibrations, echoes
Cracking and snapping weary worldviews

Impossible to remain connected to one idea
When every particle of life is radiating
Infinite waves of mystery in it’s wake

It begins and ends with awe.

Suddenly I’m doubled over with laughter
Clearly nothing of any value
Can ever be taken to the bank.