November 9, 2016

dipping my toes, back into the inky deep

As i slide across the kings of the sea
   their power rolls beneath me.
The smooth silken touch of their inky skin
   beckons me to slide on in.

The clouds begin to steal their metal hue
   these royals turn pearled-copper.


a long time between drinks, to be continued...

November 18, 2013

goodness in the gardening

my small suburban slice of paradise, has been flourishing in the most unlikely circumstances of late. one small previously forgotten patch in particular.

through pains and frustrations of recent times, I've been tilling the soil of that little patch and letting my angry sweat drip into the ground and pushing my body to ache over the repetitive actions to move said ground. my mind is cleared while I press into the dirt and mix it with tools and bare hands, and when I pluck the weeds right down at that thick, ground-level stump to see the dirty roots flick about with sudden velocity. everything is gone. dissipated, I believe, into the air about my face and limbs, the ground I'm working below and even way up into the sky above me. up, that's where I think everything that at one point was fogging up the tiny little windows in my mind goes, to breathe a bit. those thoughts need breath too. and they require wisdom. i think my body holds to them too tightly sometimes, with too much anger and grief.

I'm satisfied that as I commit myself to life and thought in the practice, in doing, I am able to work through and till the soil of my most muddy times. I've never thought I've been very good at growing and most importantly cultivating vegetables. it seems more so that all I needed was the need to dig and move that soil around, to watch for pesky pretty butterflies from the kitchen window. to wave and ward them off my broccoli and pumpkin. the things in my mind are real and heavy and will stay for a while to come, but I think I need to use what God has given me to develop them and till them still, to see them flourish like my tomato plants and zucchini towers.

i am thankful for some of my anger and most of my strength, as without it i would not have fresh garden vegetables on my table this coming summer. I am finding myself quite capable in the patch, quite able.

who knew, and did not tell me that zucchini plants really need space, a lot of poor carrots.

January 15, 2013

my Grandmas linen

Her thick Polish slur still rings in my ears, despite not having lived near her some 20 years. Being away from her, my family would sit at the dinner table issuing funny slogans of hers in our best Polish-imbued Aussie twang, “Argh, my swveety-line!”.

My Babunia left Poland as the war drew to a close, around 1944-45. Due to her families wealth they had not lived the worst of the war in Poland but moved to Vienna, Austria to seek refuge. Yet they lost everything they had, which was quite a bit considering my great-grandfather owned a factory and ran a healthy sized business. This lead to the family’s relocation to Perth, with three grown children in tow, Victor, Richard and Halina along with a large faction of other Eastern Europeans displaced from their shattered homes and fractured cultures.

Halina was reunited with her old beau from Poland, Jurek (George). They married and settled in a migrant camp in the middle of the dry Australian bush of south Western Australia. A place so far from home, so unfamiliar.

Speaking no English and knowing no-one, this married couple kept living as they had in their homeland, where food and hospitality was a mainstay, nah, a requirement of living. So, Babunia cooked, baked and kept her house clean, not only in the 1950’s housewife tradition but also in her Polish tradition. She made cakes, hosted parties and slow cooked Goulash while Dziadzia worked hard, the kind of hard we don’t know today, as a fitter and turner. He would come home and listen to records or get together with his German friends and play old ballads of their homelands. Whether he was playing violin, accordion or piano – he had great joy making music, beautiful music.

So, I sit at this table now, that once was theirs, and with a wistful heart reminisce what this tablecloth beneath my arms has seen. The meals it has carried and the spills it has drawn to its core. I can still smell the starch and washing powder she washed it in for some thirty years, and see some of the remnants of food that she, (to her great shame) could not completely remove. I don’t mind the stains, or the broken lace on the fringe, because my Babunia and Dziadzia sat here, ate here and lived with this same linen.

Heirlooms can be weighty and can be trivial, but heirlooms can also be memory and sound and vision. It is the best when all of these come together in a full image of the people we know and knew. 


June 13, 2012

one of those nights.

i inhale the rich smokey essence of my 12 year aged scotch whiskey as it draws ever closer to my mouth, in the cool glass. its a quiet night here, and i am making the most of it. i'm fighting the patriotic urge to switch on the tv set and watch the football game between warring states, knowing full well that that would ruin the solitude and silence here felt. so instead, i'm going to bake something, maybe a few things. i have some girlfriends coming over tomorrow night for some crafting and making, and i want to serve sweet treats and goodness so we can fumble away the night with happy hearts and bellies. I think i'll craft some of that chewy caramel corn, and some pretty strawberry iced cupcakes (with special Hershey's strawberry syrup).

it will be a nice evening - one with jazz playing on the long player, whiskey in hand (still) and quiet service to friends.


June 3, 2012

rainy weekend at home

this weekend has been one of indoor quietude. not quite like that quietude that Wendell Berry encourages, of stillness, sans technology and open ears to the birds and the trees. (we live in suburbia, up the street from the coal train line and just over the hill from the steel works - there isn't much of that quietude 'round here.)

but, instead, we've stayed in bed longer than usual, drank more cups of tea than usual and explored new areas of this, our 'new town'. as the rain fell yesterday we took the northern distributor to visit some of the nicer northern suburbs that lay between the towering escarpment and the rocky coastline. we huddled under the leaky umbrella and our hoods, watching some mediocre waves roll over the famous Sandon Point. it was my first visit to the famed break. it was pretty beautiful, with the deep inky seas, rolling white horses and voluptuous clouds above.

today, i laid in bed again, keeping safe from the chill and read some of my favourite blogs. after a trip to the corner store i starting baking; some of the tastiest ginger cookies that suit this melancholy weather perfectly.


June 2, 2012

some words from another time

i found this funny old thing while pulling out a heavy book (on Contemporary Painting in Poland, no less), from the book case. i wrote it back in 2008 - many moons ago, while drowning the friday afternoon sorrows, alone, in a pub, in a town i didn't belong. its a pretty sad story.

(the title is questionable i know - at least i can say it reflects...well something.)

at the pub, people speak,
of footy clubs and winning horses,
games they've won 
and tales of losses.

amoung the chatter and the bellows,
others wait for tucker;
throwing down schooners,
of all things light, dark and bubbly.

finally on arrival, 
the food can silence the crowd.
munching and swallowing 
until all stomachs are full.

the crowd is loud again, at the pub.
the food is over and
schooners almost dry.
a long hard day, is waving goodbye.

me. 2008. nelsons bay.

raise a glass, if you would, to all things aussie...and bogan. this ones for you em, to go with my effy.


April 27, 2012

that ol' man, Romance

i've been enjoying myself of late, having recently concluded 2 weeks of holidays, i feel like i've been rested and had time to reflect on beautiful things (instead of programs, reports and professional development).

things like romance - in the true 19th century literary sense of the notion; the enlightened vision to the truth of beauty and essence of human emotion. i must interject and tell y'all where this strange romantic impulse and conviction came from - one quiet afternoon in my holidays i visited a friend, and we sat in her living room as the day's light fell and watched Jane Eyre (the newest, most beautiful version of this painfully beautiful story, with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender). i was earnestly transfixed, quite. and it wasn't just Fassbender i was transfixed by...maybe not, anyway.

its not the first time i've been consumed and entranced by the beauty of the 'old romantics'. remember my thing for John Keats and Bright Star? something captures me in this writing. i had a serious long think about it over the holidays, and enjoyed myself in the process.

so, i beseech you, enjoy this marvelous moment in film.