Thursday, November 24, 2011

Malt (raw)

On Sunday night the stars are sometimes so bright I can't see them. It usually happens somewhere between my Sunday arvo fever and the late night grooves that aren't there; when I brush my hair hoping something will actually happen.

Something or anything - it doesn't matter. Le Carré said "the cat sat on the dog's mat" is the beginning of a story and I wondered if he's right. Maybe when I'm all written out and my mind no longer fulfils the pen's needs I will write about a cat. But that is for another day, when all the little pieces of glass have shattered into a million more and Jack Johnson has stopped telling that girl "don't let your dreams be dreams". Which is a beautiful sentiment in itself, but I'm not really worried. Jack Johnson is married anyway and poets like him don't grow on trees.

The bookshop was still lovely today though not magical like the one in Freo. It had shelves like before, filled with works that aren't mine, and a guy from uni with a funny tremble in his voice. Somehow, reading without purpose other than that of creativity is a harsh process. To notice the sentiments and the words and the brilliance, all with the eloquent stamp of "published". Where are my words? I refuse to accept that they are lost or out on some limb in my body that I am not aware of and won't be aware of again.

On the table next to mine sit invisible people who used to be tangible but somehow got lost inside my mind. The hat with a feather from South Africa, where the bartender is from, and an argument that was mine to play out. I wonder if they got left by choice or if the doorman kicked them out for being too tangible.

Perhaps they were never there and always existed as things only real in my wild and loose imagination. Or maybe I need to go treasure hunting to find them again, in between the laughter I'm pretty sure is going to out-compete mine.

The walls are black but the mirror sparkles and I'm not even halfway through my drink. Yet.

But wait! A sentiment, a whisper, like the dream that was Rome in Gladiator, of something that may be. It tingles within me and perhaps even when the stars are shining bright in the evening sky we can finally see, something might actually happen. On a Sunday, maybe. I sit still; tired alcohol mixes and the paint strokes are mere paint strokes and not waves... Here we go again.

There is a story that needs to be told and just like the chandelier in the mirror I know it's somewhere inside my mind. That place or which I don't know - no clue at all, and Mr. Pugh's voice rings in my ears: I mustn't stop writing because I'm good at it. I wonder if Mr. Pugh knew that the pen runs out of ink even in the good writer's mind; the bottle openers stop functioning and the cocktails mix themselves and there is nothing special about them anymore. It all becomes boring and dry like that tutor who tries to be the teacher but is really just the student. Nothing wrong with that, he's just being his best, which isn't much at all.

Perhaps the story is somewhere inside all the colours the light makes over my head reflecting on the cranberry red drink I have in front of me. It stands untouched, for the most part, as my eyes wander towards the bar I can't really see through the wall behind that blurry, liquid thing.

Pieces forgotten, pieces remembered

On a night of what I thought was unbearable heat and absolutely nothing else, I began to look through the pages full of words I hadn’t read for months. They were my own words; refreshing little tangents in an everyday that is ever-changing, ever-moving, ever-growing as life rolls along in this magical place I now call my home. Bob Marley was demanding his soul satisfied as I collected from my shelf of notebooks the Paolo Coelho yearly planner for 2011 - the one I was going to fill out until December 31st when 2012 would come to a beginning. I stopped completing the diary on April 14th, three days after my 20th birthday, for reasons not unknown, but still vague and now distant somehow. The pages had remained blank, and as I looked through the diary I could almost feel a sentiment of sorrow at those pieces of white that were somehow lost to me.

At the turn of every blank month, however, was a word. May: Creativity. June: Independence. July: Acknowledgement. August: Wisdom. September: Decency. October: Justice. When I came to the month I found myself in - six months of empty later - the word read understanding, and I came to realise that those past words were in themselves satisfactory enough to allow me the remembrance of half a year gone by. Opening up to new things and crafting a new life in May; coming to terms with pain and misery in June, but yet deciding to break free from the horrid circle of self-blame for a time so short and yet so significant that it still astounds me now. Feeling peaceful and happy in July and allowing for all those little things the universe sends you to come right along and hit you with all their might, while enjoying the beautiful company of someone from home. Growing up in August and September, and moving further and further towards a comfortable place of self respect and self appreciation; being free and independent and my own in October. It was amazing to me that although three quarters of a journal had remained unfilled, I could still piece together the amazing journey this year has come to be in the now completely magnificent life I lead. I am thankful for all those experiences that live only in my mind and soul, and feel gloriously excited for the ones I will soon have on the other side of the world in December, being the month of meaning.

It’s been a good year.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2:30 am

Everything is unwound, unbound, untoned, unchained all over again.

Funny thing, that wall of scared and hate and petrified,

it bounces up

and down

Like a sick jellyfish wobbling where it should be standing


I think that maybe it’s all a matter of clouds, and perspective on the sky

- like that comment on the moon a few nights away -

whether the weather rains or suns on me, that jellyfish still keeps wobbling

But I suppose that’s better too, than the rock solid, diamond strong other something,

which used to be a cosmos at the inner pieces

of inside.

When it was all veins and beats and tired, worn-out muscle that strained and pulled and drained

and became a sort of essence to what I believed my core to be

Now, the mist seems to clear - terrifyingly bright the outside is - and smiles become truthful,
rather than


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


There comes a time (in fact, there comes many times when you're my age; this funny stage that so many people refer to as "growing up" or "becoming an adult") when you begin slowly and surely to realise that you are utterly and completely your own responsibility. And it's not just - in fact, it's not even close to just - the bills and the rent and the uni assignments and the dinner reservations and all that other obligation stuff society demands that you bite over like a big, fat cheeseburger with a big, fat smile. It's yourself. Your inner peace, the strength of your will, the stamina of your patience. Mahatma Gandhi said that happiness is when what you say, what you think, and what you do are in harmony - kinda like a happy person in a happy spirit in a happy body. I think it's never too early to realise that you deserve your own life. It is not something to be saved for when you are older and richer and have less things on your hands. If everything on your hands is just becoming things and not enjoyable moments of happiness, then they really and truly should not be there. They are but wasting moments in a life that you'll look at when you're what we call old (so, like 50) and either be satisfied with, at peace with and even proud of or regret, wonder and despair over. Sure, those are blacks and whites, but you get the picture. I'm also not saying that everything in life is absolutely fantastic; there are certainly hard times, and those can be tough and uncomfortable and I know I've wanted to run away from them many a time. What I am saying, though, is that at a certain point enough becomes enough and if you don't feel like reading the Penguin copy of Pride and Prejudice staring down at you from your bookshelf and would rather go to a shop and purchase a secondhand copy of Shadow of the Wind, then so be it. In fact, it should a moment of true enjoyment, because you are allowing yourself to do as you wish. To me, it's kind of like being a child again, when you only did and said what you felt like and let everything else hear otherwise should it be so. I'm liking this newfound excitement for what I feel and how I want to be. I know I want to write and read and travel and be a happy spirit in a happy body in a happy me. I know I don't want to waste time on people who drain me of energy or spend my time doing what is expected of me by people I don't even know, otherwise called society. Some would perhaps call this irresponsible. Others childish. I call it freedom.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

We pillage and plunder, we're really bad eggs....

Drink up me hearties, yoho. It's funny how no matter which goals you set for yourself, the city and beat of the rhythm has a way of taking you to a place where those ambitions don't matter, and it's just you, the night, and the music. Last night I visited Deville's Pad in Perth for the first time; a truly sinful place, full of temptation, gorgeous bartenders and 84-year old Big Jay McNeely's honkin' saxophone from the stage. I entered on the premise of being home by 11 pm (which I knew wouldn't happened) and got home at seven o'clock this morning, having met a whole bunch of interesting people, tasted snow crab for the first time, and randomly watched the Norwegian movie Troll Hunter at a friend's house in Maylands. It's amazing how responsibilities, commitments, obligations and all those other grown-up things vanish the minute you enter an interesting venue - and I suppose just that is the definition of a good club - and get lost in the moment. It is a truly disappearing art, that ability to be just where you are, when you are and who you are and enjoy it. I suppose a Sunday night is as good as any to be a little irresponsible, at least if you don't have a back to back shift waiting for you in the morning. Cause when you get home, shower and put on your morning clothes, all that magical stuff from last night disappears and you're just a regular, boring, full-of-obligations 20 year old girl who's on her way to work where the first customers of the day are bound to make some snidy comment about the keyboard going while the service stands completely still. It's worth it though. I'll take an exhausted day of rude customers for a night of amazing magic any time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Everyone's on a journey

Heartbeat drops

I'm sleepy but not tired
at 4:26 am

Engine's off
A half hour ago or so
and everyone has a story
he tells me.

It's a brand new pulse
of words and sounds
that I thought had gone

Hope, almost.

And the clock ticks past five
as my eyes drop and lull me to sleep.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Keys; the music kind

You know it's good music when you don't want the ice in your cocktail to make noise. Listening to sweet piano keys that are like velvet in my ears, and I don't want anyone or thing to disturb the beautiful Cuban woman on stage in front of me. The magical music; the one that comes alive and makes stories and fuels that passion within you, to travel to a place the can make you feel as calm and serene as this gorgeous and deliciously crafted artwork does. Art for the ears is better than those old paintings down at the gallery, I think anyway. Her soul is in the music; every grain of her body dancing to it as it comes to life at her fingertips. The owner of the amazing jazz club where I work said she's so good she's gone round and become bad. Twice. It's beautiful and inspiring. She is one of those fortunate ones who show, rather than tell. And what does she show you? In the music, there is true love and true passion for herself; for her own dreams and goals. It makes me hopeful for my own future and as the applause rises I smile at the little piece of myself that she has given back to me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Sometimes in life there comes a moment when you realise you need to slow down, because frankly you have lost sense and direction of all that is you. The screaming upper middle-class bimbo wanting a pair of 37 1/2s in pink (which we don't sell) has become more important than writing; the perfect cocktail and customer service more in focus than the travel plans. My dreams have been replaced by worries of gaining plus 80% in a unit that doesn't really matter, my fighting power transferred onto the tutor who decided to give me a pass and a plagiarism accusation. And all the treadmill running in the world doesn't make up for the fact that the spinning has taken a strong hold of you and is shaking you around like a Tom Collins.

Then one morning, after a long day and night of rain and calmness and priority, you wake up and remember why you are where and who and what. It becomes clear to you that your studies are the backup plan in your dreams; your work a necessity for making rent. It is a peaceful moment, because suddenly you are back in place, feeling that essence of yourself reviving and filling you up to the brim with purpose and happiness again. And then all the angry, crazy customers, failed cocktails and table service, minus 60% marks and inexperienced tutors can bite themselves. They become tiny fragments of nothing in a much larger picture.

I'm back, baby.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

To coincidence and happy days

Sometimes life really does throw funny things at you. You may be stressed out about work (being too Scandinavian) or school (being too far behind) or men (which are non-existent) or even friends, but it seems to me that every single day has its own way of making you laugh or just smile at the irony in life. I had a brilliant day today. In my Writing, Rhetoric and Persuasion class we had to debate. OH. THE. HORROR. Just the mere thought of having to argument for why R-rated games should be banned in Australia and also having to make it consistent and eloquent, with only like 20 minutes to prepare. Painful. Although I guess I should be happy my group didn’t get assigned the negative group that argued against naming and shaming sexual offenders. But although I was absolutely dreading this ordeal, once we got up there it was all about the fun; the art of rhetoric, but the fun in it too. The highlight was definitely classmate Allan’s passionate speech about Australia and its values in rehabilitation, not punishment. At the end of my tutorial I finally approached a British chap I’ve been meaning to speak to for weeks; he’s one of those quirky characters who says the most inappropriate things but still manages to charm the class into laughing. And I had the most relaxed and fun afternoon I’ve had in a long time. Sometimes the rental renewal lease and the five managers and the school work and the disappointments can get you down. But it’s almost as if life knows exactly when you’ve had enough and need just a little cheer-up. Thanks, circumstance.

Friday, August 5, 2011


There comes a time, I suppose, when you realize that you can’t control or change or monitor anyone but yourself. I reckon it’s the most nerve-wrecking, gut-wrenching, horrifyingly anxious point in life. It’s also peaceful, once you accept it for fact and move on. The unrequited love of Gigi and Iris is at least in the former case a result of impatience. I am myself a class victim of this characteristic, because once I even sense a hint of affection (this strangely enough only applies to romantic affection) it all needs to move at a hundred miles an hour or more (preferably more). Not to say that I need to go somewhere fast, but it suddenly escalates from comfortable, casual and chilled to horribly intense, impatient and inconsistent. I AM Katy Perry’s hot and cold, because all of a sudden feelings are involved in the game, and that’s when the batting and the hitting and the running becomes real important. If you miss or slow down you might end up getting hurt. And God forbid that someone else should take charge over the steering wheel; if you give up the stick, you are no longer in control of direction, speed or safety. You are trusting, and opening up to something that could potentially hurt, and so it’s seems better to keep both hands firmly on the steering wheel and your body tucked behind the safety belt. The flipside to this coin is that if you never let go, you never get surprised. In other words, the love or affection or passion can never be requited, cause you are in charge of every little detail. And still, while being impatient, you expect a surprise. But unless whoever your like of the week or month or year is capable of taming a lion to start speeding next to the car or igniting fireworks while stuck on the ride, crafting a surprise is absolutely impossible. I know I’ve wrecked quite the number of potential somethings by forcing them to stay put while I take the wheel. It becomes such a forceful passion that eventually they are bound to slowly open the door, unlock the safety belt and hope for the best as they jump out of my crazy world that speeds on at an unmeasurable pace. To all past and future victims of my rollercoaster, I apologize.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cup cakes

They were oval, but needed to be round. Although he had placed all the ingredients carefully into the mixer and stirred them slowly while smiling triumphantly at their wonder, they had still come out of the oven oval. The man walked tense over to the cookbook that lay open at the dinner table, and noticed another book that was standing a few millimetres out of the perfect line on his bookshelf. He was irritated now, at having to deal with that rebellious book, and placed it gently into the large trash can standing next to his bookshelf, allowing it to join Foucault, Nietzsche and Aristotle. They had been rebellious too. He moved to the dinner table and read the instructive words again: "Place dough into cups and cook for eight minutes in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius". He had done that, and had even put two timers in the kitchen at exactly eight minutes and zero seconds to be sure that the cakes would come out round. But they were oval. The man opened a trash can standing next to his oven and emptied the tray of cup cakes into it. He then cleaned the mixer and began reading the cooking instructions on his dinner table once again.

Flash fiction

He was walking down the street and his jacket was red. Rain was coming down from a darkened autumn sky and blended the traffic light colours together so that it looked like my painting palette from home. I was drinking a cup of peppermint tea in a coffee shop far from him. When he began crossing the street, the light was steady - red man walking - and the angry cabdriver was texting on his phone. He did not see the red lights, or the red man. All was white and black, and my peppermint tea was standing cold on Murray street mall. For him it was dark, but for a blur of rain and red.

The Dreamers

I was standing bent down in a stationary store when it began. It was fall and tumbling, colourful leaves outside made me think back to an idyllic childhood of long ago. Turning the aisle in front of me was a beautiful boy who looked like my brother of six back home. A man called out in the manner of the famous "troll in the dungeon" cry from Harry Potter, but there was nothing humorous to his voice. As the siren began wailing the deep voice echoed through the room "Start hurting the children!" and I lined up behind the six-year-old. There was a feeling in the air of violence and destruction, and although our instructions were hardly evident, we all knew it was north against south. As he and I ran down the blocked, concrete stairs I caught a glimpse of a woman standing on the sidewalk below. She looked terrified and was shaking in the rain as if she knew was was going on and could not stop it. I understood in my own mind that she was one of those lucky ones who would shortly be picked up by a black and un-identified Mercedes to watch the ensuing spectacle of horrible, implemented anarchy from afar. The main exit out of the complex was closed by blood thirst and dead bodies, reminding me of images from the Sierra Leonean civil war of the 1990's. I still didn't know the boy's name, but a kind voice inside me yelled out the responsibility I now had for him. As we crossed the parking lot, two reporters passed us, wearing colourful clothing, calm smiles and accompanied by quiet bird chatter in spring. In their hands was a red recording device and as we passed them I could overhear their documentation of the boy's footwear: "In spite of popular opinion about the extinction of Allstar Converse shoes in Canada, I just passed a first-grader wearing a green pair." As I though about the bizarre statement, I could see the odd pair turning a corner that seemed closed to the rest of us, before they were gone. The boy and I were standing beneath a concrete ceiling, few metres from an open, clear exit when I heard a hysteric voice behind us and turned to face a gun. "North side, right?" said the panicked man with an absurd smile, while pointing the gun steadily at me. As it began moving towards the boy, I grabbed hold of it and waited for what I knew would come. There was only silence. Mere seconds later I could see half of my index finger's longitudinal side blown off and as I felt nothing but fear, a woman behind me released three fatal shots into the man's head.

When I woke up, rain was pouring down on my metal roof and my heart was beating at an uncomfortably high speed. Through the wet sheets of the night, black men were moving at a quick pace and I felt like collecting markers in a stationary store once again.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Late night grooves

It's always around twelve o'clock the rush starts up again. After the smooth, gorgeous main act has long ago packed up and the musos from waapa have started their set-up for the late night groove sessions. It kicks off at the Ellington jazz club around midnight and the till by which I'm sitting starts chiming and clinging again. I've been working in late night hospitality for nearly six months now; some nights have been rougher than the next, others fantastic. What keeps us all going though, inevitably, is the continuous flow of Perth customers, dressed up in their swag and high heeled shoes, determined for yet another night on the town. And in the wee hours of a Saturday or Sunday morning, doing woodwork in some obscure corner or carrying wine and glasses to the bar, I haven't been able to help but wonder: what keeps 'em coming back? I can understand the rare I-got-absolutely-smashed-and-can't-remember-a-thing-phenomenon or even the odd hangover that drags your body through a blue Sunday. Even a regular meet with good friends for a few pints and a laugh can appeal to me. But what strikes me as an absolute myth is the desire for a non-stop, repetitive and never-ending high-heeled, short dress, heavy make-up, unlimited tequila shots, uncountable pick-up lines extravaganza that doesn't just happen once every so often or even every month. It strikes me as insane when it happens all the time. Like EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. I cannot for the life of me begin to comprehend the absolute madness that so many in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and even sixties feel ticking into their biological party clock come Friday that drives them to once again go through the fun times followed by the excruciating ones. But I suppose I should be happy; these are the insane ones that keep my paycheck coming on the regular.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


So it is, the loner sits
at bottoms of empty stairs
waiting for someone to run
up or down
or have bottles broken to bits

Or maybe a gorgeous girl to come by
to pay for entry
at the loner's frown

while the bartender mixes and shakes his drinks
all to a tango red twirl

Friday, June 10, 2011

The magic box on level four

I recently handed in the last assignment of my first semester at Curtin University. It was quite a thrilling moment; walking up the stairs (the flight after the elevator that only goes to level three), stapling the cover sheet and pages together, and finally dropping it all into the little opening labelled ASSIGNMENT DROPBOX in the Media, Culture and Creative Arts offices. I felt accomplished, complete and fully deserving of a Twix. Which was when the sensation hit me; even though I could physically see the pile of papers inside the mail box that I know are collected at 4 pm every day, I still couldn't help but imagine what a magical thing that drop box might be. There is the obvious fact of it only being reached by means of stairs that follow an elevator only going to level three. So that's exhibit A. Very Isla de Muerta from Pirates of the Caribbean, if you ask me ("It's an island that cannot be found except by those who already know where it is" - cue eerie, dark music). And then there's that feeling that once you drop your pages and allow them to hit the other pile below, they are somehow teleported to a different place. Like you let go of your words - the ones you were in control of just a moment ago - and send them flying out into the universe at rocket speed to some great abyss of the unknown. Images of offices filled with coffee-drinking, glass-wearing, somewhat insane professors all marking papers in a haste flashed across my mind. And that's when I began to realise that the only really magical thing about that drop box is that it gets filled by us crazy students in the first place.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturday Night Fever

Wake up, says the teacher
as the classroom is dismissed
by a new flow of insta-lows
to a life that don't exist

with the dreams and hookers and those strips
of cocaine gist
dies another failing year
that wouldn't seem to bare
the absolute rejection of the after-midnight list.

Wake up, says the doorman
as the final beats die out
to a freshly ground, street-like sound
pumping all about

in cities of dreams that crash down at dawn
and whither in the hands of those with clout -
waits the restless, spiked-as-fuck souls
all made up of doubt

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cause when a heart breaks, it don't break even.

The in between truly seems endless. When everything is too slow or too fast; too bitter or too sweet, and you're moving at a pace completely detached from what you thought was your life. You ask yourself the scary questions. Will I ever write again? Will it ever feel the same? Was that my shot? And you tear yourself apart, bleed the broken heart out and try to feel the emptiness at it slowly creeps up on you. The Script had it right; we don't break even. But the same goes for the mending. It comes in waves, like the beach you're too afraid to face because the last time you were on it, it was in that past life before everything broke and had to be picked up by your absolute and complete self. There are inbetweens in the in between, and sometimes your feelings will trick you and make you believe that it was over when it isn't. But eventually you realise that all you need is not love, but time. Time to let the pieces find each other again and become a brand new whole that now consists of one more experience you kinda wish you hadn't had, but kinda feel like you needed. And when your mind and heart begin to wrap themselves around that fact, things pick up. You opt for three jobs, two brand new and one old, but still new because you're approaching it from an entirely different perspective. You start smiling again, and laughing at the things that used to make you cry; you go to see sappy romantic movies such as Water For Elephants, and enjoy them on your own. The in between is still there, but it is not as strong or fierce as it used to be, and you start to see the end of what used to be a grave, horrid, long tunnel. It has become linear, instead of the repetitive cycle you pessimistically had begun to believe would never end, and it makes you feel good to know that even though the experience can never be forgotten, it can be left behind. So you start reading again, and cleaning the dishes after a meal, rather than leaving them for days. You delete the pictures you had hidden, but still saved, in the hope that you could one day take them out and see happiness, and it makes you feel good to do it. You begin to wake up feeling happy, and not incomplete at the empty other side of the bed. In fact, you place the pillow in the middle, so the whole thing is yours. And eventually, one day, you turn around while tending the bar to face a lovely young man who is smiling at you, without expectation or discontent or fear. Just a smile and piercing blue eyes, which lift you up for that one moment, while the amazing jazz music plays in the background and becomes the soundtrack to your own and finally deserved restoration.

Monday, May 2, 2011


“Remember in the good old days, when you could take 30 kgs?” my friend Lindi says to me in an irritated voice after hearing the explanation for my pre-flight paranoia. I am 10 kgs overweight, and have very carefully packed my stuff together so that I will not get caught and have to go through another draining ninja move with my extensive excess luggage. Coming from Perth to Africa it had been a near-death experience. It seems, however, that human beings are always in the business of wanting more. Taking luggage, for example, my friend Lindi was right in her reminiscing about the insane amount of weight you could bring onto a plane ten or fifteen years back. But there was a weight limit back then, too. Which I’m sure was exceeded, like now. And eventually, like I tend to think I can always get away with a trivial six kilos, I’m sure the airlines stopped to think about how much they could get out of that exact craving in their passengers of wanting more. I can picture the board room meeting, where a brilliant apprentice says quietly to himself “I’d just make ‘em pay for it,” followed by the evolution of such an idea in the greedy CEO’s mind. And where does this leave me some years back? “You’re looking at about 200 dollars,” from an Irish woman who I have to explain the principle of electronic encoded visas in my passport to. That’s what I’m looking at. And still, it gets me thinking; do we always want more? And, much more to the point and so much more interesting; do we assume we can get away with it? These thoughts brought to me further philosophies about our relationship with good old Mother Earth. To me, the parallel is simple; like I tend to assume I can easily get away with an extra 10 kgs, I similarly tend to assume that the global exploitation of increasingly degrading natural resources will not affect my life. I can get away with my massive ecological footprint. I will always be able to throw my trash out into bins for someone to collect, and there will always be healthy salmon for me to purchase at the local Coles. But still, it gets me thinking. What if Mother Earth decides one day that she’ll make me pay for my overweight? I think I can say with fair certainty that the price won’t be in the form of an uncomfortable credit card bill in my mail box.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Peace of wind, peace of mind

It is truly amazing to be back. Although the fog created a two hour delay on my flight, I didn't care. T. I. A. My second home welcomes me with sunny days and howling winds; the good kind that don't scare you, but simply allows for a heightened appreciation of the air and its smells. The amazing colours let me breathe again, and spend unmeasured amounts of time on whatever I feel like. There are no trains to catch, and no assignments due. No "With or Without You" ringing in my ears and reminding me of that which I need to forget; here, among the dry mountains and lazy days, there is only peace of mind.

Being back in Africa has allowed me, in only two days, to remember what relaxation is. 2 pm is replaced by "the afternoon"; immediately by "just now". I can sit on a bench for the western concept of hours in an African minute and enjoy life to an extent I believe we are unable to elsewhere. In those places where it's always where to go, where to be, who to see, what to do. Hakuna matata they say in kiSwahili, and it does mean no worries for the rest of your days on the continent of calm. It therefore becomes ironic to me when westerners associate Africa with war and misery; a high pace to everything because of all the horrible events that pass by. True enough, that is one aspect of the colossus that is this beautiful continent. But enjoying life without time limits or obligations or expectations is truly and proudly African. I am proud to call this a second home and can do nothing but rejoice at the amazing peace the howling wind brings to my far too haunted mind when I sit in a lovely garden and surround myself with the essence of this wondrous place.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When you're dreaming with a broken heart/Sometimes they wither

The withered flowers still light up my pale, sick table. What good can possibly come from this pain and agony? Although he is gone, he is all around me, in every square centimetre of my apartment, as if he never left. The flowers look up at me, defeated like my own heart, asking for death and where the next batch is, to replace them. The next batch does not come. These dying roses are the last remnant of a ritual I fell in love with far too soon, far too quick, transfixed in that bliss of pathetic hope and naïve admiration. I look to the trash and try to master the strength of picking them up and throwing them out, along with his Madhatter 10/6 note, reminding me of that amazing St Pattys night when he told me of our future he had planned. I try to clean him out. I wash the table on which his beer spilt; I rip the sheets of my bed, surrounding myself in his smell unified with mine; I vacuum clean and suck his soul out of my own. But the flowers persist. Although they are dead now, their heartbeat is his, pumping through my apartment like fierce fireworks of poisoned sparks. I smell the roses, but just as us, their essence has departed this world, and entered another realm of reality, like his darkened one. I get out of bed and feel all my muscles screaming out in pain with the sickness. But I force myself. I pick up the shirt I wore that night we said goodbye and put it in with the rest of the laundry; my underwear from the bathroom where we shared our last shower. It is all thrown into a big, blue IKEA bag and placed by my door, waiting for the rain to stop outside so his essence can disappear into the washing machine drain and in the calm, soothing, comforting autumn wind. Ironic. I miss you most of all, my darling, when autumn leaves start to fall. Three weeks in ignorant bliss. The future ahead, without you around. I sit down in the large cathedral and pray you’ll be all right. Not to God. To the architects who brought us together, who placed me into this misery and pain, who are now my enemies, who posed me with an impossible puzzle I was forced to turn down. And still I beg them for your release. If I could only make that deal with them; I would give anything to have you back in my life, and must still persist in my conviction that you are gone, for now. “And remember that I will always love you. Bye my love – for now,” you wrote. The flowers shriek. “After Africa,” I tell them, “I’ll deal with you then”.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The blank page

In academia it is called writer's block. That itchy, terrifying, disturbing feeling of simply having no words to jot down; no clever things to say. Pen in hand, and the whiteness of the page stretching further and further, growing into a gigantic, vast iceberg of empty that should preferably be full of words. At first it is not so bad; you can still recall the last piece of writing you did that you were proud of, not more than a couple of weeks ago. So you keep blaming it on your busy life, school work, social life, bartending; and you are most likely in your full right to do so, because life is, in fact, busy. There are places to be, people to see, and after all, there is no such thing as losing "it". The excuses, however, slowly evolve into desperation. You're willing to write about anything, even if it has to be about those ridiculous 18 year olds that you have to sit and listen to in the Friday afternoon tutorial at university. The Performance Studies table that always has something to say because, gosh, they're just feeling so damn creative and alternative all the time. You try to think of a funny twist to the story, a mocking voice that could make it all better and at least provide you with some words added to the iceberg, but time and time again you cannot seem to find anything amusing about those horrid teenagers in row two of the Narrating Selves class. You think of your last week experiences and try to pinpoint something, anything, that could be deemed at least a tad funny or entertaining to your now very limited audience, but soon realise that the week consisted of work, school, and an immense amount of sleep deprivation. So you continue to search in the pool of creativity, the one they're teaching you so much about in school. Maybe that's what it is; maybe that idea of imagination having to be believable has killed my flow. A rather odd statement, if you ask me, but the lecturers persist in their argument of all creation being influenced by some other form of creation. There is no such thing as pure, unique imagination in anyone; it is all a mixed drink, with far too many ingredients, like the Squashed Frog shot at work, of someone else's mix. Eventually, you sit down in front of the computer and wait for inspiration to fall into your lap after a long day at uni. And when all else fails and has failed, you write a blog entry on the inability to write anything.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Coffee dates and silly questions

Coffee, I have recently learned in my first two weeks of uni here in Australia, is absolutely essential to a student's life. Apparently. It almost seems that like there is a code of fashion at Curtin, there is a code of coffee. If you're one of the cool kids, preferably from the western suburbs (to those of you not from here, those are the posh ones), you go to Concept Coffee (cause "oh my god, their coffee is the best!"), right in the heart of the student guild area. If you're a humanities student, who is at times overly consumed in being alternative while at the same time laid back, there is the Coffee Patch, with a lovely old lady to take your orders, and an outside seating area covered by tall, lush trees, perfect for the Curtin Creative environment right by building 209 (the humanities). Lastly, there's Cafe Angazi, at the end of the guild promenade, situated very close to the business buildings and hence filled with smart-looking people who are always in a hurry. But, no matter which code of coffee you're from; which cultural coffee group you belong to, coffee is a big part of your life at uni. "20 minutes till class, guys, let's go for a coffee, yeah?". And then, suddenly, an awkward, almost piercing sound enters your years: DING! 5 dollars. "Duuuuude, I'm so tired from last night, wanna come for some coffee?". DING! 4 dollars and 50 cents. "Okay, I seriously need to talk to you, you have a free to go to Coffee Patch, right?" DING! 5 dollars again. By the end of a day at uni, unless I'm hanging out with my friend Cameron who hooks me up with free coffee from time to time, as a student at Curtin University who is not careful with his or her coffee money, one can easily have spent between fifteen and twenty dollars on COFFEE. On coffee. Which leads me up to the silliest question I have probably ever encountered in my life. With a coffee cup in hand and a half-awake gaze, my Engaging in the Humanities fellow student Danen turned his head towards me today and whispered "So, why do you even work?"

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tipping is not a city in China....

The sound of forty cents joining the rest of your tips at the bottom of a tumbler glass must truly be the favourite music of all bartenders while at work. It can't be beat by the coolest band or the most charming compliments; tips is our freeway ticket to some extra, tax-free bucks, and the easiest way to get a smile from one of us (though most patrons seem to have missed out on this simple fact), is to leave the bloody change with a confident "Keep the tip". You'll have us walking on sunshine for the rest of the evening.

Tipping remains one of the great puzzles of the hospitality business to me. Some customers are most adorable creatures, who at the end of a lovely conversation and orders for 49 dollars and an odd number of cents will still wait around a good 30 seconds for the 50-dollar note change. Others are cranky and unhappy with their drinks, but still, out of principle it seems, leaves a dollar or so to join the tumbler fun. I shall have to study this cultural phenomenon further; nationality, gender or any other typical classification of people have not been enough to conclude upon any ground rules on the nature of tipping. It is an intricate relationship between individual, finance and custom, and the bartender becomes a beneficiary or a loser depending on the combination of these different and complex factors in each and every different patron. I did make some tips this weekend though, from all kinds of lovely (mostly drunken) people, and can conclude only upon this: thank God it's Sunday night...

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Solitude of the Writer

'There are many things I want to tell you,' she once said, when rather there were many things I wanted to tell myself. I have for long been intrigued; caught up in a quote by artist Imogen Heap: "I couldn't care less/I'm transfixed in this absolute bliss". That concept of being transfixed not just in a bliss, but in anything, drew my attention today.

My business is to create; to observe; to notice. My business is to be transfixed in everything. A heightened sense of things, so to speak. To be inclined to notice what goes around me is an asset to my writing. It clarifies the blurry and provides me with enough detail to portray a situation; a sensation to the extent I wish to describe it. Like how my feet feel on my shoes or the sound of a bird taking off and flying into the distance; the interaction between a couple two tables away or the rate at which raindrops hit my terrace rail.

The dark side of this quality, however, is the constant state of observation it leaves a writer in. A continuous notice of how long its been since someone you love called you; an utter awareness of the tone and sight directions in the guy I'm prepared to fall for. The discontinuity in a friend's argument or the sounds of my bedroom cooler at night. And because my imagination is supposed to work for my profession, it runs wild in my reality. This can be in terms of needing no more than a description of a thriller movie scene to have troubles falling asleep at night, to immediately assuming that a friend has gone missing because she didn't call me when she said she would. An open cupboard means something supernatural might have been lurking around my apartment and the sound of footsteps on leaves behind me at night can be explained only by a mysterious character having entered my reality. Everything becomes a story; a conflict; something to tell and wonder about until the narrative has a beginning, middle and end, preferably with an acceptable solution to my highly imaginative and entirely absurd questions. It becomes a conscious choice of every day to control that imagination and utilise it strictly in and for my writing.

But that was not the point. The point is the detached reality of writing. Disconnecting oneself from the world and its content and observing it, narrating it, critiquing it. A critical view on your surroundings can turn out to become poison, as it leaves no room for that childish bliss and naïve thoughts. No one or no thing is safe from being picked apart by the writer and evaluated for the sake of a story. I find myself no longer being able to simply accept a statement as fact; I need to question it, to come up with a narrative I can tell behind it. And with this need for imagination, stories and fiction, also comes a strong feeling of complete solitude, as it seems no one asks the same questions as I do. Not to say that other writers don't ask questions. It is merely difficult, close to impossible, to find someone who not only observe and reflect upon reality, but to find someone who do it within the same frameworks and contexts as me. I am immensely excited to see if any such person will exist among the many interesting characters I have now embarked upon university life with.

Reverse weekend/week

There is something profoundly and essentially wrong with the concept of working on the weekend. Of course, there is the classic part-time job, five-hour Saturday shift to earn bucks necessary for a movie with your date or a year-long saving plan for a pair of really hot shoes. But the principle of working for 20 hours starting on Friday night, the glory night of The Weekend through all of time, is wrong. I find myself in such a situation, and cannot come to any other conclusion than that of the necessity of reversing my core perception of the week and the weekend. It should of course be noted that my contact hours at university are a ridiculous twelve per week. Twelve. That's one half of a day over five days. I have no classes on Tuesday and am never at uni for more than three hours at a time, each of which have all been cut down ten minutes due to Curtin policy of "recess in class". Also a strange concept, which I won't dwell on now. My point with these ridiculous contact statistics, is that I am currently experiencing the infamous "chilled out week", while at the same time having to power through the notorious "hard core working weekend". In other words, reversing my idea of what the week and weekend is and is not in terms of sleep, relaxation, socializing, working, studying and fun, should not be too hard. And yet, changing these core cornerstones of my view on reality seems to be much more challenging than I had thought it would be. I look at the top right corner clock on my laptop screen, which shows Fri. 18:07, and my brain automatically tells the rest of my body that it is time to get ready for some seriously fun action. It takes about three seconds for a slower part of my brain to remind itself that it is the partypooper of my life, and must make it clear to the rest of me that I am in fact starting my eight hour long shift in less than two hours. It's like battling instinct with reason. About the weekend. One of the many challenges of student life. Apparently.

Demand and supply

The concept of demand and supply is certainly one of interest in more areas than that of economics from where it originates. It seems fairly simple, right? High demand and low supply equals to value and vice versa. It is one of the most basic principles in the school of profit, and seems to have worked perfectly, of course with a few glitches here and there, throughout history. I do not understand, however, the necessity of making cooling fans a valuable status product in Perth, Western Australia, and it is from this my argument arises. In fact, I cannot grasp the concept of moving simple contraptions that are designed to cool a state in sweat up the ladder of status goods to sit on the top shelf next to worldwide desired products such as diamonds and oil. It remains a mystery to me why thousands of people should be forced to fall in love with the cold water tap in their bathroom shower because of demand and supply. Because honestly, making more cooling devices and shipping them to WA would not be a work of importation art; it would be a work of logic that even my basic level of comprehension in this mathematical branch can manage to grasp fairly well.

Apparently, my argument is beat by the annoyingly simple counter claim of basic concepts such as climate and seasons. Running around in the soothing air conditioning of Myer, Perth I eventually found the cooling section, and finally discovered a grand selection of three products staring up at me, only two of which were actually cooling devices. One of these again, was put on hold for a Mrs. Elizabeth Gold till the end of the day, and hence I was left with a portable air conditioner, the option of which would cost me 700 Australian dollars. I looked in desperation around the appliances section, knowing too well the horror of 36 degrees Celsius waiting for me outside, in search of someone who might guide me to the more interesting advertisement for a portable cooler situated at 120 dollars. I worked my way to the counter and asked politely a woman named Grace whether she could offer me any other cooling contraptions than those three situated in the surprisingly limited product sections, particularly considering the weather we were experiencing. Though polite, Grace laughed at my request when I asked what time to expect the next batch of products coming in. “My dear,” she said, “it’s March; officially, autumn’s already here, so we won’t be receiving any more fans until the end of the year for summer 2011/2012”. My heart dropped to my feet and beyond, I said “Thank you”, and started slowly working my way down the levels to #1, which leads to the train station. Well onboard the Fremantle line I breathed in the wonderfully air-conditioned oxygen, looking not so much forward to the 30 degree heat of my bedroom. I could hence conclude that even with cooling fans, the good old profit concept of demand and supply benefits only the product provider rather than the customer. I would also like to raise the question: Where the hell are they hiding all the cooling fans of WA?

It's called unrequited love...

The shittiest feeling in the world is most likely that of unrequited love. Kate Winslet’s character Iris had it damn straight when she narrated the story of falling in love alone, in Nancy Meyer’s “The Holiday”. While I am neither in love or have been hopelessly so for several years, there is inevitably something utterly frustrating about unbalanced affection. And at some point or another, I am quite sure girls and women of all ages and character experience this; that petrifying, irritating, gnawing feeling of being more fond of a guy than he is of you. It starts off with ridiculous smiles at the thought of him, and heartbeat skips when the phone rings. I truly relate to the character Gigi from the romantic comedy “He’s Just Not That Into You”; there is something dreadfully annoying about the incapability of doing anything about your increasingly disturbing obsession with a guy you like. And usually, that’s all it is: you LIKE him. The opposite sex tend to think that our desperate behaviour is a direct product of falling in love. The irony is that their obsession with our obsession is what ultimately ruins any innocent flirt and turns it into a Shakespearean style drama of the Middle Ages. What girl doth not sigh at the beauty and wonder of love? And so we excuse our ridiculous hopes and fantasies; with fierce reference to that ultimate love of loves. The one that will sweep you off your feet, preferably by a knight in shining armour, and carry you into a rainbow full of fairies and shimmering stars.

Unfortunately, we are no longer in a time of chivalry, wooing or Victorian balls where two small dances could be enough to merit a heart. We are stuck in the modern world, where messengers have been transformed into Facebook messages and event invitations. Sex on the dance floor is merely worth a mention and any kiss was definitely the result of far, far too many Jagerbombs. We are the victims, or rather the inhabitants, of a world almost entirely stripped of good old-fashioned roses and kisses love.

Love is still all you need, of course, but that simple “I like you” has been far too exaggerated in recent years for guys to take such a statement as little less than a marriage proposal. And so we are stuck, with the same giggling old school desire for romance and excitement, where such hopes are responded to with “Just take it easy, baby”, “We’re just going with the flow” or my personal favourite “Chill out, it ain’t nothing to worry about”. So we desperately try to be laid-back and pretend not to care, while our heart skips those beats they did back in the Middle Ages, and have been doing through every period in history. And I can’t help but wonder how this modern love, as Bloc Party so eloquently put it on their Silent Alarm album, won’t break us. Three day rules, Facebook rules; rules here and rules there. Why are guys desperate for freedom and girls for commitment? What happened to the laid-back, non-horrifying and completely natural view on the wondrous simplicity of affection?