Thursday, January 31, 2013

From Sydney, with love

I write to you here because I don't know where to write this or how or why. Only this:

We were crazy about each other, in a way that I am never crazy about anything. I was regular crazy, and then you came along. I was crazy for the way you were crazy about me. I just wish it was meant to be some other way than the way it was, the way it had to be.

I hope you're well and understand on some strange subconscious level why you'll never get this letter, why I've stopped writing you.

I needed you for a long time before we'd ever met in a way that you need a book you've only just read that quickly becomes indispensable. I needed to read you, to have read you, and I'm glad I did; so I could write my own future with the words you've given me.

I leave the words here, for them to float out and wash up somewhere on the beach we used to sit at and drink beers by and where we became unraveled. My little message in a bottle. 

Siempre con cariƱo

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Places don't change you

What a stupid idea it is that
places change you
you still go by the same name
you are not different

other than the way
the wind wears your hair
while you're dreaming star-board
on the Amalfi coast

other than the way
the air breathes you in
while you're standing in Montenegro
where the mountains kiss the clouds

Places don't change you
you are not a migratory butterfly
you do not fly south for the winter
You are unchanged

other than the way
you brown a little better
by the toasting sun of Ios

other than the way
you shriek and smile
with a ducati
between your legs
riding through an ad for life

other than the way
you look people in the eye
squinting through the smoke and alcohol
sitting on driftwood around a mouth of fire
on the Great Ocean Road

But you are identical
a train is not a magic show
a destination can not make you over
places did not change you

other than the way
you left that heart of yours
beating steady and half asleep
on a roof top in Barcelona
in a lake in Slovenia
with a tricycle in the Philippines

the way you leave a lover
the morning after
unknowing and unknown

* * *

Because to travel is to
leave yourself behind
so that you can go back
to reclaim that feeling
and hold tight to the nostalgia
like a keyring souvenir

Because to travel is to
throw another silver coin
with a face you do not recognise
into a fountain where they
say your wishes will come true

So you empty your pockets
and wish yourself into the water
holding your breath
and your head down
until you can breathe
like this again
be here again

These are the
rites and rituals
on replay
the greetings of
dusk and dawn
hello goodbye
and nice to meet you
sewn into a patchwork shawl
you wrap around you and
tie to your backpack
or to your head
on sweaty days

You surrender to this
to not be radically different
but instead
a secret child who you
used to hide so well at home
but who cannot help but play

Play amongst the
shooting stars of Morocco
the crashing tide of Portugal's Atlantic Coast
the Black Sea of Bulgaria
which turns out
to be green

Places don't change you
they child you
until you have returned to
the first steps you ever took
to take them once more
the first breath you ever took
to take it once more

But this time
somewhere new
somewhere different
somewhere blue
but places, don't change you

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hippy New Year

You could say this country is unforgiving, our forests are different because - as my friend so rightly put it - they are always straddling the line between life and death. The water is scarce and the sun is harsh and for the most part Australia is uninhabitable. But I like the dry bushy outback and the scorching heat waves of summer, where I chose to spend new years camping in a valley by a river surviving on live music and five dollar coconuts and the muddled hope that the end of 365 days brings.

The air was thick with dust and that unmistakeable stank of marijuana. The girls wore flowers in their hair, wreaths of daisies and roses amongst blonde braids and bronzed skin. The boys were bare-chested but with legs enclosed in the spandex prints of Van Gogh's Starry Starry Night or the milky way or some fairytale forest with the kind of evergreen trees that wouldn't survive in Australia.

One of my oldest friends and I painted each other in tribal dots of highlighter pink. There were rainbows on my feet and henna on her hands. We lay in a tent transformed into a moroccan style temple to escape the fire of the sun and then the goosebumps of the night. On beaded cushions and under lanterns there were guitars and hippies and lesbians who sang us into dreaming.

Wondering turned to wandering, and we were always in search of food, music, shade, something. We fell in love with local bands who we would spot later on the grass, barely recognisable leaning against a tree or pushing through crowds.

My favourites had slide guitars and harmonicas and were as crazy about their music as much as each other. We saw a one armed stripper and a midnight nudist party. We were seduced by the coldness of the river, however brown and questionable. We sat in on the workshops on tai chi and laughter yoga and juggling. We took cold showers in the afternoon and napped in the shade cooled by that merciful breeze. And when the sun slept behind the mountains we thrashed, stomped, body rolled, fist pumped, head-banged, danced until the last song played.

And I just kept thinking, this is it. Those moments you run into the way you smash into a glass door leaving you dizzy and bewildered with a bruised forehead and a bleeding knee. Evidence that you didn't see what was coming, and what was coming made you halt completely.

Maybe it was the heat, or the new year, or that dumb euphoria from standing too close to speakers for too long but I was high on life and in love with my own youth. Hence my former post and sort-of-poem, We Are Alive, We are Young. 

Nobody hopes as hopefully as the young. Our lives run on possibility, and I've found that's an infinite resource when you're twenty two. So this year I hoped my way into January, wishing for all the best things and grateful that I spent it hugging people I'd just met in the mosh pit new friends while John Butler made us count down the new year a minute early so he could play the next song and get us to scream loudly with cupped hands and also just because he's John Butler and he can.

So I lived out the beginnings of my wildest hippy dreams, with dirt under my fingernails and my hands in the air. Here's to 2013.

May your tank of possibility never run out.
May your life always be fuelled with the deepest desire to be.
No, not to be ____ , but simply to be. 

Peace and love baby, peace and love.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

We are alive, We are young

If time is money
we are millionaires
the one percent
the filthy

Only the truly young
can squander years
complaining about
getting old

And we are the pirates
of age and space
with our loud music
and taut skin

We have no strings
so instead we trip on
and create our own
tangled mess

Our hearts beat a wild
bass solo that thuds
and pumps the truth
from our dancing feet
to our empty heads

We are alive
We are young
We are alive
We are young

There is nothing else
but to chant and dance
and own this truth

before the summer of the only
youth of our lives
fades to the yearning for
the summer of the only
youth of our lives

There is nothing else
and we race against the entropy of life
singing, raging, rolling onward
our lungs full of
the only chorus we know

We are alive
We are young
We are alive
We are young