We’ve been spending a lot of time together recently, maybe a bit too much time. I think we should have some time apart.
Remember New Year’s at Peat’s Ridge, I’d been looking forward to it for months, but with you there I couldn’t relax because I was worried about the front door not being locked. Yeah, I know we checked it ten times, but we weren’t sure were we? It niggled and niggled. Do you reckon I’m the first person to burst into tears during laughter yoga?
You make me irrational. You make every stick a syringe, every stain a cataclysmic contaminant. We have sat miserably through lovely celebration dinners, stomach clenching over some over-thought chain of contamination, ending in dread. I touched the fork that fell on the floor, and then my napkin, and then oh my fucking god my other hand touched the napkin and then I touched the pimple on my face, therefore – hot face, palpitating heart, can’t breathe, going to cry – I am pretty much definitely contaminated now. Fuck. Continue reading
He garlanded her in seaweed, wrote his name in salt on the skin of her thighs. He kept his gaze levelled on the horizon. And then he left with a store of her kisses stacked like smuggler’s gold in his mouth. She dives under the water, her shadow is a fish on the sandy floor – mysterious and bizarre. She sits with the fishermen and they tell her the names of the fish as they scale them, wipe the sand from the discs of their eyes so she can examine their pupils. The blue spotted sting rays, the gaping mouths of eels – this dead, shining bounty. All the colours of the sea.
Red lipstick, wobbly anyway, highlights the downward curve of her stroke-weathered face under her dyed red bob, a green felt hat hiding the white roots. Clasping rosary beads, a red pen because the ink’s easier to read in the shaking, sloping letters – as old books are packed up and sent across cities, skyward across eucalyptus hazed mountains to dried up country towns, to Melbourne, to Queensland, unexpected, to her family.
She reads into the night, doesn’t sleep, there are piles of books in the bookshelf still. Her husband’s book, which she funded from her savings and never read. Another one, somehow secret, writing in blue ink in the front – not read for sixty years, because no-one speaks Italian. I can’t help imagining a terrible stain from the blood that had been seeping and sticky when her husband took it from a corpse in the war. He had good intentions. And now her husband is dead as well. There’s just his book, unread, and her, alone in this room. Amongst the crowding chatter of the pages; of romance, facts and fictions, sometimes sex.
There’s a softness you find on the edge of people, like falling. In their front-up, still shiny faces – before you know better. Lips and tongues and words: it’s the edge of the world. There are monsters here, in the force of their attention, in this light underneath the neon.
Image: B. Eberhard
Even alone, even lonely it’s ok. Because somewhere in this city there’s a boy on his bike and there’s beer in his belly, and he’s gliding through the lights reflected in the puddles on his way home to read Steinbeck.