Anything Can Be

all my tarot readings are ending in hope:

self-performed to mundanity, as if brushing my teeth

or blowing out the night’s candle so as not to burn down the house

where do I go, what do I beg for, when will I have survived

hope comes in the form of The Star, number 17, telling me

YOU ARE READY TO MOVE FORWARD reading my mind

WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE? and comforting me

ANYWHERE AT ALL I try my best not to nudge my fate

out of formation

 

do I have hope, or do I need it, or will I need it, and when—

is this something I possess, or a thing to search for, and where

—some people trust the universe but others are wary

and I feel as far from you as you do from me

 

all my conversations lead to the same full stops

so I lay out these cards, searching for a change

in myself and in the world, to wring something different out of both

twisting a wet flannel until it drips over a porcelain bath, it’s all the same

there’s no need to manipulate an answer WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE?

to arc up, just-to-make-sure WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?

because the answer ANYWHERE AT ALL

leaves me questionless for the night, and for tonight

I’m too scared of the dark to ask another

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An Annual Forecast

I wasn’t prepared for winter when it came. I was confused, living with more questions than answers, and didn’t own nearly enough jumpers. I went to the psychic in April. Her office was on King St (a Sydney street that can only be described as alive, all hours of the day), up a set of stairs, warm. I knocked my knees on the low table between us, upsetting the cards, and she apologised. The session was recorded for posterity, and because I knew eventually I’d want to compare notes. It was an expensive half hour, but it got me out of my house, and once I was out of my house, it got me out of the rain.

“There’s nothing light about this energy at all,” she said. “But why does it need to be? I think you’re feeling a lot more deeply than you ever have before… and with that comes an awareness that this is a strange place to inhabit.”

Read the full essay on Plasma Dolphin

Art by Siobhan Schmidt

Big City, Big Heart

Before I left home, I had to have an x-ray. I have a crick in between my ribs, on my left side. Every time I breathe I feel it there. All I wanted was for it to crack, the same way my spine does when I anchor myself on a doorframe and twist. I had to wear a gown and hug myself. Stare at the wall. Listen for the click. My doctor looks younger than he is, and bulk bills me no matter how many times I turn up in his office with questions. He tells me all my bones are where they should be, just one of those things—sit up straight, do some jumping jacks, maybe it will go away—and in passing notes the size of my heart. Small, he says. That’s a good thing.

This is all in an afternoon. The next time I go to the doctors it’s the width of the country away on Hercules St, which I walk down most days. Every time I pass the bakery right before the traffic lights, I look to my left and spot the donut with pink icing that’s always there, wondering when I’ll finally buy it and why. I’m always walking at a pace by then. No time for donuts. A few steps more and I pass a shop with fresh seafood, another with what I assume is duck hanging in the window. Let’s pretend it’s a weekend. I think I like myself better on weekends, when I belong to myself and not the world. I get to leave my street and forget that I’m seen, stuck in my own loop of thoughts instead: choruses, grocery lists, arguments. Mornings are spent with Nat Geo or the radio, a healthy dose of pretention after sunrise. I don’t have to pay attention to the headlines or Twitter. I get to walk down Hercules St, and from there I can go anywhere I like.

Read the full essay on Into the Fold

Hello Whoever You Are

All The Best episode #1807 Self-Preservation

In 1995, Greg Wilkinson wrote a letter to the future and buried it in a wall. At the time of writing, Paul Keating was Prime Minister and the internet was just getting started. Greg expected the letter to stay hidden for 60 years. He couldn’t have predicted what happened when the letter resurfaced.

With help from Laura Brierley Newton and Selena Shannon

Music: ‘Golden Hours’ by Brian Eno, ‘Sad Marimba Planet’ by Lee Rosevere, ‘How I Used To See The Stars’ by Lee Rosevere, ‘A Storm At Eilean More’ by Jon Luc Hefferman

My Friends’ House

This one time I got a three-minute Uber there, to the house just off the roundabout on Gallipoli St. I misjudged the distance from the train station to my friends’ house, too embarrassed to say anything when the man showed up and pointed out the length of my journey. Their dog—a Rottweiler named Xena, who stands as tall as my hip, and who has a tendency to knock over objects with her tail—greets me at the other side of the flywire door. Her wet nose presses against the mesh. Most of the house has the same wooden floors. The boards creak all the way from the front door to the lounge room to the kitchen, in the same places every time. I lean against the kitchen bench while R— makes tea or T— does the dishes. The room doesn’t get much light, but the window above the sink lets in a hue of green from the overgrown grass claiming the backyard. When Xena goes outside she’s almost invisible. She leaves tracks in the grass behind her; I wonder if her paths can be seen from a plane. A very low-lying, perceptive plane. I remember peeling sweet potato in that room, watching T— and P— cook a saucepan-sized batch of noodles. P— eats Mi Goreng with mayonnaise. The day I found this out I turned to R—, like, you are dating a man who eats his noodles with mayonnaise. Then I ate my noodles with mayonnaise, and my life was unfortunately and irreversibly changed. We would sit on the mismatched couches with our bowls and our condiments, watching The Purge: Anarchy or some strange bootleg of a foreign thriller, until we realise it doesn’t have subtitles. I wonder how these three roommates have made something so temporary look so permanent. It takes time to accumulate clutter on a mantelpiece. There sits the green hat P— stole, drunk on St Patrick’s Day. The next time I visit after some time away, there’s a second hat. It’s the same, only bigger. I joke that every year he’ll have to steal increasingly larger green hats. The tradition has been set in motion. The house will one day become a museum, open especially late on March 17. We lean over each other for handfuls of the bitter, organic chocolate that R— collects in glass jars. We put T— in charge of the music and the movies—which, at the best of times, we ignore just to talk. One night, all night until morning, we yelled at each other about Fermi’s Paradox. The Where is Everybody? paradox. If the universe is so big, Where is Everybody? T— sat on the corner couch listening to our arguments until four in the morning, like a trooper.  R— and I are to this day in agreement that the possibility of being alone in the universe is scary and isolating and not at all nice to think about. P— thinks otherwise, and thinks it loud enough for the neighbours to hear. But he’s wrong! I’ll keep yelling so until the sun rises! Look at this house, these people. What gives me comfort is knowing that all kinds of places can feel like home, and plenty of people can feel like family. No one wants to be alone in the universe, and I reserve my right to wallow if it’s ever proven true.

856m

it’s all about scale, climb and rest and climb again,

just to turn around and see the scale

the hills, more than hills, when you grow up without them.

now they are heights to climb—can’t see Perth this way

without a light plane and a pilot’s license

who knew the clouds cast shadows that wide, or that from afar

the Earth crawls with life, all of us ants on an apple

—you knew, you all knew—

but no one told me, not in those words

there is a kangaroo at the top of Mt Taylor, staring,

so seamlessly tucked into the bush I barely notice him

until he snarls

looks at me, knows I don’t belong,

but I want to stay with the sky a little longer, push my luck,

waste my time. is there something over the peak?

down in the scrub? anything beyond those hills?

double check, triple check.

I leave him be, standing on the edge of the field in the brush

and I do what I’m told to do, Take It All In, think up something worthwhile,

because nature has a tax, nature makes you think, nature gives you ideas,

nature gives you stillness, a chance—

meadows look better far away, and so do cities,

unless you find the flowers,

for which you have to look close, quick! there!