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.

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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!

 

I Need a Moment

Purchase Plasma Dolphin’s first print issue to read the full essay!

I sat on my bed watching old videos until the sun went down yesterday, over and over until it was dark. My spine digging into the windowsill above my bed, cross-legged on crumpled doonas, I watched shaky footage from back home. I’m standing on a hill, the sky deep blue, the clouds sparse.  The Australian bush is beautiful with perspective—far away and up close, but you have to pay attention to see it. It’s right there, in the dip of the hillside. My home city, so small, with only a few skyscrapers standing out as identifiers.

Home is all skies. There are too many to count, sunrises and sunsets, but also blue skies so deep everything is made better by the colour.  I imagine what it will be like to be there again. Sitting here in a different city, scanning through memories, all sorted neatly into 201420152016… now. I’m having a hard time figuring out if I miss those people or if I miss those times, and I’m warning myself against nostalgia—I know I shouldn’t, but against my better judgement, I fall into it anyway.

 

7.45 AM

I just feel like there’s a veil covering my eyes, making everything duller, my reactions slower, tiring me out before I get out of bed, while I’m lying there under my doona watching the clouds go past my window faster than I can move—the entire sky has changed in the time it takes me to bring my hand up to my face to scratch my nose. The clouds grow darker, and soon I’m lying there letting the rain fall on my arms.

A Particle Full of Charm

Almost two-hundred metres beneath the France-Switzerland border, physicists at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider have observed a new particle. A charming particle. They’ve been on the look-out for him for some time, and now they’ve got him— Xicc++.

The name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but this guy is more than meets the eye. He’s heavy. He’s charming. He’s a subatomic particle, and he’s a real catch. CERN’s particle smasher— based near Geneva, Switzerland— spotted the fellow during the Large Hadron Collider beauty experiment, or the LHCb experiment for short.

Xicc++ is the elusive brother of the proton, neutron, and of a number of other composite subatomic particles. These particles are all a part of the same family, because they’re all made up of three quarks. What are quarks, you ask? Well, let’s dive in.

Read the full article on Herpothesis 

 

All of the Dreams

This is an explanation that I hope will hold for months and months if need be. I really appreciate this blog and it’s stupid url, loosely taken from D.H. Lawrence because when I started it five years ago I was in a D.H. Lawrence kinda mood.  I will say, a lot has changed. I work full-time. I write every day, but lack of time means it’s usually just day-to-day journal entries of wandering thoughts. I’ve been listening to a lot of music, returning to Lorde’s Melodrama often because OF COURSE. And there’s comfort there, too. Here, with the lyric, “All of the dreams that get harder.” Time management is hard. I never thought time management, of all things, would be such a burden. But I am writing, and when I write something decent I keep it for myself in the hopes one day someone will buy it. It’s been fun, keeping things private.

At the start of my current journal, which is about a week away from being full, are these words from Kurt Vonnegut: “Nobody will stop you from creating. Do it tonight. Do it tomorrow. That is the way to make your soul grow – whether there is a market for it or not! The kick of creation is the act of creating, not anything that happens afterward. I would tell all of you watching this screen: Before you go to bed, write a four line poem. Make it as good as you can. Don’t show it to anybody. Put it where nobody will find it. And you will discover that you have your reward.”

I’m glad those words ended up meaning something. I was worried, when I wrote it, what my motive was. I was nineteen. I’m twenty-one now, the journal is almost done. I was wondering whose words would start my next. I chose Tavi Gevinson, because lately I’ve been looking around instead of up, and people my own age have become bigger and better inspirations than others. In her Infinity Diaries series she says, “But something inside me conquers this nostalgia, this desire to miss: the simple knowledge that these feelings will happen again. New feelings will happen, if I let them. As Kenny said of doing the same thing on stage every night, you never actually do, because you’ve never been alive today before, and the same goes for tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.” I’m curious to find out what this will mean to me in two, three-years time.