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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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!

 

Lover Lover

I say I like honesty, I tell myself

I like honesty because

I keep making friends with lovers

with one-sided feelings

 

I know how those go, I am a girl

who lies on her bed in the daytime

earbuds in, staring into the middle-distance

watching a second life play out like

shadows on a sheet during a storm

 

I am a cautious person in life and

in imagination, knowing all too well

how the two fool around with one another

and at sixteen, how a thing between a boy

and me can turn my insides out

 

here I should admit, I am unlikely

and in all my state I attract people

who are all smiles and false impressions

who are my friends, my very best friends

until they admit otherwise

 

I can be bitter, even at my calmest

when I am told over the Internet

from age sixteen onwards, that I am loved

in a way I do not reciprocate

and that a relationship I thought

—dangerously—was equal, was not

 

I have lost too many people

to feelings felt, words unsaid for months

and months and months, amongst it all

I’m rarely spoken to in person

about feelings so personal

they ought to inspire intimacy

 

this is where I leave most, because

I haven’t been met with the chance

to share feelings, but instead have been stuck

receiving them, dealing with them

addressing them

 

if I am that girl for you, on the bed, daytime

through the blinds and eyes staring off

at something an arm’s length away

then you will know, because I will tell you

 

 

The Hole in the Pocket of My Bag

There’s a hole in the pocket of my bag that I suspect holds five pens, a stick of gum, and a lost fortune.

Sometimes I poke my hand through the tear in the fabric, prying out lost treasures: an old spray bottle of lens cleaner, a hair tie, a loose gem from the Pirate Princess of Thaw’s tiara.

When I reach in, blind, I fear I might lose my fingers to a rattle snake or a wild boar. I suspect one day I’ll feel the bite, see the blood, and never know who or what the inflictor was. It has scurried into a fold or a crevice, never to be seen or named. Sort of like Schrödinger’s Cat. Sort of not like Schrödinger’s Cat.

Also, there are futures that I imagine—rife with drama, a gun pointed to my head—where I’m asked to produce something ordinarily impossible: a trombone, an entire mango flavoured ice cream cake, a particle travelling two times faster than the speed of light. And in those futures I poke around the hole in the pocket of my bag…And the impossibilities are there!

A lifesaving antidote, a perfect pair of prescription glasses, the soundtrack to Mission: Impossible, an umbrella, a toaster, a Thin Mint, Unified Field Theory written on a napkin, Mary Poppins herself!

I could sew the hole shut, trapping the possible impossibilities inside. I could keep all the items in my inventory found and not lost. But where’s the fun in that?

Nothing ever truly feels lost anymore. Not even the imaginary. More-likely-than-not, it has slipped through the hole in the pocket of my bag. If I feel around and don’t come across it, it just doesn’t want to be found yet.

I Misheard You

For a long time I misunderstood the chorus of David Bowie’s song Changes – I misheard the lyric “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (Turn and face the strange)” for “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (Turn and face the strain)” and went on singing and dancing to it in my bedroom at 1AM, fully dressed and fully awake. And I LOVED that misheard lyric – it was about pushing myself out of my comfort zone, wading through mud to get to a better version of myself.

I noticed my mistake after Bowie died, when I pulled my headphones over my ears and listened to the song at full blast. I heard the “ge” and had a little pity party for my belated understanding. There was a physicality to that lyric that I mourned when I learned it wasn’t the right one. According to Google, strain means “to force (a part of one’s body or oneself) to make an unusually great effort” – that’s the type of motivation my masochistic, overworked brain likes to hear!

Continue reading “I Misheard You”

Ghost Boy

There was one figurine left, sitting in the far corner of my Grandma’s glass cabinet. A porcelain ballerina tying her shoes, looking demure as she crisscrossed the ribbons across her ankle. I had to get on my tiptoes to reach it, and as the shelf dug into my chest all I could smell was dust.

“Um…Liss?” Maggie called. She was standing right above my head – I could hear her small, sensible shoes shuffling around the attic floor. I grabbed the ballerina by her head.

“What!”

Sliding the glass cabinet closed, I caught my muted reflection in the mirror and saw the bags under my eyes before anything else. I pushed my fringe from my forehead.

“What!”

“Can you come up here?” Maggie said.

Continue reading “Ghost Boy”