Rambles

I write & shoot (photographs) occasionally

library ramblings

some things are hard to describe: the smell of old books, the sensation that overcomes me every time I step into the library. it is a place that is ever-changing; books pasted over with fresh alphabet stickers, slotted into age-old shelves which have seen their share of titles come and go. yet it is a place that radiates the same warmth, the same gentle noise of books knocking against shelves that is oddly comforting. books that I’ve seen hundreds of times from pre-teen years- the same blaring titles never fail to catch my eye, books of childhood past that I smile at upon seeing each time, books that I eventually pick up, books that i never do. things that make me wonder: strangers’ receipts pressed between the pages- did they get through the book or give up halfway like I sometimes do? I always decipher these half-faded names but never recognise any of them. there’s a whole library of books and I wonder if there’s an elusive book that my eyes skim across, that my fingers will always regret for not picking up, a book that I will absolutely love but never discover. I always thought that 9 was too early for the library to close, but I can’t change it. I will stay until five minutes before closing time, knowing that the automated announcement will prompt me when I need to leave, petering out with the remains of library-goers as the kind librarians stand at the doors and thank us for entering this place.

the white shirt

stories from cambodia: a thank you to mai for your recount that stayed with me

drowsy mornings with half-opened eyes; reaching my hand into the dark closet and grabbing the first white, structured form i see. they’re lined up beside each other: identical white blouses i wear on weekday mornings, neatly pressed and almost pristine. in some conversations we exchange complaints of too-early mornings, but in truth i never feel anything- there is no hardship in routine; routine doesn’t occupy a second thought. fingers race down buttons with practised speed, smooth out creases, pin on the badge aimlessly- i don’t think.

i wonder how different they feel when they put on the white shirt; are their skins awash with renewed gratitude each time? a friend told me how the children there are only admitted into school if they have a white shirt to wear to class; how a single white shirt circulates among siblings for their seat in the classroom, for education to reach some of them on good days.

on some days it is difficult for me to see this shirt as anything but a shackle; confusing me, frightening me, binding me to something i repeatedly do but don’t fully understand. yet this thin fabric is their train ticket to a better life- an object so small and simple, of cloth and thread, is their hope out of this perpetuating cycle of poverty. we could have a hundred white shirts if we wanted to, but they wouldn’t even need one to understand the privilege.

why are you so frightened? how is it that you have no faith?

space

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squint for the rainbow

squint for the rainbow

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Protected: a bottle of scattered sand from perth

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memory

it is impossible to fit all this into me

tattoo the orange-brown gradients, curvature of the wave rock onto dark irises

capture the cold sun striking our bodies in gold-rimmed permanence

lace my lips with the ease of yesterday’s laughter

carve into fingertips the hollows that granite ingrains

freckle skins with the very stars transparent skies breathe

collect the unending seas, earth, heavens in the breadth of my embrace

already yesterday’s fireplace warmth is seeping from thickly cocooned bodies,

dissipating into thin threads of wintry air that form tangled snares,

carefully pocketed away

they catch us when we least expect to be,

drag us through the tunnel of flawed memory

road trip

peppermint grove road

preston beach

sun striking reedy trees,

shadows splayed across black roads roads roads for miles,

painting zebra crossings of light and shadows animating sparse vehicles flickering in and out of consciousness

music for imagination and adventure, calming non-existent nerves

tiny cows, sheep speckled in sprawling green fields while we fly by with the changing trees

forming tunnels, sunlight-dipped branches aching to touch over our heads

long bus rides and we are quietly together and alone

goodbyes

//goodbyes,

goodbyes brimming with promise

ocean-filled hearts shimmering with sun that

catches onto every piece of you

//goodbyes echoing empty

short-term places buzzing

with friends who will soon peter out into strangers

(and we know this)

tea bags brewed one too many times

eyes unable to meet,

voluntary like poles of a magnet

//goodbyes wavering, undecided,

laced in springs

wistful notes, hopeful

‘i’ll see you around?’s

between reining in and letting go

//goodbyes heavy and silent

white petals gently brushing

cool wood

tear-streaked, lip-pressed,

for real

//goodbyes that end and begin

*clearing late night thoughts at 12.45am and feeling the urge to write even if it’s no good. goodbye now.

internet

too susceptible to these

nicknames and pixel illusions

reflections skimming on the surface of water,

sun subdued by too many wisps of spun clouds

pretty soon that’s how the world comes to know

the flowers and fruits and not the

seed of you

the actor whose identity hinges on his

fictitious character in that one hit show

skins

it never quite goes away:

something I realised in a startling parallel as we

found ourselves side by side before the mirror,

fingers tracing bad skin,

unravelling strands of white hair

decades apart but sentiments colliding

too precisely and painfully in this moment

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