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I am Marta. I'm seventeen I'm wearing a long cotton skirt, unaware it's old fashioned. My father has a small farm here in Louisiana We have a pale blue truck! It is being driven by my Latino friend. Well he is a farmhand actually but we get along, we like each other. My father trusts him. I trust him. In another time and place maybe we would fall in love but not here now. We have arrived at our neighbour's farm. He has offered us some surplus butternut pumpkins They are heaped at the gate but we drive right past..
We drive up the corrugated drive to tell our neigbour we have arrived to collect the pumpkins. Also to thank him and to give him one of mother's apple pies. He's a crusty old bachelor. I don't much like him. He comes out of his barn and waves us in. Why is that? Does he have more pumpkins in there? "Drive right up and park on the left boy" he says to my friend. My father doesn't call Miguel, "Boy" I don't like that. Miguel parks the truck on the left side of a barn that is just three sided.
"Get up there boy" the farmer gestures to Miguel to climb to the top tier of wooden platform seats set out like stands at a rodeo. Miguel frowns but does as he is told. I jump out of the truck and see that there are three men on a similar stand on the right side of the barn. There is a very tall, very black man seated on the furthest end of the top tier. Below on the bottom tier are two white men one old, one young. It seems that all of them are farmhands here. I am very puzzled.
The stocky farmer is half leaning on his rifle. The very tall black man gets to his feet and takes one step down, saying "I'm thirsty." Suddenly there's a shot and he falls heavily clutching his heart.A single scream, then a gurgling grunt." Didn't know a thirst was worth dying for" the young man mutters.I can almost hear him thinking he will hit the road, get work somewhere else. There probably won't be work. It's 1932. The older man shrugs. He has seen it before. I am utterly shocked. We have been called in to witness a murder.
You can go, the farmer flicks his head toward Miguel who climbs down silently. He gets into the truck and revs it up. I get in my side, also silently. We back out. We drive silently and Miguel parks the truck just outside the gate. "You stay at the wheel." I say, "in case he comes after us." "He's mad, but we need some of those pumpkins." I chuck maybe sixty in the back and find myself trembling. "Get up here Missy Marta." Miguel says. ."We are going home." We eat the apple tart together. There'll be no justice.
Am I too naieve in a world that is much less fair, just and comfortable than I imagine? I was shocked awake. I dreamed this the day I told my students we would do dream theatre. They were shocked too. "Is there someone you'd like to kill?" they courageously asked me. "Maybe." I said. "Or certain roles." "I don't identify with being a killer, a racist, entitled, misogynist, white male..definitely a shadow figure for me, maybe not even a personal figure. Somehow he belongs to the field. Maybe this field. How safe are they? How safe am I?
Five zebra drinking from the shallows/ of a running river/ or maybe/ a contaminated urban pond?/ It's hard to say./ Why are they there/ in the centre of a market with paper stars?/ Such rich colours/ yes, you are stars./ I counted them./ There are four/ and there's just the corner of one above/ perhaps that's me./ People poke around for bargains and takeaways/ against the tropical sky./ That's what people want/ bargains/ and takeaways/ in an enticing setting/ That's what we are preparing you for/ but is it why you bring your wildness and your/ talent to the task?/
Ruby, oh Ruby don't take your love to town. Shall the ruby red of my heart's blood be sold like every human heart, so much a pound? Oh yes, do not deceive yourself, we take our love to town. Would it be better if I spent my days making eighteen layers of ruby red upon a canvas to show how I and you have bled? Ruby, oh Ruby don't take your love to town. If I bring you a moment's freedom, insight, joy is that something to take back to the angels? Are they glad I laugh with you? What is the currency of Love? Ruby, oh shining Ruby your Love is needed in the town.
How shall I forgive/ the deep offence/ you caused me/ just out of your vulnerability/ jealousy and fear?/ What shall I do with my anger/ my coolness if you're near?/ I managed not to dress you down./ I said what I had to say and still you write about "unconscious power struggles!"/ I suggest you speak for yourself./ Which part of me feels outraged you broke a confidence?/ Which part of me knows you are not yet competent?/ I shouldn't judge./ Which part of me finds your arrogance something to toss off/ as a horse shakes the water from its mane.
You are in the tradition / of the ancient shamans/of every land./ You unite heaven and earth/ and help those who come to you/ to know how and where to stand./ The rock paintings out of Africa/ are also found in France/ and in Hawaii, I have seen them/ and here in the Kimberly and in the National Parks./ We come from the stars./I stand for this./ We come with purpose/ though many forget/ just what this is./ You are in the tradition/ of the ancient shamans./ Your training is an initiation:/ you will never walk the same/ You are still zebra, but not only so/ not entirely of the herd/ racing across the plain./
May the whole earth/ be my Turangawaiwai. My place to stand/ So that where-ever I go I am at home. Deeply connected with source/ knowing the stars stitched into the earth/ Knowing them as they reveal themselves/ in a lined face/ a creek bed/ a desperate drought/ a sorrow that is never extinguished/ the chiming of prayer bells/ the kneeling to Mecca on a tattered rug/ the crossing at the heart in a holy place/ the solemn look of a baby before it chuckles at me./ May the whole earth be my Turangawaiwai/ my sacred place/ Place of belonging/ of Grace./
Whatever you thought/ think again/ Tracing the human/ is not a theoretical assignment./ You have already missed the moment./ We only use these bare concepts/ because that's what we've been taught./ You are missing the icy turquoise river/ as it moves through you/ the grey rocks you might need a hand to traverse/ the early summer white ranunculas/ the lichens clinging to life./ Whatever you thought, think again/ You are missing the vista of snow clad Aoraki Sky Piercer!/ Never bow your head unless it be to a lofty mountain./ Think with the heart.
me want to rest
I wake with wonder
but it is of course winter
and takes time to
consider the day
to sink in hot water and reach for a fresh towel
to make avocado on toast
and fresh coffee bought yesterday
it takes time to hang out the clothes
and place the not yet completely dry
underlay more completely into the sun
it takes time to pick fresh rocket and cress
cube some haloumi
to put my thick soup in the blender
so it will be ready for lunch
Will bright orange nasturtiums give me
Why ramp ambulances?
Why not pay from the abundance that is here?
Why let children die?
Why the queues at every ED?
Can’t buy enough food, can’t pay a G.P?
Why overwork orderlies, receptionists, clerks, cleaners, triage nurses, theatre nurses, ward nurses, interns, chaplains, radiologists and all -ologists
Urologists, oncologists, psychologists, haematologists, neurologists, cardiologists-
Why be a Labor Premier and an apologist
for LACK, for the rundown and tacky?
Not it’s not the best you can do!
Wear their worn shoes for a while
walk that mile
with the grieving parents
of children who died on your watch.
It’s not until
I start to write
I know which hand
has grabbed the quill
Is it he who
tills the soil
and writes with characters that still
have not outgrown
the perfect form of childhood
his schooling lasted six short years?
I do not yet know
it is her marked brown hand
that will be raised in greeting
as her foot still guides a treadle-
she who cannot write at all
but asks me to sit awhile
and tell her story too.
They’re the small holders that ancestry.com
has no stories for, the barest names.
In the Appalachians
the forest plateaux is thick
with hemlock, larch and birch and fir
while bears, mountain lions and rattlesnakes
are at home on the ground
Even the brief springs are marked in hours
between winter snow and summer heat.
Steep valleys offer a precarious
foothold for those bold enough to venture there.
We’ll need luck, strength and tenacity
or meet defeat. We’re strong, braw..
We come from borderlands
our forbearers fought for life
in landscapes just as
Why expect is to forgive our neighbour?
Murders and feuds last generations.
There is not enough to share, goodwill included
The quality of Mercy
is not strained
and doled out in teaspoons:
the child has a blood infection
acquired in detention
after getting pneumonia because
a cough was not treated in Australian detention.
She was born in this country
settled in a country town
welcomed by her community
as was her elder sister, as were they all.
So very good
new bridging visas for her parents and sister
but they are still stuck across the continent
because the little one is sick.
No visa because she has health needs?
Did you ask Queensland Health to help?
Mercy is needed, Mercy.
Porridge with a little collagen
milk and the last of the Canadian Maple Syrup
which ridiculously, is cheaper here than in Canada!
And some fresh coffee.
A few olives as I pack them down, gleaming
in Greek olive oil from Kriti
Beetroot ginger apple carrot and celery juice
at my new find cafe.
A slice of almond and sour cherry tart with black tea.
Later a banana.
Finally at six the last of that pumpkin/sweet potato soup with cumin
a roll with avocado, cos lettuce and smoked salmon.
Is that a balanced diet? Seems wonderful to me!
And yesterday? Sorry to obsess!
Scrambled eggs, free range, with butter and lots of spinach
with toast and coffee.
Later an orange.
That same amazing juice! Beetroot ginger celery carrot apple lemon
amid the smells of vegan curries.
Some MCA whatever that is, powdered coconut, acacia and wild harvested berries so they say. It’s short dated but delicious!
That same almond sour cherry tart and herbal tea
And home to chicken and celery left from the casserole, now in rich becamel (olive oil, a little collagen, wheat flour, maca and pea flours) and some spinach linguine.
I think it’s pure luxury.
I found a soft merino possum
jade blue green cardigan
I bought at the airport once in New Zealand.
It was tucked away in a zip up bag
that once held new pillow cases
destined for studio use on chilly days.
It has a few little holes from the year
that moths got into everything
despite the camphor.
but I mourned
because I could no longer wear
my soft comfortable merino possum
reminder of home
or anywhere I had to be respectable
I took it from my studio
I’m wearing it now
no longer respectable
I just read the words
of Silly Mischief
in Portland Oregon
speaking from a slippered autumn day ten years ago
She is teaching Ransome poetry
and Nordic Spirit
setting up a space wth
her Peruvian healer friend
who, the first time, she gave her a healing session
paused because, into the room
crowded a whole herd of caribou!
And a gigantic man with an axe...
It would be nice to know you more!
Are you my age?
You with your glorious wild curling hair
and radiant grin?
Can a grin be radiant ?
It is such a grounded thing!
Ten til midnight
you’ll be up all night
a new identity
for Facebook is created
you are a mutant muse
calling on all the mysteries
and all our histories
so that from out the void
place of creative freedom
can find a place
pluck a sound on a single string
and Pan comes in
a deep red black rose
who is gathering?
there is no email list
you find your way to this
only by magic or by fate
bring all your deep desire
your impulse to dance
your subtle humour
Don’t be late!
There’s a small uptight freezer
like you find in a deli
its deep blue, a bit scuffed
Lift the lid
there are just a dozen cartons left
upright 2litre cartons of soup
Soup? Magic mushroom with pepper rocket and burgundy wine
or what was that you desire?
Take a base of
deep profound liquid love
add whatever you happen to have:
Spring carrot and the rabbit
from Alices will appear
Pheasant and the earthy essence of the forest will bubble up
Star dust and there’ll be a sparkling elixir!
It is not certain if more will be made
Brown rice /green tea the best!
Crepes this morning
(wheat flour, a little collagen, two eggs, milk)
lemon, a sprinkle of raw sugar
Water the plants, hang the washing, sweep the floor!
Apple, kale and spinach juice before I leave. From Gilbert’s.
A salad at the studio to use what I have, cooled cauliflower,
cos lettuce, cress, roquette, nasturtium flowers, celery, grated carrot, olives with orange, olive oil, a little tin of tuna
Slowly I am getting through all my history.
When it’s done will I feel free?
Evening slow cooked potatoes and fresh chopped spring onions.
Oat porridge with a little collagen mixed in ...
that’s a suggestion from my Canadian friend
who sells expensive supplements
and has extraordinary before and after photos
My powder is not as expensive as that!
The scoop is 20gms, I’m sure 10gm will be enough
It’s not that I have trouble
with gut or joints or skin, except for looking older!
I have trouble with that-
and I no longer work for twelve hours flat..
If I can bring suppleness to my dancing
and a bloom to my skin who will I be to complain?
Thank you cows, thank you!
It is July first here
but June thirtieth on this page
and where friends
are eating on summer evenings
some dappled by shady trees
others sweltering in 45 degrees
Children and dogs run into fountains
in still hot city squares
a man rips off his shirt to join them
even gelati melts before
you can lick it up
and sitting outside for coffee is no longer a pleasure
better drink it standing up!
Let’s go buy a drink on the beach in that little bar
if, of course, we can park the car.
A tsunami of ideas and feelings rush
and tumble between us
the soft silence that has enveloped my days
is sliced up and flung around
you have an assignment
i would have completed it
three weeks ago
but you are not interested
in showing that you can wash and peel vegetables
for a winter soup
which is really all they want to know
no you want to discuss
the design of kitchen sinks
how they should best be installed
whether there is running water
and if vegetables are locally grown
not to mention of course
the very best recipes ..
It’s snowing in Wellington
gusts of wind, flurries of snow
mixed with gravel
make walking unpleasant
and driving perilous.
The hills look stunning
white on bright green and dark green in those rare moments
the cloud lifts.
Children are sick at home
and draw on the windows.
Todders are miserable with
mucus and coughing;
their parents cannot sleep
because this one cries and wants comfort
and this one too.
The wood is getting damp
the power bill cannot be contemplated
the house is too small
for toys and washing let alone people
being so cold by June is unusual surely?
I am low cloud
and cold wind
I am iris and the daffodils thrusting through
I am these young trees just
unscrambling fine roots
into sandy soil.
I am a old, thin green t shirt
out on a rack
very slowly drying.
Do I remember
being sewn in Bangladesh
being pressed, folded, shipped, sold and worn?
or what it was like to dry in a single hour?
No this part of my being
is wholly coloured cloth
I am entirely given up to damp
being pinched by pegs
and jostled by bright striped socks
Me here now
what if I were born
now here this minute
what if I carried the energies of today
not as overlay
but in original raw authenticity?
I am born at 6.32 am
in this place
on planet earth
I have the sun in Cancer
soon a sextile to Uranus
some creative resolution?
Of course Mars has just shot past
like a kid hooning on his bike
soon he will meet the law
as Saturn opposes his wild ride
If I am born today
its my wild creative joy that I
give shape to
The Tip Jar