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sunshine slipped softly through my window today
– great to see the sun in the morning instead of leaving for work before the day really starts. Coffee in one hand. A croissant would go down well. That’s one advantage of a workday - getting a croissant at work.
A few almost-frosty mornings last week after none in winter but today is the first day of spring. The horses are shedding their coats, I have to get rid of the thistles in the new paddocks I have leased before they erupt, purple into thistledown. But start today slowly, with sunshine smiles.
Morning is one of my favourite times. I feel short-changed on a cloudy day without that wonderful transition from the night into a new day.
This morning was a glorious transition, in spite of me being on my way to work. The harbour had that icy stillness where the city lights slide across almost to touch the black rocks by the motorway. The sky was pale peach above the horizon but it was still dark enough that the city lights were brilliant against black velvet - diamonds in a jeweller's shop. Mercenary city reaching for captive worker in two minds.
Stories. Deep in my mind is a black hole that has swallowed worlds and empires, galaxies and fairy dust - dust to dust. These memories of worlds sometimes escape the black holes that can't always clasp such gravityless nebulae. I have to work hard to capture these whimsies, barely sensed, before they slide back into black. Sometimes I am sucked in, whirled around and bombarded with all sorts of ideas and past lives. At this in-between age - in between before and future -there seem to be several lives since the date that is supposed to define one life starting
Seruptitiously slinks the cat
Slow and silent into black.
Creature of the night and kill
At night she roams where she will.
Daytime sees her sugar-sweet,
Asking for her bowl of meat.
Why she is not fat this cat
I can only wonder at.
Curiosity is the sword
That hangs above her head
Ready to split that gourd
When she goes where angels never dared.
Not for her to die of sloth
More likely accident's her lot
Or once those 9 are all used up
To succumb to the next-door mutt.
Now I end this ditty
About a fictitious kitty.
Travelling down a country road with the embedded stones rumbling my tyres as the counterpoint to the swathes of fields in spring green. In summer the road will be dry and behind me will be a caterpillar of dust. Now the road is damp and the swinging curves and ups and downs make a roller coaster ride – apart from the rumble. I would be a bit worried in a roller coaster if it made that noise. The summer dust grimes the verges and gets into my car, no matter what. Spring and autumn are months where perfection can be found.
Here I sit at work, sliding the odd word onto the page between calls. Days would be boring without words. Try thinking without them. Only feelings and visual impressions are conjured, which is okay to a point, but to work out how you are going to fit everything into a day you have to visualise all possibilities and complications. You can't compare prices because you have to count that pile of money to see if it is bigger, smaller. You can't describe things, can't enjoy poetry, plays on words, jokes. You can't ask for things or complain. Lovely. Quiet. Boring
thinking on this 7h day. Should I introduce myself or leave a mystery to unravel? Mysteries are much better, so glean what you will. Maybe it is truth, maybe it is truth behind a veil and maybe it is a veil.
Once there was a lady with a gypsy mind that roamed and mixed with tinkers and dark folk. And was the mind in the lady that roamed or did the mind roam free alone?
Is the mind separate from the body? The gypsy mind was quite independent but dragged the body along into wanton ways in wild woods.
The neighbour’s lawnmower at 8:30am on a Sunday. Almost as challenging as pistols at dawn. More so for my husband who’s still in bed. To me it is the sound of encroaching summer, when the whining drones, near and far, punctuate the heat, seeming to underline the lethargy of an afternoon spent baking on the lawn.
But it’s not summer yet. The days are beginning to accumulate the smells of wakening earth – mud, spring flowers, wet pavement. One thing about winter, it doesn’t impose smells. I never realise how much I’ve missed that, until the first, heady breaths of spring.
Sunshine slips through my fingers. No matter how hard I try the days slip by and I can’t hold onto them. Life too is passing with every second.
Live life to the full. Oh I try, but there is so much to do, so many things to try, who is to say it is full? What is it like when it is full? There is always something else that can be fitted in:- more life on a beach, more work, sex again, another day, another breath. So when will I know it is full? Before it starts to run out?
Neither of us could be bothered cooking and Alan suggested we go to Wendy's for tea. Sitting in Wendy's on the corner of The Strand. The cream chairs and the tables, the cream tiles, carry on outside, reflected on the windows in the dark. The cars drive through them. A car stops at the lights and another passes this side of it, neatly missing the reflected pillars but having its gleaming wheels sliced in half by the tiles. I chomp my nachos as each car, each lone passer-by, adds to the surreal night. We walk back to the car hand-in-hand.
The flags are half mast on the bridge today. This date still chokes me up. In a way I am glad because it means I am human, unlike those who do not feel the tragedy. I now know how people of my parents generation were affected by the war. Not necessarily a personal tragedy, but one from the enormity of the losses, the oppression, degradation and hate. Now on our remembrance day, ANZAC day, and on armistice day, and today, we will remember them.
There is nothing I can say. It sill overwhelms and, conversely, numbs.
RIP. We can not.
How did I write before I got a computer? The words flow faster with my fingers talking but it doesn’t quite do the job with poetry. I like the words and ideas clustering on the page, seeing what was there before so I can go back if the change doesn’t work. I think it has something to do with the fact that with poetry I don’t always know where I am going, I am still searching for a direction. With prose I edit for grammar, style. With poetry the emotion edits. Computers lack the emotion of words with different shapes.
Encased between heaven and earth for glorious yet tedious hours and hours. Words in a book, my words on a page, tie me to earth: my ideas take me higher than cruising height of 80,000 feet. Well. I wish it were so, that I was flying to England to visit our daughter and son-in-law, but earthy constraints of money and working for it constrict my life. But not my dreams.
Isn't it the way - every time you think you are in the clear something else crops up, dentist, glasses, car. Some cars may as well guzzle money as gas.
She drops the coins in, hearing the car crunch them and come to life. Would it be enough to get her across town to the food bank? She could see herself having to stay over and go to work from there the next day. Stupid. She shouldn't have used her coin ration for the trip to work this morning, but she had been late and tired from the night spent at Zak's. How could anyone resist that real, live food at his place? That jooiucy, crunchy lettuce, the squashy, slurpy tomatoes. It was worth it. Especially the real meat desert.
Zak for desert would be worthwhile any day, real food or not. Her coin car stopped short of the food bank. Great. Now who was near here that she could go to after she had her food? More importantly, who could she leave her week's food with and find it still there after work tomorrow when she would have her new coin ration. Tari. Yes. Well within walk space. Tari didn't have odd people calling in either. And Tari worked the same shift times. Perfect. At the bank she filled out her withdrawl screen, chose pick up, and submitted it.
I walked through an old part of town on the way to work. I love the old character houses and the new townhouses in their earthy colours. -why not bottle green, orange, sky blue? I heard the train pass by with its clack-clunking reminder of journeys past.
Across the railway-line. I waited at the roundabout. A young workman crossed the road, macho proud, hung with tool belt and carrying lunch box and dirty work shoes. I glanced at his feet and honestly couldn't see any difference to the shoes he had on. His fair mustache half formed halved the effect.
Lucky I like my job or I would feel as if I were wasting half my life. I used to be in a job where I was better paid but I was in my comfort zone and never extended. I didn’t realise I could be happier extending myself. Mind you, I was definitely out of my comfort zone after I had been made redundant and I had to find a job. I had a good redundancy package and so was not too stressed out. The contingency plan was to have a bigger vegetable garden and start teaching and selling paintings.
Rain. Rain on grey streets leaking from a grey sky. Swishing of cars passing, passing. Headlights and traffic lights in this half-light do nothing to upset the greyness.
I'm at work, before work starts, my office almost at street level overlooking a well-used intersection. Onto my second cup of coffee already. Black. Only whipped cream doesn't spoil the taste but there's no cream at work.
Time to log on and pretend all of me is here trying not to show my brain has flown me into yet another story. All those aimless cars, endlessly slushing, forever sailing in fixed streams.
Almost to panic stations trying to catch up on my course work for the writing paper I’m doing extramurally. At the last minute I swapped from one module as a main topic, to another. I’ll either make it or I won’t so panic held off with worst case scenario that I will get a lower mark than I would like. Isn’t that always the case if you don’t get A’s? I have only been really dissatisfied with C’s though. Plough on. Writing, reading, writing. Not much time for thinking left. I surprise myself with my industry. Put a smile in.
TGIF. No theme day this dress down Friday. More rain. Busy. Maybe I will have time to catch up somewhat over the weekend. Maybe. Visiting relatives. Gardening before the weeds take over. Plant some beans and corn. Leave the household chores. Quentin Crisp once said that after 4 years the dirt doesn’t get any worse. I’m not quite that bad, but if I can’t notice the dusting needs doing, there’s no point in doing it. The washing gets done. And some cooking. Time for friends and living. Housework is dead time. Funny how working in the garden is not work.
Went to the zoo. You’ve got to go with children. My sister and hubby brought their 3 grandchildren to the big smoke for the start of the school holidays and we all went to the zoo. The littlest one was overjoyed to be able to run and tell Nana and Poppa he saw the happypotamus. What they really wanted to see were the monkeys. Then there was the train ride around. I liked the tiger. He woke up when the elephants walked past and leapt up onto a rock in his large pit enclosure, intense gaze fixed on them unwavering.
I am a soul catcher.
I watch the passers by and seek the souls that call to me. At times I have gathered ones I do not want but I have learnt now how to be more selective. I can ignore thin, unhappy souls.
You can tell the fatness of a soul by the way the body moves, the posture, the stride, the gestures. All telegraph the inner person. But the best way to assess a soul is the taste from the eyes and mouth.
I gather the life and warmth of smiling souls unto myself. And I smile too.
Tari looked sideways at her when she arrived at the door with her load. “I suppose you might as well come in.”
“Well I had no where else close and …”
“And I suppose you’ve used all your car coins again,” Tari said as she stood to the side and let Tahla in.
“It’s just that it takes so long to walk anywhere and there’s so much to do. Zak invited me over and you know where he lives, at the back of beyond.”
“Well if he can survive without getting stuck somewhere without coins, you should be able to.”
Tahla stacked her food supplies in a corner of Tari’s cube and stretched her back. “Thanks, Tari. I owe you.”
“That’ll be 2 car coins when you come to pick them up.”
Tahla’s head came up and she stared at Tari.
Tari continued. “You owe me from the last time too. And all the other times. You need to start living within budget. Now get out. I’ve got someone coming.”
Tahla was caught. She had to go to work but she’d be back. She slammed the door behind her. It was going to an even longer day than she’d thought.
She hardly noticed where she was, thinking of how to survive the next few days and bumped into someone as she rounded a corner.
“Whoa. What’s the rush?”
Against the man’s chest she had to lean back to lift her head and see him. “Zak! I didn’t see you.”
“That’s obvious. What’s up?”
“It’s just…..” Tahla’s thoughts caught up with her words. “Are you on your way to see Tari?”
“Yes. I always see her when I come to the centre for provisions.”
“I’ve got to go. Work.” Tahla disengaged and rushed off. How bad could things get so fast?
Spring, yes? This morning we had more of a frost than we had all winter. The kind of night when it is great to have another warm body to snuggle up to. There was frost on the lawn and roofs and someone pouring water over his windscreen as I drove down the road to work at dawn.
Evening coming home and all was winter again. Dull. Cloudy. Lights on when for three or four weeks it hasn’t been dark enough. Tonight’s the night for a hot curry, rogan josh or butter chicken. Rice. Wine. I won’t get it sitting here.
Left my glasses at home and had breakfast at work while I debated whether to go home through the traffic and then force my way back again. I remember the message on the answer phone last night saying my new glasses with graduated lenses were ready. Solution: - walk downtown and get them. Half an hour there and back. I went. Shop not open. Had a coffee and croissant in a café and felt like I was on holiday. My teeth crunched the cholesterol on the croissant ends and then sunk into the soft delicious interior. I enjoyed every bit.
Weekend. Almost finished my journal that has to be handed in, in a week’s time. It’s been really interesting writing a page every second or third day about the everyday things. For future generations (ha ha) to see what a normal day was like. Well I spend some time in the traffic and two or three (make that lots of) entries were written while stopped at the lights. The journal is not a diary, recording thoughts and outpourings of emotion, but a record. Over the year a close friend died, our daughter visited from overseas, I was promoted at work.
So it is a record of 9 months in my life. I included newspaper articles that were relevant to me, personally – the ones about the friend’s death at work for example. In a loose leaf binder things can be added. I also pasted things like the pay-and-display parking ticket. Who knows, in 50 years the whole structure of society could change again. Hence the idea of a coin car. A much longer version of the 100 words a day, but still unedited, off the cuff, but only factual. Are thoughts on eating a croissant facts? I counted them as such.
How fast a whole month goes a day at a time. Time is a funny thing. When you look at the middle of it, it stretches endless in both directions. When you look one way only, and at a particular spot, the bits in between are as if invisible. There is neither weight nor thickness to affect the view. A bit like Slow Glass. Love that type of science fiction story. A short story is great when it makes you think. Nothing further to be gained by adding to it. So with that, I will sign off. Fare thee well.
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