Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Grand Tour

The pale chinless girl could be a family member in a  portrait by Gainsborough. Instead of  the bleaching fluorescence behind her it is possible to imagine foliage, instead of the expensive tee-shirting, satin. She is speaking of shopping. We listen to her rapid clipped narration allowing no interruption with a tense fascination.

Dubai. She opens  her eyes to convey limitlessness, the infinity of the spheres.
It  took my mother and me two full days. Literally  and we only really covered a wing.
The skating rink's huge and there's Candilicious.  But it is so massive you would never see it all.

Someone has experienced  similar wonderment  in Las Vegas. But, then she had not realised until her last day that  there was a regular mall where average people went where you could buy things that weren't labels.
The chinless girl is amazed  how someone could  be in Las Vegas for a week  and not know where this mall was.
It is just off the main strip, there are signs everywhere. Come on.  But really L.A. is so much  better  in terms of high quality anyway.

We see the movie.  Her  on Rodeo Drive leafing judiciously through a rack of delights, in the shadow of  passing celebrities.  It gives us all pause.

Someone quite timid  has been to Paris.  It had some good shops.
Well it has some good department stores, the girl says, but the malls are really awful.
She did not like Paris much at all. It was so old and  there is  so much smoking in the malls. They  were all so smokey they made her sick.

We see  her pale expressionless face, green in a  dense pall surrounded by ancient buildings and average people who smoke and have no idea.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


People watching.
Defences, released by way of
Interest, in the variety of
Involvement, absolved from
Judgement, the  abeyance of
Objectivity,  arising from
Passivity, involved in
Relaxation, evoked by
Self, the  transparency of

Sunday, December 7, 2014


A  father, taking his two small children to school has positioned his son in the bright morning sunlight against the  shiny galvanised iron wall of one of the housing units. The son is wearing  a black cape with a red raised collar.  He screws up his pale little face and squints into the sunlight and lens. His mouth is filled with plastic fanged teeth. An  older sister, costumeless, watches on with the  intense reserve of a sibling.

A man dressed in smart casual work clothes has the red face and pointed ears of a Lucifer. He stops momentarily to lick away the black grease paint that has spread from his lips to his teeth. He glances suddenly self-conscious at the passing traffic as if caught gazing at himself  in a mirror.

Co workers.

The man  has seen everything that has happened in his dynamic work place from  its recent  origins to it current insecure present. He notes that it  has a high turn, over just in the time we have been there there have been 20 or more like 30 people who have gone.

The young English woman  does not want to be drawn. She has been forced by another worker  to make salad last night for a  farewell, her own is coming up. She does not eat salad much, it has been a challenge. She  is moving on to another city  where she will be very busy with an expanded role.

The man would not be popular but possibly  not actively disliked. His relentless need to witness and describe would make colleagues  uneasy.  Mention of him among others would lead to a momentary  silence before a  change of   topic. Only someone brash and outspoken would risk a  derogatory comment.   He  has an unhurried delivery as if he is laying out a collection of disparate objects on a table whose overall truthful function will be revealed if only he can complete the process without interruption.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Gap Years.

Two not so yummy mummies with babes expensively suspended.
One  in full on black high performance lycra stands  her foot hefted  up at a steep angle on the outdoor table, in the courtyard of  a gourmet food store. The other sits.
Well I work for him 3 days a week, it has worked out really well. Really well.
Oh that is so good, the seated woman says bleakly to the black running shoe.
And then I have my own business of course,  two days a week. Training.
Training what? The seated woman asks finally lifting her eyes from the shoe.

The funeral.

Under the stained glass  window of  the funeral home, the coffin covered in beads and knickknacks seems as small and insubstantial as that of a child's.

A brother comes up and says  that he had little contact with the deceased for many years and it was only in recent years  that he had come to see her more often.  He had some memories of her as a child. She loved  horses. She had her own horse and when she had a baby she had named it after that horse.  He had thought that they lived  a normal family life in a quiet rural province but in fact this sense of normalcy had been proved mistaken. He  had later  found out that  the deceased was not his full sister.  She  had been born out of wedlock in a period between one of  his mother's other  marriages. His younger sister also had another father.  He also found out that his uncle had been the subject of court martial  in the Second World War.

A young woman who  looks as if she manages a complex love life says she has grown up with the deceased in her life. She had always admired  the woman's style so she was wearing all her arm bling in memory of her. She then sings Bag Lady by  Erica Badu accompanied by a man on an  electric guitar.

A Polynesian care worker comes  up trim in jeans and a sweatshirt. She has brought a small ukulele with her wrapped in a cloth and says that she had spoken to the deceased many times since she  had come to live at the home.   The deceased often asked her  if she  would go to heaven.  The care worker always told her, of course you will,  you have  so many friends.  She and the deceased had  sung  songs of praise together.   She will  sing one now, the one  she had taught the deceased. She unwraps the ukulele and sings a sweet song in an surprisingly  thin off key voice.

Two young mothers and a small girl come up. One of the mothers says she had been fascinated by the deceased from the moment she first moved  into  the neighbourhood and   had seen her fossicking in  a rubbish bin for treasures.  Among other things, the deceased  had taught her about lending.  Once the deceased asked her for $20. She  replied that she could not give it to her as  she did not want money lending to come between them. Yet  one day she had run into the deceased outside the supermarket and had commented on the variety and nutritious  value of her groceries, where upon the deceased had gone into a nearby cafe to borrow a knife to dissect a wheel of  brie and divide it between them. She had found out that the deceased had been forcibly separated from the new born baby she had given birth to  when she was staying in England as a young woman.  The deceased always had this child  on her mind and was very damaged by this separation. Maybe this is why she always had a pram and pushed it around, empty of a child but full of treasures.

The other young mother says that she had been given a suitcase by the deceased. She lifts up  a retro yellow suit case high into the air. She has  taken the suitcase around the world with her, it is  so easy to spot on a carousel. Her young daughter has a large purple plastic creature  on wheels that she has also been given and reportedly  loves even though it is plastic. The little girl tries to  lift her toy off the ground to show everyone.

A  Buddhist nun comes forward  on thick oedematous ankles supported by sturdy sandals.  The spiritual life encases her as solidly as  a large wooden block. The gifts she received of 'borrowed' library books on the Buddha, the anger and pain of the deceased are mentioned.  She says that they had spoken of many things and much had been shared even the fact that one of  the deceased's lovers had  urinated on her.

At the back of the chapel, spilling out of  the entrance, the deceased's friends and lovers_ lenders and borrowers all, stand smoking and silent in the warm autumn day.

Monday, June 16, 2014


We watch the old movie on an old TV sitting on an old couch
with a curtain pegged sideways over the french doors
In the film a man is stripped of himself and so dies.
Or his luck turns and he lives in a gemutlich heaven on earth.
There is an option.
A studio in Germany between the wars got up into a sliver of city.
The business of the world is condensed and flickers with a rage, slowed to squeeze the cruel second fully.

Suddenly the french door is quickly, quietly  opened.
A gust of wind?
But then the curtain is moved  by  a small force.
A dextrous animal?
From behind the curtain, out of a late summer night
a child appears, so out of his expected place he stops dead, his face a mask.
This sudden beauty makes me smile and say hello.
The child as silent  and remote as any film, only sees  our very strangeness
and vanishes to those who guard him.
On screen,  neighbourhood urchins torment in play.
They  would be ancient now if they had survived.
We glance at one another, the apparition still with us and the loss of another between us