Thoughts in Summer/Winter

Thoughts in Summer/Winter

I’ve borrowed a smirk from Tracy Emin. Older now, the summer flowers don’t melt my heart as they did at 27. If you were here I would do things differently.

But don’t we all say that? He crumples my touch, throws it to the corner next to the bin where a condom hangs like a man lynched

even at 7am in Wollongong the heat is a thief’s hand to the mouth. It is summer here, you’ve gone back to Nanjing.

Work is slow and I spent my last $10 on condoms – priorities. I cool myself with the breath of my lover and wonder

if you’re walking in the snow with her, it is winter there. Xiu Ling told me she was pregnant. You’d make a terrible father.

You’d think my smirk was typical white-girl coarseness. Always with the off-hand comments – white women fuck anyone. White women are rough.

That summer I was desperate for love in a yellow dress, blueberry beads, we held hands and hot chips by the lighthouse, at Christmas I wrapped brie in prosciutto

and made you wear that reindeer nose, we swapped presents, I bought you cologne, you bought me a stuffed toy. I was disappointed. I asked too much of you.

I tried to learn Mandarin but gave up. You tried to teach me but asked me to repeat phrases to your friends without telling me what they meant – I didn’t trust you.

Shen Yun said he overheard you with the boys likening my breasts to tofu, imitating the wobble – that was enough.

I hope she finds out you turned up in a taxi, drunk and tearful the night before your 6am flight. When you forced a kiss on me, called me your best girl.

I hope she sees the immaturity. You pose genteel in a too small tux, she’s a slender vision in your engagement photos.

She looks bright and young. She has the smile of a woman who adheres to expectations but maybe that’s the point.

 

 

 

 

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Ouija Board

Ouija Board

 

Australian autumn gum trees don’t lose their colour

perhaps they knew you or saw your stubbornness

about letting go and will hold in all that green like a breath

I don’t know, I’ve never asked them or you but sat

in awe at your refusal to cave in to cancer chipping

away at you like a sphinx nose, turning yellow in your last days

as your liver struggled to keep up with your bull-headed

grip on life. You fell eventually like a leaf falls

I refused to see your last breath, I said my goodbyes

like a child with hopes of Jesus miracles

but I knew. I imagine you in the garden of lost souls

snubbing the afterlife to haunt the grave attendants about their

improper manual handling skills or poor personal presentation

 

Gum trees shed their bark as they grow and I have studied

all I can from your diaries but read again just to be sure

postcards from Denmark and short raw poems

there was an admirer but he lost out to our grandfather

because he was too shy to ask you for a date

I think my siblings would be different, if you were

still here. I think you would be proud of  Shaela’s painting

and Willow’s flair for mechanics. Maybe Joseph wouldn’t

drink so much. Perhaps you would share your poems with me

and I wouldn’t have to steal them from the family records

hiding them in borrowed books and reciting them like a spell.

Table-Talk Tuesday: Part 2 – Sensible Grinch, inconsiderate births and ‘real adult’ card.

It’s beginning to look like xmas, so calm the fuck down.

So last week I talked about un-dating and fighting etiquette and cactus innuendo.

Sensible Grinch

This week, as it’s getting closer to xmas (by you know, a month…) I want to talk about something that most people find irritating – commercialised Christmas.

Now my local department store began selling xmas-themed merchandise in late August, which prompted more than a little bar humbug in shoppers. I got irritated, but it was also effective in producing the desired reaction in me which was xmas  oh-god-is-it-that-time-already-I’m-so-unprepared panic. I’m fine with that and I’m not at all surprised that retailers set up their xmas wares early because they’re businesses and profits and blah-blah-cynical-blah.

What I am happy about and what keeps me shopping at these retailers is the lack of Christmas carols. The moment Christmas carols start playing is the moment I morph from a respectful, rational-minded shopper into a cynical Grinch-bitch drenched in rage only Mariah Carey All-I-want-for-Christmas-is attention you on repeat can produce. I’m the kind of seemingly shy customer that just buys what they want and gets the fuck outta there just to escape another rendition of “Let it Snow”. Let. It. Snow. It’s summer in Australia. It just makes no fucking sense.

I’m just going to put this out there – we need new Christmas carols. Climate-relevant ones. Original ones. Possibly cynical ones. Just once I’d like to hear “All I want for Christmas is my family to get on with each other for one day”, “All I want for xmas is less cheer from people trying to sell me things” or “All I want for xmas is not to be broke and emotionally exhausted”.

Last week I found out that our work stereo is broken and unfortunately won’t be able to play carols over the xmas period. I’ve never been so happy in my life.

While we’re at it – people who give birth close to Christmas are arseholes. Really? You couldn’t wait like a month when everyone isn’t so broke? Shame on you and your late February, early March whoring ways.

On that note…

Please return your “I’m a real adult” card:

* If you stand in the coffee line complaining about the wait at 8:30am on a Monday. Then order an ‘extra hot’ half caff soy latte no foam. No foam is a flat white, arsehole. That poor Barista doesn’t think you are classy and corporate chic. That poor barista fucking hates you. Everyone in the line hates you. Deep down even you hate you. Just stop.

* If you part your car across two spaces and expect no one to get irritated.

* If you talk to retail/hospitality staff like they are incapable of intelligent thought. If they don’t know the wine list, they don’t know the wine list – calm the fuck down while they go and fetch it for you. They’ve probably been standing on their feet for the entire shift listening to people order the fattiest thing on the menu and then ask for sauces on the side. Or listening to a regular customer complain loudly about the prices/nutritional content of the food before ordering every damn thing on the menu.

*If you are complaining to the employee about things the employee has no control over. The guy behind the cash register at McDonalds doesn’t handle the pricing. He’s 15. The person serving you in Myer did not make the blender you broke filling it over capacity with ice for Saturday night drinks. It’s not the transit officer’s fault that you were running late to your train and didn’t buy a ticket. The woman behind the counter in triage cannot control how many people are bleeding to death waiting in front of you for medical assistance while you whine loudly about your clearly-more-serious-than-head-trauma case of Google-diagnosed swine-flu. It’s not the parking officer’s fault you parked in a taxi zone. It’s not the receptionist’s fault that you were not organised enough to make a reservation for your party of 30 on a Saturday night at 7pm. It’s not the police officer’s fault you punched someone/were caught speeding/behaved like an obnoxious hot mess at the Melbourne Cup. It’s not the library/video store clerk’s fault your items are overdue. It’s not the hotel staff’s fault you wrecked the room and have to pay for damages. Seriously people. Let’s just have some common sense here.

* If you tell the cashier your life story when there is a line 1km long behind you.  The poor guy has probably had 6hrs of this nonsense already, he doesn’t want to know about your hemorrhoids/sick children/money problems/divorce when his manager is already shitty about the refund he’s just had to give you for a pair of shoes you have decided are the wrong colour/poorly made/don’t match your liver spots.

And on the other side, please return your “I’m a real adult” card:

* If you’re rude to a customer just because they’re a customer. When it’s obvious you’d rather get paid for playing on your phone all day. If this is the case, get a job that lets you do that. Just like it’s not the employee’s fault the item is not on sale, it’s not the customer’s fault your store isn’t clearly set out.

* If you roll your eyes at a customer who can’t find something in your store. That is listed in the catalog but isn’t signposted anywhere. They do not work there and I’m fairly certain they are not psychic.

* If you ignore a customer to carry on a conversation with your co-worker. Again, if you want to do this, find a job that facilitates your nattering about how he said he was sorry but he like totes didn’t really mean it because he pulled that I-don’t-really-mean-it face.

* If you are part of a public service but hate serving the public. It is not the patient’s fault that they have a mental illness. It is not the victim’s fault that they were mugged. Not everyone who has a tattoo is a criminal. Not everyone who has an obvious physical sickness is contagious. Not everyone in a hoodie is up to no good. Not everyone who is older is senile. Not every priest is a more believable/trustworthy witness.

It’s not difficult to keep your “I’m a real adult” card. Just respect other people and take responsibility for yourself. Buying a product doesn’t give you the right to treat the poor guy behind the cash register at David Jones like he doesn’t deserve to live. Being an officer of any kind doesn’t give you the right to kick your god-complex into turbo. Please, this xmas rush period, think about the poor souls on both sides. Something something-everyone fighting a hard battle-something-something-hypocritical-touchy-feely-lets all be friends.

Next week:  Melbourne hipster photos.