ache

The sky says to the grass

 

“if you grew blue

you could be up here with me too.”

 

But the grass was too long now

to change the composition of its roots.

As it strained

it found itself in pain.

 

“I cannot change to be blue

but I can be everything you need for you.”

 

The sky shook its head.

 

“If you aren’t anew

and you are still green

it will make me less blue.”

 

And so the grass remained,

alongside a bee

who wished he could

sting without dying,

knowing where it wanted to be

was a place it could not go,

would not be allowed to know.

 

The grass hurt.

As it began to wither

and fade to yellow,

there was nothing it could do

about that either.

 

Then it whispered

 

“but don’t you see,

without the sun

we are the same colour.”

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it comes around

Christmas paper soggy

from the son lost a few days ago.

She couldn’t throw the present away now,

this time of year was wasteful enough already.

She noticed;

her hands wouldn’t stop shaking,

her stomach wouldn’t stop contracting.

Across the street a different house,

a different feeling.

Two lovers just announced

they’re getting married.

 

Rainbows lit up across the country

and it was like a loose brick in the wall

had finally slid back into place.

You could feel the energy

but then you hear these everyday conversations…

“You’re a dumb whore cunt, wish I’d never met you way back when.”

“Aboriginals, not half a brain between the lot of them.”

They’re breaking down the mortar

so the erosion doesn’t go away.

I don’t know how to stop it.

 

It’s important to learn about darkness.

Not so you can find right way,

just so you can survive.

You can light a little candle

in a circle around yourself,

you can pull others in but only for a short time.

They’ll breathe all the oxygen in

and eventually

one of you will be alone again.

 

(In the blinding light

of the realisation of my life

I saw you’d gotten a move on

and I hadn’t budged in so long.

It was alright, I was learning to be laid back.)

 

What is it about the colour purple?

It won’t tell me

if it’s happy or sad,

reminds me of the battle fought

inside my own head.

For years now it’s up and down,

I’ve always managed to keep it down.

 

(Walking in the dark with my dog,

on a deserted bike path,

I can feel ten feet tall.

I can feel wild and strong.

I see nothing for miles

except the lights in the distance

of the cars going

places they think are more meaningful than mine.)

 

In the moments of respite

where the only movement is a leaf

falling to the ground

you’ve got to wonder

if you stayed there forever

and let yourself fade away,

would it be peaceful,

would it be a better way to go

than fighting all the way down the line

until you’re too tired and old

to do it anymore?

 

 

fragment

Put me on a billboard,

watch my eyes turn away.

I see the floor,

it doesn’t tell me how to find…

Put a celebrity in an empty room,

take the light off them,

see them fade away.

 

The way ice cream melts

reminds me of the moments

I’ve sunken into myself

for reasons unknown.

There was a time

when the world wasn’t so big,

when creation was exclusive,

and life unaltered.

Left to its own devices.

Now there’s too many vices.

 

I don’t want to be a receptacle

for the pain that jumps off the page,

the screen.

The screams I imagine,

the fear clamouring in.

Where’s evil,

where’s the reason

It keeps existing?

I admit I wonder

how I could ever make a difference.

 

Come on.

We’re adults now,

we can talk.

We can be honest.

The truth

does not have to be uncomfortable

or hard to utter.

 

Like the open mouth

of a storm-fed waterfall,

let it flow.

What you feel

is never meaningless.

Like the open sky,

I always have room for your voice.

Let me hear you,

take the strength

I can give to you.

small

A thousand guys better than me,

I stared into the blue.

Something about the colour,

something deeper there

spoke of solving problems.

Didn’t help me impress you.

 

On the train,

centrally wedged,

I felt like a child again.

I was molten in my seat,

fever taking hold.

But it wasn’t just my body,

specks in my mind, pain in my skull

made me feel more than old.

 

I get tired more often,

I wish the air to dissolve me.

My patience used to be my pride

but now I find it hard to soften.

 

I curse the change,

I thought I had my head around it

but under the surface of my skin

I’m aggravated, feeling strange.

 

I’m a power surge,

happy

and sad

are interchangeable,

as is my urge

towards recklessness and caution.

 

Don’t mess it up

I tell myself

before I begin to sweat.

Holes in my hull,

I don’t fill up.

 

I would drive away

if survival wasn’t a reason to stay.

unseeing

Without realising,

the grass overran the pavers

by the garden,

concealing the cracks.

A caterpillar traced a blade,

slowly dipping

towards the grain of the ground.

Equally unaware,

the insect fell victim

to the swoop

of a keen-beaked magpie.

 

A puppy, husky,

had an unconscious thought

while sunning herself.

Her sapphire eyes caught the movement,

that was all.

Back legs sprang into action.

As the bird cleared the yard

the puppy launched too late

and wobbled the fence.

 

A mouse delicately traversed

along the colourbond,

oblivious

except to the straight line it was running.

When the tin shook

it was startled.

As quick as the snap of time

it tumbled,

the wrong way.

Instincts already activated,

the puppy pounced

and her jaws closed

and the rodent,

it’s eyes closed

not understanding

a single moment

of it’s life.

 

 

I stepped outside

to the wagging tail

and the bright, proud eyes.

It could have been the best time of her life

but she wouldn’t ever remember.

Until later,

when it had already snuck away.

 

a mess is best

Time to make rhymes,

and half rhymes,

about the things

that make me sigh

and light up my eyes.

 

 

Moments at dawn,

on a stranger’s lawn,

seeing things

that are not there.

Though I could have sworn

I saw

a shape with garments torn.

Leering from the past,

or the future?

Undoing my sutures.

Despite its presence,

it convinced me I was alone,

put cold in every bone.

Froze my tone

as I whispered to myself,

above the whipping breeze,

all the plans I had sewn

would hold tight.

A moment later

it was they might.

Then, they wouldn’t last the night.

 

 

Gee, it’s easy to scare me.

Put a music video on the TV,

murmur dark themes in my ear,

tell me secrets I don’t want to hear.

Celebrate the end of a year.

Stand me on a cliff

and tell me it’s better not to lift

off.
The landing has always been soft,

yet ever in view of the places I would break.

Now I’m in the clear

and you’ll never be mine to take

but I’d like to think

you’ll let me make it work.

You choose what’s good for your sake

and I’m happy to follow.

 

 

I feel less hollow

and less again tomorrow.

Something’s unfolding,

like a sapling learning

To keep growing.

I just need to find a way to keep holding

onto this.

 

 

There have been things I’ve missed

by choosing to wander through mist.

But it’s a good place

to go at my own pace.

And no one sees if I’ve misplaced

a thought

or not tied up my shoelace.

If they don’t see me stumble

trying to stay humble

then it’s easier not to crumble.

Am I nearing the peak

of what life means?

Around the corner

I can see everything I want

and have wanted to keep.

Is it deep?

Once I fill it up

will it seep away?

I hope it doesn’t go that way.

 

 

All we can do is try.

Things will work out

because hope is strong

and our will’s are stronger.

Once you realise there’s no reason not to be happy,

boy does a good feeling last longer.

ghost story

Houses stood black,

seemingly empty.

Quiet eerie structures

holding mysteries for me.

 

I walked in the dark

with my dog

and we saw things you wouldn’t believe.

There were shapes,

shapes only,

just around every corner.

They made sounds like rattlesnakes

and I didn’t know

what I should do.

Should I be scared,

should I be brave?

 

It was cold

and the town was old,

the town was old

and that all seemed to fit perfectly

with the nightmare we were in.

 

There was no wind,

the air was still.

I got the feeling that we weren’t on earth.

But where did we go

every time the sun went down

and all the normal people were never around?

Me and my dog, we just walked

but it took forever to get home.

 

Our steps crunched

and I looked down.

There were kitchen plates strewn everywhere.

We were breaking them,

we were cutting our feet

 

and I don’t know why.

ask me, answer me

It’s innocence,

it’s purity,

it’s light.

It pierces,

it watches.

It’s a sanctuary,

it’s​ an oasis,

it’s a retreat from the dark.

 

Like a pause-inducing déjà vu

or striking premonition,

it’s unexplainable.

Somewhere in the brain,

or the heart,

or the soul,

there’s a reason.

 

For me

it’s what you look like

when you smile,

it’s the way your eyes shine

at small pleasures.

 

What do you all love?

Why do you care for it?

What is attraction, desire?

What does it mean to be mature?

How do I get everything right?

What are the consequences of my decisions?

 

There are so many secrets

I don’t know.

Interviewed by Jade Raykovski

Recently I was lucky enough to be interviewed on Jade Raykovski’s blog. Jade is a talented writer and budding author, currently working on her first children’s novel.

I talked about why I write and what I like to write and what I hope to achieve in the future. Find the original publication here and check out Jade’s blog. She writes and shares many interesting things aside from focusing on her own work so signing up for her newsletter would be a valuable exercise.

Here is the transcript of the interview:

Tell me about your blog, Poignant Things. Why did you decide to start it and for how long has it been running?

I created it about three years ago while I was still in University. There were a few major reasons: it would persuade me to write more regularly, it would test the waters to see if a diverse range of readers liked my writing, and it would provide me with a good outlet to vent my sadness, frustration, happiness, or whatever else it may be. It was a way of telling people close to me how I was feeling without really ‘telling’ them.

‘For those who read with music in their ears’ – where did the blog’s tagline come from?

This stems from what I draw a lot of inspiration from. Music is a big influencer on me. I seem to be very sensitive to the tones and moods that music can convey. Often, I’ll listen to an instrumental track and from that, a whole idea for a poem or story will come to me. Usually I’ll begin writing in that very moment, responding to the flow of the song. It’s the same when I’m reading. Commonly I’ll have music on while I’m reading and the passages, be they dramatic or melancholy, will be heightened by certain songs, similar to what happens in films. The right music in a film can turn a good scene into an iconic scene. So, the tagline is saying this blog is for people like me, and I hope people can find the right song to listen to while they read each poem.

What motivates you to write, particularly poetry?

Mostly I write for my own self-interest. I doubt there’d ever be a huge audience for the poetry I write. A lot of the time it’s to process my thoughts and dump my stress onto the page and out of my body, but also it’s to help anyone who’s reading it who may be struggling with similar emotions. It’s quite normal in teenage and young adult years to experience a lack of direction, frustration, and depressive emotions because trying to sort your life out is very hard! Sometimes, people think they’re alone in what they’re feeling but it simply isn’t true and I hope people realise this when they read some of my pieces.

On the other hand I write to get better so I can one day become a published novelist. At the moment, I write poetry because it’s such a good medium for the emotional venting I spoke about and I find it quicker to craft a poem than a story because poetry is so fluid, there’s no real rules or restrictions. Any style of poetry can work if executed well. I also love the ‘snapshot’ element of poetry. It captures single moments, specific images that can hold a lot of weight and there’s something comforting about staying contained within smaller scenes.

Are there any other projects you’re working on, apart from the blog?

Yes, I would dearly love to publish an illustrated collection of poetry one day. I’m in the process of trying to get enough good poems together and I’ll submit some of them to journals or competitions to hopefully get some feedback and guidance on their quality. As for the illustrations, if you know any fantastic pencil illustrators send them my way! Beyond this, I have two or three novel ideas which I’m quietly confident will work if I’m good enough to write them well (a big if!) They’ll all have a strong foundation in family, relationships, the environment, and morality. Oh, and they’ll probably all be fairly dark/moody.

What was the first piece you had published? What did that feel like?

I might go back further than that and talk about when I first received recognition for writing. In high school, I won the senior poetry competition for NAIDOC week. The principal read my work at the school assembly and even on a local radio station I think. Obviously I was very pleased with that and it was the moment when I thought to myself that perhaps I could pursue writing further, both creatively and professionally. It also taught me more about myself. I was obviously relieved to find out I was someone who could show compassion for others, balance cultural sensitivities, and see things from a perspective completely different from my own. It may sound strange, but up until then I wasn’t sure if I understood these things. Now, I have a few little pieces published and am motivated to achieve bigger goals. I’m also writing for a living as a copywriter so I’m extremely happy that I’ve been able to do what I love and get something out of it.

Do you have any advice for other emerging writers, particularly those who are just starting out and may not have anything published yet?

Hopefully they’re already avid readers but if they aren’t they should start working on a reading list. Read as much as possible and try to encompass a diverse range of writers. Reading widely is great for learning, vocabulary, and inspiration. As for writing, regularity is key. Write as often as possible in conjunction with your reading and you will get better. Also, it’s important to find your niche. Find what inspires you and find what excites you the most when writing. For me, music and film inspire me and I really enjoy writing pieces strong in imagery and emotion. For someone else they may find they’re inspired by the study of history and adore writing fantasy. But that’s the important thing, write what you enjoy and never be afraid to submit your work to the numerous competitions and publications that are still very much alive in the industry. Know one thing for sure; rejection will happen and more than once. This does not mean you’re a bad writer.