spontaneous thinking

I step up,

I step down.

The beat in my ears compels me,

every step is an ensemble.

Sometimes I pause.

I try to stay in limbo,

on a different plane

where the only thing that exists is atmosphere,

for as long as I can.

I sense kindness

coming from the rail,

I pick up notes rising through my body,

they say the journey’s worth it.

My skull vibrates in a way

I cannot say,

I suppose it’s joy.

Like the smiling face of an animal

or the happy routine of nature,

the constant,

the stable presence of mother.

I have many faces

for all the different places I appear,

it can be hard to know if I’m truly there.

I convince myself I’m being real

but it’s not always true.

I think about what to do,

I listen to music.

There’s education, there’s advice,

there’s pleasure, there’s motivation.

When I hear it,

I want you to know what I’m thinking,

I want you to know what I’m feeling.

The euphoria I get from every piece of life

does not equal the times

when I see your eyes aligning

with mine.

Even if I can’t meet them for long.

When I thought

what I thought

about you,

I wasn’t wrong.

Mortality

He used her spare key to go into her apartment while she was at work. In the fridge he left a fresh punnet of blueberries. Two weeks later he came back and they were mouldy. It was obvious she’d been there, new washing on the airer. She just didn’t want anything that came from him anymore. Suddenly he realised it might truly be over. He knew they were her favourite and he knew she hated wasting things. The mistakes he’d made were too bad to excuse. At greatest need he’d gotten scared, left her flailing and doomed. It was momentary, but it was enough. It cut swathes through everything they’d built, everything he’d pretended to be. Now, it hurt so much. He might never see her again and it felt like he was dying, even though it was the other way around.

He’d heard from a friend she was over the hump, everything was in retreat. So he bought fruit. Later, he thought about maiming himself because he deserved it. Sitting above the ocean, amongst trees and ferns to calm himself, he’d tried calling her. Even though he was sure she wouldn’t answer he didn’t even let it ring out, choked again. It didn’t matter how much he wanted something back. Time, decisions, her. You couldn’t make someone who doesn’t want you, want you again.

That wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was that she would always be hurt by it. There was nothing he could do to make her feel better. Feeling the reverberations of causing something so permanent, he froze in place. On a rock, hidden from the view of the path, they found him.

out of sync

I’d like to think

I am a tree

but I’m not as kind

or resolute.

 

Strip some bark aside,

look inside,

the heart’s not hard to find.

You’ll see it beating,

hurting,

squeezing some stress

out through the cracks.

 

If people aren’t cutting it down

they’re digging it out.

Either way it’s a sick feeling

and a horrible sound.

 

I’ve been looking for earth

to hold my roots,

a placed called Settle

is where I want to be.

But the more I reach for the soil

the less there is

holding onto me.

Impressionable

A horse down a hill,

a rider on top.

It’s life giving out,

a bullet dug in

the bond between them.

Far below

landing hard

the loss is felt;

of tracing ridges,

of traversing

frozen ground.

One saved,

one sacrificed.

Innocent blood

spilled by too many men.

I wish people would understand.

 

The trust given,

received,

returned.

The time spent,

jobs completed,

tasks achieved.

The happy nuzzle

keeping cheek warm,

the kind hand

keeping coat clean.

I just wish people would understand.

are there reasons?

Every tree

is susceptible to rot.

Within us,

cruelty wanders all our hearts.

It runs in veins

like gold.

We try not to follow

but some get greedy.

It’s crackling energy is powerful.

 

We say things

that mean nothing to us

and everything to somebody else.

And vice versa;

life is all about timing

and most of the time it goes horribly wrong.

We get frustrated we’re out of tune

with the rest of the room.

 

I wonder if it’s possible

we could ever align,

I think about you, and you,

all the time.

My position has to be a sign,

has to mean something

or am I just grasping?

 

I write some words.

They mean some things

about all of you.

People like them

and hate them

but I feel them

through every fibre

in the moments I create.

As long as one other person

can relate, I’m okay.

If I’m alone I don’t know what to say.

Either way,

I get on with the day.

My Favourite Films of 2016

Once again, I haven’t been able to see some powerful films that were released in 2016 due to living in Australia but of those I did catch, here are my best.

10. A Bigger Splash

a-bigger-splash

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Superbly written and acted, this film was dialogue heavy with some serious work being put into tension and implications. The characters in A Bigger Splash were all too real. Frustratingly human, they invoked many feelings in the viewer, mostly negative. Personally, I was angry and disgusted by the end of the film. It affected me in a big way and I didn’t forget it. While I may not have ‘liked’ the characters, the way this film was crafted has to be appreciated.

9. The Lobster

 

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Wholly unique, The Lobster is weird and offbeat for sure. At times it’s funny, at others disturbing. Effectively a satire, it points a laser beam at the pressures of contemporary society and adulthood and lets us see some of them for what they are: ridiculous and dangerous. Grounded by a great performance from Colin Farrell, it may be too strange and uncomfortable for some but for those who go along, it’ll serve up some serious quality.

8. Swiss Army Man

swiss-army-manAnother extremely quirky film that rests on a fresh idea. If you can get past the abundance of flatulence, this is a beautiful and heart-warming (also slightly creepy) film of emotional connection and discovery. We can all learn a little about ourselves watching this. Some magical imagery and an outstanding score make this one of the year’s most immersive movies.

7. Deadpool

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Yet another superhero film hit the cinemas but this time we got something different, something that recognised all the usual tropes and turned them into a joke. Not only did Deadpool dare to be outrageously violent, crass, and hilarious but it was a passion project for Ryan Reynolds and it shows. His performance as the titular character is one of the most charismatic of the year. It’s his commitment that made this film work as well as it did, and propel it above other Marvel or DC entries.

6. Arrival

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Director Denis Villenueve is quickly proving himself to be a master. This is another example of his refusal to sacrifice storytelling for the sake of cheap thrills. His movies always deal with complexities in a way that is perfectly balanced. His movies are made to settle into, become entrenched in. They always offer something you don’t quite expect and Arrival is no exception. Stunning cinematography is combined with a tense, multi-faceted, and emotionally wrenching story. The moral conundrum is a punch to the gut.

5. Demolition

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The writing in this film does fluctuate somewhat from very good to not so good but the good is brilliantly affecting. There are many interesting things it has to say about life; about relationships and about ourselves. It doesn’t always hit the mark and the approach it takes to convey its messages is sometimes flawed but at the end of the day the tone and mood (slightly depressive and resigned to the sadness while also finding ways of experiencing joy) of Demolition is something I gravitate very strongly towards. To top it off, Jake Gyllenhaal can do no wrong and he’s amazing again here.

4. Zootopia

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Rare for me to include an animated film and as fun as Zootopia was, it wouldn’t have been enough to get it over the line. What makes it stand out is the positive messages it makes accessible to the children who watch it. It also speaks of some broader issues like gender equality in way that more serious films haven’t been able to. Adults will almost certainly pick up on some thought provoking stuff. To be able to present this within such a fun-riot of a film and have it all still work must be celebrated.

3. The Nice Guys

the-nice-guysWriter and director Shane Black sure knows how to do noir. He’s got buddy films down to a tee at this point. The Nice Guys might be his best yet. It’s a film that is just so stylish, funny, and exciting you can’t help but like it. There’s also an undercurrent of emotion driving the main characters that never explodes but bubbles every now and then just to remind us that there is more at stake than making us laugh. But laugh we do. The chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe is seamless. Gosling again proves his comedic talent, confirming he’s as diverse an actor as exists right now. Australian actress Angourie Rice also shines as a newcomer, playing Gosling’s plucky daughter.

2. Nocturnal Animals

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A second entry for Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. They both deserve it. There is something about this film that gets right under your skin and stays there. Director Tom Ford adapts the novel into a screenplay that is so tight and well balanced it’s almost a masterpiece. The intricacy of the story and the way it’s told was doomed to fail and yet it doesn’t. It triumphs. Nothing can be criticised. The drama is intense, scary even. The emotion is gut-wrenching, the violence shocking. Amidst all this is a vein of black humour that strikes at exactly the right moments. This film has one of the best endings I think I’ve ever seen. In the context of the rest of the movie, it’s perfect. Tom Ford shows his background in design with a beautiful aesthetic throughout and the two leads are faultless in their performance as is Michael Shannon. Superb.

1. La La Land

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When you hate musicals but happen to adore a film that is a musical, it says something about how good it is. La La Land brings back the magic of cinema. You just don’t see films like this anymore. A simple plot does nothing to diminish the complicated nature of the characters lives in a story where dreams are chased and lost and chased again. Along the way, love is juggled back and forth with various consequences. There’s so much passion and beauty in this film. It shines down from Director Damian Chezelle through every aspect of the project. Every scene is gorgeous and interesting to look at. Every musical and dance number is engaging. The composition and choreography is off the charts. There’s context to every set-piece and real weight to every conversation. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone work so well together, injecting the humour of the film with even more laughs, the drama with even more heartache, the love with even more ‘feels’. La La Land has captured a lot of Oscar buzz and for once, I agree with the buzz.

Three Words

We’ve all met them.

They permeate certain

parts of the air.

Some of us breathe them in,

some of us too open to speaking, engaging.

Then they talk to us.

Tangling inside,

worming away,

segmenting,

they make us listen.

We can’t shut them out.

 

One is a sepia photograph,

with tendrils to the past,

turning happiness a different colour.

Memories invoke such desire,

an agonising state

where one of your rooms has been locked

and inside; a fire.

Burning all this time,

but you have neither key or water.

He won’t let you put it out.

 

One is an ocean,

at such a hue

to make you think of nothing,

and everything.

Find meaning in all things

but also no consequence

in anything.

You can only take the well trodden path

of the lonely, sad and pensive.

This is a quiet place,

locked away too.

Nothing moves in a straight line.

He won’t let you speed up.

 

There’s another,

a darker being.

Animalistic.

Less careful,

more powerful.

I don’t believe I’ve met him.

Perhaps I’ve seen him,

his back turned

or felt his presence close by.

Maybe he’s searched and I’ve avoided his eye.

I hope he never catches me with full glare.

He doesn’t talk,

simply turns all the lights off,

replaces them with dimmer bulbs

that can flicker to life

when he wants them too.

He’s a destroyer,

the two his helpers.

 

It’s that time of year again,

an end and a beginning.

The time when you’re meant to make things happen.

But I will probably visit a park,

one with a view,

sit on the swing

and hopefully see something new.

Spinning

You think

 

you’ve

got

it

all

figured

out.

 

Well,
it’s not true.

 

Don’t kid yourself,
it’s time to understand.
There’s a handle being turned,

we’re just the ones

 

 

spinning.

 

Deja vu,

coincidence,

 

tea leaves

spread across the table.

 

We aren’t able

to reason it out.

 

A conversation,

 

chance encounters.

 

There’s nothing you can do

 

to change it.

 

 

This life

 

didn’t turn out

like the night we thought it would be.

 

Too quick

it gets too dark to see.

It’s not the fun

we thought it’d be.

 

We still feel

 

the joy

when it comes

along.

 

Still smile

at planet earth.

 

Still look at someone,

 

Think:

everything I have,

 

you’re worth.

 

It’s time

to become

 

enlightened.

 

Stop

being frightened.

 

These shadows in our head,

perhaps they’ll always be there

but they can’t kill us.

 

They can’t

 

fill us in shade

if we don’t let them.

 

It’s a good idea,

 

stick out your tongue,

 

bathe it

in the sun.

 

Believe

 

you have won.

 

The world

will be haunted

 

forever

 

but never

our own circumference.

 

Just thinking it

seems to make a difference.

 

Even if it’s slight.

 

Every year will have a summer;

warm grins,

tasty bites,

cold sprite,

play fights,

new sights,

 

friends

 

and more days

with good ends.