Swept into the milky past
Pat Walsh |
16 May 2016
A perfect lunch break
Book in hand burning
I take chicken soup
The colour of an outback dam
Drained to its dregs
And a bowl of clean white rice
Flecked with insect wings of onion
Browned on a gushing stove
And with my right hand
Feed my body and the left
My hungry mind.
My yard broom
It was made to sweep away
But the sound of my old yard broom
Worn bristles rasping the brick path
Wet with last night's rain
Picks at a faint memory
That grows louder with each stroke
And carries me back across borders
Of seasons lives and landscapes
To a time of rubbing gumboots
Sucking through the quickmud
Hands hugging mugs of steaming tea
The uphill heartbeat of the engine
The baby bleating of hungry calves
Voices cussing and coughing
And the scrape of yard brooms
Pushing back the tide of muck
As the lifeblood of white milk
Creamed in its silver chalice.
Doing my sums
Doing high finance twenty one floors up
I see a figure no bigger than a number eight
Walk to the edge of the roof below
And stand for a long time looking down
On the railway tracks to the underground.
Graph lines on our advisor's chart
Start high then descend wilting in a curve
To drop out of sight off the bottom line
Into that no-man's land of endless zeros
Where numbers and planning are only placebos.
For a moment I am led to look over the rim
To the lines below ruled bold in black
That run express to the edge of the page
Then, afraid, to rejoin the now conversation
As the man on the roof goes inside the station.
Pat Walsh's new book Stormy With a Chance of Fried Rice: Twelve Months in Jakarta is available from amazon.com.
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18 May 2016
Wonderful poems to "feed my hungry mind". Recommend "Stormy" for those who want to get a glimpse into Jakarta daily life: lighthearted and playful in tone, yet always permeated by the author's deep knowledge of and love for Indonesia and its people. A good read.
23 May 2016
'Doing My Sums' is a clever, evocative piece of poetry, reminding me of avoiding a Maths lesson at high school; gazing out of the window, I was soothed by my own modest efforts of writing poetry!
Kristin Natalier | 27 April 2016
The federal government's new ad aims to 'stop violence from the start'. It sends a strong message that violence is never acceptable. But it firmly positions domestic violence as a problem of individual attitudes of perpetrators, not the social and economic vulnerability of victims. Envisaging an end of domestic violence achieved through 'starting conversations about respect with boys and girls' sidesteps the need for the material resources necessary to stop violence when it happens.
Jen Vuk | 22 April 2016
As a parent you learn to shore yourself against those uncomfortable questions from your offspring, but not all uncomfortable questions are created equally, and right up there with 'Mummy, where did I come from?' is the question: 'Am I your favourite?' Last week, US research published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that 70 per cent of mothers admitted to favouring one child over another. Whatever my usual protestations, do I do this too? Unfortunately, sometimes, I think I do.
Tim Kroenert | 21 April 2016
Socialite and amateur operatic soprano Marguerite cuts an intriguing and tragic figure, devoted to her craft but oblivious to her lack of talent. Yet the joy she gains from believing she is a great singer doesn't depend on the reality or otherwise of that belief. Is it right or wrong for those who care for her to allow her to continue in her delusion? The question echoes the concept of a life-lie, invoked by Henrik Ibsen to argue that human beings are sometimes better off living in at least partial ignorance of reality.
Barry Gittins | 20 April 2016
When you make a meal of body politic you've got to crack the whole thing open, season to taste with bestrewn flakes of policy offal and prejudged bakes ... serve offshore detention? Just add water, salt to taste and erase border. Grind those grubby unions, peel any sign of party donations and extractions from sorbeted cosseted carapaces. Stop the gloats, straighten up and get flyers Right ... Serve pre-heated post May's entree of budget salad.
Tim Kroenert | 14 April 2016
The show's implicit subversiveness runs deep. It is embodied in the fact that its cast consists of mostly Black and Latino performers portraying White characters, using a vernacular and musical styles popularly associated with these cultural groups. It thus stands as a riposte to the history of black/brownface and whitewashing in popular entertainment. Crucially, in a show about 'founding fathers', it is the story's women who not only provide its emotional core but are also the most fundamentally heroic.