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Worn by remembering, mastered by great age

23 November 2015 | Grant Fraser, Ignatius Kim and Margaret Quigley

Woman with Alzheimer’sNot seven steps from the familiar geography of her room her bewilderment sagged on her walking frame as she shied away from the stern arm that was guiding her ... We composed ourselves upon the couch long enough for her to plead 'But I don't know who you are' as she trembled beneath the insult of my peering eyes and frowned away; and I felt a stranger's smile curdling on my face.

My own personal recession

17 November 2015 | Isabella Fels

Eye with dollar signMy recession digs deep. In many ways I cannot take a leap as I would if I had heaps of money. How I would love to buy all sorts of goodies and never deny myself anything! How I wish I could be given a handout and make easy money, and throw money around everywhere I go! I feel myself learning the value of money the more I yearn for the dollar. In many ways it makes me feel stronger to make my money last longer, rather than constantly being lured by the dollar, and being easy fodder.

Homeless, Paris

16 November 2015 | Jena Woodhouse

Homeless man ParisLone men stand at street corners, look on with apathetic eyes, shabby men from everywhere and nowhere, and beyond. Their tattered, mud-stained tents are massed beneath the overpass, misshapen globes the varicose, bruised colour of unhealthy veins. They make me think of tulip bulbs, caught between the seasons' change - too late for summer's plenitude, too early for the spring.

Flapped by computer scam butterfly effect

12 November 2015 | Brian Matthews

Black spiky ball'Bloody amazing in life, isn't it, how things link up when you don't want them to.' Mac was now talking to me over his shoulder because he was putting mail in the local boxes. 'The man's son is in IT, and his specialty is security. But the young bloke's just got married. He's on his honeymoon and, though he's due back on the very day this scam business happened, he can't come home because where do you think he and his wife are honeymooning? In Bali. Under the volcano. All flights grounded.'

Called or shunned by Vietnam war conscription

09 November 2015 | B. N. Oakman

ConscriptionI'd never met a Vietnamese, couldn't figure what we had against them. But we were raised in shadow of returned men, the shimmer of lapelled bronze, a presumption we in our turn would go when ordered ... Most of us dodged gap years of sweat and khaki, missing madness, maiming, napalm, agent orange, learning how to kill and to piss ourselves out of fear. Instead we were granted head starts with women, front marks in the greasy pole dash, a less congested clamber to unremarkable lives.

School reunion cracks the amber of middle age

05 November 2015 | Barry Gittins

Stylised clockI never thought I'd do the whole high school reunion thing. Yet here I am, nametagged and ready to face the music, along with 50 of my fellow 1985 alumni. I recognise some straight off. Others mystify. Teenagers trapped in the amber of middle age. High school was genuinely hard for many of us. Some have died. Some entered Boggo Road's then-penal walls. Some are still paying for decisions made back in those mid-80s. Memory propels the sail of our union and we've left safe harbours.

Nigerian poets showcase

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26 October 2015 | Femi Morgan and Ajise Vincent

Femi MorganA first child is a road child / He paths the field of joy / Phantasmagoria of moments / First panic, first pain, first cry / That tears the joy in your father's eyes /There is more to life / Than Sponge Bob and Ben / Be wiser than the tortoise / They may go extinct / Except in books and stories / Be careful with the holy communion / Of the boys / That dark sparkling liquid / That bitter-sweet music of the times.

My autistic superpower

25 October 2015 | Paul Micallef

Original artwork by Chris Johnston shows stylised 'Paul' trying to match faces to emotionsMy brain lacks a degree of 'pre-programming'. I am naturally open-minded and non-judgemental. When asked a question I immediately (often dispassionately) think of many possible solutions. This is great for questions like 'How can we improve this system?', and less good for questions like 'On which body part do you wear your pants?' The secret to learning social rules is in understanding emotions. Knowing what is 'appropriate' often comes down to how it makes the other person feel.

Pity abandoned on the banks of the Parramatta

20 October 2015 | Sarah Klenbort

UnicycleA young man introduces himself: Ashley. He has sandy blond hair, a lithe body and an ease and grace with the kids. The lessons are free, but my daughter doesn't wait to for this explanation; she's already picked up a unicycle. 'You need a helmet first,' Ashley explains, and I tap my daughter's arm and sign, 'Helmet'. 'Does she read lips?' he asks. 'If you could just look at her when you're talking,' I say. 'Okay,' he says with the slightest trepidation. 'She's d-d-deaf and I have a stutter.'

Persian poetry pastiche

19 October 2015 | Paul Smith

Portrait of HafizWhere is one who through friendship will be faithful to me ... who with a reprobate such as me will act kindly, mercifully? / Real friendship is so difficult to find because it means of the other thinking more than oneself, loving the other, sincerely. / True friendship means equality, listening, putting oneself in the other's shoes and seeing out of those eyes ... differently! / Friendship that matters is not one-sided, lacking in interest: a lasting friendship is one of selflessness, a thing of beauty!

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