#diary

Below the city clock

She has a dream in her eyes

And heaven in her lips.

 

Treat her gently

So her love will grow.

 

The window, wide open

Allows the breeze to wander in,

Lifting the white curtains and reminding me of childhood.

She has a pair of jade chopsticks on the dresser.

Her books line the windowsill

And fill her bookcase.

The time has come to go,

Rain falls gently in the street

Turning the world black and shiny.

When it rains

Go to your window

And watch the drops rush down the pane,

They race and join, until they disappear.

Breath on the glass, my love,

And see the world mist.

Your sweet breath, your sweet touch,

Hides the world and I can rest.

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A childhood love

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I stood knee deep in the water

Looking at the brown body half submerged before me.

Its skin like dry paper

Or the skin of a well-cooked chicken.

I watched fascinated by the death,

The water playfully lapping about it

While I felt terrified to be near it.

‘Not so near, not so near,’

I whispered to myself.

The river had the brown colour of chocolate and the smell

Was of swamp, fish and now death.

My shorts were wet; I was not supposed to be swimming

But the temperature of the day increased

Until the river sand burned my feet and I needed to stand in the cool of the water.

The strong current, the smooth stones under my feet made me feel so good.

The animal’s horns were white and clean, the only things, apart from its teeth

That were not rotting, falling away. A part of its rib cage poked through its hide

The cow must have come from a farm nearby, or perhaps a farmer had dumped it.

None the less I was frozen, knee deep and fascinated.

Someone from the bank called my name, a woman,

I turned and saw her coming over the sand toward me,

Her yells, high and forceful.

She was not from here; she came to this town to study

My parents paid her to take care of me.

I wanted her in the water with me,

I wanted her confronted with this death and this life.

I was only young, but I was fascinated by her,

She would let me watch her dry her hair after the shower.

I would sit quietly, watching her face,

That gentle smile, the movement of her eyes as they flashed behind her blown hair

That soft brown blown hair that danced like fires on the sun.

She stood by the river, not screaming, just speaking to me

Asking me if I were to swim.

So kindly, so gently.

She had shown me pictures of her time in Africa

She had shown me pictures of her boyfriend.

His dark black skin shone like precious stones, his smile

His confident look, challenging the camera.

He had been run over by a truck

She told me

They had been together on the street and he had stepped out

She saw him

Pushed along the ground as a boot would do to a banana.

She had held me to her as she told the story

I hugged her and listened to her heartbeat

She smelled of honey and spice

‘What is that there?” she asked

We both stood in the heat, the sound of the river like a crowd’s murmur

And pondered the mystery of this death.

 

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You don’t own anything

I lost my sunglasses the other day

I’m not sure exactly when,

But they were good ones

Expensive ones.

I think about them occasionally

I wake early, and I wonder where they are

That empty feeling enters my guts

And I feel sad

I tell myself it doesn’t matter.

But it does matter, a little.

I wonder if other people lose things

And if it worries them.

A three a.m. worry, when it is dark outside, and you are missing something

And you look at the other side of the bed

And it’s empty.

I lost her too,

She left me

That feeling when you know you will never see her again,

you remember following her out of the apartment,

seeing her leave through the front door of the building

Into the cold misty morning

knowing that you will never see her again.

And I woke up thinking about my glasses.

Yesterday, while I walked the city streets…

I found a café in a back lane in the city,

it looked like a nice old place, so I went inside

ordered a cup of tea and some toast.

An old woman, dark, with long grey hair brought me my order

and she stood before me a moment and said I looked like a man she used to know,

only I am a little fatter.

 

This man used to live on a farm,

she said,

he would take her for walks along lonely dirt tracks

they would light a fire and make love when the night fell

all in the open,

under the trees.

One day they were married

and he took her to the city.

She held up her hands and showed me the rings she wore,

this one, she said, pointing to a golden ring

is her wedding ring.

Three weeks into the marriage he started to beat her,

and he would beat her at least once a week.

It was the city that made him crazy,

she said.

But he is dead now

his heart stopped.

I’m glad the beatings have stopped.

She stood beside my table for a few more minutes

looking past me out the window.

The lane shone in the weak light,

its narrow spaces made the city seems taller,

but inside the café it seemed like a country town.

I’ve worked here for forty years; she said finally,

quietly

and moved away, leaving me behind in silence

leaving me with her memory.

 

 

My dog got sad

This morning I woke up pretty early although the sun was all ready up and I looked across to my dog who has his own smaller bed and he looked back at me with that wonderful excitement dogs always have when they see you for the first time in the morning. Only today things were a little different because I could tell he was sad. What was it? I watched him for a while and I think I worked it out, I think he is missing his mother.

He was a stray I found on the street and it has been a long time since he saw his mother and so this is probably the cause of his sadness. He was Okay by about 2pm, he sort of got over it but now its about 7pm and he is really sleepy and looking a little sad again. I hope tomorrow he’ll be over it, he is pretty sensitive.

I have a new habit, when ever I go into a room I have to check the windows to make sure no insects or lizards are trapped there and trying to get out. Today two things happened that make me do this – wait three things. One: I imagine it would be terrible to die in a window, looking out into the garden beyond. The madness of scratching at the endless glass, the hot sun burning through and slowly dying a haunted death. Two. I was vacuuming today and a slater (a hard shelled bug) was caught in the suck and vacuumed. I turned it off as quickly as I could but he was a goner. It really made me sad. and thirdly (between the start of writing this and now I’ve forgotten the 3rd thing.)

Today I was walking by the road out front of my house and an echidna came out of the trees and started to cross the road. Of course I snapped into action and tried to save him but every time I tried to pick him up he sunk his claws into the ground and pointed his spikes at me. If you don’t know what an echidna is, look it up. They are beautiful creatures with wonderful personalities, they eat ants but are really determined to cross roads. They are like silly little sweethearts determined to cross busy roads. I saved him, but it took a lot of nudging him with my foot.

Finally I’ve been applying for a lot of dream jobs and sending out my resume etc but it turns out I’ve been sending them all in the wrong file format and just about all the people have emailed me back to say ‘we can’t open your files so don’t even bother waiting for us to contact you’ etc.

Pretty crap.

ps

I’ve been chosen to write a play for a local arts company with a whole bunch of other writers. Usually I hate working with writers but this is a pretty good opportunity, so I agreed. I had a dream last night that all the other writers joined up against me and to get back at them I wrote a really disgusting pornographic play and everyone hated me even more.

check it out below

http://easternriverinaarts.org.au/basin-writers-announced/

DONT FORGET MY BOOK THE BOMBER!!!

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Actual confessions from various anonymous people

1

I had been wishing for Simon Weston* to be dead for a long time. Since I was 15 years old. When he did die I was 22 and it seemed strange to me. We were the same age, he had given me a hard time in high school. I found out he was dead from the internet.

He died in a car accident on a dirt road. He had crashed into a tree. I later heard, and it might have been a rumor, that he was drunk.

He left behind a daughter who was maybe 2 years old and I thought, was it right all those when I was a teen to have wished him dead?

He left school at 16, I never saw him again. But now he was dead and I was afraid it was because of my thoughts.

*not real name

2

I saw her again, this time she was running late for the bus and I asked the bus driver to wait for her. He waited and she climbed in the bus. I did not speak to her but I kept watching her.

I am sure she knew I was watching her and it probably annoyed her.

I don’t understand women.

3

I used to work at McDonalds as a teenager. Some of the managers were sometimes really mean to me so one day I stole a bag of chocolate fudge and another time I stole a box of chocolate flakes. (for the sundaes) I don’t feel bad about it because the managers would give me such a hard time. I mean they really screamed at me and made fun of me.

4

A guy did not stop at a crossing for me. I looked at him driving the car as he went past, he looked like a fat slob for hours later all I could think of was cutting his throat like the terrorists do. Later when I calmed down I thought, maybe he just didn’t see me, it was dark and there was a big car parked right near the crossing entrance. Still I had thought about running the blade across his fat neck.

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On the 24th of June, (only a few days away) my debut novel comes outs.

Get your copy of The Bomber as soon as you can.

It is an incredible work of fiction.

http://ow.ly/i/bnWnl

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Leaving home

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She was, I suppose is, my best friend.

She left home last week. She moved to the city.

Our last night together she made me bring over all my art books and she put on The Smiths and we listened to the music and we went through the art together. My favorite was a picture of Icarus (see pic) her favorite was a Van Gogh but I am not going to tell you which one because that is my special memory and I feel it would make it worth less if I shared it. (not worthless but of less worth).

We were in her room and she told me all the things she would do in the city, she was so excited. She would be studying art and going to the theatre and working part time in a place that sends out a lot of internet orders and she would be in the office doing the paper work.

She asked me if I would come and see her, I will of course, but I don’t know when. I said I would send her a copy of my novel when it comes out next week. (I haven’t any hard copies yet) and I told her I would come up and see King Lear at the theatre in December with her.

She cried a little and put on an old Neil Young album called Harvest and we sat in the dark and spoke about life and literature.

“I think I’ll pack it in and buy a pick up, take it down to LA…”

The next day I came early and helped her to the train station. We sat on the platform and waited and it was a grey dark day. The clouds came rushing over like a tempest being born. We sat side by side, looking out at the birds in the farms nearby. The track was long and cold, we spoke little but there was a peace over us. Her bag beside me, separating our legs. I looked down at her poor little knees, she wore a yellow dress and a denim jacket.

“How do I look?” she asked.

“Fine.”
“I mean for my first day in the city?”
“Good, you’ll fit right in.”
“I hope I fit in, but I hope I stay myself you know?”
“I know,” I answered but I didn’t know. “You’ll have a great experience. You’ll be seeing everything for the first time, with fresh eyes. Use it in your art.”
“I want to. I can’t wait to meet all the artists. The school I am going to is really good.”
The train came around the corner and we watched it roll in. It’s blue engine pulling quietly down the track.

“This is it,” I said.
“It is.” she hugged me, and she was warm and soft. I felt so sad.

“I have something for you,” I said. I gave her a copy of The Great Gatsby.

“Thank you,” she said. I liked her, she never overdid anything. You could give her something or say something to her and she didn’t get all mushy or fake about it.

When she climbed on I saw her only one more time out the window as she waved to me over the top of some old women. I waved back and watched the train pull away and disappear down the long straight line. She was gone and I was alone and the wind, as if knowing I was alone blew cold and the first drops of rain began to fall, I hurried home.

She called me that night, her first night in the city.

“I can access the roof and I can see right over the city,” she said. “It is a beautiful view, but I can’t see the stars.”
“No,” I said.

“I hate not seeing the stars.”
“How is the apartment.”
“It’s okay, it’s small but at least I have it to myself. There are so many people on this floor. The art school is only just down the street so I can walk there easy.”
“Be careful if you walk about at night,”
“I will be. I miss you.”
“I miss you,” I said.

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My debut novel The Bomber comes out 24th of June. Have a look at it in the links on my page.

I can’t wait to send my friend a copy.

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High School

When I was thirteen I made it onto the all stars debating team. I was not good enough to be one of the four debaters, instead I was in a back up role. What they called the trust. If one of the debaters was sick I would step in, but my main role was to look up things in the dictionary and help write debates. I was on the bench.

The team was traveling to a nearby city to debate another school. I lived in Wagga Wagga, (a very small city) and we were going to Albury, (a comparably sized city) to debate their best team. We piled into the tiny bus and headed away.

The head of the debate team was someone I held in great respect. I thought he was astonishingly intelligent. I knew he was terrible at sports, I knew he was not popular with girls but, where I knew Shakespeare was a literary god, he knew and had read the actual plays, where I was aware of the world of Charles Dickens, he knew the characters intimately. It was like I was a boy in a blacking factory peering out into the cold London street of literature through a foggy pane, while he was in the globe theatre itself writing and performing the plays.

He was sixteen years old, he was over six feet tall, he commanded the debate team with a sure and decisive hand. If we were to win the debate it would be down to him.

We sat up the back of the bus, we owned the highway. The leader, I will call him Tom, began to speak.

“Lets play a game,” he said. “I will ask questions and see if you guys can get them right. First question to you Michael.”
Michael was a nice guy, same age as me. He is now a surgeon.
“What year heralded the beginning of the French Revolution?” Tom asked.

Michael thought for a moment. “1789?” he said.

“Yep.” Tom went through the players and they all answered correctly. He came to me.

“Easy one for you,” he said, “What is the capital of France?”

I knew the answer, but I was so nervous I could not get it. I just could not get the word out.

“Don’t you know?” he asked, leering at me with disdain.

“Uhh,” was all I could say.

“Anyone?” He finally said.

“Paris,” they all shouted.

Tom looked at me in disgust.

The actual debate did not go too well for me either. In the class room where it was held the teacher asked us why there were five of us.

“He’s the trust,” we answered her.

“No, we don’t do that here, that’s cheating.”

I answered quickly, “I’ll just sit and watch then.”

“No you won’t!” she bellowed. “You’ll sit outside, keep quiet and don’t wander off anywhere.”
So for the debate I sat outside and waited. Anger welling up inside me. One time I moved away and she came rushing out and telling me to stay where I was, sitting on the ground.

When the debate was finished I was so angry I did not even ask how it went. I think we lost. That teacher was a real son of a bitch.

A few months later, before Tom graduated to Senior high, we held a writers group after school where all the kids wanting to be writers came together to talk about our work.

It was held in Mr. Hall’s English classroom. (Mr. Hall being the greatest English teacher at our school).

After the last bell, we rushed down to a corner store next to the school, loaded our pockets with  candy and sugary lollies, and came back to class.

Tom called every one around and took out a huge folder.

“This is my novel,” he said, “It is almost finished.”

He opened the folder and there were hundreds of pages of writing, thousands and thousands of words, a real novel. No one could have guessed he had such a treasure. Where we were writing poems about motorbikes and army men he had written a real book.

He let us read the first lines. The penmanship was neat easy to read. It began something like:

“On the planet Grossmorss something moved about the craters. It oozed like slime, but was hard enough to move huge rocks aside like pebbles. Captain Tom Draft sat at the controls of the Space-Eagle trying to charge the batteries for lift off when he heard a noise like tearing metal coming form the base of the ship…”
“That’s enough,” he said and slapped the folder shut.

“That was great Tom,” I said.

He looked at me, I could not tell if he recognized me or not.

“I want to be a writer one day,” I said.
“What do you want to write, verse or prose?”
I was unsure, “books,” I said.

“I don’t think any one would read your stuff,” he declared. “If you ever write a book it will never be as good as this.” he slapped his hand on his folder.

Those words still haunt me. I think he is still writing, I know he is an English teacher now. I keep expecting to see his name announced in the new releases, I still expect to see his book about Captain Tom Draft in the book stores and it worries me that it will be a better book than mine.

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THE BOMBER is out 24th of June with Pen Name Publishing.

The main character is not Capt. Tom Draft but someone somewhat similar.

Night story

I live in a small apartment that looks out over the back lane and tall brick walls. At night the streets lights glow a pale yellow and I can secretly watch the strange people who walk up and down the lane. I have no need to turn my television on, my next door neighbor, a fat lonely woman who hates company but can be very kind, has her television on all he time, turned up loud. Our walls are very thin so I hear what is happening in there. I hear the news, the movies, the dramas, I hear her rise from her chair and cross to her bathroom, I hear her urinate.

Some nights are busy, some are quiet. Homeless people sleep in the rubbish and doorways below my window. I am glad to be on the high floor so they cannot come too near, but I can still see them. Sometimes, when the moon is pale in the city sky and no one moves about, cats dance on the road below, they sing and leap about. I drop food to them and they look up in thanks.

At night it is just me, my neighbor’s noise, and God. We are all in the tiny room together. I leave the lights off and sit still and breath, witnessing the city wail like a lover, watching the brick walls and on the right morning, I wait for the garbage truck that comes grumbling and screaming at six am to empty the bins and remove the trash. I wonder what the homeless people do on that day? They must know thursday morning belongs to the garbage man.

Some mornings after having sat with the darkness all night I will go to bed and sleep a few hours, but usually I like to walk down to the park, cross the bridge over the lake and visit the gardens they have built along the eastern edge. The gardens represent different places in the world. For England they have grown a Shakespearian garden and that is my favorite.

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Maple Syrup

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I was in the supermarket the other day

and I bought myself a bottle of Maple syrup.

It was the cheapest bottle on the shelf

but on the label, it read

that it was as good as any of the other stuff surrounding it.

The bottle looked nice too

it was like a little bottle of whiskey.

The next morning I made myself some pancakes.

I cooked them carefully,

remembering my days as a cook at McDonalds

piled them up and took them into the lounge room

along with the bottle of Syrup.

I poured out a careful amount on each and began to eat.

Then Mary came in

“Did you make me some?” she asked.

“No,” I answered.

“You never make me breakfast,” she screamed, “You ought to have made me breakfast.”

“You don’t like pancakes, you like cornflakes.”

“That’s not the point, you never make me breakfast.”

She stormed out.

This syrup was weak

and each mouthful became more and more sour.

“You can have some of mine,” I called, but it was too late.

She’d probably left.