Friday, December 07, 2007

At home in Old town

I've got 2 places that I refer to as 'home' now.

Curiously enough election night emphasised that division and connection really well. I'd agreed to spend the day polling with the 3 Glen Innes supporters for The Greens. So I hung out for few hours at the local uniting church, chatting convivially on the hustings, amazed at the ability of the local independent to entice One Nation supporters and Kooris to poll for him, while chatting to old schoolfriend's parents on the Nationals stall, or minding the stall for the ALP - whose supporters are close family friends. Two of the greenies were ageing hippies who'd only been in the district for 25 years, and only found acceptance with 3 generations taking root in the town.... so the nationals supporters were strangers to them, previously hostile political and social opponents - whereas most people at school knew I was left of Gough Whitlam (I hadn't heard of Che Guevara then) so me coming out as a greens supporter wasn't a big surprise. Even thought it drives me nuts - and I *can't* really live there, there is a familiarity and ease about the place and my contrariness feels grounded and accepted. But there to be educated, to be queer, to be an artist, *is* contrary and eccentric; an oddity to be tolerated, or a phase to be ignored like a bad haircut perhaps.

Even though there was an election night party planned at a house of some family friends, I'd felt an incredibly strong urge to be surrounded by a large amount of like minded people. I think the last minute polls promoting a swing to Howard were the clincher. I knew if he got back in that I'd need to get very very drunk and commit harikiri with a large group of like minded people, rather than silently sob at home, and share my hopeless gloom with the 25 lefties in town. Mum - bless her - agreed to drive me 100kms to the airport so I booked a ticket for the night time.

Armidale Airport is even more desolate than the Ryanair terminal at Pirrkala in Finland, and with a downpour - things looked hopelessly gloomy. but In the sky - somehow I had a strange sense of joy - which could have been from the weird clouds, or the complimentary wine, but by the time I got in a cab home - Barnaby Rudge was already calling defeat, and I could barely keep my mouth closed with delight.

At home, with the sun setting, I could hear people calling to each other in the streets of Erko - announcing results from cars and house windows. I looked up the results online and let out a shriek of delight. I ran downstairs to tell the neighbours but everyone was lost in a weird cloud of..... collective bonhomie; a common state for the compound which seems to be oblivious to the world on a number of levels (Ah dystopia such a bittersweet opiate!) So I frocked up as SCRAGG and ran up the street. Briefly saw Abel and her Mum - and blabbed delightedly in french. they were also oblivious to the result, but were convivial at least...

Up at Newtown Bridge, someone had erected a large screen and set up decks, and a large gathering of multigenerational rif-raf were standing and swilling and cheering with delight as the results came through. This was fucking perfect. I saw a lot of old friends. I saw the tom cat who ignored me as studiously as I ignored her (sometimes I'm REALLY sick of being a lesbian). Then saw a lot of new friends and forgot the sapphic angst. I lost scragg's 6-pack of bundy and bought some Guinness. then found the 6 pack. I got woefully drunk. Had a bit of a nostalgia moment, ostetatiously spraying my piss over parked cars with some old feminazi mates.... then tried to negotiate getting to the after-party with various drunken mates. We were all to drunk to read a street directory, or direct a cabbie. Finally made it as 3 vanloads of riot cops seemed to be screeching around the corner determined to use up the leftover APEC budget. It was 2am and there were people EVERYWHERE. This felt like home.

today, checking facebook, I came across yet another tiny group that a few friends had signed up to. The OLD Newtown (Sydney) 1992 - 1999 currently has 124 members, mostly comprised of the white thirtysomething creative class that typically sign up to facebook, and like to flaunt our subject formation as much as a series of affiliations, aspirations and lifestyle choices that denote the kind of social mobility, intellectual flexibility and political cosmopolitanism to which we like to be identified with.

true to form, I've joined numerous minor groups including reunion societies for student politicians, and even a tongue in cheek fanclub for a DJ mate... actually 'DJ' is an understatement for a luminary of ye olde vintage raver project of the Temporary Autonomous Zone of sound and silly arm waving, but I'll leave that for another time...

Meanwhile something about The OLD Newtown (Sydney) 1992 - 1999 was making me feel a little queazy.

I think one of my earliest posts on this blog (3 years ago, sigh!) was about the changes to Newtown as it moved upmarket, and cranky old codger that I am, I continue to lament the increasing impossibility of sustaining an oxymoron even in freeform writing like weblogs... err... I mean the increasing discomfort I feel around my olde barrio as it shifts upmarket. I CAN'T AFFORD to buy food there, let alone clothing. the cafe's look tacky and frightening and so do the pubs. there are maybe 4 places that I'd even consider going for a meal, and I do largely consider King Street as a convenient and well lit stretch between my home (the compound) and my work (the uni) - for which I'm so incredibly lucky that I feel like a total wanker for whingeing about having to get a train to buy groceries.

Maybe I just have a probelm with the dates. In my half life of sydney residencies I've lived in the following suburbs:

Homebush for 3 months
Dulwich Hill for 6 months
Camperdown for 6 months
Erskineville for 18 months
Enmore for 3 years
Randwick for 1 year (shudder)
Petersham for 3 years
Ultimo for 3 months
the Compound for 8 and a half years (interspersed with about 18 months overseas)

the compound is on the edge of Erko, Newtown & St. Peters so even it's not actually IN newtown, and since I've only lived there since 1999 then how can I claim to be a vintage newtown resident?

from 1992-1999 I didn't live in Newtown, I didn't shop in Newtown, and I could barely afford to go to cafe's let alone eat out in Newtown (except for family dinners when Mum came to town). Until 1994 I did a lot of pasting up on King street, and from 1993 I did quite a lot of getting pissed, but does this make a local or a blow in? and what were the criteria?

Is this a society for THE NEWTOWN PRECINCT? Or for visitors to Newtown? and if it is for the latter, then how am I meant to differentiate myself as a legitimate boho visitor from the tourist wannabe scum that have apparently ruined the place since?

Of course I do play the game of Spewtown authenticity, and have played it sickeningly well for years. I was a regular at the Sando in 1989, I used to do my study in the empty front bar of the Impy back in 1991, fornicated with different genders in Camperdown cemetery in both decades of last century, Inserted people, objects and substances into various orifices in the dunnies of that pub that got renamed and renovated FIVE years ago. I used to have dreadlocks, and I shared a house with an old communist who'd lived in the Barrio in the 1950's. thanks to the Department of Housing we're both still here.

I was whingeing about the place going to the dogs (yuppies) in 1991, and screaming at Eastern suburbs 'types' sometime... well, many times, but moreso when I was living in Randwick and working full time and feeling insecure and defensive.

So, true to form, I'm going to indulge in a little bit of projection, and wonder what people are trying to hide or ignore about themselves by this need to blame a suburb for echoing the destinies of it's boho luminaries and going upmarket? I don't know many people who've stayed as poor and 'hardcore' as we were 10 or 15 years ago, but I know LOTS with full time jobs and mortgages and kids and new clothes and salon haircuts. Change happens. And I’m also a bit suss about assuming that boho students, or temporary beneficiaries of Centrelink are somehow more representative of a suburb than the other residents or consumers, like people who have worked there, old residents from before it was trendyville, kids who grew up there, the yuppies who bought into the place early, and, heaven forbid… the kooris who I think might still OWN the place.

Maybe it was the anecdote from a friend in London who’d gone out to dinner with some old student mates – who were basically a bunch of GOTHS, whingeing about now newtown had changed in one breathe and speculating on their mortgages in the next. WTF???

I DO really believe that cultural and social viability do come from the capacity of spaces and suburbs to facilitate a certain amount of socio-economic flexibility. I don’t just mean ‘diversity’ – and dumping housing commission flats in bourgie ‘burbs, but having a variety of land use and land occupation and retail development so that wonderful seductive beast of entrepreneurial capital can flourish – with or without large amounts of dosh. If an area looks like a space where lots of peeps can indulge in a variety of dreams or ideas or fantasies – then even if 80% end up being boring opportunists on the make, then even the visibility of movement, of cultural activity, of social change and mobility can offer a broader challenge to the deadening stranglehold of monopoly capital.

Shopping malls aren’t just depressing because of the low ceilings or flouro lights, but because they present and reinforce a view that the only way to buy or to sell – to get clothed and fed and have contact with people HAS to be mediated by large scale industrial capital. Big buildings, carparks, chain store franchises, mass advertising. Organised, renovated, remote, insinuating itself at a molecular level into our bodies, our eardrums, our minds…. It is spirit crushing HELL.

I resent the fact that I can’t buy my groceries along a shopping strip in my suburb, and I refuse to by fruit in a supermarket. But I can still jump on a train to indulge in my consumer preference for fruit markets and small shops, whereas most Australians can’t. In Bathurst and Glen Innes there were no fruit and vegetable shops, and fresh produce was double the price of Sydney. This change has occurred in the past 18 months, and I imagine it’s the same everywhere.

My generation of thirty something bohos have witnessed the massive increase in fossil fuel consumption in the past 15 years, and incredible decline in any semblance of sustainable agriculture or food distribution or water conservation practices. While I like the fact that I can buy 5 different brands of organic tofu within walking distance of my home, but I think that this does nothing to change the fact that my mum can only buy vegetables that have been driven two thousand kilometres, when she lives less than 300 kilometres from major fruit growing areas of Australia.

Maybe I’m lucky to regard 2 places as home – so I’m NOT insular but always looking outside, or outwards, or looking away, wondering what’s happening to the other half of my world, while simultaneously maligning or eulogising the one where I live. This means that I can’t ever see a place as purely good or bad, or see the changes that occur in one place as separate from the changes to my own life, or the changes that occur elsewhere. Maybe it’s why sometimes the political disengagement of the compound drives me nuts. I believe creativity involves actively moving outwards, responding to changes and challenges by seeking new possibilities and fighting for them, rather than sinking into a safety nest of shared values and lifestyle choices.

I find Newtown delightful and frustrating as hell, and lived through a lot of heartbreak as well as had some incredible dreams come true. I think I still love it because it has this combination of disgust and delight, and irritates me as much as it seduces me. Maybe I’m just glad that I haven’t seen window displays of pyjamas and slippers. If a Katies opens up on King Street, I’m outta there.


fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too
Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.
i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I wish I could access facebook from here

It's 10.30pm and the infinite calm of a country evening is being pierced by some neighbour shrieking out "erin!" repeatedly at the top of her lungs.

I managed to write 2000 words today before the heat and incessant drone of lawnmowers drove me out into the late afternoon.

It was a perfect New England day... sunny, dry, and not too many flies.

It took me 20 minutes to walk from the southern end of town (where Mum lives) to the final street on the northern edge. I used to think it was WullaMulla street, but discovered that if I head west, that another funny little street has been created "donnegal Avenue", just off coronation avenue...and I wonder if it some kind of weird POMO gesture to reconciliation in Northern Ireland, or just another weird POMO gesture to local weirdness, like the "Welcome to Celtic Country" sign in the Aboriginal Cultural Centre, and the local Kamiliroi dude who works at the tourist centre and dresses up in a Kilt and plays the bagpipes during the celtic festival.

Things like this remind me that NOTHING I DO could ever be as eccentric as the place I grew up in, and that I am but a pale shadow of the weirdness, folly and contradictions that filled my childhood.

I think I've gone completely stir crazy. I spent a considerable amount of sunday sobbing, and then all of yesterday with THE MIGRAINE FROM HELL. I remember soaking in a lavender bath and various muffled grabbings at my pharmaceutical collection, and wanting to cry at the intense yellow of my old lunchbox, and looking at some meat in the fridge and wanting to throw up. I remember my amazement at 2am this morning when it was finally gone, and I felt human, sort of.

today I saw a couple of miraculous things that made me smile -
1) a pack of stallions running along the train line in the late afternoon sun
2) a perfectly pale blue fibro house against the bush on Wilga Street, with a perfectly bare lawn save for a mathcing white and blue caravan in the bakyard
3) a flock of rosellas in the gum trees near Mum's house
4) the wild slates and oranges of another batch of storm clouds swarming at sunset

the skies here are magnificent and *almost* match the delights of waves crashing on sydney cliffs... maybe not almost, actually, but they are pretty good. A clear sky here is a dark cerulean, amost cobalt, and the greys here are dark slate and indigo... Brittany (in france, not spears) matches them in Autumn but they are pretty special....

and I like the cacophany of bird life in the mornings, being woken by kookaburras, and seranded by plovers, those weird cuckoo things, willy wagtails and legions of lorikeets, parrots, rosellas, magpies and the odd mad screeching cocky outside my window, makes a change from the Noisy Mynahs of Erko.

I still wish I was getting the train on friday back to a crazy weekend in my crazy city, but I've planned to hang out in town for the weekend. I promised the local greens that I'd help out on saturday, and it looks like my writing is FINALLY starting to flow. I'm trying to treat this as some kind of durational endurance exercise - but... 3 weeks is a bit too much, even with a thesis to focus on. Maybe I need quality distraction.

wouldn't it be nice if this was my last blog entry under a Liberal government?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cold Turkey

woohhh Man, It's been full on, and I don't think I'm over the worst, yet.

I'm trying to break my facebook addiction.

I'm in a very strange cyberhole... as in I have *limited* connection with the outside world, and I'm trying to focus on the tome, on reading worthy books, on meditating, yoga, self improvement, reflection, walking, writing, drawing.....

On mum's dialup connection and 1990's computer I can read text of web pages but not see any images. I can open and read my facebook account - but can't reply to any messages, use any buttons, post any text, or see other peoples images let along videos....

My first feelings are anxiety - not being able to approve friend requests, or RSVP to events that I can't attend... and my feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and a desire to be acknowledged and approved of - but not contacted - are being thwarted. so I feel frustrated, and then I feel bored, or alienated. so I log out.

Email seems to be a comparatively limited platform lately - as most of the chatter I'm familiar with is occurring on the more ostentatious platform of facebook -where everyone one knows can see who one has been contacting.... exhibitionist mayhem likes this somewhat....

Maybe that's why I've gone back to blogging (hah1 as if I ever left it!). and most of my emails have been with friends OVERSEAS rather than in Sydney - sydney ffiends has mainly been about organising stuff rather than conversational exchange...

The other fallible portal has been my phone - whose reception is really dodgy here. when it works - texts still go missing or bounce - and that's just at my end. Lucky we have a landline and the post office is only 15 minutes away or I'd be freaking out.

anyway - I ran away from home to avoid the distractions of sydney and be able to exclusively focus on the tome. and, shock horror (not) I've found that the distraction is really inside my head - and without the pressure cooker sense of fighting for time to focus - without the sense of having peers around me... without a sense of immanent communication, my ability to imagine sentences, to maintain a headspace devoted to streams of thoughts about the tome - is almost impossible.

what to do?

Part of me is really loving being here. It's a nice break from everything and I'm enjoying my mum and meals in front of the TV and reading the herald and having earnest D&M's about the intricacies of social life. I'm enjoying being a daughter and bending Mum's ear with the endless processing of the Abel debacle and the endless permutations of my eggshell heart, while cooking and cleaning and squabbling about her admittedly "margaret Olley" kitchen (decorated china and potplants EVERYWHERE.... the uber clutter aesthetic of antihousework feminist working mothers in their dotage…).

I love being in the only non drought stricken part of rural NSW - seeing all the multitude shades of green that remind me of the joys of blighty back in April (and with the similar weather).. only here - the sky burns into a deep cobalt and the hills in the distance are slate and rust, wiht granite rocks and eucalypts. I like finding my way, finding my habitus back in my old home - in a similar way that I found my habitus in such foreign places as brooklyn, Manhatten, and finland earlier this year... how do I get the foods that I want? how do I set up my computer? meditate? sleep? find clothes? I've found a great masseur - probably the best I've ever visited, and attended a really crap yoga class - but doing these adult mayhem things in the town I left 20 years ago is like discovering myself and this place again.

It's strange feeling so connected to a place that I have ardently believed for 25 years to be UNLIVEABLE for me, and so remote from a place that i've called home for nearly 20. Being away for Sydney I've realised how few of my close friends still live there, and how little contact I have with people, and how little I am actually missed, when I'm not there. Partly it's the tome - I do spend lots of my life trying to isolate myself from people so I can work... but it's also a structural thing. I've had a 'partner' for most of the past decade, and so most of my friends receded to acquaintances and colleagues... 'network members'. Lots of my old peer group have moved OS or interstate as have my art school friends. It is also a fact that living in a commune means that I've rarely had to go far for company - or call friends if I want to see people - since as long as I'm not fussy, there's always people on my back doorstep - literally.

I think I'm having a big mid-life crisis or saturn returns or something (Actually I think I have those every year... call it the burden of a reflective life). A good foucaultian, I should call it a crisis in subject formation - or an asymptote in my trajectory of becoming. This isn't that surprising innit? I mean, allegedly the *thing* about PhD's is that they are a process of subject formation - the formation of a particular type of self regulating high functioning fodder for the knowledge economy - and one is meant to acquire the skills to negotiate an identity which is entirely subsumed into the performance of an intellectual labourer -without going stark raving bonkers....(I just wish I could learn to type).

This point - the last 6 months, the waters breaking moment, the gravid point of the tome - is when it's all meant to come to a head - I'm meant to be able to *let go of the past* - dump my possessions, my old friends, my roots - and devote myself to the tome, and emerge as a free floating completely mobile servant of the creative uberclass - hell! wow! gee!

Glistening prizes dangle on the other side of that screen...(which reminds me of the simple minds LP from the 80's....) travel - working interstate or overseas, a lifetime of conferences, publications, teaching, packing up and moving anywhere - anytime chasing more opportunities and possibilities, meeting amazing people, having amazing conversations, writing amazing books....

do I want this? Well, yes of course... or coarse perhaps, since I put it so crudely. Is my cynical wavering a kind of recovering catholic mephistophelean conceit? I have very little sense of entitlement to any of this (ohh god the aspirational angst of the departing working classes... big yawn)

My life right now is ten times more brilliant than anything I could have dreamt of 12 years ago - which probably shows how boring my dreams were - but also I feel more like I did twelve years ago than at any other time. I feel absolutely in crisis. Like I don't know who I am, who my friends actually are, who I can trust or how I am meant to negotiate the world I live in.

One of the nuttiest paradoxes is that my internal dialogues are trying to work on a sense of integrity… I’m trying to envisage my self as a singular subject that doesn’t split off – or divide other people into the bits that I like and don’t like. I’ve got intense passions towards an ideal of integrity – wholeness – sustaining a personal ethics of continuum – where my being, where my sense of awareness and communication with others can be continuous and honest… letting go of the ‘no go areas’ and avoiding people where there are unbridgeable gaps or no go areas.

At the same time – I’m engaged intellectually with Deleuzian philosophers who abandon notions of ‘the subject’ and emphasise the fleeting, the temporal, the molecular. Death to the subject! Tear down the kingdoms of the I! The idea of a ‘self’ to preserve is a Freudian Fallacy that traps us in endless internal spiral towards and ego that is only ever a figure of speech – that puts up walls to our possibilities of contact, movement and life…

My urge for a sense of ‘self’ protection and sustenance can only work with this other model if I abandon this conflict and think more about the spatial metaphors. If my urge for a ‘self’ stops me from having contact with others, from communicating and expanding and growing , and forces me to stratify the spaces around me so that my ego doesn’t collapse, then … it is ‘bad’. Hence I try to be egoless, and then I just hide in my room all day.

OK try again. If the spaces in which I find myself, if the relations around me are rigid, and striated and fixed in such a way that I can’t move, can’t communicate, can’t flow, then there is a problem and I need to get out of them. The bucolic delights of the cnutry don’t hide the fact that here – I’m incredibly self conscious of what I can and can’t do in order to participate in this society with some level of physical safety. I left schappylle in sydney. I’m not meant to swear in front of my friends kids. I could NEVER do a strip tease at the local pub, or have sex in the toilets, or flirt with women on the main street. If people here knew that is what I did, there would be a scandal. Sex belongs in relationships, in beds, in homes, in couples, in secrets. Sex is fixed, not fluid. The sexual constraints are emblematic of wider dilemmas with how impossible it is to be queer or ambiguous in any sense at all. Here, my own miscegenated angst is starkly regulated into binary relief; I am white, not black, and whites don’t talk to blacks, or socialise with them, or visit each others houses. Whites don’t usually walk places, like the 10 minutes to the shopping centre, the 20 minutes to the yoga hall, the 25 minutes to my friends farm, because to be a citizen here, is to be white, and whites drive in cars, socialise in houses, not walk on the street or drink in parks or on porches.

So why am I here? Is this awareness of external constraints choking me out of self expression? Is the sustenance of familiarity suffocating? Even at its worst I find sydney madly joyous – and place where I can have delirious release and play with EVERYTHING. There’s always an audience for mad laughter or wailing sobs – even if it just the cliffs at coogee – but so often I find the mad whirl too much, too exhausting, and I do just want to run away and hide…..

So there is not ‘answer’ – just a continuous to and from –a movement between different worlds where I am constantly ill at ease, into myself where I’m completely ill at ease most of the time – and then occasionally fleetingly content. I’ve brought philosophers with me for sustenance: alphonso Lingis ‘the imperative’ on how perception can engender ethical becomings; where the world itself makes us responsive to it; and Sarah Ahmed’s “Queer Phenomenology” whose spatial model for queerness and miscegenation made me really happy as I sat in a snow bound hut in Finland earlier this year… and ultimately her model of ‘the self’ as a motile, agitated, responsive, rather than an atomised element on a singular trajectory of social mobility.

So I’m trying to think of the tome as having enable a lot of agitation, a lot of movement sideways, obliquely, and random connections and possibilities that are, mostly incredible, and incredibly life affirming. Trying not to think of it as a step on a career path –but as, an intense process which is transforming me, but hopefully will allow for more fun impossible things to be created. If I can allow myself to feel, to imagine to create and to desire through this, then maybe it’s OK.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


In my valiant and eternal attempts at procrastination I have just translated a letter I wrote to an Australian friend living in France - originally written in a phonetic spelling of a "fairy seek foran ucksonn" into my incredibly imperfect French.

When I read my French I can read my accent into it - it's not just the lack of punctuation, the absence of accents, or the continual reversion to imperfect past tense as a default position to disguise my complete incapacity to absorb volume two of the BLED guide to French verbs (dspite many hours of cheese inspired toilet reading).

and - I do get increasingly scared that my French will end up as disused and strange as spanish. this sounds tragic in a way, but then I wonder just how much of language - or appparent coherence in language is built on faith... we recognise what we expect to hear, what we want to hear. Language is acquired as a habit of familiarity and trust - which falls apart as soon as that trust is broken - or the familiar suddenly seems incomprehensible.

I said goodbye to 'el viejo' on the weekend. He's moving back to South America to live. He says he'll return to visit his kids, but I'm not expecting to see him again. He returned my tresses that I cut in the 5th and final year of our relationship, so I now have a complete collection of my hair for the past 17 years.

. He also gave me the photo left - which is a tiny print - which he insisted was of me and my brother - which my mother had given to him.I tried to tell him that it was not of me or my brother, but he refused to believe me.

This was really strange. I asked him which child he thought was me, and which one was my brother, and where did he think it was taken, and he said "I don't know, but your mother gave it to me". This was the sort of moments that my childhood was full of. My dad telling me continuous endless tales about myself and my family that didn't make any sense.

In Dad's favour (perhaps) he was also obsessed with mimetic technologies, taking photos and recording our voices and cutting scraps of hair. these would be brought out and displayed and replayed each time he came to visit. They were some of the very few things about the visits from my father that made sense. Mum didn't buy a camera until we moved into town, so almost all of my childhood photos before the age of 7 were taken by Dad, my aunts and uncles, or the pixie photos in town.

I remember most of them being taken, and remember hours spent looking at them, recounting the stories of when and where they were taken. It's incredibly how scarcity of images produces an embellishment of words, or rituals, stories sensations and memories around the images, so they become attached to ourselves - not merely through the punctum of the image itself - but in where and when they have been viewed, reviewed, explained, touched, maybe destroyed and forgotten and then remembered. I wonder if kiddies growing up in the digital age of excessive images - will relate to photographs. I see my own relationship to photographs changing as the amount of images of myself multiply - but mainly on virtual platforms - disconnected from me, my hands, from paper, my room, my family.

the photo on the right was the first pixie photo that I and my brother had done - and I think it is likely that Mum gave a miniature copy of this one to el Veijo. I think he's recognised the dark curly hair, the spotty jumpsuit as indexical elements to this image and then decided that this other photograph was identical if not the same.

But I remember the photo - where it was taken - and the past 30 years of walking past that particular pharmacy since, and remembering 'that's where we had that photo taken when I was four' It's next to the pub where I threw my t-bone steak bones onto the street - coz I's assumed there'd be dogs wanting to eat them. I remember the clothes we were wearing, and seeing them on the clothesline, and in other photos since. I remember looking at that photograph repeatedly since, and remember what I thought, what I said, what I felt - as I do with all of my other childhood photographs. I aslo recongise the features of my brother and of me. the facial gestures, my mouth, my hands, both our eyes - which I don't in the other photograph.

I tried pointing this out to el Veijo - "neither of us has eyes that far apart - we both had curly hair as kids - his eyes were black not blue - we were nearly the same age" but el veijo still wouldn't beleive me. I was incredulous that someone who'd slept with me for 5 years and lived with me for 8 couldn't see recognise my features enough to tell me apart from some other child in a photograph, and I wondered what sort of relationship I even had with him.

I still wonder, and I wonder about representation, and what happens when it doesn't work. Derrida's work breaking up representation - it's a re-presenting, but then it's also a redoing of a pre-sending - a weird kind of repetition of an act of interpretative anticipation. Derrida - recalcitrant beast that he was - tried to read more sympathetically into Martin heidegger's disdain for the detachment of representation from reality, the act of anticipation and projection of a preconceived idea of reality as a way of avoiding an engagement with it. Derrida (I think) envisaged to re pre sent as a series of temporal shifts and movements. Derrida's emphasis on temporality is deadly serious. His use of 'differance' is not a semantic game -but a passionate insistence that difference, that reality, that what we encounter as.... anything that is, is founded on a deferral - a shift in time between what is familiar and what is strange. What we know as 'us'is never given but comes to us through a process of becoming, of differentiation - and the moment of this differentiation is intricately linked with memory - a movement back and forth in time, between what we RE - cognise, what we REmember, and what is formed as memory - through a process of anticipation.

Can I admit here how much I LOVE this idea of embedding the notion of time moving forwards and backwards as we - as the world, as our capacity to apprehend, to articulate, to describe it - also involves a distinctly temporal quality? for me, it's a reminder of why history is so precious and so fragile. We cannot apprehend the present - and any attempt to do so - to represent it involves memory, projection, moving backwards and forwards between what we think we know or thought we know, anticipating what we might know, and being startled so often by our encounter with what is. My idea of myself - bound up in industrial beige consumer fetishes for mimetic technologies - for technolgies of representation aroudn which I have an accretion of habits, of words, of exchanges with others that has become my life. My memories, linked to indexical elements in childhood photographs, is still embedded in relationships and the language that I am using now. this is what forms me.

However, so many friendships or affairs seem to fall apart based on a dispute over words, or their meaning - and I find - I feel that as a soon as I find myself haggling over words, phrases and nuances in words, trying to tease apart, re-read, restate, clarify, qualify what i've said to someone - or as soon as I find someone picking apaprt my words and twisting the remainder back around my recollection of an event, my emotions, my reactions, my feelings - or my confusion - that i lose interest in saying anything at all. words seem absolutely pointless. words exist to embellish an affective connection, a weird strange sense of a shared project, or plan - or something... but they don't work as bandaids over nasty gaps in faith or feeling -but drop away.

It's the sense I had in my last conversation with my feline friend - who curled up and spat in a furious dispute over 3 words in a text message. Can an affair really fall apart over three simple words? An affair built on crazy desires, unstated needs and mad flights of fantasy probably can, and did. I was silly for ever tring to call such a fleeting thing 'friendship'. Ho hum, mayhem's judgement swayed by une belle cul yet again. One day I'll learn to walk with my head raise a bit higher, I promise.

Tormenting myself over the spiteful missive from the cane toad - I'm impressed by the power of misapprehension to allow for meaning to twist between words,and turn back again, becoming something else. My words, misheard, mistranslated doubling over themselves, as meaning trips and stumbles. I spoke to her in two languages, she wrote to me and spoke only in one. Her command of English almost as appalling as my French, using the misrecognition... yelled became yeild, and my cries of pain became distorted into an accusation of violence.

She said she could press charges against me... for what I wonder? "Yielding and crying"? Australian police have a history of harassing and incarcerating aboriginies for being in a position of vulnerability and disposession in the face of colonial invasion, but I'd hardly describe indigenous marginalisation as 'yielding'. So is 'yielding and crying' a crime? And was I yielding? or yelling? I'm not sure that I raised my voice that much, but I could be wrong. One of my housemates described my requests that she turn out the lights when she left the house as a "bollocking" -so maybe I am more forceful than I realise.

Where images failed, now words fail and have failed, and yet here I am, circulating the images, and surrounding them with words to somehow make things alright. words and images, becoming like some sort of fetish to ward off the evil eye - or the evil spirits, or just evil. In the misrecognised photograph I felt undone by doubt - I doubted my childhood - then doubted my relationship - and then in the cane toads posting - her differing account - again I wondered if I'd made everything up. If I was just acting after all. am I acting, what am I playing at? and why would I bother. Is "yeilding and crying" such a compelling fantasy for me?

and why the hell is it, that when I move away from an impossible relationship with a French Language Teacher I end up immersed in the work of those French intellectuals who are lauded among anglophones but barely known in France. does their work only work in translation? and what does that say about me?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dirty Laundry

Sitting here at uni trying to feel less hatred for my abject lack of productivity for the past 4 hours. I've managed to go over some readings and half spellcheck the summary of some book and check my email and facebook about 3 times and eat a whole heap of sugary stuff and have a micro sleep on my desk and drink a pot of coffee and.....

I had 3 days of quality doona time, on the tim-tam meal replacement diet, unable to get the motivation to clear away the clutter of clothes and books and papers that were accumulating around my bed - actually around my body that was confined to my bed while I popped pills, passed out, gorged on books, gorged on chocolate, getting up occasionally to piss. Bribing myself with chocolate in order to force myself out to do basic things, post a letter, pick up some scripts.

Then when I woke up with a dark brown smear over my back and across my pale green sheets, I decided I had to act. fortunately it wasn't shit - just a bit of chocolate that i'd rolled over in my sleep. (really! I promise!)

So I washed my sheets, dragged myself out to yoga and back to bed for another 12 hour slumber. today - I got up, meditated, showered, cleaned and vacuumed my room. Forced myself to walk to uni wiht the promise of 4 tim tams when I got here. I havne't been able to work. Just survive. Just subsist.

Maybe I should have let myself scream hysterically at my friend's funeral instead of quietly self medicating into this slow fug of gloom. Maybe life is just a bit shit right now.

a comment from the cane toad beneath my last post - only added to my dissonant relationship with reality. Last week I somehow replied some sort of light polite response to an email from Abel's mum - who's visiting the compound in 2 weeks.... saying 'yes, I'm in the last few months of the PhD, yes i've been a bit down because a close friend died'... not "your drunken daughter and that vile cane toad she wrecked our relationship for have driven me stark raving bonkers" because it didn't seem *polite*.

Maybe I'm more english than I thought?

Maybe not. I sent some replica turds in the mail to my favourite blighty boys - and have heard nothing since. I thought they'd *like* a festy missive.....

I can see now how academics become complete aspergery freaks.

Bright young thing enrolls in PhD
Life randomly falls apart around their ears. Friends die, go mad or turn turdish
Primary relationships turn turdish
Bright young thing starts hiding at uni, burrowing themselves in obscure theory
Bright young thing decides world is completely scary
Bright young thing loses all contact wiht reality and loses basic social skills from lack of practice
Bright young thing eventually becomes a freak and gets awarded a doctorate.

the last time my life decided to become so intensely shit - I decided that acutally there was a god and I was being punished for sodomy. At risk of making the readers of this blog puke with TMI (helll when has that ever stopped me in the past?) I will now admit that I have been playing wiht pooholes this year - and now fully accept the consequences - and will try to refrain in the future - If I get through the present.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Danny Boy

Time for some light relief! for some reason this reminded me of zoo!
Maybe its because she recently had a white night in the beige confines of a postgrad computing room.

Saturday, October 06, 2007



One night back in 1994, el veijo lashed out and bought a crab which he made into an incredible soup for the two of us. Crab filled the flat and drowned out the stench of the neighbours constantly fermenting vats of ngoc mam next door.

Perfumed fishy sweetness filled our noses, dribbled down our arms, filled the air, perfumed the garden, drifted up and met the fug of jetfuel wafting down from the flightpaths above.

We drank, we smoked, we ate. We were trying hard to be happy in our new 2 bedroom flat, trying to hold hands as we drifted apart, trying not to look like a couple to centrelink who’d dropped in for a home visit. I had cut my waist length hair short, looking pained enough so they could guess why we weren’t a couple. El veijo just look pained.

After gorging ourselves on crab meat, we stuck the licked fragments of shell in a bag on the back doorstep. A few hours later, still up, we heard a caterwaul. It was autumn and this was odd. I went to investigate and found a slender young ginger tom, miaowing plaintitively on the back step. I undid the bag and offered him some crab flesh, but he seemed more interested in rubbing himself against me. I invited him in.

My previous feline “Pulgato” had mysteriously disappeared during my birthday party a few months earlier, so I was glad the universe had found me a replacement. El veijo wasn’t. “Cat’s are worse than rats” he declaimed and then launched on a rambling lecture on the evils of those weird four footed furry familiars that people have around. I hadn’t seen such odium until watching Deleuze and Parnet on youtube… checking out the “A” section of ABCDE as the old emphysemic Deleuze coughed and shuddered and his gravely voice expounds on the repugnance of rubbing, miaowing plaintative pathos of pets, especially cats. “c’est odious… comments ils frottent. Non. Je n’aime pas ca, je ne support pas les chats.” (It’s hateful, the way they rub. No, I don’t like that, I can’t stand cats).

Back in the past, as el veijo declaimed, the ginger tom was already on my lap, rubbing himself against me, my face, and my hands. Some cats settle quickly into a furry lap snuggle, but this one was intent on rubbing himself all over me. I guess you could call it heavy petting, and I think it fuelled el veijo’s odium. I think it gave me hives. I didn’t care.

After some time, the ginger tom paused and looked deep into my scratched spectacles, where my eyes met his. I had never seen a look like this from a cat. Especially one I had just met. I stared back. I was definitely in love. This cat was seducing me. Red welts appeared on my neck, my hands and face were stinging, my eyes watering, my throat itchy. Still the cat stared and I stared back. The cat was in love with me. His eyes drew my watery gaze back into his and my hands on his back moved down to his tail. He moved forwards, but mercifully not to rub against my face… but then sunk his teeth into the side of my neck.

I kid you not! As his teeth broke my skin I reached involuntarily for the scruff of his neck and I had to pull hard to wrench him off me! I cried out and flung him away from me with a shudder, and he stood on the floor looking at me. Looking kind of hurt, but still quite loving as well. No actually I don’t know how to describe the look. I stared back in bewilderment. “Eso es!” el veijo declared “El gato culiardo es Nosferatu”. (that’s it, this bugger of a cat is Nosferatu – the famous german expressionist vampire).

I reluctantly put the cat outside, but he hung around for a few weeks – he’d come in, act incredibly affectionate to whoever would let him on their lap, then he’d stare into their eyes, and then try to bite their neck. It was uncanny, but fascinating. I was reminded of anecdotes about animals seducing their prey. I felt like a mesmerised little bird in front of a serpent. I was seduced and terrified at once. It was creepy but exciting, but still creepy.

I was reminded of that look more recently in the eyes of an equally seductive affectionate young tom… and I still can’t quite find the words for it. Other lovers have trapped me in their gaze, and I’ve felt my eyes drifting into theirs and my language drifting into an infinity of bad poetry… such delicious swooning delight! But uncanny for someone I’d just met, a playmate, light sweet and salty sex, no shit, no ties, no games, apparently.

It’s easy enough to fuck up in casual sex and slide from fornication into lovemaking in the bat of an eyelid. (A vampire bat perhaps?) I’d even venture to say that the thrill of a casual arrangement is largely based around toying with the knife edge of seduction – seducing her or being seduced…. Drifting so far in, and pulling away… testing, toying teasing with the limits of our desire, our bodies, our stamina, our hearts… certainly the thrill of succumbing to a lustful embrace is that vertiginous swoon of affective collapse. No words here, my dear. You eyes meet mine, your fluids fill each pore of my skin and stain my sheets, your smell fills my nostrils for hours. I drench myself in our fluids and drown inside your stare. Your eyes have eaten my soul, sucked out my lifeblood, sucked out my secrets, and mine shed tears, and my fingers scratch out screeds of swooning indulgence in black bic biro, etching my lust, your flesh, your taste scrawling itself along my tongue into my favourite silent language, carrion words, hidden on paper, on which I feed, and refeed and savour for weeks and months to come.

Obviously none of this is particularly healthy, and most certainly feeds into my own pathological relationship to writing. Words! I love how they swoon within me, I love to gorge on them and vomit them out, I love to swim in them, feel them enter me, hurt my insides, digest and break down and pulse throughout me… and then I love to feel the end of words…. Knowing that there’s bits of me they can’t reach…. I touch the darkness and draw back…..

Back to the tomcat. Who still gives a strange flicker of soul sucking stares in the strangest of places. My own eyes water and flit and I rub toothpaste on the coke bottle lenses, hoping to shelter behind a few more scratches. Myopic watery pools. Made for scrutinising pores, for focussing on the eyes of a lover, while their mouth meets mine, but little else. Prosthetics protect. Protect my own sad stupid little heart, from flying out again to be hurt and crushed and dropped and crushed, and… no, actually they don’t protect me at all really.

There’s a fleshy pad between my thumb and wrist. There’s a stretchable pocket between my thumb and index finger. On my right hand, which is not my writing hand, though I’m typing with it now. This part of me aches for tomcats…. Impels itself to burrow in their fur, to smear itself on their haunches, soaking up their scent. Neither inside nor outside, the tentative hand fucks that aren’t quite five fingers, rubbing against the edge, as my fingers move inside my palm remains here, where lips and folds are both inside and out, strange hesitating incessant rubbing…. Are you with me? The base of my thumb, the hard wad of muscle wants to meet feline flesh, to rub up and down the fur, feel the fur rubbing itself into my wrinkles and pores, along my fine tracery of warm veins rising to the surface. When I see that stare… I look away, because there’s a lump in my chest, a little reserve, as the blood rises to my face and I blush. Nosferatu can see my vessels dilate, wants me to open up a little more, coaxing me forwards….

Right now, retreating, hidden, safely snuggled under layers of fabric and words, I wonder if Nosferatu is something I’ve just made up. Something I invented, projected out as part of my own desire – my own need to collapse onto something – someone else, my own desire to collapse over my own projected need. As I drag people towards me and push them away, as I hide myself away feeding off my own emptiness, as I sit in the grey fug of my own crushing doubt, noises, shapes, people, conversations, oppress, suffocate me. I feel my life blood ebb. No colour here, only graphite scratchings across an infinite sea of mundanity. To face myself is to face boredom, incredible boredom, counting freckles, squeezing blackheads, noting the increasing greyness emerging from each pore on my head. I haven’t got the energy to flee into colour, the sea wind chills me, and I wonder where my life blood has gone. Why am I so cold all of the time? Why can’t I think in colour anymore? I don’t know who to trust, who to believe, I barely trust myself, I trust barely, I trust myself barely. Naked in the bath, barely naked, strange pale flesh streaking past the mirror, before I hide myself in clean clothes. Is this the same body that stripped, and swaggered and seduced a few short months ago? I can barely touch myself now, and the thought of other flesh renders me nauseous. Maybe I need to go back to life drawing, but I’m enjoying melaleucas, whose stripped peeling bark, gnarled forking forms evoke my own dreams of Daphne…. She retreated from flesh, from flight, from rape, into stillness. Her limbs wooden, her feet rooted to the soil, her hands sprouted infinite leaves. Reset in Erskineville, her skin pushes outwards, splits itself as multiple layers of protection, inscription, traceries. Her skin became paper, her skin begged for writing, to be written on, for the stories her mouth had silenced to finally appear, to be heard only by eyes and hearts. There’s no words here, my dear. Only desperate sheafs of blank paper, multiplying pushing outwards, peeling, folding, splitting, reminding me of what hasn’t been written yet, what can’t be written, what can’t be spoken but could be written, if only I could find the words. I trace my finger across the soft bark, trace my soft pencil across paper, remembering flesh. Bloodless flesh.

I go back inside, retreat into the darkness, to the edge of words, where there is little more than darkness and fear. Trying to make friends with this space. Not to fixate morbidly on my own frailty, but to realise there is something inside of me. This aporia, murk of hell is part of…. Part of me, and part of life. This aporia, murk of hell is deadly, it is my own fear of death, and yet I carry it within me. I don’t need a vampire to suck my lifeblood from me any more to feel it. It’s here, behind my heartbeat, and yet my heart continues to breathe over the top. My chest expands, I breathe, quickly, from an aversive terror, or slowly and I, slowly exhale, settling down into the fixation. I sense the delight of my own collapse, and sense my own inexorable movement away from this. My life is a constant sensing of this, the awareness of hell, and the flight from pain, from death. I’m tyring not to flee so fast, so far. Trying to move a little more cautiously, holding my self as I sense the world around me – not as a fixed entity, but as what I move into, what moves into me, what becomes me and me it. I am merely a species of momentum, a set of movements in a rib cage, senses pulsing down into limbs, extremities, eyelids, pulsing, pushing forwards, connecting, calling, crying.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rabid Puma Bitch and Shnookums

I wanted to start with something light.

Today I woke up and typed out a well-worded piece of spite about psychic vampires. It wasn’t only catty, but entertaining and admittedly rather eloquent in parts. I even spellchecked it.

It will have to wait.

I wanted to start with something safe. Funny stories of hapless bioboys and their hapless texts to mad brilliant women who laugh hysterically, and run into the light.
I’ve taken the title from textepithets written to me and a mate, who were comparing notes on the consequences of biocock. Bad poetry. We try to laugh at men, because it’s easier than screaming at them.

Right now, I can’t laugh. Though the thought of my gentle femme friend, a soft feline creature playing out the role of rabid puma bitch in some str8 boy’s porn script is… almost as silly as me being coaxed into some slippered shnookums wifelet role - and does still bring a curl to the corner of my lips…

But the rest of this entry isn’t light, can’t be light, is horribly horribly dark and sad and I didn’t know what else to write and maybe it’s a fitting follow on for Derrida who said that he wrote half asleep in a trance, he wrote half aware while fully awake, so fully awake that he was as yet half asleep – and when he was half asleep, he found himself horrified at his bravado, writing, attacking, saying what hadn’t been said, what shouldn’t be said.

Writing is treason

I read it on La Pelouse’s toilet wall and tears sprung to my eyes.
I copied out the quote in my diary:

Writing is treason to your nation, your family,
your gender, your class, your majority.
Above all, writing is treason to writing itself.

The credit cited Gilles Deleuze and Clare Parnet and I spent a week scouring Dialogues in English and french and then transcripts and fragments of ABCDE trying to find it in a citable form…. But ain’t had no luck yet.

So is this treason? Who am I betraying when I write ? what right do I have to tell stories of others, however much they are linked to and form me, and move me and become me?
How do I write this?
Where do I start?

OK, I’ll start with Saturday. It has a crazy narrative with cracks of madness showing through.

On Saturday a close friend who I hadn’t really seen for a while, hugged me too hard. She meant well, and I didn’t tell her to stop, and didn’t know if I wanted her to stop or not. But afterwards, as we chatted and ate, I felt words dry up in my mouth, and my mind vanish elsewhere. The food was inedible, but I ate it, and my friend eventually left – and I can’t remember saying goodbye, but I remember closing the door.

I walked out of the house with tears streaming under my sunnies. Randomly sobbing and not sure why. Shaking, cold. It was cold. I felt very odd. Glad to breathe, glad to walk. I walked to Enmore, and caught a bus. I was dressed as an abject sleazy middle aged monstrous man, so people smiled at me. My sobs held back by my teeth, my streaming eyes hidden under black sunnies, my rictus mask looked like a smile of sorts.

If you put on a mask you are safe. You can be whoever you want in a mask, you can say whatever you want. Masks are magic. The Brontes believed it as children. Too scared, small and shy to speak until their father gave them a mask to speak from. It must be true. All writers are cowards at heart. Our hearts are broken at birth.

Changing at Petersham, I bussed it to Balmain – ostensibly for a friend’s booklaunch. I needed words, needed some salve – something. Her magnum opus is exploring a ficto critical mythology for the smashing of language and the self at birth… ohhh it’s too long to describe here. I hoped the latest book wouldn’t be too intense.

Buses irritate me at times – as did this one. I got off on the edge of Leichhardt and went wandering north, up the hill towards Lilyfield – meandering through streets… past a street of funny little close set split level semi detached houses, up to Perry and Balmain streets…. Looking at the street sign I saw where I was, where I had walked past, the house I’d lived – been born into, brought home too… was that living?

And is this my story to tell?

It was a time before language, a time which language has wrapped itself around like a wound – and the stories aren’t mine, but stories about and between grown ups. Stories grown ups told each other, and taunted me with, and part of me was there, but it was very small, barely a witness to something much larger and nastier, that I was a part of and so maybe it’s my story after all, but I have no words for it yet.

Just sadness and horror, and occasionally blind rage.

Back to the mask, and the books and nice things, which I move towards, which enter me and feed me and let me move in the world.

Later, walking home, I felt as if my body was flying apart. I couldn’t feel my legs, was scared I’d fall over. My head swam, my left nipple started aching, my stomach … my sense… was cold, and strange, and scared.

I kept walking, went inside, turned on the heater, put on all my clothes, hid in bed, reading soothing sapphisms, breathing. Eventually able to text the Rabid Panther Bitch who also specialises in mercy missions to desperate dying and disaster prone friends. Thank dog.

So I self cared, calmed down, found care, safety, support, security with loving flatties friends and neighbours. Was reminded why I’ve fought to stay in my home and learnt a little more about my own points of frailty. And trucked on as usual for the rest of the weekend.

And today, I got a phone call from an ex of an old dear beloved friend and I knew why she called – coz she has never called before and…..

My friend Lang died last night. In her sleep I hope it was her heart or the drugs or some accident and not some suicide but she had been suicidal before and ok it was peaceful and we must tell each other nice stories because the nasty ones hurt too much and if we start telling them we’ll never stop our screams.

I wish I knew a way to tell this story, to talk about this stuff in a way that wouldn’t make me or other readers flinch.

I flinch when I hear stories like my own. I flinch when I hear them in public. I go cold and I turn away, I wish I didn’t have to hear it, I wish I didn’t have to tell it.

Writing ANYTHING is easier than this, and yet writing ANYTHING is often so damn hard.

You know this story. You’ve heard it before. Some of you might have lived it. Lots of you might have lived it. I’m sorry if you have. It’s a horrible way to have to live.

Men who fuck their daughters or try to and men who tell lies to their daughters break apart our bodies and our language. I can’t speak for other genders or gendered becomings or possibilities. This scenario feels like a specifically sex based binarised gendering.

The men who do this, split themselves apart in order to do it. Different selves do the hurting, others do the judging, the speaking…. And there is no continuity between the words, between the different scripts, the different faces to the world, the actions, the stories. Hypocrisy isn’t an epistemological flaw, it’s a fucking poison that makes any attempt at connection completely impossible and drives apart the bodies and minds of those who come into contact with it.

Am I a hypocrite? After all, we all have contradictions. Nobody is perfect. And I am my father’s daughter after all.

I remember the shape of his lips, his teeth, his hands, how they felt on mine. His knuckles were calloused smooth and I remember the timbre of his voice, his knees like mine, the birthmark on his thigh. Bits of his body are in me, bits of his mind too.

I don’t think my brother could stand it. He died five years to the day after Dad. Slow dragon chasing on the edge of an iceberg. He wasn’t the first of my father’s sons to suicide. I can’t speak for them. Maybe none of the above is true.

This pain feels implacably gendered. It’s in my breasts, and my vulva, which I’ve tried to masculinise but can’t. Packed and bound, they insist on their own femaleness, and demand that I accept mine. My becoming woman began with a very specific act of destruction, by a man, against my sex, my sexuality, my being, my becoming.

So to my friend, my dear dead friend Lang, who I'm now crying for because it beats the fuck out of crying for myself. who I knew when she was whole, when I was falling apart - when we were both falling, but clutching, dreaming talking, finding reason and brilliance and bravery, and love.

So I’m going to tell another story, for myself, for my friend, my lover, my sister. For whoever else reads this, and knows what I’m talking about.

“sisterhood” sounds like such a hokey ‘70’s feminist word
So if I say my sisters are sacred I’ll come across as an abjectly lavendered wench and my pomo gender studies queericon kudos will be ruined.

Spawning from my patermonster, my biofamily is a bit of a source of shame, horror and tragedy, on the whole… but there’s another story too.

Today I rang my mum, and today she was my mum and she listened and spoke and we laughed and cried and talked for ages. And she said how she wished that women would write honest graffiitti about the men that abuse them instead of stupid abuse about other women. I’m taking my texta to uni tomorrow.

I remembered that my family is composed of women who have known unspeakable pain, but dared to speak it and we share it, and continue to live with it, and hold our anger, limping, laughing, struggling along, stuttering, speaking and living.

The only people I really trust are people who know pain, who know this pain, and yet can live with it – and I don’t just mean a bare life of mad subsistence but a great gulping force of nature. These people are my flesh and blood. These people share my flesh and blood. They are my religion, my family, my reason for living, and my sustenance.

I have one sister living in new york. She loved my brother, and they could have married but they didn’t and he’s been dead for longer than he knew her anyway. She’s my sister because she lives, because life is in each cell of her body. She cries, she laughs, she sings and life is a breathe that flows continuously through her – no gaps, no hidden secrets, no lies. She’s beautiful.

And Lang was my other sister, and her beauty and her tenderness and love is one of the most sacred and wonderful things I’ve ever come across. She was whole. Can I scream it from the rooftops? She was whole! Entire – the same person, integrated, honest, generous, so generous, in so many ways, with so many people, even with her horror biofamily. And they are horrors. Nasty smug xtian hypocrites. They disapproved of her lapsed xtianism, and ignored her suffering for years, as if it was just punishment for not being a good child of god. Her pain is so horrible that it dug inside her, sclerosified her joints, broke apart her mind numerous occasions. She moved, found new words, ideas, people. She surrounded herself with books, with friends, with new families, with new ways of feeling and showing and sharing love. Still tried desperately to reconcile with her family, to give them some way of sharing love with her, someone who shouldn’t exist, someone who embodied their shame, the refuse of a hypocritic life.

And it worked. She said her patermonster came close to apologising the last time he saw her. She said he stammered out something along the lines of.. “I’m sorry, that your childhood was so painful”. Note the separation – the distancing of the self from action, from agency… how do we acknowledge when we cause someone actual harm? How do we reconcile it within ourselves? OK the above is not really a happy ending – and hardly fits with my idea of redemption.

So I’m going to remind myself of the brilliance and beauty of fighting for feeling, for sensation, for connection against a body and a self that has been broken apart. My dear sister Lang – you did this to the very end. You were beautifully alive and connected and whole and you remind me still of the brilliance and possibility of living fully with the immanence of death, of pain, of annihilation. I wish like hell you could have finished uni, or a novel, or so many dreams you had. I wish you could have written the story you shared with your friends. I wish I could find words for your pain, I wish I knew the incantation to take it away from you, and to make things better and whole and easier for us all.

I don’t of course. And moving towards language is a daily movement away from this impossible space before language. Spaces of pain, horror and terror within me. I touch the edges, feel my own panic in the dark. Try to pause, and breathe. It is possible to sense this, to carry it with me, to hold my impossible self, the destroyed sad little hell, to breathe with it and move slowly towards living and writing with integrity and courage. I’m not trying to tell anyone else’s story here. I don’t have the right. Only to sense that in sharing stories, sharing pain, I am reminded of my own imperative to keep on living well, to find a voice that can breathe life into my being and the world around me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Jacques Derrida - Fear of Writing

It was one of those days.... does watching videos of philosophers on youtube make me impossibly tragic?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Refuse what we ARE:

"Maybe the target nowadays is not to discover what we are, but to refuse what we are."

I'm quoting from Judy Butler's grappings with foucault, subjectivity and power.
I'm grappling with subjectivity, grappling with my own confounding sense of the impossible, the imperative of impossibility, of acting, sliding towards spaces where I hope gaps open up. I'm spending a lot of time reading theory - sometimes I even write a little
"the conclusion would be that the political, ethical, social, philosophical problem of our days is not to try to liberate us both from the state, and from the state's institutions, but to liberate us from the state and the type of individualzation which is linked to the state. We have to promote new forms of subjectivity through the refusal of this kind of individuality which has been imposed on us for several centuries"
(JB: Between Freud and Foucault in 'the Psychic Life of Power, 1997 , p101)

I, as some of YOUSE may have noticed, tend to treat philosophy in an epicurian sense - no I don't mean gourmette olives - but in a stoic sense - and I don't mean biting my lip and eating porridge either...

I see philosophy as a means of considering how it is possible to actually live. how is it possible to reflect honestly, critically and imaginatively upon my desires, my actions, and those of others around me?

How is it possible to get out of bed?

today has been a shit day. My coffee was bitter, the milk oily and coagulated, there were no bananas in the house and insufficient dunny paper for my exploding entrails....

I meditated, I checked my emails, I walked to uni under the fallen sky, i'm here - still trying to work, and not doing very well. I've munched on junk food and painkillers. anything to stop me feeling, stop me shitting, stop me, ohh oh oh stop me, stop me if you think that you've heard this one before....

so. the life.
tomorrow Schappylle Scragg is heading off to take the piss out of the idea of an 'australian public'.
Hysterical flaunting mimesis anyone?
I'm hoping the rain holds off enough so the fake tan stays on, and then i'm meeting up with some earnest and estimable colleagues to discuss judy Butlers take on Foucault and subjectivity, and power....

and my life is so divinely silly sometimes I can't help but smile.

and thank god for this, because I am still so often so damnably hellishly fucking sad.

today has been major lump in chestitis. zits on my face, zits on my scalp, a yucky tummy, an aching body... I woke up wiht a headache but it went away, but I still feel so shite, physically shite, emotionally shite, and I can't think my way out of this, can't steer my whirring mind around to some ohter way of looking at the situation... I just try to distract meself, seal up lips, block off ears, bury myself in assiduous tomeness and hope that time will take me away from this.

Even YOGA ain't helping at the mo... I feel unbalanced, uncoordinated and exhausted.

anway - my committment to slivers of possibility means that I *will* be doing bits and pieces to protest the APEC security circus.... Overpaid, stir crazy cutlery confiscating coppers make a mockery of any notion of citizenship that is not fundamentally bound up wiht really full on coercive relations...

I *am* feeling a bit scared of all the shit about rubber bullets and tear gas and water cannons, but my mind got changed in yoga last week.

I was standing in tadasana, across from an aquaintance who I *KNOW* will definitely be marching on saturday... and I thought - 'fuck. how can I stand here, saying 'Aum' and breathing the same air as someone who is likely to to get the shit beaten out of them this time next week?'

and i decided that I have to go to the march - if only to bear witness to what the stte is, and what it does to it's citzens. I *know* the media will report nothing of this side of the protest; of the dignity and power and beauty of marching, as a public, as a group of people into the city, just to say - hang on isn't this society meant to be ours?'

I *know* that the overpaid, stir crazy cutlery confiscating coppers will do anything they can to provoke violence - even if it means dressing in civvvies and chucking a couple of rocks at their colleagues...

but the whole Apec security circus, the war on terror etc. makes a mockery out of any ideas of the state being anything but a ludicrous spectacle of enforcing invisible power of capitalist speculation - and all we are meant to doo as subjects is play the role of passive compliant consumer... then... well.... hell1 i'ts time to take the piss!

I love the chaser, and I love the greens, and Schazza and Dazza are going out to be 'ordinary aussies' tomorra - doing their bit to fight the war on terror!

I'd rather die laughing than crying

my favourite thing I've seen all week is this:
hope to see some pretty cheeks at 3pm tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Alien Invasion 4

Rally at Sydney Town Hall, 10am, Saturday September 8
The Stop Bush Coalition has decided to organise a rally at Sydney Town
Hall, 10am, Saturday September 8 to protest the APEC meetings. more info

If you don't want to protest in the city there are a HEAP of other events and actions in which you can join other people pissed off at th neoliberal paranoid syconphancy of our city leaders....

Counter-APEC events

#6pm, Wed 29th Aug
Trajectories of Dissent Exhibition Opening: Little Fish Gallery, 22 Enmore Road Enmore

# 6.30pm, Thurs 30 Aug
The People vs Bush - put George Bush on trial
Parramatta Town Hall. Prosecution witnesses include: Mamdouh Habib (former Guantanamo detainee), Kamala Emanuel (Socialist Alliance global warming spokesperson), Ninos Tooma (Iraqi activist)

# 5.30 for 6.30pm, Fri 31 Aug
APPEC public forum
Sydney Masonic Centre Banquet Hall, 66 Goulburn St, city. Featuring: Sharon Burrow (ACTU), Don Henry (ACF), Yuri Munsayac (Philippines)

# 9.30am-4pm, Sat 1 Sept
Asia Pacific People for Environment & Community (APPEC) conference
Guthrie Theatre, University of Technology, Sydney, Harris St.

# Tues 4 Sept @ 5pm,
George Bush is NOT welcome here
Sydney Town Hall. Action to mark the arrival of George Bush in Sydney.

Wed 5 Sept
# 8.30am,
Anti-war court action
Waverley Court, 151 Bronte Rd, Waverley. Support action for anti-war activist Peter McGregor who was arrested in connection with his citizen's arrest of Philip Ruddock for war crimes.
# 1pm,Walkout Against George (student walkout) Belmore Park.
# 6pm,
Exhibition Opening and Activist dialogue

Mori Gallery, 168 Day Street sydney, with members from the Asia Pacific Research Network.

# 11am-2pm, Fri 7 Sept
All People for Environment & Community Festival
Hyde Park North.
# 6pm, Fri 7 Sept
Convergence meeting
Venue to be notified. This meeting will include a briefing on the latest rally details and will make any final decisions about the Saturday rally
# evening, Fri 7 Sept
Ghost dance Hyde Park North.

# 10am, Sat 8 Sept
Stop Bush - Make Howard History rally
Sydney Town Hall. Protest to end the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan; stop global warming; & defend workers' rights.

# 3pm, Sat 8 Sept
Rally de-brief
Taylors on Central, 84-86 Mary St, Surry Hills. Regroup and discuss the day's events before the Stop Bush gig!

# 4pm, Sat 8 Sept
Protest gig
Taylors on Central, 84-86 Mary St, Surry Hills. Protest gig with Chaosmaths, Social Progression System, Wire MC, Jakalene Xtreme (and more)
Other counter-APEC events

Monday, August 27, 2007

Alien Invasion 3


Will people be allowed to protest during APEC?
Groups and individuals that choose to express their views peacefully can be assured they will be able to do so.

There is no objection to people expressing their views through the lawful and democratic means of peaceful assembly.

The NSW Police Force is actively involved in a mediation process to provide liaison between potential protest groups and APEC security officials. People wishing to protest in Sydney during APEC should contact the NSW Police. You can attend your local police station and obtain a notice of intention to hold a public assembly. This is generally referred to as a Form 1. If you can't attend a police station, you can call your local police for advice.

back to top

Will the police lock up protestors?
Groups and individuals that choose to express their views peacefully can be assured they will be able to do so.

However, demonstrators must also respect the right of others, including representatives of both foreign and domestic governments, to get on with their business in Australia free from violence.

Those who encourage or participate in violence or criminal activity, and put the safety of themselves or others at risk, will be apprehended by police and dealt with appropriately.

back to top


Alien Invasion 2

Sydney Peoples Alternative Rally & Festival
Friday September 7, 11am-2pm

Hyde Park North
YES for a nuclear-free, peaceful, and democratic
Asia-Pacific! Fair Trade not Free Trade!
performances, speakers, information stalls, food
no marching to or from the peaceful rally / festival

Many thousands of people in Sydney do not welcome the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in our city. Their alternative view will be expressed at a colourful festival to be held on Friday, September 7 in Hyde Park North from 11am to 2pm.
The official APEC is treating Sydney citizens as suspects and evicting them from beautiful parts of their city.
The official APEC is here to push nuclear power, free trade with all its privatisations and deregulation, and to assert that big business can run the world better than democratic citizens. That’s also why APEC promotes repression in our region.
That’s why we are protesting and projecting an alternative people’s agenda.

The Peoples Alternative Festival will promote the values of peace, security
and harmony, and the use of diplomacy and dialogue to replace force as a
means of resolving conflicts.


Men from U.N.C.L.E; Bolivarian Band; Korean drummers
Scenes from previous APEC protests:
clockwise - Manila ‘96, Kuala Lumpur
‘98, Manila ‘96, Vancouver ‘97
Organised by: All People for Environment & Community: Anti-Bases Campaign;
Sydney Peace & Justice Coalition; Migrante Philippines Australia; Bolivarian Circle;
Chilean Socialist Party / Oceania; Construction Forestry Mining & Energy Union;
Australian Services Union; Maritime Union of Australia (Sydney Branch); SEARCH
Foundation; Korean Resource Centre; Communist Party of Australia; Inner-West Your
Rights at Work; Aust Fair Trade & Investmetn Network. Contact: Peter Murphy 0418
312 301. Jane Brock 0410 453 459. Email:
Sydney Peoples Alternative to APEC
All People for Environment & Community

All People for Environment and Community, a wide coalition of community
groups who have come together to organise the Peoples Alternative Festival,
is creating a venue for the views of every Sydney citizen who puts the rights
of people and the environment before the interests of corporations.
Music, performance, speakers, and information and food stalls will combine
to offer an inclusive peaceful people’s vision for the future, in stark contrast
with the secretive, repressive big business agenda of the 21 APEC leaders
behind their concrete barricades.
Our Festival will promote the people’s alternative of fair trade, real action on
global warming, genuine development to alleviate poverty, opposition to war,
and respect for the labour rights and human rights of all the peoples of our
vast Asia Pacific region.
We oppose the presence in our city of Sydney of United States President
George Bush. He is the architect of the brutal invasion and occupation of
Iraq which has cost so many thousands of human lives and so much pain
and misery.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Alien Invasion

I was pondering the doom and gloom of the impending APEC circus and wondering if I should maybe offer myself up lemming like to the spectacle of state sponsored terrorism - or if I should somehow miraculously organise a mass mobilisation in CROYDON - and then the missive below landed in my inbox.

a bit bloody full on.... err... anyone got any media /pollie contacts?

It also reminds me that being able to choose our exposure to police brutality is a bit of a privilege innit?

> > Subject: house raids without warrants in NT
FYI- This has gone to the 7.30 report and several newspapers. please circulate.

Dear Kerry O'Brien and 7.30 researchers,

I have just returned from the Northern Territory. I want John Howard to explain why house to house raids without warrants are being conducted by the AFP in all the Alice Springs town camps.

I also want to know why at least two of the senior women who toured major cities speaking out against a uranium waste dump on their traditional lands have been raided by the AFP on warrants issued by a Federal Magistrate in Canberra, their furniture slashed with knives, belongings damages, laptops and mobile phones seized, and phones tapped. I was told by one of the women that the warrant gave 12 hours access to her home, and that she was told that the measures were justified because of the security crackdown for APEC ministers. One of those women is an elderly grandmother.

I have also been told by town camp residents that the AFP has set up surveillance on all households in the town camps,and have photographed without consent, every Aboriginal child in those town camps. In the 1990s the AFP were successfully taken to court for exactly the same violations in Redfern.
Please report on this disgraceful conduct, and pursue a full explanation from the Howard Government.
Jennifer Martiniello
Member, Advisory Board
Australian Centre for Indigenous History,
Australian National University

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lost in space

the universe is telling me to focus on the thesis.

for some random reason - my yahoo email account wouldn't accept my password for most of yesterday...

I spent an hour doing enforced 'heartmath' meditation to avoid intense panic attacks. i'm so addicted to email - I always imagine my dying words if I passed on would be my email password -


Decided this year must be the year that I'm meant to learn NOT TO Be SO ATTACHED TO THINGS. Realised for most of yesterday that I'd be fine without my email address... but... i'm still relieved to have it back.

anyway - I'm still finding it hard to focus on the thesis. Still haven't done any work today - spent the afternoon on the phone and on the internet - and nhow I'm off ot yoga to stretch the impossible stretches, and forget about pain, heartbreak and misery.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Vintage GD: sense in the logic

Alcoholism does not seem to be a search for pleasure, but a search for an effect which consists mainly in an extraordinary hardening of the present. One lives in two lives, of two moments at once, but not at all in the Proustian manner. The other moment may refer to projects as much as to memories of sober life; it nevertheless exists in an entirely different and profoundly modified way, held fast inside the hardened present which surrounds it like a tender pimple surrounded by indurate flesh. In this soft centre of the other moment, the alcoholic may identify himself wit the object of his love, or the objects of his “horror and compassion,” whereas the lived and willed hardness of the present moment permits him to hold reality at a distance.

The alcoholic does not like this rigidity which overtakes him any less than the softness that it surrounds and conceals. One of the moments is inside the other, and the present is hardened and tetanized, to this extent, only in order to invest this soft point which is ready to burst.

The two simultaneous moments are strangely organized; the alcoholic does not live at all in the imperfect or the future; the alcoholic has only a past perfect (passé composé ) – albeit a very special one. In drunkenness the alcoholic puts together an imaginary past, as if the softness of the past participle came to be combined with the hardness of the present auxiliary: I have – loved, I have-done, I have-seen. The conjunction of the two moments is expressed here, as much as the manner in which the alcoholic experiences on in the other, as one enjoys a manic omnipotence. Here the past perfect does not at all express a distance or a completion. The present moment belongs to the verb “to have”, whereas all being is “past” in the other simultaneous moment, the moment of participation and of the identification of the participle.

But what a strange, almost unbearable tension there is here… this embrace, this manner in which the present surrounds, invests, and encloses the other moment. The present has become a circle of crystal or of granite, formed about a soft core, a core of lava, of liquid or viscous glass.

From Gilles Deleuze, the Logic of Sense, trans. Mark Lester. (Columbia university Press, New york 1990) p 158

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Becoming intense, becoming animal

sometimes things get so shit that all you can do is steal chapter titles from Deleuze and Guattari.

things are so shit that I've forgotten how to talk. almost. I managed a couple of tear sodden phone calls and booked a doctors appointment - but mostly I've been hibernating. subsisting off chocolate, codeine, wasabi peas. trips next door to empty bladder and refill water bottle.

no this isn't a plea for phone calls, offers of events or distractions. And please no phone calls. Please! No more demands of 'how are you?'

I'm shithouse.
I'm heartbroken
I wish I'd never met abel. I wish I could erase her memory. I wish that by burning her photographs, letters, and any objects I could find that reminded me of her that I could have burnt 9 years of love, of attachment, of fantasy, of desire.

I wish I could burn, or bleed or vomit or breathe or shit out my feelings, this horrible feeling of being kicked in the guts, of having some kind of spike lodged in my thorax.

and people don't seem to be able to help me at all. The sounds of people, of masticating, rummaging - these little human sounds, echo like chainsaws inside... scrape along my skin. Each touch - each offer of touch feels like a blow.

I would really like to run very far away from this.

After 5 hours in shittyrail purgatory yesterday (don't ask - it was a failed attempt at escape) i retreated to my doona and whatever atavistic dysfunctional coping mechanisms I could summon. Eating disorders, pill popping, novel reading, thumbsucking, compulsive masturbating....

I don't know where to go from here
I don't know where to escape to.
I don't know what to do
I don't know who to.... I don't know what to say

Alcohol doesn't work, most hugs feel like a vacuum pump applied to my soul. the thought of fucking makes me want to vomit, I'm frightened of words, of voices, of my own words, of other words, I don't want to hear anyone, anything, anymore.

I assume this will pass eventually.

When I was in London I was having a great chat with an old friend about heartbreak, and we were quoting bits of A Thousands Plateaus to each other, and I thought "What kind of nutter reads Deleuze and Guattari as Self help?"

A desperate one obviously.

Ok. somewhere deep down - I can regard this as not *me* and not happening to *me* so much as a condition of sheer total hell whih is completely consuming and overwhelming, but temporary.

at the moment i'm experiencing an intensity, some form of acute pain and misery... but not all of me is experiencing it even - I mean I don't have haemmorhoids or cancer or even thrush... just a broken heart and a migraine.

and even the migraine seems to be wearing off...

2 weeks ago - i staggered into uni in a similar state of stricken emotional meltdown - and someone gave a lovely talk on derrida's ideas on the animal, on hospitality, on admitting the unknown, and possibly fatal, and the knife edge of risking complete annhilation, of losing the self, and of (de)fin(d)ing the self in the act of self defence.....

that to open up to becoming, to the other, to face the other, means to face monstrosity - the sheer terror of being taken and transformed and lost within a new encounter, and new becoming - and in using academic jargon this already sounds like a like a cliche doesn't it?

I was terrified of Abel when we first met, terrified of my desire and what it would do to me. With good reason I might add. Bioboy breakups never did never could come anywhere near this level of total fucking hell. Bioboys usually don't have me singing arias after sex though. And now - the thought of fucking most of my bioboy exes makes me laugh.... 'you call that sex? that's not even touching the sides!' Queer sex isn't just about size, or duration or gymnastics. Queer sex doesn't fill the box so much as smash it apart. In fucking women I've lost my head, lost my centre and felt like we were reinventing the world.

ADD tends to make me an optimist. I just don't have the attention span to be depressed for long periods of time - and I do believe deep down in my own capacity for surprise - for the world to be bigger and stranger and better than my understanding of it at any particular time.

but sometimes I just don't think I have the courage to face it. to get out of bed, to look past my own prejudices and habits and safety nets. To move beyond my old reflexes of caring, of being nice and open and listening to others instead of myself. Of letting others words fill me until I'm choking on my own silence. And so often I do find myself letting others words fill me until I'm choking on my own silence.

so i retreat. to my own space of dumbness. hollow silent hell. familiar pain. unspeakable tedium of sameness. My own monotony, my own script. My own smell makes me sick, each cell disgusts me. I lie still and I breathe.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Last night the compound had a screening of Death or Tango – the film about the “Federico” el orquestro typico in Buenos Aires….

There was lots of Astor Piazzola and I swooned hearing it again. Tears dribbled into my eyes, I could feel my blood pumping, feel my cunt moistening, feel my crazy little soul dancing inside me… my soul – does such a thing exist? – in love with crying bandoneons, stormy skies, crashing waves, (Emily) Bronte landscapes, and lyrics like “I want to make my heart drunk… my tears follow your shadow, my tears on your eyes, on your closed eyes I cry….”

Where the fuck was I?

Texting the Brixton cowboy – “I want to go to Argentina!” thinking of him on the tube, Piazzola on his I-pod. He texted me filth in return…. No longer in Buenos Aires, I was straddling him, fucking his mouth with my cunt, or his cunt with my mouth, then my cock….

Where the fuck was I?

Sitting in the place where I got married 6 years ago… wearing a 3 piece suit, blue not white, but sitting there all the same, trying to believe where I was, trying not to think of the exwife, her return, her place here, her place in me….I sipped mulled wine (vino caliente) and thought of England, Argentina, Piazzola and Petersham.

Mi Buenos Aires
Cuando yo te vuelva avez?
No hablas penas
Ni Olvido

I found Carlos Gardel easy to love but fifteen years ago Piazzola used to grate on my ears… it was too mad, too intense… the mad, wild lyrics of tango subsumed into chords, beats, sensation. I think I really fell in love with Piazzola when I could finally leave … what do I call this ex?

How the hell do I find a name better than the one he had for himself? He was an engineer, a poet, and a revolutionary. He was 11 years older than me. He gave me a language, an education, a family. He taught me cooking, history, politics. We fucked for 5 years, lived together for 8. He got me hooked on avocado “palta” for breakfast, long baths to music, long endless hours in bed, reading, talking, reading, writing….

His own language, of exile, of tragedy, of political failure, matched my own sense of exile from myself, displacement from home that was familiar and hated… or maybe it was a distraction – denying my own petty struggles by dreaming about bigger ones…

So now, what do I call him? Mi Viejo Companero? (companero – is somewhere between comrade, friend and lover) and veijo means old... and he was old, is an old memory….

It was HALF MY LIFE AGO and I was still a country girl. Scruffed and starved after my first year in the city, Scraped and scared from a cervix operation, caused from a nasty infection, from nasty sex with a nasty housemate who I still wouldn’t mind killing if I could….

Ell veijo companero fed and cuddled me and seduced me with Chopin, Neruda, and Gato Negro. He was the poet, the older man, cultivated, educated… he educated me, and I fell in love with him. Still so young and ex catholic I decided that my heart was more important than my nether regions… opened my legs and tried not to think of the cute queer fresh faced girls around me… played the role of friend, confidante, agony aunt.. ran coming out workshops for baby dykes while adding ideological padlocks to my own closet….

And after five years of this bullshit – I looked older than him, certainly older than I look now. His own moniker is a play on Nabokov’s famous book – masculinised but diminutive…. And he was and remained young, while I aged. He used to joke about drinking the blood of virgins to keep his youth – but sometimes it didn’t feel like a such a joke….

The bullshit was not only about my closet – but his own demons which were writhing around haunting him. He started waking up screaming the names of dead friends in the middle of the night, started self medicating with even more Gato Negro y macoña. He couldn’t listen to Cumbias any more or sweet songs by Sylvio Rodriguez – but needed darkness – intensity –anything to match the pain, and scream back at the demons – and so daylight hours became filled with Astor Piazzola…. Adios Nonino getting darker and crazier, and crazier and darker, and trying to fuck the pain away but each of us moving off into our own caverns of despair….

My own genitals protested. I developed chronic thrush and I think my clit invaginated whenever he came near…. My stupid head, my stupid heart wanted to comply, wanted to soak up his pain, desire, anger, hope….. drowning in his sorrow instead of facing my own. My patermonster was dying of cancer. I didn’t want to know, or care.…. It took a long time to realise that I do the best thinking between my legs, not between my ears – and to trust my body more than my ideas, my words, or those of anyone else….

I used to call him ‘Mi Novio’ (the fiancée…. Lover) as he hailed me as “Amore” or “La Reigna Margarita” or when I didn’t want to fuck “Maracona de Mierda” (dyke of shit) – to which I’d respond: “Boracho Juevon Culiado” (arse fucking big balled drunk).

So – it wasn’t until I’d left el Viejo Companero – left his house, left the music, the vino caliente, the three day parties for rain, for onions, for the sun – where Petersham would morph into Temuco while Chilenos shared stories of brujeria and danced the Cueca in the rain with more vino caliente and zopaypillas…. It wasn’t until my last year in art school – when a teacher put on Libertango while I was drawing – that I could feel the bandoneon loco move into something else….

And so now – ten years later… Piazzola moves me again… moves me inwardly, physically and mentally – as again I drift somewhere between nostalgia, hope and amnesia.

Amnesia gives me hope, because I forget about how much pain I felt about El Viejo Companero, how the first year after we broke up felt like hell. Every single day. How I couldn’t fuck or dance, didn’t want to see friends. How I had to leave el barrio and walk somewhere different. How I took a flat in Randwick, a job in Maroubra and staggered along Coogee cliffs hating myself, hating my life and feeling so empty and hollow and dumb – until finally words found me – and I started writing, writing madly daily, wildly – mad desire, mad anger, mad critiques…

Now thinking of Abel and the end of the marriage, and wishing I could end my feelings, but having to face them as unrequitable. Anticipating her here, in my face, nearby but not near…. As my chest clogs with tears…. (pleurisy sounds like pleurer – French for cry, for rain). As my bowels stiffen, and eyes water and hands shake, and stomach tremors…. As I choke on my tears, clutch, cry and shit – and this just in anticipation – all I can remind myself is that one day I’ll forget this – that it will drift into other pleasures, distractions and delights….

So again – I reach for my phone – send a mad desiring text somewhere – remapping my circuits of pleasure onto virtual space – share SMS hugs with other friends – swap mad ideas for text porn/internet porn/print porn/porn reviews/pornformance – remaking, reinventing bodies and language and space into something somewhere, sometime different but still here – another reality creating itself from the impossibility of the present.