Sunday, 24 January 2016

soundtrack to my life: sunny road by emiliana torrini

I was a 20 year old Arts student trying to figure out if I could be a writer, living in Brunswick, having just dragged myself through my then-boyfriend's first psychosis-induced hospital visit. Guess who has two thumbs and decided to move in with someone diagnosed with schizophrenia? This guy!

I'd lost my previous job working at a chocolate shop because of the afore-mentioned unexpected hospitalization of boyfriend, and once the dust had settled, had the tough reality check that I needed the pocket monies real bad. Living off Youth Allowance in Melbourne is challenging and requires levels of creativity I had not previously been exposed to. I was also concerned about having to give up the most important luxuries of an Arts student: coffee and cheap red wine.

My lovely love of a friend Bridget hooked me up with a sweet gig making shitty nachos and overdressed salads in the kitchen at The Retreat Hotel on Sydney Road. My interview: "Do you have black pants? Can you be here at 7?" The answer to both was yes, and I was in.

Even at the time I knew it was the sort of experience I'd reminisce about some 10 years later from the comfort of my much-better-paid career path job (jury's still out there, kids - give it another 10 years maybe). I had a sweet crew of mates in next to no time, and we good-naturedly tried not to burn each other, trip each other, or bury each other in plates stacked in death traps, all the while being secretly in love with each other and desperately pining for those two free knock-off drinks. I got to love a whole lot of rock and folk music chosen by the bar staff (always a little more self-important than the kitchen staff; they, after all, were not covered in oil and gravy), absorbing some excellent live bands through quiet lunchtime shifts. I ate a lot of cold chips.

This song was on high rotation on triple j one very hot summer. The kitchen was not airconditioned. I lived for the moment our boss shut the curtains, signalling the end of service and the start of the race to straighten up the kitchen before we could knock off. We'd work quickly, the radio blaring in our kitchen cocoon. Emiliana Torrini's beauty of a song made me nostalgic for a life I hadn't yet lived, shoulder to shoulder with people who I loved. This song makes me think of Bridget, McGregor, Georgia, Cesar and Ben and yes, even Lach. This song gives me that feeling of catching a flash of a breeze from the back door; a momentary relief from heat emanating from the grill and the ovens of that tiny space. Life seemed very busy in a way where nothing moved too quickly past the familiar and the fun. This song makes me wish just a little for another half-second of that juicy and glorious time.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

secret: some poems, in no particular order (they are backwards)


we tire of farewells
we are just so tired.
my skin is almost transparent
like the membrane of an egg
beneath it I am raw and animal.
my heart is unbearable
trying to wrap itself in cotton wool
I try to work through grief, like there's an end to this quiet pile.

to drag a worried body with a bruised heart
all 'round town
is a tiring thing.
I tire of farewells
I am just so tired.


they say it's not just the stars
but the space between them
like how you and me sit side
by side
staring at the fire.
feeling that warm and empty air
between our shoulders
our arms
our legs
our hands
our lips.

they say it's not just the stars
but the space between the stars
(it's the space between me
and where you are).


is a long list
& my heart aches while I wait
& you're crafting such beautiful question marks
with sure, warm hands.

there's just open space tonight,
there's just open space.