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I’m not here: Part 6













He stood at the window, staring aimlessly at the street.

‘John, when are you going to call Mum? She’s worried.’ His sister’s voice cut into his mind from behind him. He turned around, arms crossed over his chest.

‘Marge, I just want to have some head-space. It’s too much right now. Mum’s going to want all the details, and I’m not ready to give them.’ He leaned over the computer to look at his sister’s face in the Skype box. ‘I don’t see why I should have to explain every little part of my life to her. I’m old enough to ruin myself if I so wish.’

Marge sighed. ‘Whilst that’s true, we’re all worried about you. It all happened so fast.’

He moved back to the window, sitting sideways so he could see Marge and still watch the street.

‘John, maybe you should see someone.’

‘I don’t have time for that, and I don’t want to talk about it to a stranger.’

He saw movement at the corner of the street. A red skirt swished into view, carrying fallen leaves in it’s wake. He straightened up.

‘John, I know this guy…’

‘Marge, I’ve got to go. Sorry.’ He quickly closed the computer lid, and went back to the window. It was her. She’d obviously been shopping, as she carried a number of brightly-coloured bags. He watched as she navigated her bags past a walking couple. The man jostled her, and she dropped one of her bags, but he didn’t stop. He didn’t even turn around to apologise. It was like he hadn’t seen her at all.

She crouched down to gather the bag back, and as she stood, she looked directly up at John. For a moment, he thought she scowled, but then a smile crept across her face, and she waved at him. At that moment, the wind rose, and leaves swirled around her… through her? He shook his head.

For a second, he thought: maybe Marge is right, maybe I should see someone.

He glanced down again, and realised she was struggling with the keys to open the door to their building. She looked up at him in mock exasperation. He smiled, and left to go and help her.

An outdoor setting

I was driving through Koorawatha, a tiny town in Central NSW, when I saw this house that had been burned down and gutted. A ‘loungeroom’ had been set up within the rubble. It looked like the inside of an ordinary house except for the fact of no walls or roof. The antenna for the tv still stands, as does the fireplace, and the clothes line. The setting is rural, the trees surrounding the property hold guard over the reminants of humans. I got the feeling that the furniture is still used, that someone sits, gossips, and contempates. Some ghostly existence within continues the feeling of life.

After the rain

Wagga suffered under floods in December last year, washing away the belongings and homes of many people. I was wandering around the town after the floods and saw this shoebox floating in a puddle. There were no other objects nearby and I marveled at the sturdiness of such an object that could withstand the rains intact. A testamony to Julius Marlow shoes.

Fields of fire










It’s burn-off time, and my town is engulfed by fields of fire. The choking smoke can be hard to cope with, but it’s a reality of farming here. This photo shows a hay ball in the paddock, surrounded by charred ground and fire. The end of the harvest and the destruction necessary for the next. I find it interesting that to make new life, you have to completely destroy the old.

I’m not here: Part 5

The oranges rolled out of the bag and down the hall. He sighed, and put the groceries on the floor as he chased the recalitrant fruit. It hadn’t been the best day. He was still new to the job, and he was finding settling into the rhythm of the office difficult. His collegues seemed to resent his existence, his secretary resigned this morning stating that he was too demanding, and the espresso machine in the executive kitchen was broken. Not a good day at all, he decided. And now there was one orange that had managed to wedge itself under the hallway heater.

He knelt down, reaching under the heater, when a shoe caught his eye. No, it wasn’t just a shoe, there was an anklet as well, with red pieces on it, and a foot. But there was something indefinably strange about the foot encased in the shoe. It was almost like it didn’t really exist. Well, it was there… he could see that quite clearly, and yet… He touched the foot.

Laughter bubbled down to him.

‘What are you doing, John?’

It was her. The artist, the Bob Dylan lover. He scrambled out from under the heater, forgetting his orange, and stood up.

‘Well, I’m… ahhh… I’m getting my orange back, actually.’

‘Your orange. And here was I hoping you were looking up my skirt.’ She smiled. ‘So, what do you think about my outfit? I’m off to a gallery opening. Not my work, unfortunately.’

Without taking his eyes off her face, he replied, ‘You look wonderful.’

‘Thank you. I’d best go.’

He watched her walk down the hall. She entered the lift, turned around and pressed the button. As the door closed, she glanced up at him and smiled.

He wandered back to his door, picked up his groceries, fumbled for his keys, opened the door and went inside… completely forgetting the lone orange hiding under the heater.

I’m not here: Part 4

He raised his hand to knock on the door when he heard a voice from inside: ‘I’m not here!’

He hesitated, then turned to go. Obviously they didn’t want to be disturbed. He heard the latch move, and the door swung open.

‘I was just joking, you know.’ A soft woman’s voice stopped him. He looked over his shoulder to see her leaning against the lintel. He caught a flash of memory: light hair, dark eyes, a bemused smile.

‘Uh, hi. I moved in yesterday. My name’s John.’

She smiled. ‘Of course it is. Is it coffee, milk, or sugar you’ll be needing?’

‘Coffee and milk,’ he replied sheepishly. ‘Please.’

She moved aside and motioned him into her apartment. He shuffled in, glancing at the art works lining the walls.

‘You paint?’

‘Sometimes. It gets hard when I have to work to buy supplies. I’d rather be left alone just to create, but that’s not how this world works, is it? Where are you from?’

‘Big city, big job. Wanted to downsize my life, so I came here. It’s quiet.’

‘That it is,’ she replied as she handed him a jar of coffee and a jug of milk. He thanked her, and then found himself with nothing more to say. He stood awkwardly for a moment.

‘I… uh, better get going. Still have a lot of unpacking.’ He turned to leave, when a painting caught his eye. He walked towards it. ‘This is familiar. Is this you?’

‘Yes. It shows the transparency of life and how the soul can be fragile and mobile. I haven’t shown it anywhere yet.’

‘I like it, but it disturbs me.’

‘It does that to people.’

He looked at her as though he was searching for an answer to the painting, but she simply smiled at him. He felt awkward again and stumbled over a thank you for the coffee and milk.

He headed for the door.

I’m not here: Part 3

He pulled the sheet over his shoulder against the cool of the early morning, listening to the faint strains of music floating through the wall. Indiscernible artist, indistinct genre, but the gentle thudding brought a memory of soft breasts and the smell of vanilla. He snuggled toward the pillow, smiling.

A deep breath of satisfaction, a waft of brewing coffee came through the window, a realisation that the boxes were still unpacked. He sighed. He’d fallen asleep last night, exhausted with the mere fact of moving in, and the multitude of boxes awaited him. He rolled off the bed and headed for the kitchen.

Opening the fridge, he noticed that he had neither milk nor coffee. He rolled his eyes, remembering the last thing his sister said as he left the old house: ‘Don’t forget to pack the coffee somewhere easy to get to!’ He naturally, of course, did not listen to her.

He ferreted around in a suitcase that leaned against the lounge room wall, hoping it was the right one, and eventually pulled out a pair of track pants.

‘They’ll do,’ he said to himself as he put them on, ‘I’m only going to pop across the hall.’

As he opened the door, the music grew louder. It was obviously coming from one of the other apartments. Bob Dylan… Bootleg Series. He figured that anyone with that taste in music would be worth speaking to this early, and headed down the hall to find the source.

I’m not here: Part 2

The door swung open at the turn of the key. He smiled as he stepped into the empty apartment. This was his new life, his freedom. The sun speckled the floor, encompassing the dust. He moved slowly to the window, dust billowing behind him, his shoes leaving scuffed marks. He grasped the window and hoisted it open. A low breeze embraced him.

‘Where d’ya want this?’

His reverie broken by the removal men, he began to point the objects into their places. As his bed was being negotiated into the front door, he caught a glimpse of someone… a woman… light hair and dark eyes. She glanced in the doorway, bemused by the sight, and moved away. He raised his arm, as if to stop her.

‘Hi! I’ve just…’ But she was gone. He turned in time to see his bedside table falling out of large hands. She was forgotten.

Ye olde blog

I rescued my blog entries from a blog I had from 2005-2007. Just in time, too, it would appear. The company has pretty much closed the blog function. Anyway, here are some of the notable quotes from that blog (and some context):

  • ‘Do humans have Bower birds in their evolutionary tree?’ (22/11/2005 – I was about to move from a 3-bed home to a 2-bed flat)
  • ‘Our guide sounded a bit like Mad-Eye Moody: instead of continuously saying ´Constant Vigilance!´, he kept saying ´There is no coincidence here´’ (21/12/2005 – Ollantaytambo, Peru)
  • ‘You can do anything (even build impossible cities on the tops of mountains), but you need to begin somewhere and you need to do it step by step’ (21/12/2005 – Machu Picchu, Peru)
  • ‘This city looks like the Borg has taken control’ (23/12/2005 – Sao Paulo, Brasil)
  • ‘For those who don’t know what a Klingon is, get thee back to thy cave. (or even better, get onto startrek.com and join the fun)’ (25/12/2005)
  • ‘You feel so insignificant and vulnerable against that kind of force of nature’ (29/12/2005 – Foz do Iguaçu, Brasil/Argentina)
  • ‘even my worst nightmare is nothing compared to the favelas of Rio’ (31/12/2005 – Rio)
  • ‘a small rally in front of the Ministry of Culture; a series of names written on a roll of butcher´s paper and wrapped around the pedestrian barricades around the Plaza de Mayo Square, naming the dead victims of one of the more recent regimes; the bridge named after and dedicated to the mothers of children who ´disappeared´during another regime; people on the streets wearing combats and long daggers haning from their belts; young people (and older radicals) in Che Guevera t Shirts and Anarchy badges’ (5/01/2006 – Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • ‘Orlando Bloom as Legolas in Lord of the Rings. Need i say more?’ (12/01/2006)
  • ‘But that’s not all! (no steak knives here, but. Shame, i could have done with one to slit my wrists by this point. LOL) Next, we go on to see if Aquinas’s arguments are sound! Good God (ha! That’s called ‘omnibenevolence’). So we go thru that and find that Aquinas has committed the logical sin of begging the question. Oops!’ (9/03/2006 – Philosophy of Religion)
  • ‘First of all, i want to thank Jesus, who left a comment saying that he loves me. How nice is that? And dreadfully timely as i am currently writing an essay about cosmological arguments for the existence of God. I suppose if God does exist, then God would have known i was doing this essay (seeing as God is omniscient) and told Jesus to contact me. How cool is that? And to use such a modern medium as the internet to do it. Pleased to see we have a techno-God.’ (14/04/2006 – Someone called ‘Jesus’ left me a comment… it was weird)
  • ‘This music is so visual, without even saying a word. I can reach out and touch the visualisations i am getting from it. They are that solid, they have spatial extension. They are dark, colourful, tangible and so…right. It reaches into every dusty and dank area of my mind and embraces all that it finds there. I feel like i am looking at the energy of my soul (and it was good) and the soul of the universe….And no, i have not been partaking of the gunja.’ (22/04/2006 – I’d been listening to Pink Floyd’s ‘Echoes’)
  • ‘Doctor, Doctor, point out to me exactly where i can find the disease of Alcoholism in this here cadaver, no, not the EFFECTS of alcoholism, the actual disease, like that case of syphillis there’ (24/05/2006 – in a rant about 12-step programmes)
  • ‘And anyway, life in an Ivory Tower must be a very clean affair. All those white surfaces! One would need to have someone in to clean the place constantly!’ (14/08/2006)
  • ‘If i have to pull apart David Hume one more time, i think i will go spare. Perhaps that is the point: perhaps this is all part of some Philosopher’s ritual. I am beginning to think that it is exactly that, a challenge that is part of the ritual that we have to go through to get to a higher plane of thought. As if life itself is not challenge enough.’ (16/09/2006 – philosophy driving me mad)
  • ‘Now all i have to do, is put that into 3,000 academic-style words and get some back-up from Thomas Nagel, and i shall be right…I’m on the train….destination Distinction.’ (16/09/2006 – obviously working out the philosophy thing..)
  • ‘Anyway, what does the ‘edge of reason’ refer to? Whilst being incredibly ill, my mind began to get a touch vague – as it does when one is in that kind of state – and it was one of those times when you really do see the edge of reason. I don’t mean some nebulous concept that you know what it is, but can’t quite bend your mind around. I am talking about something i could almost literally see. Yes, yes, i can hear you muttering ‘hallucination’ with a knowing look on your face. And yes, i know that i am now very vague about the past 4 days because my mind was fighting against some evil bug, but i really did think that i could see the edge of reason. It was a place, a real, physical place. Kinda like a cliff edge that drops straight down about a mile and looks over a desert. Not just any desert, but one of those fancy ones that you see in American films -one of those ones they use for sci fi flicks, with the stone structures and arches, all reds and oranges’ (5/12/2006 – I’d been very ill)
  • ‘Have been reading the ‘Rolling Stones’ yearbook. No, not a run down of the women Mick Jagger DIDN’T shag during the year (much shorter list than the list of women he DID shag)’ (15/01/2007)
  • ”Put Your Records On’, Corrine Bailey Rae (yes i will put my records on…to drown out this atrocity that is masking for music…can anyone say ‘Puffskein’?)’ (15/01/2007)
  • ‘We had O-week last week, and I was there for most of it. About a thousand ickle firsties were present…and their parents. For the first time in my uni life, I went to night events. I went to Trivia Night, Karaoke Night and O-Party. I was really out there! And now, a thousand JAFFYs know my name. Might have something to do with my name being written on the back of my T-shirt! Can i go back to my cave and hide, now? Please!’ (26/02/2007)
  • ‘Ferdie’s a bit wild – he/she likes to duck under the bubble-maker and do somersaults. Odd.’ (7/06/2007 – the day I got Ferdie the goldfish RIP)

I’m not here: Part 1

He trudged through the pile of snow on the pavement, his head down against the wind, his collar up. He rounded the corner, skidding in the dimness of the street-lamp. He halted. This was the spot… dare he look? As the snow swirled around his legs, he glanced up at the window where ‘she’ was, more to the point, where he thought ‘she’ was. He wasn’t even sure ‘she’ was anymore. He shivered. It all seemed so strange to a man who just wanted to go to work every morning, come home every evening and have perfectly ordinary things happen in his day. He didn’t understand. He turned towards the road, listening to the satisfying sound of snow scrunching under his boots. It said he was alive, it said he was sane. Walking across the road, he thought about how it had all begun…