Sunday, 27 February 2011

The View From Here

There's a little smudge
On the lower right hand side
of my glasses, and I
can't help but wonder
if that's a metaphor for my mind
Do I make things a little fuzzy for myself
Around the edges here and there?
Then again, I've never pretended to have objective vision
My world is so powerfully intoxicating because I've no claims on reality
I write that, and already hear the derision
In their voices as they mock my conviction:
"You're like a 3-year old!"; "You're such a 4-year old."
Well maybe next year I'll be two!
If I can keep getting more curious and unassuming
Maybe I'll continue to avoid the fate of you -
The persons who attempt to convert me to
Increasingly more sinister sensibilities -
Riddled with the lack of possibility
I prefer to go with ambiguity
I prefer to dote on the startlingly new
I have no patience for your soulless attempts
To encroach upon my point of view

The smudge cleared
But now the lights have a faint halo
I wonder what kind of visual aesthetic
This might inspire in my dreaming vision
For consciousness is rapidly fading
As a lucrative notion
It appears I'll have to show sleep
Some love and devotion
And as I lie still, my mind will be in such motion...
I will overthrow ideas I didn't even know needed reinventing


I have had four relationships.

She was a Taiwanese Australian.
He was a Polish-Russian Jewish American.
He was a Swede.
He was an Iranian Australian.

She was studying maths and science primarily at the time. She's currently doing something called 'trading futures'.
He was an actor, dramaturgist and Stanford graduate student.
He was studying English (literature) in Stockholm, an aspiring writer.
He was studying computer engineering at UNSW, and probably still is.

I don't keep in touch with any of them, though I have tried.

So much musing I can do over them, but at the end of the day, I have to ask:

Forget the ex, who is next? :o)

Rediscovering Chiang Mai

The first time I went to Chiang Mai, I wasn't that impressed. It was no cooler than Bangkok or Sukhothai had been, despite it's proximity to the mountains, and I was quite bored in the luxurious hotel my father had picked out for us, where we would inevitably retire after a few hours of temple-hopping per day. The food was fine, but uniformly Thai and nothing to make especial note of, and by the end of the trip I wasn't upset to be leaving. Overall I got the impression that CM was pretty boring, the people possessing a glum kind of character.

I decided to give it another chance last year, this time finding budget accommodation in the Old Town. What a difference the location made! The old city was alive with independent second-hand bookshops, vegetarian restaurants with imaginative titles like 'Dada Kafe', massage and beauty parlours, handmade jewellery stores, travel agents that promised everything from getting up close and personal with big cats at the Tiger Kingdom to visas for Vietnam, Chinese medicine clinics, street food stalls aplenty, cuisine ranging from Israeli to Japanese, and there were signs for new age activities all around. If trying Burmese salads and Mexican-inspired cuisine seemed too adventurous, you could always retreat to McDonalds or Starbucks (I did all four during the course of my stay). I bumped into one temple after another, richly and beautifully decorated, and they weren't listed as main attractions. I picked up stunningly designed Thai postcards for less than a dollar and pretty key-holders for similarly absurd-seeming prices.

And this time, I actually met some pretty interesting characters. A meditation leader approached me on the street and I hung out with him for a while, I briefly chatted with a Polish couple he worked with, and I had pleasant exchanges with many of the people I bumped into along the way. Chiang Mai was now charming my socks off.

If I could be there right now, that's where I'd be...

Friday, 25 February 2011

To one side

I'm leaning to one side
Chairs attempt to rearrange my body
Into a kind of rough symmetry
But I will not have it
Not this attempt at kidnapping me
From positions of endless creativity
Where I shift and twist, and stretch and fold
Where my body speaks in language bold
Again I find myself alone
Shaped into a form that's all my own


The last line is better represented with a 'But' before 'shaped into a form that's all my own'


In my dreams I am more free to be than I am during conscious hours
During the day I must let myself be guided by ever-changing but repetitious faces, strides
In the conventional waking hours I must hang on to conforming, even though my faith in it's expired
At night I'm free to design a different landscape, moving characters, a vibrant and witty life

I find myself running through, perfectly lush leas and swimming through
Aquamarine rivers on which purple blossoms float
I find myself experiencing all the seasons at once
A tree consisting of three types of flower rushes out of view
As I inspect my environment anew

But it's the people I migrate towards
They are the main attraction
Seeing as I can't get close to them
I must use my imagination

Sunday, 20 February 2011

In Motion

I'm going to hold and strike a pose,
Until I radiate the feeling from my bones
In the midst of despair, I'm going to drop it
Find contentment, dance upon it

The silken produce of despair
I will cling to till it's no longer there
And when I long for laughter
It will well up deep inside
Build up so I'm not able to hide

If you knew the thoughts that haunt me
You would be surprised
I know I seem so near fearlessness
When you chance into my eyes
But you're the lucky charm that guides me forth
And without you I just tend to fade
Until I find another object of devotion
To whom my best qualities I dedicate

And then I'm in motion once more, once again

Friday, 18 February 2011

You're sailing out, so determined

I'm musing over how those sails hold up against the wind
Because I can't bear to question your motivation
Upon my peace of mind that would impede

You're alive and you're free, so you say; others nudge you along
But I sense something sinister in the cheerless advent of your song
Wind in your grinning face, I must break my accustomed gaze
It pains me to see you retreat to such soul-killing ways

Little thought can be devoted
To the dreams you leave behind
The melody you once tended to,
Burnished, refined and so loved

It's the makings of a mystery for many
How they got so out of touch with their dreams
I remain your slightly dejected guide
Always dragging my feet wearily by your side
Painstakingly postponing inevitable tears
But for how much longer can I keep hope alive?

I want to help you, but I don't know how
You would scorn such a notion, furrow your brow
Lift up your upper lip in steady attack
A stream of verbal vengeance, it's so out of whack

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Fluency = The ability to Improvise

I think a very significant sign of being fluent in a language is how much you can play with it. How much you can bend it to your will. This doesn't come from a disregard of the rules, but rather an awareness, and a willingness to experiment with them. For me, the most successful use of language is to create something that leaves a strong impression, something that's revolutionary to your audience (and you, too!).

For example, dropping words where it's not expected, or adding phrases where there seems to be a call for minimalism - the subversion of conventions in a pleasant, charming manner. It's almost like being culturally inappropriate, but, at the last minute, returning to a conventional point of reference.

At any rate, a bit of charisma goes a long way. You might not be fluent in a language, but if you memorise a speech in it and deliver it with great flair and feeling, you will have made a strong impact on that culture.

Over the past few days I have found out who I am again - my voice seems stronger to me. I feel more in touch with the place it originates and how far I can expect it to carry. Taking away its usual powers has made me more aware of what I use it for - and what I don't.


Poppy and Personal

Did you know that I asked Robyn a question via Twitter and she took the time to answer it on video? I was so delighted to discover this that I couldn't stop laughing incredulously. Please take a few minutes to view below:

In my opinion Robyn walks a fine line between maintaining popular appeal and rebelling against tradition, and while I am a bit less likely to use the word 'postmodern' to frame her now, I think some aspects of poMo theory help bring out the depth of her sophisticated experimentation. 


As I write this, I am cross-legged on my bed in a crumpled heap, my head is throbbing with a fever and I shiver, cough and sneeze every few minutes. I've finally decided to make myself feel better by giving you an update on me.

You may be surprised to hear that I am enrolled to study Spanish, German and Mandarin at UNSW. I've decided to go through the Bachelor of Arts program because it'll give me access to the best teachers in Australia when it comes to learning languages, for free (well, for now - I will have to pay back the fees through taxes once I start earning money). Three languages sounds like a wonderful learning experience in theory, but I am prepared to drop one if it gets too much. I may also be eligible to do student exchange at an overseas university, if I am able to remove that 'absent fail' from my record.

I'm ambivalent about being part of the UNSW ambiance again, but I hope it will have some elements of fun and surprise. At the very least, I hope I run into 3 interesting persons this semester. It has to be an improvement on spending most of my time at home, learning about the world through online publications and social media. 

This will be a new adventure in the land of tertiary education, because I have exclusively taken Arts courses which stress creative connection-making and analysis. 2 lectures and 1 tutorial. Up to 30 pages of reading per week. The languages, however, are structured differently - 2 lectures and three tutorials (I think), with memorisation as the main technique for passing exams.

If I don't take to it, it's no big loss. Ultimately, I want to be a renumerated author, and my study of languages is due to personal interest and the strong likelihood of me moving out of Sydney eventually. I have a passion for Barcelona, and hence becoming fluent in Spanish is my first priority; and if I can also pick up German, and a bit of Mandarin, it would be very rewarding as well. I was hoping to take up French, but it clashed with Spanish, so German seemed to be the next best choice.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Unwind my mind

Cause I want to discover
A new type of fluency
Something I can't pin down at any time

Something that can only sound
When I open up my mind

I don't want to be understood
Or understand, either
I want to flit back and forth
Appropriate the other

Languishing, full of expectation

Time for the ego to disperse

Why does he have to bristle
Why can't the sailing be smooth
Why is he tucked out of reach

I feel imprisoned by my youth

I never knew what I was searching for
But knew the search was all I ever needed
So many visions of equality I've found
That previously eluded me

And now that I find myself
Unable to turn back
My allegiance is to the young at heart
And I've ended repetitively, so I can start

Friday, 11 February 2011

Early Valentine's Day Post

1, 2, 4, 5 & 8 are by George "Jisho" Robertson, 7 is by Steve Martin, 9 is by Epiphanie Bloom (me) and 10 is by Trey Ratcliffe.

Monday, 7 February 2011

When worlds of knowledge collide...

Knowledge is not a clear-cut thing. Knowledge is messy. Knowledge doesn't neatly correspond to pre-established categories, such as Economics, Film Studies or Architecture. If you're wondering how the global financial crisis' impact on filmic texts can be traced in the very latest architectural projects, that's more like it. But it's impossible to do that without also evoking the construction industry, the politics of fashion, and the business of art direction.
Since we study knowledge in categories in university, we must seek to intertwine them, make them bleed together, have them fuse irreversibly to create gorgeous mutant forms. We must look at the representation of Physics in English literature - preferably in the works of someone like Jane Austen. We must look at the ways Law and Gender Studies intersect - and deduce that the (Australian) government isn't doing everything it can to stop workplace discrimination. We must explore the links between Theology and Medicine, then combine that with Interior Design and Information Technology. And then how does it all relate to Dance?
Don't accept knowledge that comes in boxes, no matter how revered those boxes are. Prestigious universities dangerously cling to the tradition that sees knowledge absorbed into the rigid categories they have created for it.
Instead of taking pride in how exclusively you can devote yourself to a single study stream, why not come up with the most likely of associations between the things you can conceptualise of in this life, and explore the links between them? To choose this path is to go where nobody else has gone before.

This post was kicked off by a Tweet from Christoper Hire, head of the innovation agency 2thinknow. He wrote that cross-[specialisation] is where innovation occurs.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Strumming the Soul

I suppose your belly-button will have to suffice
as representing the circular opening of the guitar,
I suppose your skin is too light
to be even close to amber or beige,
but the comparison must be made
And so I paint a coat of paint over you conceptually
And admire my artifice from afar

The slightest touch of my fingers
And your entire body quivers
Can you be the penultimate expression
Of my innermost perfection?

I slide one hand over your long, long neck
And tickle your middle,
With the other
You vibrate in my lap, so lovely and apt
Tucked into my embrace, my ever-responsive lover