Thursday, 28 April 2011

When Push Comes To Caress

Dodging lions and zebras as they
Hurtled down my path,
A spectacle inspiring fear and excitement
As this was taking place I fell in
With a girl of black hair and thick brows
Who wordlessly welcomed me near
Her olive skin was warm and she smiled at my touch
She fingered a slim, silver necklace and we made as if
She were from Lhasa, China...
I couldn't believe my luck;
She had the knowing look of someone
Who believes in herself, deep down
Allowing good things to happen to her
I'm yet to articulate [my] perfection>>

Last night, I tried to see how deeply I could breathe... I gave my scalp a thorough massage... I let the breath guide me, instead of guiding the breath, however I had deepened the breath as an instinctive measure. I wake up this morning with a deep appreciation for my achievements, and an understanding that I should dodge the temptation of pride and realise my inner strength.

I find it really helps to record my voice and play it back again... I notice things about my intonation and emphasis which help me reshape my thoughts for the better. Most computers come with software on which you can do this... if not, download a program like Goldwave for free, and discover the joys of playing around with the voice.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Neon Coloured Clouds

A stripe of lime, an erstwhile lick
Of sheer cotton candy pink
The heavens shimmer
Whirling in slow motion
Caring not for the devotion
Of the many misguided below
What wonders I see as I
Give up trying to know

A golden halo with the navy clouds
Takes me to a place of genuine respect
For few places can hope to adorn their land
With such magnificent natural stylings

I'm wrapped up in the balmy air
That contains the constant splendour
A masterpiece of wind and light, and
Shapely clusters of evaporated water

Of course, I will have to break the gaze eventually
But this ever-shifting canvas takes a hold of me
Possessing the ability to amaze so consistently

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The Less Lucrative Side of Asia

Teenage boys give me high-fives
in Tokyo, in Lopburi a man tells me
I'm beautiful, in Shanghai a cyclist falls
off his bike as he twists his head my way

At first I feel proud for being admired...
It's only when I befriend a few Africans
That I realise my biggest fans are mired...
In a continent-wide inferiority complex

These friends already accustomed
To barely concealed shades of hostility
Drifting in with each new interaction
I admire their designs on equanimity
Give them my time, let them give theirs to me
Together we make a tense yet powerful team

I grow out of the addiction to superficial adoration
I learn to identify 'positive racial discrimination'
I begin to question the motives for Thai smiles
I place this under the 'uncontrollable rage' files

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Vaguely Dada-like Interlude

Jade blossoms sprout from the old woman's blouse
She deep-fries and salts them
Savouring each leaf in reverence
She's hoping to recall the young man who passed by here long ago
But he's been gone for too long to retrace his footsteps
And so
She munches on
With sorrow

Indigo light licks at the edges of my face
My face wide open with laughter
The tears irritate my eyes
Both sleep and light deprived

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Snippets of Streams

You take me for a spin and I
Hesitantly show off my softer side
Perhaps there never was any other
Perhaps I treat you with the care of a lover
Even though you don’t deserve it
Would it be worth it
To discover
How deep this rabbit hole goes?

I am
Pleasantly outraged
Blatantly elegant
Merrily disgruntled
Moderately f---ed
Steadfastly elusive
Gingerly robust
Rigorously discomposed
Eerily comforting 
You are

Saturday, 9 April 2011

You have the power

You have the power to look beautiful
From 6.9 billion different angles

You have the power -
To shut people up, or get them talking

You have the power
To reinvent yourself every day
To respect yourself in every way

You have the power...
So use it!

Friday, 8 April 2011

The Eccentric's Muse

I suppose I'll have to choose one of you
You say you've been attuned to the rest of the world?
But how can you do that and retain your inner peace?
Your marketability distills in me unease

I've been saluted with an absent-minded smirk
I've seen them disapprove of my spectacle of quirks
If I'm to take on duties which require another
Could that other tolerate the way I work?

They say that happiness is aided by employment
They say too much free time feeds anxiety
I let you misconstrue what I might have meant
While I dream up ways to flee your piety

I linger in the spaces inbetween
Where the de-centralised world's unable to cast
Its obtrusive, accusing, unnerving
Inescapable surveillance

And the thing that hurts the most
Is the distant memory of all I've lost
And the knowledge that I no long aspire
To even desire
That most people take me higher
Than I know how to go

Elongate the vowels and stutter on the consonants
The proponents of travel I gather close to me
Seek to find a radically different solution
To finding myself stuck the best way I can

Here, have a piece of me, again
I'm awake and I'm ready to regenerate
You're incapable of tracing my development
So I'll have to do it myself

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

White Box System

Remix, mash-up, hybrid
I'm as cool as I am livid
Unexpected familiarity
I press on long into the night
Reawakening long-neglected
Sources of delight
It's not all smooth though -
Try as I might,
I can't elide the accompanying fright.
If I can only splash into the silver seas
It won't take long before I swim in these
And as the opaque liquid fades to clear
I'll find my self-respect and hold it near

Brooding on Bondi - Sun, Sand & Postmodernism

A few times each month, my mum and I go for a walk along Bondi Beach. It's a beautiful place where beautiful people jog by, showing off their blonde highlights and superbly sculpted physiques. The abundance of outer spectacle and the vacuum of intellectual stimulation offered in these walks makes me broody.

I have brooded over such things as:

a) Does the arrival of Easy Way tea make the franchise too ubiquitous to be found endearing? Does it, along with Boost, McDonald's, Burger King, New Zealand Ice-cream, Bavarian Bier Cafe, Moo and San Churro, make Campbell Parade just that extra little bit less unique? Or am I just reading too many travel writers who lament the loss of one-of-a-kind businesses to corporate chains?

b) Who decides which graffiti artists can contribute to the graffiti wall, and how quickly to rotate the exhibits? And is there a way to impose a quota on the amount of scantily clad women that can be depicted, so as to minimise the harmful effects of sexist male culture?

c) Why do I keep trying to change my mum, knowing that it can't be done? Why does she keep trying to change me? Doesn't she realise that it's in vain, also?

d) What's it like in Sweden right now? Could I be happy there, even after many months of the infamously bleak winters? Could I find my way there as an immigrant, and how would it contribute positively to my self-esteem?

and many more. The colourful buildings suggest that my time there should be uplifting, but I find myself longing for a darker space after all. 


Monday, 4 April 2011

The Soundtrack to Travel

To this day, the moment I hear 'Me Against The Music' by Madonna and Britney Spears, I am immediately transported to 2002 in Opole, Poland. I was a fresh university drop-out, high on the sense of my own intellectual power, disapproving of my workplace, and barely managing to get all the five food groups into my diet on a daily basis.

The video perhaps most known for the extra-textual kiss at the MTV video awards would flit across the plasma screen mounted above the plastic white tables, saluting the conservative Christians with homoerotic posturing and dance-friendly yoga moves. I wondered what the young Poles thought of this new collaboration, and I simultaneously loved and hated the song and its visual accompaniment because they reminded me of how people of my generation in more liberal environments might react, and how I could expect a different spectrum of responses that was skewed towards the more homophobic side of things in the small, German-infuenced city.

By the time I had decided that I'd mulled over the cultural significance of the rather lacklustre tune to death, it seemed to become even more ubiquitous. I started making up my own Polish-themed lyrics: "If you want to party, show us your zloty!" I improvised: zloty was the currency of the time, and for the first time ever, I was making my own money regularly. As an English teacher I had just enough to meet my expenses, and I was conscious that I was being given more than the average worker in Opole, and a bit uncomfortable about it. The young people seemed so miserable. I got tired of my Weird Al Yankovic tendencies eventually, but the still the song wouldn't go away... so now you know why Me Against The Music will always take me back to my few but memorable weeks in Poland.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Getting Tangential

You know how you approach a topic from many different angles, immersing yourself in it so that you can arrive at your own version of 'an informed opinion'? And you know when you start to get bored with all the perspectives and start zoning out? Well, I don't know about you, but sometime the most productive thing I can do is follow a tangent...

A tangent is a line of thought (or narrative of fragments) that emerges from what you're doing in a way that doesn't seem to have anything to do with the matter at hand. Tangents in the arts and social sciences are often neglected, dismissed or put down (like you might inject an unwanted animal with a needle) for the sake of 'getting back on track' and 'staying on topic'. Yet in an educational system where the irrelevant can often be an inspiring place to be, isn't it a good idea to pay attention to your tangents, and let them guide you?

A tangent can be a stroke of genius. What's seen as excess mental activity or un-cooperative neurons which fail to fall back in line with your thesis can actually contain deep pockets of brilliance, which, if handled the right way, can lead to a new body of work which is much more interesting than what you were doing before...

A man with very high intellectual curiosity, Pico Iyer, once described his process of writing as follows:

I pose a question as a starting point, to frame an argument, and, of course, as soon as I get to one of those places, that question flies out the window and is replaced by another question. And then—the hope is—a deeper question and a still deeper one, and finally one that can’t be answered at all.

You can read the entire interview this was taken out of here

It seems to me that the moment you disallow the mind to wander and have that contribute to whatever you're doing, you're setting yourself up for an exercise in frustration, which grows more difficult by the minute. By suppressing random associations, flights of reality, 'pointless' whims and capricious fancies, you're inhibiting your imagination and not listening to parts of your creativity which are begging for attention. You are wiser and more wildly brilliant than you realise, so get in touch with what's really going on inside, and your work will be all the better for it...

Here's to making things up as you go along, working with a 'free-style' kind of structure, and making every deeply inspiring tangent count! :D