Thursday, May 30, 2013

Staring into space #10



Taking the path less trod might seem a good idea at the time but for some it might suggest the destination is fixed in concrete and all we have to do is turn sideways. Personally, I like the idea of staring at the exits and waiting to see who or what comes my way.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Staring into space #9


I have heard that each time we take a breath there is a good chance we suck in a couple of molecules of carbon dioxide expired by Galileo.
The space we occupy isn't ours; its borrowed. From our ancestors, our friends, enemies, from strangers. Each step we take is taken with the consideration that we have left behind something for someone else to use. Like a snail, we leave behind our own version of slime; not in any derogatory sense, its just the way we are. Some of us recognise that. We can look carefully at where we are and see the evidence of others. We can also look behind and see what we have left behind. We might even follow a trail as we leave our own.
Whatever we choose to do is permanent. The tide will wash away the footsteps but new one will appear after the tide has left its own trail.
Tread carefully. Be curious.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Staring into space #8



I'm easily confused. I have seen a chicken stare at a white line and become mesmerized. I know the feeling. It's not so much the line that confuses me but the space on either side. Incongruities. One side says yes, the other side says no. Left, right, up down, in out, wet, dry. Always opposing. Always confusing. The line projects into the distance and I'm stuck right here trying to figure out my next move. Like the chicken.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Staring into space #7



I can picture him. The plasterer. An artist inside, a tradesman to those who pass by. It's his space to fill. As he wishes. He stares at the symmetry and his thoughts run to levels I don't understand. He can see things I can't. No-one can. Putting thoughts and emotions to a reality he hopes someone will feel. He cries inside for a lost love one, laughs at his children, weeps for peace, spits at the politicians who take his taxes. He's hungry now. For satisfaction. Expression. He wants me to see. I can't. It's just swirls but I know there is a bit of him in there.
I stare at the space and wait for it to reveal itself.
I think I can see a dog.

Staring into space #6



What do you see in there? What do you hope to see? A different past? Regret? Someone else's contentment? A missed opportunity? Something better than you got? Dead days?
Stare intently, my friend. Go blind looking. Accommodate for nothing. It's done and gone, what you had. What you did. As dark as it is, as twisted as it seems, as regretful as it feels.
It's a tree and it will always be a tree.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Staring into space #5



Something else used to be here. A park bench, possibly. Some soft lawn and a few shrubs. A tactile place, with smells of old wood and colour of life. You could lay on the lawn and stare at the flags and feathers mix with the clouds as they drift north into the sky above the sea. I can remember it. Just, if I stare long enough. Someone is playing. Hide and seek with no-one to be found. A futile game, like most. Winning what? Someone must loose. It's the nature of things. Like the grass that used to be here. And the trees.
What's left to capture my attention. Well manicured space with precision planting and a rock to look at. It can't hide from the child and his game. For a moment the space fills with the past and is gone. I am still. The past will not return. I stare in hope.

Staring into space #4



If I didn't know better I could be terrified. I can stand here all day and the outcome will be the same. Don't stand on the cracks I hear myself say. Don't enter the Black Hole. There is no return. I'm still. I can wait. Someone will come. Someone will light the way. Staring doesn't illuminate. Only knowledge overcomes fear. Only fear holds me back.
Pay your bills.

Friday, May 17, 2013

staring into space #3



If I go into the garage and close the door behind me it takes a few minutes for my eyes to accommodate. The depth of black is immense. There are no boundaries and the quiet noise shuffles from space to space around me. I can hear the dust settle and a cobweb wave against my breath. Someone turns a light on in the house and its whiteness creeps under the crack below the door. Images begin to appear and the soft sounds are drowned out by the clutter of vision. I am once again among friends. Things of comfort I can rely on. I pass through the door into the light and leave my friends alone in their space.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

staring into space #2



Its the way everything comes together right then. Light, water, lilies, me. I can watch it from here and detach myself from it or I can float above it and be part of it. Articles in space. No mystical connection, just being right there right now. No weird energy flow or cosmic force, only what I think of it and other things. There is a flash of an old school day memory and I'm paddling a rusty home made canoe into the polluted waters of Duck Creek at the age of 12. Is that why we have a memory? To have a past so we can enjoy the present just that little bit more?

staring into space #1



Christine often catches me staring into space, not paying attention [to her], day dreaming. I catch myself doing it often. Just staring, wondering how I got here, finding a bit of peace and quiet inside my very busy head, enjoying the surroundings, or just being still.
"what are you thinking?" Nothing and everything. About the past and the present, some discomfort with the short future. Then I see a glimpse of a possibility, a plan, a solution, a reason, a memory, a reminder that while I am staring there is another place outside which stares back at me and asks: "What are you doing here?"
I don't now, really, but I'm having a good time with it.

Monday, May 13, 2013

When men talk



On any day I would find myself by myself, not lonely but alone, contemplative, thoughtful and enjoying my own company. Men do this. Whether it is a matter of course, a genetic disposition or by choice, the impact of a group or crowd of people on a man's social complexion can be contrary to his well being and demeanor. Being solitary in a crowded place is his art form, enabling him to detach from the conversations at hand, the hassle of human traffic and the frivolity of idle chatter.

Often, by those who believe they know better, this is mistaken for ignorance, laziness, rudeness, even some sort of illness especially if attached to the elderly. Children shout, wives abuse, friends ignore, the shopkeeper becomes intolerant and the taxi driver fails to stop. The man alone becomes invisible to the rest of the world, as a shadow might in a darkened alley. Observed from afar, the man alone becomes the centre of a whirlpool of activity in which he is the singular and stationary hub and the circumference spins as if to escape, to disconnect, to run tangent to such isolation and personal imprisonment. The man who chooses to be alone is often seen as the social outcast, depriving himself of the company and pleasures of others.

"You should get out more, meet people, join a club, be sociable, make friends, enjoy life"; he hears through friends and family with good but misplaced intentions.

So, the man who seeks peace within finds his cave in the most peculiar places. In the street, on a bus to Shanghi, in the office, in his bed with his loved one; even in bed with someone elses loved one. And there he will stay for an age, trusting that he alone knows the answers to the questions he asks.


There are times when the solitary man will choose to mingle. There must be value in such social intercourse, of course. An exchange of finance, for a start. Money, borrowed or owed, allows for collaboration. It becomes the intermediary, the quest for information: price, payment, rates and exchange. It's business and no more. Once over, there will be a quick exchange of cordiality and a handshake, then a parting. Until next time. Money helps men speak.

A casual encounter is often avoided. If not, it creates a tension that requires some posturing and shuffling until an equilibrium is achieved. A nod, a grunt, remembering a name (which men do poorly), a mention of the weather, health, work, destination. Some standard phrases: long time no see; how have you been? Are you still working for .....? Then a pause, each turns their body away from the other and looks into the distance as if to find another aquaintance that can carry the conversation forward.
"Have you seen such and such?"
 Neither has, so the time to part comes quickly but uncomforably. "Gotta go" one will say. "Me too" and the  contact is broken. Like a stage from a rocket, one breaks loose in slow motion and is pulled as if by gravity towards an unknown destination, the other hesitates as if there is something more to be said, then turns and moves off into another space.


When men find themselves in clusters there must be a commonality, a generality that renders solidarity within the group. Often this association is seen as a pretence for the meeting and rightly so, for men are invariably shy among men; well, maybe not shy but tentitive, wary, as if the meeting must be conditional, functional and with purpose. A card game, some drinks at the pub, a football match, somewhere where the participants have some common language and a need to face away from each other without fear of insult. In such instances the talk will revolve around "the Game" with unobtrusive interjections on past and future events which will be answered with a grunt with further and much more intensive and elaborate discussion on the activity before them.
"Man U are playing like a bunch of girls. C'mon you lot. Kick the shit out of them!!"
"Isn't your wife having a baby?'
"Yeah. Hey, Amos, you're supposed to stop the fuck'n ball not collect them."
"When?"
"Now, moron. Look, he just let another one through."
"Your wife, dickhead. Isn't she due?"
"Yeah, today sometime. I told her to hang on until I got home. Hey, ref, who's paying you this week?"


When men come together as a means of collectively solving problems and discussion socio-political abhorations there is a need to establish an hierarchy. Elderly men are usually well respected, although young guns might make a challenge for superiority. Their opinions will be noted but have less impact on decisions made that those who have more experience. Challenges for superiority are quickly established during the initial stages when there will be a comparison of wages collected, local knowledge of the quickest way to get home, the number of times "Do you know .....?" is asked, the fuel economy of the car and the most politically incorrect statement with reference to women or a chosen ethnic group.

Once the pecking order is established, there will be a period of silence, almost prayer like, when each participant will take time to collect their thoughts for the debates ahead. Actually, each is wondering why they are here and who the fuck invited Randolph.

So the business begins. Usually three conversations will start simultaneously, although that depends on the numbers. The saturation point for a division to occur is five. Groups of five will each have their own topic but each man can move freely between packs and add to the conversation without any knowledge of what went before. There will be copious amounts of laughter, shouting, pointing of fingers and waving of arms. Points will be proven, theories destroyed, laws created, religions demonished, politician scandalized, legends created. The volume of the discussion will depend on the amount of alcohol consumed and how convincing the speaker wants to be.In the end, any man here would fail an exam on the subject matter. Alcohol, disjointed logic and the unwillingness to listen to anyone's point of view - or believe it - will render the whole thing pointless.

On rare occasions, women will be present, often as a result of a man not having two cars or he is still insisting, in an effort to show others he is New Age and Sensitive, to take his wife/girlfriend/sister/mother everywhere he goes. His name is usually Randolph. Men pay attention to women when they are present in such male dominated groups. This is a result of either a predetermined condition known to most men as 'nagging' where he has been told more than a few time to listen or else, or he is trying to 'get his leg over', a rather crass term used by men among themselves when one of their kind is being polite and actually listening to what a woman is saying - with what seems to be obvious and undetatched interest.

But at the end of the day, when all is done, a man will find a place where he can speak honestly and openly, be passionate, emotional and thoughtful, speak the truth and find the answer to all questions, be confident, voice his opinion without contradiction and agree with everyone present.

That's when I am alone again.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

...and yet another day is done.



I'm counting them now. How many left? One more please. To finish what I have started. To get to where I am heading. Finish the book, shed a kilo or two, have a hair cut, see what's left in the bucket. There is only enough time when things are finished. I'm not. Not ready. Let the sun set and let me see the night through. The pain will be diminished in the morning. Maybe tomorrow I will be done.
Not today. I'm not done.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Love



If you don't know what it's like to love someone, you are missing something quite unique and special. Fall into it and stay there. Don't be argumentative or complacent about it. Immerse yourself in it, swim with it, float on it, live it. I am living proof that love turns a man into something worthwhile.

Youth



Youth isn't really wasted on the young. They know how to enjoy it. They are also surprised by their poor judgement and bad timing as if they are the first and someone should have told them. Surprises are part of growing up. The young are less troubles by surprises.

End of days



How easy it is not to notice. The afternoon sun plays against the wall. End of day. The days always end like this. Quiet, easy, restful, gentle. Some days I just don't notice. Today I did.

Gates



There is a childhood dream behind that gate. A young boy waits for his father to return, a pretty girl in a floral frock orders what the world is like beyond the garden gate, a padlock secures an empty space from intruders, a forgotten garden withers in the winter light. The path is overgrown and the steps of generations is buried by thistle and thorns. It all seems a bit forbidding now. Just another dream from the other side of the white picket gate.

Intimacy



You know how it feels when you do something for some nice people and expect nothing in return. It's like charity with fireworks. The best part of it is I sort of know what I'm doing so its easy. Take a few shots. That's it. There are other bonuses. Being witness to that special relationship that only comes from trust and affection. Love, I think it's called. Seems like a good place to be. Bathing it it like warm sun in May. I can bare witness and not feel like an intruder with the camera. Moments like this remind me how good life is.