Change

August 15, 2004 by  
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What have you read?
What have you believed?
What can I tell you?
Will it make you care?
What have I read?
What have I believed?
Do I care? If
You can save your mother,
Will you do it? If
You can save the world,
Will you do it? If
You can save a child in Africa,
Will you do it? How
Will you know who is suffering?
We don’t want to see
The starving,
The refugee,
The death of war,
The evil of corruption.
It cannot go unseen.
It must be changed.
The world must change.
You must change.

*This is the draft referred to in the last post that I had saved. It was the poem above I couldn’t find, somewhat essential.

I got a thing in the mail from Poetry.com asking if I’d like to make a submission for a new book of poetry. No, this doesn’t mean I’m a gifted poet who could make money from some perceived talent. Not at all. Generally I think it means anyone who writes what could loosely be called a poem, and posts it on their site (which I have done before with my other poems), will at some point have their “poetic talent recognised and considered for inclusion in one of the most important volumes of poetry ever produced“. I think those most important volumes come out every couple of months, each obviously more important than the last.

Anyway, on receiving their letter asking if I wanted to be included in the next life-changing volume of poetry, I wrote this poem and sent it in. It was a spur of the moment poem. I guess the proposed name of the volume was wishy-washy and feel-good, evoking images of a glossy cover featuring either kittens, flowers, cute babies or a gag-inducing combination of all three. I wasn’t in that mood. I don’t think the poem really carries anything particularly thought-provoking, and upon reading it again, I don’t like it that much, but they were some of the my first thoughts when I wondered, ‘will people think about things that really matter?’

I had forgotten about it until it was returned to me this week to check and sign off on its publication. But instead of returning it to them, it’s posted here, and here it stays.

More than planned; Less than helfpul

August 14, 2004 by  
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I have a post saved as a draft… unfortunately the essential information is on a piece of paper I can’t find, so instead here are some random things of interest.

See ya later kiddo.
First Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier went, then out-of-form striker Emile Heskey, and now other out-of-form striker Michael Owen. Congratulations for moving on Liverpool. Welcome Rafael Benitez and, hopefully, a new era for Liverpool Football Club.

The Opening Ceremony begins in 2&frac12 hours. I didn’t see much of the last olympics while I was living in the US. We have two free-to-air TV stations covering the games, with no overlap of events, meaning more than 24 hours of Olympic coverage per day… Hopefully I’ll get some sleep in the next two weeks. Several events have begun in the last two days, pre-Opening Ceremony. Highlight of the games so far? Iraq beating Portugal 4-2 in the soccer.

On a personal note, I let the deadline pass today for handing in a news story for my writing class at university. This is the first piece of assessment for the semester. I’ve discovered I’m halfway decent at telling friends who they should contact to get interviews for a story, but make little effort to ask and answer those same questions for myself.

[lengthy – two hour – pause for reflection here… things written, deleted, rewritten, deleted…]

Sometimes I think about getting rid of this blog. I thought perhaps here I would express what I’m really feeling. I can’t. I won’t. It’s a choice.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

I ignored, or didn’t acknowledge, my responsibilities today. I could write for pages. Instead I’ll leave you confused, ill-informed and disinterested. Don’t worry, it’s not too far removed from where I’m at.

Slash and Burn?

August 11, 2004 by  
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Given my desire to work as a journalist in [choose a country between west Africa and the Middle East and insert here], I’m told to be careful in what I post, lest a simple search by said country’s immigration officer leads them first to this blog, and then to reject my entry into the country – based on posts such as the last one.

So, that post and others like it may either be heavily edited or gone completely should I ever become paranoid about such things.

And another thing: Quality, not quantity. That’s this blog’s new motto. Blog when it matters, not for the sake of it.

The Harsh Reality

August 9, 2004 by  
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I had a great weekend. A challenging weekend. The sort of weekend you wish didn’t have to end. Instead, here I am back in the real world. Back where the strength of spoken good intentions are tested and tried with ferocity. It seems lately mine have buckled at the first hurdle.

I spent half an hour alone considering this question: “If God really got a hold of your life what sort of person would you be in ten years time, and what steps would you need to take now to get there?” I drew a blank. I have no idea what will happen in that time, can’t imagine what God would do in my life, and so was at a loss to think how I head towards that nebulous future ‘me’. When these three words came to me I could think of nothing else as they were repeated over and over in my head.

Acknowledge your God.

It’s a simple enough line but it is powerful, and packed with more meaning for me than I care to try and begin to describe here, if I could at all. The statement stands.

Wasted

August 6, 2004 by  
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I have no university classes on Fridays, and had vowed to spend today cleaning my room. As we all know, a clean room is a necessity for effective studying.

Instead, I’ve spent all day reading blogs and listening to music. I have actually done two loads of washing which, while necessary, merely clears a pile in the corner. It does not do much for the cleanliness of the room. That’s the only activity which could be said to resemble productivity in the last 8 hours. Unfortunately one of those loads is still in the machine, which may cancel out the first, thus rendering me completely unproductive.

As Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons says in Treehouse of Horror VIII,

CBG walks along the road reading a comic book
CBG:
But Aquaman, you cannot marry a woman without gills, you’re from two different worlds.
(CBG sees missile approaching)
CBG:
Oh, I’ve wasted my life.

So I’m going to post this and go hang some clothes on the line. Have a good weekend.

Emotional Farewell

August 5, 2004 by  
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One of my sisters left the country to return to London on Monday. She’s been back in Australia for about 10 months after four or five years in London. During those five years she visited me once while I was living in the US, and I saw her twice in London.

I drove her to the airport at about 5.30 Monday morning. Nothing of great importance was said during the 30 minute trip. I pulled up at the ‘dropoff and pickup only’ zone, we unloaded her bags, gave each other a quick hug and said, “Well….see ya.”

And that was that. I drove away as she walked into the terminal. I have no idea when I will see her again. We’re an emotional bunch…

Mooloolaba

August 4, 2004 by  
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I think that’s how it’s spelt. I spent all day today at the beach. At Mooloolaba to be precise. What did I do? Well.

I lay in the sun on the beach. At one point I read some of a book while laying in the sun. Sometime later I walked along the beach in the sun. The water was cold (after all, it is winter in Australia!) so instead of going for a swim, I lay down in the sun again. I had lunch while laying in the sun. At one point I pulled out my hackey sack and kicked it around for a while. I enjoyed that, but after a whole day of lying in the sun found it a little tiring. I put the hackey sack away and lay back down in the sun. Then I came home.

My point? I achieved absolutely nothing today. But know this, I achieved absolutely nothing while laying on the beach in the sun, and that is what makes today so special.

Possum Hideout

August 4, 2004 by  
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Our yard has had some serious pruning in the last six months. Trees at the back and front of the house used to overhang the roof, much to the delight of travelling possums. They must be quite heavy, possums, because I could have sworn a small child or an ROUS (Rodent Of Unusual Size) had just flung itself onto my tin roof as it alighted from a tree branch. As a single possum sauntered overhead, it’s claws clacking on tin, the noise was quite bearable. If it met another possum coming the other way, it was not. The roof sounded like it was being peeled back as World War III would erupt directly above me.

As I said, we had the trees cut back. For several weeks the possums could be heard on the front porch of a night time, wandering aimlessly past where only a stump remained of the tree they once knew. My sister, who would spend hours reading a book under the porch, would often come face-to-face with a possum looking for answers. If only they could speak English, or my sister could speak Possum, maybe they would have found the enlightenment they sought. Instead they could only stare each other down. Sometimes another possum would come by to see where the highway had gone and another scuffle would break out. “At least we still had fighting,” the old timers would tell younger possums in generations to come.

This all to tell you the following. Last Sunday we were preparing for a large family gathering at our house. On opening the barbeque on the front porch to clean it, my father found a possum and its child huddled together. I imagine the best time to remove a possum and its child would be when they are relatively calm. Wanting to show us, he let go of the lid, which promptly slammed shut. With possums still inside. On opening the lid again, the child had decided the safest option was going to be behind its mother, who had unfortunately taken a death grip on the grill and backed up as far as she could go.

I think the “If I don’t move, they won’t see me” defence was also in use as she froze, motionless, likely with her ears still ringing. It was either that, or preparing to launch at her nearest attacker. I feared the latter and backed away.

The baby didn’t have the nerve and, after not too long, freaked out and bolted, taking a running leap off the end of the porch*. The mother had to be rolled out of the barbeque as it was obvious the motionless approach was going to be played all the way to the end.

Barbeque cleaned out, fired up and cooking for 30 people in no time. Last I saw, the possums were still holed up under the porch. They’re very territorial, and I’m guessing we’ll find them back in the barbeque at some stage.


* No possums were harmed in this real-life event. The heroic leap was about 3 feet from porch to a cushioned landing on bark mulch

Iraqi Casualties – A Survey

August 3, 2004 by  
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IRAQI WAR CASUALTIES, a survey.

Directed by Raed Jarrar and involving 150 volunteers.

March 21 – July 31, 2003.

  • Deaths: 2081
  • Injuries: 5535

This is “old news”, over a year now. But they’re still people. As a refugee in an Australian detention centre wrote in 2002:

Please don’t forget us.
We are humans.

quoted by Julian Burnside QC at a public meeting in Brisbane’s City Hall last night

Refugees in Australia, civilian deaths in Iraq, black Sudanese deaths in Darfur, homeless people in your city, the disadvantaged everywhere, your next door neighbour – emotion, hurt, suffering, heartbreak and pain – just like you. Care about them. Don’t forget them.

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