Go Back to Where You Came From

Another Dumbo Feather conversation night. Held in the city at Manchester Press, a cafe in a former print building. Dr David Corlett, a case worker and researcher who has worked with refugees and asylum seekers. He completed a doctorate in 2003 on Australia’s response to asylum seekers. He has hosted 2 series of a programme called Go Back to Where You Came From, which basically gets those antagonistic to asylum seekers in a position where they see what these people have fled. Dr Corlett’s desire is to humanise the issue. For him, it’s about protecting the people. The refugees and asylum seekers are fleeing countries in which Australian troops and peace-keepers have been deployed because the political situation is unstable so it is obvious that people would want to escape from that. Sending them back, which is what has been happening, is to put them back in dangerous situations.

A man in the audience referred to this week’s news item that an extraordinary 53, 900 New Zealanders have moved to Australia in the year to July. This number dwarfs the 9607 asylum seekers who arrived in Australian waters by boat. And no one bats an eyelid. Well…except to mock our accent with requests for us to say fish and chips and sixty-seven and make some sort of comment about sheep. 

Interesting point.


Advertisements

Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

Sir David

I like animals. I like natural history. The travel bit is not the important bit. The travel bit is what you have to do in order to go and look at animals.
David Attenborough

The Regent Theatre was full. And full of all sorts of people: young and old, dread-locked and conservative, and all of them were waiting for the legendary film-maker, naturalist and story-teller to enter the stage. When he did, we could have been at a rock concert. The crowd went wild. But when he began to speak, you could have heard a pin drop, such was the collective awe and reverence this man inspires.

86 years old. 60 years working with animals and plants and sharing it with the world. And he continues to share his love of the natural world. When asked what he would have been if he hadn’t been an intrepid presenter, he replied that he didn’t really know but that he might have been a teacher. He would have been the best kind of teacher, but instead of touching a cohort of children he has enlightened generations of children and adults all around the world.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQgmSNs695k

dream of Paris

musée Rodin, 22 April, 2007<!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:595.0pt 842.0pt; margin:72.0pt 90.0pt 72.0pt 90.0pt; mso-header-margin:35.4pt; mso-footer-margin:35.4pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1sssss

bronze flesh carved in time
scent of lilacs in the air
where is my lover

Vapour trails slice up the otherwise cloudless blue sky. An avenue of Linden trees runs down either side of the park. A pond lies empty and surrounded by bronze sculptures. The lilacs are in bloom. Bird sing. Bells chime crazily Why now? It’s 11.17 a.m.?

How do sculptors manage to capture so perfectly human life in stone and metal? I can feel emotion emanating from them. Even though they stand, unchanged by wind, rain, presidential elections. They stand as a tribute to the artist’s idea, the same concept which appeared in their head one day, nourished by background, experience and talent, the seed grew and still stands.

Don’t look back

Pillar of Salt in Richmond has been going since late 2010. And going strong. Its name comes from the story of Lot’s wife in Genesis, turned into a pillar of salt for failing to obey God’s command not to look back as she fled her burning city.

There were a lot of staff and they all knew exactly what was going on. Great service, fantastic service and really good food. You can’t ask for more, really.

As a new convert to the ways of the gluten/wheat and dairy-free, there were lots of possibilities and all of them good. (I am fairly certain that the g/w/d-free is just a flirtation and not a life-time commitment, but you never know, so far the new way feels surprisingly good and easy.)

I’ll go back to Pillar of Salt, despite the moral warning.

Walking around

It so happens I am sick of being a man

And it happens that I walk into tailorshops and movie
houses
dried up, waterproof, like a swan made of felt
steering my way in a water of wombs and ashes.

The smell of barbershops makes me break into hoarse
sobs.
The only thing I want is to lie still like stones or wool.
The only thing I want is to see no more stores, no gardens,
no more goods, no spectacles, no elevators.

It so happens that I am sick of my feet and my nails
and my hair and my shadow.
It so happens I am sick of being a man.

Still it would be marvelous
to terrify a law clerk with a cut lily,
or kill a nun with a blow on the ear.
It would be great
to go through the streets with a green knife
letting out yells until I died of the cold.

I don’t want to go on being a root in the dark,
insecure, stretched out, shivering with sleep,
going on down, into the moist guts of the earth,
taking in and thinking, eating every day.

I don’t want so much misery.
I don’t want to go on as a root and a tomb,
alone under the ground, a warehouse with corpses,
half frozen, dying of grief.

That’s why Monday, when it sees me coming
with my convict face, blazes up like gasoline,
and it howls on its way like a wounded wheel,
and leaves tracks full of warm blood leading toward the
night.

And it pushes me into certain corners, into some moist
houses,
into hospitals where the bones fly out the window,
into shoeshops that smell like vinegar,
and certain streets hideous as cracks in the skin.

There are sulphur-colored birds, and hideous intestines
hanging over the doors of houses that I hate,
and there are false teeth forgotten in a coffeepot,
there are mirrors
that ought to have wept from shame and terror,
there are umbrellas everywhere, and venoms, and umbilical
cords.

I stroll along serenely, with my eyes, my shoes,
my rage, forgetting everything,
I walk by, going through office buildings and orthopedic
shops,
and courtyards with washing hanging from the line:
underwear, towels and shirts from which slow
dirty tears are falling.

Pablo Neruda

two birds one stone

 I went for coffee and a $1 pick. I got coffee. And the pick. Also corn and zucchini fritters. And a frock. And a conversation with the designer of the print of my frock who talked about colours and patterns and adding a leopard. And a peek into the background of the sales assistant who said she was born for retail; that she’d had 4 barbies growing up, and over 400 outfits. She loves talking about clothes and finding the right things for people. She knows she could have a better paying job, but she loves what she does so much, why would she?

I went for coffee and a $1 pick. I came away with a lot more.