Tuesday, January 31, 2012


She leans into his shoulder and closes her eyes against the evening sea breeze. Curls her painted toes around smooth pebbles. Dreams of paradise.  And lowering his gaze to her windswept face and tousled hair, he holds her, pushes hair away, kisses her lightly. Urgently. Softly. Choosing one rose, he places it in the water. Not thrown; placed. The photographer bends on one knee,captures the falling wave splashing against the red petals, adjusts his shutter to the fading light, clicks again. Remembered.

They are in New Zealand to recreate their wedding day from 30 years ago, but already it’s too late. His cancer has returned with the strength of a thousand men and his body is weak and frail with yellow.
The images are now on my computer, and from my kitchen I watch them walk their last walk together, as I create his funeral DVD. Their love was strong, obvious, deeply felt, ever-lasting.
So now she sits before me in a restaurant, eyes lowered. She cannot look into anyone’s eyes, not even her own.  The hurt is so raw, her grief so huge, it will need a decade of nights to smooth over.
She’s bought flowers for me, roses. My thank you for filming and recording the funeral. For archiving forever, the way she held her head back, staring at the chapel ceiling. Trying not to film too closely, the way she knelt in front of her Nana; the way she placed her head on the old woman’s lap, and allowed her hair to be stroked.

Roses of every colour, to say thank you and celebrate the worst day of her life, the hardest goodbye. Reluctantly, gratefully, I take them from her shaking hands, and gently hug her frailty.

There is no smile, only the haunted look of a woman in love with a husband who will never age.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Birthday Poem

Written for my 50th, love it, thanks Paul Martin.

To our Patty we say Happy Birthday once more,

She's Patricia Anne with an E,
But to us she's just our Patty.
But not just I must say she much more than that,
She's a modern woman,
A woman for the millennium,
Digital and smoke free.

No postmodern, politically correct deconstructionist,
She's a diversified, multi cultural, modernist non-delusionalist,
Politically, anatomically and ecologically correct.

She's a high tech high life.

She uplinks, downloads, inputs, and never outsources.

She's a cutting edge multi-tasker,
She'll give you a gigabite in a nanosecond.

New wave, but old school,
Her inner child is outward bound,
She's a hotwired, heat seeking, warm-hearted, cool customer.

Voice activated and biodegradable.

She's as cool as a cucumber.
Always singing a new number.

Patty interfaces with her database,
And her database is cyberspace.

Patty is interactive, hyperactive, and radioactive.
Never behind the eight ball,
she's ahead of the curve, riding the wave, always pushing the envelope.

She's on point, on task, on message and on the money.

Patty is in the moment, on the edge, over the top, and always
on our radar.

Still lighting rooms with her smile.

She's a high concept, high profile, long range ballistic marvel.

A computer wise, top gun smart sex bomb,
An enthusiastic critical thinker,

She's Eve not Adam our boat captain on the river out of Eden.

She daily climbs Mount Improbable,
Like a cool cat she flies here and there,
And the world now spins around like a top,
What better than to call it a dance,
Maestro Patty, the choreographer supreme, and the ultimate DJ.

She comes with no personal trainers, no personal shoppers, no personal assistants,
And no personal attitude.

She's a Webmistress with a whip in one hand a feather duster in the other.

Not a raging workaholic, not a working rageaholic,
Unless she's working on a DVD that is.

She's a totally ongoing, slam dunk, rain maker.

You can't shut her up, you can't dumb her down,
She's tireless, she's wireless.

She's a true believer, and an overachiever.

Patty is up front, down home, high rent, and low maintenance, Super sized,
long lasting, high definition, and fast acting.

She's a hands on, foot loose, knee jerk humanitarian.

She's a fully equipped, factory authorized, hospital tested, clinically proven, scientifically formulated biology wizard.

She's prewashed, precooked, prepackaged, preapproved,
prescreened, post-dated, freeze dried, and always prepared.

She eats fast food in the slow lane,

She's toll free, bite sized, ready to wear, and takes on all.

She's not a rude dude,
She's the real deal.

Lean, but not mean,
Cocked, locked and ready to rock.

She's not rough or tough, yet hard to bluff.

She takes things slow, she goes with the flow,
She rides the tide, she's got glide in her stride.

Always thinking and tinkering,
Lecturing and debating,
Confronting and challenging.

She's always pushing the pedal to the metal,
She parties hearty,yes we know,
There ain't no doubt,

She's still smashing fours and sixes around the ground.

So Today we're chanting Happy Birthday.

"To Patty", our mate, our friend, our pal, our buddy and much much more, the crowd stands to applaud and roars with delight as the commentater yells into the mike, "She's still at the crease with bat in hand now 50 something not out. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Incoming tide.

Sit beside me, here near the shady Pandanus tree, with it’s sharp canopy of leaves. Feel the breeze on your skin. Let’s begin, yes?

Cross your legs and close your eyes, we’re going to share some time together in the sunshine.

We’re sitting in a time-warp, a scene repeated each day, every season, year after year. A dropping tide exposes mangrove roots to an impossibly blue sky, a sky so clear you have to wonder where the wind hides?

Ancient aerial roots stand like burnt party candles, or perhaps, like dead men’s fingers, pointing to a day they cannot share; choked in mud and suffocating  under the weight of sand and tides.

I’ve always been fond of mangroves; an unfriendly tree at the best of times, but I know they hold the secret to sweet fish and an underwater world of crabs and scuttlerly things, hiding lost fishing hooks and dreams of the one that got away.

A lone gull parades in red stockings, quickly shuffles along with the wind to his back. Neck feathers ruffle in a stand-up collar. Elvis would be proud.

Looking around, it’s easy to unravel the wall of sound that surrounds me; like an old jumper, strand by strand.

A crow to my left, no doubt exclaiming his free lunch left by a careless worker.
A mother and her plump child in a bright blue hat, dragging a large stick.  Looking for something in the clear blue waters edge. Small fish perhaps, anxious to retreat to the shady cool of the mangrove’s safety and protection.

Behind me, walkers shuffle along a sand-strewn track, thongs scuffling an emery board sound in rhythm to their laugh and chatter.

Ker-chunk ker-chunk denotes skateboarders, breezing past in shorts and attitude. Further to my right; under a spreading she-oak tree, and drenched in motterly shade, teens play a bastardized game of soccer, more pushing and shoving than any skilled kicking.  The ball lands with a dull thud.

Overhead, an unseen plane wings its way to sea, its passengers no doubt staring at the coastline for one last glimpse of their holiday. Kids drift past in a blue and white kayak, too tired to paddle, they let the wind gently move them slowly along; giving them time to think and dream and chat and just sit about and watch the world glide past. Messing about on boats.

Darker patches of water hide leaves and stingrays basking in the arm shallow waters, whilst sandbars tippy-toe out of the water, waiting for children’s footprints, a dogs bark, seagulls tracking.

Tiny feet.

Crabs roll sand-balls out of habit, then hide. An outgoing tide, turns, and begins again.
Incoming tide.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Writing for fun - Halloween

He hesitated, but only to adjust his collar, pulling it tautly upright against the dripping rain. He hasn’t seen me, not yet.

Not yet.

I crush myself into the bush hiding within its darkness. Branches scratch at my face and arms. Overhead, bats flap aimlessly searching for fruit. I can hear their soft wings beating the night-air with a brushing rhythm. Settling, they squabble high above me in the trees, as a car slowly drives past.

My eyes stare into the brightly lit door slowly opening; I can see him speaking to someone and nodding. Readjusting my position within the bush, I move my feet to avoid standing in dog poo, I can smell it and I gag slightly, just for a moment. Slowly he turns around to face my direction, and I freeze like a rabbit in a spotlight, willing myself to become invisible. Squinting, peering, he holds his hands outstretched, and receives the goodies, turning briskly to walk to the next house.  

I have been following him now for 4 houses and he is yet to discover me.

We are both drenched in spring rain and sweat, it’s been a long day, and yet the night is but young. 

There is still so much to do, to be done.

A cat slinks within the shadows, stalking the fat rats that hide among the street foliage and bushes. The cat, this familiar cat, dark haired with white paws, sees me, and meows loudly, beginning to rub himself against my leg. My feeble attempts to silence the animal have failed, and hearing a slight commotion, he turns once again, his attention caught, and begins to walk towards me, towards my darkness and cover.

“Mum! Is that really you?  I’m a big boy now; I can trick or treat without you.”

The Rooster

Cedrick the Cockerel strutted his kingdom.  Fluffed his feathers.  Ruffled his comb. Preened his chest.
He was so proud of his new look, and he turned this way and that, catching his reflection in the pane of glass of his owners house. Not for him the chook pen, no siree, he was a show chicken, a stud, a champion exhibit at the Ekka, and he knew it.  Only yesterday the owners little girl held him gently, tenderly, painting his talons a deep, ruby-red. He studied them now, holding out a claw to catch the sun. Very nice. 

Today, he freely wandered the garden feeding on the worms and grubs he was able to delicately scratch out with his prized, painted, perfect, painted claw.

Cedrick the Cockerel never saw the farmer from behind; was too confused when he was lain on his puffed chest across the large piece of wood. Never heard a thing, only the farmers’ wife at the window yelling in a booming voice: “And cut those stupid legs off too!”


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Beach Walk 2012

I say it every year but never do it. Never. It's my coastal mantra which rarely eventuates, "a long beach walk, the length of the coast". Maybe once, at dawn; with my niece and young son, watching him drag his troll-like toenails across the sand; the colour of cake batter. Today, I am out of excuses, and drive to a quiet place where I can access the beach without the hordes of tourists watching.

It’s not that I am shy; I don’t want or need the company.

A soft-sanded walkway invites me to explore the beach of the northern end of Maroochydore. Entrance 148 it exclaims. I begin to walk south, my black sarong flapping around my thighs; the beach seems a little empty today. One good thing about the coast here, you can pick and choose your beach for the day. Too windy from the east? Try the river with its quieter waters, but watch that current. It’s fast and tricky! Blowing from the south? Go to The Spit, it’s always sheltered, facing north with small waves ideal for toddlers and old folk.

Glancing to my right, I can see it’s mostly women and older couples on their towels, rubbing brown shoulders with coconut oil (I can smell it) and laying flat on their backs. Like a lizard, although I’ve never seen lizards lie on their backs. A few young teens frolic in the water. Today the temperature is just about perfect and I remind myself that I will not, I must not swim, as my car keys are tucked into my togs and they’ll get wet. I must not, but the pull and lure of the waves is irresistible, and I paddle shin deep in the incoming tide.

Sets of waves stand up like wedding cake tiers, all froth and bubble, but underneath I can see a churning brown of fresh water. Wind against tide, the water pushes to the beach and retreats south, always retreats south. Stronger surges force me to tred carefully as I reach the coffee rocks, an area of old volcanic rocks, easy to carve, easy to erode. Although named coffee rocks, you’d be wrong to think it’s the colour of them; indeed the rocks are jet-black, Indian ink black. Coffee rocks perhaps, as in the texture of coffee, nothing more. Bright green seaweeds reside in tidal pools; looks stunning against the blackness. Nature’s abstract art.

Here, a mangrove leaf the colour of sunset sits in wait, kept company by white rounded marble rocks. The shells are familiar, the grey of Chinese hats, the orange of others, and the pure white smoothness of those, near the water. I don’t pick any up, must be getting old; our beach house is bulging with shells collected from previous walks.
There’s been erosion here; slabs of concrete lay like slain soldiers, perhaps this was a walking path once? Layers of dark grey and sand are exposed; the beach needs years to recover, and the sand dunes rebuilt. It’s heartless, the wind and tide.

As I walk in the tidal contours, my feet kick up the warm water, scattering a thousand comets and stars ahead of my footfall. In an instant they are gone, walked over, to begin again with the next push of a wave.

Turning back, time to go home.

I hear it first, the dull chop chop of a helicopter, when suddenly it appears like a gun-metal grey wasp. The doors are closed and I can see no signage on it, it’s not a coastguard chopper or even a rescue chopper. For that we can be thankful. Past the Surf Lifesaving Club, past the pokies and the bar smelling like spilt beer, past the other walkers on the beach with Australian flag designs for boardies, past the bandaid and cigarette butt on the tidal line, towards my car park. Up through the soft, slattered walk, the coast becomes a softer murmur, replaced by the wind’s sigh through stands of banksias and casuarinas.