Friday, September 7, 2007
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
found cigarette box and bus ticket
finding myself here drinking from a well of sad old tears
a light breakfast is good for you
coming to the table and counting my losses early in the day
depression is a thief
looking at my choices and a circle of burnt black spots
smoking is bad for you
walking the concrete path and performing myself at the store
change needs a crack to step into
putting my hand in my pocket and weighing the small coins
guilt is a useless habit
Sunday, September 2, 2007
PHOTO: Prof. Kurt Stanislaw Jacobi 
For the love of West Torrens hard rubbish collection days if this isn't performance art then we don't know what is.
Keeps folks entertained too. One bloke, bending and reaching out a hand to better inspect a yellow Tonka truck parked crookedly on a suburban verge, fairly jumped out of his skin when Skanky called out from across the street, "Careful or you'll end up like me!". The bending man, hesitating, gestured and half laughed something that said "No way not me!" and straightening, left the toy to walk on with his roll of chook wire in check.
Skanky's 'careful' possibly worried the bending and straightening man as much as her appearance did, or so we guess, because some people (oddly enough), think that rummaging around in other people's hard rubbish is akin to petty larceny. In fact the skank has twice been reprimanded because of her tendency to find good stuff. We think this kind of reuse is what Michel de Certeau would call a "ruse" or what the Zero Waste crew would call "doing the world a favour". Regardless, domestic possessions cast off to the tune of spring birdsong fill a skanks' wandering soul with joie d'vie.
A sedan pulled up in front of a particularly interesting mountain of expired necessity and a young man and woman stepped out from it and on to the warm bitumen. Approaching them so conspicuously laden gave Skanky premonitions of a snickering welcome. "Is this yours?" she inquired, gesturing toward the mountain and asking if it was ok to 'pick through'. The young man answered that it was ok, adding with a casual laugh that they had no use for it. Something with wheels suggested respite to the skanks' aching tenacity and covetous eye. Peering and then tugging at a rope attached to the object, she asked, "Did your Dad make this?"
"No", replied the young man,"my brother. He used it for his model aeroplane". Smiling, Skanky checked once more that it was ok to take it, and reassured, extracted a small custom made wooden cart from the family pile. Perfect!
With a large outdoor umbrella completing this, her last curb side 'purchase' for the morning, Skanky repacked. The small, wooden cart carried the padded footstool and the black attaché case (bound together by the dressing gown sash), plus the stack of plant pots and metal buckets. The lamps, the dressing gown and other small items, packed inside the brown suitcase, and the big umbrella and one corner of the brown suitcase, poked into the already stuffed old, yellow trolley. Duly organised, SJ managed the handlebars of her push-bike with one hand and both the yellow trolley handle, and the tow rope of the little wooden cart, with the other hand then resumed her drift.
Half a block later, veering right, the stack of plant pots and metal buckets slipped through the footstools' short legs announced Skanky's procession, following the curve of a broad grey corner, with a startling percussion. Across the road from the scene of this incidental din, the tram crossing and it's cyclone fenced, three point zig-zag loomed. Home now within shouting distance, the skank rescued her pots and buckets, settled them back in place and determined to manoeuvre, in turn, each of her three vehicles through each of the three turns and over the crossing. A family, composed of one woman, one man and one small child, sat at the tram shelter opposite waiting relaxedly for their ride to the Bay.
The yellow trolley went through first. Crossing the tram-line, Skanky leaned on its' handle, easing the wheels gently over each track with her foot. When she was three quarters of the way across the man left his seat and came to her aid. Seeming disconcerted, he spoke a few quick, uncertain directions and readjusted the brown suitcase on top of the yellow trolley. Skanky said "thanks, that was much better now", and reassuring him with several, bright smiling "I'm okays", saw him return to his family. Finally, the trolley, the bike, the small wooden cart and their cargo navigated the zig-zaging crossing and rails - intact. Walking a final stretch of familiar footpath toward home, a musk lorikeet, sailing a warm breeze, dipped and rose overhead, the green of its' back made brilliant in the sun.
1 yellow trolley (to match SJs' yellow, plastic raincoat 'n' pants)
1 'budgie blue' indoor blind (fits that window perfectly!)
1 lamp on a stand (with two lights)
2 lamps of ghastly goodness
2 lamps on a clamp (reading in bed!)
1 custom made wooden trolley
2 curtain rods (for the small windows)
2 plastic pots for plants (with water wells!)
1 old enamel bucket (cute)
1 old style brown suitcase with key
1 padded footstool (for flat footed flaneuses)
1 large outdoor umbrella (to go with the outdoor set!)
2 brand new pairs of thongs
1 winter dressing gown (pure wool in tiptop nick!)
1 air purifier/ioniser (for the filthy habit)
1 old style soap saver
1 brand new (still in the packet) pair of white cotton socks
2 brand new men's hankies
3 brand new women's hankies
1 black attaché case with wheels and an extension handle
1 small green metal bucket with floral design
2 boxes of CD/DVD cases
4 unopened ink cartridges (for the printer)
1 old style wooden tray with stand (so Arty can eat his snags in bed!)
6 wooden drum sticks
1 acoustic guitar
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Skanky's been stung by a Queen Bee and is now asking herself how and why she got so close to her in the first place.
I've always loathed that myth about women and how they compete with each other, how bitchy they are, how they can't trust each other. I've always been wary about women who have no female friends or women who say their best friends are men. I've always stepped sideways from the merest hint of competition with other women. I imagine that I sensed, from an early age, that my hide wasn't quite thick enough to survive the reprisals of success. I learnt to savour failure instead because as Dylan says there's no success like failure and that failure is really no success at all. Yet there's another myth, the one about women being great communicators who relate via cooperative styles and means, the one about girls being made of sugar and spice and all things nice.
My first ever betrayal, that I recall, came at the hands of a woman - my mother. Emigrating half way across the globe, from England to Australia, she delivered my two year old self and my six year old brother at the doortep of my prodigal father and six weeks later hightailed it back to the mother country. I quickly learnt to please however I have often wondered if, because my formative years were endured between my father and brother, I missed out on learning some of the other essential arts of female persuasion.
Pre and early pubescence should have finished me. These educative years were spent almost entirely in the company of women. Nuns and boarding school innocents then more nuns and many a good catholic family's shame - their misused and abandoned daughters. Perhaps this feminine immersion came too late or grew too skewed, isolated from the community, learning only to cook, sew and type at the school for bad bitches and misfit maids. All that seems womanish enough yet we were of a sort.
A sort who gathered in the classroom of that suburban-house-come-school with it's barred windows and 'purple room' (for purple mouthed girls who absconded) to learn Monique's technique, jamming the wooden handle of a bread knife against her cunt and vigorously strumming its serrations with a spoon. I learnt the taste of Monique too, and of Monica. Sexier than satan on serapax Monique dominated the Friday and Saturday night realm.
But surely even a bitch licking crumbs from her mistress' lap learns the manners of her table?
On Friday night, in black ripple soles and tight blue jeans, the Forrest Street girls hit the parquet dance floor ofRatz disco. Monique was such a hit at Ratz she was once asked to mime In the Flesh on stage. We plastered new layers onto our emerging identities under Michael Jackson's moonlight and Boney M's mirror ball and the guys we invited back for Saturday night boyfriend night added a few more. There were no such invites during Monique's reign however, not one of us suffered so much as a pinch on the tit in those days. I learned, long after the cease of her reign, that Monique's possession of the lounge room on boyfriend night had been desperately strategic.
If any one of the other girls had acquired a boyfriend Monique would have been obliged to share in which case Anthony Agostino might not have come for he would have been unable to ball her in the relative privacy of the loungeroom. She confessed this to me once, in a hospital bed after having an ovarian cyst, (and consequently one ovary) surgically removed. The Queen Bee had apparently suffered for years under the weight of catholic guilt in that house, imagining that the old nun despised her for her sins. The nun, and others of her christian community had since taken to hearing Father Murphy say mass in that blighted room and Monique's guilt had convinced her that this was an attempt to purge the stain of her lust from it's worn and faded pile.
As any power broker in a meat market knows (even during Lent), the important thing about the complicity of lesser women, albeit a given, is that it must work for your side. Apologies for the mixed metaphors here friends, but the other thing a power broker knows is that there can only be one Queen Bee per hive. Toni was a lass who eventually had to learn this harsh law. Less subtle than Monique, Toni ruled through physical violence. Every girl in the house had at one time or other felt the pain of Toni's fear and thus learnt to politely appease the beast. Toni spent the majority of her spare time rocking her large body back and forth in a favoured arm chair whilst listening to Elvis Presley songs. One day, while Toni was so positioned, and to all appearances at least, safely thumping away in her Elvisian fields, I happened into the loungeroom. Upon my happening, Toni slowly opened her eyes and taking a drag on her cigarette asked me to show her my leg. Like the unthinking fool I was, I obeyed, raising my foot to the level of the seat of her throne. She then proceeded to butt the cigarette out against my bare flesh. Thump, thump, thump, rocking, her back hit the chair, the chair hit the wall and so it was all through the house; Toni thumped and we shook.
It came abou then that Monique discovered her inner union organiser when, having devised a brilliant, if simple, plan to overthrow the totalitarian dictator, she rallied her drones together. Six of us ambushed Toni during a rare occasion when she was on her feet - passing from the lounge to the kitchen - and pulling her to the ground, sat on her. With the balance of power literally off balance we vented our rage, (verbally) advising her that we would no longer tolerate her human rights abuses. Toni retreated to an aunt's house for several weeks and returned a very changed young woman. Funny thing about power, how quickly it can shift given the right conditions. As a result of all this my own ranking altered considerably when almost overnight I was raised from human ashtray to drone closest to the Queen Bee's side. Or "backside" actually.
I had many adventures with my "best friend", Queen Bee Monique. Many of these adventures left me feeling betrayed and inept. Like the threesomes and foursomes with boys I really liked. (She would never really giveherself to me!) Or the time she dropped me in it with the law to save her own neck. And she was quite furious when I decided, at seventeen, to keep the child I was carrying. The price, it seems, of serving as drone closest to a beloved Queen, is that ultimately you are her slave and cannot be closer to anyone than you are to her. Also, you must never, ever, cause her to go too far out of her way for you or upset any of her plans for you or she will kill you in an instant. But these reminiscences bring me back to complicity. My own. Why don't I listen to my guts? Why do I continue to squander my resources on women who disrespect me? Do women ever face each other cleanly through conflict?
Always fearing the limelight, even while I danced in it, it seems that I have more feminine wiles than I give myself credit for, even now, a grown woman, I dance the diplomatic-double-shuffle with aplomb. Scooping friends from the sidelines while remaining on "please pass the salt" terms with more powerful shakers. Or worse. Becoming top drone. I could tell you more...about the nights spent on the street, the purple mouthed absconder who had learnt that it's safer to be alone. Like many others I knew how to keep my secret self empowered. We always know that we are just as deserving of respect and joy as any other person.
I'm glad I got stung coz it made me see. I wont serve you. I'm your equal woman and I believe there is room for both of us to shine. I wont run away at the first sign of strife or get my tough girl out to make you back off. I wont shaft you or betray you or collect you and other women as a battery for power, my ego and my ambitions. I wont put you down overtly or covertly. I wont compete with you. I'll encourage you to be your best and be glad when you achieve that. I'll respect your choices. I wont gossip about you. I wont exclude you. I expect these same things from you. If I fail or falter I expect you to give me credit and tell me I've hurt you. If we part as close friends I hope it will be with respect. All this wont just be for you but for other women too. I hope that my consistency in the way I talk about and treat other women, even those I disagree with or dislike, will earn your trust that I will always behave in the same respectful way to you.
I've never read any of these books but a quick Google of the contents of my thoughts today brought up these interesting titles:
In the Company of Women: Indirect Aggression Among Women: Why We Hurt Each Other and How to Stop by Pat Heim
Mean Girls Grown Up: Adult Women Who Are Still Queen Bees, Middle Bees, and Afraid-to-Bees by Cheryl PhD Dellasega
I Can't Believe She Did That!: Why Women Betray Other Women at Work by Nan Mooney
Connecting: The Enduring Power of Female Friendship by Sandy Sheehy
Mean Chicks, Cliques, and Dirty Tricks: A Real Girl's Guide to Getting Through the Day With Smarts and Styleby Erika V. Shearin Karres