It’s the details
a long series of challenges and puzzles
all day, every day
Oh, sure, the sights are wondrous
But it is the interactions
the map reading
and the trivial accomplishments
Nothing can be assumed
All to be deciphered, understood
How do I order coffee?
Do we drink it at the counter?
That’s only in Italy
Where do we buy the tickets?
Can we get a weekly pass?
You can’t buy a ticket on the tram
Those are the wrong tickets
Say all the ladies on the bus in French
You’re going the wrong way
Says the man in Italian
As the rental car gets stuck
trying to turn
down a medieval lane
And he makes the traffic behind reverse
while he escorts us out
I am so grateful I would kiss him
But he is gone on his scooter
I just got home from 5 weeks traveling
Italy, France and Spain
How was your trip?
Wonderful, thank you.
And then it’s gone
Grab it before it disappears
Reach out and snatch its tail
Don’t let it go
Don’t let it go
It left on the return flight
Writing, for me, comes in times of stillness
The letters and words float into my head
and I ease them down to paper
I don’t sit down to write
The words find me when I am quiet
When I listen
Now that I am working again
oh so busy,
my head is full up
No time for listening
No space for letters
Just do, do, do
It’s 4.30 am
An unplanned moment of solitude
I watched the TV News last night
which I try never to do
as it just upsets me.
Tonight was no exception.
Our government has signed a deal
letting oil companies start exploration
for ‘resources’ –
oil and gas.
It’s the faces that get me the most,
I see no humanity there.
I’ve started a new job
I can’t talk about it much
It’s a rather public sort of place
How I got there is the interesting bit
When I went on sick leave last year
I sat on my couch, day after day
Knowing I could never go back into that job
Or any like it
How could I ever work in the world again?
The voice in my head knew:
There’s one place in this city you like
One place that feels as good as home
As safe, as calm, as loving, as right
Ah, yes, that’s right, there is
We replayed this conversation
For three months
Me and the voice in my head
Until finally I mustered the courage,
Can I come and talk to you?
I’m finished with my old job, my old life
But I have all these skills
And I don’t know why I’m telling you
Only the voice in my head said I should
Are you saying you’d like to work here?
Just this morning we had a new position approved
A new salaried position
That needs your skills
Just this morning
I sat there and cried
Then I went home and applied for this position
Now I am here
Where I should be
Thanks to the voice in my head.
I have been off work for 4 months now.
Friends, family and colleagues all ask me,
But what do you do all day?
Very little, I tell them. Very little.
I think that’s the point of this
To stop ‘doing’
For one time in my life
What a privilege.
I know the doing will be back
I feel it creeping closer
And, you know,
When it comes down to it,
I’m good at doing.
But right now
Just this minute
I don’t have to ‘do’
I can breathe instead.
I get up in the morning to wave the boys off
Then I go back to bed
With the cat
His head in my armpit
His furry fatness squished against me
Under the quilts
Cosy and warm
We sleep and sleep
At lunchtime we get up for food
But in the afternoon it’s back to bed
I remember bustling so purposefully
That must have been some other lifetime.