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Watching, listening
People at Kingston Library
Canberra, Australia

Very stressed man
The well-dressed man, black pants, long-sleeved, light blue cotton shirt, dark, maybe black tie, first stand against the plate glass window of the library
stand up talk and straight. Is he waiting for someone… no one comes

Then he sits down on the low brick wall encasing a green garden that has no appeal, that is something green, growing but without definition, just bunched together green, with a green metal bench near by. Yet he does not sit on the bench.

His head is down. His hands rub his almost bald head, with the remaining hair shaved, newly shaved, must be shaved every day. He’s using earphones that are plugged into an iPhone. He is not talking to someone is he listening to whom to what?

Now he lifts his head and rests his chin on his hands. Wait a minute
He just moved his hands and he is talking now. His hands show some frustration as do the wrinkles in his forehead. He seems somewhat upset, tapping the phone in his right hand while into his left, his hands are moving back and forth. He is wearing cuff links. I could see them before. Now he looks as if he is thinking about what is being said, but he is not happy about it. He punches something on the phone. He strokes his chin. He looks down but not at the phone. His chin rest on his left fist. Now he lowers his head again shakes his head puts his hand on his forehead briefly. Now he chews for a second on his finger of his left hand.
Looks upset. Lowers his head. Shakes his head
Rubs his head, left hand holding the mobile phone
White strings of earphones hanging down
Right hand cradling his head
Cannot see his eyes
Not looking anywhere                                                                                                         Left hand momentarily lifts the phone
Now he looks up briefly over his left shoulder
Head down again
Hand on his head
Left hand now cradling his chin
Moves mobile phone to right hand
Thinking
Moving left hand over his face
Pulling on his nose, his chin
Looking over left shoulder
Taking up phone again
Punching something into phone
May be making a call
Looks at phone
Yes probably but now puts phone down beside him
momentarily picks it up again
Rubbing his head with left hand, right hand holding phone
Seems to not know what to do next
People walk by but he does not see them
Now chewing on fingers of his right hand
Looking up but not seeing
Slight smile crinkles around the eyes
Now he is talking? Briefly
Gets up
Straightens trousers
Adjusts belt walks towards library
Stands outside Vietnamese restaurant
Is he talking? But he doesn’t have a blue tooth just earphones which enable him to hear but not talk
Now he is talking raises his hand
Points with his finger
Walks over to low wall
Right foot on low wall
Phone behind his back in left hand
Walking with arms crossed, standing near Vietnamese restaurant
Average looking chap neither thin nor fat neither muscular nor skinny
yet no pot belly
Now can no longer see him

• • •

Young woman shapely tight dress
very tight dress can see her crack,
movement of buttocks,
not very shapely legs, high heels,
black and white horizontal stripes

• • •

Out of sight for some time
The stressed man has something in a small paper bag in his right hand.
He still has the white earphones in his ears with the wire trailing down to his left pocket when he has placed his phone
He is gesturing and talking while he walks across the street and disappears

• • •

Overheard: mobile phone conversation

Why because of the money
She miscounted it
Why
Doesn’t she want to go home?
Are you kidding?
No you don’t want to deal with it
Yeah
Yeah
Are you looking for anything else, Katherine?
You cannot go on like this
You either have to go home or do something
Your health is
You’re going downhill
She’s really being rude and awful
And
She’s really converted into
Noise of opening door obscures conversation
Another opening door

• • •
Another overheard mobile phone conversation

Lookalike of stressed man but taller, thinner and checked shirt
Large eyes
Balding shaved head

That’s right
Well it’s like trouble like this
It’s the essence of special case
She might get back
Noise again
But what
Yeah
Oh my god
I’m sorry
Okay
Now she’s not well
Yeah
Yeah
Yeah
Uh huh
Well ours starts at 8:45 so that’s all right
Oh yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah
Yeah
So what
She
Yeah
Yeah
Uh huh
Yeah
Uh huh
Yeah
Huh?
Half laugh
Change in stress of voice
Jackie who?
Jackie Boodle I thought she left
Yeah
I don’t know her
Other people turned up
You had to go to the side door or whatever to let them in
Um humm
Yeah yeah
Yeah
Uhmmmumhumm
Is Kerry being mean still or
Yeah
Oh
Well it doesn’t look good
All I can say
Think about coming home
Still a ways away
Yeah
Yes
Okay I’ll talk to you later right
You too bye
Bye

• • •
Man trying to look distinguished but
his stomach so protruding he cannot button his suit jacket
A Michael Moore look alike
Fat
Sloppy
No neck
Swinging arms
Walking around the corner

I’ll walk you through that
Yes the walls have been painted
Yes
Um I believe that yes
I’ll ring up the book
I remember because I was there
Okay so
On the ninth of January
I am reading his handwriting

• • •

Two unlikely characters
one quite thin, flat hat, young, dark hair, heavy black eyebrows
One quite fat, shorts, more typical Australian hat, straw, blue band, belly sticking out shirt cannot stay tucked in, light hair, blue eyes
Beard, beige shorts, brown leather sandals

Put in your details
I’ve seen multiple copies
I’ve seen like
Unfortunately not
Go for the license issue
The technological issue

I’ve been applying for jobs
You just don’t have the right voice
My day off
Needs some polishing
And said for you to proof read after he’s done
It’s always good to have another pair of eyes
It’s a job at the ANU for a library position as well
Working in science
Many years ago
Research part
Going to use you as a reference
I knew that would be okay
Chris said to use him
Great
Is that the visitors’ centre
Yeah yeah
You would have been fine the deadline was February 1st.
I did apply for that
I just couldn’t budget and all that sort of thing
Yeah
Sure
Yeah
Is this all about the
That’s the way
A wake if he’s still alive in a lot of ways
Well you took care of him
Hello
That’s incredible

•   •   •

Gaggle of girls going by
Like parrots on the ground
instead of in the air

• • •

Yet another overheard conversation

Okay
I know
The critical element
Yep
It is
But you can’t
Yep yep
Okay
What do I need a little more
Anything in particular you were looking for
Thank you very much
What’s that?

A dead end
a cul de sac end of conversation
I wasn’t there
So I don’t know
Yeah
Yeah
All right
I was trying to ring up
Good afternoon
How are you
It did
It did
No worries
Sounds perfect
John’s working on it
And I am too
My pleasure
Talk to you later
Bye

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Feeling excluded

alienated

by poetry readings

Poetry should open up

new worlds

expansive ways of being

Aching head

Worn out by tedious presentations

Speaking only to themselves

and a closed off group of poets

But are they poets

if they speak only of other dead poets

of esoteric translations

Not speaking to me

Except for the Serbo Russian Australian woman

sitting next to me

She is a storyteller

I haven’t read her poems

Only one about Anzac day

I only partially understood

her use of the Aussie idiom

How many languages does she speak?

She speaks stories

so she will be heard

I seek refuge

exhausted

barely able to drive home

Going to bed

Sleeping not too soundly

Awaken aching for something

Opening a poetry book

Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds

for solace

for reassurance

Do I still understand poetry?

Can I read and be comforted

that there are other worlds out there

other minds that

show me the world

I cannot see by myself?

Thank you Eleanor Lerman

 

 

Panorama, Depot Beach    New South Wales, Australia

 

If it matters

I should write about it

 

The grace of the Greens

the commitment

the creativity

the hope

 

Reaching out to

hidden reality

of people suffering

People not spoken of

not cared for

Imprisoned indefinitely

having committed no crime

 

Diving down

into the Reef

Caring for sea life

for beauty underneath

 

Listening to sounds

of gates

being locked

against intruders

coal mines

coal seam gas

that destroy land

and beauty

and life itself

 

Remembering

traditional custodians

of country

who never ceded

sovereignty

 

Recapturing

the immense

possibilities

of sun and wind

in an ancient continent

Greens Triangle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wakalusa Lake, near Vinland Kansas USA

Wakalusa Lake, near Vinland Kansas USA

Blend together

fold in ingredients

as if making bread

add seeds

variety

crunch

texture

Bring together

people

places

friendships

history

Knead

gently

Let rise

in a

warm place

Bake

carefully

What do you have?

Your self

 

My delightful, creative friend, Tausi Kumbatha, died of stigma. We worked together in Nairobi, Kenya and in Somalia. Tausi was a very talented radio producer and trainer. We had so many great times together.

In late 2000, Tausi was working in Nairobi while I was in and out of Somalia and living in Watamu, on the Kenyan coast. Whenever I was in Nairobi, I tried to contact Tausi. Often Tausi was ill but she always said it was just another attack of malaria. I began to wonder what was happening. When I raised the possibility that Tausi was HIV positive, one of her sisters told me to stay out of their family affairs. I withdrew, but still tried to stay in contact with Tausi.

At the time, Tausi’s family and many people in Kenya, including the then President Daniel Arap Moi, were in denial about HIV/AIDs.

Paraphrasing what Nelson Mandela once said, more people were dying from stigma than from AIDs.

With prompt acceptance of Tausi’s illness, she would be alive today.

I regret that I did not persist.

Thinking of you Tausi.

Tausi is on the left with the glasses.  Our friend Nasra is on the right.  We were in Nairobi celebrating Tausi's birthday

Tausi is on the right with the glasses. Our friend Nasra is on the left. We were in Nairobi celebrating Tausi’s birthday.

When you hear
a flock of parrots,
look up!

 

 

Sunset, Jervis Bay, Australia

Sunset, Jervis Bay, Australia

 

My brother Lon Hutchison and me 2011

My brother Lon Hutchison and me 2011

Today is the day

the one year anniversary

of the death of

my brother Lon

my younger brother

in Mazatlan, Mexico.

 

I walk around the house

A sunny day

in Australia

But dark clouds prevail

hanging over me.

 

Something is missing

Someone is missing

How can this be?

I just shake my head

and go on

with the day.

 

I want to write more

about the effects

on our family

about the struggles

for emotional well being

But I dare not.

 

I just shake my head

feeling tension

building up in my neck

and get on

with the day.

 

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 790 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 13 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

How do we keep family

with us

through geography

through belief systems

through property

through money

Or today

through

facebook

digital photos

emails

blogs?

How many homes today

have printed photos

old family photos

family photo albums?

What will happen to family photos

in the future?

Will everything be online?

Will people look at their

family photos?

Every day I pass by

my family on shelves

next to my kitchen cupboard.

Old photos

When was the last one taken?

Over five years ago

The oldest one?

Not sure but

there is a photo of my

paternal grandfather

who was shot and killed

or so the family lore goes

by a jealous husband

somewhere in Oklahoma.

So that would have been

When?

Sometime in the 1920’s?

Then the photo of my father

With his sister Margery

and brother Jack

could be older.

My father born in 1907

He looks to be about 10 or 11

in the photo.

Family lore has it that he left

home at 13 and rode the rails

From Oklahoma

to San Francisco.

Photo of my brother Lon

with his wife Olivia and

our mother Bette Silver

in Mazatlan, Mexico.

Photo of Jim with his

older sister Erica

mother Hsiao Li

father Michael Lindsay

in Oxford England, 1947.

Photos of me as a baby, 1946

held by my mother

Bette Jo Hutchison

and my maternal grandmother

Irene Higginbotham.

Photo of my sons Nathan and

Gabriel with their cousin Lawrence

in Kansas City

Date? Maybe about 1989?

Can I name all the places

the photos were taken?

Kansas City, Joplin, Missouri

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Oxford, Lake District, England

San Francisco, Pajaro Dunes,

Yosemite, California

Beijing, China

Islamabad, Pakistan

Caracas, Venezuela.

Not all the family is present.

Not all the places are listed.

Family on the shelves in my kitchen, Canberra, Australia

Family on the shelves in my kitchen, Canberra, Australia

I just wanted to say to you and your family how sorry we are for the loss of your brother, Lon.  We heard the news on May 6  from our other close friend, Sam, who lives in Berlin Germany.  He called us saying he heard the news through facebook friends and shared the news article with us.  

  I know it must have been difficult for you being so far away, and I am glad to see that you have made your way to Mexico.  Your blog that started out for your mom, has been a comfort to Lon’s friends, to at least hear your thoughts and in some way mourn together through that. I heard a lot about you and your family from Lon over the 20 something years of our friendship, but never had the pleasure of meeting you.  My husband David meet your mom many times when she would come to NY.

My husband David, Sam (who flew into NY from Germany), and some of Lon’s ex-coworkers from NY, and myself, got together last month in NYC to have our own little memorial for Lon.  We had some good food at Keen’s steakhouse (one of Lon’s NY favorites) and some drinks at a local bar.  We talked about our many “Lon stories”, and laughed and cried, and it was good for us all. 

I just wanted you to know that Lon’s NY friends did their best to do him proud and remember him, and we will never forget him.  He was a great friend and a huge part of the person I have grown into.  I met him through my husband when I was 17 (when we started dating) and now I am almost 44.  We would spend nearly every weekend with him in NYC, listening to music, going to concerts, shopping, eating etc. He was there when David and I got married, and he was there when my kids were born. My daughter Lynn is 20, and my son Kurt is 17, and they loved Lon too.  They had a great time visiting him and his family in Mazatlán back in 2008. We are so grateful we met Olivia before she passed away about a year later. We never saw Lon happier.

 I am attaching a couple of pictures we took when in Mexico.  One is a great family photo and the other is of David and Lon.

 All best to you and your family.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERASANYO DIGITAL CAMERASincerely,

Connie Freda

New Milford, CT, USA

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