Sunday, 29 September 2013

last hours

29 September 2013

My last hours in the George Brown Eco House and I am feeling sad. It has been a rich and rewarding time for me, alone high above the world in my stilted house, watching and listening to the visitors and gardeners below, watching and listening to the bird life. The unfettered freedom to write. It has been extraordinary.
First thanks goes to the board members of the Northern Territory Writers Centre for the residency. A very big thanks to executive director Panos Couros and manager Kaye Hall, both made me feel very welcome and comfortable. Wishing them the success as they work towards to Word Storm 2014 and all other new and exciting writing ventures.
Thanks to the George Brown Darwin Botanic Garden management and staff, Bryan, Nigel, Caroline, Helen, Jeff, Sharon and Jeff’s mate who looked after the open house one afternoon when there was a washer failure and key problem.
Thanks to the security guys who made me feel safe.
Thanks to my workshop attendees Helen, Kaye, Sophie and Kaye
Thanks to everyone who made me feel at home and welcome especially Sandra Thibodeaux for the Mandorah pub expedition, Kaye Aldenhoven for the trip to Fogg Dam and Stokes Wharf and Sophie Cunningham for company at the Darwin Sailing Boat Club on Grand Final Day.
It was wonderful to meet other writers at ‘Off the Page’ and ‘Read Back’ I would like to invite any Northern Territory poets to contact Perth Poetry Club  for a gig if ever in Perth. Perth Poetry Club is held every Saturday 2-4pm at the Moon CafĂ© on William Street Northbridge and everyone is welcome.
Here is a list of my blogs, please visit.
once you see a crucifix once
sky-porn: a daily photograph of the sky

Thanks Darwin for some wonderful skies.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Could have raised more than money

28 September 2013

I spent the last night of my residency with Tina, Delta and Dionne. They are not much chop at lullabies. From early evening until two am disco beats belted out from the direction of The Gardens Oval, home of the Waratahs . I didn’t know who was causing the noise or where it was coming from and thought it may have been a dance party at the Casino which is also nearby.
At 6.30 am when it started again I was almost full of admiration for whoever was running this dance party, obviously in the Territory they had great stamina. Pulling on my walking gear I headed off to complain, met a woman walking her dog but she did not know who was causing the racket and suggested that it was Territorians winding themselves up for Grand Final Day,
‘But did they have to do it all night and be so loud?’ I asked.
‘Well, they are fairly crazy for AFL here,’ she said.
Afterwards, yes, but before? I am crazy for AFL too, but wondered after four hours sleep if I would be able to stay awake for the entire game this afternoon. Her lack of enthusiasm for GFD was explained by,
‘I’m from New South Wales.’
Poor thing.
When I reached the oval I saw it was chockers with purple shirted people all walking around the perimeter. Slowly. Maybe it was some sort of weird ritual to get the Dockers over the line but the purple shirted smokers outside the gate told me it was the Cancer Council’s Relay for Life.
‘Almost finished,’ they said and dragged on their smokes.
I softened a little, the edge taken off murderous. Thanked the DJ for Nutbush City Limits at 1.30am and the four hours sleep. Sarcasm not registering, he laughed. He hadn’t played that in his set. It was him. He pointed at his mate who beamed. Only another couple of hours and it would be all over.
The relay participants looked like the walking dead. Underneath this oval was an old cemetery, headstones, bones and all, bulldozed to make way for sport. Not sure what the real dead thought about the noise but the appearance of a few ghosts would have been handy.

Donate to the Cancer Council Relay for Life here

Friday, 27 September 2013

Woman and Boab

27 September 2013

Another poem from the ‘Planting the Seed’ writing sessions held in the Darwin botanic gardens, with thanks to Helen Hansen. Helen was one of four writers who were artists in residence for the Northern Territory Wildlife Park in 2013.

Read more of her poems in ‘Wild Words’ — an anthology produced as a result of the wildlife park residency.

Woman and Boab

What happens when a woman walks up a Boab,
touches it with the palm of her hand,
turns her head
and presses her ear to its grotesque trunk?
What happens when she stands back just a little
to look above;
seeing a sporadic splatter of compound leaves
dotting strange spastic limbs?

With no sign of flower or fruit yet
her shadow shades a measure of its mighty shaft
as inspiration rises like the sun behind them both.
What happens to her?
Does she feel something welling inside,
that gives truth to this moment?
Does she write poetic words
that no-one else has said or thought?

Does she think of its Latin name:
Adansonia gregor -
or wonder for whom it’s so-called?
Does she wonder its age?
That the sap mixed with water quenches the thirst,
that its fibrous wood makes good twine and nets?
Does she ponder the upside-down legend?
Does she ponder a prison?

Helen Hansen©2013

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Off the Page

26 September 2013

Last night at Browns Mart in the Darwin CBD ‘Off the Page’ resumed under the guiding eye of Panos Couros  director of the Northern Territory Writers Centre and ably assisted by NTWC manager, Kaye Hall.

An appreciative crowd was treated to some of the Darwin’s literary and poetic talent. The guest line-up included :

Ben Quinn extraordinary young musician,songwriter who is on the way to achieving  his dream of making a living from music.

Coral Carter: Read from her book 'Descended from Thieves'

Blood Love

I met my cousin
on Wilson Street
at 16 he dived
into a rock
did time in a chair
now walks with a stick
feet twisted out
like Charlie Chaplin
but no one is laughing
we met last
at uncles wake
the ghost of our grandmother
cursed as she poured the whisky
down the drain
the girl cousins
sang sad movies in their underwear
our cousin broke down said we didn’t love him
we said
blood love
is deep and red
it stains
that was before our other cousin wrestled him to the ground
in front of 36 Varden Street
to take his keys
not that he had a drivers licence any way
we rang a taxi and sent him home
he doesn’t drink too much now
he has given the women away
they drove him to it
happier alone
his daughter up north
his sister round three with cancer
we remembered his father
who won the lottery
drank 12 longnecks a night
until his brain dissolved
I met my cousin on Wilson Street
he wears the Aboriginal colours on his wrist
a twenty year old hat
black jeans skinny legs
not the kind of bloke
some would want to meet
blood love
is deep and red
it stains.

'Descended From Thieves '
Coral Carter
Mulla Mulla Press
Open mike readers 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Togart Contemporary Art Awards 2013

25 September 2013

Yesterday I went to theTogart Contemporary Art Awards 2013, a regional prize for an area which has the highest per capita  number of artists in Australia. The artists must have some connection to the Northern Territory either as a resident or ex resident. The exhibition is a celebration of the diversity of the Northern Territory.

 Penny Rose Wiggins
 ’Landings’ Oil on a found object.
A New Zealander whose great grandfather was presented with a sacred paddle when he returned home wounded from Gallipoli. The paddle represents her own journey to northern Australia and reminds her of her past.

 Trevor Jenkins

‘Art Isn’t Art Isn’t’ Multi-media, video, found objects, sizes various.
‘Trevor is a homeless Christian activist who at times creates disturbances around Darwin by being poor and making no excuses.’
p44 Togart Contemporary Art Awards Catalogue 2013.
Trevor collects rubbish, man after my own heart and turns it into temporary works of public art. Classified as a Darwin character he is known as the Rubbish Warrior.

Mike Gillam
Before the Firestorm’ Digital image
An Alice Springs resident he captures the departure of a flock of budgerigars from a dead tree fleeing the oncoming fire which will burn fiercely because of the introduction of buffel grass, originally a native of Asia and Africa, now changing the landscape of the north.

Nancy McDinny
‘Story of Mayawagu’ Acrylic on linen.Nancy was born in the Gulf of Carpentaria and painted the story of her great grandfather, Mayawagu, who actively resisted the invasion of pastoralists. The painting shows an incident when he escaped wounded from police and trackers who wanted to arrest him. Paul Foelsche, an inspector of police, 1870-1904, who masterminded the massacres of hundreds of Aboriginal men, women and children is honoured by having a river named after him. Nancy McDinny would like to see that river re-named Mayawagu River.

Sonia Kurarra
‘Martuwarra’ Acrylic on linen

Sonia paints the sandy billabong country which runs behind Nookanbah where she now lives and used to help at the kindergarten teaching children art. This painting shows swimming and fishing in the Fitzroy River.  She has depicted parlka (barramundi), nganku, (shark), wirritunany (swordfish) sting-ray, wakiri (pandanus) and kalputu (water snakes). 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

It’s 2056 and Darwin still doesn’t have its promised hoverport…

24 September 2013

Coming Soon 
A short story written by Sophie Constable. 
This is a preview. 

Sophie Constable attended ‘Planting the Seed’, four writing sessions held in the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. She wrote this short story inspired by the rainforest section of the gardens. Sophie is a member of the Northern Territory Writers Centre.

It’s 2056 and Darwin still doesn’t have its promised hoverport…

It’s 2056 and Darwin still doesn’t have its promised hoverport, I thought. Fancy having to transit from a seaplane to a 4WD. 
The seaplane arced over the harbor basin before sinking its belly into the waves. I took in the occasional wooden fishing prow, the derelict apartment buildings above the cliffs as we taxied. Quite the change of scene after the Singapore summit: yesterday I’d been cheering the new Pan-Asian President and today… but you can’t ignore a prime directive from Director Adachi. I grabbed my kit.

Monday, 23 September 2013

feeling at home

23 September 2013

Into the last week of my residency and I am feeling at home. I feel as if the fruit bats are my nocturnal friends, I can hear that the bush chooks are just warning off their mates not someone crying for help, I know the splashing in the toilet bowl is the green frog, he is shy and scared and the spider the size of a side plate is just hunting insects and not me. That whatever was running around the skirting board was probably a mouse. The snake which glided like a stream of molten gold across my path is still outside I hope.

I sleep through the reticulations ons and offs. I am enjoying the sound of the rainbow lorikeets as they leave for work in the morning and return at dusk. Keep an ear out for the magpie geese, an out of tune horn section, as they leave the oval and head somewhere else for the night. I like to see the first kites in the sky at dawn and the last at sunset. I love sitting on my little back porch which is high above the gardens and eat my breakfast before anyone is around and the animal night shift is going to bed. I spy silently on the tourists with maps in hand navigating their way to the bromeliad collection.

 I listen impatiently to the doves that have a lot to say but only one word to say it with. I wait for the hose to be turned on by the bloke who wears a red hat, drives a white ute and waters his patch of community garden each day at wilt o’clock when everything wilts. At this time I find the sound of running water cooling as I have wilted a little too. I recognise the regulars to the gardens  and their dogs. I miss the voices of children if they don’t come with their dads and mums to pick their produce. I like the photographers with back packs of gear photographing everything, a bit like me. I know the click of the gate latch to the Chook Hilton and I know which hen announces she has laid an egg. I am OK that the security guard comes in the night and rattles the door making sure my house is safe. But I worry that he may hear me snoring.