I travelled around Australia when I was 18. I recently found some old notebooks from that time, and I'm so glad I wrote them, it is crazy how selective memory can be when you don't write things down or have images or poems or notes or addresses of people you met and little quotes of things you shared, jokes, pressed flowers and plants... When I was there, I purposefully didn't take a camera with me, because I wanted to impress my experiences on my memory, and not be dependent on artefacts. And this really did work in so many ways - I can still smell and see the desert flowers near Alice Springs, I can feel the smoothness of that dinosaur egg rock I found, I can still see the delicate trembling heartbeats of baby ostrich chicks I came across walking in the desert, I can still see the flame orange collar of the mating dragons. The time I'm thinking of was in the desert after there had been more rain than usual, and everything seemed to be mating, creating, full of life. But that said, I think I would have forgotten so much more if I hadn't written it down. The same is true with my dreams. Reading over a dream journal I can remember my dreams, some of them very strongly, and otherwise my conscious mind would have kept them cosy and untouched under a soft blanket of forgetfulness.
So here are some poems I wrote on my travels. Remembrances of feelings and experiences that, reading them again, come back to me and whisper: 'we never really left'.
"Watching you sleep
my gentle hand around
the curve of your chest
I want, suddenly, to shake
your sombre heart awake.
Where can I go in
this warm rainy night
now you have sucked
hot blood from my lips
with tongues of fire?"
"My fingers spread out over a graze on my knee, exposing the wound. I watch, as little red fountains leap up to dance together on my itching flesh.
I think of you.
I slide my forefinger slowly across and make a smudge.
Tastes like metal.
2 pence pieces awake on my lazy tongue."
"Soft sexy jazz swells me up
expanding, demanding I see your face.
I don't think but there's no
hesitation. The memory belongs to
Shivery breathing and jolting gut, gulping air as I
Remember. Whilrlpools of fire and air
in a sandstorm of fluid.
Atlantis. (In at last?)
The 'lost' city is not so lost, it's under
water, that's all, and who wants to
dive in tears that deep? I. For You. Head first, eyes and teeth and...
I'm swimming now, wallowing in aqua. It's
warm on top, and my feet are ... colder.
So I plunge, delve, squirm, wiggle, fish-tail it
and still down,
here I am.
Creaming the tops of these ages old towers
below the sun.
It's black, and all I can do is
feel. Waiting for your
echo, I call. In mute bubbles.
Under here I'm cushioned from it all, entombed in
the womb of this titanic city, the heart of my tears."