Taking Chances

 

 

They told me they came from a distant land

Where nothing was the same and everything was different.

Beautiful. Spectacular.

 

I became entranced by their stories and wanted to go there.

But they warned me not to go on my own.

The people there spoke a strange language and lived a way of life as if they were on another planet or in another time of history.

The terrain was wild, with mountains and lakes.

There were all sorts of hidden dangers.

‘Whatever you do, don’t go on your own’ they warned me, ‘when you, go come with us’

But they never went home.

They loved their country but only at a distance.

It was a place in their minds.

Something created from reminiscences.  

 

I got impatient and decided to go on my own.

They stood there and watched me as I went.

I told them that I couldn’t live anymore in the country of my birth

I was suffocating I said. Bored. I needed to depart.

 

They looked at me in silence.  

‘You will regret this!’ they said.

Regret?

Of living in a place I knew too well.

Regret ……

Taking chances?

 

Home

There is something addictive about getting up in the morning and moving on, leaving everything behind you, the baggage of yesterday’s experiences and last night’s dreams, and starting out anew. 

It’s an irresponsible way of life, a free life.

In this mode of existence, a few days is a long time.

You arrive in a new place and confront the unknown.

The simple tasks of orientating oneself to the new surroundings, of seeing the sights, walking the streets, exploring the new and the unknown, experiencing a different culture, heighten the sense of being alive. The mundane tasks, finding the nearest shop or supermarket, when and where the next bus or train leaves, form a minor epic full of frustrations, unforgettable scenes and comic situations.

And then before you know it, comes the feeling of familiarity – that you know this place too well, that you have been here for a long time. The senses becomes dulled. You see less, notice less. You begin to regard your hotel room, your temporary lodging, as ‘home’.

Before long, the strangeness of arrival, exhilarating, mysterious, fades. In its place comes the comfort of living according to a set of small routines. Then comes the creeping ennui, the listlessness, the feeling that you have too much time on your hands –  and then it’s time to move on again. 

To once again be a stranger, a pair of eyes wandering a foreign landscape, someone who is always arriving but never stays…….

 

Dead Language

Every 14 days, a language dies.

Half of the roughly 7,000 languages spoken on Earth will likely disappear, as communities abandon native tongues in favour of English, Mandarin, or Spanish….’

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/07/vanishing-languages/rymer-text

 

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The Slum Girl

 

I was on my way back to my hotel, when she ran up behind me, yelling.

It was a high pitched sound, bird like.

Before I knew it, she was standing in front of me and pointing at my camera.

It was a young girl wrapped in a blanket and all too obviously from a poor, lower caste family. She was sleeping on the streets, along with so many others……..

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Lest We Forget

 

 

I travelled the endless land

Flat horizon panning out to nowhere,

Vast swathes of land cleared of every tree and bush,

White man desert.

 

And arriving in a town I saw the monument

Like you see in every country town

Commemorating the generations of white men

Who fought in the two World Wars

And many other besides

South Africa, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq…

Bearing the same words like the other thousands of monuments

All over Australia

´Lest We Forget´.

 

Then

I saw the people who once lived out there

On the land, now a white man desert

Who now found themselves marooned

In another kind of white man desert: the modern life:

Suburbs, Mc mansions, shopping centres, SUV´s,

Commercialism, emptiness and glitz……

 

Saw them

Survivors going nowhere with nowhere to go

Bereft of a reason to live, the only country left to them

A haze of drink and drugs

Marooned in a land which no longer made sense.

 

´Lest we forget´.

The fallen, those first people

Driven from one desert to another

By invaders who remembered

Their own dead

Never mind the corpses under their feet.