25 February 2010

The Banff

Everything is a story, an opportunity, a memory being created, trimmed down and altered by longing. 
I've not felt this creative in a long time.

Last night, walking home from Fitzroy Street just before the witching hour and the taxi loads of pale Irish girls in the best of H&M. Late summer sea in all the palm trees and bougainvilleas and hushed facades of  Spanish missionary houses and deco apartments- some curved like cruise liners. I'm home sick before I've even left here, for the air by the sea. For the houses who are friends to me with stories I'll learn eventually, as real as familiar passengers on the same train every morning. Leaving a place is waking up and not seeing that passenger on the train anymore. Did I make the most of it all? Did I talk to that passenger with the beaten leather satchel who breathed fog alongside me last July on the platform?

24 February 2010

How to keep stylin' during your pregnancy

This isn't some tabloid BS about yummy mummies or amazing post-partum figures. I'm just sharing some things I am learning about looking after myself during the long months of pregnancy.
I'm 26, a Melburnian, a student and a freelance writer. In my circle of friends there is one other lovely lady having a baby - I thought I'd throw this out there for anyone who is (or considering becoming) pregnant and doesn't have an overabundance of mates in the same boat.


I come from the Bob Geldof school of hair - that is, genetically predisposed to looking seriously unkempt even when I try. Kind of. All that vomitting in the first trimester can leech the protein goodness out of hair. Pregnancy can make your hair go either way - "gawjus" ie. shiny and luscious or dry and brittle aka a shit fight. What is guaranteed is that it will get thicker.

What I recommend: 

for a shampoo free from all those chemical nasties like sulfates, parabens and artificial stuff, try Nourish (from health food shops). It comes in formulas for every perceivable hair type (dry, dyed red hair, natural blonde... seriously) and works better than that sodium lauryl sulphate paint stripper that is normal supermarket quality shampoo.
Kerastase products are a pretty sure bet too and you might relent and purchase some of their magic potions to sort your tresses out.

Get a hair cut with a treatment. What's not to love about being pampered for an hour? And before you walk out that door make another appointment for 8 weeks time. As my lovely hairdresser said today, "When you look after hair, it looks after you." Yes, fetch me a cup of tea, hair.

Boobs: or norks as we called them in high school.

By about 3 months your boobs will probably outgrow your old bras. You'll have fabulously big, sore-ass breastini which will be getting unwanted attention.

What to do:

Maternity bras can be scary looking. They have these clasps which undo so you can flop down the cup fabric and feed your bambino when it arrives. Your partner may think this is an amusing toy for a while, much to your mounting annoyance and feelings of unattractiveness. Thank goodness not all of them are like this (bras I mean).  Elle "The Body" McPherson has some comfy and non-threatening ones. The main thing is to try to avoid underwire for the time being, especially if you are hoping to breastfeed. You'll actually love maternity bras. They are amazingly snuggly and comfortable and sturdy. Some are even... dare I say it, sexy.
If your boobs are annoying you at night, throw on a cotton crop top bra (or sports bra) - Cotton On Body sells fun cheapies to keep your goods together.

Schepping around pants: 

I'm not a fan of trackie dacks (sweat pants). They're pretty hideous in fact. But on your down time at home you need that comfy love that only the trackies are capable of.
Enter "jogging pants," or what was known a few seasons ago as "the poo catcher" or "harem pant." Jogging pants can be worn with pink stilettos and a eurotrash-tastic tshirt, or maybe, just... whatever you like...

more later!

22 February 2010

matryoshka baby

This whole having a baby thing. Strange things happen.
I've been eating central European food, it's all schnitzels mitt kartofel, and I have a cabbage obsession. Is my unborn child a Kraut? Not that that's a bad thing. Sure, half my elderly Russian and Ukrainian friends in Australia were Ostarbeiters - kidnapped by Germans to be worked to death in labour camps. (They don't hold grudges because that's just not right). I know that somewhere there is Finnish blood in my ancestry, the only hint of Germanic we've got I think.

Apart from the food preferences, I'm getting (justifiably) a wee bit clucky. It's freakin crazy, there's another body inside mine, getting built all new and it's a bit of me and a bit of the man I love and it's an enormous and frightening thing.  I've been selling stuff that I don't need, mainly ridiculously gorgeous impractical shoes.
I have a few Russian dolls that are in mint condition, hand-painted and all that jazz. Cannot part with them for the sake of the baby. So instead I bought Japanese fabric with matryoshki on it to compensate for even thinking about selling my dolls and  also because their little eskimo faces comfort me.

18 February 2010

when music comes from windows

Summer has this intoxicating effect on northerners, out of the open window across the alley, music streams like a ribbon in a May Day march. You find yourself singing along after at first frowning at the improbability of the happiness found in fleeting chart songs.The subways are full of old ladies selling parsley and dill from their country cottages, their fragrance follows you for a while as do the ladies' weather beaten brows and paisley kerchiefs. Among the restless hustle of a big city you stop to take in an impromptu trumpet solo after seeing a ballet. Others stop with you, perhaps forming their own memories. The weightless nature of the soul is palpable in the eternal light of summer.

17 February 2010

cleaning up

I'm cleaning up my detritis; diaries from over a decade ago, old photographs and unsent postcards. Found this photo taken by my sister when I was probably 15 or 16 years old. For some reason she decided to permanent marker my boob tube which caused her photography teacher to think it was a nude photo shoot. Right. I'm leafing through my journal from my mid teens...

22nd August 1998

I found this notebook in the bungalow, it smells funny and the pages are already yellowing but I don't mind. I think my diaries are all I have. Apparently Nastya read my other diary and my poem book. Good. I'm happy for her. She just doesn't know how much she hurts me.

Tuesday 8th February 2000

It's 8:15pm and I'm sitting outside my bungalow bathroom near the orange tree making fires with Alli and Nina. I came out here with the purpose of writing something but it ain't working.

Burial day speech

Back in high school my friend and I had a tradition of writing a rant and then meeting up to 'bury' all of our frustration. Once we snuck out of our bedrooms at night to do this, went down to the creek, built a fire, smoked a joint and spewed forth our frothing diatribes of teenage pain. Needless to say, we soon grew wary of suburban creek noises: was that a frog? Can this sewer hole of a creek even support amphibian life forms? Is it the Sewer Man from X-Files?

Here is an excerpt rant from a 1998 rant, aged 15:

This is to racist, fascist arseholes, to NATO and the U.S. You didn't lift a finger to save half a million innocent Rwandans from being slaughtered yet you act like world saviours, flashing your fat fascist arse around Kosovo. YOU KILL MORE THAN ANYONE. All those missfires and regrettable accidents. Fuck you.

fiery little shit I was.

12 February 2010

sunless gaze

Christ is in you,
though your brow is not blackened for Lent
your head bowed low, a sunless gaze
rain has cleared the path of dust into muddy rivulets
our overcast garden smells of cinnamon and autumn
not far, birds from Siberia have finished fattening up
and will return without news.
Perhaps it'd be easier to dampen our thoughts -
admit defeat now, migrate on.
I pray, we never hang ourselves from despair and famine -
broken down and unable to provide for a child..


11 February 2010

From INSOMNIA - Marina Tsvetaeva

As I love to
kiss hands, and 
to name everything, I
love to open
Wide-into the night!

Pressing my head 
as I listen to some
heavy step grow softer
or the wind shaking
the sleepy and sleepless

Ah, night
small rivers of water rise
and bend towards-sleep.
(I am nearly sleeping.)
Somewhere in the night a
human being is drowning.

09 February 2010

short soup,

Word association 2 for the day. Play time in Art Decos by the sea before I have to steal away to the streets that raised me so effin tough. According to Fiddy Cent, "nothing good ever came out of the hood." Well isn't he just a self-fulfilling prophesy?
Back to my bohemian lair in the suburbs then.

photo taken at a restaurant in Melbourne's Chinatown 2009

loves you all, Varia Karipoff

Hungarian doll

click to enlarge poem