A villanelle in amphibrachic tetrameter. The rhyme is a little off but the meter is near spot on. This was a difficult prison of liberation.

 

That lady at nightfall, that terrible beauty,

I yearn, I lay pining, bereft and desiring,

engulfed by her image, she haunts me, she owns me.

 

At night, when it’s dark, she appears so minutely,

voyeur I am not though I stand here admiring

that lady at nightfall, that terrible beauty.

 

Beholding the screen, how my stomach knots tightly,

her eyes look straight through me, my being is sighing,

engulfed by her image, she haunts me, she owns me.

 

My mind is awash with such thoughts, so unsightly,

I bask in her glamour, my being is wanting

that lady at nightfall, that terrible beauty.

 

She knows not of me, it would be so unseemly

to know of a longing that’s born out of nothing:

engulfed by her image, she haunts me, she owns me.

 

A biased contract that I signed so willingly

continues for now, so I’m left here admiring

that lady at nightfall, that terrible beauty,

engulfed by her image, she haunts me, she owns me.

 

JvH

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The neon name of the diner flickered. It bathed the street in a soft blue glow, forcing a sense of melancholy on passers-by. It reflected off the wet ground and suggested a mirror diner where things might be better.

Inside, a middle-aged, world-weary waitress in a pale blue dress and coffee stained apron stood behind a counter, off-white and worn. She cleaned the night’s dishes with a trained efficiency: working smart not fast. She’d look up every so often to check on the two men and their coffee cups.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

It could be the foreign cold

or the concrete infection

of that city

 

that summons this debilitating fog:

blanketing my eyes, pervading

my mind, clawing

at my yearning heart.

 

What once was now is not,

and walking over

that grave—frigid fingers of the past’s

 

ghosts on my neck—it hits me.

Longing for what now is: the present,

free air, my love.

A knife piercing nothing

 

in the darkness. The world

beneath turns. I see

naught

 

and I return, heavy-

hearted and in need, restrained

from the elixir of my parched heart.

I see you, my beauty, and

 

the ethereal nourishment that comes

from you voice,

your touch, fills me:

 

an empty vessel with a memory

that aches, the echo

of a song that fights

the silent dark.

 

 

I flew but not with the urgency

of old. The night air hung calmly

on everything,

in everything, and I drove

through it.

 

She pulled open the door, the cat

ran in;            moonlight

flowed in its wake, hitting her black nightdress,

caressing her with

celestial light,

in a way I never could. I stepped

inside

and my arms enveloped

her. It felt like an age

since I last held her

that way:

so close,

so desirous,

so beautiful.

 

Modern Vestiture

 
That effervescent minx, Kylie Minogue, has decided to recut and remaster 16 of her greatest hits at London’s Abbey Road Studio’s, aptly naming it The Abbey Road Sessions. Thankfully, she decided her duet with Nick Cave, Where the Wild Roses Grow, from his 1996 album Murder Ballads, was one of the 16 worth remastering.
 
You can listen to it here but in the mean time, just watch the original. WARNING: you may fall off your chair due to excessive swooning, regardless of gender.
 

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For the discerning gent and any ladies who like reading about discerning gents, here’s a review of Smith Journal.

Modern Vestiture

 
Ever wanted to live in a world where you could buy an Australian-based men’s magazine that wasn’t rife with overly photoshopped girls or products so far beyond your bank account you’d have to reinvent and patent the wheel just to buy them? Well, it turns out that world exists and has done so for almost a year now.
 

 
Smith Journal is a quarterly gentleman’s magazine (in every non-misogynistic sense of the word) set on bringing back tradition and seeking out the interesting. The brainchild of that talented bunch over at Frankie Press, this mag encapsulates the more classical side of male interests, as opposed to the ‘hot chicks and sick cars’ mantra of those other magazines (OK, that was a bit mean but you get the idea; FHM, Zoo, I’m looking at you) that stare up at you with a masculine self-confidence from racks in…

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Here’s a review of Walter Salles’ adaptation of ‘On the Road’ I wrote for Modern Vestiture.

Modern Vestiture

 
It takes some balls to attempt an adaption of a beloved book from any decade. It takes even more balls to adapt a novel that defines an era and a generation. Walter Salles proves himself to have a decent pair with the recent release of his adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.
 
{Aside: just quickly, the whole argument about whether the film is as good as the book, or vice-versa, won’t be discussed here. Film and literature are different mediums of expression, so it’s a little unfair to compare them. Apples and oranges, people. Also, there will be minimal spoilers.]
 
If you haven’t seen it or read the book—it’s strongly recommended that you do—I’ll give a quick run down. Sal Paradise (Sam Riley) is a writer living in New York who yearns to travel across the country to the fabled West. Through some mutual friends, he…

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This article appears in issue three of The Hilarian (The University of Adelaide Law School magazine). You can read the whole mag here.

 

What do you think about when you picture yourself? What are your tastes in music, literature, fashion and people? What morals and ethics do you adhere to? What are your religious and political stances? What’s your heritage? Do you care what other people think of you?

You probably don’t sit down and spend a whole lot of time considering the answers to these questions and contemplating your self-image in an intensive, reflective way. But on a daily basis you’d do it almost unconsciously, like second nature, and on a much smaller scale. The aspects of who you are—such as the answers to the questions above—culminate to illustrate the person you are and therefore the person you project on to others. But how often do we seriously reveal the extent of all these aspects to other people? Read the rest of this entry »

This poem is in response to the blank verse challenge laid down by the prolific and adept sarahjaneprosetry (read her poem here).

 

with every pull of this cigarette

and every sip of this coffee, I

come back to the land of the living; the

dishevelment falls away like old skin,

unwanted; my mind becomes solid, no

more rattling like time-worn maracas.

 

I awoke in a bed not my own, in

a house not my own, but that of my ink

mate’s new fling, and on her back porch I sit,

the sun slowly climbing behind me—just

as I knew it would, dappling a forest

of gums in the rays of a newfound day.

 

and the day is young and nature’s sounds wash

over me and I sit in wonderment,

as if hearing it all for the first time;

white noise enriched with soothing hues and tones,

unexpectedly beautiful and soft,

I’m cloaked in an ethereal cocoon.

 

it feels like some new beginning but new

beginnings are precious and rare and, if

I am deserving of such a thing, I

beg of it to evince itself anew,

show me the light! the possibilities!

let me walk that desirous path once more.

 

 

midnight machinations pulled her into

my sphere

where Life spelt hope with thoughts, maybe dreams,

grandiose yet filling, abounding, swarming;

she filled the cup of want on levels too many,

words of ideas spewed forth, a biblical deluge

gurgling from a well-spring dry before that midnight

 

intertwined in physical communion

explosions to dwarf Pompeii

soul’s alleviated beyond the veil

bodies new, fertile

discovering without direction

the night watched, the night knew

celestial gratification.

 

after the fall: the well seems dry

bone dry, Gobi, Simpson, Arizona, barren

yet rain falls, drops of life, fuel;

alone, isolated, content

that muse, she has left, riding smoke shadows on the breeze;

she is gone and I am here

and I kept it,

that thing she helped me find.

 

 

I sit across from her

and tell

her it’s been

too long;

she looks beautiful

like she always has

and I tell her, you’re

looking pretty like

always.

 

she smiles and says,

two skinny lattés

please,

to a man

not

me.

 

I roll and light

a cigarette.

 

I’ve missed you:

the sun doesn’t shine,

flowers will not

bloom,

the well is dry,

words elude me!

yet I feel it now,

don’t

you?

 

she says, thank

you, to that same

man

and she sips her coffee

and checks her phone

 

seeing you now has opened

doors that were

merely ajar, I say.

I am yours! everything! all of

it! I

LOVE YOU!

 

her coffee is gone,

mine is cold, and

her eyes do not

lie

and we sit there like

that

until the sun does

finally

set,

and it does finally set.

 

the sun is dying and I’m

waiting to hear

from you,

waiting for words

to make everything

more OK

than it has

been;

drinking to drown

the fear,

smoking to choke

the anxiety,

writing to alleviate

the angst: a modern

catharsis

because I can’t think

of any other

way.

 

They finished dinner and paid and walked out into the night. The air was chilly but the warmth between them fought it off, preventing it from touching their bones. The right tram lay in wait on a road parallel to the one on which they currently stood. They traversed it and walked down a side street unknown to them where moonlight naturally compensated for the inadequate guidance attempts made by the steadfast street lamps.

They walked past cars that lay cold and dormant under that inky sky and she leapt from one to the next inscribing hearts on the windows, disturbing the perfect film of dew bestowed on each and all without discrimination by the night or some benevolent lunar goddess now forgotten.

As her fingers left the glass the symbols throbbed and swelled until they encompassed the car entirely like a blanket of mystical warmth and light. Metal shuddered as if brought to life and the vehicles started to glow and a faint buzz could be heard. A thousand bees circling the hive.

The ritual continued down the unmoving river of bitumen. What lay ahead was swamped in darkness and what lay in their wake, her wake, approached the luminescence of an infantile dawn. She began to falter. The other two joined her with a vigor rarely seen on that street. Their movements were joyous to behold. They danced silently between cars like maenads of some Bacchic rite, determined to complete a task given to them by no one but a task that when complete would evince mysteries hidden from mankind since the world was but a crying babe at the breast of the universe. A temporary life was given to those objects destined for a life of eternal and mundane inanimacy.

They reached the penultimate car and found it defiled. Some seemingly malevolent source had preempted their ancient ritual, preventing any revelation these mysteries might bring; mysteries that once grasped would bring a level of death and destruction upon the world no mortal could comprehend. They turned and witnessed the divine glow rush toward them, returning to where it truly belonged.

Behind them the tram bell tolled and they left that now-silently lit street with little comprehension of what transpired. They boarded the tram and left. Soon the memory of it turned to dust and was swept away by the winds of the present.

 

  • “But when you take that photograph without imaginaton and then put a “1979” filter on it—your pug wasn’t born in 1979—you are reaching for an invented past that has no relevance to the subject at hand.” Teju Cole on Pinkhassov and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDH

 

 

She exists in a world

beyond yours

and you know her only

in pixels:

tiny, amalgamated fragments

evincing

a reserved perfection—

subtle, humble,

ethereal.

 

Her chestnut flows

like streams of golden silk,

her pools of lapis lazuli

enrapture,

envelop,

they pull you in

and leave you

in want;

they bend your heart

to breaking.

 

Pixelated goddess!

digital siren!

oblivious to your crush

and the wreckage

that awaits when her

visual melody dashes you

upon the rocks of

reality.

 

But she does not exist

in your world, so

blindfold you eyes

and sail past that island

of virtual lies.

 

 

  • Stream Grizzly Bear’s new album, Shields, here for surely only a limited time.

 

SDH

 

 

Water, rippled and glassy, reflects

the pier lights, revealing

a sea of wavering candles;

gulls call to each other

in the balmy midnight,

their scavenging coming

to an end;

boats lay anchored,

dormant and unused, subject

to the whims

of the zephyrs that swirl

gently, almost seductively,

through the darkened

air,

their masts creaking,

yearning for

the endless blue.

 

Those pier lights stand there

boasting their unnatural

light, lighting

the path for no one but

the shadows they create,

and there’s a peculiar

calm resting heavy

upon all I can

see—including me—yet

I dare not

disturb it, not even

to go

home.

 

 

I wanted to see the stars

in Albury,

a town farther than I’ve been, six minutes

as the train flies, where

the land turns greener,

people become sparser,

the towns I pass grow

smaller, humbler, with every

mile the train

devours;

a sunset of forgotten hues precedes

the inky, candle-covered blanket

of night

but the mists descend, the

rains come, the stars

are lost to me.

 

I drink and eat and speak of

things I’ve never known,

never could know,

but their wisdom isn’t

lost—a magic surrounds me

that I can’t

explain.

 

Now, dawn has finally

broken

and that daunting feeling,

the one that comes

when you stare

at the starry ceiling of a night,

it eludes me

because

I never saw the stars

in Albury.

 

 

As time here runs short

and the words begin

to run dry,

the best has been saved

for last;

a chance meeting and two days away

reveal a world unknown, a world

open only to initiates

of a certain creed,

a new horizon with no visible end,

a beginning that floats on

the updrafts of possibility,

and all it took was

one person, someone with

a mind seldom found, someone with

ideas so new,

so refreshing,

they shine

like dew in the dawn.

 

the end is near

but life’s just waiting

to start

anew.

 

 

Having just finished watching season three of Breaking Bad—don’t read this if you haven’t and intend to—the idea and perception, morbid as they may be, of death has struck a chord. It ends with Jessie Pinkman standing in front of Gale, a gun pointing to his head and tears welling in his eyes. A gunshot marks the end of the episode.

The situation in Breaking Bad is fictitious, obviously, but the idea of one person’s life becoming forfeit for the sake of another—or in this case, two other lives—resonated with me and could be seen as a symbol of the very real fear we have of death.

Walt and Jessie placed so much emphasis on their own lives that the life of Gale was a necessary sacrifice for their own survival. Gale hadn’t done anything wrong. It was merely an unfortunate circumstance. Wrong place, wrong time, and all that.

Finding yourself in a situation where a choice exists between your own life ending or the destruction of someone else’s, in order to save your own, is rare. I can’t imagine ever being in one. How could you ever make that decision? How could anyone have the right to?

 

Death is a common fear, which comes as a result of many variables: religion (a fear of the afterlife), family (the thought of leaving loved ones behind and the effect our death will have on them), and vanity (life going on without us and realising we haven’t accomplished all we intended), to name a few. The last of these, in my mind, is our greatest flaw.

We’re instilled with this idea that we can accomplish anything; our dreams can become reality and the world is our oyster. This is true to a point, but how deluded is this line of thinking? Yes, some dreams can be realised with enough hard work and some circumstantial ‘luck’. But, for the most part, we may be found wanting. If you could shake that fear of death, would the possibility of accomplishing all you desire become a serious reality? I think so.

Nothing is more certain than death. I semi-adhere to an Epicurean-esque mentality where once death arrives I can not feel or think or worry about anything, so what’s the use of holding to those same fears whilst living? Atheism enables this line of thinking to become more feasible and, in a way, comforting. The threat of an eternity in a paradise or hell is non-existent.

I’ll die when I die and that is all. If I worry about that final ending then how am I to do my own life justice whilst I walk and breathe? This vain fear of death is a constraint and a hindrance. There is no reason to fear it. Life will go on when you die and then other people will die. That’s how it’s always been and how it always will be. How many times have you heard of people having a near death experience or have actually been declared dead, only to be resuscitated? Those people gain a new lease on life, refusing to waste another day. They should have just lived that way originally.

 

Fearing death is a wholly unnecessary vanity. If you do have a fear of dying without having left your mark on the world, then go out and do something about it. If you fear for the people you’ll leave behind, then make the most of your time with them. You could die tomorrow, so why waste time today? Influence people, make them think about things they never have before, and most of all, make yourself happy. You’re the only person you have to live with your entire life. You’re alive right now and your life is yours. Go do something with it. Tear that veil of vanity and self-importance; it only serves to hold you back.

 

SDH

 

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