A painted abstract

March 27, 2018

Age eleven I sang opera like a pro,  

fifteen, I learned guitar, a la Joan Baez, and painted abstracts, 

loved that boy from highschool. 


Eighteen I quit antibiotics –

at the kitchen table, holding my head, what could fix my chronic sinusitis?

knowing somehow, there’d be something better.   


Twenties, I studied

art, vegetarianism, yoga, massage, kinesiology, homeopathy, herbs, nutrition,

worked, bits and pieces, in clinic, and had babies.  


Later, sole parenting,

I bought a place in the country, using years of unpaid child support

as down-payment. 


Then stuck, I loved the bush, the snowy mountains,

the river rockpools, struggled with distances to town, school buses, roads,

local shops and friendships, but no work. 


Years at uni, eventually a PhD,

the middle year I would interview poor people about complementary medicine

– they couldn’t afford private-sector practitioners. 


I’d been busy, reading, summarising, writing reports,

so I promised to attend, for interest, my friend’s new poetry/songwriting group

in the local township. 


First night, half-hour late,

nervous, like everyone else, I sat, waited … and one by one, carefully,

we shared, in poems, talk, and original songs …


One’s friend died of cancer, her ex-hubby has it now;

one’s bad luck in finding love since divorce; one’s house burnt down in bushfires,

now living in a truck, draws landscapes in blue biro. 


One wants support for her gender reassignment, the operation

in one month, in Asia; one’s exploring ‘freedom’ from the confines of defacto

partnering, and child-rearing; another fell in love; one is afraid.


One has written the most beautiful song

ever sung – about honey bees, but leaves early – for a disabled son; one survived

cancer herself, and sings songs to make everyone cry.


One’s husband, blind from attempted suicide, plays beautiful

ocarina. And the paper I write tells how poor people make themselves well, how they

express their process, in poetry, songs, community, and friendships. 


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