London Train notes

Someone silently weeping next to me.
Someone writing a love letter celebrating 12 years together all in caps.
The seventh time today someone has stepped into this carriage in that leopard print skirt.
A trendy 70 something woman carrying a conviction I could only ever dream of.
A sad-looking couple not looking at each other for the whole 37 minutes.
An unstylish mother applying impeccable winged eyeliner, her 13-year-old daughter asking how she first fell in love.
Someone’s phone buzzing next to me and they’re writing back,
Everything is absolutely fine

Preciousness

I.
You think there are things worth keeping
so you keep them,

even if they’re heavy or uncomfortable -
you might need them one day and

what if you needed them
and they were gone -

or worse - you kept things to take but
they weren’t the right ones. It’d be like

going to the party but all the music’s wrong or
the restaurant’s nice but there’s nothing good to eat.

II.
Hoon a vape and go to Spellbox,
try to find the answers there

in the blue hair of a seer called
Amethyst,

who spreads cards in a fan in front of you, rolling
her hands across the deck

into your misty future.

III.
We want to take things but we also want
to let them go. We want

room for newness but space for
sentimentality too.

That stupid defiance where we want it all.
We want to

forget that nothing is irrevocable.
We want to believe that something can be forever.

We’re alive with the hope of it -
that everything can change in an instant -

and sometimes it happens.
And sometimes nothing happens at all.

Losing you

Losing a friend is a river of grief
you think you can evaporate 

over a bottle of gin 
and someone else’s company,

but you can’t. It 
never goes for good.

The worst thing about it all
is that 

I knew you were
gone

and you didn’t even know
you’d left -

two ships, one night and
a quiet, shifting sea.

And then some unsuspecting day,
after watching your own

suitcase roll solo round the
carousel

you find yourself
down Paradise Alley pouring your

late night ramblings into
the drippy February heat

with someone
you want to tell your secrets to -

and you realise
something new

can last forever
again.

For Bre, over Brooklyn

I.
I’m nervous to see you
in case you don’t know me anymore.

Maybe I’m no longer cool, or exciting –
or you have become a famous actress in New York

and I somehow missed that on
the internet. 

II.
Two Camparis sit open mouthed on your bench
by the time I get to your apartment -

which is giant, I might add. This is unsurprising because
you’ve always had 

an air of magic
about you.

You meet me at your door, and everything
is already so warm and familiar.

I melt. You melt.
We melt together. 

It no longer feels like an encounter
in a Sims game. 

III.
Stop Making Sense plays and we’re 19 again, binge drinking
to get to the party on time,

piling too many people into an Uber and ducking
down from the driver in the dark.

I lie over your legs to hide as the lights
of the Brooklyn Bridge pass over us,

the green corduroy of your pants
press grooves into my cheek 

and we laugh about how we’re living inside our teen
dreams except 

it doesn’t really feel like that.
It feels like something else entirely. 

IV.
In the bathroom at the party
people charge their vapes in the wall sockets 

and someone’s just paid $3,000
to get gold put into their teeth.

If you don’t get it, you’ll never get it, the girl says. Kinda like
Biggie Smalls, you know?

You laugh, knowing I will find this funny. 
Everything in this city feels like a god damn movie.

V.
The rest of the evening plays out
like an Aziz Ansari sketch –

ordering tacos on the street and sipping pink wine out
of paper cups, our secrets

sloshing over the edge.
Why didn’t you ever call me, you ask.

Because I didn’t know what to say, I reply.
And anyway - 

we all just look like we’re having a good time.
It’s difficult when you’re not.

Most of the time,
we’re not. 

This is funny. Because it’s not
how we pictured our dreams to feel. 

VI.
I have to go and before I leave you say,
so no one can hear, 

wherever I am, I always think of you.
Perhaps that makes our dreams 

enough
to last for now.

And just like that, time shifts and
I’m gone.

Jennifer Aniston Lets Love In

Jennifer Aniston lets love in and the world changes around her.

Who knew, everyone said.

Incredible.

Jen An –

She’s

an expat with no parents and he’s a homebody wanting to miss family Christmas each year. 

She’s got no camping equipment to take for the weekend, tweets about it on her lunch break in line for sushi and he has a prominent social media profile and a sleeping bag to trade.

She’s burned out from her comms job and Decjuba outfits and has inherited $50,000 from her dying grandfather. He’s an emerging life coach seeking investment and they meet in Bali at an ecstatic dance party. She never thought she’d go to a party like that but in those fisherman pants she just felt so free and like she could do anything. And she did.

She’s new to the city and walks into a crystal shop that looks like Diagon Alley. A woman named Amethyst charges her $60, takes her into a room and tells her that there’s a man coming and that it would be difficult but she should say yes because until now she hasn’t and that chardonnay makes for no long-term company. It’s crazy because that weekend she meets an arborist called Kev and despite their clashing cultural backgrounds and his boyish mates, they really like each other. Fate? She thinks. And we watch, knowing the truth.

She’s a travelling gypsy with nowhere to be and he lives at home with his dog, unable to leave it behind. 

She’s a fiercely independent chartered accountant with no time for anyone that isn’t something. He’s spent his life being something until a terrible accident strikes him down and they meet in an extraordinarily unlikely set of circumstances and she has to decide how much she can give up for love.

He’s bogan. She’s not. She’s like, I have classy friends and we go to fusion restaurants and hire Air BnBs to make cheese platters and go to wineries all weekend. He’s like, that sounds like hell I just want to go hunting. But there is something there, despite his terrible text language. She learns to take flasks of gin and tonic possum shooting.

Her best friend breaks up with her partner and Jen spends the whole day, week, month wondering if love even exists. If all the weddings she spends her summers going to will eventually end in divorce. That summer she meets a divorcee – she’s in a lilac dress and he’s like wow, I’ve never seen a woman dance like that before and she’s like wow, you’re so wise and you notice small things like colour inflections and the way things move. How uncanny, the bride and the groom say as they watch from afar.

She’s been diagnosed with a chronic illness which means she’s tired all the time and he’s a triathlete that can’t stop moving. He breaks his leg and can’t get off the couch for weeks. She starts to get better. The yin and yang is uncanny.

He’s a successful high paid stock broker seeking someone to validate his life and she’s a wandering designer with no compass or arrow. Why don’t you own a house, he asks. Why don’t you ever travel, she responds. It’s very 10 Things I hate About You for Jen and she wonders if maybe that’s what it takes for true love – something completely off brand. This one’s an enigmatic indie movie with no definitive finish.

He likes sports and she doesn’t care for football. Three months into dating she finds herself the only woman in a zebra printed shisha bar streaming the premier league and texts her friend – is this it? How do you know it’s love? And her friend answers – because you will go anywhere with them. She wonders if she wants to.

In each situation they meet and everyone’s like ‘oh my god it’s love’ and she’s like ‘mm maybe but maybe it isn’t’ and then she does this dance back and forth until finally, at the end it isn’t about whether or not it’s love or that all the other stars lined up for it to work - it’s bigger than that.

It’s whether or not she lets them.

 

You are an island

Don’t get this confused with
any kind of loneliness,

a permanent seat
at a singles table at the wedding,

that feeling
of waiting for the train at night

like you’re the last person
leaving the city,

the seat facing the street
in an empty restaurant,

no-

you are just an island, 
your house is here.

You go out swimming,
think you’ve been lost at times

but you were just floating
out in circles for a while.

Preferably not one one of those
Warehouse lilos that

end up in every Christmas bin but one
can never be sure.

We’ve all made mistakes and
redeemed ourselves again.

The point is that you are never
far away. This island is small

and so is the sea that surrounds it,
despite it feeling otherwise at times.

You are your own island, 
your house is here.

Once you get this, 
a few pulls of your

overarm stroke,
and your own tide can take you home.

What my friends and I talk about

That new bar where Golden Dawn once was looks like it’s been designed for a 21st century remake of Mad Men fused with a Barkers ad

Do you think if I had more money I’d fall in love? Just wondering if there’s a correlation and if that’s why Young Nats all look like they’ve figured it out

I’m back in my hometown, wearing grey marl and avoiding my exboyfriends’ mums in the supermarket, what are you doing?

Someone saw you the other day and said you looked happy and it made me feel so good

Do you ever get home from a night out and play Dido? Just a thought

Remember when we went to Rhythm and Vines and Clarke Gayford worked for MTV and he followed us round with a camera for three days for a reality TV segment? Reassuring to know we all have time to redeem ourselves

(3am) Do you think we should move to New York? I’m here right now and feel nineteen again and it feels really nice

I feel quite relaxed when I ride in the back of your car and I was wondering if we could just keep driving a while longer

(Boys talk about rap music producers that don’t seem to resonate. The rest of us check our phones)

I feel like we could figure this out over a bottle of pink on your porch

(In the waves) I don’t really love my body but god it feels good to be in it right now

Do you think we should all tell him we don’t like his girlfriend? Or will he perhaps figure it out himself

Goodbye. It’s not forever. I wish I was coming with you.