October 3, 2007

u at home? ill be home soon

my sphincter stung as the taxi disappeared around the corner. what passed was somewhat of a cliched moment. you getting into the cab hurriedly, time slowing down (or was it speeding up?) as i grappled for words or actions that seemed half appropriate, finally settling for a furrow-browed goodbye.

i might have been more prepared except i was on the toilet during the time the taxi arrived and you carted your bags down the steps one by one. i wasn't hiding; it's well documented that i have digestive problems. you called my name for me to help with the final large bag and i nearly tripped down the steps as the neighbouring bosal workers looked on passively.

i came inside and took three pictures of myself; maybe they could tell me something later. i then spent the next 10 minutes photographing the spaces that had changed, or would change. a brimming ashtray on the window sill. an odd number of toothbrushes. a drastically drained shoe cupboard. two dirty wine glasses and a half empty bottle of gin. the last mundane text message.

still, the apartment didn't look as empty as it did last time. was it 4 months ago? that was probably the shock, of coming home to it. this i had seen coming, this i had seen unfolding. this, i had perhaps in part desired. yet like most men i had been filing and restricting access to my emotions, and so the night before when i unlocked a drawer with the words 'i'm going to miss you so much' i found tears in there and a pain pulsed deep inside my brain. i am, going to miss you, so much.

August 7, 2007

before the deadening

your pores smell sharply of alcohol. i think we are finished, you say. you say it again. i tell you to go to sleep. didn't you hear what i said? i did, waking. you left at 12, i waited till 2, it's 6 now, and i have to be up at 8. yeah, but tell me where you've been first.

i thought you'd react more, you say. do you mean like in may when i came home to a half empty apartment and jumped on the wall and and flung light casings and curled and rocked in ball of forced tears on the floor? well that was before, that was in the afternoon, that was sober, that was before the deadening. but i dont say any of this. i do say, what do you mean? are you just saying this for a reaction?

i thought you'd react more, i'm thinking. i thought you might fight for my love as i slipped away. try things. at least fucking find me a doctor to look at the cracked red skin on my penis that makes sex painful and gradually unconsidered. you say you haven't been happy. with me? with you. oh.

your eyes are gleaming red and laserlike when mine open from a brief shallowing of consciousness. i'm preaching. we have to try, all couples go through this, we have to begin a postive cycle again. yeah but no. i know i can't answer your questions definitively. i could be using you. my mind sometimes drifts in sex. i'm not sure if i really love you anyway. questions with existences that nullify their obvious hesitations.

so does this mean you're not going? going where? to the movie with her. oh come on! are you serious? i flip emphatically to face away and mumble of the ridiculousness, intending to go back to sleep although by now i'm wide awake. but then you tell of your dreams and i remember of your spirit. powerful and unfamiliar. before the deadening i had more questions. i had rawness and excitement for our differences. ok, i say, i won't go.

April 25, 2007



photo: hasisi
updates on adventures with film stock: soon

the shift realised on the occasion of a visit from my father

a very important thing happened. i am tempted to led it slide. to protect sensitivities. to leave it to memory. but i won't.

my father came to visit me recently. it's had only been four and a half months since we were together last. tight embraces under a stretching perth sun. "i'm going to make it a priority", he said then, about coming here. props to you pops. you made it. he stepped off the bus to my morning eyes and the embrace felt so continuous it was eerie, in a nice way. sitting down in our flat i felt like he'd just driven up to from bridgetown, to my old flat near hyde park. "a cup of coffee?" "yep. love a cuppa."

the ten days played their song. amidst our companionship i witnessed my father uncover what i hoped he would find here. escape. delight. optimism fed by new experience. i cherish his smile, the one on the bus as he left to the airport. i saw it through another pair of morning eyes. it spoke holidays' unfaultering motto. happy to come, happy to go, it said.

what i uncovered was something else. something that seems to have been working away in my subconscious all this while. there's a shift taking place. a shift in family. a shift in who is centrally important to me. a new player. i'm calling it the wife idea. actually it felt kind of good to know this.

April 5, 2007

look at us! we formed a band!

about 2 weeks ago, after weeks (or possibly years in individual cases) of talking about it, we formed a band. we are called 'brain enoki' (or possibly 'voyvasvavamosvan', or possibly 'power bottom') and have our first show on saturday night. it may in fact be our only show, considering two of the members are leaving shortly and one of the other two (read: me) has little to no musical talent. but we did it anyway, for a bit of fun, and because it adds support to the hypothesis: anything is possible in korea.

members: ben du ross, ben acree, robert johnson (not THE robert johnson), jackson eaton
honorary member: hasisi
instruments: two string child size guitar, korean drum, xylophone, ukulele, recorder, tamborine, line 6, melodian, drum machine
honorary instruments: guitar, keyboard, drumkit
sound: noise/avant/experimental/punk/folk/rock
songs: mayo, expedient expatriate experience, bad wizard, tracey make me a sandwich, do you want to see my bbq?
honorary songs: blue moon, needle in the camel's eye

so if you're in the area...

Continue reading "look at us! we formed a band!" »

March 29, 2007


the double edged sword of spring plunges. the cherry branches blossum into rare colour beneath a sky thickened by millions of gobi desert dust particles. at 2:40pm yesterday my students said, "teacher, dinner", "teacher, it's evening", "teacher, i'm scared". i looked out the window and i could barely see the buildings across the street it was so dark. it used to be that the sun would come out to play and you'd play with it, delighting in a change that was so attractive you'd forget it was cyclical. you'd forget what you had. september and march. upside and down. will you survive?

March 24, 2007

a year

fuck. it's been 12 months since i left home.

10.5 months on south korean shores
5.5 months living in busan, 5 months living in seoul.
10.5 months with the same girlfriend.
3.5 months co-habiting with girlfriend
10,340 photographs taken
2,914 photographs kept
9 months teaching english to children
0.5 months posing as an artist

in as far as teaching english can be consdered a 'real job', these are all personal records.
but of course, these numbers are just divining forks, leading me to the real gold, the subjectivity of change.

people do occasionally ask me 'why did you decide to come to korea?'. usually they are korean. usually they are puzzled. and as always there are short answers and long answers, shallow explanations and deeper analyses. the cross purposes response may be just to say, 'i was unhappy where i was. i wanted (no, needed) a change'. retrospectively, i can say the change worked, months ago in fact. i wanted to be happier, i got happier. i stepped out of the rut i was truly deeply entrenched in. but i wanted other things too, and to a certian degree i have obtained them. i wanted to explore and develop my creative interests. to chase the tail of my inner voice whispering 'life is about something else, something you're not doing', even if it meant going in circles. photography is the tool i chose and i know i have improved, ten thousand photos (thank fuck for digital) later. i've been experimenting and finding a style. i've even had an exhibition, an ultimately flimsy excuse to call myself an artist. laughable only because i am nagged by one thing - a sense of agency. i long to feel like i have an idea of what will look good or be interesting rather than just doing something and waiting to hear what other people say. i guess everyone's creative process is different but i have rarely been happy with mine. the exception might be the first few months in korea, when i was struggling and searching for the things i have now. when i was living in an apartment as naked as a hospital bed, surrounded by people i didn't like all that much. what is it about the apparent mutual exclusivity of creativity and stability? i guess that's why there are so few good pop songs.

freebies this year have included finding a woman whom i love and continue to love and continue to continue to grow in love for. this feels like a remarkable thing... but i'm hesistant to think too much about it. i think i might have gone wrong there before. of course any one who knows me knows this isn't really a freebie. human relationships are my passion. and as mr molina once said, 'there is love and work and lover's work.' i also found a job i dont mind doing all that much. teaching is important. children are good people to be around. but unfortunately i couldn't care less about the english language. but of course this isn't really a freebie either. i generally resent the fact that i'm tired every day and that i need to earn money at all. but that one's not going to go away soon.

these days i dream about blue oceans and green grasses. maybe it's just the end of winter but i think its more that im kind of coming full circle. i'm settled again, except with fewer friends. i'll be here till december i guess.