give hope to refugees – world refugee day 2017

 

I was waiting for a take away cappuccino. The cafe is on the water, the view is ridiculous. I had a little lemon polenta cake in an environmentally friendly cardboard box in one hand and my iPhone in the other.

I could tell the man next to me wanted to talk. ‘A homeless person could run in here, grab two of those meals (off the pass) and have a bloody good feed’. We’re a long way from any homeless people here…

‘I was in the city the other day, there’s so many homeless and we should be helping our own, stop this refugee nonsense with all the terrorism going on’ (um…we’ve been fairly insulated from terrorist acts so far, down under. and yes it’s the day after world refugee day – way to give hope to refugees!)

me: ‘How do you tell genuine refugees from terrorists? They need our help just as much as our own homeless.’

‘No, we just need to stop letting anyone in.’

me: (nice!) ‘Well…have you seen the images of what they’re escaping in Syria for example? We’re so lucky here, we have to help!’

coffee ready, conversation over, photograph view on way out…

still swirling in my head – you saw so many homeless, we should help our own first, and so what are you doing to help? did you speak to any, did you give them a bottle of water, a piece of fruit, did you ask if they have family somewhere, or a place in a shelter to sleep in that night?

a group of women meet at my house regularly and for 3 years now we’ve been knitting scarves and beanies which we pass on to local homelessness support organisations, and shelters…when I’m tucked up in bed on these cold winter nights I hope we’ve helped just a little xx

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after the parade

 

I’ve lived here for 20 years now and it happened by chance. I never meant to live here, I didn’t want to live here.

Driving back from dropping the little one in the city today I realised, I haven’t embraced my environment in all that time. We live in the hub of city life. Turn your head that way there’s the redlight district, any drug that exists, the crime bosses. Look back over your shoulder and there’s a homeless guy on every corner. Keep going straight along this parade route and it’s lined with the most unusual of the LGBT spectrum. Do these sections of community coexist so closely in all cities?

Sometimes I can see the colour and excitement, others the black dog and side show alley and it scares and saddens me. Even on the sunniest day.

Last weekend colour was everywhere. Music. Celebration. My cousin marched for the first time. There’s a lot of gay in my family. It’s the confused ones I worry about. I wish an easy life for everyone – I know I’m naïve.

Today it was just dirty and seedy. The green ‘walk’ pedestrian wave dumped hospital workers in scrubs; a large bouncer all dressed in black; a couple of walking wounded, eyes glazed, struggling to lift one leg after the other going not even they know where; and a pair of beyond middle age tourists onto the road, in front of my car. It’ll be the same next time the lights change.

No one’s cheering on Oxford St today.

Same street, keep driving, the designer labels and coffee shops welcome you to the edge of wealthy town. Where’s the line (is it a specific set of traffic lights?) that says ‘if you don’t know where you fit in life turn back, you fit back here; if you like to lunch and shop or watch those that do you’re almost there’?

Could everyone on that side of the line please come over to this side for one day and see just how much they could help. There’s a beautiful long street of diversity crying out for everyday colour. Time to get involved.

 

death done well

 

Ah Al, I’m sure neither of us knew I’d write about your death the day after but I want to talk with you.

 

When first they whisper cancer, run fast as you can to the rooftop and scream. ‘Out, damn spot!’

But it didn’t go, Ali. It took up residence and festering it grew, squeezed, raged your body into submission.

Spread out its’ dirty doonas and made itself comfortable for the long haul. A plastic bag of homelessness here and there, til by the end a trolley full resting next to you?

The attack on the body no measure for your beautiful spirit, you soared throughout. And, at the end, you did death so well. Such an inspiration to us who grieve, our conversations now one sided…

I wish you a swift and good rebirth my dear friend, all pain done. With much metta xxx