I had planned to spend more of today marking but I was dis­tracted by yummy people and won­derful things.

Had brunch in town with marius_cale and then we went off to ACMI for the World without End screen gal­lery exhib­i­tion and the State of Play gamelab exhib­i­tion that ends on Wed­nesday.

World without End was mixed, but some beau­tiful pieces that had us both mes­mer­ised. Favour­ites included the five screen His­tory of a Day (Simon Car­roll & Martin Friedel, timelapse from sun­rises to sun­sets with storms and won­derful stuff); Train no 1 (Daniel Crooks, incred­ible sliced film, we spent a while trying to work out how it was done); A Viagem (Chris­tian Bous­tani, Por­tuguese animated/live action piece of Japanese screens marking the Por­tuguese encounter in 1533, abso­lutely magical, made me tear up) and Too Dark for Night (Clare Langan, Ire­land, post-apocalyptic haunting world of sand and light and aban­doned houses filling slowly with sand as the wind howls, a voice mut­ters in what sounds like Elvish – prob­ably Gaelic – and a lone figure walks into the dis­tance). Matt liked hold:vessel 1 (Lynette Wall­worth) as well, which I’d seen when the screen gal­lery first opened but it’s still beau­tiful, bowls you hold beneath light and feel as though you are holding the pro­jected galaxies, fish, amoebae in your little bowl…

State of Play was a bunch of com­puter games with an agenda: I finally got to *play* Escape from Woomera rather than just reading about it, and we played a depressing game where we were an Indian girl growing up without many pro­spects. We tried to choose all the right things to get her to grow up to be pres­ident but she ended up an office clerk with a hus­band and a couple of kids who kept get­ting arrested by the secret ser­vice for being an act­ivist. I do want to go back and play the ones I missed out on – I’d planned to go back but walking Matt back to his bike, we ran into patch­workkid and blithespirit and I ended up joining them and a bunch of others for High Tea at Laurent. Ah well.

Then I went to Shelton Lea’s memorial at Trades Hall (thanks for the reminder, drzero). It was beau­tiful: lots of amazing poetry by Shelton and by others read by good friends. I didn’t know Shelton well, but I admired and respected him. He was always lovely to talk with and always free with a smile and advice. His poetry is incred­ible.

i dream of the soft slide of light

i dream of the soft slide of light
across the down of hair on your face,
of the one note samba of your eyes;
of the swelling gen­tle­ness of your lips,
and of the you that you com­monly call i.

i dream of giant but­ter­flies
winging over sea
and washed rocks gleaming in the sun.
i dream of the dun skies, city spread
and you lying naked on a bed

oh god/ i dream of the seeming wonder of being alive
des­pite the dream­ings of death.
i dream of rose blooming,
of fate never moving from its pre­scribed path.
i dream of weeds flowering, breath­less, in autumn.

— shelton lea

woomera my gulag

woomera my gulag.
your atom bomb skies.
your black winds that shriv­elled the grasses
And black­fellers gonads.
frogs croaks’re flattened and dry.
bird­song a weeping for what’s gone.
bleached salt flats fused into glass.
the air heavy with crit­ical mass
and fused with polit­ical lies.

and woomera my gulag for immig­rant souls
in your shell shocked desert sur­rounds.
the kadaitcha man floats through the ashes
without ever making a sound.
the stories of place are no longer there.
as quick as a bomb slick
the poles are reversed
from what was to what’s not
and to slough people up in this place of des­pair
is per­verse;
have we gone mad
they’re people like us mr gov­ern­ment man.

— shelton lea

It was good to see people there, cel­eb­rating his life. It was good to listen and reflect. And someone there told me I was ‘astounding’ and that can’t be bad, can it?