Posted in Passages


Deb, never Debbie or Deborah
Deb, short. Businesslike. No frills. Almost masculine.
Which suited, tall, lean, short dark hair, jeans at uni
shorts when cycling,
never a dress or skirt
eight years older – “ 7 ½”
a lot when one is 20 and the other 27 ½.

She come to uni as an adult student
we were doing maths together
it was said, in mathematics,
mathematicians were third best, behind
physics and philosophy students.
So I guess we were fourth best
as both were doing corequisite
she for economics, me chemistry.

She was vague about the brackets of high school and tertiary –
“ lots of things, shop work, bakery, fruit picking,”
nothing long, or false start career, or travel
un-urgent years waiting for opportunity to knock, or be found.
Perhaps a decade of piecework
wrote a varied and eclectic address book : contacts –
happenings – she just knew and
was always good for info, gossip or a blend – including
predicting impending arrest for a crime baffling all.

That year of our closeness, was the year our country torn itself apart
protests and riots in the streets.
We took full part but
she always knew where … and where not
and who ….. and who not to, and kept us safe.

It took more than 20 years
for the missing years to click.
She was gone then – long,
but memory shifted the facts
holding them up to the light until
forensics became intuition became knowing – she’d been a cop.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.