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So Jo Jan 2015
Everyone was saying it'd hit 40°C tomorrow, a truer marker of summer’s arrival than a pinch and a punch on the 1st December. But I was leaving today. Bags packed, ready. A last smoke on the balcony before the taxi would pull up below. Right now on Scott Base somebody was probably typing my name into all the necessary [NAME HERE] gaps in the arrivals documentation, but by the time I’d be in a position to sign along the final dotted line it'd be too late to back out. Flights out of NZ’s base in Antarctica leave every second Tuesday morning and book up more than a month in advance. There are no flights at all from February through to August.

I had nowhere else to go anyway, the spare key to her apartment kicked under her door three weeks ago.  

Within just a handful of days of each other, we’d somehow both of us slept with other people. "Slept with." What a frigid way to put it. Of course I do mean ****** – the sleeping part simply an awkward optional accompaniment to the consequentials. So, we’d both of us ****** other people, and although nothing was said the weight of the truth buzzed between us, unsettling and persistent.  

I’m unsure which of us had gone first. I imagine it was ladies before gentlemen.

It was six years ago that I‘d followed her over to Australia, six years ago that she'd looked up over some textbook and said with a smirk that she'd never dreamed she’d let a man with such "offensive paws" anywhere near her, let alone fall for him.

It's true that within a few weeks of starting my apprenticeship my hands were stained black, with slow-healing sores opening up between the fingers, and the crusts of tired eczema aggravated by the incessant and optimistically futile scrub of soap. I was known for leaving behind dark smudges around light switches. But she hadn't seemed to mind my leaving soft fingerprints on her.

“D’you think there’s any language that's got sufficient words for all the different kinds of love? Like the Inuit and all their words for snow?”

I took a tray of ice cubes from the freezer, held her wrists behind her back with my right hand, and tipped the frozen cubes down the front of her warm and crumpled shirt.

And then? And then.

I won't detail the cruel and gradual tilt apart, increasing degree by degree up over the years, sliding us into roles and positions neither could recognise ourselves in. Mutually check-mated. What better way to tip the chessboard than start playing with somebody else.

The day she left her computer on and Gmail logged in the first grass fires of the season were reported in the north of Victoria, and the Bureau of Meteorology was predicting yet another “hottest summer on record.” I could only read the top three messages from him and her responses before logging off.

I hadn't even thought to ask for any somebody else's email address.

I grabbed my own laptop and opened a new browser. Google: jobs antarctica.

My best mate and I had dropped out of high school together to be taken on as plumbing apprentices: petrol and beer money in exchange for bubonic hands. At some point during those early days of drain and dame laying I came across a profile piece in the NZ Plumber about a guy who'd done a 12 month stint at Scott Base. Back then I’d doubted that I'd ever become the kind of man who could survive the snow and ice and dawnless darkness of a polar night.
So Jo Nov 2014
lust comes in not at the eye
but the knees
a closer -
closer -
touching, please.

a hand that alights
the promise of night...s
a tiny tear
left at the knee of my tights.
So Jo Nov 2014
they're nothing but glorified bus drivers*,  said my father after i told him i wanted to become a pilot.

the opposite of love is not hate, but contempt.

what causes the kodachrome to fade little by little to grey? is it really bred of familiarity. the wear of gradually learning the truth about somebody. the minutiae of the everyday sanding away at the idealised, sculpural dream.

or is it triggered rather by the dull shock of an identifiable disappointment; the inevitable transformation towards sallow disgust justified by the devastation of slap-to-the-face betrayal or loss.

must we fulfill the dream simply to learn that it was only ever empty?

my father, a devoutly unspiritual pragmatist, had nevertheless as a young man fallen in love with the expansive embrace of the blue above. the son, grandson, and great-grandson of farmers, he worked his hands down to shredded red sores to put himself though flying school only to have his application for a commercial licence rejected due to a doctor's confounding eleventh hour diagnosis. colour blindness. an all-or-nothing man, my father never once returned to the enthralling blues, yellows and pinks offered up by the cockpit, and from that point forward became a farmer.

i gave up on the thought of becoming a pilot, and later, (much later), developed a fear of flying.
So Jo Nov 2014
around and around
the blade-edge of the dark

a sealess white gull?
or a still, silent lark?

a lump down in the throat
sinking up to the knees

lashing out with a lie
yet praying for a please

around and around
at the edge of the dark

a drowning sailor.

or a circling shark.
So Jo Nov 2014
what are you doing?
doing! doing!
stop that, you.
you! you!
if you're not in bed by the count of three
... ... ...
but all I see
is a little barefoot parrot
laughing back at me.
So Jo Oct 2014
a car u-turns
in an ill-lit street.
hemlines measured
in inches
or feet.
a door leaves cheek
something ever-borrowed
it's nothing new.
a downy pillow
held over the face.
a secret
half-packed suitcase.
So Jo Aug 2014
some people stop feeling as though they've just flicked off the switch as they move on to a different room.
but i will live with every light lit.
**** the electricity bill.

and **** the dark.
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