#10: Introvert (Inspired by Alex Monckton, Introvert)

Source: Alex Monckton, Flickr

This poem was inspired by Alex Monckton, a Cairns based photographer and poet. The image is titled Introvert, which I thought was quite fitting. As a caption to that image, Alex wrote the following “Seemingly reluctant to reveal its full beauty all at once, a flower slowly opens petal by petal”.

To think that the flower is the Introvert really illustrates alluring diatomic juxtaposition in my head. More dominant then all else, the flower and the introvert seem incompatible, but at the same time they do not have to be. Introverts can be the biggest personalities and prettiest wall flowers when they chose to be – the latter, quite importantly so. It is only when they become labelled as wall flowers and big personalities, that they are unable to perform the part. For us, it is all a facade. We are what we want to be, when we want to be, situation dictating.

Thinking along those lines inspired the poem below.

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#11 Trading my stori

This poem was inspired by a work trip to Wewak, in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. It is partly written in Tok Pisin and in English. It was written for a particular audience and a particular purpose so no attempt at translation has been made. This also marks my first attempt at writing a poem in Tok Pisin.

The constant rhythm changes in the second stanza (english) were intentional to illicit a conflicted psycho-emotional response from the reader/ audience that ‘something is not right here’. Jumping between Tok Pisin and English was used to show the two worlds I constantly find myself confronted by. I find myself being modern and western but at the same time, looking back over my shoulder to a world I cannot negate nor forget; it is non-western but complete. 

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#9 Forgetting How To Cry.

Forgetting How To Cry

A sadness fell over me when I forgot how to cry,

a bird with clipped wings watching the sky.

The yearning for a tear to fall from my eye.

If only just one.

A cannonball falling, if but gracefully,

Release of a torrent, if only by a drip.

How I yearn for it to fill and overwhelm me,

weaken my knees and choke me.

So forgive me when I get angry.

Frustrated.  Bitter.  Distant.

I just wanna’ remember how to cry.

-by Hans Lee

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#7 His Story

This poem came out as a burst of creativity in one sitting at the Blackbird Espresso Bar on Grafton Street in Cairns. The inspiration behind this came from the image of the Huli Wigman (a locality in the Papua New Guinean Highlands) while I was using Pintrest in a brainstorming session.

Part of the thought behind this piece of prose was aimed at being an exploration of how the Papua New Guinean man balances his own identity between pasin kastom, in the sense of being traditional, and being modern.

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#5 Building Regional Economies for Young Guns: Part 1 The Leaving

It was the last conversation we were to have for a while. Like we had done many times before, I brought the finest $10 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon while she made dinner. It was a ritual too customary to ignore because for friends who saw each other so infrequently, we needed a routine to bring familiarity.

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#4: Orlando Shooting: A Year on From Charlston Church Massacre

Disclaimer: In writing this post, I do not in any way condone the actions of those gun-wielding psychopaths that ruined the lives of their communities. I merely want to understand how the environment in some American states are more susceptible to mass-shootings then others. I am not a citizen of America, don’t have an opinion about gun ownership in general,  and certainly do not consider myself a homophobe. 
On Friday 17th June, time will assign to US history a year since the infamous racially- driven Charleston Church Massacre. Then on the 12th July, the people of Denver, Colorado commemorate the fourth year since the 2012 Aurora (Theatre) Shooting. Forgive me then for writing that it seems only fitting that a mass-shooting occur on the 12th June in Orlando, Florida, home to, arguably the happiest place in the world- Disneyworld. What cruel irony.
If the last five years have taught us anything, it is that loaded barrels rarely sit idle…only in America if only by cliche. I could go on to look further beyond this time-frame but I would rather you have a look at Wikipedia’s List of Rampage Killers and make your own mind up about frequency of incidents. But I will say this, in President Obama’s eight years in office since 2009, he has had to make comment on 16 massacre events . That averages out to two mass shootings each year. A statistic that would make any politician cringe. I won’t delve into the details of those event’s either but safe to say that gun’s played a role in those incidents.

What is of particular interest though is the colourful rhetoric that has come to the fore in the last five years around US anti-gun laws, or lack thereof. I support Obama’s frustration and empathise with his fight for stricter controls on ownership of high-powered weapons, a perspective shared also by his Democrat peer and Presidential hopeful, Hilary Clinton. However I do take a departure that would question my own punting habits. Frankly, if I was an American citizen, I would most likely be a Democrat, but in this instance the Republican’s seem to make a bit more sense on. Gun’s may be an issue but there is no doubt that human’s too play a small but significant role in gun-related violence.

The former speaker of the Floridian House of Representatives and Republican Presidential Candidate, Marco Rubio, seems to share that opinion too – people kill people. His comments couldn’t be more in contrast to that of Obama’s, let alone the prevailing popular opinion in much of the western world in the aftermath of the Virginia journalists shooting in August 2015. You may not be able to see a person shooting in the frame of that video footage but trust me, the gun was shot by a person.
It’s often hard to separate weapon and person. By Obama’s logic however, if a rock was used to kill people, there would need to be stricter controls on possessing rocks. My point is that, there is an issue underlying the psyche of some American’s that needs to be addressed. I pray that they do address it for the betterment of their society. Putting restrictions on gun-ownership fuels division in their society because there are people who see it as part of their American DNA, a rite of passage if you will.
It is a reality that is foreign to us in other countries and societies to even begin to grasp the symbolism and cultural significance of gun ownership but could you imagine a world where gun-related violence dominates the headlines on a daily? Maybe not here but in only in America.