by Joan Parkin
BLACK AND WHITE IMAGES
by Jayne Berriman (Copyright Jayne Berriman 1996)
The image back home
Was in black and in white
Of jungles and face paint and huey’s in flight
We watched without knowing the pain and despair
The extent of the damage our loved ones would bear
Innocence and youth would soon disappear
Replaced by mortality and cold bloody fear
Back home were mothers, father’s and wives
Each day expected to live normal lives
The fear and the worry, the anguish, despair
At night they waited for news on the air
They listened and watched and prayed for an end
This wasn’t our war and it’s not let’s pretend
This all happened a long time ago
The damage of war does not always show
Most they returned, some sadly not
Yes it ended
Yet the trauma’s not stopped.
HAND EMBROIDERED QUILT
by Ann Hall
I POPPED OUT FOR A PEE
by Colin Montfort
in the final scene of last night’s dream
I popped out for a pee in Blackwood Forest
... a billion tipsy pixels lay in ambush
at 5.45 am...
night green memories
surrendered in the lifting haze
to dewdrop steam
and bluestone glimmericks
... a bare faced morning
half dressed and blushing
in the echo of a golden crust horizon...
and then we all began to sway
by the woody pea-green amphitheatre’s
famous tree top choir
... possibly a perfect-pitched performance
close but no cigar
compromised by tinnitus
and slippers wet with piddled reflections
COOL MOON RISING
by Roger Hall
by Alan Johnston
UP THE CREEK IN PHNOM PENH
by Michael Berriman
6.30 PM, Tuesday night, 9/January, my wife and I have just enjoyed watching a rehearsal of some Chinese Dragon dancing in the markets behind Sisowath Pier when I realise there is now an empty pocket in my shorts where not 15 minutes ago I had my passport, ticket and spare cash.
That horrible empty feeling in my stomach as I tell my wife a pickpocket has just ruined the last few days of our traveling holiday. Until now our time in Thailand. Laos and Cambodia had gone so well, we missed a bus in Siem Reap but had caught another with the help of our Tuk Tuk driver and other Cambodian friends. And now we were going home on Thursday morning or at least Jayne was going home, now that my papers had gone my future plans were very hazy. I rang the Australian Embassy and the hot line to Canberra confirmed my stolen passport was now cancelled, so my responsibility here was complete. Now all I had to do was get another passport, air ticket and Cambodian exit visa and catch the Silk Air flight for Singapore next Thursday.
Where to start. I phoned our Tuk Tuk driver of that day and booked him for 7.45 the next morning. He arrived with his brother in tow, “would it be OK if his brother took us out, as he had a wedding to attend. Yes! Let’s go I said to Suy and headed straight to the Australian Embassy. The preliminary papers completed we Tuk Tukked around the corner to the photo shop. Passport photos for an Aussie passport must conform to a certain size and “don’t smile” I was instructed. Half an hour later back in the Embassy I had satisfied the staff “ I was me” and told to return in two hours for my emergency passport (thank god I’m an Aussie). Into the Tuk Tuk and across city to the airline office. After some misunderstandings I contact Singapore on my mobile and explained the problem.” I fly out tomorrow and I have no ticket”. I am reassured an authorisation will be forthcoming soon.. so please wait. We wait, it’s almost noon so we decide to split up. I will return to the Embassy before 12 to pick up the emergency passport (two hour lunch hour 12 to 2) and my wife will wait for the emergency travel ticket and meet me at the Embassy. My Passport is ready and my wife returns on the back of a motor scooter with news that nothing has progressed with the ticket. We have also been advised by our Embassy that the real problem will be the issue of a replacement Cambodian Exit Visa. This usually takes three days and is only available at the airport. So good luck!
It’s now twelve o’clock and all public offices close for two hours we decide to use this two hour buffer and report the theft to the police. (A police report is required for the loss of my passport). Suy does his best by delivering us to the nearest police station, only to be told to go to another and then another. We ricochet from one station to another, waking most of the sleeping police along the way. We speak in English and they respond in Cambodian. Eventually we arrive at the “tourist police” and after 35 minutes in a three-way conversation with an obliging student practicing his English we realise they can’t help us and tell us to return to the nearest police station. We then give up on the police. Back in the Tuk Tuk we launch ourselves at the Immigration Department for my exit visa .Our interviewer a lovely lady with years of civil service experience tats her disapproval at my lack of police report and tells me it will take three days to complete my Visa. Fortunately a spare report was found and with a wink and a nod we are told to return at 9 am the next day (departure day) for pick up. After a frantic Tuk Tuk back to the airline office we leave there at 4.45 pm with a piece of paper from our Singapore parent asking that we be uplifted to Singapore and thence Sydney.
Our last full day in Phnom Penh (Wednesday) we have made thirteen cross-city trips since breakfast time. Our only unscheduled stops have been to fill the large plastic water can Suy keeps between his knees to allow water to drip down onto the cylinder head and so keep his cloned motorbike from heat exhaustion. The next morning as I climbed the stairs at Cambodian Immigration I said a silent prayer to all the Gods I had seen in the previous three weeks in all those temples, caves and shrines. My passport was stuck with the exit visa and I’m reminded by Madam how lucky I am to have had it signed as the director had only come in for 10 minutes before he retired to a conference for the remainder of the day.
The airlines honoured my travel letter after some open conferencing and I made it home. We had made multiple trips across Phnom Penh on the Wednesday to organise the replacement documents and had met with the best and the worst of people. The nicest moment was when I paid Suy for his Tuk Tuk trips (tipping him) and he said looking in my eyes” Mr. Mike you have made me very happy”. Good on you Suy…………………that was some day!
SASHICO WALL HANGING
by Kay Pranevicius
by Michael Berriman
When cyclone Yasi crossed the coast
It forced all Queenslanders to slow their boast
The truth in the slogan now quite vexed
Beautiful one day, perfect the next!
But Queenslanders are made of sterner stuff
Pioneering state, innovative and tough
Floods and fire, wind and pest
Against all odds they do it best
Whatever season, be it sun or cloud
Our Aussie northerners will do us proud.
By Jon Pranevicius