The Train’s Coming

This week I’ve finally had time to write and I just can’t do it. The first day I’m overwhelmed with ideas. They float by gleaming in the darkness of my mind revealing iridescent peacock purples and greens but I just can’t catch a hold of any. If only I could. I could hold it in my hand and wait for it to burn, burn until it became just so hot, all the words would come, tumbling over one another.


Still, it’s a joy. A real, unadulterated joy to have this freedom, all these ideas, time, a joy that brings tears to my eyes. Yet I just can’t do it.


So I take a walk by the steel ring of railway around the shore.


I keep thinking about people. All these incredible, complex, heart-breaking people and my mind is filled with their faces.


A friend who built a box, climbed into it, sealed it with insecurity and crippling fear and now fills it with bitterness toward anything new, different, toward anything outside the safe, little box.


A woman whom I don’t know but in the photos of her, her words and her emotions, always warm and considered, I recognize that true love of life. She lives on a boat with her husband and two children, travels, edits and writes and I wonder why her choices should be justified to those anchored by fear and public opinion.


I actually know a woman from Colombia who was once a child soldier, a little girl informant. She has the kindest eyes. With a flicker, sometimes, they become unreachable. Her children have everything and I wonder if they will ever know from where it came.


There’s a guy at work from Nigeria. He stacks shelves at the supermarket too. He has a hesitant smile that slowly blooms. I want to talk to him, ask him about the situation there but I’m afraid of what he might say.


Me, arranging rides and flights for a new future. One of the everyday people firmly focussed on my own little agenda.


I look to writing, to words, stories, literature to try to find an answer, to try to satisfy:

How did the world get this way?


One man struggles to survive. The other, buried beneath so many things, possessions, expectations, has forgotten how to live.


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About duendest (Tina Cartwright)

Tina Cartwright grew up on the East Coast in the South of New Zealand. She lives and works in Melbourne. Her children’s picture book, Kiwi and Scorpion, was published with Penguin NZ in 2008. She edited and translated Taking Latin America Home – a self-published anthology influenced by Latin America which raised funds for the Sweet Water Fund in Nicaragua.

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