2 poems by eliza rite

eliza reading at subbed in #1

becoming human is a difficult thing to do but it’s the best thing u will ever do

i went with some people to this cottage in the bush with the intention of becoming human

at the time we said we were harnessing our creativity and enjoying the outdoors

we knew it didn’t stop there though

there’s something about old gum trees that makes you want to cry with relief

they make u feel less alone and not too small and not too big

old warped and twisted eucalypts surrounded our cottage

and they radiated their wisdom through the cracks in the corrugated iron roof

there was a mural on the wooden floor

it was a lizard or a snake, i can’t remember now. maybe a turtle.

it seems obvious, but u should try spend some time outdoors with gum trees

if u listen long enough they’ll give u advice about how to solve ur problems

im not joking

At night we mostly sat around the fire outside. We couldn’t see the trees in the dark but we knew they were right there protecting us from something,

I’m not sure what. We became obsessed with the fire. One night two of us got so into it that we were using huge sticks to smash the burning logs, watching

thousands of sparks spiral up into the sky. We were promptly told off and given a brief lecture on fire safety.  

It seemed like we were letting these tiny ember fairies free.

it was hard for anybody to talk to each other in a real way

there was some unresolved shit that nobody completely understood at the time

i can barely remember any conversation

the fire and the trees and the stars did all the talking

We walked through the trees one night, down to the path that lead to the river. We were in the centre of a field, underneath a sky

that seemed bigger than usual. the stars told us the history of the world and allowed us to see into the future

There were so many stars and they all had so much to say and we laid on the grass listening.

It got later and colder and the wind felt sharp on our naked faces. Three of us stayed out later to take photos of the stars and look for wombats.

We spotted a baby wombat and kenji got really good at taking photos of stars. We huddled around the tripod to look at the photos and I made a sort-of

joke about body warmth and we all kind of acknowledged it and probably felt a little awkward that I was speaking instead of the sky

there were a lot of feelings in the cottage at bamarang

shit i nearly ran away from them there were so many

i must have had a new revelation with every sunset out there

it was remarkable how close to death i felt

the weight of my feelings was heavier than anything i’d held before

and i felt like i would die a new kind of death where my feelings literally killed me through sheer intensity

i wrote in my sketchbook with a pencil some feelings that were real

and i read it back months later and despaired knowing that somebody felt so isolated and i cried because it was me

at bamarang my thoughts and feelings were both lost and found, im not sure which one happened first

it seems to me that losing ur mind and finding ur mind are the same thing if not closely related

when i came home i laid in my single bed in my mum’s house for one week,

barely living off ginger tea and oranges with the skin on

my feelings hadn’t changed but the trees were gone and the people were gone and i was dying very very slowly as

my lonely revelations continued but they felt shrivelled and toxic without bamarang

after one week i went for a drive. I found a wattle tree that i stared at for a while.

I smelled smoke from somebody’s chimney and I felt like i had lost something important when i couldn’t see the fire

this is a note i wrote on my phone that day:

‘i found a cow on the side of the road and it was nice. the only faith I have is in the wattle trees I saw. Somebody is having a fire and it smells like Bamarang’

i really did find a cow just standing on the side of the road. I stopped the car and wound down my window. The cow stopped eating grass and looked at my eyes. We watched

each other for probably thirty minutes. I wondered how the cow got there and the cow seemed indifferent to how I got there.

She seemed to be listening intently to my thoughts though and I eventually drove away feeling older

that night i kept thinking 'shit that cow saved my life’

i kept thinking how sacred my time with the cow was

i kept thinking 'what a fucking miracle’

but if it wasn’t the cow it would have been something

it would have been a leaf or a poem or a song or a sunrise

there’s always something and sometimes it helps when a cow tells you where to look

but there’s always something, every morning there’s something new and i guess the point of this was to tell you to hug a tree and watch the stars

i guess the point of it all is to hug a tree and watch the stars because where else are you going to find such a happy truth


I’ve had the same post code for my whole life

I’ve been 2154 for twenty years

I’m eliza rite of castle hill 2154

that’s what i write on statutory declarations

it’s an offence to lie on a stat dec i think

where i’m from, hot white mums drive luxury SUVs

their pink number plates say 'MUMV4N’ and 'KYL13’

their husbands in khaki trousers have unspoken square hedge competitions

it’s where they have competitions over whose hedges are the most square, but they don’t talk about it

my highschool friends get silly at the hilly

the hilly is the hillside hotel

castle hill 2154 true local

i heard it goes off

they were playing YMCA by the village people the other day

the castle hill police have a facebook page

they share articles from the daily telegraph

usually about dangerous brown people or kids going wild on THC

one time they shared an article about white ribbon day

all these old white cop dudes pledging never to hit their wives

like thanks i guess

i commented on their post saying that the castle hill police don’t take violence against women seriously

my friend was assaulted and they literally told her to stop crying

anyway, they deleted my comments and blocked me, lol

in this place all your ghosts turn to concrete

all your fears are frozen in front of you

there’s not much in this town to give you hope

they’re cutting all the trees down and sometimes i forget what grass really feels like

being in one place for too long makes you crazy

being in castle hill for too long makes you dead

when i get out of there i’ll write a book called 2154

last year i sat at a cafe at the shops

we call the shops 'castle towers’, or 'towers’ for short

i watched machines tear the trees from the ground of the last remaining park in the town centre

they’ve since begun construction of the northwest rail link

soon we will have trains in castle hill

soon you can come and visit

see what all the hype is about

There was this lookout on the main road

panic attacks and first kisses

early morning comedowns

It looked over the trees and then over the rooftops of the off-white three garage homes all the way to the blue mountains

you could see most of western sydney and it seemed like you could see most of the sky too

i remember watching sunsets and smoking cigarettes with people i loved

today there are machines tearing up the trees

machines flattening the earth

yesterday i saw they’ve started building a new road where the trees were

they left a tiny part of the lookout

it must have been a funny joke

a picnic table looking at the end of the world through a wire construction fence

eliza rite is a half girl half possum that appeared somewhere in 1995. she came from the sky to try and help. she tweets at @elizarite
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