it's red in the middle
I spent the week out far away where it's red and dusty and suck-your-moisture-out dry. In a huge old farm house with red in all the cracks of the floorboards from a recent dust storm. With a pretty dog and a lovely boi and a small but adventurous gang, exploring as far as we could in an enormous yellow truck.
The only time I've spent in the desert before has been on protests, because the desert is where Australia stashes it's dirty secrets (the first time I went to the desert was to break refugees out of a razor-wire prison on a barren plain). But it's also full of this other life, rich and beautiful, and this was my first experience of the desert as a living place.
There are beautiful things in Broken Hill, and beautiful people. I spent a lot of time thinking about creation, creative people, creative space (a studio full of red dust and beautiful paintings and the decades of the artist's life). About the way I cling to the coast and this solid, reassuring river of people that flows from north to south but rarely west, about isolation and distance.
I had piercings done that made me cry, made tears spill over as easily and naturally as when I was pierced with hooks for the pull when I was in America. Shook with fear and leaned back into strength and bit my lip and kept going (somehow). It wasn't the number or size of the needles so much as their unknownness, being submissive and bound and simply taking what was coming, rather than pre-negotiating (and counting, as I usually do, my way through each one- impossible when you have no idea how many are coming). I cried when I thought they were done and instead the big, fat, heavy ones came out, and the ones already in were lifted and the big ones shoved through beneath them, a slow and grinding push and tear and splitting of flesh. I don't cry for pain (pain makes me scream, and perhaps attempt to run and hide), but for invasion and penetration and the outside becoming inside. And when the needles are removed, the inside becoming suddenly outside as blood spurts, more than I am prepared for, abundant and startlingly red.