Peaks

That was the night we drove to the highlands

And the fierce white peaks were arrows pointed at the stars.

I remember the moon, the colour and texture of snow

Crumbling from the mountain

Tumbling into the dark.

You took me there

Because the day had spread like an oil slick

And tarred my skin

But I saw now the night was not black at all

But indigo

A screen-print of deep blue hills

Undulating

Like so many heartbeats

Into the always.

I thought of the night we crossed the icy border into Kyrgyzstan

The flint-arrow mountains

Dipped in shining white

Piercing the inky night

Our feet crushing snow as soft as light

The men who picked us up: hard-faced, kind hearts

Building us a nest of blankets for that cold, cold drive through the high mountain pass

My own heart beats with the rise and fall of the hills,

A symphony of synchronised cardiac rhythms –

And you say, what are you writing?

Squeezing my hand so the pink-white peaks of our knuckles

Form a a miniature mountain range of our own.

And your eyes shine

Because I feel better now

 

And you know I am ready to start the climb.

 

 

 

 

 

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six fifty-six

Half-night dusk-light

Dims the lingering lilac-white

Rough-cut cloud, not cotton soft,

But dead and dull, dry tufts of hair

A thin-drawn rip in jet-torn sky

Glows deep and fine

As a lamp-lit scratch in a table-top

Then sinks its smoke to smoothness –

Stops.

Arabella’s Daughter

So – this is a story I wrote aaaaages ago, and completely forgot about until I just found it by accident. It’s one of the weirder stories I’ve written, and if I remember rightly, my friend Joe’s sole feedback at the time was: ‘I think you and the male gaze need to sit down for a good long chat to see if you can resolve your issues’. But anyway. Here it is.

Continue reading →

Great News for Some Phnom Penh Friends…

When I first came to Phnom Penh earlier this year, I interviewed a really fantastic social enterprise called ARC Hub PNH for an article I was writing about prosthetic limb production in Cambodia and Laos.

During the Secret War that ran concurrently to the Vietnam War, the Americans (illegally) dropped more bombs here than had ever been dropped anywhere before, and the Khmer Rouge continued to carpet Cambodia in landmines until the ’90s. The upshot of this is that, every year, people lose limbs to UXOs all over Laos and Cambodia – and since these are some of the poorest people on the planet, their chances of getting hold of an artificial limb are pretty remote.  Continue reading →

More Goals than Fans: Syria’s Uphill Struggle to Rally Nation Behind Football Team (Guardian)

The team, sitting at the top of the table for its group, is performing remarkably well despite formidable hurdles. The war has crippled football in Syria, scattering players across the world, and leaving them with barely a week to meet and train ahead of each match.

But Syrians everywhere are pouring out their support through social media, says Al Husein, and the crisis at home piles on the pressure to make them proud. He hopes that, by doing so, the team will pull the country’s fragmented identity closer together.

“At the end of the day we come from all aspects of Syria. Whether you’re a Christian or a Muslim or any sector of Islam, we’re all one family, we’re playing for one team, one country.

Read the full story at the Guardian 

These Indonesian Women Are Part of the Design Team for Their Own Development Tech

At a tech fair in Lembata, a volcano-sprinkled island near the eastern tip of Flores, Indonesia, 62-year-old subsistence farmer Daprosa and her friends Maria and Yuliana are checking out a water filter. It’s a simple $15 contraption, made of two plastic tanks with a ceramic-and-silver dome connecting them. The top tank is filled with river water and left overnight, with harmful chemicals and parasites removed as it trickles through. These women aren’t the only ones wondering about its success; local officials are interested, too — they want to know whether a giant version could be used to create a centralized water supply for villages.

Read the full story at How We Get to Next