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Deep Suburbia WESTSIDE JR. VOL.3

Westside Junior, Volume Three. Published by BYDS, PO Box 577 Bankstown NSW 1885, Bankstown Arts Centre: 5 Olympic Pde, Bankstown, telephone: (02) 9793 8324, No part of this magazine may be published without the written permission of the publisher. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. ISSN: 1441-712X ISBN: 978-0-9580108-6-3 Copyright 2011

Acknowledgments The writing of this exciting new publication from BYDS was predominantly generated through a series of workshops and residencies run in local schools. Thank you to all those involved, especially Sir Joseph Banks High School, Auburn Girls High School and Bankstown Senior College. Thank you to all the teachers who support their schools, students and Westside Publications. In particular, thank you to the teachers and principals of Sir Joseph Banks High School: Bradley Mitchell, Stephen Waser, Melanie Jones, Haisley Morrison and Joyce Conte; Bankstown Senior College: Zoe Karpin; and Auburn Girls High School: Josie Hattingh. Please note that views expressed by students do not necessarily represent the views and policies of schools and teachers. To protect the rights and safety of students, some works have been published anonymously. Thank you to our funding bodies: Arts NSW, Australia Council for the Arts, Giramondo Publishing, the UWS Writing and Society Research Group and Copyright Agency Limited. Thank you also to WestWords, the Western Sydney Young People’s Literature Project. Thank you to Bankstown City Council for specifically funding and supporting our new Westside Indigenous Writers’ Project which highlights the work of young Indigenous writers from Bankstown and South West Sydney. Thank you to the Thynereid Foundation for funding our new Westside Jr. Writers’ Project, which highlights the work of writers under twelve from Western Sydney. Thank you to Bill Reda. In addition to being our resident photographer, Bill has sourced and trained the amazing Western Sydney photomedia collective, WestEye, who accompany and support the writers and writing of Westside Publications. A special thanks also goes out to Tim Carroll, Ivor Indyk, Roslyn Oades, Lachlan Brown, Felicity Castagna and Jane Worsley. Our team grows closer and stronger every year. Most importantly, thank you to all our wonderful contributors – Each year you’re getting younger. Each year your writing is getting better.

Produced by BYDS A Westside Publications project EDITOR: Michael Mohammed Ahmad SUB EDITORS: Lachlan Brown, Felicity Castagna, Fiona Wright and Roslyn Oades INTERN SUB EDITORS: Miran Hosny, Millie Phelan, Michelle Flowers and Gloria Ahmad LAYOUT: Roslyn Oades COVER IMAGE: Tresa Ponar TITLE PAGE: Tresa Ponar BACK COVER: Lee Phan IMAGES: Michael Mohammed Ahmad PAGES: 13, 18 Nadine Beyrouti PAGES: 9, 44, 45, 55, 58, 60, 64, 101 Bill Reda PAGES: 79, 80, 82, 83, 87, 88 Images by the WestEye Photomedia Collective: Coordinated by Bill Reda Arda Barut PAGES: 11, 23, 24, 53, 56 Lee Phan PAGES: 14, 73, 75, 76, 77, 78 Chris Atkins PAGES: 16, 21, 95, 97, 100 Tresa Ponar PAGES: 29, 32, 35, 37, 39, 40, 41, 50, 51, 52 Zayaan Japi PAGES: 43, 46, 48, 90 Hannah Micu PAGES: 89

Contents Introduction by Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Editor ................................................................................... 9 Collected Works of the Artists in Schools Residency, Part 1 (Year 8) New Zealand Boys Drum by Filip Stempien ...................................................................................................12 Rain Sucks by Filip Stempien ....................................................................................................................................14 Looking for Friends by Filip Stempien .................................................................................................................15 Endings; Like That by; JessicaVeronicaMeleHafuKava ..................................................................................17 My Firsts by Lina Nguyen ...........................................................................................................................................18 I Write to Remember by Anonymous ....................................................................................................................20 Collected Works by Tala Agafili ...............................................................................................................................22 A Day at Sir Joey’s by Angel Luong ......................................................................................................................25 White Brick Walls by Brian Walker .......................................................................................................................26 Ten Honest Things About Ty by Ty T ....................................................................................................................27 ‘The Usual’ by Masooma Asghari ..............................................................................................................................28 Collected Works of the Artists in Schools Residency, Part 2 Collected Works by Soghra Foladi .......................................................................................................................30 Collected Works by Susanna Lewantiua ...........................................................................................................32 Collected Works by Kate-Rose Macolino ........................................................................................................36 Collected Poems by Peta Murphy .........................................................................................................................38 Collected Works of the Artists in Schools Residency, Part 3 (Year 7 / Group 1) Aneurysm by Kameron Omar .................................................................................................................................44 Dry Land by Wonho Kim ...........................................................................................................................................45 Going to the Hospital by Christopher Rose ..................................................................................................47

My First Fight by Joseph Tholley .............................................................................................................................48 Hospitalised by Matt Haywood ..............................................................................................................................49 Travelized Waleed by Waleed Quader ...............................................................................................................50

Collected Works of the Artists in Schools Residency, Part 4 (Year 7 / Group 2) The Family Restaurant by Jai Kisseh-Lloyd .......................................................................................................54 Going to Samoa by Florida Sogialofa ...................................................................................................................57 On the School Bus by Phoebe Turuva ...............................................................................................................58 People and Change by Phoebe Turuva ...............................................................................................................58 But I am Here by Carla Ausage ..............................................................................................................................59 Serbia by Tamara Medojevic ...................................................................................................................................... 61 Four Short Poems by Tamara Medojevic ..........................................................................................................64

Suburban Decay by Chris Atkins ............................................................................................................................ 65

Collected Works of the Artists in Schools Residency, Part 5 (Year 9) Meet the People of Granville by Mariam Hassan ........................................................................................74 The People of Guildford by Elak Hallak ............................................................................................................75 Free Fall by Iman Etri ....................................................................................................................................................76 Such a Beautiful Girl by Iman Etri .........................................................................................................................77 Girls These Days by Anonymous ...........................................................................................................................78

Collected Works of the Westside Indigenous Writers’ Project About Me by Emma Burke ........................................................................................................................................80 Untitled by Janaia Donovan .......................................................................................................................................81 Poetry About Me by Sam Goneis ..........................................................................................................................81 

Untitled by Dion Compton .......................................................................................................................................82 All About Me by Kira Woods ....................................................................................................................................82 Anthony and the Iron Baby by Kira Te Aroha Welsh .................................................................................83 Untitled by Nikita Serravalle .....................................................................................................................................84 Untitled by Lee Fermor ...............................................................................................................................................84 Untitled by Jed Halls ......................................................................................................................................................84 Untitled by Chrishnia Weldon .................................................................................................................................85 The Game by Lara Martin ..........................................................................................................................................85 Untitled by Serenity Mackay .....................................................................................................................................85 Untitled by Courtney Baxter ...................................................................................................................................86 Untitled by Jared “awesome” Martin ....................................................................................................................86 My Story by Caitlin Miller ...........................................................................................................................................87 About Me! by Emma Jane ..........................................................................................................................................88 Untitled by Cory Brown .............................................................................................................................................88 Additional Writing I Really Want Her to Come Back by Fabio Giompaolo ..........................................................................90 Untitled by Millie Phelan .............................................................................................................................................91 Memorya by Jema Samonte ......................................................................................................................................92 The Primary Concern by Millie Phelan ..............................................................................................................94 Ghost in the Suburbs by Angelica Georgopoulos .......................................................................................96 Memories by Michelle Flowers ................................................................................................................................98 The Scent of White-Out by Andrea Buckler ..................................................................................................99 Afterword by Lachlan Brown ................................................................................................................................101 AFTERWORD 101



It was only a matter of time before I changed suburbia from an agenda to a theme. Over the past five years I have been developing a reputation for sourcing writing and writers from South Western and Western Sydney. I always start a writing workshop with an emphasis on writing about the places we grew up. I say that if you don’t write the next big vampire story, someone else will, but no one is going to write the story of your life. I say that you owe this to yourself and that there is value in the places and stories that you have experienced. Unlike past editions of Westside, however, this is the first that is exclusively about the people and suburbs of Western Sydney. It is a theme that may feel overdue, but one I am glad I’ve waited for. Only the right ensemble of artists and editors could make this happen and it is something that BYDS Director, Tim Carroll and I have been developing and strengthening for the past five years. Often, titles and ideas for themes come out of interesting conversations I have with the talented people associated with BYDS. The name for this issue was complicated due to questions about place. How do we define the suburbs? And how deep is ‘deep’? Last year while I was in the Co-op Bookshop at the University of Western Sydney, I stumbled upon a new true crime novel called Evil in the Suburbs, written by Cindy Wockner and Michael Porta. The book is about a string of gang rapes which drew devastating attention to both the Lebanese-Australian community and the South West community of Sydney more than ten years ago. I often think of this title and get a strange sense of the word ‘suburbs’. Places like Newtown and Neutral Bay are suburbs too, but connotations of ‘evil’ are not associated with crimes that happen there. It seems that there is a clear distinction between a suburb and ‘the suburbs’. For those of us living in the Bankstown area it may sound like a bit of a joke referring to this place as a suburb deep within Sydney. But often when I think of references to this area and areas further in, it occurs to me that our community seems disconnected. During the 2005 Cronulla Riots, it felt like thousands of people from the Shire were fed up with ‘the people out there’, as if Bankstown were another world. In many ways, it is, but this is despite the fact that it’s only a half-hour drive from the beach that inspired such violence. This publication aims to share the voices and stories of our suburbs with a broader Australian community. The suburbs may feel like a strange and faraway place to those living outside, but from in here, it’s right around the corner, and the stories – not the ones of evil but rather the ones of the people – run deep in our bones. Welcome to Deep Suburbia.


This edition of Westside Jr. is strikingly different to our last publication. Westside Jr. Volume 2: Violence predominantly highlighted the writing of young refugees sourced in two-hour writing workshops. It celebrated the magic that storytelling can achieve through rushed, raw and incidental writing. Westside Jr. Volume 3 does the opposite: it celebrates the magic that storytelling can achieve through an ongoing process of writing, editing and re-writing. Westside Publications discovers the majority of its young writers through workshops conducted in and with local schools and organisations. Whilst these workshops are always exciting, focused and productive, they are also limited by their one-off nature. Often our editors or facilitators will have one opportunity to identify, encourage and nurture great writers from a particular group. In a single twohour writing workshop it can be difficult to produce publishable works and to assess a number of longer-term outcomes. Although a large amount of amazing writing has been generated within writing workshops over the past five years, it has been the ambition of BYDS to pursue more – more time in a school, more time with the students, more time with the writing. Indeed, if in two hours we can generate some of the most interesting writing ever to come out of Western Sydney, imagine what we can do in two hundred hours! The ConnectEd Artists in Residence program is a new initiative from Arts NSW which has enabled organisations and individuals to place artists in schools over longer periods of time. In 2010, BYDS successfully contributed to this program, and, through a generous grant from Arts NSW, ran a series of residencies in local schools of the Bankstown area. Using some of the talented stable of BYDS artists, the goal of the residency was to source and create skills and opportunities for young writers from high schools in Western Sydney. Over two terms with two student groups each, artists were able pass on literary and literacy techniques that contributed to creative development, skills in written expression as well as confidence with language and contemporary literature. Along with Westside sub editors, Lachlan Brown and Fiona Wright, I worked with students in Bankstown Senior College and Sir Joseph Banks High School. A feature of the process involved sharing our own work with students, making particular efforts to model and explain the ways in which writing can be linked to the local area and its concerns. The official residency outline required students to produce a major work during our term together. The objective was to develop unique writing and use the editing process to improve students’ works. Each week a student would write and re-write a work or collection of works which we would edit and return for a new draft to be written the following week. In addition to being left with original writing at a level suitable for publication, this writer/editor relationship promoted healthy writing habits for young writers which could be used in various classes throughout school, university and future professions. It is with great pleasure that Westside Publications can showcase the major works produced throughout the 2010 residency in this edition of Westside. A special thanks goes out to the artists, schools, teachers, funding bodies and most importantly, students, who were involved in the initiative. Another exciting element to this anthology is the work of Indigenous artists currently living in Western Sydney – writing which was sourced in two forty-five minute workshops. I feel great joy in knowing that Westside Publications can now share its first collected works of young Aboriginal writers from our region. Including a collection of works from other young local writers and a unique series of photographs from BYDS’ new and emerging photomedia collective, WestEye, this edition of Westside is both beautiful and unknown. As editor of Westside Publications, I give you Westside Jr. Volume 3. I hope this publication sheds light on our amazing and unique community. I hope it takes you deep into suburbia . . . and deep into the voices of our young Western Sydney artists. Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Editor


Collected Works of the Artists in Schools Residency Part 1 (Year 8)


New Zealand Boys Drum by Filip Stempien A young couple jogs through Paul Keating Park. An old manager opens the doors to Hoyts. A middle-age Chinese man opens his restaurant. A group of young students board a bus at Bankstown Station. The sun slowly rises up over the hills. A busker pulls out his guitar and starts playing. A young mum with her child strolls through Centro. A modified Subaru floors it down Stacey, late to work probably. A bell rings at the local primary school, as it rings in over twenty other schools at the same time. A Lebanese woman sips at her coffee and reads The Torch at the train station, while a young Australian male walks into the pub – he hands over his resume. In Bankstown Sports Club, a team of chefs are cooking ten kilos of rice for a Vietnamese wedding. In Chinatown a butcher slices a lamb, while a baker places his art on display. An Australian family buys a ten-man tent at Target. Two students jig school to stroll around. A cop on a bike performs a perfect wheelie in front of his friends. The smell of Chinese cuisine flows out of the RSL. The smell of Arabian cuisine flows out of Habib’s. Lunch time. An old Greek man stares in awe as he loses a chess match. A comedian tries to entertain at the Polish Club. A woman screams and shouts. She just won five thousand dollars from an instant scratchy. A Samoan bargains with a Harvey Norman employee. A stream of music pours out of Fitness First. Another bell goes. 3:00pm.


A group of scooters drop in at the skate park. A nerdy kid walks out of EB Games with Red Dead Redemption. A group of girls gossip about boys at Maccas. A group of New Zealand boys drum on whatever. A few tradies stroll to the pub after a long day at work. The sun starts heading down. Families crowd around to watch the news. Shopkeepers close down for the night. Muslims begin their final prayers. A teenage boy wraps his arms around his girlfriend. Teens study the new graffiti at a Canterbury Rd bus stop. A few street lights flare up. The sun disappears. Young children are forced to sleep. Mates fix a rusty Commodore in a garage on Queen St. A few Asian ladies walk into a designer clothes shop after a long day at uni. Late night shopping, but even shops have to close, and Centro is closed. The lights turn green but no one goes.


Rain Sucks by Filip Stempien I hate being wet. Cold, wet, wind smashing me. I hate walking in cold icy rain. Big puddles form around me. Everyone is changing today. Rain is changing them. Rain is changing the terrain. Carving its way down, through rock, dirt, concrete. It carves us as well, but differently. What decisions will we make as the rain falls? Will we dog friends? Will we snitch on enemies? Will we lie? Will we love? Rain will make them all ‌ Cold and wet.


Looking for Friends by Filip Stempien I felt hollow. I held my stomach. My eyes were scanning. I was scared. My new uniform was too big for me. I walked into the school driveway and slowly up to the hall. The sun wasn’t shining. It hid behind the clouds like a coward. Large puddles of dirty water lay motionless in the potholes of the driveway. A kid ran past and jumped into one of them, water splashing all over him. His large eyes widened. Then he ran off. The driveway had garden beds, one on each side. They were packed with plants, wet from last night’s rain. I managed to pull my head up to look at the school. A big grey building with two other buildings connected by bits and pieces of iron and metal. In front of the building was a massive asphalt playground. It was packed with teenagers. I hadn’t noticed that the driveway ended. There was a small garden box on the left of me. Older kids were standing around in groups beside it. ‘Hey, bro!’ I looked around to see who said that. A kid with a mullet was greeting each of his friends with a little hug. They were all wearing Nike hats. They looked like a gang. ‘Where were you all holidays, bro?’ ‘I stayed at home all holidays playing COD.’ ‘Wow, are you serious, bro?’ My eyes turned green. Why did I decide to go to this school? All my friends went to Picnic Point. They went in one large group. Like the Nike gang. Right now they were probably sharing stories about their holidays. I was just a loner. An outsider. A nobody. The hall was only a short walk away. Twenty metres. But the twenty metres were across the playground. Packed with people. Older and scarier. My stomach was a knot. A tall Asian kid noticed me and gave me a death stare. I wished I was invisible. ‘So-le, bro, wait up!’ ‘Did you hear what Martha did?’ ‘Are you getting the new COD?’ I felt like vomiting. Every step I took brought me closer to the hall. I felt really tired. It was almost like the world was spinning. Last night I couldn’t sleep because I was so nervous. At last I walked into the shelter before the entrance to the hall. I felt a little better. I could only see other Year Sevens. They decided to bring their parents. Damn, I should have done that! I was burning. Burning like an oil rig on fire. Burning like a forest on fire. Some Year Sevens were standing in large groups. I put my feet together. Maybe I can find some friends here. In front of me, sitting on a cold metal bench, were five kids. Something was strange about them. They acted uneasily. For example, the way they would suddenly shout out. The one that jumped in the puddle was with them. I quickly realised they were support students. I nearly lost my balance. I turned around to look at other kids. Who could be my friends? An Aussie kid with long blood hair. Aussie, rare nationality here. On the left of him were eight Asian kids. One kid with teeth pointing in all directions was talking with a mushroom-haired kid who was fiddling with something in his pocket. ‘Why wasn’t youse on DODA yesterday?’ ‘What the? I like, was on the whole day, man!’ ‘No youse wasn’ts.’ ‘I was on like the whole day, promise to Buddha!’ What on Earth? I looked at the Aussie kid again. He was extremely pale. Almost like a ghost. He pulled his hands out of his pockets and started nibbling on his nails. Nervous? My throat was desert dry. I walked over to the bubblers. I picked one out of a row of twenty.


I moved my head towards the metal mouth piece and turned the tap to let the water flow out. Nothing. I turned harder. Still no water. I tested a few other bubblers. Same result. I looked for another place where I could get water. The toilets. I headed over to them. I walked into the cold dark space. I moved towards the tap and leaned over the basin and turned it on. Tons of water was forced down my throat. It hurt. I looked up at the dirty mirror hanging above the tap. My long brown hair was brushed neatly across my head. I looked deeply into my bloodshot eyes; my wonkelated nose; my cracked lips. I walked back to the Aussie kid with the long blood hair. To the right of him, a small group of girls were all gossiping. One girl looked at me. I stared at her. Eye-to-eye. Her long black hair trickled down her side like a waterfall. A cold sound rang. My heart sank. I started wobbling from side to side. I looked towards the wooden doors of the hall. The concrete ground had a lot of dried up gum. Big flat blobs of gum. I looked towards the hall door again. A bit of my brown hair landed in my eye. It stung like hell but I just rubbed it out. It got watery and red. I walked up the steps to the hall. I didn’t notice the small step near the top and nearly tripped. The large wooden floor was covered in rows of yellow chairs. I walked in and sat down on a chair in the middle. I stared up at the stage. It looked messy, wires streaming across, connected to a microphone. An Islander boy walked up near me. Please don’t sit near me, please don’t sit near me. He kept on moving and sat down in a seat a few metres away. A tall man in a suit made his way towards the stage. My heart put itself into fifth gear. ‘I would like to welcome . . .’ I didn’t listen to his long speech about out-of-bounds areas, diaries and so on. Instead I continued looking around the hall. Looking for friends.


Endings; Like That by; JessicaVeronicaMeleHafuKava Diamond; by: Jessica I saw a diamond in the street. This diamond was so special. It was sharp and shiny. I loved this diamond. I felt like following the diamond everywhere. The next day the diamond was on my bus, I sat near this diamond. I looked at the diamond the whole time. The next day, my friend told me the diamond was on sale and someone had bought it. I still see that diamond on her finger everyday.

Punching; by: Jessica I like punching things. I could punch all day. When I feel angry or sad, even happy, I punch. I think I’m a good puncher. My mum likes reading my punches. She thinks I’m pretty good now. Well, I think I’m going to continue punching.

Books; by: Jessica I like that one book; all the pages are unique in it. That book is so big; I could read that book over and over again. If I could, I would take that book home. This one particular book makes my day. I’ve read this book a million times. I know it off by heart. I can tell this book anything; I can trust this book with my life. But sometimes books get old, they tear and rip. My book is falling apart. I’m trying to sticky-tape it back together.

Fights; by: Jessica I hate having nothing to fight about. When I fight it reminds me of things that have happened before, and brings back memories. I like never hardly fight at all because there’s nothing to actually fight about. I hate having nothing to fight about, it’s so annoying. Some fighters fight really good. They’re fun to read and watch. I just don’t feel like fighting today. Today fighting just doesn’t apply to me. I have too much on my mind.


My Firsts by Lina Nguyen Breath The moment I took my first breath a rush of cold air touched my skin. The air that trickled up my tiny nose was ice cold. It felt strange. Touch His big warm hands wrapped all the way around my body. I felt so small and fragile. Dressed in a long white coat, he held me, surrounded by people with masks. I wondered what they were going to do to me. View I opened my eyes for the first time. Shining white light inside them, a strange burst of colours, after nine months of seeing nothing but blank blackness. It was beautiful. Smell There came a peculiar smell. Her warmth and her hair. She lay next to me, weak and lifeless: almost. I knew it was her. She made me feel safe.


Bath Dipped into a big container with water, I felt like a mouse being dropped into the ocean, scared. The water was soothing, warm and steamy; it was relaxing. Her warm hands lifted me out. Taste That creamy taste on my tongue warmed up my entire body. Wrapped tightly in an oversized blanket, I was secure. Step My foot touched cold ice tiles for the first time. It felt funny without pieces of metal and fabric holding me up. I waddled my way from place to place – my own little world, my home. Pink walls, black marble, bits and pieces of furniture that were almost useless. My knees were weak, but walking all on my own, I was proud. Word The first word, it spilt out, just like the beginning of a sweet melody. My voice speaking, hearing big people for so many months talk, I just couldn’t make words come out of my mouth. Only beginnings and ends of words seemed to have been spoken. ‘Ah goo gaa ga?’ Day at Preschool All the other kids had their mums and dads to comfort them. My mummy had work, she left me. The small orange sandpit, green swings, rainbow cubbyhouse, I wanted to play on all of them, but was too scared. I sat in a cold corner, waiting for someone to notice me at least. Day at Primary School Alone again on my first day because my parents were too busy to stay with me. No sandpits, no swings and no cubbyhouses to play in. Big buildings and areas of nothing but asphalt and trees, waiting for someone to notice me. Day at High School I didn’t need them to stay with me. The person I’d waited for, my best friend, her name is Angel. Being with her on my first day, we both knew how the other felt, anxious and worried. But we knew we had each other. The buildings were distinctive, the colours and shapes, they were brighter; colours of purple, yellow and blue. The aura felt much more serious than in primary school. The empty mass of asphalt seemed to be the same, only larger. The trees were big and nothing but brown. They seemed dead, reminding me of those you imagine in stories with the ridiculous haunted mansions. The classrooms were strange; bigger chairs, bigger tables. I felt small.


I Write to Remember by Anonymous So one day I went to Bankstown on a school day with my friend Tai. We met up at school, I left on my school uniform and lied to my mum and said I was going to school. But really I was going to meet up with Tai and go to Bankstown and well, yeah, we end up going to Bankstown and then like, I go home and my mum is full yelling at me and I’m thinking, like what the fuck? Stop yelling at me! And then I said, why are you asking me all these questions? Then she said to me that she got a phone call today from a teacher at your school and I said, so . . . Then she said she saw you in Bankstown. Then there you go, the truth came out and then I just said, I don’t care, and walked off. I got sent to my room and I ended up crying, then my sister came in and told me to stop being a sook. So I stopped and then I called Jessica. Me and her were talking about Isaac and John and other guys like who’s hot and who’s not. Then like moments later I get this txt message saying, Sorry I’m not coming to school tomorrow, I have to go to the dentist, and I was thinking, oh that’ll be fine, I’ll hang out with other people in our class and well I ended up being late. So I signed into the office and I saw Pata and Tyrone and I told them to wait for me so that we can all go into class together so that I can’t look like a loner. So we walked into class and everyone there was looking at me evil and I’m thinking like, what the fuck? I didn’t do anything to them and like everyone was talking shit about me behind my back so then I got a seat by myself and ate snake lollies and while I was, I texted Jessica and told her everyone’s giving me the dirties and keeps looking at me. She replied, Don’t worry, I’ll be there tomorrow. So then Miss Mjad said, phones away, I don’t want to see it again, so I put it away and then I look behind me and Isaac is giving me the dirties and I think to myself, what the fuck is his problem? So instead I carried on with my work. Isaac thought I cheated on him with Tai. I wasn’t sure if that was really the reason that everyone was looking at me because I didn’t actually find out why Isaac was pissed off at me. He never told me, he just kind of went off. Sooner or later the bell rings for recess, oh thank god, finally, I thought to myself. So I had no friends so I went to Zainab and Rayan and Farah. I used to hang out with them last year. But it wasn’t long after they dogged me out so I went to another group. In this group was Pata, Junior, Tom, Leo, John and Patrick and I can’t remember the rest. So yeah, enyways, I ended up being bored so I left and I was saying hello to other people, I was trying to be happy which I was for a while. Suddenly the bell rings for the third period. I had visual arts and again Isaac was looking at me evil. So I got my name marked off and just walked out of class. We had a reliever, so yeah, it was good. Then while I walked out I slammed the door. Isaac knew why but he never came up to me to cheer me up. I mean, he is my boyfriend; he should just stop giving me dirties and talk to me. But NO! Instead he left me alone outside. So I was texting Jessica. She was being really supportive about it and said, Fuck Isaac, we don’t care bout him just don’t worry. Then I replied saying, I don’t know I’ll think about it. Moments later the bell rang for fourth period, so I just was walking around the school randomly trying to get Isaac out of my head but it never worked so I sat down by myself and listened to music. Then I walked back to class and just kept my head down until fourth period was over. Oh, what a relief it was lunch time. I went to the canteen and saw Leo, so I hung out with him. We were talking, then Isaac looked at me evil again. Oh, it was so irritating, seriously, so I just walked off. I was thinking to myself, did he dump me? Did I do something wrong to him? Or is he just being a total dickhead and just trying to make me feel really uncomfortable? So later on I was talking to Leo, then the bell rings for fifth period so I said bye to him and I walked back to class and it was good until Isaac came. I felt so angry and pissed off. I was quiet the whole lesson, then moments later it was time to go to PDHPE. I didn’t talk once that lesson. It was home time, I got up and left. Then soon as I got home I ran to my room and cried. I was thinking that maybe Isaac just dumped me. So I called Jessica and told her and she was being really good about it and told me to fucking forget about him. Then my mum called out


to me so I said, goodbye, I have to have dinner. Then I went straight to sleep and while I tried to go to sleep I was thinking like, I wonder if Isaac thought I was cheating on him? But I never knew so I must have fallen asleep after that because I can’t remember anything else. So yeah, enyways the next morning came and I got ready for school and I went to go to Jessica and I told her everything and like she just told me to forget about him. Enyways the bell rang for class. Oh my god, it was so much better having her there and well, Isaac was there and he wasn’t giving me dirties until recess. So like he smiled at me so I smiled back and he and I started to talk again. I never asked him if he was pissed off at me or not ‌ I just acted like nothing happened.


Collected Works by Tala Agafili She Kissed a Girl and She Liked It May kissed Andrea today. This happened all because of Katerina’s loud fingers. She goes around the whole school saying that Andrea called Jesse’s flower an inbreed. Obviously it wasn’t true because we all knew that it wasn’t in Andrea’s wallet. So obviously she didn’t say it. Everyone knew that Katerina was saying too much shit about people now. First it was about Terrell, now Andrea. I think she’s really fucked up in the head and I wouldn’t even waste my breath on her, stupid piece of shit. ARRGH! :@

My Flower There comes a point in life when you find that special flower. I haven’t found that yet coz they’re all heartbreakers. Yes, I sound sober but I’m being serious. They think we’re just toys, once they’re finished with us they move on like nothing ever happened. Well, I see heaps of flowers EVERYDAY. Hot ones, cute ones, even ugly ones. But to me no matter how ugly they may be I think it’s what is on the inside that really matters. That sounded so cliché, right? But that’s what I think. To flowers all that really matters is how good looking you are or how sexy your body is. I don’t really give two fucks about what flowers think about us girls.

My Diamonds Thank god for my diamonds, I wouldn’t be anywhere without them. Got some since preschool, some from primary, some from high school, even some that I’ve just met three months ago. They’re just like family, we do everything together from holding hands to getting a lunch detention just to be with each other. Even when we have fights we get back together in a few minutes coz we just can’t stand not being together. I’ve even been called a lesbian but I don’t care. If I look like a lesbian then LET IT BE, coz we’re inseparable.

My Hero I love my chocolate fudge. She’s my rock. She understands everything I tell her. Well . . . mostly everything I tell her. She’s the woman that gave birth to me, the one that carried me in her womb for nine long painful months. I’ve gotta owe it all to her because, well, she is the one that put me in this world and damn sure she can take me right out of it. Even though I’m the biggest pain in the rainbow she still manages to take care of me. I just love her so much. I’d cry if anything bad would happen to her, she’s like the glue that holds me up. I just love you, Mum!


My Life On the 6th of November 1996, a lady gave birth to a baby girl weighing 2895g. Little did she know she gave birth to the biggest superstar out! LOL WATTA HEAD. I’ve got two brothers both older than me and one adopted sister older than me. I have one nephew. I’ve got a mum and a dad and the rest of the family tree. I currently attend Sir Joseph Banks High and am in Year Eight. My family and friends are my WORLD. I love them bastards to death. I’m Samoan, German and Chinese. Gun mix, yeah? Anyways . . . that’s my life cut into a really small paragraph. ENJOY!



A Day at Sir Joey’s by Angel Luong Walking into the school isn’t a very pleasant thing to do when each and every person is from a Lebanese background, wearing a bright coloured Nike hat and giving me looks like I don’t belong. I walk in faster so I can avoid every eye on me. I reach the silver seats. My friends are gossiping and chatting about how hot and ugly they think the boys and girls are at the school. I know every one of my friends very well. I’ve been through primary school with them. They may all be my friend, but everyone has one very close friend, and my close friend is Lina Nguyen. Lina is really shy. She’s only outgoing when with me or some other friends she knows well. I know her really well. I’ve known her ever since I was little. We used to play many games with her and her cousins. Games like Murder in the Dark. A student comes running at my friends and me. He stops, turns around and starts singing. ‘Mumma Miya, hure we goe agun, mai mai, hoe can I evah lesht yuoh goe,’ he mumbles and shouts. He is dancing – shaking his hands in the air, waving them from side to side. ‘Who is he?’ I ask Lina. ‘Oh, I’ve heard from this student that he has Down syndrome, I think he’s a support student …’ answers Lina. The student has a small chin, a short neck and abnormal features that other people don’t have. He can be very scary and people might not get along with him. As the bell rings, everyone is walking to their classes and some are still taking their time. I walk to where I see students with new white polo shirts, new pants and new maroon skirts and wait for some teacher instructions. A teacher on the playground makes an announcement. ‘Would all new students from Year Seven, please make your way to the school hall, which is located near the canteen.’ While I make my way to the school hall with Lina, I see many other students just like me. They are all new students just like me and that’s what makes me feel like I belong at this school. We all go into the hall and are assisted by a deputy principal. We all get into four big groups and go to different classes. We do many things like cooking and sport and we go through the school to get to know our way around. When it is recess and lunch, we really don’t do anything special since we don’t know where to go, so we just sit where we were that morning at the silver seats. As we are sitting down, many students are giving me looks just because I’m a Year Seven. But all I do is look away and continue talking to my friends because whatever they think about me, it doesn’t concern me. As time passes by, school has finally finished. I’m still not really used to this school just yet. But I’m pretty sure I can manage another day at Sir Joseph Banks High School.


White Brick Walls by Brian Walker The white brick walls withheld the commotion and whimpers of a woman inside.


A tear slid down Laura’s cheek. A boy no older than six or seven with dark curly hair looked on.


His father’s fists pummelled into the boy’s stepmother. This was no rare occurrence. ‘Help,’ Laura screamed, her caramel brown hair a messy wreck. She broke a wine glass with the shrillness of the scream. The stench of alcohol swam freely about, a plain iridescent stain on the air. Laura was not the only one crying, Erin was too. Erin’s heart shrivelled up inside, not knowing why his father, Bob, would do this.


The door, plain white, swung back. In stepped a saviour, or so the boy thought. Standing there with blonde hair to her shoulders was a roommate. The glow from the kitchen looked like a halo of light. She wore a tight top with jeans.


Her blue eyes shifted over the scene, her face shocked at what lay before her. She spotted Erin and stared at him.


She walked quickly and briskly into the bedroom. She ignored the scene on her side and looked down on Erin. He looked up at the tall figure towering above him. What does she want? he thought as his brown eyes slid over her. She crouched, eye level with Erin. Her arms snapped out and picked him up. Erin struggled, kicked and wriggled but couldn’t break the clammy grasp of the woman.


She turned and continued at a fast pace back into the kitchen, the door and stench shutting behind them. She placed him on a wooden-seated chair. The back of the chair was metal and it stuck into him like a spear. He sniffled and wiped his nose and looked up at her as she tried to cocoon him into an easy state. The house creaked and swayed in the strong winds. The kitchen had an open window and a chill blew in. The brown tiled floor was very cold.



Ten Honest Things About Ty by Ty T He is afraid of his father because he doesn’t know. He doesn’t really look in the mirror. He jumped in a fight with his cousins because they were losing. The best thing in the world to him is his baby sister because she’s so small and cuddly. When she speaks she says, ‘Fuck, shit, dumbass’. Ty says, ‘That’s bad,’ but sometimes it’s funny. His favourite colour is lime because it makes him feel different, and makes him feel like he’s in his own world. He likes to play the guitar ’cause he can express his feelings with the chords he plays. His relationship with his older brother is different because he is at work and doesn’t get to see him. That makes Ty feel pretty sad because they used to play a lot and now they don’t play that much. His favourite sport is footy because he takes out all his anger on his enemy. Every single girl he knows looks in the mirror. The love of his life is his mum because she loves him differently to his dad.


‘The Usual’ by Masooma Asghari You see, I dislike life, especially in suburbia. Eight years of my life have been fun, four years of my life have been passable and three years have been humdrum. Although I was born in Afghanistan I spent most of my life in Pakistan. I will never forget the great amount of fun I had there. In Pakistan I had freedom to go outside, make friends and play with them. Then I came to Australia five years ago. I didn’t understand much but I learnt very quickly. We lived in the first house on a dead quiet street, which was very unusual. Either nobody ever came out of their house or there was no one in the house. The street was very wide and tidy – probably because nothing happened. My sister and I had the whole street to ourselves; we would go outside, muck around and when we were tired we went in. I loved that street; no one ever came out and shouted at us to stop playing. A year later, we moved to a unit. I don’t know what got into my parents but they wanted to leave. The unit was in the same suburb, just a different part. The moment I saw the two-storey unit I loathed it. It looked ugly and the residents weren’t nice. It was a red-brown building with four balconies in the front, two on the right side and two on the left side. Inside was okay, it was big and spacious. In front of it used to be Hoyts but they moved and now Stockland Mall has been constructed. I don’t really like this part of the suburb; it’s noisy, it’s disrupting and it’s crowded. Everyday no matter what day it is, there is something going on. At night the bikies won’t stop biking, the cars won’t stop honking and the people won’t stop shouting. Once, it was one of those really hot, thirty degree days, so we decided to cool down in the shopping centre. Outside I could smell the ashy stink of smoke, mouth-watering smell of sweets and pizza as I passed them. The mall was like the fresh taste of mint but it was blowing me away. We stayed until the hair on our arms stood up. When we left, I noticed there was a sudden silence outside the mall but we walked on. It wasn’t until the traffic lights that I saw everyone spread around the street, watching a red car that had smashed into a fence. The fence had made its way through the front of the car. It was the third car accident in the same street on the same year. This time four cars were involved. My uncle was in the crowd and I was suspicious. ‘What happened?’ ‘The usual,’ was his response.


Collected Works of the Artists in Schools Residency Part 2


Collected Works by Soghra Foladi (Year 11) I. A refugee that can go anywhere but belongs to no one Thousands of years ago people or human beings, mankind used to get authority and were trying to be superior than others or on others. Treating the poor society were compelled to live like a slave and not only them but their every generation even think how and what had been their lives. Just think of that era. How terrible life it would be for them when they had no authority for their lives to live the way they wanted to. Trading of humans like vegetables. If I would say that worse than that it won’t be wrong. They had no right to choose what they want – worse than animals. Gradually the circumstances changed and people knew each other rights and denied to live their life like a slave. And now we our lives with freedom. Having advanced technologies, but worth less. When we cannot get freedom from our habits, that eventually kills us, suppose like cigarette. How strange, a non-living thing controls our whole body and brain.

II. Childhood memories When I think of the past Time ran so fast Childhood of mine Recalled my mind How good it was No fear of Wars When I think of the past Time ran so fast Children when the wishes are so simple and limited but we are kind of our own world. I still remember when our parents were making a new dress for Eid day. We used to try that again and again like can you imagine that feeling when a child desperately want to wear that but have to wait for the exact time? Same. I could try but can’t wear before Eid. So we were trying the dress and shoes in every sixty minutes. Ah, how can I forget the most important thing which is henna, a tradition that we have to colour our hands which is a sign of happy or happiness. My mum and elder sis’ were busy in cleaning and cooking foods and sweets for Eid day and I was keep asking to colour my hands but had to wait ’til they would get time.


III. Smokers think that a cigarette is the only thing that gives them relief from all troubles of the world, each stress that they get from school, home, job or workplace. A lot of people start smoking to look smart; like I mean to say that they think if they would smoke they would seem smart enough to impress others and brave enough. But they don’t think that it shows their lack of intelligence knowledge. I mean, just think how cigarette tricks them. They think that they are inhaling the smoke inside and reducing the cigarette gradually. They don’t have idea that it’s actually reducing the life of people. They think that it’s a best friend that help you in every walk of life. They have no idea it is snake in the grass who convince you and with your own willingness it enters in your body by starting from your mouth, further deep in your lungs. Hang on, how someone think that if someone blowing the smoke on anyone’s face and what can be that person’s reaction but we never think that might be the feeling of our body lungs, heart, those parts that your life depends on.

IV. I’m shy. I can’t do it. It’s not what they wanted from me or they were expecting. I’m a loser. I’m a slow poke. U know what? I’m fedup with these all words. There is always a fight inside of my personality, a battle between wrong and right, a war between no and yes. The actual thing is that I do not believe of myself. I mean look when I got the highest number in my class. Teacher said u got the highest number and guess what I said miss r u kidding and she said no I’m not. I mean I don’t know why I do feel like that I can’t be successful in my life. Maybe that because I think that student that born English and speak English they can achieve what they want. It might be a feeling that we are new in this society. And as a refugee we are scared of being or having other nationality or any other language rather than the English as a first language. But that is not only one problem. I always think that others are best and I’m the worse. I have nonstopproblem like a motorway where vehicles can never stops driving by people it just moves every second minute on the road. Onething else, guess what it is? With these all disabilities or negative thoughts I’ve an ability of a psychiatric [Arabic word] mind. I do understand things people. I do understand the way people react. The way they think. I don’t know how I got this, maybe I love watching and reading about such sort of topics or I’ve this as a child born or I got this all eventually by experiencing life and different circumstances.


Collected Works by Susanna Lewantiua (Year 11) Survivor It was on this old ragged road that my life changed forever. I am never allowed to walk alone but I took the risk and I suffered. I was kidnapped on my way home and beaten up severely. He dumped me on the streets but I managed to pick up that unforgettable piece of my life and still survive.

Lost It was dark Walls closing in Where am I? Stuck in thoughts

Rainbow Today was yellow like marshmallows Sky was blue like the deep blue sea Clouds were white as snow Thoughts anger red dipped in blood Now it’s pale


Untouched Jewel I’m in pain Is it a boy or a girl? They cried out, boy! What a relief! I cradled him He slept peacefully He wouldn’t move Doctors ran about I tried to feed him He wouldn’t budge Is he gone? They say he never did breathe I’ll never get to know him My Untouched Jewel.

Foreigner in a Strange Land Connect me to the land Skies of blue, white and grey Connect me to the land Its breathtaking beauty I can’t take Connect me to the land I wanna discover its hidden preys Connect me to the land With its secret abandon in caves Connect me to the land A place I now call home Connect me to the land A treasure withholding its bows.


Poem Based on Childhood Memory Torn between two worlds The past invades my present thoughts Unable to absorb The memories that linger on Feel like I’m stranded on an invisible raft That only the currents Can lead me ashore … Freeing me of these cords That entangle my thoughts Never will I forget The sadness that I still possess All those years back To the day I wished My dad would come back He did come back After several years Even though he’s back It feels weird … Noticing a male Roaming our domain It feels really strange I try to avoid him Whenever he’s around The family room It’s been long … Since we had another male In the house So now I can even smell That shaving scent Which drifts right Through to my room Reminding me of All the yesterdays 36

Fragile The Big Bird was waiting. Passengers eagerly rushed to it before it flapped its wings. I was so nervous on that day because I was leaving behind a land that had nurtured me during all my young days. Everyone on board was excited and tourists were babbling about their so-called adventures. I just sat by myself and wondered. If there was an empty river I could easily fill it up with my tears. The Bird landed safely in the Land Down under and I had no idea what to expect. I was now living in a diverse suburb and a community that I had never known. I felt like I was exposed to a culture that I was beginning to love and at the same time not wanting to accept. My first summer was a blast. The heat was just too hot to handle and town was filled up with party poppers. I was happy during this weather because it reminded me so much about home with clear blue skies and white sandy beaches. My first winter was freezing cold. Coming from a place where winter weather did not exist, it was a shock witnessing that cold, icy breeze invading my surroundings. I had the worst nights of my life and wished for that hot blend of summer. Now I feel settled and am regaining a familiar sense to my new surroundings in trying to accept the land and its inhabitants.


Collected Works by Kate-Rose Macolino (Year 11) I Have None. Most people have memories Memories of childhood, like their twelfth birthday Memories of general life, like the time they fell off the bus I Have None. Most people I meet tell me, They tell me of old toys They tell me of days filled with fun I Have None. My father asks daily Do you remember Christmas of ’98 when your mother burnt all the vegetables? Do you remember your birthday in ’95 when you got so excited that you wrecked your Bananas in Pyjamas cake? ‘I don’t,’ I reply I Have None. My mother asks me weekly Do you remember your Uncle Graham teaching you songs by The Beatles on guitar? Do you remember your Cousin John taking you to Manly Beach? ‘I don’t,’ I reply I Have None. I sit in my room daily trying to remember small things, Instead all I see is the railway line, an old burnt-out car and rubbish. It’s like trying to read in the dark I Have None.


It’s Like. Having a mobile

with no battery

Reading a book

and never finding the ending

Climbing a wall

and never reaching the top

Trying to start a fire

in the rain

Hitting your head

against a brick wall

Breaking your arm

and it never heals

Losing your favourite book

and never reading it again

Having a cup

with no coffee in it.


Collected Poems by Peta Murphy (Year 12) First Things i.

There was sand in the boat.

Ollie said it didn’t matter,

she was a fine, seaworthy vessel.


The plane’s headlights came through

the clouds and the rain forgot itself

for a little while.


My fingers ached because of a woman

who made films for an evil man.

And they’ll ache again because of a woman

who died three thousand years ago.


The doctor said my breathing was

the loudest thing he’d ever heard.

In Transit i.

The brave huddle on the oval

waiting for the sun.

When it finally shows they decide

it’s the best argument for God

that they will ever see.


The mood turns from sympathy to scorn

when her end means the delay

of the 3:14 to Granville.


Lucas told me I didn’t have to lose sleep.

‘Things don’t always have to make sense.’

This is okay,

he’s never made much sense to me.



He told me what he meant

and I have decided that I prefer it

without the explanation.


The Local i.

Nobody likes us on our street.

We’re always too loud.

We never get the bins in on time.


My brother is meant to mow the lawn.

So far it has swallowed the Nova.

The Falcon and the Corolla sit anxiously,

worrying they will be next to disappear.


The dog at number three barks.

Everyone walking past is a victim.

We never complain.

He’s been here longer than we have.


The albinos give us dirty looks.

I talk to the man on the corner.

He talks to himself.

Rhonda stopped caring a while ago.


Missing Persons i.

My lungs hurt. My heart races.

My bad habits make me cough.

‘Is that you, Peta? You sound terrible.’


One record sounded just like the other.

I couldn’t tell the difference.

Nobody said anything.

Nobody told me they’d noticed.


Sam folded into herself

wrapped herself up

and told us not to bother.


Tom fell asleep on the bench.

We tucked him in with his jumper.


Last Things i.

I was told I could be a leader

if I conformed to the ideals

of the intelligentsia and the feminazis.

They gave me stroganoff for lunch.


I ticked all the boxes and

passed without too much bother.

My mum said she was pleased

and turned up the volume

on MasterChef.


The man with the glasses

and the kind nature liked my poem.

I had fanciful notions

of becoming a writer.


I read it to my father.

I crossed my fingers. I hoped for the best.

He considered me. He told me his thoughts.

‘When does your sister finish work?’


Nobody minds when I’m home late.

Sunday lunch won’t wait for anyone.


Collected Works of the Artists in Schools Residency Part 3 (Year 7 / Group 1)


Aneurysm by Kameron Omar She died twice. My dad was at the State of Origin in 2004 and the Blues were winning against the Maroons. The call came through that my mum was acting weird so he ran through the cheering crowds from Homebush Stadium to the bus stop to catch a cab home to Sefton. A worried look came upon his face; bad thoughts zoomed through his head. My mum dialled the number weakly. I took the phone from her. ‘Taytah, my mum is vomiting, can you come and look after my sister and I?’ I asked with a bit of panic in my voice. I woke up in the middle of the night to see my mum vomiting in the toilet again. It was a mixture of red and green goo all over the toilet rim. Everyone was worried and running around in circles. My dad grabbed the phone and dialled 000. ‘Hello, triple zero, what is your emergency?’ the person on the line asked. Tired and underpaid meant she really didn’t give a shit what was happening to my mum. ‘Something’s wrong with my wife, can you come and take her to hospital?’ my dad replied with a hint of shock in his voice. He looked like he’d just run a marathon; sweat dripping down his face. He was panting. ‘Sure, what’s your house number? We’ll be there as soon as possible.’ ‘Forty-five Batt Street, Sefton.’ The sound of the ambulance arriving terrified me. The lights were flashing everywhere and I still didn’t completely understand what was happening. When the ambulance arrived they took her to Bankstown Hospital, but the doctors didn’t know what was wrong with her. The next day they sent her to Liverpool Hospital but they also didn’t know what was wrong with her. The answer to my mum’s problems was at Royal North Shore Hospital. She only knew where she was after her anaesthetic wore off. My taytah picked me up from school the next day and took me to see my mum. My dad, my taytah and I waited anxiously in the waiting room. To keep my mind from thinking my mum was dead, I played Pokémon on my Game Boy. The room wasn’t that big and had another person behind a blind on the other bed. It smelt of medicine. My mum looked unbelievable; she had a black eye the size of a tennis ball and three drippers going into her veins. Dr Adam came into the room. He looked like he hadn’t slept in days. He was the doctor who had performed surgery on my mum. The doctor had known since yesterday. He told us that my mum was having an aneurysm. During an aneurysm, 50% of people die, 35% of people become paralysed and the rest come out normal but I found this out after the operation. Dr Adam also told us they are caused by smoking, high blood pressure and bad luck. For two months my mum was in hospital and each day I drew her picture in class. My teacher knew my mum very well. The day she went into surgery her heart stopped beating. The doctors said she was dead. They later revived her. A couple of hours later, her heart stopped again. Then they said she was dead, again. They revived her . . . again. She is still alive today. On Friday, 16th September 2004, my mum came and picked me up from school. I jumped on her and said, ‘Never leave me again.’


Dry Land by Wonho Kim I woke up in the morning to go swimming or more like Dry Land. That’s what we call it because we train on land instead of in the pool. I heard that it was like hell training there. Dry Land is like fitness work. I asked my coach, ‘Can I come to Dry Land in the morning?’ and she said, ‘Yes’. I was so excited. I woke up on Friday without an alarm clock because I was so excited and happy. When I got there my teammates were surprised to see me. We got to the place where we do Dry Land. It was the basketball court at Ryde Leisure Centre. The swimming centre that I go to is in a rectangular-shaped box with two pools in it and a huge slide. While we were training we used weights. I felt tough because I have never used weights in my life and I was the only guy in my squad not to have used them. The other kids who used them looked and acted like stronger people than me. I was teased for not using them. We started. We ran around the lines of two basketball courts for ten minutes. My legs were hurting. It felt like I was doing a marathon. After we stopped we did lunges. You take apart your legs and jump and when you land, you can’t let your knee be in front of your foot. My legs hurt in my thighs after 20 reps. We ran again for five minutes and then did some lunges again, then did pushups for 20 reps. After that my chest and my arms were hurting and my muscles were burning like hot chilli. Then we did crunches – a quarter of a sit-up. We did 20 reps, and this time it burned my abs. I couldn’t get up but got up and did the sprints. I was tired from this set but then I heard it was the only warm-up for the whole schedule. We all went to the wall and sat in a position that looked like you’re sitting down. This position looked easy but when I did it, it was killing my thighs. We did it for one minute. Then we did some more weight training. We held the weights and ran for three minutes then we quickly had to do push-ups on the spot. It was nearly the end of the session so we did some stretches and went out and changed into our swimmers. We did some 50m swimming sprints. I was tired but I wanted to do it again because I love swimming. The water is a friend that you swim in. After Dry Land I had to go home and eat breakfast so I could go to school. I didn’t want to go to school because I was so tired. From that day forward I went to swimming and Dry Land and got amazing results in competitions.



Going to the Hospital by Christopher Rose It hurt so badly. I couldn’t make it stop. It made me throw up. This was the start of Year Four. My dad took me to the doctors. My dad is Mauritian, he is a big man and he loves everyone. It was 7am. We had to go to the doctors at 10am because they don’t open until then. The doctor said, ‘I need a urine sample.’ After he did the tests he told my dad and I to go to the hospital and take a blood test. The doctor was Caucasian and about six foot high. When we got to Bankstown Hospital my dad and I waited for a few hours until my brother and my grandpa arrived. When it was time to take the blood they put a sticker on my arm to make it numb. Inside the children’s blood test room, no joke, the needle was as long as the distance between my chin and my nose. I couldn’t stop screaming, it felt like I was being shot. They took five blood samples. My grandpa came and looked. ‘PISS OFF!’ said the doctor. After they tested the blood, they said that I had appendicitis. They made me wear a stupid gown. I had to stay the night. My dad stayed with me but I couldn’t sleep because my dad was snoring. My dad woke up at about 9am. He went and got me some action books to read. My mum turned up at about 11am. My mum is Australian. She is a middle-weight lady and she loves most people. After a few hours she got me a cool gaming system which had a flat screen. It was like a computer. It had some games and movies on it. When it got late I was put on a bed and they took me into an operating room. The doctor put me on gas and he told me to count down from one hundred and I made it to ninety-four, then I fell asleep. When I woke up it was about 10am. I had three stitches. When the clock hit 12pm the nurse brought me lunch. I had lamb chops and mashed potatoes with peas, corn, apple juice, sweet potato and after I ate all of it, some jelly. One hour after I finished eating my dad left. I started to feel pain because the stiches were expanding with my stomach when I breathed in and out. Soon after that my great uncle and great aunty turned up to see me and they brought me a Get Well Soon present. It was a remote control aeroplane and a hundred dollars in a card. My uncle took me for a walk but it hurt so I had to sit down. After another day I got to go home but the doctor said that I couldn’t run around for ten weeks. When I got home I wasn’t allowed to go to school for a whole week. It was so boring at home because I had no gaming consoles. On my first day back at school my best friend Luke screamed to me from across the playground and he bolted over and gave me a big hug. All my friends were worried because they didn’t know where I was and my teacher, Mr Kass, talked to me for a while and in class they made me do a speech on my time was in hospital and I showed everyone my scars. Everyone was really nice to me from then on, but some kids still hated me because I hated them. When I got to my aunty’s house she made me her special mayonnaise and I ate it all and no one else got any. When I got home my brother Adrian gave me a big hug.


My First Fight by Joseph Tholley One day in the playground when I was in Year Four there was a kid called Mike. He liked to bully me because I was black. He thought I didn’t have strength. First he started bullying me in the classroom, started saying that I was a chicken. Then he said F your mum, then I told him stop, then he told me what are you going to do?, then he said you want to fight at lunchtime?, and I said no. Then I got up to tell the teacher and the teacher said Mike stop bullying Joseph, and he said you watch at lunchtime, then the bell went. When I got outside he came up to me and pushed me and I pushed him back. I punched him in the eye and kicked him in the belly, then punched him at the nose. It felt good. He started to bleed. There was a little blood coming down his nose and his eye was a little bit black. This teacher came, Mr Hanna. He pulled us apart. After the fight, Mike was really hurt and I was okay. My arms were feeling strong and my chest was hurting a little bit. Mr Hanna took me to the deputy teacher, Ms Burn. Ms Burn told me that I was getting suspended, then I said to her how many days?, she said three weeks, then I said what the F? During the suspension I stayed home. I played my games. I played Saint Row, Spider-Man and Call of Duty. My mum came up to me in my bedroom and she told me that I should never fight again or she will take away my games. When I returned to school I went up to Mike. I said who is stronger now? Then he said to me you are, he said, please don’t hurt me, then I laughed and I walked away.


Hospitalised by Matt Haywood I have been to so many doctors. They all say the same thing. I need surgery. My mum had to drive me to Bankstown Hospital. I had to have a massive surgery on the insides of my nose. I arrived. It was difficult to find where I had to be. It was like a maze. Haven’t you ever noticed, when you go to the hospital everywhere looks the same? I managed to find the ward I belonged to by reading the signs on the wall. A young nurse came in acting like it was her first day, she was so positive; I didn’t expect that from a nurse. She talked like it was from a script. She was young, in her early twenties. She gave me a white robe and said, ‘Put this on but you have to take the clothes off that you are wearing and the doctor will be with you shortly.’ Then she left the room with a cheesy grin on her face. I went to the bathroom to put the robe on. It was white but had a yellow tinge to it. I tried desperately not to think about the people who had to wear it before me. I kept my boxers on. I had to wait three hours until my surgery. The next few hours were so boring. I had to watch the first Harry Potter. The movie was boring and the graphics were pretty shit on the television screen. Finally I was going to get what I came for. The doctor came in and told my mum what they were going to do. There was another doctor who controlled the gas that would eventually knock me up. He was tall and skinny and he seemed too excited; it was like he wanted to pump my body full of gas. The other doctor was a short Indian doctor. My mum knew the risks and what they had to do. She was annoyed but just continuously saying ‘yep’. She wanted to be polite. Then suddenly, without me noticing, the doctor pulled the metal rails up to stop me from falling off. I felt hungry because I wasn’t allowed to eat for ten hours before the operation. They pushed me to the disinfecting station. It was a bench with equipment between two metal doors to keep out germs. I got a puffy white hat made out of a material like floss. They pushed me into the recovery room but I didn’t stay there. I went right to the operating table. There was a huge machine that I guessed was the knock-out gas. There was a tray that had sharp instruments on it. I went under. I lay there, still. It felt like an instant. I thought the operation only lasted five seconds, that’s how fast it was. It felt like I was blind, my sight was blurry. I couldn’t hear that well. I was scared. I thought the operation went wrong. I tried to get up but every time I did, it hurt my head and I felt I was going to pass out. A nurse rushed towards me. ‘Stay still or you’re going to pass out, you’re in shock,’ she shouted but all I heard was a slight mumble. I stopped. I remembered her from when I came in. My sight was getting better. The hospital lights were shockingly bright. I saw the nurse holding a phone. I made out a few words. ‘Please tell … that … is … in the recovery centre.’ Now I knew where I was but my next question was who was she speaking to? My head was throbbing with pain and my questions weren’t helping. After ten minutes or so of closing my eyes and laying down flat on my bed, my senses came back to me. The first thing I asked was, ‘Can I get a grass of water?’ The nurse went to the water cooler and came back with a full glass in a white plastic cup. The water tasted well in my dry throat as I hadn’t had anything to eat for ten hours. My hunger disappeared. It must have been that drip that was in my arm. As I looked for a place to chuck my cup, the doctor managed to sneak in. ‘Are you feeling okay?’ he asked. I nodded my head. ‘Can I go home now?’ I asked. He shook his head. ‘We have to get those tubes out of you and get you changed.’ I was pissed I couldn’t go. He pulled the arms off the bed and told me I was going back to the ward. My mum was there. She looked tired and the sky outside was black. That stupid nurse came back in and explained that the tubes had to come out. She pulled them out. It was painful, like a needle. But my head hurt more. As I drove away I moaned, ‘Screw hospitals, they’re freaking crap.’


Travelized Waleed by Waleed Quader Dubai April 17th 2007 Fourth day in Dubai I went to The Palm; it’s an offshore man-made island, and it’s amazing. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was exactly like a palm tree with its ferns flashing out like an eagle, full of nature; palm trees, grass, coconut trees, mansions, and it had the world’s largest water park with thirty metrehigh slides, wave-makers that can reach up to ten metres, rapids and more. I went to the water park. When I saw it I stared. After ten hours at the water park I went to the Atlantas Hotel. It looked just like the movie I watched, exactly like the underwater city, Atlantis. At night I went out on the veranda with my dad. I looked at the shoreline and the surrounding houses and mansions. My dad told me, ‘One day son, you’ll be a rajil and possibly live here, accomplishing what other people can’t and be respected by others.’ The next day I went to the world’s largest mall. We couldn’t walk the whole mall because it was so big. While we were walking I saw a toyshop. I went in and saw a Black Hawk. I wanted it so bad. I kept nagging my dad to buy it for me and he eventually did. As soon as I got home I wanted to fly it. I held it and ran but I forgot that it was burning outside, it was nearly forty degrees. I felt like I was melting. The air was sticking to my face, my lips were drying like a pond in the desert and the smell of construction floated through the air from soaring skyscrapers. I remembered that I had dustmite. I ran back inside and put the helicopter down. I put my swimming shorts on and went down to the pool and jumped in. It was like I was jumping from the desert into Antarctica. Even the water was hot for a while. It was like I was a fire that had been put out. I was refreshed. I stopped sweating. And I felt human again. I remembered that I was going to leave two days from now.

Jordan April 20th 2007 First day in Jordan I didn’t actually spend all that much time over there. I was kind of deflated. I’d never been to Jordan before so this was my first time over there. It was like a nuclear bomb had struck it. Dust all over the place, buildings dull brown. All colours the same. I didn’t have that many relatives but I coped. I thought that I was the only person in the world. My dad went to Jordan so he could introduce me and my brother to our Arabic religion and to meet my aunty and my uncle. But I wasn’t that interested in my background. All my life I was surrounded with tall buildings, high-tech equipment and big malls. In the time I was in Jordan I felt like I was from another world, I was so bored. I couldn’t go to a park or an EB Games because there weren’t any. Anyway, when I reached the point where I had to talk to my parents about going back to Australia, they told me that we were going back. I was thrilled but then they told me that we were going to go to Perth, not Sydney.


Perth April 24th 2007 Arrival time 8:36am It sure wasn’t Sydney but I gave it a go. When I got outside the airport I said to myself, This can be a good beginning. When I arrived at the house my dad bought, I thought it was amazing. The structure was so modern. I went in. It had a laser sensor security alarm: an alarm so high that when it triggers you can hear it at the bottom of the neighbourhood. Any move in front of it, you’re dead. I put my bags in my room and put my clothes in the closet. I put my PJs on and went to the dining room to have dinner. My first decent meal in a day-and-a-half. I turned on the TV and watched Simpsons for about an hour but I fell asleep in the middle of it. I was so tired. I woke up in the morning, had breakfast, went out to the backyard and lay on the grass. It was so soft and comfortable that I dozed off. I went to the park and played with these British kids. When I saw them I thought they were fainting, their skin was so pale and white. We played soccer and I got tackled on the leg and got a bad cut. I went home, put Dettol on it and a strap. The next day my dad and I went to the nearest school to enrol me. They told me that I was going to be in primary but I was still in Year Seven. The system over there worked differently. I went back home and we had a family talk. Apparently my brother was going to be put in Year Nine. My parents had a discussion alone. They decided to go to Canberra because a company offered my dad a job to project manage a hotel that was going to be built there, so we travelled to Canberra.

Canberra April 26th 2007 Tenth day in Canberra My dad didn’t like it in Canberra either.


Sydney May 28th 2007 One month later in Sydney Morning. Sun rising upon the horizon. The sky dusty grey. Past customs and outside the airport. I took a deep breath and let it out. I said to my dad, ‘Is this it, is this the last pit stop?’ My dad looked back at me in a relaxed way and smiled. We got home and sat down. My dad said, ‘Tomorrow we’ll look for a school for you and Anees and in a week’s time we’ll enrol you.’ When I went to bed I thought to myself, You finally came back but will it be like the way it was? Has it changed? You’ve been away for almost five years. Well tomorrow I would find out … I felt the same sensation as the one when I landed. I went to school. The bell rang and we went out to the playground. I sat with my friends. This kid came up and swore at my mum because he thought I was defenceless so I got up and punched him in the stomach. He was fat so it felt like my hand was sinking in. When I got home I thought, This isn’t the same, I never had a fight with a kid on the first day of school. I opened my journal and began to write. Will this be my last journey or will you be hearing from me again?


Collected Works of the Artists in Schools Residency Part 4 (Year 7 / Group 2)


The Family Restaurant by Jai Kisseh-Lloyd Bankstown McDonald’s People waiting

to order their food

Staff struggling to serve all the people at the same time A baby crying like a needle scratching on a metal table Children running around like they just ate a whole bucket of ice cream Old people complaining about how rude young people are Young girls gossiping about how they like Teresa

as a new best friend

and how she eats like a man

and how she dresses like she is going to the fancy

dress party that she had last year for her yr 10 formal

and how hot her boyfriend is

and they want to take him

and how her mouth is big

and she can’t keep secrets.

Their comments like dipping chips into Sundaes.

The Girls in Centro Shopping, shopping, shopping Swiping credit cards like the brush of nail polish. Girls saying, ‘Look at my bag, it’s from Prada, and I got 1% of the money back. What a bargain!’ Guys saying, ‘You can get it from Target for half the price.’ Guys complaining, ‘Why do we have to go to all these shops, can’t we just go to the Reject Shop and leave?’ The food court smelling like curry, and prawns dipped in garlic. Girls saying, ‘Eeghg, how disgusting is all this food? Why can’t there be normal food?’ The guys mocking them, ‘Why can’t the lines be shorter at McDonald’s?’ A cleaner wiping down the table and separating the food from the tray.


Paul Keating Park The toilets, looking like an earthquake erupted, and smelling like urine. Words on the back doors saying Why don’t all the aussizes get out of Bankstown? Go back to where you came from All the Lebo girls rule Bankstown Billy’s nose is the size of the 166 bus Outside, boys acting like heroes because they can smoke Mums getting offended about how disgusting the stench of the smoke is,

and how rude those boys are

and that the council should make the park a safer place

for people Ibis eating cigarette butts and leftover McDonald’s from the ground.

Bankstown Library Kids trying to sneak in squished cheeseburgers under jumpers, beneath the sign that says NO FOOD A teenager on a computer with 25 tabs open at once

Bebo: Chris-superstar**^* acting all proud on bashing a nerd

Facebook: Stephaney #1 saying ‘guess what I did today?

I spread a rumour about Alyssa going out with disgusting James and he such a know it all lol how funny am I’

MSN: Samantha_ is_ da_ best1997 saying how many boys

she has gone out with and how cool she is

And pages and pages of Twilight photos: Bella and Edward together 4eva on Google images. Young adults typing on the keyboards as though

they are nervous and

tapping on a table

Books sitting there, waiting …



Going to Samoa by Florida Sogialofa ‘Jessie, hurry up our taxi is waiting, we don’t want to miss our flight,’ Mum called from downstairs. ‘Alright, I’ll be down there in a couple of minutes, I’m just packing.’ I was in my room trying to think of what to write down in my blank diary but I couldn’t think of anything so I kept on fidgeting with my fingers. I could hear Mum calling out to me, telling me to hurry. Who did she think she was? – just joking. It was time to go and I still couldn’t think of anything to write, so instead I took my diary with me and waited for the right time. I was ready to leave. We were now at the airport and my mum was way ahead of me knocking some people out of her way so that she could get our ticket and get a really good seat next to the exit because she was so happy, and I mean happy. She had this really big smile that I had never seen and she was dancing around the airport. I found that a bit embarrassing. People at the airport started to notice Mum and me because she took my suitcase and then screamed out, ‘HONEY!!! Do you have all your clothes in here?’ ‘Yes,’ I answered with a half-frown on my face, trying to silently ask her to stop being embarrassing. People started to notice her in a bad way, looking at her bright red pants that made her stand out like a ripened tomato. Mum took my suitcase and then looked inside it and checked if I packed up all my clothes and then she called out to me and said the most embarrassing thing. ‘Jessie, HONEY, you only have three pairs of underwear with you! Didn’t you come with a pack of underwears? You know that we are going to stay for a few weeks?’ I was on the other side of the airport almost in tears from what she said. My cheeks were so red. As I walked out to the exit to get some fresh air a girl about my age looked at me and shook her head as if to say she felt my pain. On the plane Mum was getting pretty annoying. She couldn’t help starting a conversation with the people behind us, telling them how young she was when she first arrived in Samoa. I could tell that the people behind us really wanted to move away from her, but they didn’t because they knew that she would get upset and take it the wrong way. So they stayed and the woman pretended to get something out of her handbag for a really long time. I knew for sure that she wanted my mum to stop, but my mum kept on talking for a few hours or so and then found out that the lady was sick of her. So she apologised and said, ‘I won’t bother you again.’ But what do you know, her big mouth could not stop. It kept on going and going and going ’til the person she talked to went all red in the face and stood up and moved seat with some old, baggy-clothed lady. I was trying not to laugh but I couldn’t help it. It was either laughing or peeing in my pants so I had to burst out laughing. Mum gave me a really evil look. The doors opened and I was waiting patiently beside my mum for my very first steps in Samoa. Mum was really quiet and a bit scared for some reason. I moved a bit closer towards her and asked, ‘Why are you so scared and really quiet? I thought you were happy to come here?’ Then I said it was okay if she wanted to go back home. I was trying to persuade her to go back because I felt really scared and anxious at the same time. She smiled at me and said, ‘I’m fine darling. It’s just been a long time since I came here, that’s all.’ She was looking straight at the exit as though that was the only thing that was around her and she did not even blink one bit. I was going to say something but I thought it was better like this because she was quieter and it was a payback for what she did to me at the airport screaming out, ‘Did you come with a pack of undies?’ My first impression of Samoa was really different from my mum’s because all I could see were coconut trees, kids running after each other and chasing after dogs. BORING. I looked back to see what my mum would say, but she was looking straight ahead at a really ugly shop. I looked at her in a way, Like seriously, we are in the Twenty-First Century, not in the First Century. She looked at me and said, ‘This is where I always go to when I feel down.’ I wasn’t really listening because I was busy looking at this little girl with dark hair and really light brown eyes. She was looking at me in a really strange way. I can’t really explain how, but she was looking at me as though she knew me.


On the School Bus by Phoebe Turuva The bus arrives at Sir Joey Banks and students from all grades rush to get some seats. At the door we all try to squeeze through the tiny gap. The Lebz go to their places in the back trying to look like gangsters by slouching, putting their legs up on the seat and sometimes even smoking. The F.O.B.’s stay in the front because they’re allergic to the back (that’s my theory) and they hog the seats that are meant for two. The Asians have no choice but to sit on whatever seats are left (usually the ones that are: torn, have squashed banana on them, fresh chewing gum or a flattened cockroach). But the Year Sevens get something worse than that and that is … standing up. It may not seem that scary but trust me it is. So let me define the situation for you: just imagine you’re standing up minding your own business when suddenly the crazy Asian driver stops the bus so you go flinging forward into a sweaty guy who has just spent his afternoon playing a primitive game named football and to make it worse the ugly IM guy that likes you is right behind you so you are now sandwiched in between a sweaty fat guy and an ugly IM person. So now you see why it’s so so so terrifying.

People and Change by Phoebe Turuva People change over summer and that’s true. Trust me people can be really ugly and then when they come back to school they’re like the prettiest thing in the whole world! But you have to believe me when you see a person like that … they are either an evil but cute twin or they got an operation done on their face. Or maybe a bully has a life-changing moment so now he or she is scared of you instead of you being scared of them. Or maybe even an axe murderer who went through counselling and now works in a school as a teacher, so instead of him killing kids he helps them with sums … Okay maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but you never know … Just in case, make sure you keep them away from axes, knives, guns, missiles … well you get the picture. This is an example of what I’m talking about: I knew this girl in primary school who was, well … a dork, and I was her friend. Her name was Angel Lee. What I mean by a dork is that she had buckteeth. Well actually that was her nickname: ‘Bucktooth’. Anyway, she wore glasses like me and she liked what all the Asians liked, you know: Naruto, Bakugan, anime, comics and of course NINJAS! Well, she was also a laughing machine. Oh and she was a tomboy. So anyway back to my story. So I was walking home and then I saw her walking up the hill and she looked cool and by cool I mean like really cool. She was wearing chucks and the usual, you know, pants and a top. She had her hands in her pockets slouching while she walked towards me. When she came closer I realised that she was a girl. I mean I already knew she was a girl, but from far away she looked like a boy. If she’s reading this I’m going to say sorry, but I’m serious though. She really looked like a boy. Well anyway when she got to me it was like a mini school reunion. We gave each other our numbers and our email addresses. It was good to see my best friend again. But I could still tell she was a nerd because her email was still:


But I am Here by Carla Ausage I can see very small things I wouldn’t usually notice at this moment. I can see my dad’s speeding fine stuffed underneath the chair, the Peter Jackson Gold smokes half-hidden in my brother’s bag and the fact that I am fidgeting my hands so much it is starting to hurt. The sound of Rantallis’ snoring is starting to get to me, soon I cannot take it and I slap him in the face. He just moans and goes back to sleep. Typical boys. It is my first time visiting my family on my mother’s side and all I am thinking of is getting this over and done with. I turn my head and notice that every fifth property we pass has three horses and a flock of sheep. The car stops and my sister Yohana yells out, ‘We’re here!’ My dad doesn’t look happy. He looks really tired, as if he had a hangover. You can tell this because of the bags under his eyes and just because he looks as if he never went to bed. I take a look outside and notice the green grass surrounding me. Compared to Punchbowl it’s like a golf course. I step out of the car and feel the cold, winter breeze against my face. I stretch for a while and turn around, noticing a lot of people waiting at the gate for us. They’re probably just family waiting to welcome us like a crowd at a concert waiting for their performer to arrive. I walk up to them as slowly as possible. One of my uncles steps forward and says, ‘Kiora.’ He has corn braids and really bulky arms like big, thick logs and when you talk to him or even say hello it’s like he is towering over you. He shakes my hand then takes a step forward to do the Hongi. I have no idea what he is doing so I take two steps back, letting go of his hand. He then takes a step forward. I get really shy and go stand behind my dad. My dad performs the Hongi to my grandad then moves on to my nan, then to my Uncle Clifford, George, Dawn, Mere and so on like a domino line and soon it gets really boring. All the kids are sitting on the floor pulling out the grass wishing that they were somewhere else. My cousin Whitney then decides to take all of us to the beach my grandad owns behind his house. To him it’s like his backyard. Rantallis forgets to take his sandals with him. The stones are like sharp needles poking at your feet when you are getting a tattoo on the only place your parents won’t notice. When we get there I can smell the salty sensation of the ocean, I can see how the waves just get bigger and bigger until they break at the shore. Then I see my cousin Riley playing with a dead jellyfish but stupidly she doesn’t know it’s dead. After everyone has a swim, we all have showers (which take forever) then head off to the Merae to have a Hangi. There’s fish and something. I have no idea what it is. I’m not used to eating food cooked under the ground and just hide it in the pots like a boy who secretly gives his food to his dog while his mother isn’t looking. My dad is stuffing his face in front of everyone and soon I get really embarrassed. After eating there is always cleaning which I hate doing. But as the guests we don’t do much. A few boring hours pass and Whitney and Uncle George surprise us by making a massive bonfire. They walk into the scrub to collect some more wood and when they come out they look like a group of Aborigines walking out of the bush with a pile of sticks and twigs. My Uncle Clifford brings three large boxes down to the beach and in my head I know what it is. And there is a lot of it. All I see is the vodka and the Cowboys. My sister’s boyfriend Rob brings down some different coloured fireworks to light up. As he is doing that, my uncle brings down the jeep to play music along with the guitar. Teneesha, Mere and Jasmine are singing along to ‘I’m Yours’ and surprisingly it is good. After a while the music playing isn’t entertaining and we turn it off just leaving the headlights on. The adults pull out the bottles of vodka and whatever else they have. About fifteen minutes later they all seem drunk, talking loud, barely being able to stand up and laughing at nothing. The kids are dancing around the fire like a tribe of Indians at a ceremony, throwing whatever they have into the fire as an offering to the gods. Then I hear a massive bang. I turn around and everyone is looking up. So I then look up and notice the different coloured shapes overtaking the sky. Foolishly my cousin stuffs up the next one and it tips over, meaning the tube goes flying up. And what goes up must come down


eventually. So everyone moves away except for Whitney and when he turns around it hits him in the head, which is so hilarious, and everyone is laughing for about ten minutes straight. While my uncles and aunties are standing up they start to dance and my dad joins in. My dad starts to do the Samoan Haka with his twin brother Jonathan and being drunk, he falls over. The angry expression on his face reminds me of a time when we were waiting at the lights and one of his old mates was behind us, and so he got out of the car to talk to him. Some Asian guy was really annoyed that he had to wait behind us while the light was green and so he pretended to crash his car into my dad. As usual, my dad got really pissed. The guy sped off and my dad was going to take off his shoe and throw it at his car until my aunty got out of the car and told him it was time to go. And to make things even more embarrassing there was a crowd of students watching what had just happened from the station that was across from us. But luckily I am not there. But I am here. So let’s just get tonight over and done with. Not long after, the fire dies out and everyone has to head up to the Merae. My uncles and aunties are too drunk to walk up the dune so my cousin drives them up. Because of the number of people most of us sleep in the Merae which is sort of like a church. We set up the mattresses, blankets, pillows and sheets to sleep on. I can hear a thump on the floor so I turn around and it’s my nephew jumping off the bench onto a mattress. The adults try to put us all to sleep and I have a feeling why. I hear another bottle opening. No one’s in the mood for sleeping so we just pretend that we suddenly fall asleep. We just close our eyes and put the blankets over our heads and, stupidly of the adults, they believe us. After they leave we all get up and throw the pillows around and just have fun. We lock each other in the big freezer which is a lot of fun. The adults come in; we have no time to get back into bed so we just hide in the freezer. When they leave we decide to finally get to bed. We all lie down and close our eyes. Just as I shut my eyes I see a lot of smoke coming around from the corner and I think I know who it is …


Serbia by Tamara Medojevic The Arrival: The crowd awaiting us like a sale at Gucci. The old fashioned buildings remind me of when I was in my younger days. The talking of my mother’s family worries me because I don’t know Serbian well. Now the moment of truth, I am unclear on what to do Just go with the plan of a kiss, hug and say, Cao, kako si?

Conversation: I just noticed something I Tamara Medojevic can’t find conversation, Seriously, me, I can’t find conversation My life is conversation I’m like the conversation queen I make conversation during the day I make conversation when I eat I make conversation when I am with family I make conversation when I am with friends I make conversation in my sleep!! But here in Sivac, the town of great gelato, The only discussion I’m having Is in my dreams


The Girl: ‘Cao, kako si? Cao, kako si?’ Oh sorry, being in my own little world I don’t realise that a little girl about eight or so with Brown hair and green eyes wearing a denim skirt and cotton shirt, Is talking to me. ‘Cao, ya sam doboro, ti? Oh, doboro. So are you the new girl?’ ‘Da,’ I say, Still not fully concentrated on the girl. ‘So what is your name?’ she asks. And so I say Tamara and I ask her back, ‘So what’s your name?’ And in an excited voice she says to me, ‘Branka.’ And so then she asks to take me and my sister on a tour. And she does.

The Streets: The streets with holes on the sides, with the over-grown grass, Remind me that my life here is going to be a little different and a lot more fun. Then Branka takes us up the steep hill To show us the other little girl called ‘Ivana’. The air, hot and stuffy, I feel like I am in an old, unair-conditioned bus With people everywhere I like the way the streets are here, way better then back in Australia Because I can wander around these streets but in Australia I can’t Why can’t the streets be like this back home?


The Food: The food here is much nicer, The watermelon has a richer colour and juiciness The chicken more fresh because my grandparents killed it this morning In the backyard, The kolen is the best thing I have ever tried We eat at the table with my grandpa at the top My grandma sitting wherever she finds a seat Crowded around the table like a royal family waiting for their feast And boy is there a feast Chicken, pig, salad, homemade bread, soups and fruit. I could get used to this Even though I am only staying two months I like it.

The Departure: The count is on Only a few more hours left here in Sivac Until I go back to Australia, I don’t want to go, But I do miss my dad So I am sad to go because I’m going to miss everyone and the kolen The hours fly by ‘Come on, in the car,’ yells my mum With my grandpa driving calmly His Kombi ute And again farewelling my family and friends ‘Bye,’ I say I get in the car, Remembering that I won’t be seeing these people for at least five years Knowing that I’m going to miss the kolen Hoping that next time it is there, sitting on the kitchen table.


Four Short Poems by Tamara Medojevic The Bats The sun leaving us for the night, and bats arriving like a black plume of smoke.

The Shoes The gold tongue shining in the bright light, the swiping of the credit card as easy as peeling a potato.

The Paint My brother’s room. The new paint lingers within my head like thoughts of dying.

Bounce, bounce bounce ‌ The basketball about to score, I try to get the rebound but fail, my friend gets the goal.


Suburban Decay by Chris Atkins









Collected Works of the Artists in Schools Residency Part 5 (Year 9)


Meet the People of Granville by Mariam Hassan Gucci hat, matching bum bag, loud music screaming out of the subwoofers. Going 110 ks in a 60km zone, cigarette in one hand, steering wheel in the other. These are the boys of Granville Tight jeans, ballet flats – Chatting loudly with friends on the phone. Face packed with makeup, smelling like cheap perfume. Going home and removing all evidence. These are the girls of Granville Waking up for work early in the morning, arriving home more than twelve hours later. Trying to provide necessities for the family, attempting to keep up to date with life. These are the men of Granville Dropping the kids off at school in the morning, Struggling to cook, clean and care for the kids at home. Busily running from place to place, Scheduling appointments, excursions and important dates. These are the women of Granville Glad to lend a helping hand. Being caring and considerate to one another. Cooperating to get the job done. And putting all differences aside to make the best out of life. These are the people of Granville


The People of Guildford by Elak Hallak P-platers drag-racing Showing off their Sleek and shiny Turbo-charged cars, Seeing whose car is Faster, better With techno music Blazing out the amazingly Loud subwoofers, Sharing their bad taste in music, With the rest of the street Well, that sounds like Guildford to me. =)


Free Fall by Iman Etri The whispers, they pass From the lips of the young, Behind manicured hands. The roar of the truck as it stalls at 11:00pm. Dear Lord! Go away! A peaceful slumber calls, and is rudely interrupted. The kitchen window overlooks a unit. Whatever happened to green grass and trees? ‘Progress for progress’s sake must be stopped.’ The lone can that rolls along the ground, rattling, disturbing the silence. Look closely. ‘Please dispose of responsibly.’ The moth as it spins, free fall.


Such a Beautiful Girl by Iman Etri Look into those eyes. Can you see what remains? The smile joins the debris of what once was. Shattered. I long to ask how it hurts. I am frightened. I can’t fight the monsters under the bed With a battered teddy bear. I can’t say I’m worried. The branch will wait for darkness to fall before Snap! I can’t ask for the time. There might not be enough. You fade away with the moon. Children, children dance a while. What happened, my love, to such a beautiful girl?


Girls These Days by Anonymous Girls these days. They’re so freaking annoying!!! They think that they can just use people and nothing will happen. Well, let me tell you that is really, really, really annoying!!! And why are they always angry? It’s something new everyday, it really makes me want to ignore them all the time. Why are they so complicated? Why can’t they be like boys and just chillax and not stress about every little thing? Like seriously, no wonder most boys just ignore them, they’re just so full of bs that you don’t know if they’re telling the truth or just making shit up. They’re so backwards, when you like them they hate you but when you don’t like them they’ve got the biggest crush on you, I just don’t get it!!! It’s so hard to find a girl in Bankstown that doesn’t talk bs 24/7. Almost all of them are freaking Canterbury-roaders, straight out. I’m not saying they’re ugly, most of them are really pretty, especially the Fob and Lebo girls, but it doesn’t change the fact that most of them are selfish, heartless boyeating monsters. How they got this evil is a question I’ve been asking myself since the last girl used me to get back at her boyfriend. This girl, straight out, I thought she liked me but obviously I thought wrong didn’t I. I just don’t get why she did it, I did nothing to her but no, she just felt like being a little ’itch to me and hurting my feelings. I hate girls, well most of them anyways. They’re the biggest waste of time and oxygen that God created straight out, well at least the girls in Bankstown, anyways. I guess I’m just not ready to understand girls at the moment. Maybe when I’m older they won’t be such little ’itches and maybe they will have a little respect for other people . . . well hopefully anyways. They say girls mature faster than boys . . . what a load of shit. No matter how much you think a girl likes you she’s probs just going to dog you anyways, so yeah. If there’s a girl in Bankstown that’s not a little lowie, I haven’t met her yet, though I doubt there is. Oh yeah, another thing that really makes me angry is girls that have boyfriends but like you at the same time, I just don’t get it, don’t have a boyfriend if you’re just going to cheat on him, seriously, wtf ? But the biggest thing that pisses me off is when girls listen to their friends about shit that isn’t even true. It doesn’t matter how much you try to tell them it’s bs, they just decide that their friends are right and you have done something wrong because you’re a boy so you must have done something wrong. This is why I choose to go out with girls that don’t come from Bankstown, they seem to be more relaxed and less lowieish than the girls in Bankstown are. There is like no girls that are good to go out with because most of them are taken or total ’itches so yeah, that’s why I don’t like girls that much, so I’ve decided to just go out with pretty girls and use them and see how they feel about it – it’s happened to me so many times that I just don’t give a shit anymore.


Collected Works of the Westside Indigenous Writers’ Project


About Me by Emma Burke Bass High School 12 years old

Hi, my name is Emma Burke and I have a friend named Emma Jane. I am twelve years old and I go to Bass High School. My background is Aboriginal and Aussie. I was born in Australia and my hometown is Macquarie Fields and that is also where I grew up. I lived in Macquarie Fields for three years straight and I went to Ingleburn Public School. I didn’t have much friends there because I am really naughty. My dad is Aboriginal and Irish and my mum is Aussie and Kiwi, so that means I have four backgrounds. My parents were together for one year and then they got married and they were married for fourteen years. Then they got divorced and my dad is single and my mum is now engaged again.


Untitled by Janaia Donovan Panania Public School 7 years old

My name is Janaia Donovan. I groo up in Panania. I am a fast runner and when I grow up I wont to be as fast as Cathy Freeman. I wont to go to the Olympic Games and win a gold metle.

Poetry About Me by Sam Goneis Bankstown Girls High School 14 years old

As far as I could remember, Living in Punchbowl for fourteen years. Home in Australia where I come from, Greek and Aboriginal spirits flowing inside me in time to time. Mangoes are my favourite thing, They taste like fairy floss, sweet and keen. Poetry, writing, comics, art. Big fan of Sonic, what a remark. Hidden cultures inside of me, Wales and England spectacular, Urin Tribe with fish and paint. With my friends, it’s the best. Nintendo DS is my life, Unlike my PS2, what a strike. I like my drawing of my thing, My name is Sam, that’s all you see.


Untitled by Dion Compton Padstow Park Public School 12 years old

Hi, my name is Dion, and I love playing PlayStation and much more. My favourite hobby is going to the skate park and live life as I can and be me when I want. Life to me is a happy place where Mohammed can teach us to write a story, which is fantastic and he is a good teacher to us, at this table right now.

All About Me by Kira Woods Condell Park Public School 11 years old

I grew up in a flat. When I was two my family moved to Pannina. When I was about five I was in kindy. I am going to Condell Park, my brother dose not play with me because he is bess playng handball. I am eleven now and in Year Six. My name is Kira Woods. I am shy and do not spell well. I am going to East Hills. I like cricket and Soccer. I want to be a vet.


Anthony and the Iron Baby by Kira Te Aroha Welsh Punchbowl Public School 10 years old

Once Anthony was walking with the iron baby. The iron baby asked for chips. Anthony said no. The iron baby cried. Anthony took him to the football game. The baby kept on crying. Just then the baby saw the guy with the pretzels. He cried louder. Anthony then took him to the park. He went down the slide, then the iron baby smelt the steak on the BBQ. He cried louder. So he tried taking him for a walk in the city. Just then Anthony was walking past the bank, Anthony saw money on the floor. Anthony picked it up. He bought the iron baby everything he wanted.


Untitled by Nikita Serravalle Punchbowl Public School 9 years old One day my sister went crazy about Nutella. She went crazy because she wanted Nutella for her lunch. She chucked a tantrum, so when we came back that afternoon Chantal got dressed and asked me if she was grounded and I said, ‘What are you kidding me, of course you are grounded!’

Untitled by Lee Fermor Bass High School 16 years old It was my brother’s 18th birthday. He had invited most of his mates over and had a party in the backyard. He let me hang out with him that night. Most of his friends were 19-20 years old and they were allowed to drink alcohol. So Reece brought alcohol for the party. It was around one o’clock in the morning and the party was still on. I went inside to get a Coke out of the fridge and one of my brother’s mates went to get a drink from the ice box and at the same time another bloke came to get one. There was one drink left and a FOB person grabbed it. The drunk guy said something to the FOB guy and he retaliated. The FOB person started to throw punches and another guy came and knocked the FOB guy to the ground. And it just got out of hand. I walked outside and everybody was throwing punches. Myself, my mum, Dad, and other parents that attended the party tried to break it up. People used glass bottles as weapons and some fists. The fight went for a few minutes and then the police came and they had tasers. They broke up the fight.

Untitled by Jed Halls Bass High School 13 years old Hey, my name’s Jed. I am attending Bass High School. Once I was playing in a soccer grand final for Bass Hill and we lost 1-0 against Bankstown Strikers. They had a very good side. They were better on the day. Then we went to the coach’s house and had a BBQ and a swim. Then we went and played footy out the front. It was a good day even though we lost the grand final. Then I went home and watched TV and talked to my brother to tell him we lost.


Untitled by Chrishnia Weldon The best thing that happened to me was when my family got a motorbike. We got it last year for Christmas. When it was morning we went for a ride around the dirt track in Walgett. We stayed on til night and we saw a king cobra near my tree house. My sister Margaret was riding and spotted the snake. She called my uncle and my dad to look at it. Then they killed it with a shovel and a stick. I felt scared from seeing the snake and I was happy it was dead.

The Game by Lara Martin Birrong Girls High School 14 years old I lost the game. Then I told someone and they lost the game. If you have read this you just lost the game. Ha ha. The game is awesome!!! The end.

Untitled by Serenity Mackay Revesby South Public School 10 years old OMG! My tenth birthday was so great … but freaky at the same time. It was just like an ordinary day right, but the only thing was that we were going camping. Wait, but what’s so strange about camping right? Well that part wasn’t strange, it was the cake. It had a fifty dollar note in it. I didn’t even like the cake but I didn’t say that. Who would?!


Untitled by Courtney Baxter Condell Park Public School 11 years old

There is a girl whose name is Courtney. She loves boxing, that is what she loves (no one knows that she loves it). Everyone thinks that she is shy and totally weak. She is like a teacher’s pet, always in school uniform, always following the rules and finishing her homework on time. Ever since these mean, horrible girls teased and hurt her feelings, she learnt to box. Now she will box anyone who tries to be mean to her, but when she is not boxing she is playing Just Dance 2.

Untitled by Jared “awesome” Martin East Hills Boys High School 17 years old

I stand upon the shoreline, Letting the sea reach out to me, While out there on the horizon, Giant clouds of white are seen, And as I stand there wondering, What in the dream time they could be, The clouds rush up to greet the land, Like birds riding the winds, And the giant clouds have canoes attached, Guiding them into land, And out of them come smaller ones, Carrying these little white man, And though this is not the first time, It still is a great surprise, That these strange little white man, Come out of a giant cloud.


My Story by Caitlin Miller Bass High School 13 years old

I am Caitlin, I go to Bass High School, I am thirteen tomorrow

and this is my story.

I am going to tell you ten funny things that have happened in my life:


I ran into a pole when distracted by a friend


I got a ball and threw it at a teacher’s head by accident


I tripped over a bike I saw


I had a Barbie doll since I was two to ten years old


I hate bugs and spiders


I ran into a friend at a supermarket


I eat and eat but never grow


I love strawberries


I got burnt by a fire by accident


I have never been happy with needles

That’s all. LOL


About Me! by Emma Jane Chester Hill Public School 12 years old

Hi, my name is Emma Jane. I go to Chester Hill Public. I live in Chester Hill. I grew up in Ashcroft/Miller. I’m in a family of eleven. I am twelve years old. My background is Aboriginal. My best friend lives next door to me, her name is Brooke. She is eleven. My life is caring about my friends and family. I love my mum.

Untitled by Cory Brown Padstow North Public School 12 years old

My name is Cory Brown. Every time when I get home from school I play my DSi and my PS2. I am twelve years old. I am already in two Aboriginal tribes. I also like to draw. My favourite sport is Rugby League. I go for the Brisbane Broncos. I play for the Milperra Colts. My rival in that competition is Dion. He is my cousin, we fight sometimes, or every time.


Additional Writing


I Really Want Her to Come Back by Fabio Giompaolo I’ve been living that troubled life Now the door opens again I feel dead and hurt You changed so much and my ways Well you kissed me Big bright green eyes And you asked me When I’m going to return to you You’re the only one that makes me happy We had coffee at Padstow and that’s where we began I hoped we could travel around this crazy world Now it’s over from the start, I miss you my friend Where did I go wrong? I miss you my friend Late at night beside my pillow


Untitled by Millie Phelan Canterbury Girls High School 15 years old Year 10

Sea of rooftops, Winding roads, Never do know where each one goes. Post by post, Brick by brick, Changing streets come oh so quick. Grunting engines, Humming steps, Moving pulse of a heartbeat from a chest. Sagging trees, Rose soaked clouds, Evening warmth makes creaking bones a little less loud. Fading words, Streetlights wake, Rainbow scrawled street walls have many points to make. World frozen past midnight, All paths bare, Finally when my happy steps fill the still night air.


Memorya by Jema Samonte Winner of the UWS Young Writers’ Day Competition Hurlstone Agricultural High School Year 11

Youthful eyes peek As delicate strands of vibrant yellow Remain suspended in the air like glass chandeliers Light performs its sprightly dance Through the intimate twist and tangle Of thick silver-lit limbs Of the wise Narra trees Black lined fingernails scratch letters Into the chalk dust earth Soft eyes illuminated with a diamond sparkle Rose spirited cheeks flushed with burning fervour In the distance she hears The crisp chirp And quick clicking tongues Of flame breasted fruit doves Thin white fabric feeling sticky Lifting, peeling occasionally Like yanked strips of adhesive tape Sweat beads gleaming in the insides of her thighs Feelings lukewarm moist papery skin Like pancake syrup and tepid bath water The speckled curve of her shoulders Scalded for the moist, sweltering heat Burnt brown onion peelings That hiss and sizzle with a splat of oil The air is a seething pot of sluggish smoke With the pungent smell of soy sauce and sour vinegar


Stuck to the brick and tar of the road Along the toothpaste gush of sewage flow A swift whirr of violent arcing colour Of blood ripe tomato reds Warm pumpkin and orange and cumin yellows Of kwek kwek, round penoy Or mottled pugo Among the thick choking haze Fuming clouds of kettle steam Beyond spoon rattling clatter of pans Clashing pincer tongs and steam whistles Is the spit and splutter Of frying squid balls and crunchy pork knuckles Bobbing like buoys in a sea of oil Half empty glasses Of gulaman or halo-halo Ice cool sensation in her throat Fading like screeching tyres Of tricycles zooming past Limbs draping over rooftops Heads sticking out of windows Like floating tapioca balls


The Primary Concern by Millie Phelan Canterbury Girls High School 15 years old Year 10

Fat men, Bald men, Mean, skinny men. Bristly moustaches, glowing in the sun. Lapels flared proud, or meekly stuck down. With drawling, wheezing breath, And littered coughs, Each voices The primary concern. ‘The primary concern! It’s too darn left to be, No economy, economics. At least a thousand residents! Can fit, Can jostle into this space!’ ‘The primary concern! The suburb’s rotting, Melting at the seams. No revenue, reservoir. Without the shiny tax dollar, Of another thousand residents.’ ‘The primary concern! There’s no real use of space. Too many deranged drawings, Spilling off the walls. Memories clog the memoirs, Of this godforsaken place.’


So timber bows to concrete, Old buildings fade to dust. Parks and swings to parking spaces, The suburb floods with all new faces. The primary concern. They won’t leave my home alone at all.


Ghost in the Suburbs by Angelica Georgopoulos 10 years old Today was a beautiful day in Greenacre. Two sisters, Breanna and Alexa, were up early. Although very different, both girls had the same achievements. If one got Running Champion, the other would get the same. If one got Sports Captain, the other would get it too. They were very good at sport thanks to their dad. Both joined local soccer clubs and netball teams and were very good at running, swimming and long distance bike riding. The bike track picked up one kilometre from their front door and went all the way to the airport. Every Friday at 6:30pm they would ride their scooters up to the shop and buy ice cream. The girls had to go through a footpath with a little forest right in the middle of the neighbourhood. The council decided to fence off the area to stop older kids from hanging out there and to let the forest regenerate. Apparently there was a rare local bird who lived in that forest. There were loads of native plants and now it had the chance to flourish safely away from local cats and dogs. It did, and with it came larger trees and a dense bush that was hard to see through. There were large green trees with long brown branches. The girls loved that area. One late afternoon on that footpath Breanna heard something but she kept on walking. On their way back, Breanna and Alexa had their double ice cream scoop with chocolate sauce all around it in a cone. Breanna heard the same noise again. She turned around to Alexa and said, ‘Can you hear that?’ ‘Hear what?’ said Alexa, licking her cone, not really interested. Alexa had short mid-brown hair and cat’s eyes, both sharp to notice things, and green, just like her cat Penelope. Alexa was only twelve but quite tall with a fast, lean build. She was the fastest runner at school, easily outrunning the boys. Actually, she was one of the boys and hung out with them a lot. Breanna on the other hand was gentler, very girly and as tall, if not taller, than her sister. At age ten she was the tallest in her class and almost eye-to-eye with her teacher. Breanna had thick long blonde-brown hair with big brown eyes and a muscular build thanks to her dad’s Greek heritage. The freckles weren’t Greek but they were on her face and sometimes she liked them and sometimes she hated that her sister didn’t have as many. Her sister took after the Irish side of their mum’s family. The girls looked different but were always mistaken for twins and got on well for sisters. Breanna turned quickly and her ice cream fell to the footpath. Staring her in the face through the high wire fence was a little girl. She had a pale white face and her body almost see-through. Her clothes were torn and she wore no shoes. The little girl did nothing but stare. Alexa said, ‘Who the heck is that? Let’s go!’ and pulled Breanna by the arm. Breanna was frozen, not so much scared but in shock. The ice cream scoop magically lifted in the air and floated towards the little girl. The little girl took it and smiled. Alexa said, ‘We are going now, Breanna!’ and both scootered home as fast as they could. In no time they were under their purple Jacaranda tree, its flowers almost gone. They lived in a small brick house in a village with lots of the same type of houses. Their garden was the second-best in the street, except for the mysterious lady who lived on the corner. Mysterious Lady’s house was perfect with bird baths and statues. But the sisters thought their garden was better. They had many tea parties under that tree and played Hide-and-Seek around the Callistemon trees. ‘That was freaky!’ puffed Alexa. ‘Who do you think she was?’ Alexa tried to catch her breath. ‘A ghost I suspect,’ Breanna said calmly. ‘Get out of here! You watch too many ghost stories on Foxtel with Mum,’ teased Alexa. ‘Well, I don’t know many kids our age whose body is see-through, do you, Alexa?’


‘Your friend Isabelle is quite pale,’ said Alexa. ‘She was a ghost and that’s that,’ said Breanna. ‘Well I didn’t think ghosts ate gelato,’ said Alexa, poking out her tongue. ‘Well I would if I were dead,’ said Breanna. ‘Right, we are going to settle this now.’ Alexa stood up with her hands on her hips. Just then their mum called out their names. ‘Don’t tell Mum we saw a ghost, Breanna, blabbermouth.’ ‘Like she would believe us anyway,’ said Breanna. They ran inside to have a bath and before long were fast asleep in their bunk beds. The next morning Mum wanted eggs and something called Worcestershire Sauce. Mum had to write it down and both girls had fun trying to pronounce it all the way to the shops. Today they took their bikes because Mum said you can’t scooter with eggs. ‘Worse-test shire Sauce,’ giggled Alexa. ‘No, it’s Wart’s-test shire,’ replied Breanna. The girls were crossing Norfolk Road and laughing, not really watching ahead. As they were about to pass the forest, a fast car came tearing down the road into their path. The girls’ hearts stopped. Suddenly a big whoosh and pale gust pushed them out of the car’s way. They were lying in the gutter with their bikes. Looking down was the girl from yesterday with gelato smeared across her face. All three laughed and suddenly, as fast as she had appeared, she was gone.


Memories by Michelle Flowers Canterbury Girls High School 15 years old Year 10 The wind tiptoed through the leaves and wound its way through the waves of my hair. Everything is just as I remember it. The gentle wind seemed the same, like an old friend. Embarrassed, it darted away into the sky, flowing through the leaves and landing safely in the distance. Ever since leaving home ten years ago for England, I have missed this place and thought of it fondly. The dark cold walls of the city were never really comforting and the thick sorrow in the air seemed eternal. I was glad the day I finally decided to buy the ticket home. Everything in my vision was dripping with nostalgia. The bright sunsoaked trees, the shady cool undergrowth, the dark blue hue of the river; it all seemed to smile fondly up at me as if to welcome me home. The waters glistened and burst with pride as they too could see its beauty. As a child I never really appreciated this place. I took for granted the small hidden caves and the swollen branches of trees that had a hold of my imagination. Only now did I realise what it was to have lived here. It was early in the morning but the sun was shining bright and there was no one about so I decided to go for a walk. Ghosts from the past smiled up at me as I passed. I saw myself as a young girl covered in mud and smiling a giant smile as I fought a mighty dragon on the hills to my left. Looking right I saw myself at eight feeding the ducks with my parents, sunburnt face, carefree eyes and laughing that sweet laughter only children can. Each step immersed me more than the last and the memories embraced me. My vision blurred as I glided through the park just as I glided through my mind. I walked like this for a long time surrendering to the past. I sat down on a bench near a group of mangroves and closed my eyes, resting for just a moment. As I lay still my mind softened and the feelings of the morning slowly melted into a small hum. It was nearly twelve and the sun had a bite to it as I slowly lifted myself off the bench. Dogs and children were starting to emerge. I walked back along the winding pathways. Kids were playing amongst the branches and they waved as I went by. Some things do change. This place does not belong to me anymore. It was getting late and I couldn’t stay much longer. My shadow trailed after me as I walked up the hill and towards my car. The cracked, beaten pathways sighed as I walked the winding track and finally, keys in hand, a tear slid down my cheek. I wore a smile as I drove away.


The Scent of White-Out by Andrea Buckler St John’s College Woodlawn 16 years old Year 10 ‘Okay, okay!’ I frown at my mother. ‘I understood it the first time you said it!’ She has been nattering away at me for the whole bus trip. It’s all the same: which train to catch, where from, why and what you could do … God, it was such a bore, it’s not like I’m retarded. I can read signs and if something happens I have, like, four phone numbers to call. Mum’s crease lines form between her eyes and they narrow, dangerously. Deliberately ignoring her I turn away. Today I’m on a high; I can survive these completely ridiculous train lines. Can’t be that hard, can it? I mean, people do it all the time, right? It’s not like everyday there are train deaths or missing persons, are there? This is Sydney. I smile at Mum and get off the bus. Okay, under the road, left and then down the stairs. The underpass has people trotting to and from. People zigzagging, interweaving and their conversations blaring from every which way. I find myself wishing for the quiet streets of Alstonville, where everyone is friendly and it is clean. There is so much dirt ingrained in the tiles of the walls here, graffiti on any reachable cement area, smokers puffing stink every chance they get and claustrophobic shadows created by the skyscrapers. Even my aunty’s place is tiny and hers is considered a reasonable size for Sydney. I miss the wide roads and light traffic, the greenery and clean, fresh air; little exhaust fumes fogging the streets, no aeroplane noise or talk from neighbours intruding into your home. I’m homesick after only two days. I approach a beggar crouched in the underpass. He is wrapped head to toe in dirty rags, leaving gaps only for his gnarled hands and face. I can almost see the fleas multiplying in his grey-brown, defiled clothing. There is a paper cup between his feet where a couple of coins glint. His head is cramped down in an awkward position; covering his ears and eyes. His arms are wrapped around his head like a gorilla I saw in Taronga Zoo. A man ahead of me crosses the streams of people to toss a couple of coins in the cup. The beggar starts as though preparing for an attack, his head jerking up and his eyes massive. With his eyes wide like globes and arms a barrier over his head, he looks like a terrified young boy. He notices the coins in his cup and a smile lights up on his face. His teeth jut out like tombstones in an abandoned graveyard as his lips spread, cracking up over his gums. I notice his age, younger, far younger than I imagined. Only having seen his matted hair and bulky-clad body, I pictured a grandpa figure with craggy wrinkles and sunken eyes. The bright eyes and starting of face-fluff suggest otherwise. Despite the weather-beaten and spotted skin, this is a young man, perhaps late twenties. Food tonight! I hear his stomach cry as his eyes gaze at the few dollars. I continue to the trains and board the first one available – goes to my destination. Finding a seat is simple, it is just past midday and peak hour is long gone; the carriages nearly empty. Some young voices enter and sit at the other end of the carriage. ‘Watcha up to t’day, man?’ ‘Nuffin man, j’st train-hoppin brahh.’ ‘Yerrr fully sick, gonna school?’


‘Fuck that man, school’s for shit’eds.’ I can’t see them but I can hear their banter from their seats behind me. I hear bottles clanking together and visualize beer being swapped and swigged. There’s only me and another girl in the carriage besides the three boys. I share a look with her as the sound of a rip floats up to us. She rolls her eyes before facing the front again, the moment vanishing. I can smell the familiar scent of white-out. The acrid, well-known whiff fills the enclosed area. Snorts of laughter fill the air. I wish for my stop to come sooner. What dirty little ‘shit’eds’! Leichardt to Bankstown is a major cultural change. But the distinction between Alstonville and Bankstown is overwhelming: so much of everything that I am not used to.



Artists in Schools Residency It has been an immense privilege working with BYDS in the ConnectEd program as an artist in residence in 2010. To spend an entire term with such impressive students has been consistently exciting and energising. Week by week we were able to see some of the young writing talent from South West Sydney. Week by week we saw works progress and improve as pieces were drafted, edited and redrafted. Indeed this extended process of drafting across a ten-week term is unusual for any school writing workshop. Sometimes in the rush toward assessment, editing is given scant attention. These writing workshops, however, allowed us to offer students advice and help them put it into practice. The workshops allowed us to watch pieces develop over a longer period. A special thanks goes out, therefore, to all the schools who made it possible for us to work with students for this extended time. As a collection, the writing residency works published here are groundbreaking in the development of a literary culture in South West Sydney. This collection is important, not only as a record of the experiences of young people in this place but also as an example of the stylish and technically innovative writing that the area can produce. We see this, I think, in the collection’s three broad areas of concern: Firstly, each piece is marked by the authenticity of its voice. There is a frankness and openness to this writing which is remarkable for students still at high school, still writing in front of the most daunting of audiences: their peers. For example, the breathless ‘I Write to Remember’ or the frustration of ‘Girls These Days’ by anonymous young writers both offer compelling voices that will not find literary utterance in any other setting. In this way the residency writing documents and publishes experiences and voices that are unique. So, as Mohammed has indicated in his introduction, you will not find many stories about vampires here. There are no love triangles between imaginary beings, bolstered by overblown promises of fidelity and thickets of adjectives. Instead you may get narrators noticing small things, like a speeding ticket stuffed underneath a chair, or the feet of a toddler on cold tiles. Then there are the moving voices of students like Soghra Foladi as she documents the struggles of refugees working within and against English as a second-language and the ‘nonstopproblem’ that this entails. In other pieces you might hear the bewildered voice of someone whose memories are blank, or you may look over the shoulder of a narrator visiting their mother country for the first time, reluctantly trailing their over-enthusiastic parents.


However, this is not to say that these pieces are naïve, or that one can necessarily draw a direct line from each work to the ‘real’ voice of its author. These are also crafted and edited works which use self-aware and playful strategies of composition. Thus Tala Agafili and Jessica Kava present coded paragraphs with switched nouns, interrogating and undermining one of the most basic elements of the contract of language. Peta Murphy’s astonishing collection picks up the debris of suburban living, training its gaze on certain beautiful moments and yet simultaneously undercutting others with hardeyed and amusing irony. This is creative writing at its most interesting. And it demonstrates that the residency writing offers not only a vital expression of fresh literary voices, but also a record of the fascinatingly complex ways that young people can use language across South West Sydney. Secondly, within the residency writing, the theme of positioning comes up again and again in significant ways. Phoebe Turuva’s pieces, for example, cast a wonderfully astute eye over the stratified society of a school bus, as well as a student who attempts to reinvent themselves over the holidays. Other works are acutely aware of the playground, mapping the first days of school with the sense of categorisation that this experience so often entails. Of course many of these texts are about being positioned: within a school system, within a hybridised or globalised ethnic identity, within certain relational and familial difficulties, ‘Torn between two worlds’ as Susanna Lewantiua describes it. And then there are also texts of overt positioning: Lina Nguyen’s writing of a life, for instance; or ‘Ten Honest Things About Ty’ in which Ty T presents a kind of manifesto of being. Here it is interesting to see how writing can give students the agency to place themselves into all kinds of positions with the self-fashioning that stems from such creative uses of language. Thirdly, and perhaps most noticeably, this is a collection that is marked by its attention to place. On the one hand these pieces are rooted in the areas around Bankstown and the specific images of one of Australia’s most diverse and stimulating urban environments. So we are taken from Paul Keating Park and the shops in Centro Bankstown, through the schoolyard of Sir Joseph Banks High, past hospitals and libraries, front yards and shops. Importantly, this landscape is presented through the fresh eyes of students who notice those details that others might miss: a modified Subaru flooring it down Stacey Street (Filip Stempien), or the smell of the food court in the shopping centre (Jai Kisseh-Lloyd). Yet on the other hand this is also a remarkably international collection, which ranges across the Pacific, winding through the Middle East and even reaching Europe. ‘Travelized Waleed’ by Waleed Quader exemplifies this sense of constant migration or even nomadism as it tracks the young narrator’s journeys through five cities in two months. ‘Is this it, is this the last pit stop?’ Quader’s narrator asks on his arrival in Sydney. Indeed this question of home is something that arises again and again across the stories and poems. Where is home for the migrant? Where is home for the refugee? Where is home for a second generation Australian, visiting their parents’ country? The ambivalence of students as they grapple with these complex questions makes the residency writing an important record of creative work in an increasingly globalised Australian society. I trust, therefore, that you have enjoyed reading these pieces, listening to their voices, experiencing their unique positions and dwelling for a while in those places they evoke. ‘Gun mix, yeah?’ Tala Agafili writes in ‘My Life’. She is speaking of her family background, her Samoan, German and Chinese heritage, but she could well be describing the entire residency collection. Gun mix indeed. Lachlan Brown, Sub editor & Artist in Schools Resident


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Westside Jr. is the only ongoing literary anthology devoted to sourcing and highlighting the work of young writers and artists from Western Sydney, one of Australia’s most culturally diverse regions. In this third edition writers and photographers channel the unique and often misrepresented voice of Sydney’s infamous Western Suburbs. These areas, which include Bankstown, Auburn, Guildford, Granville, Campbelltown, Parramatta and Fairfield, have a reputation for being dark, dangerous places. The real experiences, beliefs, customs and communities of the people inside yearn to be set free. Here are their stories. Welcome to deep suburbia ...



Westside Jr. Vol. 3 Deep Suburbia