Tag Archive: brokenness

hurt people, hurt people


whoever said:
“what you don’t know can’t hurt you”
was an idiot.
what I don’t know
hurts me all the time
not knowing how to articulate
what I need or want
and wanting you to provide it
and being disappointed when you don’t
hurts me
not knowing how my upbringing,
my culture, my experiences
shape the filter by which I take life in
– not recognising you have a filter you relate out of too –
hurts me
not knowing how intergenerational trauma
has affected my great grandparents, grandparents,
parents and siblings and self
hurts me
it’s a lie to think that not talking about things
will make them hurt less.

Talitha Fraser


Camping for Easter in the Brisbane Ranges and I have brought along Cheryl Lawrie’s beautiful Pocket Liturgies for reflection…


you see all and know all
or so they seem fond of saying.

you call us beloved.
which is all well and good from your side
but you can have no idea how hard it is to be loved.

[we know the bit inside us
which is beyond loving;
too awful to be named,
too hard to save,
even for you.]

we confess that we do not believe you can change us
we confess that we do not believe that we can start again
we confess that we do not know how to have faith.

so do what you can with that.



[p.37, Hold This Space Pocket Liturgies by Cheryl Lawrie]


Let me learn how to be loved
how to let love in
how to give it freely
and receive it in
whatever form it might appear
let love in, and out, in and out
let us breathe
and give air to love


IMG_8263Camping for Easter in the Brisbane Ranges and I have brought along Cheryl Lawrie’s beautiful Pocket Liturgies for reflection…


Holy Week – This is my body broken for you [Matthew 26: 6-13]

There are many ways to break a body.

When someone pays their piece of silver to
have their way with you in a dark corner,
down a back lane…
to make your body theirs to do with what they will.
And if you can, you break yourself before they break you.

Your body stays, your mind detaches,
and you disintegrate, disremember.

Or when someone sells your body for pieces of silver,
for those in power to do with as they will,
and as you hang on a cross, battered, disfigured,
your soul splits from your body, and spins into hell,
detached, disintegrated, dismembered.

This woman touches Jesus
[she whose story all of history knows by rumour
and reputation]
and she offers him all she has to give:
her truth.

But she stays with it, this time. All of her.

And those who are watching, can’t
[it’s hard to look at raw grace face on].
They redirect attention with words of political correctness,
questions that need to be asked
but not in this moment, not at this time,
when they’re asked not for revelation, but for diversion.

But Jesus knows no gift more divine
than one who has been to hell before him.
Coming back to life in front of him,
and honours her one more time:

remember her not as a person to be bought
or a body to be broken

This is who she is

Gift and giver
loved and lover.
Body and soul
holy and whole.

[p.68, Hold This Space Pocket Liturgies by Cheryl Lawrie]



God, I confess to my own dismemberment
profane and broken
who am I to touch You?
to touch anyone?
you break yourself before they break you
there is an ego to imagine I have any power
to participate in my own healing
detached, disintegrated, dismembered
what does it mean to live engaged,
holy and whole, remembered?

Let me aspire to offer all I have to give
no gift more divine
coming back to life.

“This is who she is

Gift and giver
loved and lover.
Body and soul
holy and whole.”



On living



listen to me

trying to explain myself

to You who knows me

through and through

I speak aloud,

can You hear me?

Yes, and I need to

hear myself

in the echoing silence

gun-gunh, a beat

gun-gunh, a hearts beat

gun-gunh, gun-gunh

you have to live into the answers





there are my ideas

then my reality

there are my intentions

then my reality

there are my ideals

then my reality

I live my life falling short


I live my life

my short life


I live.


Talitha Fraser


Some fine Saturday I would like to recommend you idle away an afternoon doing the Billibellary’s Walk at the University of Melbourne.  I work in the precinct so it felt like a good fit to contextualise what was happening in this specific place 300 years ago, 200 years ago, 100 years ago, now… or maybe what’s not happening…?


Billibellary’s Walk

Wominjeka. Welcome to Wurundjeri Country

Billibellary’s Walk is named after the Ngurungaeta, or clan head, of the Wurundjeri people at the time of Melbourne’s settlement. The walk is a cultural interpretation of the University’s Parkville campus landscape that provides an experience of connection to Country which Wurundjeri people continue to have, both physically and spiritually.

The walk is designed to help participants hear the whispers and songs of the Wurundjeri people that lie within the University of Melbourne’s built environment. The walk alerts us to signs and stories that may not be apparent to visitors, but which provide some insight into the experience of the Wurundjeri people of the Woiwurrung language group who have walked the grounds upon which the University now stands for more than 40,000 years. It is intended to provide the impetus for further exploration of issues pertinent to the Aboriginal community.


Smart phone App




The actual talking-point sites around the campus don’t often have a strong link to what you’re talking through but probably understanding that little remains from earlier times is precisely part of the journey they are taking you on.  I was lucky enough to do it with Samara from the Indigenous Hospitality House in Carlton so the talking points and questions were enriched by having someone along so much more deeply invested and holding wisdom in cultural awareness.  You could do it as a tourist, as a social studies class, as someone seeking to hear truth… being open to ideas, history, stories and what they have to teach us about the impacts of colonisation.  You could do it as someone who likes to look at a big, tall, beautiful tree and know that it’s been there since before you came along and will stand for many years after you go – bearing witness.


The walk poses a lot of questions.  It doesn’t necessarily have the answers.  You have to sit in that. Not having the answers.  This is something we’re still living out hey…

I find myself getting fired up as our conversation canvasses: religion, authoritarianism, institutionalisation….  from colonisation to terrorism to the Royal Commission investigating child abuse… it all somehow feels like the same thing and it feels broken.

“We’re not going to be the ones who fix it” Samara points out.

“Then who?” I demand.

“We be a part of it.”

This walk invites you to do that.  Be a part of it.




In addition to the Carmelite Library in Middle Park, I have been known also to haunt the State Library of Victoria, it’s central, so so pretty, an easy place to occupy oneself before, after and between things and I love their exhibit of the written word from carved stone tablets, hand-drawn illuminated manuscripts and giant atlases to the printed word.  It is a creative space and that is what I go there and “take out”.

“Libraries are reservoirs of strength, grace and wit,
reminders of order, calm and creativity, lakes of mental energy”
– Germaine Greer (one of the big quotes on the wall)

Today I find myself in ‘LT A821 Poetry’ and I take two books off the shelf back to my spot in the carrels, called “Poems from Prison” and to contrast perhaps, “Sometimes Gladness” but, first things first, this fell out as soon as I opened it:


Who is the Reverse Butcher? <obviously as I was sitting in the library, I did not know, but that’s that magic of time and connectivity, I can insert the link right here and you can have a look!>

Speaking of time – has this poem been tucked inside the book since last year or was it written then and only placed in the book today?

This is an intriguing and colourful way to communicate… it might be a fun exercise to attempt in fact – isolating words on a page to say something quite different that what the original author intended… can you still cal it an original artwork when you have literally carved it out of someone elses work? It is fascinating I think, our capacity to take things others have said or taught or done and make them our own.

How much does it cost to get postcards made up?  what is it for? what does it do? anything? Perhaps it is not its purpose to do anything but ‘be’.  Outside of the normal rules of submitting poetry this is anonymous and there are no criteria to fulfill… I’m a little #antiresidency myself, at least as far as The Establishment is concerned did it feel ironic (or clever?) to tuck it between the pages of a book on “Poems from Prison”?  So many questions!

Now, I actually copied quite a few poems out (how often do you get to hear poems written by people who are in prison after all?), this is their truth and, I think, something of their healing… I’ll limit myself to two.


I don’t want to believe
the message on your face
inches away
through the rust wine
finger-clutched smooth
by husky love promises
but my eyes
blind to all
blind to nothing
that it’s true

But I remember when
one summer day
we held hands like children
and went into a
brand-new empty house
smelling of paint and plaster
and looking out strange windows
we could see
the wilderness over the back fence

so we made love
on the fresh-sanded floor
and your thighs
tasted of sawdust
happy but sad too
we went outside to our
mickey mouse car
with the baby on the back seat
and left

like love was
left on the stove
to stew and simmer until
all the impurities evaporated
and nothing
remained but enough tasty poison
to murder us both
or me
was I such an enemy?

wise but helplessly dumb
touched with a little style
guile-smart with experience but
gifted only with the power
to live your life in more sadness
a normal person could
think of

Four foot round the chest
I opened bottles with my teeth
tore Rod McKuen books
in half
with my bare hands
but I wasn’t strong enough
to make you happy
how could you forget
blame never alters
kind words are hard to find



I want to write a book about ANGER
about how anger CAUSES things
I want to do this.  I’ll show it SUBTLY and
in various stages.
I’ll do it something like Bronte did love.
I’ll show anger in DEGREES.
I’ll build it past recompense,
demonstrating how a moment’s ANGER
can warp a whole LIFE,
and give a man a fork through his lip
or an empty eye socket,
or maim him all in a minute
to be endured forever.  The book
will be MATURE, and for adults.
It should be a masterpiece of informed
intelligent writing.

…and from “Sometimes Gladness” by Bruce Dawe (because sometimes poets can say things our spirit knows but can’t find words for)


Always the first fragmentation
Stirs us to fear… Beyond that point
We learn where we belong, in what uncaring
Complex depths we roll, lashed by light,
Tumbling in anemone-dazzled fathoms
Seek innocence in surrender,
Senility an ironic act of charity
Easing the agony of disparateness until
That day when, all identity lost, we serve
As curios for children roaming beaches,
Makeshift monocles through which they view
The same green transitory world we also knew.


When you find him,
that last citizen,
hiding wherever there is left to hide,
too timid to surface,
living on nuts or whatever was at hand
when the flash came
– be kind to him, comfort him,
break the news to him gently
that he is the sine qua non, the ultimate reason
for everything.

Let him walk where he will,
let him reassure himself with trees, yes, and the light
walking between them, let him listen to waters
conversing like children, the rain
telling its secular tears, let him
lose himself in what was, roaming
the city streets where wires hang
like ganglia, let him touch things
and remember. Soon enough
logic may cross his brow
like an evil shadow.

When you find him
– give him your alien kindness,
stroke him with feelers of love.

One of THOSE days


I become
to myself again
and requiring


do You bestir
my comfort
my certainty
in favour of
You always were
good at asking
difficult questions.


a single tear
with self pity
down my cheek

Talitha Fraser

Mayra & I attended the Kinsler Institute earlier this year, and were impacted by Bill Wylie-Kellerman’s workshop on Resistance and Public Liturgy and felt inspired by the Detroit walk to imagine what this might look like for our own context – what are the significant places in our neighbourhood? what are the stories that we need to hear? that we need to tell? These questions were somehow infectious and representatives of different faith communities and social justice projects came together collaboratively in our neighbourhood in a really beautiful, special and significant way around the issues of forced closure of aboriginal land, treatment of detainees in detention centres; multi-faith and multi-cultural engagement, climate change, permaculture, homelessness, and asylum seekers.

We wanted something specific to our cultural context and the resource  we based our walk on (7 Healing Rites for 7 Sites) draws on an indigenous reconciliation resource created by Dr Norman Habel – thank you Indigenous Hospitality House for pointing this out to us – and stories from our indigenous elders, Aunty Doreen Wandin on the Southern Cross constellation being a symbol of home and for navigation and Uncle Wanta Jampijimpa on the 5 stars correlating to the wounds of Jesus on the Cross.

This is a bit of a photo essay (we did an action at each stop as part of our response to the stories).

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Creator Spirit
Help us to uncover our hidden stories
Suffering God
Help our tears to flow for the pain
Reconciling Spirit
Heal our shame and our wounds, and call us into action.
Remember that justice is coming; God’s reign is coming



Talitha Fraser