S 37° 47` 51.061",
E 144° 57` 41.829"

I float mechanically
Up the backstreets, alleys of my past.
The route was well-worn. Once.
Now dusty, aloof memory.
I didn’t intend this journey.
‘Who wants to go … there?’
And yet my path irresistibly joined that path once again.
Then I simply arrived.
Like early morning touch-down and your captain speaking,
Dulled emotion, rush to recover
The clutterings of yourself.
Only to find that everything has changed.
Is it you? Or me?
Or the goddam phoney world?

Within me but well beyond,
Berlin wall of screens, masks, and distance,
Dividing East and West anew,
My past and present.
Orange showman silhouetted by a red horizon.
Our path is curving,
I ponder as I ride.
Or perhaps it’s just another false dawn.
Passing Old Quadrangle.
Evaporated opportunities – glimpsed at, impossible to hold.
Smoke drifting from my closed hands
A kind of melancholy, watching it swirl away
into nothingness.
It is me, both of me, all of us,
In a way, I suppose.

Of course, the Board has resolved and proactively worked to ensure student interests.
Streams of gold flicker through naked branches,
Past the white columns of Priestley.
Warming release from everything.
But only for a moment, duties to the past and future surface and ensnare
Rhythmically, pedals roll once again.
the University is empty.
but still strange…
Still! What is ‘still’ anymore?

Is this my home?
Well, school no longer is.
I am a static radio – neither here nor
Passing Baillieu Library.
This place is a hollow reminisce. Faint memory
Without meaning.
Where is connection, emotion?
‘Where is my self?’
I observe as a stranger.
I ask myself, … what really is it?
As mechanical clicks of my bicycle
Echo into emptiness.

Henry Sundram,

Just a bike ride

Poem with audio, 2:18

During the pandemic, I began regularly riding my bike again. I found myself having no destination when I set off, rather I chose a Cardinal point to follow. It became my release after exhaustive, intellectually stimulating, yet emotionally empty days in front of a computer screen. I rode my bike as a form of wandering with the intention of getting lost. To become disoriented down alleys, dead-end streets, parks, railways, housing commissions, juvenile detention centres. I was able to act spontaneously without consideration of the past or future and ponder on myself and relation to the world. This poem chronicles one such bike ride which passed through the university campus. Before this ride, I had not visited the university for seven months despite ‘attending’ every day. The piece attempts to capture my spontaneity, but also my sense of dislocation and loss, ubiquitous amongst first-year students in a year that was jarring in its reality yet curiously intangible in all that was denied.

“But let us not forget our dear friends the cuttlefish.” – Capt. Jack Sparrow In the light of the Captain’s sagacious comment, we should always remember to notice the obscure, the discarded, and the non sequitur, like the Cuttlefish. Our perceptions of these ‘strange’ things provide the clearest reflection of a society’s ideals and philosophies on worth and normality. In observing the ‘strange’, we can exteriorise and interrogate the classifications, interconnections, and overlooked dependencies that define and exist between our social, material and natural worlds. As such, Henry Sundram is a poet, essayist and photographer who attended Ivanhoe Grammar School (2013-2019) and is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma in Languages (Indonesian) at the University of Melbourne. Born and raised in Fitzroy, Sundram enjoys the culture and history of his surroundings, and is always looking to minimise his time indoors. He loves bushwalking, reading, and all things cricket.