Alicia Sometimes has been published many times in publications such as Meanjin, Overland, Cordite, Going Down Swinging, Hecate, The Age, Best Australian Poems, Westerly, Southerly, Moving Galleries Project, Motherlode, Adventures in Pop Culture, Four W, Heat, New Matilda, SBS Cornerfold, Big Bridge, Verandah and many more.
She has performed at many venues and festivals around the world including Melbourne Festival, Melbourne Writers Festival, Sydney Writers Festival, World Science Festival Brisbane, Festival Voix d'Ameriques, Auckland Readers and Writers Festival, Ubud Writers Festival, The Next Wave Festival, Queensland Poetry Festival, Tasmanian Poetry Festival, The National Young Writers Festival, ANZ Literature Festival (UK), Bloomsbury Festival (UK), Quantum Words Festival and more.
Alicia has won the Four W short story and poetry prize, the Matthew Rocca Poetry Prize (twice), Essence of St Kilda Prize and many poetry slams.
Alicia was co-editor of the literary magazine Going Down Swinging for seven years. She has also guest edited Cordite and Etchings.
Alicia has judged the VPLA Poetry Award (three times), local section for the Greater Dandenong Short Story Award, Young Gourmet Youth Poetry Awards, Glen Eira Eastend Booksellers' Award, Australian Poetry Slam and many others.
In this Cordite essay, Alicia talks about some of the history of Melbourne and poetry.
We Are One Long Conversation
(poem from Elemental, previously published in print by Southerly)
We are one long conversation.
We are the future and we are the past. The comma and the apostrophe floating in every library of dimension.
We sit on nothing more than a tender filament: a dish on a lilo on a wave. We are semaphores in the meandering grace of the universe calling to each other across the churning expanse. Unbounded. Sucklings in the growling nests of space. We are fervid elaborations of our best selves. Scatterlings. We exist as music, each note sliding into one another, an exalted purr of song, rising/ falling/ collapsing/ not-collapsing. Colliding harmonics refusing to be measured.
We break up. What if then you shatter into scrappy embers? What if I become a lullaby sung to young children, as stars pick up guitars and play in chorus with a D diminished seventh? What if we fold space and go back to the very moment we parted, our lips still bereft of any epitaph? We were once full of swing, luminescent constructs launching ourselves into the unknown. What if we took that walk by the river? What if we weren't heady quasars devouring all other matter? What if I wore red socks, what if you ate paella and I knew the theme to your secrets? One different neutrino and it all could be erased.
We are the slits of laser light splashed on a horizontal screen. Both wave and particle. We travel further. We sense the membranes around us intuitively as if it was as simple as a piece of string. Weightless. Easy. We stamp ourselves in the air like God inside thunder. We just didn't know that we are the string. We tilt, curvatures of memory, flitting about, always two places at once. We are in the cellar as much as we are in the loft. We are all centaurs, made of the eloquent slapdash of stars.
We wake to eleven dimensions of space-time. Infinitely long but smaller than a quiver. We float on within the membrane of this universe. The membrane splits when action or no action is taken. We are an oscillating lattice of hope smudging the space-scape. Entangled decisions rippling. The past is a tsunami of probability. We are the curators of opportunity.
We split. You are there. I am here. We stretch and combine. Our futures break into
endless retorts and digressions. We are mariners. In one universe I am not born and in another I prowl the stars for meaning. In one universe this room is white, in another, one of you is missing. In one universe, gravity is so strong, faces stretch out across the week blinking out of exhaustion, in this universe we fly and nothing can hold us back. In one universe you hold the violin, in this, the viola d'amore. Barely noticeable but somewhere a butterfly lands uneasy on a mantle.
We are the tree: because of you your daughter exists and it was the result of one moment, hanging out in the wind as normal as sound. Obvious, but not tattooed onto time for certain.
We are the endless slices of bread, one sliver of universe, placed next to another next to another, next to another. Cylindrical, sheets of space, intersecting membranes, bubbles of universes pressed against each other as if one lover caressing the back of another's shirt. Or one lover so far away never risking themselves to say anything. One universe is made up of the giddy stuff of electrons but no gravitons. One universe all lightning and perspiring angst. Another the calm note of atoms but no air.
Infinite. Possibilities that rehearse and rehearse. One life smashed up against the alternative. Absorbing. The vibrations of string, resonating and pluck. You are the cello kissing the sun. You chisel your way into being, carving out your life's curriculum. We are curled up points in every dimension or sometimes, nowhere at all. Holograms at our own birthday.
If we take the simple equation that we are all relative and non-relative. If we are both the clavichord and the bass. If we sit down at the beginning. If we try to look for super-symmetry. If we just meet at the ends. If we hold on long enough to form a loop. If t he cat is both alive and dead and looking out the window.
If we are both alive and dead but neither. If the moon closes its eyes do we still exist? If M stands for membrane what happens to the other words? If the cosmological constant is zero how do the other numbers count?
We meet on a Saturday, we hold hands near the lake. We talk orthology. We take a moment to let everything in. Every sub-atomic particle dances and palpitates. We laugh with the flush of newness. We unfold into each other. We make up the distance of atoms by reaching in for the concept of closer. We arm wrestle doubt with pleasure. We continue along the continuum. We are seers and we are blind. We accept our duality. We know we are humbled by this space-time. And in this universe, we don't break up.
We are one long conversation.