Friday, November 23, 2012

Kangara Waters Performance

Being both irreverent and civic minded, I took my poetry, anecdotes and puns along to Kangara Waters, a retirement village hidden in the outer-northern-but-soon-to-be-central-if-we-dont-stop-urban-sprawl-and-build-more-medium-density-housing district of Belco.

I managed to escape car-jacking or a brutal knife fight with the local denizens by pulling into the bully-proof named street "Joy Cummings Place".

Interestingly, Kangara Waters was ungated. Curious considering its location near Lake Ginnindera College and the bowling alley. Perhaps it was the overwhelmingly manicured setting, the building's "modern retiree" stylings, the permanent autumn feeling, the crushing ennui and the impression  the sky had transformed into a colossal stop watch that was held in expectant hands that protected it from the depredation of the teenaged.

The place was like the start of Edward Scissorhands or Blue Velvet. I'm sure it appeals to people who have run out of serotonin. everywhere you look you say gosh, that's interesting.

I parked at the entrance and was immediately lost.

The staff were very helpful and soon had herded a crowd together.

I performed for half an hour. Afterwards I lunched with several of the more attentive residents and we spoke of the funny threads of life, their stories and the impact that a stroke or dementia and the banality of existence, and how that half hour of poetry was an injection of colour on a beige canvas.

It made me glad that I chose my pieces a little more wisely than usual.

I have lain here since yesterday
on the cold tiled floor
the refrigerator door is open, and chill
the pot on the stove top boiled dry
I cannot answer the phone,
or call for help
I cannot feed my dog
or fight him off.

As I was leaving, the director spoke with me about the Try To Remember program in the UK, which had success blending poetry and caring with dementia patients. I agreed to come back, if only to perform, but my head was filling with ideas.

walking out I realised that Kangara Waters was an exceptional facility, with wonderful, caring staff and not just a place to dispose of the olds. More of a place to dispose of them thoughtfully.

To pull this post back from irreverence, and maybe my soul from the hell-fires, and give myself a hollywood ending;  Dementia is a fearful loss of one's history, perhaps through poetry I can help readdress this. I wouldn't mind being involved in a Try To Remember-esque project.

Like all good stories, the character goes on a journey. I drove home.

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