Tuesday, November 23, 2010

> Language > Place - for Wednesday 15th December 2010

Dyeing for it
by Matt Potter

I do not know how many t-shirts I own, because I own so many. Some are in boxes in my mother’s garage in Adelaide, some are in boxes in a storage facility (also in Adelaide), and still others – some on high and some on low rotation – hang in a wardrobe in what is referred to as the spare room, the back room, Matt’s room and Map’s room, again in Adelaide. (My partner’s grandchildren – my step-grandchildren, two and three years old – call me Map.)
This room is in my partner’s home.
One reason I have so many t-shirts is that, having lived through seven summers in a row – southern summer, northern summer, southern, northern, southern, northern, and now southern again – I’ve had constant need of a few t-shirts.
Many of them are Bonds t-shirts, 100% cotton – Bonds is a household name in Australia – and actually made to wear as underclothes but bought by me, and some others, to be worn out, and were originally white. And all of them, the white ones, have been dyed other colours – orange, red, yellow, blue, purple, pink, green, even brown – in different shades and designs, most plain but some quite intricate.
They take the dye perfectly.
I’ve been dyeing for years. It’s a shortcut to creativity and it’s almost instant – truly, you just add water! – and on a day that’s dry and windy enough, the t-shirt is dyed, washed, and on the street in just a few hours. (Once, years ago, I almost blew up my parents’ new verandah following my dyeing muse, but that, leider, is another story.)
In Australia I favour Dylon dyes – an hour in hot, hot tap water, stirred a lot with added salt – and in Germany I favour Simplicol dyes, some of which I even ordered over the internet, auf Deutsch, which was risky. (What happens if I misunderstood the German and ordered a truckload of dye? I also first did this Deutsch internet-ordering while in Australia, so that they would arrive soon after I re-arrived in Berlin … again.)
These Simplicol dyes I’ve used in the frontloading washing machine, water as hot as possible, with lots of salt, and a bleach chaser. (The chaser is for the washing machine, not for the t-shirt or even for me.)
What I love most about these German dye-jobs is (1) there is a large range of colours to choose from, especially on the internet, and (2) I never look like anyone else in Germany when I wear them because they’re Bonds t-shirts, posted or shipped from Australia. So I can swan about Berlin feeling unique and gorgeous – few, few people in Germany wear anything more than dull, dull colours – and when back in Australia, I can swan around telling people I’m wearing t-shirts dyed using German dyes – deutsche Farben – on an Australian canvas (which is not just the t-shirt, but also me).
Some of these t-shirts are true trans-global warriors, having crossed between Australia and Germany and Australia and Germany a few times now.
I love them all, international trendsetters, beacons of colour – and I hope some style – especially on days when I, and perhaps others, need a colour boost.
I am often complimented on these t-shirts, in both countries, because some of them really are show-stoppers, blocks of rioting colour, tight and slutty.
And whichever country I’m in – Germany or Australia – they connect me to the one where I’m not.
And I love the idea that multiculturalism – or is it duoculturalism? – is alive and well and on my back.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

F3 - for Friday 12th November 2010

by Matt Potter

My eyes popped, I was so surprised at seeing him there.

“You’re in the same year at school with Jeremy, aren’t you, Braydon?” Mrs Brown said, crouched on the floor.
“Yeah,” said Braydon, broad shoulders hunched, wanting to be anywhere but inside the spare room his mother used as her Designs by Janelle workroom. He put the scissors back against their painted outline on the wall.
Kneeling while my grandmother stood on a stool, Mrs Brown continued pinning the hem, talking through a mouth full of pins. “Would you turn a little to the right please, Vi?”
Gran shuffled to the right.
“Why don’t you tag along with Braydon, Jeremy?” Mrs Brown said. “You don’t want to hang around us with our women’s talk.”
Okay, I’m not the coolest at school. I’m kind of the class queer: all my friends are girls; I like opera; I can answer all the questions about male and female ejaculation – without stammering – in sex ed. classes.
And Braydon? In boardshorts, tall and tanned and naked from the waist up, not only weren’t we in the same league, we weren’t even in the same century.
“Shame you didn’t bring your bathers, Jeremy,” Mrs Brown said. “It’s the perfect day for a swim.”
Braydon looked out the window at the back yard, like his mother had asked him to eat shit or give birth to a watermelon.
“That’s okay, Mrs Brown,” I said. “I’m alright here.”
“Don’t be silly,” she said. “Bray was just about to go for a swim. You can swim in your jocks.” She smiled through the pins. “It’ll be the most Braydon will be doing all day, seeing he’s grounded and desperate to go to Nathan’s party on the weekend.”
She grinned, piercing the hem with a final pin.
Braydon said nothing.
I looked at Braydon, wondering which – and whose – cue to follow.
He indicated the door – you coming or what?
“Go on,” Gran nodded.
So I followed him out of the room. The door clicked behind me. We walked down the cool, darkened hallway. I watched his swagger, and his triangular shape – broad shoulders, tapered waist – and how he scuffed his bare feet, summered and tough, on the wooden floor.
He opened the back door. My eyes squinted with the light. He held the door open, but not enough, so just in time it banged in my face as I stepped outside.
“Thanks,” I said.
“You’re welcome.”
I followed him to the pool gate and he reached over the rail to unlock it. Then he turned. His eyes were bright blue.
“You wanna beer?” he said
“Sure,” I said. I hate beer. “What kind do you have?”
He opened the gate and this time I caught it in time. He walked over to an old fridge near a shed and pulling two cans out, handed me one as I sat down on the swinging settee.
His was beer.
And mine – so icy in my hand I dropped it – was cola. Holding it between my legs, my shorts insulation, I pulled the ring pull. The can sighed, and cola slurped out as Braydon sat on the other end of the settee and the settee bounced.
I sipped the cola. And he guzzled the beer, half the can, throwing his head back, Adam’s apple ricocheting up and down with each long gulp.
He burped – for both our benefits – and said, “Are you really gay?”
I looked at my cola can. “Why do you want to know?”
Braydon stood up and burped again. Then stretching his arms and yawning, his boardshorts worked loose over his hips and the white nylon drawstring of his speedos underneath poked out, gracing the hair stretching towards his navel.
Then he sucked his stomach in. The boardshorts slipped to the ground and he stepped out of them. His speedos – pale orange and perfect against his tanned skin – were curvy and tight at the back, looser and pouchy at the front.
I grew hard against the cola can.
He walked over to the shed. “Come on.”
I followed his speedos.
“Close the door.”
I did. And tried not to look at his face or his speedos. But the speedos glowed in the dark.
He loosened the drawstring and his penis sprang out. It had a hot funky, rubbing-inside-his-speedos smell – sweaty and close. I couldn’t take my eyes off the slug growing before me. He smiled, stroking it like it was a family pet.
I stood, watching, barely breathing.
He grabbed the back of my head and forced me to my knees. Leaning forward, mouth open, I rolled my tongue around the knob, like I’d seen on internet porn. He pushed deep into my mouth.
I pulled away.
“Quick, suck it,” he said, parting my lips again, forcing my mouth open. Three long thrusts and he groaned, legs shuddering, the sparse hair on his balls tickling my chin. And my mouth filled with a taste bitter and phlegmy and warm.
I gagged, but he gripped my head until the flow stopped. I had to swallow.
Pulling out, he wiped the leftovers on my cheek.
“Nice,” he said. Or maybe he said, “Nice?”
I didn’t know what to say. It was fun – but compared to what?
“Thanks,” he said. “Almost as good as a girl.”
And you’ve had how many? I wanted to ask.
“They taught me that at church,” I said instead, wiping my mouth.
“That’s fuckin’ sick,” he said, like I thought he would.
He pushed his penis back inside his speedos. And grabbing my hair, he added, “Tell anyone about this and I’ll fuckin’ kill you.”
I looked up at him, still on my knees.
“We can do it again. Mum never comes out here.” He let out a smile. “Want another drink?”
“Okay,” I said, standing up, remembering how things always go so much better with cola.