by Dorian Barbera


1 POETRY         
2 WORD / ART  



Unsettling, tense
Fearing, waiting, hoping
standstill arrival approach storm
Stressing, moving, achieving
Liberated free


Out of a sudden memory becomes physical and lies on the floor and cries.


I can’t turn it off.

I’m suppressed by the heartbeat of a past that ain’t gone.
I remember a cool breeze but not the freezing it’s done.




It’s so far away but my feelings they stay close.
I feel far away and I’m nonexistent where I’m now.


Beneath my feet the beach I’m reaching
A new consciousness for here and now
I feel this stays forever.
But I don’t care, don’t share this moment
With my future self of fear and nostalgia.
Enjoy without endeavor.
I swim, breath deep and feel the breeze.
I am the universe reduced
To one dimension: Now
I’m free. The moment bears a memory
That flashes me already
Inhale and keep it inside me.

Moments drowning in live but one survives the storm.
Carving joy into the sand when they reach the shore.

So I keep staring at the sand in the glass
Where I keep memories full of joy
And next to it on the shelf:
The beach, the breeze, the universe,
It’s all flattened on
Drawings, I’m withdrawing into me.
And I run into the crashing shore
Until I drown what is real
The facts and all my fear
Are sinking slow to the ground.
Go! Or I drown.

Moments drowning in live but one survives the storm.
Carving joy into the sand when they reach the shore.

The flashback of a nonexistent joy is haunting on me.
The flashback of a nonexistent joy.


Painting a picture
This is who I want to be
Look at the picture

Don’t look at me.

It’s so abstract
Lines and dots that lead nowhere
It’s so abstract

This is me.

Wish I was richer
In who I am not who I want to be
Instead of painting a picture


„Life is art“
You said and built
A sculpture out of my heart

Let us laugh about it!

You stole my watch
Sold it for sunrises
To watch them with me
On this wicked path

Refuse our request for reason please!

I ran and fell
Stood up again and tried to stand as tall as I can
You smiled at me
Said „there is weakness in your speed“
Well thanks for that,
You just fulfilled a runner’s dream.


We traveled with our heads in opposite direction,
Got to know one another by the sounds we listened to,
Found ourselves between mountains and flows of streams,
Downloaded songs equalized heartbeats.

When there is no reception.
Still try’n to talk
You better ask no questions
Stay rather in my head then in my heart
́Cause a storm raging there
Tears us apart.

When there is no reception.
No calls from home just notes
Say: „I am sad,
my mum died“
„are you ok?“
„How’s it going with the girl who you sleep in the van with?“

But there is no reception.
I traveled with my heart in opposite direction,
Got to know another one but missed the one who listens,
Couldn’t find myself between bedsheets and wine,
And couldn’t tell you because my phone died


I’m ashamed.
Gentle giant you are sublime to all my mistakes
You vanish away.

You know how it felt?
We went there together to see how Fox Glacier melts
We went there together.

I wanted to kiss you with a view on mountains
I wanted to be as close as it gets
I wanted to touch you, fly over your skin but
The closer I got the further you went.     

Yes it was me!


Rather leave!
You don’t know how things turn out
Or learn to rest in endless doubt
And tell yourself:
Once it will all feel like a dream
Those goodbyes are the disease
Spreading exponentially
But it will pass.

How will it be?


The tent embraced by cold clear air
I’m warm inside still tasting her
Laughter, shiny eyes and strength
That crushed me, then us, then everything.

We dared to extend it
Still we pretended
To stand tall ourselves inside our own tents
Not to feel the need
Never wanting to sneak
Under blankets that promise to brace what we feel.
It’s real
We’re not strong
we’re weak.

It’s sad
We’re all gone
I’m alone

In my tent.


Poems you wrote
Where they about me?
The stories we talked about
Could have been ours.

The poems you wrote.

Won’t you tell me everything?
Don’t you want to be light?
Promise I won’t feel a thing!
Just wanna to know if I was right.

Poems I wrote
Do you wanna hear?
The stories we talked about
Remain for me.

The poems I wrote.
The poems are you.

Pictures you paint
You paint one of me
Painting a picture so sharp
And clear.


Feel the earth
And watch the clouds go by
It’s getting quiet behind my eyes

I know, I’m ready now,
Never afraid of touching the ground
`Cause I break the surface
And find my way back home.


The documentation video of my artwork can be found here.

The music video of the song „Break Out“ by my former band ACEG can be found here.

The actual artwork is the booklet that you can see in the submitted video in combination with the music video of the song „Break Out“. Due to AUT’s online learning approach during semester one 2020, I couldn’t hand in the booklet physically. In the video, you’ll see my friend interacting with the artwork for the first time.

Here you find the words I wrote in the little booklet that you can see in the submitted video. The lyrics of the song „Break Out“ it’s referencing to are written in Comic Sans. I’ve written this song together with my bandmate in 2012.

The numbers in the beginning of each line are the page numbers of the booklet.

1 Hey there!

2 This is my word art for the creative writing class
It’s 64 pages that you will have to turn.
Just do what they tell you.

3 —

4 Please go to this link. The first thing you got to do once you’re there is to

5 If it doesn’t work, visit Youtube and search

„ACEG-Break Out - Official studio version with lyrics“

6 Pause


8 —

9 I know, it’s seven years later now. It’s quite hard to still find our music online. No-one really remembers this. Funny! And we were thinking we were famous or something.

10 It’s different times now. So let’s stay here, where we are. Let’s follow the instructions and flip the pages.

11 —

12 —

13 Well basically, there’s only one thing you really have to do: Right after I tell you to start the video, don’t watch it. Let it run so you can hear its sound but meanwhile return to this little booklet that you’re now holding in your hands.
This booklet is all that matters, it’s physical, it’s here and now and it’s all you’ve got.

14 Well, ready for the next step?

15 Go back to the video.
Click play.
Just listen while you read this.

16 It’s easy isn’t it?

17 I hope you get it.

18  Well now I got you here, safe in the present
while you hear a guitar. Some drums coming in. A riff.

19 In the video you’d see
Half grown and clumsy, three boys in the basement, coke and some cables.
A computer and a mic. Us, recording this song you now hear. The video’s yellowish and shaky.
We laugh and we really don’t know, what we’re doing.
You can’t see. You’re here so…

20 Listen!

21 (and turn the page)

22 Wait to hear what we sang.

23  „I never asked you…

I never asked you to give me a reason to be here
And isn’t it true? You just hear what you want to hear.
You meme the intelligent, thought you’d be innocent.
But when I turn my back, I feel that it’s the opposite.

I’m not a prisoner of your force, can’t wait to break out of your control
Who gave you the license to be the boss? This is not what I’m living for!
I should have known it, I wish I didn’t trust you then.
The others told me but I was blind!


Read on!

24 Not quite word art I know.
We knew.
I mean, we were teens, angry about the world, I guess.
And we were practicing for our first show.
25 Wait.

26 Riff.

27 Second verse:

28 Now I have realized…

Now I have realized: Everything you’ve said was lied
And I ask myself what might’ve been if I didn’t try
I wasted time on you, thought time would make it through.
But now it’s time to unveil what I should have known about you.

…I should have known about you.

29 Well, yes and the chorus again. You know that one already so read on

30 You’d believe me if you saw it.
If you were there at the show.

31 —

32 The show:
they sang along, sweating, crowdsurfing
while those three guys on stage were jumping around, smashing the mic stands, crashing the guitar neck to brick walls.

33 We embraced them all with tearing feedback tones and rhythm.

34 Smell, then flickering light, a fist raised out of the crowd.
Some just standing at the mixing desk, mouths open.
Parents clapping along.

35 And I was hoping for someone to fall in love with me that night.

36 dancing

37 shouting

38 -

39 heat

40 -

40 The moment before a breakdown, the start of a new song, the calmness left by a last fading tone and applause.

41 -

42 Encore, movement, open shiny eyes

43 Reality’s sounds again like strangers in the dark street outside.
44 The song still in our ears

45 We were so proud.
It was nothing more than a youth centre in our tiny town.
The next week, there were 200 words about it in the local newspaper.

46 Everyone was spitting at transience that night.

47 We knew, we’d all go to uni soon.

48 And this has been the last song we played that night.

49 If only you could have been there, seen us playing.

50 Flip the pages.

51 -

52 -

53 You weren’t there, you will never be.

60 + 61 Your fingers are glued to thin paper
Forced to rush through pages on and on.
You’re stuck here moving forward to an end.
The solo. The first verse again. The chorus one last time
You can guess, the song’s not going to last for long any more.
So well, enjoy it, it’s only once, that you do this for the very first time.

62 -

63 Of course, feel free to watch the video after reading this.
You’ll be disappointed, I can ensure you.

64 It’ll never be the same.



Kings Cross clings to a noisy intersection south of Sydney's CBD with a huge, flickering Coka Cola sign watching over it. The place exists only because of the people it devours. It’s them who polish displays in pawn shops at the golden hour to attract some broken gamblers passing by. It’s them who are sending backpackers home after the two o’clock curfew. It’s them who are making their Harleys howl at four in the morning and it’s them who whistle after their suitors at dawn.
Some screaming and honking echoes from cobbled together facades. Nobody really pays attention to them. Only the goods on display and the life on the street count: A man with tired eyes scrubs the asphalt on his shaggy sweeper in the morning and as soon as the sun peeps briefly over the five-storey brick houses for the first time, everything already starts over.
A metro station spits out strangers, some call it home.
A few of them life in a place called „The Dury House“, a hostel with a door that is squeezed between a pawn shop and a convenience store. One has to ring the bell and hope that the reception is occupied, in order to then force the backpack around the corners of a narrow stairway. Arriving on the first floor, Chan's eyes look out of his obstructed cubbyhole from the right. He nods quickly. From the left it smells of rice and instant coffee.
Actually I only wanted to stay for two days.
The stairs lead on. Each floor has two longish rooms with a greasy window at the short end. Those who have been there for a while will notice that the rooms facing the backyard are the better ones. There you don't hear the Harleys and the whores and only five others in the room can disturb your sleep instead of seven. In the beginning I didn’t know anybody. But you share a shower, that is not separated from the rest of the rotting tiles in the bathroom and you share a rumbling refrigerator with my breakfast bananas frozen to its coldest top part.
You share iron bunk beds that are bolted to the walls all around. Whoever is lucky enough gets the lower one. Then it squeaks and shakes less. The slats are located 80 centimeters above my head. Someone has written his name on them, another one a date. Next to it, someone has started a tally sheet. Days, maybe? Somewhere, a heart.
The door opens.
I close my eyes, shrink the room into my only remaining space and I hear those drunken English folks stumbling into the room. They’re only staying for two days. Now they are discussing sights, parties and girls. Can I close my eyes harder? I calculate how long I have left and how much money I can save here.
Is it worth all this?
If I remember correctly, money was very important to me at that time. I was here to work and safe money for the road trip. Chan gave me a special price of $120 a week, even over the fully booked Christmas days. I had to pay monthly in advance and so I stayed. Four months, from November 2014 to February 2015. I worked every day, like a machine. I passed the sweeper in the morning and the man from the pawn shop in the evening, had breakfast alone under neon lights in the "living room" and got instant coffee, toast and rice from Chan for free.
On Christmas Eve then, he barbecued for us on the roof terrace. Yes, we had a terrace! One day it just emerged like a cave’s exit on the end of the stairway’s gloominess. Chan was waiting up there in open space that day. The air was filled with the light of a never ending evening, and covered everyone and everything in the soft smell of beef getting brown on hot metal. He nodded briefly and loaded a tanned sausage onto a plastic plate for me. He smiled. Then I turned to the side and there they were: All sitting and waiting and cheering and laughing. I took a seat next to a beardy guy and a shy young girl. They were spit out of the same metro station, they said. They said, they wanted to visit the Blue Mountains on the weekend and if I’d like to join them. Was I working here as well?
At the end of the day we were a family, at least we tried to be one as crying on Skype because I can't spend Christmas with my parents was no solution anyways.
We were all over the roofs of Kings Cross that day. With the sunshine in our faces, in the distance two or three iron bars of the famous Harbour Bridge were shining, down below a beat was booming from one of the clubs we would enter later. We would dance and laugh about the Harley cowboys and one or another lady would whistle after us on the way back to our bunkbeds at dawn.
There was Dimitri, who gave me a cool cola on the next hangover day after my shift at the restaurant and Piotr and Luis who were drunk still and threw a rubber ball from bunk bed to bunk bed. Josh, the guy with the beard tried to scrape the banana off in the fridge for me and we listened to his music some other night. My new favorite band! We drank wine out of plastic bags and smoked weed. And there was her sleeping in the bed above me. Do you remember her? The shy girl with the shiny eyes and the smile? I think, I didn’t mention the eyes and the smile. Eventually, she also started liking the lower bed better and we started reading the slats together.
I can’t remember if we were ever writing something on them, as well.
But why do you want to leave a mark? At some point we all left the „Dury House“ anyways. Also I had my money together and abandoned Kings Cross at dawn, almost unnoticed I entered the metro station. A brief view back to the Coke sign and the brick houses I barely had noticed so far was all I could afford, before I went to travel the big wide Australia.


The two excerpts are part of a longer story about a love relationship, its beginning and its end.


They rumble northwards through the rain, no longer minding the hammering drops. They have forgotten the mildew of the floor mats and grey is the new sky blue. Her eyes follow the drizzle drops and her mouth is gently opened, because once she said she was not a good lip-smiler. He had found her passport on the floor of his apartment and given it back to her. „A beautiful picture“, he had said, „even with your mouth closed.“ That was, when they were still standing in her warm kitchen and she had answered that she had forgotten her passport already three times somewhere, once even at the airport. Somehow it had always found its way back to her. When she told him that, she just smiled while she dealt with pasta, avocado, nuts, wine and butter. Her ingredients when she wasn't fasting. Sometimes something burned during the preparation and she would also smile about that.
So he had packed two wine glasses for that weekend trip up north, to the Bay of Islands. One broke on the way, though. The wind had swept it off the table where they had sat the other day - yesterday actually - and watched the sunset. From then on it hadn't stopped raining so they were just driving around now.
Once, some other day, he had told her that he didn't mind the rain anymore since the trip with Paul. At some point everything had been wet.
"And you just go swimming anyway. The water doesn't feel any different than the air any more." In the morning, just before the wind had picked up and broke the glass, they had gone swimming in the crackling sea. She said, she was glad, that she’d joined him.
Now, as they travel in his van, they are silent. She turns the radio up. It's a post-hardcore band, very emotional, loud and dirty. It’s his music.
"I like spoken words, just not the shouting," she says. "I understand," he replies, "but sometimes art has to hurt."
As they drive on, silently listening to this screaming on the radio, he tries to remember how this conversation had begun again, yesterday at sunset. The wine glasses were still whole and the calm bay was reflecting in the crystal glass. Exactly, it comes back: As always, they had been talking about other people first. Their friend Paul - his friend originally, now hers also - who knows an answer and solution to everything and who sometimes can't get out of his skin. A nice guy, though, really, she says she likes him. Once they had also talked about her brother's separation from his girlfriend: He in Denmark and she in New Zealand. End of a relationship after four years. Reason: Study abroad. At some point it was about his ex-girlfriend and about whether true love means being the only one who is allowed to love the other's weaknesses and how he had loved his ex girlfriend’s weaknesses very much. Then they were talking about Paul again.
The sun was setting, they were making wraps. Camping food. He had been standing at the van cooking, she at the folding table with wine, slicing onions, peppers, avocado.
He had talked about how his parents had thrown him out back then and how he would never feel the same security in relationships again, always a bit afraid of loosing the other one.
"You wish you didn't let things affect you, right? But some things that you experienced just do have their effects, right?“ she had said „and you can’t change it at all. They just shape you.“

Once they had been sitting there eating, she’d asked him what it was like for him to travel with strangers, through Australia for example, back then in 2014. "The poem you wrote about the two travelers who fell in love but don't confess it to each other, that was about you and your traveling companion, wasn't it?"
She had listened to him so deeply, yesterday.
If he was looking for some romance here in New Zealand, she had asked him, offering him half her avocado wrap and filling up his wine glass. By that time, the clouds had turned blood red, it was already too overcast for the sun but that only made the view over the bay more dramatic.
„What kind of a relationship would you like in your live?“
He didn’t know why she had asked that. Still he doesn’t.
The tea lights were glowing and they were nibbling nuts by then. Her hair once again was a perfect mess, the strands drew a new picture in her face every time she had turned into the distance to watch the last red stripe of the sunset disappear, the wind pick up, the first drops falling.

So now, they are driving through rain. The Bay of Islands is worthless without sun, his jacket is soaked and his shoes are covered in mud. They take the ferry in Okiato and she is talking to Paul on the phone. They reach the empty hotels and the orphaned tourist bazaar in Paihia. Only locals populate a restaurant with running drops on the windows, hiding a steamed up sea view. They order fish and chips from a nervous Maori waiter. Nearby is Waitangi, the place where New Zealand was officially handed over to the crown by the natives, a place of contracts, misunderstandings and war.
„I’m glad, we’re making this trip, now after what has happened last weekend at the Tongariro“, she repeats.
That one trip had resulted in their first dispute.
He can't stop looking at her. Her smile is captivating, and then her deep, bright look and her strength. Before the meals arrive, he says it.
„I think, I love you.“
Drops drizzle, she nods and understands, then replies, „So when are we going to head back to Auckland? Peter is having this dinner thing tonight. I’d really like to join it.“


All they had to do was to walk through all the big empty streets of Ponsonby with its avenues of neatly arranged villas. Lockdown. The beach lies at the end of a long wooden staircase under gnarled trees. A swing dangles from one of them, the water is calm and shallow, the bottom soft. Whenever they were there, they had deep conversations about self-confidence, about looking up to other people and about what love and being in love means to them. Often she would sit on the swing, he remembers, he even took a video of her there.
They had the wide views all for themselves. Of course their meetings were not quite legal but after all they were a bubble.
Now that it’s all over, for once, they meet here again. At the traffic lights you have to wait now as the streets are dangerous again. The trees have lost their leaves and the beach is full of people. Just as back then, she gets up of her towel, walks around, this time though, in the middle of a conversation.
He films her sitting on the swing again. She’s swinging sideways, always into his frame and then out again, grinning, telling something, hard to tell from the video. Shortly she is back again, but longer and longer, she’s gone. Someone walks through the frame.
At some point it's time to leave and this time he leaves without her, because it's just more convenient for both of them. She has to go somewhere, got business to do.
"Don't go too deep into the water," she had said to him back then, "you'll freeze when you come out."
And just no jealousy, he thinks.
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