My Self / My Soul

Alicia Sometimes & Ryan Van Winkle

Alicia says: I love paisley ties and words that cross oceans. Collaborating with Ryan was a beautiful mind meld. He is the very essence of fervent creativity.


My Self / My Soul


My self – limps into the afternoon sometimes

we are perched on the fringes

of the universe, in cramped caverns

of marginalia unable to rush ahead, or move

at opportunity. We lean in closer, mesmerized

by embers from the insatiable flame of doubt.

My soul – always a stranger

who comes to visit at inconvenient times

knocking at the door, saying surprise

surprise, do you have anything hot to eat?

Every time we want to collapse, we let our legs fold

holding heavy unyielding minds, hardbound confusions.


My self – an adult. Knows

how to read a book for information.

My soul – a child still looking

a new, secret, pleasure.

It is a short amount of time.

It is glacial.

It is a concrete, so solid now.

It is a shadow of my shadow.

Maybe we don’t need millions.

Maybe we need just a few

white paper flowers.


My self speaks –

Every time we feel tawny, like some purple word hoodlum,

some upshot with too many full stops. Those days we

believe we’ve defrauded all around us with our bankable bluster

and blunt phrases – our unfathomed blue lagoon of talk.

I believe our dusty roars can fill an egomaniacal sawpit.

I believe the stars are narcissist too. And that the trees

will know hubris. I spend hours tranquilized or annoyed,

can’t get past the beginning of a particular philosophy.

‘I think therefore I am’

and that’s about it.

My soul speaks –

Every time we put our breath into something

every time we blow a bubble or feel our hairs

billowing like a thousand balloons about to raise

up with all the lusty air. Those days when

we go up a few miles and can see

our place in the city, those days we get high

enough to see our place in it all.


Dear Self, gravity gives us mass

and keeps us grounded

it is weak. Lift your hand, you’ve won.

Dear Soul, speak up. It’s like you landed

on the moon and we’re down here waiting

for one good word, one small step.


Alicia Sometimes is an Australian writer, poet and broadcaster. She is a regular guest on ABC 774 and Radio National. She has appeared in ABC TV’s Sunday Arts and ABC News Breakfast. She was a 2014 Fellow at the State Library of Victoria and was writer and director of the science-poetry show, Elemental that has toured extensively. Alicia has co-edited From the Outer (Black Inc, 2016) with Nicole Hayes, a book about diversity amongst Aussie Rules football fans. She is also one-sixth of The Outer Sanctum podcast.