Published in Overland Issue 203 Winter 2011 · Main Posts Merri Creek Ali Alizadeh Rivers are all the same. Dirty water if you’re lucky, smelly mud and silt increasingly the case. And dreary water sports, flotillas of filthy plastic bottles and bags; I’d like to emphasise the stench. Caesar’s Rubicon on the other hand, soaks my head in a tale of courage, confrontation I read when I was seven. On Twain’s Mississippi, in my room, I floated away from the indisputably evil place I was born in. And the Seine luminous, a Third World dream for life in a Western city. I swam in the weird, inexplicable words of your Hawkesbury, a migrant with little English, holding my breath under the phonetics of birds’ names and scales of fishing metaphors. Then I was drawn to Melbourne, and lonely in the struggle with life and poetry I kept my head above the dark surface, the swamp of desire and alcoholism, by drifting alone on the rundown trail along Merri Creek. I’d scowl at geese and unwittingly infuriate the drakes on macabre winter days, menacing summer evenings. Banks, hardly scenic after routine floods, beaten willows cobwebbed with human waste: cable wires, shoes, tyres, etc. I repeat the river reeked, a feral fusion of organic and manmade decay. But what can I say; leafy corridors, sunlight accentuating algae on stream’s translucent face, even rusted didactic plaques; picture of these usually soothes, protects me when I’m hurt or restless, marooned in China, Turkey, Dubai, Sydney; it’s just a river, like I said, and just about the only place I’d call home. Ali Alizadeh is a writer of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, drama and literary criticism. The collection of poetry Ashes in the Air (UQP, 2011) is his sixth book. © Ali Alizadeh Overland 203-winter 2011, p. 74 Like this piece? Subscribe! Ali Alizadeh Ali Alizadeh's latest books are Towards the End and Marx and Art. He's a Senior Lecturer in Literary Studies at Monash University. More by Ali Alizadeh Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 25 May 202326 May 2023 · Main Posts The ‘Chinese question’ and colonial capitalism in New Gold Mountain Christy Tan SBS’s New Gold Mountain sets out to recover the history of the Gold Rush from the marginalised perspective of Chinese settlers but instead reinforces the erasure of Indigenous sovereignty. Although celebrated for its multilingual script and diverse representation, the mini-TV series ignores how the settlement of Chinese migrants and their recruitment into colonial capitalism consolidates the ongoing displacement of First Nations peoples. First published in Overland Issue 228 15 February 202322 February 2023 · Main Posts Self-translation and bilingual writing as a transnational writer in the age of machine translation Ouyang Yu To cut a long story short, it all boils down to the need to go as far away from oneself as possible before one realizes another need to come back to reclaim what has been lost in the process while tying the knot of the opposite ends and merging them into a new transformation.