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not for us

paper planes take flight1

japanese way of life2

and violins keep playing as the titanic sinks below3


baybayin lakabáya1


i press my hands into the earth*

they plant seeds and seek6

one shares a story about a touch on the cheek7

another owes a debt to the people of the Bohol8

small losses9

once their guest8 forever their god10,11 never _ forget

thank you4

a gentleman12

an even kinder woman7

dream of a destiny12 where they will lose themselves13

remove themselves14, 15, 16

and for the first time ever truly smile

kindness the mother of us all17

all ache for a sense of belonging18

acceptance and safety19,20 connection21,22 and warmth18


for simplicity

i am supposed to be their teacher but they teach me 

stories of their cultures

truth that lays wait in ancient texts23,24, 25, 26

one tells me that giving ensures a reproduction of the soul23

an antediluvian immortality27

spirits journey forward never back7,23

we chat about ideas without structure

of the long now _ of bridging and bonding and circles of concern

open ended invitations to notice the human

we speak of grace

the name _ for she is real

and as a concept and characteristic

a requirement

and a reminder

i tell them they are free to fail but none believe me

that our degrees don’t matter28 and our phds don’t matter

just heart and awareness

of the vast cosmic sea _ and the realisation that our jobs are no different


this is not about me

this is not for us29

this is about others

and making sure they are ok. 


1: kl / 2: re / 3: ayp / 4: rdn / 5: ndd / 6: sw / 7: rkd / 8: maav / 9: ca / 10: hrd / 11: kvb / 12: jg / 13: hvr / 14: en / 15: pg / 16: pd / 17: aj / 18: sk / 19: kv / 20: klnl / 21: ymn / 22: ysc / 23: bsu / 24: sd / 25: ah / 26: anon / 27: smj / 28: np / 29: mn / *: jh 


So Fi Zine #13 /


ISSN 2209-3028


This came out of an intensive six-week postgraduate level course titled ‘The Hospitality Experience.’ The course quickly centered itself around the concepts of kindness, empathy, altruism and the idea that ‘to serve’ is not only an enlightened offer but a way to approach life itself.

This course has over time become a chance to discover and communicate on our own terms what hospitality truly is, and has become a place, both physical and metaphorical, to summon what is best in us.

This poem and the accompanying image has been created from student’s attempts to communicate what hospitality truly is without resorting to any kind of generic textbook definition. Some drew things, some scribbled down words, some wrote in their own language. There were no rules.

We used our initials to denote individual contributions (see in-text superscript referencing and the associated ‘Notes’).

Artwork Detail

‘paper planes’ ⎮ 15⎮ 05 ⎮ 2023 • Original – Manual Collage ⎮ Printed – Image of Original

Original Publication Date

28⎮ 06 ⎮ 2023

Re-Publication Date (With Permission)

13⎮ 11 ⎮ 2023


Ash Watson (University of New South Wales) ⎮ Students (for momentarily suspending their disbelief)