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Authors: Graeme Dixon

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Holocaust Island (5 page)

BOOK: Holocaust Island
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Country girl
for Sharmaine
I've been living
in the city
near on fifteen years
or more
And still the neon
shines brighter
than any star
I ever saw
But every
now and then when
the wind blows
from the east
I think back
to my childhood
these memories
have never ceased
To endless fields
of golden wheat
that disappear
into clear blue sky
The squawking of
white cockatoos
as a flock
flies screaching by
Long winding
red gravelled road
leading to
lonely homestead
Feeling the ever present
spirit of Noongahs
both those living
and those dead
A mob of skinny
cousins and mates
playing chasey
through the trees
Jumping and dodging
laughing and screaming
dogs nipping
at boney knees
Dark brown wrinkled
greyhaired oldies
spinning ancient yarns
under shady gums
Though we'd heard them
many times
when they beckoned
we'd quickly come
My dark and handsome
tall strong dad
had such gnarled
blistered hands
possessed a thirst
for demon drink
earned via working
a hard dry land
My pretty and proud
hard toiling mum
whose face always
wore a frown
But us kids
were never worried
just as long as
she was around
Although we always
seemed so poor
we were rich
in other ways
We never worried
about tomorrow
being interested
only in today
Time seemed unimportant then
we never ever
rushed around
We always took it
slow and easy
in our sleepy
wheatbelt town
Those days seem
so far away
yet they're vivid
in my mind
always stored
in my heart
as secret mementoes
of my kind
Though I'm now
a city girl
who likes to party
dance and sing
Deep down inside
my country heart
I'm just a kid
from Quairading
Noongah girl
Cool southerly
on midsummer's days
Fresh sea mist
on south western bays
Smooth blue lakes
on windless afternoons
Exhilarating cold rain
in the middle of June
Beauty of nature
puts my head
my heart
in uncontrolled whirl
reminds me of you
Earth's eldest daughter
Raw sugar
Wild honey
Sweet Noongah girl
A voice like
forest parrots
that beautifully sing
Colourful as
native flowers
that bloom in spring
Seductive motion
of the waterfall
that passionately flows
Soft velvet petals
of a wild desert rose
Beauty of nature
puts my head
my heart
in uncontrolled whirl
reminds me of you
Earth's eldest daughter
Raw sugar
Wild honey
Sweet Noongah girl
The artist
I was sitting in the pub one day
sinking coldies with some mates
when the topic of conversation swung
to black artists and-how they rate
It seemed to be agreed unanimously
that Naminjirra was easily the best
'til I mentioned an artist I knew
who'd give poor ol' Albert a test
A cynical mate say “spit it out
tell us of this extremely gifted bloke”
So I took a long pull on me drink
then slowly rolled meself a smoke
“Of all the Aboriginal artists I know
there's one that stands right out
the skinny fellow at the end of the bar
Yeah—the one that never shouts
He does his paintings with the tongue
colouring in with imagination
His artistry always reaches its peak
when in the state of intoxication
One of his most famous works
has been exhibited throughout the state
The piece of him outrunning a bushfire
smashing the four minute mile rate
Because of the running in the heat
sweat was fairly pissing out
so much in fact—believe it or not
it drenched the flaming fire out!
Another work that stimulates my mind
is in the dying seconds of a footy game
His team was down by just one goal
and losing would've been to shame!
The artist grabbed the ball from the centre
kicking it as hard as bloody hell
so hard infact the darn thing burst
scoring a point and a goal as well!”
I rested then for just a spell
to have a sip and long deep drag
One of me mates blurted “love me drunk
you're lying you dirty rotten dag!”
I give him my famous dugite leer
with nary a smile on stony face
spat to death I was talking fact
then continued at a leisurely pace
Of the time the artist was cruising along
a nor'west highway late at night
when he hit a big red kangaroo
giving them both a hell of a fright!
He said the roo sailed through the air
smashing through front windscreen
coming to rest in the back of the car
'twas the strangest thing he'd ever seen
But nothing could be as weird
as his next imaginative colouration
but he swears it's true on his mum's grave
(she must be cursed to eternal damnation)
He said the roo just shook its head
sat up and swore a bloody oath
grabbed a stubby from his box
then poured it down his throat—
“I've been hopping around this poxy land
for near on twenty years or more
outrunning roo dogs and shooting mobs
beating all they had in store
but knock me down if I'm lying
this is the closest I've ever been
to winding up as dingo bait
a destiny in which I ain't too keen!”
The artist claimed he was speechless
as the roo continued rambling on
But what really pissed him off
was that the roo had finished his carton!
“ya reckon you could drop me off”
the roo asked now half pissed
“Fifty K's further up the road
where lives this doe that's never been kissed”
Usually on finishing this masterpiece
he'd plead his throat was mighty dry
cadge the price of a beer
and scull it down with a contented sign
So the next time you hear them argue
which Aboriginal artist is the smartest
remind them of this cruel skinny man
the world champion bullshit artist!
Broome bound
Give me an old
Holden to mend
An open road
that has no end
A couple of bucks
to buy some juice
Face me North
then let me loose
All I need
for travelling mates
is me dog, guitar
and hand of fate
Together we'll go
side by side
Heading for Broome's
Shinju tide.
We won't starve
along the way
Rellies will give us
a place to stay
Or we'll catch
a Kangaroo
and use Mum's recipe
for stew
Camping under
stars at night
me and dog
will be alright
Singing reggae
under the moon
me and guitar both out of tune.
When we finally
get to Broome
we won't worry about a room
as all we'll need
we can reach
on the dune
of Cable Beach
We'll sing and dance
and party at night
because in Broome
the vibes are right
Sculling beer
at the old Roebuck
I hope the dog
don't get too drunk
Then one morn
I'll wake hungover
And realise,
the game is over
Then I'll beg
for a counter cheque
and head back South
what the heck!
But next year
in winter's gloom,
my heart will warm again
for Broome.
First published 1990 by University of Queensland Press
PO Box 6042, St Lucia, Queensland 4067 Australia
© Graeme Dixon 1990

This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Enquiries should be made to the publisher.

Typeset by University of Queensland Press
Printed in Australia by Globe Press, Melbourne

Creative writing program assisted by the Literature Board of the Australia Council, the Federal Government's arts funding and advisory body.

Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
National Library of Australia
Dixon, Graeme, 1955–.
Holocaust Island.
I. Title. (Series: UQP poetry).
ISBN 978 0 7022 2320 4 (pbk)
978 0 7022 4913 6 (pdf)
978 0 7022 4914 3 (epub)
978 0 7022 4915 0 (kindle)
BOOK: Holocaust Island
8.09Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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