The Wrong Address index
Tarania Street, Lismore NSW 1983
Little fibro shack on stilts
Clinging by the dusty rail bridge
At the fringes of a country town;
Strangest of all homes for insurrection.
A sub-machine gun, ribbed
Like Death's skeleton himself,
Draped in a grubby dressing gown,
Lurches in the corner of a wardrobe.
D of the expansive moustache stirs spaghetti, bellows
Food's on, speciale Italiano
Wog tucker for you mob,
Stuff it down yer and yer gunna' like it
X, the lady who loves animals
And wants to free-fall two thousand metres,
Butter soft, steel heart, yin of a man's yang,
Sniffs the steaming sauce, cogitates,
Grinds her cigarette to extinction
In the cap of a jam jar.
Like an imposter on the deck of flame,
Browbeaten into rimless spectacles
I lack the elan of a spaghetti grenadier
And tend to fancy free-falling into bed.
The family has a lowlife hanger-on
Safely patronised as man to dog:
Kaffir ! Yer black bugger, git outa' here !
Run dog, but knowing safety, you nuzzle in
Tail down, between the woman's tender knees.
Our house is pitted with the seeds of terror
In faint guises; pass the salt
And praise the ammunition : nice day;
How goes the airbrushing of Stalingrad ?
Tin-soldier talk, or do we settle for a TV dinner ?
In a front room, his and hers,
D's miniature battalions pause forever
On neat boxes of brass shells
Waiting to be packed with violence;
A place for games to be played
With press and powder funnel, chests of cordite,
Bullets for making real corpses in an idle moment.
D fears the insurrection of my eyebrows;
Blow us away, my stormtrooper of the army of dreams,
Lay us out in rows to moulder.
Who will be left in this Valhalla of brave poses
To wash the dishes, comrade,
When the moon sets over the crimson grass ?
But irony is too tart a taste
For the hot flush of glory.
You got a cigarette X ? Na ?
No bloody cigarettes. Gotta have a fag with dinner.
C'mon girl, we're goin' for a trip
While his nibs here licks the plates.
The expeditionary force rocks off into the night,
A full panalopy of jungle greens and jackboots
To thrash the Landrover over a ditch
And three hundred meters to a corner store.
Kaffir and I can listen to our home at last;
Little fibro shack on stilts, moving gently,
Old wooden bones which remember
The first coming of strangers with guns.
© copyright Thorold May 1995 All Rights Reserved
published by The Plain & Fancy Language Company ACN 1116240S Sydney, Australia
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