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

Un'nerstand ?


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.



Fragments from an Australasian Life
Thorold MAY
copyright Thorold May 1995 All Rights Reserved 
published by The Plain & Fancy Language Company ACN 1116240S Sydney, Australia
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