board the city train from Clifton Hill,
sit down opposite
blackfellas who want to make movies.
This tight crew of Kooris
they’ve got the themes:
“The contradictions, brother.
The blackfella / whitefella.”
Jim (the orator of the crew)
wants to make us wiser:
“From the heart.
It’s not about this
It’s about this”
(points to skin, heart respectively).
We’ve said this before.
We missed our target.
The dead, usually darker
inner wood of a large diameter trunk
is termed the ‘heartwood’.
I get a friendly “Who the fuck are you,
“I’m a writer.
Nah, it’s cool… not a journalist haha”
I think of Andrew Bolt’s blog
bombing its way through scar country.
“You are looking at the next gen.
of aboriginal Australians.”
“So where are you guys headed?”
“Softies… it’s a pool hall…
well, it’s kind of a strip joint”
“The whitest chicks you’ve ever seen!”
Then we’re an advertisement for alcohol,
all laughing like idiots.
‘Accomodation’ is the way we adapt
to one another in a face to face
conversation, the way my voice
soaks a little of yours, the way
we co-morph to accommodate
“History, she never sleeps,” says Jim,
like he's not changing the subject.
I’m trying to visualise
a restless history:
Blood signals the shoreline,
warding like brake lights;
shores awash with it, shallows
an unshaken cocktail.
Can a waste of blood warp
For whatever reason
I’m hearing B B King in full
to my soul...
& Jim spells out his email
(“we should hook up”)
then all 5 or 6 of them spill out
of the train
soon as it hits the city,
yelling a cloud of curses & blessings.
Jim pokes his head
back inside the door just
before it chomps automatically:
“So write me, brother.”
Notes: Koori is a word which Indigenous Australians from parts of south eastern Australia use to describe themselves. It literally means 'the young of a goat'. According to the Wikipedia entry "it is a great privilege to be named so as kid goats are full of energy and almost certainly survive childhood."
Andrew Bolt is an infamous columnist and associate editor of Melbourne tabloid the Herald Sun, for whom he also maintains a blog. He denies the existence of the stolen generations of Australian Aborigines.
Below: Eric Fischl, A visit to / A visit from / The Island