A Brand New Sydney Opera House (after Harrison)
Mutunzhima, Liala, Hecate
To Captain Doc Murray, one of the best, blackbirding whitey boys.
We will build it together my
earthly presence and those lost souls of the Carl incident of 1872, for which you were tried for mass murder. It will be in the same town, not only of that first great house, but also of the trial. Well, Clayton's trial that is, the trial you're having, when you're not having a trial. Why--the good folk of old Sydney town soon saw to that. They so quickly and conveniently forgot their own heritage of chains--rioting in the streets at the very suggestion of a European--white man--being brought to book over such a business--and black pagans.
Back to our monument.
Of course we will call upon the advice of 959,000 other heavenly spirits--that being the said difference between the population of these isles in 1801 and 1935. Clear one million, down to forty-one thousand. Not a bad score, without really trying. Oh, the odd entrapment and massacre of course, just to keep the hand in--but otherwise achieved by just shipment off in boatloads and chains, followed then by Europe's ubiquitous maladies: measles, influenza, mumps, scarlet fever, chickenpox, whooping cough--even the common cold and pneumonia--that in Paradise all became quite simply, stunning pandemics.
We will dedicate
our opera house in the same spirit as the first--to dignity and freedom in all human expression--which of course co-incides with the tone of your actions aboard the good labour ship Carl in the lee of Epi Island that day. First you enticed ninety simple souls out of their villages and alongside with promises of Europe's largesse--beads and mirrors and all sorts of things, in exchange for labour and land. Then you had your burly crew sink their canoes, so that the ninety bobbed about in that shark infested water like little fuzzy golliwogs, with great round and brown, wide-frightened eyes. From there, there didn't seem to be much more encouragement necessary to get them aboard. The hardy crew just had to pull them up a few at a time and hustle them below, locking them in a compartment specially built for the purpose, and from past experience. No portholes, and solid splittered planks for bunks, just above bilgewater line.
Ninety of them,
and on the second night they showed their ingratitude for such treatment and accommodation by dismantling the bunks, to try to use as battering rams for a breakout. You and the crew handled things calmly though--just stood back outside the chamber and peppered the walls and doors with pistol fire, for two nights and days. When you finally opened up, five were left amazingly unscathed. Nine of the rest were slightly wounded, while another sixteen, more seriously. That left sixty you recalled, that were dead.
Oh, it was a top show
alright, but there was evidence, unfortunate and nasty even in your eyes. Bodies, blood and guts and gore and bone splinters all over the place, and of all the times to choose, came then the equally good Her Majesty's Ship Rosario just on the horizon. Back over the side they went! The sixty dead, the gore and those worst sixteen wounded, the latter bound and trussed soundly of course. Oh a bit of turbulence, a bit of writhing and thrashing and gurgling in the water for a while, but then, good old Jaws. …