Academic journal article Hecate

Peewit

Academic journal article Hecate

Peewit

Article excerpt

The noise-big boats at the marina, refrigerated trucks

a restaurant on the waterfront

white privilege talking about itself,

a writers' lunch ...

A celebrated writer and his book

listeners hooked on history made palatable

like the meal laid out before us

fat of the land, no hunting needed

men sit back arms crossed

settled in their paid-for faces

that half-apologetic smile

covering their well-fed lives

as the speaker tells of hardship,

xenophobia on the goldfields,

sly grog tents (now morphed to brothels,

stag parties while the wife's away)

sitting there as though

they made every goddam atom of this country.

The writer is a spokesman

recording, lauding the sorry past

(but the miners walked, took their all

in wheelbarrows, did without for gold

as though that makes everything OK)

in this cloistered place

not an Asian or gay man in sight,

nor refugee, street kid, Aborigine

(they self-queue on a different side

for buses here in Cairns) -

A peewit sits on the rail and squawks,

nuisance value only

to this squawking mob-

Where the gold-chained woman

chats about the maintenance

her grotesque white nails require,

her new Shiatsu puppy called

Bella (that's right, Bella, only this big

in her braceletted and ringed hands)

the gated estate she calls home

she wears this country's wealth

but see, no prejudice here,

her earrings are of the three colours

gold expresses, red/white/yellow

no, gold doesn't come in black...

She beams how nice this all is,

while the man is speaking

while my pen is writing

while the white men sit with arms

crossed to show their muscles

apologising with their faces

pillars of the society

ignoring the shadows pillars make

and how cold it gets in that shade. …

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