Thursday, October 05, 2006

on the punt

By Adam Gibson

my father loved a punt and on most afternoons
we'd come home from school and
he'd be calling PhoneTAB:


this is 207919100, he'd say,
race 5, Eagle Farm, number six, four units each way,
race 6, Flemington, number 12, two units each way


his transistor covered in a brown leather case,
frayed at the edges
and the lino floor in the kitchen
and dad loved a punt
and he lost a lot

and i connect that with
long drives in big cars, hot leather seats
which burnt your legs to touch
and non-specific coastal roads;

these aren't the places of magazines,
these are nowhere in history written,
they figure in no mythology.

static on the car radio
and many years have passed,
scattered cassettes are now lying on the floor,
window wipers are stuck-still-fast-dust-dry,
and out the windows,
bits of roadside kill
and it's been several years now that
i've been lost,
seven years since my father died
and i don't believe a minute of that for a second.

because the bitumen flew into my face many years ago,
embedded in my cheeks
stuck in my chin
caught in my eyes
and it's been many years
and in all manner of cars:
Chargers and other Valiants,
Holdens, varieties of Japanese imports.

we've been across and up and down,
eaten so many bags of hot chips,
so many meatpies,
drunk so many cans of Coke,
bottles of lemonade and milkshakes,
had so many cakes from cake shops
bananas from roadside stalls.

and all these years i have been lost,
just driving,
raising our index fingers
to acknowledge oncoming cars,
just to say g'day
how's it going?
and keeping on going,
across rivers and through towns and over plains,
places which don't resonate with the tourists,
the tourists have no idea of this history,
because for many years we've been lost,
we've been so stuck on the roads that
we've become a road ourselves.

it sounds stupid,
it sounds so stupid;
a road of our lives,
little signs saying such and such
and such and such.

this is the road to there,
the is the road back,
this is about the time I drove
so far
so long
this is about the time I
ate
that
hamburger.

and all the while i've been dragging something,
bits have been falling off,
things holding me back,
and so I drive on to another coastal town
and the radio flickers to life
and the races come on and I hear it again:


this is 207919100,
race 5, Eagle Farm, number six, four units each way,
race 6, Flemington, number 12, two units each way…

1 comment:

Macca said...

Lovin'g your work Gibbo