posted on December 26, 2009 at 4:39 am

december along the trail
christmas day comes on n then goes
it rains
a solemn grey sky is painted over the beach
the recorded sounds of gentle rain
the feeling of coldish wet water
the plants luxuriate out in it
the pink flowers drink it down n get tipsy
the thirsty earth
the sand all yellow
the pavement and the nature strips befouled by dogs
in the weekenders where the week is already ending weakly
people sit around glumly staring at their scrabble letters
mum makes toast and its fifty years ago
the children in the driveway
they chatter and squeal and bicker
raucous little birds brave the drizzle
the santa hats hang down sadly
christmas is this christmas is that christmas
55 christmases pick a christmas any christmas
wearing my green grandpa t shirt i snake through the
colonnaded light under the boardwalks
i park my cars in grassy lots and palmy nights
wandering in this vague fog where objects softly collide
ginger beer and christmas pudding with much rum
and jewish girls in surfers paradise
from rich families in the rag trade in melbourne
they stand on balconies dimly flickering
in scenes torn from my childhoods
in gardens of poor mechanics that have no lawn
ants marching in the cracked concrete
i realize my memories are corroded
rusting into orangey blurs
my precious memories all empty and damaged
falling apart melting inside my minds
lets go down to the river she said
so we drove and drove and drove
under starry banks of cloud
caravan parks and mosquitoes
the magic far away trees
and discotheques held in the school
and in the laundry the cupboard that held the detergent powders
and on top of the wardrobe where mum hid the present
and under the bed where somebody kept the future
theres no one home said your girlfriends
as you padded down a hundred halls
you pulled back a shower curtain and a paisley chameleon stared back
you pulled off along the track and followed a path
leading directly to a secluded beach where a small fire was burning
yes sir it was australia
you were deep in the australian night
bats and cicadas
the insistent but gentle rain
the path takes you through the graveyard
yeah you shiver and shudder feeling that sandy soil underfoot
seals sit on the rocks
you can see know how they could mistake them for mermaids
as the rainwater mingles with the tears in your eyes
your one thousand grey blue eyes
your one thousand island nights swimming in tepid lagoons
and staying in those self appointed rooms
you are staying in the hyacinth lodge
you are staying in the palm court
you are staying in the tiki village
you are staying at stella and ralphs place at kirra beach
anyway dad will know where to go
you turn around looking for one of your dads
theres no one in the drivers seat
theres no one out in the shed
theres no one lost in the confusing streets of moorabin
theres no one watering the plants or smoking a cig
the reel suddenly stops with a jerk
a real little jerk
the stuff the memories are woven from and stored on
is all burnt
its all wet its all used up
the locations reveal a shadowless blank
you stumble around on boxing day
renting small canoes or ordering a thickshake at the kiosk
you knock on someones door too early
you knock on someone elses door too late
sit on a verandah
sit on a bench
sit on a prop
sit on a chair out the back while the roadies set up
smoke weed drink booze talk bullshit
too many mirrors make light work
you apply your stupid makeup
you apply your decals on your ww1 planes
you use cotton to tie tiny flags to the h.m.s. hood
you play at wineries
you play at factories
you play at distant cities having no real name
still your memory has congealed and all else is but to mask that fact
the things you write about in your books and blogs never ever happened
there was no summer
no christmas
no rain
there was no music
there was no wand’ring stars
still and you realize it doesnt matter
what you did n never did
where you were n where you never was
the beaches are all deserted
the deserts are all beached
theres barbed wired keeping us off the dunes
theres luna keeping us off the moons
theres your mum n dad who’ll be here soon
i dont think fast enough
i jump the gunned pedal and drop it into second
i reach out to the radio
its christmas aint it
decorations n auld lang signs
the glow of the neon santas hypnotizes the dopey youth
they gulp tequila and vomit up the drains
you kiss a dozen drunken lips
you hold a hundred sweaty hands
you leave in a fleet of ford falcons
you tear up roads all the way up n down the eastern coasts
in hamlets with one hamburger joint
in villages with loads of idiots
in casinos where you roll big
and in milkbars where you buy a tin of tomato soup
in a limo arguing with the boys and getting all angry
zooming down that new stretch of road out beyond the limits
on the outskirts doing nearly 130
the blasted earth yields highway 10101
cruise by in the mirror
a car full of noisy women on their way to some private hell
they look for husbands among the flotsam of new years eaves
they lift up rotten logs looking for one good man
the biological clock has tick tick tick tocked
so they dress up in gladbags and handrags
and go dancing thru the rats
but its christmas in their minds
and the trees have not yet been tossed out to rot
and the boys maybe are still hot to trot
in the bars and in the cars of some summer
i swing in my hammocks
i stand in a field in pyrmont
i’m under some house in brisbane
hey i met grant mclennan walking down memory lane
and he said listen steven ive written this beautiful song
so we sat in his flat in bondi junction
where he had his one book and his two guitars
and he had his twenty peter stuyvesants and his two bottles of vino
and his 2 pair of jeans
and his secret hobby he kept in his top drawer
and i sit myselves down on all those beds
in all those flats
in all all those apartments and caravans
and astral travelodges
and motor inns that had gone out
and grant began to sing a song
a song about australia
about rain and kissing some person in some room
and about his missing father and about the traffic on the bridge
and he mentioned christmas
he mentioned mrs morgan
he mentioned the mornings after love had fled
he mentioned the views n the vistas and the paw paws and the sun
and the way my life had curled around itself
until i became quite sleepy
and i passed blissfully
out of memory

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