posted on December 27, 2007 at 12:18 am

dave mccomb looks out from a piece of good quality acid-free paper
his portrait is almost done now
could be easy one of my best yet
he stands in front of a blue sky
a silver lake (in silver paint)
trees and flowers
australian summer
everything is textured
his blue black hair
is a combo of paint n pastels
corduroy jacket
barky tree
in the endless silence
the dreamy haze
the wide open road
its midday now and shadows of love have fled
strangely enough mccomb is tracking down a familiar figure
miles away the familiar figure is checking his boiling radiator
while the girl simply known as the girl
sits in the car
we, spirit-like
zoom into this song-painting-reverie
what are we doing here
in this hot day
and this shimmering summer haze?
in the debris of childhood nostalgia
and the burnt australian trees
the sandy tracks running hither n thither
we see the man get back into the car
thinning blondish hair almost bald
strange blue eyes slightly askew
oh such a kind smile
broad shoulders
and small feminine hands
hes wearing a baseball cap and a striped tshirt
a pair of blue serge workpants
why its…..grant mclennan!
yes yes
now grant had told me this
when i had said
that the wide open road was spectacularly wide and open
he had said
and i deemed it one of his jokes
he had said
why steven
that road was my road too
no i exclaimed is this a joke
listen steven he said
look to the end of the wide open road
there youll find cattle….and cane
but why grant why i asked
and how do i fit into this?
grant gestured to the girl in the car
waiting for him to fix the radiator
she who was his
will now be mine
you mean that he…?
yes said grant
and at the very end
maybe even not there
he will give you the clue
that i am the quarry
the elusive otherman
i stole his baby
she broke his heart
now we drive through these songs
and youve painted him after me…
somewhere by a still silver lake
in a painting and several songs and a blogge
and now i guess
your imagination,
dave finds a still smouldering fire
a piece of her dress snagged in a thistle
he hears the birds calling in distant trees
he thinks about the girl
he thinks about grant
he thinks about grants songs
he thinks about heroin and he thinks about booze
he thinks how the band will laugh
when they hear how great this new song is
and he fixes his stare on a horizon
forever youthful
gaunt and tall
a vengeful preacher cum lawman
a crazy angry frustrated fun lovin’ genius
a brooding jealous guy with murder in his mind
a lost soul in the west australian wilderness
a deadman trapped in some olde singers painting
his skin pastels
his hair gouache
the lake metallic silver that holly bought me
maybe i dreamed this up
was grant telling me the truth?
was that balmain or a hundred miles north of albany?
mccomb reaches out in the darkness now but shes not there
how do you think it feels….sleeping by yourself?
listen steve
at the end
youll hear it cattle and cain
no grant
no i listened
i keep thinking i’ll hear it
but i never do
go back to the enmore steven
hold on, im coming with you
im almost with you steven ha ha! said grant
he talks to the girl in the car
the runaway girl
mccombs girl, now mclennans
he claps me round the shoulder
we are at enmore early 90s
theyre playing that song that one i love
that one i wish i’d written
the one i want to sing myself
you can sing it steven says grant
anytime you like he says
no grant i say
that song is not yours to give away
meanwhile the band come to the end of the song
where i thought the song and the painting and the road would end
but instead of an end
the band start to improvise around a theme
listen says grant
i listen
my hair on my neck is standing
the ghostly indistinct sound of the pedal steel
the keyboards stretch out like my gouache skies
the guitars interlock against the bass
and grant snaps his fingers
and i can hear it for a passing moment
that familiar riff
that passing nod
that brief allusion
so it was all true..?
i say to mccomb as he pokes through that campfire
he turns and stares at me and his lip curls
and he disappears into the trees
was it true?
i ask grant
still fiddling with that boiling radiator
while the girl waits
and waits
listening to that fremantle radio show
playing a mix of old aussie hits from the eighties
and grant looks at me with his blue clear eyes
that are slightly askew like jesus’ eyes
and he said
is what true?
my song
his song
your song
the painting
the girl
the eighties
finish the painting he said
sing that song
like you sing my songs
and you sing our songs
but…? i said
but what? said grant
do you think its ok with him? i asked grant
grant smiled
steven i am the last person to ask
and he gestured sadly to the girl
grant said
but i would hazard a guess
that hes probably quite happy
so go and do what you wanted to do
while you still can
while you still are able to…..

24 Responses to “shadows of love/overcaste day”

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