Sunday, November 12, 2006

Slow Nights, So long.

There are people who are not ready to die. Well I warn you against postponing the examination of your souls. For I can guarantee that you will never run out of excuses, but I can also guarantee that you will run out of time.

I choose a place to sit. A rock, half submerged and surrounded by green grape alien seaweed which the low tide has left exposed to the elements. The sun shines above me, but the clouds keep her soft and supplicant. I watch a bird bounce carelessly amongst the rockpools and wonder at the naive happiness of nature. The eternity of it. This rock I sit upon, this forever, that I have the audacity to use as a perch, how many millions of years has it lived? Telling its tales in a slow booming voice, the language of rocks, the syntax of patience, and the gentle knowledge of formation and erosion. How egotistical humanity is, given one gift, consciousness, given one curse, consciousness. And hardly is it used for the benefit of the world we live in. But more for the selfish benefit of ourselves. I touch the rock gently, as though it can sense my empathy, I whisper to it in the hope that it knows, one of us can feel its pain. I find a black stone, and keep it in my money pocket in my jeans. Where once I kept an Aboriginal Tear Catcher rock, now I keep a reminder of something far grander than myself.

I think: I wonder if Christians think the Earth is a living creature? If so, will the soul of the Earth go to Heaven when it has stopped giving life to all the creatures upon it? And if they don't, how fucking wrong of them not to feel the heartbeat below them, feel the sighing of the wind, and the conversations of the trees, and the bellowing anger of red hot lava.

I laugh and leave footprints in the sand behind me as I run further up the beach toward the cliffs beyond. There's always time for climbing. I am a goat after all.


Don't hold on
Go get strong
or don't you know
there is no
modern romance

The first night I light a fire, pour red wine, cook a bachelor meal of a single eye fillet and some salad, tune the radio to 103.5MBS and lie back on the biggest goddamn beanbag you've ever seen in your life. At the start of the year I had bought a diary. When I open it tonight, it is empty. By the end of the night, I have filled every page.

I let the fear come, for that is why I am here. To face it all.

And write it all down for my future self to smile at.


I drive twenty minutes to San Remo. Every kilometre or so I pass a sign asking for the re-election of the local Member of Parliament. It says,

Ken Smith

I seriously contemplate finding a hardware store and buying some spray paint to change the word BASS to BASTARD. I don't chance my luck, for I am here for different reasons.

Driving into town you can stop on top of a beautiful curved green hill and park your car at the edge of a cliff overlooking the beach. I do, and sitting on the warm bonnet of the car I smoke a cigarette and watch as sailboats skim gently across the water. Am I myself, tacking my sails against the winds of change? Or have I raised my spinnaker to catch them, to be taken by them, swept forward to who knows what? I laugh at my shit analogy and decide perhaps I have began to go mad down here on my own. So I buy a disposable camera and some fish and chips from the local store and just enjoy being. The sun keeps shining.


When I was really bad, I wasn't all bad. But when I was really good, I could never be all good.

Back in the house I unexpectedly find myself grappling with demons. They had waited until I opened the door, thrown the keys on the bench and sat quietly outside on the balcony reading my book. BANG. I was jumped, unaware and indolent. I begin to frown and furrow, my stomach lurches and my arms tied behind my back I cannot reach the stone in my pocket for strength. Questions, emotions, a torrent of feeling, it is as though I am imprisoned by them and they are the warden, holding the firehose against me as I, naked, can do barely a thing but press my hands against the tiled walls and keep myself upright. AAAAARGH. I scream, forgetting how sound travels in this quiet place, and in return I hear every door of every house close and bolt, shutting out the wild and scruffy Banshee who has taken residence in the blue house on the hill. I feebly attempt to burn the bridge that leads me home, and in a way it works. For the flames untie my hands and as I reach for the stone I recognise my behaviour for what it is. It is not I, it is the demons. But these days, they grow weaker by the day.

I let a different demon in. He is red and takes the form of smoke and mist. I let him have his way with me and he leaves me shaken, but calm. This demon, I like.


Like a slow burn slow burn,
Ya move that mama over to me
Get on top of me woman
Get on top
Let me see what you learned tonight
Then I talk in tongues mama
Oh when I love you
Yes I talk in tongues

Get on top of me woman
Get on top,
Get on top of me woman
I just wanna see what you learned

At 7pm Friday I hear Tim Buckley blaring from down the street as an old Bedford van comes screaming toward the house. I smile. Everything is forgotten as three wayward adventurers fall laughing from the car, holding beer and food and I get swept up in hugs and kisses and giggles. I carefully fold my thoughts up and lock them away.


We sit around a wooden Thai table, beautifully carved with images from the Kama Sutra.

I like THIS one, I say.

THIS ONE! THIS ONE! The girl beside me replies, and we laugh at the size of the breasts. He can't even do the reach around they're so BIG.

Shut up and have a line, the Godfather, owner of the house, laughs.

And I do, and the cocaine begins to work its magic.

Outside on the Bedford, the Magic Happens sticker twinkles in the light.

We play Poker, Stud and Texas Hold 'Em, until 6am. I lose both my legs when I find myself $40,000 dollars in the Hole.

I'm going to use mine as a cock, the girl who owns one of them spits and titters. But I'll have to break your ankle so as to get the angle right.


I'm going to use mine as a pot plant, the Godfather says with a belly laugh. Behind the bar in the pub, mattyb's leg.


And the cocaine continues to do its thing.


The girl, Option, talks to me about Internet porn and meeting strangers for sex. We have a lot in common. I tell her about fucking the daughter of an Ambassador while my girlfriend watched over a webcam. She tells me about meeting couples and fucking the man while the girlfriend watches. I tell her about hiring prostitutes. She tells me:

When I was really young, about 11 or so, I was sitting on the toilet with my pants down when my dog, a Great Dane, head butted the door open and just began to help itself. It buried its nose right in my crotch and just went at it. I couldn't stop it. I didn't want to stop it. And I didn't, for about four years.

I laugh my arse off. Aroused in spite of myself, and finally get to sleep, content, at about 7am.

In the morning I decide that as well as Chicken Termites, there are Alcohol Spiders. They eat the termites, but your stomach can feel them doing it. We cook breakfast, open a beer, and let the good times roll.


The music soothes me, and I think:

Even here, thousands of kms away, the dream has the same name. California. That's why it inspires so many songs, so many dreams, realised and broken.It's a beautiful thought isn't it? A new start, under the sun, a hope for a better life. And it holds so much angst in this song, in such a beautiful, positive word. So familiar sounding, and so dreamy.

Outside the car window, the dry paddocks speed by.


I drive back, and just as I am about to feel the sweet soothing melancholy that comes with the end of a holiday, my red mist demon returns. I drive with one one hand on the wheel as I commune with the big smoke, and two hours becomes a heartbeat.


It is good to be home. I visit my favourite places. My pub, my carpark, my bedroom.

And I wake up with the scent of life on me. Not a demon in sight, a million fucking dollars.


Roadtrips are without a doubt, my favourite thing.


  1. Instead of defacing it with bastard, you could have just put YA in front of it.

    Scottish colloquialism, YA BASS.


    1. ya bass

    Scots- "ya bass" is a shortened term of "you bastard" said by many Glaswegians usually in an aggressive tone.

    "mon ya bass, i'll fuckin' do you!"


    Oi'll fookin JIB YA.


    I'm happy to drive down there again, if anyone's interested.