January 26, 2007

How to be Australian (2)
By Patrick McCauley

Australia remains a relationship
between a landscape and an idea
both of which continued
to move throughout the year
two thousand and six.
This is ground control
to Uncle Tom
who were you
whom I lived with
worked with - loved with
why did my love grow so thin?

The Australian population
has grown too big for the rainfall.
There is not much love here now
it is mainly sex.
We have money without wealth
and land without water
now sex without love.

The Australian male is legally required to
raise the children of his wife’s lovers.
One High Court judge referred
to her infidelity as the intimate facts
that are the property of the individual.
We apply homosexual moralities
to heterosexual families.

I knelt down in front of the clocks
at Flinders Street railway station
and begged forgiveness.
I begged for mercy
and was told
there is no mercy.

Although there is no contract without fidelity
fidelity also will not save you.
Australian men marry for about seven years
and are legally powerless
over the lives or darknesses
of their children
in fact these days
men are hardly male.

This is the underfathered
overmothered generation
of the addicted
the extended multiple
strangulation orgasm
the synthetic selection
the survival of the weakest.

Australian men may only exercise fatherhood
with the permission of motherhood.
A drought of fatherhunger
continues to rage throughout the land
and ‘thought lies slaughtered in the broken door’. (1)

The MCG is less than half full
of public servants, teachers and police
with a three day mandate to run the State.
Flesh continued to grow
twice as fast as vegetation.
They tick off their names
as those who have too many rights to lose
those for whom I work two days every week
who are clothed, telephoned and trained by the man.

The professors have share portfolios
the nurses and teachers
homes, holidays, dentists and superannuation.
The tradies have fast utes
with a couple of hundred grand’s
worth of tools in the back.
The skinny aborigine
has grown big and fat
wandering native titles
in concrete cities with internet lines.

Now there are millionaires from the working class
who will also not give money to the poor
old wealth diminishes even more.
The revolutions that sent them broke
stagger under equal opportunity and drought
and behind the marketing campaigns and hype
everyone just wants to get rich and die.

The domestic matriarchy guards the children
and the schools teach the boys
to become male lesbians.
Half of the entire nation
owns an investment property
that most of the next generation
cannot afford.

The aboriginal birth rate is greater
than the white birth rate.
White people plan for small children
then give them away to crèches run by the state.
Though child care will not solve
our problems with marriage
we remain a fast disappearing
non indigenous population.

One night as he was undressing
he noticed that there was no one there
or that he could easily crash the car
walk off forever with nothing.
He looked in the mirror
and there was no one looking back.
Finally he remembered he had forgotten his name
that we are all invaders
learning to be invaded
knowing we cannot be diminished.

Our multi tribal nation
further resisted cultural assimilation
yet we lived together all year without a war.
Progressive thought stopped
in a mucus of leftwing pride.
Political correctness was diagnosed
as a compulsive obsessive disorder.
It continued unabated
hating itself for knowing its denial.

Phillip Adams emerged from a long dry drunk
parading as a humanist genius
from a heartfelt, authentic, softleft
post modern reasonableness.
He demanded the decriminalization of drugs

The ecological aborigine bit the dust
and the noble savage was filled with lust.
Great wealth has come from the ambit claim
the dispossessed have harvested
a massive paddock sewn with shame
and the intellectual vanity of a Jesuit priest.

In Africa people became too poor to stay alive
twice the Australian population are dying of AIDS.
In the shadow
between the essence and the decent
despite the absence
we speed the same drunken boat
down the Great Ocean Road
in fear of arrival
in love with the vehicle
into the great new lonliness.

Who were you whom I walked with
in the mind of our host
interred amongst internal chatter
terrified by freedom
frozen in peace
unaware of the wealth
with the radio turned up full blast?

Why did my love grow so thin
so weak
so pale?
Are we focused on the suffering?
the screaming engine
bleeding from the needle
babbling about rights.

How has it come to this?
behind the façade lies the wreckage
the muscle.
Neither ‘ratscoats nor crowskins
nor crossed staves’ have kept off the rain. (2)

As a gesture of solitude
we dared seek transformation
without pain.
we attempt to transform
with a name.

This is ground control
to Uncle Tom.
It is the twenty sixth of January
two thousand and seven
and all’s well.

(1) Thomas Merton
(2) T.S.Eliot - The Waste Land.

Patrick McCauley is a Melbourne poet and essayist. His last essay ‘Hang The Poets’ appeared in the October 06 issue of Quadrant. His last poem ‘How to be Australian (1)’ appeared in The Australian on Australia Day 2006.
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