In deep blue rancid breaths, I’m speed-reading Winton - this totality of radical deception. A eucalyptical perception. At this stage, the reader is transformed - sinking deep into the grit of South-West quicksand.
The casual observer now flanking the Subiaco midfield, in ripped athletic spurts - like Cousins on ice - a paranoia of closed-circuit swine-flu drama-scapes.
A different jumper. A new season. Another stanza.
Is this it?
Forest Products Commission, June 2009
We’ve taken on Gleneagles. Off the Albany Highway bitumen we veer left - some 200 wet metres before the Jarrahdale turnoff - down the bloated corrugations of Randall Road. Our convoy of late-model polar-white utes off the mud-map. I’m like Google Earth now in this beard of fuzzy rain.
Is the sky black? White? Riparian?
Under the stark-gnarly bone-bark stags, those plastic-wrapped boxes stacked seven-high on Singapore pallets. A crushed water-bottle bong protrudes boot-high in the pea-gravel humps at the second tree-dump. We’re loading 40 boxes before smoko now – noting serial numbers like wrecked accountants. In the truck-trod dirt pan there’s some kid’s busted black plastic pirate-patch; a buckled 1998 twenty-cent piece; the rustling papier mache tower of empty cardboard, pepper-black potting mix n dead plastic bags. Coffee rocks unearthed. Smokes smoked.
Then, it’s just me, my buckets - and the nausea of three-day Southern Ocean fronts - bashing against the Darling scarp like a bastard file. Future of the Left rasp my wet cold ears - the beanie-helmet not a hardcore symphony – an exactly distorted travesty of late-pop-Welsh-genius. A poetry of cash notes in the cock-shaped block.
Our clay-muddied boots heavy now, sharper than rainbows of wet spastic memory. Waiting for waves of clarity...
We traverse the dirt-pillows of raised rip-lines, 200 seedlings at a time. The brotherly mist of diesel-confusion fully fucks with my headspace today – forces an awkward comical moonwalk. The mersyndol of toxicity fumes.
We break hard fat beats in the ruins of a native coupe. The raised contours cut from a collage of contemporary barcodes, the sky a rabid grey march. Black and green ribbons like pint glasses across the paddock, the mounds fresh: inserting 1550 stems into each empty hectare. The ripped n turned forest litter - impediments to my speared tool – our collective biceps cringing. Pangs of the dashboard porn-mag skin, an erect misogynistic flashback.
Yet, there we are man - heeling in Pinus pinaster - the youngest airbrushed bark of us still billions of times more powerful than a new colour of shampoo. The ludicrous irony of planting thousands of Maritime Pine in logged Jarrah stands. Like corporate logos in an anarchist society.
Am I home in my Heathridge kitchen? Cutting n frying onions, dishes in the hot soapy water – and you babe, deep in a lit-review fugue. The sound of the oven-fan; the windy rain nails at the window. The kids home at 3.25.
Hey, I’m not moon-bending this time, just distributing pamphlets advocating a special violence, the blood of Iran drizzled – a warm Thai beef salad, acacia and sandalwood reflections.
Does this paragraph break mean more than clear-felled forests falling, like antlers on an emu? A single clapping hand? A Griffin? A standard model Fight Club? An unread Cloud Street? The Dirt Music mannequins? A Blac Bloc fucker at the barricades?
Abercorn: Back past Sawyers Valley though, about 12 Ks down Flynn Road - across the twisted wire fence at the bottom of the paddock - drapes splintered cross-legged roo bones bouncing in a weak breeze. Tufts of fur and brown blood and black meat still attached- the stench making me retch.
Parked on a hill, hubs locked, wheels in the mound gutter - we eat Lebanese bread with honey, the bees humming at the windows.
Back then, hey I’m giggling, swallowing chunks of velvet Cometti stanzas in the final quarter; skolling orange Staminade.
Then crushing bleached sheep skulls as the rain smashes my useless face.
The phone outta range now at the bottom of this ridge, my legs bent strange under the rims. The blood with the soil. I’m pleading obscenity at the red-tails chasing the white-tails and koolbardies; the chiddy-chiddys and the crow noise. Their random languages – a reverberating festival of forest squawk - seeking stumps the size of cars without habitat or mates.
Maybe it’s the Sandalwood nuts rattling in the tray, or the remnants of last night’s Super Dry in the battered white Esky; the skies a forgotten stunning blue. Perhaps an unhampered uniform of soggy tree-planter-wear riddled with pine needles, dirt and beer bottle-tops?
Either way, I’m sinking fast here as I type this, trying not to move, hoping the GPS kicks in.
The next planter’s silhouette at the hilltop over there - I’m stranded waist-deep in the Scott-River hail.
Allan Boyd –June 30 2009