Lacedonian Living | Flores Festival

Lacedonian Living

the creek meanders through crops of maize
into holding dams, dribbling into laundry troughs
and duck ponds to emerge downstream

in this earth floor compound, hammocks are strung
between poles wired for electricity
men in white dresses tend the fields

there are only 800 left in this rainforest
their daughters marry Parisian tourists,
return home in coloured skirts and polyester tops

here is an anthropologist’s dream
framed and catalogued on a museum wall
fading in the sunlight

we are driven for miles along a bumpy track
to see the temple’s vivid frescos, it is late
all the stalls are closed

except for a hammock which divests itself
of its occupant, he is an arrow seller, quiver and bows
reading a cartoon magazine, night closes in

 

Flores Festival

firecrackers break the night into stars
it is 6am, no one is sleeping
the men are drinking from paper cups
dancing inside painted mannequins,
wobbling crazily on a drunken axis
another three day festival

laughter and music erupt from a shop doorway
we need to leave but the streets are blocked
the carnival is on parade, carrying the virgin on boards
trailing flowers the length of this narrow bridge,
we inch through the procession, against the flow of grandmas
and children, turning sideways with our backpacks

our guide is hurrying on ahead, elbowing people
who are walking orderly behind flags and banners
women four abreast shouldering their holy burden in high heels
each statue different in its own splendour
they are singing as they walk along the streets to the cathedral
we are rushing late for our plane

 

 

submit a comment

Similar Articles

American arias

  • John Carmody
  • 18 May 2007

John Carmody meets Opera Australia’s Madeleine Lee.

READ MORE

Towards a politics of hope

  • Kiera Lindsey
  • 18 May 2007

Kiera Lindsey reviews Craig McGregor’s Australian son: Inside Mark Latham and Brian Costar and Jennifer Curtin’s Rebels with a cause: Independents in Australian politics.

READ MORE

x

Subscribe for more stories like this.

Free sign-up