Them blackfellas

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Shadows are long in Cloncurry
And the streets are incredibly wide
The flies buzz in your face
Louder than the fatherless, Aboriginal boys
'Hey white girl! White girl!'
They shout from bikes, twelve years old
No one misses them from school
Them blackfellas, abos
'Hey white girl! You sexy! You so sexy!'
They laugh and throw rocks
Run past the Woolworths
Overturning stranded shopping carts

Sky is gigantic in Cloncurry
And the sun sets ever so late
The bars are open all night
So the drunks can get drunker
And their anger turn to hate
'Hey white girl! White girl!'
They call from stools, sixty years old
No one misses them from work
Them blackfellas, abos
'Hey white girl! You sexy! You so sexy!'
They laugh and throw change
Sway out the door, trip over the dog
Reaching over to one side, then the other

Long shadows and gigantic sky
Everyday, Cloncurry is just the same


'Life's so fucking complicated'
She said
And we were only sixteen
'I wish that we could simplify it'
We attempted to
But we were only sixteen

We sang John Lennon songs
While we ate pasta from a can
We said we would change the world
As if playing guitar fed the children
Like smoking weed made us smarter
And we were only sixteen
And we thought we were profound

War is wrong, we decided
Still we fought with our parents all the same
We said we would save the earth
But we refused to go to school
We outlined things to clarify
Because the details made us insane
We thought we had the answers
When we had a bus ticket to somewhere else
And we were only sixteen
And we thought we were messed-up

'This is bullshit'
We said
About everything
(A bunch of Holden Caulfields)
And he was only sixteen
So we could do the same


I follow, laughing
Into hot luring daylight
Through shifty, un-waxed souls
And silky night shadows
Coaxed by whispering petals

Chenoah EllisChenoah Ellis is Canadian, but it's cold there so she writes in Melbourne these days. Her poetry has been published in The Paradise Anthology, Antipodes and The Algonquin Roundtable Review. She will be reading at the Melbourne Writers Festival in August as a Poetry Idol finalist.

Topic tags: Chenoah Ellis, Cloncurry, Sixteen, Spring, new Australian poetry, eureka street poetry



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Love your poetry. You paint flash pictures of personal moments with a social perspective and poignant clarity.
Catherine Carpenko | 18 August 2008

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