Indigenous rugby player blazes away

Etched in ochre
He was flying up the guts,
hair and legs and arms ablaze.
Tacklers flew and flew again,
failing to disturb his crazed
run of passion — damn the angles —
this guy just ran, straight and hard.

No pure pace, no sheer strength;
yet his straight path was not barred.
In my mind it's etched in rustic watercolours,
ochre fired in my reckoning with magic:
rugby league plus boy inspired to
break the line and break
the other players' opposition, too.
Fends aplenty were dispensed
and blows that could end in a blue.
Maybe he emerged transcendent
due to his beleaguered State —
maybe Aboriginality
provoked his heart to rate
faster, and with more demanding
efforts, than those he espied.
Perchance self-esteem then blossomed,
running under Queensland skies.
All I know is that young man
could break the line, could run
and keep the other team
from closing down his destination; his belief.
Ochred in imagination,
on that dusty, rain-dry ground,
I believe unspoken passion
earned him glory, joy profound,
reflected in his shambling passage
up and past the vantage-line.
Chris, if Chris his name in fact was,
caught our spirit as his shined.

–Barry Gittins

French Chic Ballad
Once upon a time a French Chic ran and she was the fastest
But a slender black princess ran faster, stealing her crown.
It was decided they should meet at the princess's home;
Wherefore a psychotropic Olympic crowd sat and waited
For they were used to screaming records down by seconds,
And it came to pass, such a local darling the princess was
Perceived not fragile, for she had to win at all costs because
That's how it is, deep below the Equator's formless stare,
At bronze crusted heroes, triumphant under Aurora's glow.
The Chic was aged before voyeurs, and it looked all over
For the ageless princess felt a younger, stronger passion
So the manipulated meeting was to be vehemently staged
To settle for once the world champion left able to stand
In a quick race around a wide hypnotic circle, just once
Before a crowd who would obsessively will for one winner.
But the Chic went strangely mad before this fatal meeting
She, paranoid and harassed, reversed and went off the show
And ran away hot drenched in tears, looking most fearful.
What really caused this act of aggression, no one will know
The princess duly won the race and wore the public's crown.
Biased witnesses released their stunted passions and laughed
At the fleeing Chic, tarred and feathered in media disgrace
Thus was borne an uneasy glory, this strange little farce.

–Bede Moloney

Barry GittinsBarry Gittins, a Melbourne writer, is the editor of the Salvation Army's On Fire magazine.


B. F. MoloneyB. F. Moloney is a bookseller based at Leith, Tasmania. He has a poetry blog called grumpy verse.

Topic tags: Etched in ochre, Barry Gittins, French Chic Ballad, B. F. Moloney, new australian poems



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