Posted in The Twelve Pack


Rural compression :
people didn’t get married or fall in love,
 “ they got together.”
Couples never separated, divorced or were estranged,
“ his Missus shot through.”
Incomes didn’t quadruple with a bonanza season,
“ payout wasn’t bad this year.”
And when the mortgage maze had no apparent exit
when the rifle became the final solution,
 “ things got on top of him.”

“This Friday is it? Hope I find someone like ya.” –
my severance and valedictory.
On the last day he was distant – distracted
at 3 p.m. he said that was it for the day
said he had to get moving,
 “ so you might as well bugger off too.”

Two hands emerge from the pickup window
one offering a handshake
the other an envelope. And then he was gone.

Envelope contents

    1. final fortnight’s wages
    2. holiday pay
    3. tax certificate
    4. And
a smaller envelope:  ‘ for good work ’
inside, $50.
I never saw him again.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.