Australia, 2022 and 1991

Thankfully,
it’s a lazy Saturday.
I’m sitting at my computer
watching and listening to
the seventh ep. in the 2022
series Days Like These

with Diesel
an ep. where Barnesy
sings live at Sydney
Opera House
in 2007.

Too soon, the bar has moved across
to the final seven minutes
of this generous 53-minute episode.

As Barnesy’s brother
-in-law, Diesel, declares
‘Last song…
When Your Love is Gone’,
I hear that long-forgotten melody

and those powerful words
sung to such perfect imperfection
by a voice that howls
soulfully
in harmony with loved ones.

Suddenly,
it’s some other day
back in 1991.

I’m sitting in a station wagon
watching windows and listening to
Barnesy’s recording
of  When Your Love is Gone
from one of my folks’ fave cassettes—
Two Fires.

That thirty-something man
is singing with his kids,
The Tin Lids.

I’m only seven.
My nearby brother is nine.
We have no sister
yet.

My thirty-something father
is driving.
My thirty-something mother
is beside him.

We’re en route from Bendigo
to a holiday destination—
most likely Adelaide or Ballarat,
perhaps even Brisbane,
surely someplace with tourist attractions
for kids.

Turning from the passing scenery,

I speak happily with my young family
whilst Barnesy sings harmoniously with his.

Being seven, I savour
the snacks from the road trip
but not
the sounds of the road trip.

Too soon, the outro
fades
like consciousness.

Suddenly,
I’m back in the modern day
watching orange credits flash by
and listening to Diesel’s theme tune.

I’m back in a time
when my brother and I
have a baby sister
and a father who’s a widower—

one of two fires
forced
apart.

 

 

Stereo Story #679

See also Michael’s poem about Over The Rainbow.

Michael Leach is an academic at Monash Rural Health, Bendigo. His poems reside in Rabbit, Cordite, Meniscus, Stereo Stories, the 2021 Hippocrates Prize Anthology, and elsewhere. Michael’s poetry collections include Chronicity (Melbourne Poets Union, 2020) and Natural Philosophies (Recent Work Press, forthcoming). He lives on unceded Dja Dja Wurrung Country.