This week’s poem I wrote for Jon’s JVG Radio Method is on the topic of “DUST”. Jon was obviously still parched from last week’s outing at Ceres

Click to hear today’s poem… [audio:JVG_Poem20071209.mp3]

Jon and I chatted about the wonderful turn out at the Triple R BBQ Day last week. And thanks once again to everyone for the kind words about the poems. It was great to meet you all and put faces to names.
Ed Bates once again supplying some quite nice backing on slide guitar today.


DUST

there was a lot to like about desi pierce
a face like granite, but soft beneath
a mouth like the gates of luna park
only twice the smile and half the teeth

eyes, with bags like sacks of potatoes
a long pointy nose more at home on a rat
a laugh like gravel being poured from a tipper
like a starter motor when the batteries near flat

desi ran garbage for moorabbin council
“like being paid,” he joked “to work out at the gym”
he’d wink as he told you “i know everybody’s secrets
you learn a lot about a person from what they chuck in their bin”

a generous man, with simple tastes
loved his cigarettes and loved his beer
and he loved to punt, dogs or the horses
his old transistor never left his ear

holding court at the bar, like he owned the pub
with beryl his wife of twenty eight years
swapping jokes they’d shared ten thousand times
and still had them rolling around in tears

a glass of draught and the sporting globe
a pack of capstan, tailor mades
beryl with a box of chocolate liqueurs
and a glass of port and diet lemonade

one evening as beryl was washing the dishes
she stopped for a cuppa and lit up a smoke
she died as fast as the flame on her lighter
one minute laughing, then bang, a massive stroke

desi was shattered, but disguised it with humour
“she could of at least finished washing the plates”
without beryl, he could hardly even tie his shoe laces
‘guess I’ll have to wear thongs” he joked with his mates

but the jokes soon dried up, each day was a struggle
two years went by and still broken hearted
his home was pig sty, the place was in ruins
and his clothes smelt worse than the rubbish he carted

then garbage was outsourced, des made redundant
too old and too worn for a change of career
the house was a brothel, but he’d let nobody help him
then val, from the pub, had a brilliant idea

two lads who’d worked with des on the council
would take him out fishing off mordialloc creek
while the rest of us cleaned from the floor to the ceiling
eight hours to achieve what demanded a week

there was half eaten pizza, from the hall to the bedroom
covered in mould and as hard as a rock
cigarette butts floating in coffee
the sink full of y fronts and one lonely sock

we ripped up the carpet and burnt all the bedding
chucked out the lounge suite, the pots and the pans
the dust on the walls had hidden the paintings
took five trailer loads to clear the bottles and cans

the last rooms we conquered, the bathroom and toilet
we drew straws for who’d enter while the rest of us prayed
the only clue to the horrors those brave souls encountered
was a chainsaw, a chisel and a long handled spade

des walked through the door more stunned than his mullet
I’ve never seen someone go so pale in my life
he stormed round the house, surprise turned to panic
screaming, “what have you bastards done with beryl my wife?”

at first we assumed the shock had unhinged him
but desi was nowhere as crazed as we thought
we eventually deciphered he’d stored beryl’s ashes
in an old empty flagon of her prized tawny port

we rushed to the front yard and emptied the trailer
but alas, the bottle was not in the skip
we told a sobbing desi, beryl wasn’t really gone
merely relocated to the springvale tip

it took a month or two, but desi came around
he’d drive out to springvale twice a week, sometimes three
sit quietly on a steaming heap with the seagulls
knowing beryl was close and queen of all he could see

the old smile returned, he said “you’s have done me a favour
lost it for a while there, behaved like a berk
i feel so at home here, the sweet smell of garbage
surrounded as it were by all my life’s work”

he died three years later, the cigarettes nailed him
cremated with beryl’s photo, at his own request
we put him in a garbage bag and dropped him in a wheelie bin
left him on the nature strip, the garbos did the rest

desi often joked, we all end up as garbage
dust returns to dust and ash returns to ash
not everything’s forgotten, even when it’s thrown away
one person’s treasure is another person’s trash

© Copyright 2007 Ian Bland

2 comments on “Bland On Bland – Dust

  • Ian,

    As mentioned on Saturday when I called thanks for this work. I was deeply touched when I heard your words. I will spread the word. Bid fan of JVG, your intellect, imagination and razor sharp observations of life as we know it.

    you go well tiger

  • When you think about what you heard on the radio,days,weeks,months a year later,then find a transscript of it.Bloody Grouse bit of word smithing.Best poem
    I’ve ever heard / read.I work at the tip shop.Reminds me of me.

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