Higher

Higher

The theme for this week’s JVG Radio Method is “Higher”. Hmm, lots we can do with that one. But I think a stroll around the “neighbourhood is called for.

As an aside I have just discovered I have done over 100 poems for the show, how time flies.

Click here for today’s trip through the “neighbourhood” …

[audio:JVG_Poem20090524.mp3]

Ed Bates is once again elevating our offering with slide guitar this week and as usual excelling himself.


HIGHER

“Higher” screamed ‘Pig’ Mills from the safety of his chair
As Bruno Lucek dangled sixty feet above the ground
“Pull your finger out” yelled ‘Pig’ “You wimp, you’re almost there”
‘Pig’ really hated heights but loved to throw his weight around

Bruno’s task seemed simple, at least from down there in the yard
To haul a length of hose to the top branch of the tree
Then coil it down the trunk – it couldn’t be that hard
Finally, run it to the tree hut where ‘Spanner’ waited silently

He eased it through a hole into a ‘Swallows Biscuits’ Tin
Glued it to the mouthpiece of ‘Squirrel’ Tyrrell’s clarinet
A few minor adjustments and they were ready to begin
The purpose of all this effort? To smoke a bloody cigarette

They’d been sprung one time too many smoking ‘Rabbit’s’ old man’s ‘Drum’
The threat of being grounded sparked a fear far worse than cancer
They needed more to mask the smell than ‘Femfresh’ and chewing gum
As usual they turned to ‘Spanner’ to come up with the answer

A clutch cable circlip from a now deceased FJ
Meant the cigarette, once lit, didn’t have to touch your hand
A vent screwed to the hose’s end drew the smoke away
Salvaged from atop a ‘Jolly Miller Baker’s’ van

This revolving vent, the key to ‘Spanner’s’ bold design
Particularly effective when the wind blew from the south
The smoke dissipated through the needles of the pine
No need to exhale, it fairly sucked it from your mouth

From that tree hut they could see the very edges of the earth
Every corner of the neighbourhood and all its sacred sites
While sipping ‘Passiona’ and dragging on a ‘Turf’
Enough incentive for ‘Pig’ to overcome his fear of heights

To the east stood the foundry which “Spanner” eyed with lust
He used to salvage scrap there – though now the gates were shut
West lay Porter’s Timber Yard and the scent of fresh sawdust
Where “Spanner” scavenged off cuts including those to build their hut

The Banick’s house, four brothers, the likes you wouldn’t want to tangle
Barbed Wire crowned their fence built of eight foot cyclone mesh
The Drive-In screen albeit on an almost side on angle
“Pig” would squint all night in the hope of glimpsing flesh

Walker’s Road, where kids would meet around a makeshift fire
Thrash motor bikes round paddocks without attention from the law
Old BSA’s and Triumphs held together with prayers and wire
The odd Velocette, Matchless or Ariel Square Four

The sign above Tate’s Garage conveyed an air of indecision
“Closed on Sundays” followed by “Open seven days a week”
In the distance Mt Dandenong, home to the Gods of television
Sherwood Forest, “Rabbit” swore, lay just beyond its peak

The toxic swamp, a favourite, the water, vivid pink and shone
They’d sailed its length and breadth in a discarded pesticide drum
Prince John’s Tower, the remnant of a factory long since gone
To the north, McClure’s field the site of factories yet to come

The Drive-In, mill and foundry have long since disappeared
The swamp and paddocks bulldozed – gone within a season
Reflecting “Rabbit” joked “It seems a little weird”
“Once we outgrew the tree house it’s as though they lost their reason”

That hut’s no more than memory as is the pine that’s branch it shared
Like thousands of it’s kind on every side of town
Where greed colludes with progress – nothing much is spared
Buildings grow ever higher and the trees keep coming down

© Copyright 2009 Ian Bland

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