Sunday, 31 August 2008

Wilga Bob's twangled bone heart

I said "I hate Voss, I didn't make it to the end." He said "It twangled on my bone heart" as he pulled a page from Voss out of his wallet. He unfolded the page carefully, read me two lines then showed me a photo of his wife in fancy dress. His wife raised a glass and I noticed their matching wedding rings, modest, flat and gold.

I had no intentions of meeting anybody new or saying anything with meaning. Spencer and I were casually aimless in Newtown giving ourselves caffeine shakes and writing a list of pirate songs for my pirate mixtape. We stopped by a party The Spatula was at, the house was magnificent, the cat average but the people just not our own. We were walking down a laneway when we ran into them, Spencer knows them from round the traps, they asked us in and sat us down. They lit candles on their wooden kitchen table, served food on mismatched plates and somehow conjured Hank Williams sounds from a room nearby. I wasn't planning on meeting anybody new, I was wearing orange shoes.

Spencer crossed his legs and I noticed we were wearing the same socks. Her hair was like an old movie and he buttoned up his cardigan. He told me about cowboys leaning on a fence reciting Wilga Bob to each other but I wonder if he meant Mulga Bill. He said there was nothing but dust and stars and the obviousness of oxygen. They asked him for a poem so he began "The story of man makes me sick, inside, outside, I don't know" while the cowboys lifted elbows in quiet synchronised movements tipping VB cans inside VB holders until he finished. The cowboys said "I don't like that" turned their backs and walked away. He said there was nothing but dust, stars and the obviousness of oxygen. I thought it was something about belonging and the deliberateness of footsteps. I lay awake thinking about their wooden kitchen table, flat gold and Hank Williams.

The next day Spencer was wearing the same socks. Superman and I ran into Spencer and Madam after the movie, after we snuck pies into a movie. Superman managed his with sauce and didn't spill a drop. We crossed the road and walked into a church to look at the ceiling but it wasn't worth the effort. We retreated to the pub where I explained that if I was a man I would wee everywhere, with great accuracy and I tried, very hard, to think of the two kinds of camel.

Superman's going away for a while and now I'm wondering why I'm friends with him in the first place. Superman is a woven thing, he is threaded and cross-threaded. There are tangles, dropped stitches and a great miraculous unfolding. Held to the light his patterns are intricate and stretch clear to the horizon impossibly large yet definite in shape. I think that's why. I remember thinking when I met him that I had no intention of meeting anybody new or saying anything with meaning. I was wearing red shoes.

2 comments:

TimT said...

I don't think Voss made it to the end either. That's the whole point - there wasn't one.

Dale Slamma said...

Excellent synopsis.