Christopher Konrad (Edith Cowan University, Australia)
If you ever go to Chidlow tell them to watch out for
fruit fly in those peach and nectarine orchards: tell them
to watch out for those old immigrants and their weird inventions.
Those gens are disappearing like the old Taffy sheep shearers and
their cracked dry plaster, weatherboard bachelor houses with ancient
wallpaper peeling. It seems so long ago I’ve smelt that dried paste
cut my knuckles on that razor peeling paint: if you ever get to Chidlow
tell them the investors have moved in.
If you ever get there see if you can’t find an old loquat tree or
any of those stuff yourself juice oozing down your chin apricots:
hybrid hobby farmers and their ‘I’m so free’ crops are all the go. The
old chook farmers gone too what with free range the in thing now. There’s
a new breeze blowing and franchises have reached these parts
old bombs nowhere to be seen
it’s all insurance shiny new.
If you ever get out to Chidlow
tell them to look out for old timers with their
‘back in my day’ tales. I don’t think my skin has changed all that much
to have shed such sensations, such cuts, calluses or coarseness
the language of those blistering summer days still caught in my throat.
I still see the clusters of black barked and scarred red gums
I still hear Taffy’s wiry haired Welsh accent boom across the room –
‘Have you finished that wall yet?’
Christopher Konrad lives in the Hills around Perth, WA, and sees writing poetry as the centre around which all other activities become secondary. He is currently finishing off PhD in Creative Writing