Album Williams


They broke each finger one by one
and never did he complain.
Just went about his business
nearly fifty graves a year
he dug for the shire’s rich and poor.

Stood back (sniggering)
as a corpse went into his hold.
Depending on the person he’d spit
n’ sometimes piss upon the coffin,
other times he’d cry and pour back
the dirt grain by grain,
wishing she hadn’t died.

But nowadays they burn the corpses,
especially the young.
Some don’t even fear God –
he could tell by the service.
Relatives bleat and moan bout
this and that
but the bastards leave him without a
as Joey or Jill or Billy or Blake
are cooked inside an oven
then scattered:
“on a favourite headland”
“over the tomato patch”
“out to sea”
“Daintree National Park – Billy
loved the wilderness”.

Billy can live what he damn likes,
but this guvment worker will tell ya –
no more honest way to be put to sleep
than in a bloody hole.

cremation annoys the gravedigger,
who now, he tells me,
is gunna help business along a little.



I bought a bitta ocean home
bought it home
it came in me nose.

That bitta ocean came home
in me nose
and some was also in me ear.

I leaned over to kiss me Mum hello
and that bitta ocean dribbled,
leaked outa me nose onto Mum’s chin.

I sat down to watch sum tele
watch television when
half asleep a dribble o’ ocean left me

That ocean soaked
me Mum’s favourite cushions
“Why go surfing” she said “and bring
home half the ocean?”
“I dunno,” I said
licking salty water offa me top lip
drinking, I woz, a dribble o’ Pacific

Later at tea, during Scrabble
brushing me teeth, patting the cat
feeding the dog, arguing wiv Dad

One and all gotta splash o’ ocean
the ocean that happened today
today to follow me home –

in me nose, me ears
to flood
the family, upholstery.



Seventeen little Aussie battlers
none yet a week old
holidaying for the first time
a Sydney summer
not unlike Cootamundra.

Sat butt naked in the sun
the morning on their bellies
the arvo on their bums
looking up
into the sun
a Sydney summer sun.

Over drops a clubby
“are youse having fun?”
disturbed at what he sees
he runs back to his shift
leaving little Aussie Caucasian babies
to enjoy their holiday.

Seventeen little babies
not at once
began to pop
little blisters each one
lightly spraying Bronte beach
to the “oohs” and “aahs” o’ bystanders.

Seventeen little babies went pop
in the sun
and later that evening
at the breath of cool
a man in brown overalls
came to collect their skins
bright red, with a shovel
he notes they’re very dry.

Skins the size of matchboxes
he takes them up to Paddo
a nice shop
seventeen bucks the lot.



Approval seeks the employee.
perhaps its just a glance,
a nod, a smile of encouragement.

For a job well done
deserves some tick
a thumbs – up from the Boss.

But the Boss is angry:
“Youse sit here all day
ya bums pointing downward
and this business is getting nowhere.”


“Damn it, I beat the boards
and rack my brains
to make this shop a goer.”

Hmmm. We huddle together, fearing
and the Boss comes back later:
“And youse, youse chooks
you sit here and eat my formula
scientific millet
expensive Darling River water
and what do I get?
I’ll tell you what I get –
backache and a miserable cheque from
the tight arsed egg board.”

One hen clucks.
She be no learned agitator.
Yet if she could speak
on behalf of her sisters
she would up and say:

“Small business this may be here
my friend
but have a bloody smell.
This compound this
is frying us
God knows when it will end.”

She’d say later:

“Miserable cheque or no
dear fella,
Time has come for something said.
Have a look inside these cages, boy,
and you’ll see
what these hens
wish they had in mind
for you
your egg board
your family
and friends.”

That hen was the cluck of
and no remembers nothing.
’Cept she must not ever think aloud
– instead scratch, best she can
– scientific millet
– Darling River water.



Four litres of bad wine later he is in bed, waking within moments – a vinegar mouth, gridlock sinuses, eyes stinging psoriasis. A trickle of half – baked wax looses from his blocked memory cavity and – “pop” – as if dreaming or drunk – his dead wife appears anxiously toying with the idea of sitting on his bed.
“Sit down lover,” he gestures and she does as asked.
She returns his smile and brushes her hand across his feverish chest, hair and sweat now matted.
“… And why would I be unhappy?” he asks, sensing her displacement, her culture shock.
The wife slides her hand across her husband’s head, behind the ear and against the whirl, over the balding, across the …
“Fell out of a taxi,” is his excuse for the cut.
She gently touches the three day old blood – cum – scab and recoils slightly at the sight of the yellow.
“It’s the yellow, isn’t it?” he asks.
The wife now knows the reason for her unexpected visit, plucked from warm waters and foam to be again in the stale familiarity of this onion peel closet – her widower’s bedroom. Her husband is yellow.
Like her before, his hepatic-portal is locked stale hard, the tide in his abdomen is rising angrily against the rock in the bladder. Unable to right itself or erode, the blockage defies all natural defences and the impotent jack hammering of a local practitioner. So the wife slides away through the everything; leaving him waking up to blood and bone, a decrepit septum failing in the night. (So he thinks, but not a simple bleeding nose.)
“And what about that dream?” such is his recollection, touching the folds between the ribs on his milkless chest.

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