Tuesday, February 14, 2017

James Walton #35 On the Dial

A February day
cracked by constant drizzle
like a thin glass in hot water
penguin piss that finally came
with the so often delayed Antarctic front

I’m making dhal
Jackson Browne is on loud
songs about the minimum wage
and small town shows running late
crowds with thinned liquor and smokes

You’re in the city
trammed back from Bennett’s Lane
and espresso chocolate martini gigs
I’ve lost the sheets to the sudden gales
caught and dyed blackberry in the fifteen acre gully

Walking the horses
laughing at the sling gate
how they stared trying to tell me
that a bark is different to a squawk
as the eagle’s droopy nonchalance casts away

They swoon new grass
pass me in Miles Davis jamming
spurt their tails in plumes from paddocks
my jumper is sodden with details of Munich
your bed was next to the shower and how the door opened

Humming To Love Somebody
the moss on the roof is years away
leaning on the Norfolk Pine watching snotty clouds
curdling native blueberry along the crusty valley road
trying to avoid something country and western escaping

Mr Tambourine Man creeps in
and I can’t help it but my feet are moving
the fields are pages of ink dirt and parched white feed
tractors score lines dragging thistles out of a misty fleet
in a swarm of noise shallaying the truncated new horizon

I read it somewhere
the previous generation’s music
imprints in hidden vacuity occupies secret places
washing through ethereal surrounds exposing intimacies
leaving you hanging like a paper lantern at the end of a stick

Nina arrives suddenly
hitting a flat discord that doesn’t matter
and I’ve caught on to a Maria Callas fly by
of such ascendant laddering through the maze of days
that I can remember all the things I forgot to be who I am

Back in the kitchen
the only reception is Triple J or Classic FM
sometimes there’s a crackle that hints another state
unearthed doing dishes whistling Beethoven’s seventh
kilometres away the neighbour’s kelpie stretches pawing at the stations


  1. Replies
    1. P.S. James, and well do I remember a year of listening to the ABC Music Till Midnight radio jazz show in central west Qld many years ago in the 70s (Ian Neil?) when I was working on a station, and how late at night the signal sort of went underwater at times, and it was all musical memory, and till the music got stronger again me, and Alan Douglas, an ex-Territory cop, (who was always telling me, "Rob, you're a smart young fella, you'd do alright in the police") in our little room in the back of the workshop, always talking about Lester Young and Coltrane and Webster and Duke Wellington and Miles Davis... :)

    2. Hell yes. It's that music has no time really, sort of hovering about and moving in the moods and moments. I find myself,humming, singing songs I don't know where they come from, somehow connected by events, memories, ....love the mystery!

  2. +++
    what would we do with it.... love radio
    Thanks for the memories James (and the rain :) ... bit dry here)

  3. Yes, that's how things went and still go in France too!Our heads are stuffed with songs and music and ads!!! and it's not that bad after all!


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