Monday, December 17, 2012


Bleary eyes aren't great lenses for reading but after a full 7 hours sleep I was awake, the house was quiet and I had a great book. After a coffee and a wander around the garden I fell into a comfy lounge chair and picked up that big fat book by Paul Kelly 'How to make gravy'!

HAPPY Drawing by the boy

A chapter for every song in his A - Z kit, every story a slightly different angle, and I'm connecting with every word! The writing is pure! Clear.... A thousand lies couldn't be more true. When I reached a really interesting chapter, Emotional, I heard the bedroom door creak and eldest child came out of her room. Also bleary eyed but keen to chat... It often happens like this, just when I think I've got some time to myself... This chapter surprised me. Paul Kelly's writing can do that. Shifting from amazing introspection to compassionate empathy.

As I read Emotional' I realized that I had misunderstood the lyrics of his song. It was not about what I thought it was. Kelly recounted the intense experience of visiting people in the Baxter detention Centre and the disgraceful treatment of those stuck in the Woomera hell hole! The scenarios are quite familiar to me since they started converting Darwin into a giant emigration detention centre! The sad and horrific stories are not uncommon among people I've met who have been transferred from Christmas Island or those who dread being sent out to Nauru. Living in limbo, having their hopes and spirits crushed at the whim of the Immigration Department who consider punishing them as parto fo some master plan to deter others from seeking safety in Australia. 

As I tried to read this unexpected chapter, which I found particularly interesting, on account of there being at least four detention centres within half an hour drive. my daughter decided it was time for a meaningful conversation about the nature of dragons and unicorns.... I persisted with the book and tried to answer her questions along the way, luckily the chapter was quite short, Kelly got his message across loud and clear, didn't waste any words and told it like it is!

I am so glad he has taken the time to tell this story and that he felt it was worth including in his book. So many Australians couldn't give a flying f-ck about the way Refugees are treated! It seems all the country is now against these people but here's one of our national heros openly declaring his compassion for them, he even wrote a song about it!

My head is swimming with emotion! Love for my kids, connection to the legendary song writer and mostly thoughts of the people I've been meeting at the DAL just down the road from where I live. The latest arrivals are from Iran. They shared their stories with me about the terrible journey across the sea from Indonesia. They all have hopes to see their children grow up in a peaceful place and to learn English and to be happy. It's nearly Christmas and a group of local people I'm involved with are trying to get Christmas presents for the kids.... nearly 180 of them (kids)! We've only got $10 to spend per kid and there's just 9 sleeps until Christmas so the next few days will be busy.

When I'd finished the chapter I put the book down, my was swimming with ideas and emotions. Thinking about the gifts I've got to find with a very limited budget I jumped up to grab the discount store brochure from the dining table... maybe something there. As I strode forward I kicked over my coffe cup! "NOoooooooo!"

Coffee cup with a crack

My favorite coffee cup! I smashed it! The cup I got from the Op Shop two years ago. That one I love with the romantic 1950s Hawaiian scene, with the girls dancing and the colonial American tourists and the flying boat.... Oh... Bleary eyes and foggy mind! Why do you mock me!

I'll try to fix it, no big deal really. What's a broken cup? I heard a fella got charged for smashing up some plates and shit in one of the detention centres! If you fuck up in detention and smash something they can charge you with destruction of property. I reckon if I was in there I'd break every frigging cup I had. What good is a favorite cup!

CROSS Drawing by the boy


Chandra said...

I enjoyed reading this post.
The post is powerful my friend.
Keep up the good work.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

David J said...

Hey Chandra,
There's so much going on in my life I wish I could write about it all. I rarely get the time to write anything and now I've found that when I do, I have have no idea what to say. My mind goes blank and something inside just says do nothing...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too.