Two funerals and a truck

Two funerals and a truck

Australian Bush Poetry: best served read aloud, or shouted across a bar.

Metrical, narrative lyrical, and charactered. And they gotta rhyme 🙂

These two are based on my experiences as a funeral celebrant in Brisbane, Australia.

Repeat: best read aloud. Get your Oz accent on 🙂


21 Truck Salute

 He was barely growing chin fuzz that one

Sweet 16

Still playing with the possibilities

Free to be and to be free

while Dad,  a real man truckie

a master of the big rigs,

rolled along the long highways

bringing home the bacon

for the missus and the kids

Until one day his heart attacked him

out there on a country road

that didn’t take him home.

And suddenly all eyes were on that boy

Inheriting the fleet

And how on earth could that shy lad meet

such a huge and premature responsibility.

There’s not a lot straight off the shelf

of our poor cultural ritual

to serve initiation

So they called me to try to make

some pertinent arrangement.

But hell, this soft ass city girl, I didn’t have a clue

And so I asked the big boys what to do

And those men knew,

those men who spend their lives alone

traverse the vacant vastness of our land

with heavy loads, and knotted ropes

and trusting their own hands

Who do whatever they must do to reach their destination

Ya those men knew community is what we need

to raise a teen to adult obligation

So after simple indoor ceremony

We went out to the carpark of the cemetery

Where 21 truck cabs roared in

And parked round the boy, who stood alone.

The air was crackling with anticipation

And I’m still resonating with the

The power and the passion lord!!

When each one blasted his air horn

A rolling soaring thunder of vibration

inflating that small person

with the fullness of their masculine support

Then dad’s best mate, and Mum

walked him to his father’s swankest rig

and handed him the key

and lifted him up to the drivers seat.

He sounded his own horn with three strong shouts

And 20 cabs pulled after him

As he led the procession out

And like Canute, we know that we can’t hold the tide

Of shit that sure goes down

But with a 21 truck salute we can

Blast out a tidal wave

and stand alongside one small boy

while he becomes a man



Right livelihood 


You know what’s really very fucked?

When lovers get to use me for their therapy.

It’s happened oh so many times, I put my courage

To the sticking place, enjoin in that fine war

Between desire, tender fear and trust.


And just when I start thinking that the lust

will be refined into some jewel more rare

The little seeds are growing true

They tell me ‘wow, thanks, that was great

I’m feeling so much better now’

And go with someone new.

Who’s generally much prettier

Much fittier  for them

Than me, the archtypical dumbcluck
And what can I say, to somebody I care for

but- good luck. I hope it takes you far, my love.

And generally it does. They stick like glue

They’re such an lovely couple, ya

And all their friends approve.

It seems I have a knack,

for growing people to where they need to grow

And generally not getting too much back.

I’d been so trained to not complain

To be so non attached.


One time that it happened, though, it went a different way

I beat a bratty new girl in a little game of DJ

He’d brought the princess round to my mine

Thought we’d hit it off,  you know…

When she pipes up all laughing,

‘Can you play some Turkish Disco’

Like that’s way out my league, me being so suburban

I guess she thought I’d be impressed by names like Urban Turban.

Her smug suggestion overwhelmed my powers of repression

While she’d been doing fashion, I’d been building my collection.

She got a blast right up her arse

a Bosporus inferno

with energy to burn and the drums like howling rain.

I danced her right out on the street

(He made his own discrete retreat)

And settled back into my life again

A life of solo nights, right livelihood and pain.

For I worked close with death back then

I helped a lot of people go

I’d helped his wife, that’s how we’d met.

That’s why also  our loving was a secret brush

of sweetness over sorrow.


Full of dark and light like all good things and true

And something with no future, something we both knew.

And yep those two, they stuck like glue, and all our friends approved.


Soon after that after I got the call

To do her mother’s funeral

Sounds weird, but that was what I did and I was probably best in town when tricky ones were going down

So it was also natural.

She worked it out,

she booked the band, Tibetan monks, she chose the poetry.

Her clothes of course, and readings by the Jung Society.

That day, she looked so good in red

New Queen for all to see.

I dressed in professional black and read the eulogy.

And up there on the podium, I did my job quite well

With clarity of diction and attention to detail.

Her picture hat was really flash with flowers and big bows

Well cute with the minidress, and come on smile

as she received her tribute

from the sympathetic rows.

And he seemed quite invisible, a thin line drawn beside her

Until he looked straight up at me

and both our worlds grew wider

I saw his wife inside his eyes,

I knew he could see me

Something tore and something warmed

And once again my heart had energy

He knew,  I knew,

we knew,  we both,

we all live such a long story

What did that old poet say?

When that bell tolls,

it tolls for thee.

We don’t control our destiny

It’s only our response that sets us free.

You know what’s really fucking good?

When ex loves are your therapy.


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