11:00 pm, 31 August ‘97
truck stop, half way between
Noosa and Cairns,
finished a smoke of Nimbin’s finest,
Marley’s little helper pulling me through
care of McCafferty’s coach service.
A chipped Formica table,
microwaved sausage roll with BBQ sauce
(they didn’t have HP),
instant coffee in cardboard cup,
sweating legs sticking to a plastic seat.
A fourteen-inch colour TV,
chained to the wall,
with a crowd crying round it;
trucker drivers, and bikers,
and waitresses, and cooks,
and a lady dressed for… work.
None of them really knew her.
They weren’t related, or lovers,
or neighbours, or co-workers
or people that travelled the same bus
(I doubt she ever travelled by bus),
they didn’t drink in the same bar,
go to the same clubs,
or share a joke in the gym.
We hadn’t lost a cure for cancer,
or an Einstein, or a Dylan, or a Heaney,
or a Jesus.
And, Jesus, they were crying
like she was…
It may have been herbally induced apathy,
or being 10000 miles from home,
I didn’t feel anything
apart from a slight sense of perplexity,
that she seemed to be held
in the same esteem as Shane Warne,
or Kylie, or a schooner of VB.