The Ex-Queenslanders

by Graham Rowlands

Graham Rowlands

There's only one thing worse than a Queenslander.
An ex. There are n number of exs carrying their
little icons of nostalgia south south south
south-west, even popping up in other hemispheres---
those with photographs sealing them in albums,
those without, miraging their memories with high
mirrorballless ballrooms ballroomless ballrooms;
lovely old verandahs they've only seen on television;
trade union bunkers where trade union heavies
fought off revolution for a knight, a knighthood;
the Away, away, with rum, by gum People's Palace
entered at your own risk of Bible-reading, praying,
crying, crying War Cry & playing the trombone forever---
unable to handle either the alcohol or the air
at well over .08 insecticide .08 disinfectant.
It doesn't matter whether you walked a long slow last
walk across the walkway of the high grey bridge &
decided Queensland wasn't worth it (dying, not living)
or whether you put everything you ever owned to the
torch of a bonfire on your very last night here,
inviting a cast of, well, one or two, a handful
or whether you slipped out, shot through, pissed off
thinking, who cares, she's only a Queenslander.
Later, when you're only a Queenslander again (briefly)
you blossom into frangipanni, poinciana, poinsettia
& the aesthetics of fruit & vegies at the (Joh yes!)
District Exhibits, The Exhibition, Brisbane. August.
Me? I'm a bloody Queenslander & I'm bloody proud
I loathe Queensland. Loathe. Why shouldn't I?
I've felt the thin blue line's stiff arm.
I've seen the expressways through & over & out.
The bulldozers scrape. The wreckers' balls, ball.
(Or at least I've seen Progress --- in the morning.)
I've voted. I've argued. I've shouted. I've marched.
Joh yes! Joh no! I've chanted. I've yelled. I've failed.

Last updated November 04, 2022