Urbn Surf (sic), or, Riding the Wave of Self Righteousness


I wish I could blame my mood on the moon,
full and pale and pocked with dark spots
this feeling that’s hung around for weeks, in cosmic dislocation,
deterritorialised and Boolean; refuge has been illusive,
a cycle of germ spreading sneezes.

Let loose by my own self righteousness, my attack
on those in positions of power, who seek to suffocate the wetland
and the banks of Derbarl Yerrigan, with a giant concrete wave pool;
a water thirsty, energy thirsty, chemical reliant, toxic, pond,
in a city set on a surf rich coast, longer than the longest long-board.

Foreseeing the asphyxiated swamp, I lost my cool,
set old bridges on fire, drew upon reverence for Gaia,
and struck at the heart of our differences, igniting this mood, this orbit.
They said I was crazy and referred to political factions.
Even my friends, who agreed with me, thought I’d gone too far.

Telling someone they’re ‘a fucking idiot’ is worse
than excoriating an ecosystem, somehow.
Pulling them up on their exploitation is demeaning,
for what they’re doing is not illegal, after all.
Perhaps I was projecting, unfairly, my own death

on to the death of the wetland, one more wound to the Wagyl,
perhaps they’ve the answers, have solved the riddle of life after death:
a wave pool is fun, isn’t it, stick in the mud? And the air-conditioned bar,
the endless waves, the bronzed bodies, whet, entertained
by our finest musicians, complemented by statues of Circe; who wouldn’t want that?

Before we found a place for our rubbish, filling in the creeks,
relocating the cobblers and osprey, before the lawn took over,
children played for free in the peat, streams flowed clean and potable,
the turtles plentiful, frogs audible during daylight.
Before the retirement village, before the mosquitoes were sprayed,

before the melaleucas lost their grip on the banks,
and the blood worms were burnt in acid, before the dolphins
ventured up through the dynamited river mouth
to hoover prawn swarms and then later writhe, rocking
backwards and forwards in the pleasure craft’s waves,

decomposing in a photo inside The Melville Times, cause of death unknown.
Before we had all the answers, an Arcadia was abundant. Now we keep deferring
to that ever increasing abundance, offsetting our knowledge,
offsetting our responsibility, marking the red spume as an anomaly,
not caused by my ‘development’, not me, not my good intentions.

Cajun moon, low over the limestone dune, blamed for taking the wayward,
up the wooden ladder, steps to see the world aright.


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