in birak
this western sun hurts
some seeking reasons
not to ever live here
without a chorus
of aircon hum
this is Wadjuk country
at fire time, fruiting season
as always, there’s talk
of shifting to melbourne
or hobart
over a beer
another beer mate?

in the old days they
set flame to country
 a mosaic of management
and always, and still
that thick dark easterly at 5am
a long cello note
like a hair-dryer in your face

at dawn crows in conference
a murder of wardongs yabber
and I can’t get back to sleep
as huge red helicopters pass over

its forever post midday
when the ocean speaks, wafting
over beaches and sandhills
talks to the country
asking it to cool
but this time
the east wind picks up

and beyond the unburnt city
those spires of pointless chrome, and iron
reflecting black black swans
and light, light that cuts

the fuelled country burns closer, closer
massive cloud formations
from brown-white smoke
at Yanchep’s doorstep
and it’s not gonna rain
anytime soon

in this burning time
white flower gums in full bloom
blinds the drive home
and moodja xmas tree bursting
a fantasy of nuytsia orange, crowns reach
at the freeway off ramp

this the language of summer
that scalpel shadow travels
in waves on bitumen
sweating at bustops
or burst radiator hose
the crowbar too hot to lift
an awkward driveway dance
and I forgot my hat, and thongs
a sprint to the lapping
our coastal exodus

at the shaded river
they talk of burning time
old stories of honey feasts
from candlestick banksias

and now almost naked, at dusk
with emptied stubbie holders in hand
on our own white/grey sands
we sit
watch helicopters return
and wait
for the lightning