Monthly Archives: December 2014

Going Home (part 24 of ‘The Northern Territory Suite’) – Finale

Hustle and Bustle of real life returns,
The airport a reminder of where we are
And to where we return.
The Dreaming is over,
Our spiritual journey at an end.
Sadness weighs heavy
Upon our shoulders, our chests.
Tears flow gently down.
Succoured by our native land,
Fed by the dreams of its age.
A journey started what feels
A life ago is now end.
Reality crashes in,
Time stands quietly, guardedly still.
We fly high above Kakadu
Not visiting now, gone.

We twist heads, peer back
Wish it was not ending.
Set our eyes for home.

Tim Alderman
(C) 2001

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Darwin (part 23 of ‘The Northern Territory Suite’)

Distant city trapped between seas
Arafura and Timor vie for your beauty.
Verdant green grass and shrub
Trailing bougainvillea, flowering vines
Silver fronds, red of Lipstick palm
Lining streets near deserted in the noon day heat.
From cyclonic rubble, from first buildings
Now in ruin and preserved for memories sake
Has arisen a city of great beauty,
Peace, silence, colour, modernity
No longer a poor relative
To cities further down
A teeming heart within
The heart of this great land
We lie upon the grass, shaded by tree
To relieve the humid, heavy heat
Surrounding our bodies
And we gaze
Across the Arafura and Timor Seas.

Tim Alderman
(C) 2001

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Floating Over The Alice (part 11 of ‘The Northern Territory Suite’)

Moving through the cold desert night
Awakened from our warm, cocooning beds.
Night flyers seeking the right winds, we wait in expectation
At last to be told we fly.
Red and yellow teardrop rising into the early morning sky
Transporting us into another world.
Purple, pink, orange aura on clouds foretells of the rising sun
As we wait, our breath held.
Below us in the rising light
Kangaroo and emu run from shadow cast from on high,
A dry riverbed awaiting the rains,
Delineation of land by scrub, as if drawn by our own hand.
At last the sun appears, washing away the cool of the night. Disappearing for a minute more behind foamy clouds
It reaches its zenith on the horizon,
And at last, we let our breath go.
Floating gently back to earth, a basket in the swaying Spinifex.
The sun warms us again.
We are alive!
We have seen!

Tim Alderman
(C) 2001

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Daily (Or When The Mood Takes Me) Gripe: On Being “UnAustralian”!

Fuck…I loathe that term. There isn’t even a way to categorise what is unAustralian – let alone having to put a capital “A” in the middle of a word…well, third letter in, anyway!

A couple of days a friend of mine wrote a verrrrrry long rant on the changing face of Australian culture. I read it all, to his credit, mainly because I disagreed with it all! Though he didn’t use the word unAustralian, what he had to say is tied into the same mentality. The word would have slotted easily into his rant.

I have to face facts – amongst my friends are some who don’t slot easily into the modern Australia. They are time-locked in a bygone era, where to be Australian was to be racist, intolerant and narrow-minded! This is someone who, two years ago, told me I was being “frivolous” going to TAFE to get my Certificate III in Fitness. That, indeed, all arts and humanities subjects should not be available through TAFE and universities!i didn’t hold back with telling him where to get off on that occasion, that we had a RIGHT to be able to further our education at any age, and in our chosen field. I heard no more about it. This is someone who also – though not now – post items from Islamic “watch” websites, who chose the slightest thing as a pointer to terrorism, and I have heard him spit bile at suggestions of the humanitarian handling of asylum seekers – illegal immigrants in his book. The only reason he has not been unfriended ( no capital “f” in that lol) is the longevity of our friendship, snd that he seems to have toned down his opinions over the years. His rant had bern instigated by an article in “Crikey” by a 17-year-old girl. A fluff piece – that I would have found amusing – on her tour through Canberra searching for the perfect macchiato, and her horror at finding a “Charcoal Chicken” in the centre of the city.

My friend felt that this type of coffee-culture elitism spelt the demise of Australian culture, values and lifestyle. Of course, to see this one has to assume that those values truly existed in the first place. He felt that we have become “soft”, too intent on the foibles of contemporary culture to any longer be able to uphold his values of a lost Australia. At no stage in his rant did he see himself as the lost person, out of touch, drowning in a rapidly changing world!

This puts me in mind if a recent post on the Starts At 60 facebook page about the Federal Government reintroducing temporary visas so that asylum seekers could spend time living and working in the general community. I had not seen the post, and another friend posted that she was so disillusioned by the comments she had read on the post that she had withdrawn from the subject altogether. Naturally, that piqued my interest and I had to check it out. Well, hadn’t that brought out the bigots and racists in their unadulterated hatred and spleen-venting! I was so disgusted, and posted my own comment on just how disgusting they were, and that how, having reached the advanced age and “maturity” that they had, they had, in fact, learnt nothing and needed to grow up. One if these horrendously disgusting people thought to take me to task, and informed me that they were not racists – and it was typical of my ilk, evidently – but merely offering an “alternative opinion”. I was pleased to inform him that a racist under any other disguise is still a racist! That attitudes if many older Australians just horrify me! Likewise, on a car trip to Melbourne with my partner and his mother a couple of years ago, as I sat next to her the front seat whole she took a turn driving, and we discussed life in the ‘burbs. With a triumphant glint in her eye, she was pleased to inform me that at a local meeting where she lived, they had overturned an application by “those towelheads” to open an Islamic school in the area. I was so mortified by her language that I was rendered speechless, as was my partner. Her attitude to people from the Muddle East who live here now so perfectly matched the opinions of my parents towards Greeks, Italians and Lebanese in my youth. As I have pointed out – on numerous occasions – I, thankfully, chose to ignore them. My parents ensured they had zero contact with these races, whilst I developed friendships with them through school, and in-home experiences with them.

I seem to be going a bit off-track here, but I’m sure you are getting my drift. We have a small population here, compared to most of the rest of the world, and yes we have an established culture, but it is a young one! It is also very malleable! Or so I was led to think! Just as our current hang-dog government thinks a return to the 50s would be a good thing, so do many others in our “mature” generation! I hate to say it but…do we have to wait for our current over-60 Baby Boomers to die before we dan move on! Do we need culture-shock tactics to get them to confront there own bigotry and racism! I fear so!

As a 60-year-old who doesn’t fit the mould, I see a different Australia to these people. A “fair go” has an entirely different meaning to me! I want to live in an Australia where all cultures exist in peace, and that the shared experiences of culture will broaden our horizons, and enrich our own Australian culture! I want the boganism of”Charcoal Chicken” to be as identifiable as the “elitism” of the macchiato!, yet the two live in peace alongside our culture of beer and barbecues! I want to see empathy and compassion for those seeking shelter here from the horrors of war and extremism. Despite the hatred and racism I have encountered on pages such as Starts At 60, my own personal experiences have been of people who are humanitarian and compassionate, who see injustice for what it is, and aren’t afraid to speak out.

There is no such thing as being “unAustealian”. It is merely a cultural shift that us yet to be generally recognised and accepted. The “fair go” still exists, and despite our government trying to sloganise and disguise it under the banner of protectionism and security, the bulk if us still want to see it practised for all wanting to live here. The boundaries may have changed, but the concept still exists.

I want a modern Australia. I want to see other cultural differences absorbed, and used to further enrich us! I want to see our fish ‘n chips beer-battered, our hamburgers become gourmet, our beers boutique, our coffees exotic. I do not want to live on a remote island cut off from world experiences, time-locked and worn down from the weight of continually challenging change! Only by accepting and welcoming change will we grow onto our full potential as a nation.

Indeed, we can all be Australian!

Tim Alderman
(C) 2014

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Daly Waters (part 13 of ‘The Northern Territory Suite’)

Early century ‘watering hole’
Dilapidated, run-down, arcane
Lost in another time
That told of depressions, harsh desert winds
Searing heat, and freezing cold.
An anomaly, a freak
No friendly faces to assist
A weary travellers trek.
Outback humour, only no one understands
The quirkiness of incorrect speech
Or toilet seats nailed to a tree
Underneath a collapsing verandah
Where, perhaps, once jokes were shared
With others of like mind.
Then to the street, and another scene emerges
Of bougainvillea, desert frangipani
And flame tree in full flower
And you wonder how can such beauty
Exist amongst the scattered ashes
Of an era long ago.

Tim Alderman
(C) 2001

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Katherine Gorge (part 15 of ‘The Northern Territory Suite’)

Drag marks in sand,
Crocodile belly bands to nest.
Geometric rock designs
Step up toward the red cliff face.
Contrast of red rock, and white
Stretching far above to green tree heights.
Tribal art,
Now faint in the arms of time
Adorns the walls above our heads.
More ancient tales of food and water
For others who pass
Close by this way.
Pebble strewn bridge divide
Between gorge and valley drift.
Tortoise follows shadowed slip-stream,
Swallows nests below craggy ledge.
A place of stories, a place of time
Disturbed none by our presence,
But keeping us mindful
Of the ages of this great land.

Tim Alderman
(C) 2001

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Love

I was asked today
How did I know
When I eventually fell
Totally, completely in love.
I pondered this for a while
Shrugged my shoulders
And answered
You just know.
It’s a feeling
A knowing
A heartbeat
Desire
Comfort in silences
An intimacy that is unexplained
Shared knowing
A transference of pain
He looked at me as if to know more.
I don’t feel I answered his question
I don’t think I really know how to explain
Just exactly when you know you are in love.

Tim Alderman
(C) 2012

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Nourlangie Rock (part 17 of ‘The Northern Territory Suite)

Hidden gallery of art
Its artists long deserted
From the rock dwelling place
Nestled in its protective shade.
Stick spirit people,
Hunting red kangaroos.
While white kangaroo waits.
Flower art, outline of hands
Spirit people painting ancient signs
Of the lands true fruits
Its survival ways
Known to initiated, no other may go
To touch, to read these pictures.
A twisted vine,
Leafless in the scorching midday sun
Waits for times that are better
The cooling touch of rain
The cold desert night air
The silence of this gallery, lost in time.

Tim Alderman
(C) 2001

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Simsons Gap (part 10 of ‘The Northern Territory Suite’)

Chalk white boulder announces our presence
To the rich red walls rising high above.
At the end of the valley, we glance through v-shaped opening
Toward the desert glimpsed through trees
Leafed in green, alive again after the rains.
In the dry sand of the riverbed, a ghost gum awaits
The next outpouring from the sky.
While stagnant pool tells subtle tale
That the wait may not be soon.
Through dry heat shimmer we raise our gaze
High above us to the red walled heights.
A single tree, stature small but strong
Struggles against the elements to survive
Alone.
The hushed quiet broken only by birdcall.
Time stands still here, as it always has.
Nature takes her time, there is no hurry here.
Alone.

Tim Alderman
(C) 2001

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