ALL the beautiful young things are wondering about the place dressed in their swimwear and large Australian flags, so it must be that day again. I was once abused by two bikini wearing teens on this day for not smiling enough (“BE HAPPY! Its Orstrayuh day”) and I will always be grateful that despite the wave of Hulk-like rage that immediately swept over me, for some reason I did not respond. I was pushing a pram overladen with my offspring at the time, and did not notice the two bulky figures behind a tree who were ready to step in with their fists (is that a mixed metaphor, no it is an actual description) to deal with any who sought to disagree with the young beauties / harridans. I remember when nobody celebrated Australia Day, it was just a dusty little public holiday tucked up the back near the start of the school year. It wasn’t the subject of national division that it is becoming, because really, nobody cared much about it. My good mate Stephen used to describe it as “the national day of not working for Australia”. Then along came the 1988 bicentenary, rhyming nation with celebration, and everything went downhill. Just let me have a little rest, is that too much to ask?
It was Flag Day
so we wrapped ourselves in our flags
and went to the pub.
Everybody else had the same idea, but.
All the flags were the same
because we are all Flaglanders.
It would have been nice to wrap myself
in the flag of difference
but I was too scared.
Everyone looked the same.
The fun idea had become
A Sad Party Thing.
It doesn’t matter.
The flag unites us.
Our fear of looking different unites us.
All eyes are wary on Flag Day.
Everyone smiles with their mouths
as they lift their beers,
but all those eyes are looking about.
And those eyes are quick.
You don’t want to stand out.
Not on Flag Day.
There are no excuses.
It is not “I pay my taxes” day.
It is not “I am a human being, I have rights” day.
It is fucking Flag Day.
You sad party thing