When I was a young man, I saw a part of a US made for TV movie about an Australian serial killer going about his hobby in the US. Apparently it was based on a true story. The killer had some form of American accent – indeed, was played by an American, and that was all ok, the fellow had lived there for a long time, whatever. Then he reminisced about his life in Australia. He got a bit teary, as you do – I get it; although not a psychopathic killer, nor a killer of any type, I have lived overseas, and missed much about home, especially they huge high blue sky, the sweeps of eucalyptus and other native trees, and the parrots and other birds. What this fellow was sooking about (there, that’s Australian) was his swimming pool. And the bottom of that pool was tiled in a pattern that made his heart swell. For it was tiled with the Australian flag.
How we laughed, and snorted. Nobody has ever rhapsodised about our flag. It is the rare home that flies it; conservative politicians only started wearing it on their lapels in the 90s; and it is just a flag. Everyone has a flag. We cheer it appropriately at international sporting events, because it is ours. Some people loathe it, but they are likely to get up the noses of those who are indifferent to it, who will then defend it as contrarianism is (sometimes) a national sport – we might not care all that much about it, but we don’t like it if you take a shit on it. But all we could think was, that serial killer was seriously out of touch. Plus, all of our pools were above ground with some sort of synthetic rubber lining – he must have had serious dosh to be wasting it on of all things a tiled Australian flag.
Things may have changed a little since I was a lad, however. Other than myself of course.
I am a creature of habit and habits, and given that day has come round yet again, here is my alleged poem yet again, with the same introduction as before …
Today is Australia Day. You can tell by all of the people walking around dressed in Australian flags. Otherwise, you might not know that it is Australia Day, or that you are in Australia. And you wouldn’t want to make a mistake about that, there could be consequences. I still remember when Australia Day was a dusty little public holiday tucked away towards the back of the summer pack, hey a day off, thank you very much. Now it is a thing. Not unlike a sad party thing. So here is an alleged poem, for Australia Day.
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.