Tuesday, October 21, 2008


the shed at the back of the garden with Ceil's sign and the old farm window La Professora found for us and the visting parrots feasting

Professora and Cello on the St Kilda bay wall, last week

I can barely breath sometimes when I am watching American news here--this election results is so important, that Obama and Biden be elected is so important I can barely breath--I have volunteered with Democrats Abroad--Australia calling ex-pats to make sure we all have received our absentee ballots--hearing those American voices, all with huge hopes about this election. When my own ballot arrived in the mail, I handled it carefully, as if it were a huge check or a slightly feared medical report--that official looking envelope carrying my minute of participation in the vote, the small white oval waiting for my mark--in the bright light of our Australian kitchen--my mark to be made along with so many of us who live beyond the borders of our country of birth, of citizenship. Then after rereading and rereading the instructions to make sure I had done nothing wrong, I sealed the envelope, called out to Cello, took up my cane and together, my lurching, he waiting, walked the four blocks, crossed busy Dawson Avenue with its rumbling trams to the red post box. It all seemed so simple in the bright morning light, but as my vote became another piece of daily mail, a sadness came over me--so tangential I was to one of the biggest dramas of my country, of my time--what will this America be in the next years, what face will it wear--the old air force pilot just aching for a fight as an admiring William Bennet glowingly described McCain on the Fox propaganda channel or the "too professorial" man who walked Chicago's needful streets as Obama was summarized by another commentator. An old fight or new thoughts, fighting or thinking--never this simple, but how one form of American masculinity describes its yearnings--I thought of another man, another presidential candidate, who was defined as too professorial, Adelai Stevenson, his worn shoes up on his desk as he leaned back in his office chair, reading a book. Too thoughtful and America turned away. Not this time! I let the envelope fall into the red mouth and pressed the traffic button to signal the cars to stop long enough for Cello and me to safely cross. Sadness at distances is useless at times; my vote is in the air. That is all that matters.

A group of us will watch the election returns at a pub here set up for day long and early evening vigil. Your night will be my day, and the sun and stars will watch over our very real dream time.

On Redistributing the Wealth: As McCain and others of the Right went on ranting about Obama's plan to tax the rich, I thought America has always redistributed the wealth--never more so then we took the very land that became America from its indigenous peoples. When we kidnapped, bought and stole Africans from Africa, we redistributed the wealth--productive citizens of African nations became forced labor for the production of wealth of this one. Just think a little more.

I have just found waiting for me on our front verandah the books I have ordered from the States--the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian poet--his titles alone call to our hearts: "Memory for Forgetfullness," "Unfortunately, It Was Paradise," "Victims of a Map." I am preparing for another public talk at the Brunswick Library, like the one I did two years ago on difference--this one is to be about the concept of home and reading--but I have found my reading taking me to the theme of exiles--two poets, Oslip Mandelstam and Mahmour Darwish, will be my text--the exiled Jew and the exiled Palestinian.

1 comment:

QueerRose said...

Having subscribed to your blog a short time ago, through a link from SublimeFemme, I was very excited to see your post pop up in my google reader this morning.

It's so wonderful that technicnology allows this - I'm able to communicate with Joan Nestle?! Thank you so much for everything you have given me through your work.

Re the US election result, I'm hoping that Obama succeeds. The implications of that not happening are dreadful, not just for America but for the world. QRx