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An albatross swan song – Verse 5: Driving along on a Potomac, baby …

By Justin Obodie
Created 21/06/2009 - 15:15

An albatross swan song
Verse 5: Driving along on a Potomac, baby …


There ya go Kath – our Potomac – nah only kidding. It’s more likely the last nag standing. I think they ate the rest, but not before getting their last wights (and a black beer) from dear Father Park.

Kath, I will never forget you, in fact I still remember our first meeting. You decked me. Yep that’s right folks, Kath punched me lights out in a cosy little den of iniquity somewhere in the alimentary canal of cyberspace. I think I said something to upset Harry Heidelberg while I was under the dialectical reality of being a Tasmanian who aspired to be South Australian. Fortunately our Kath is a real sweetie; when she heard of my aspirations she immediately felt sorry for me and took me under her wing. That’s the loving mum in her.

Kath invited me to play cricket with her, but I couldn’t run (a toe thing that has been recently corrected). Kath then suggested chess – I couldn’t mate. But Kath was patient and taught me Chinese checkers. Kath knew I was hopeless but she let me jump her all over the board, just to make me feel good.

Kath, remember when Harry kindly sold us that dear old Potomac? We would take very short drives to the water's edge and gaze out at the stars. You would recite Keats while I recited Kant and then we’d throw the books away and intimately explore the finer points of poetic transcendental aesthetics. The dialectics of sensuality – worked for us – or were you just talking dirty ;-)

Though I must admit I was a wee bit concerned when Scott Dunmore disappeared in our Potomac. Scott reckoned he wanted to borrow it to check out its dialectical clutch, or was it diabolical crunch? I can’t remember but I believed his intentions were honourable until I saw a game of Chinese checkers in a TOYS-R-SUS bag he was carrying. It was too late, Scott was off like a flying dragon ghost in a tornado, or merc – I never thought that dear old car could move so fast.

But it was all wonderful. It was fun. Xie xie Kath. One degree of electronic separation and a beautiful one.

When I think of Kath I think of children, for Kath is a loving and devoted mum and it shows big time. But she is not alone, for most parents love their kids. To love your children is catholic and reflects the very simple but universal truth of Christianity. We love our kids and would die for them. Christianity is a religion dedicated to parenthood.

Christianity is extremely easy to understand when we strip it of mythology (and dogma) and gaze into its gut. Unlike the cerebral Eastern religions it is easy to follow. In short Jesus loved (for whatever his motivation) his/God’s “children” and sacrificed his life for them. Love one child – love all children.

A few pics of kids:



Another precious seed crystal of China’s belonging to the future – a happier future; the dialectics of prosperity.



Little boy China hard at play and loving it. I love this photo taken around eight years ago in a small market place.



A father spotted me in the park (below) and asked me to take some photographs of his daughter and nephew (above). In Australia they’d throw rocks at me.

I know that Kath likes to keep fit so here a few pics (below) of the local park and some of the exercise equipment which is really cool. If you use all the equipment just about every muscle in your body gets attention. I had a pinched nerve in my back for around six months; nothing serious just a little annoying. After a few days at the park the nerve was back to normal. I reckon if we had that sort of equipment in our parks it would probably get vandalised.

In my more lucid states (every morning actually – honest – never trust someone when they say “honest” or “trust me”– the dialectics of survival) I visit the park in the early hours and do dragon exercises with the locals. I’m the only da bizi (big beak) so they give me gentle and good humoured assistance. Everything is good.


The Chinese nuclear family: Four Two One; four grandparents, two parents, one child.

Below: this is what happens to little girl pumpkins when we don’t bomb the arms and legs off them.




Clouds are not the cheeks of angels you know
they’re only clouds.
Friendly sometimes,
but you can never be sure.
If I had longer arms
I’d push the clouds away
or make them hang above the water somewhere else,
but I’m just a man
who needs and wants,
mostly things he’ll never have.
Looking for that thing that’s hardest to find–

I’ve been going a long time now
along the way I’ve learned some things.
You have to make the good times yourself
take the little times and make them into big times
and save the times that are all right
for the ones that aren’t so good.

I’ve never been able
to push the clouds away by myself.
Help me.


I’ve known the above piece of prose since I was a kid and can still recite most of it from heart. It was a track on an LP called The Sea by Rod Mckuen. The LP was a gift from a girlfriend who already knew I was an albatross; sadly I never really understood the depth of her connection with clouds until Webdiary published those threads on art/porn, child abuse and such.

I first noticed the girl at a concert where she sang the song Clouds.

Rows and flows of angel hair,
And ice cream castles in the air,
And feather canyons everywhere,
I've looked at clouds that way.

But now they only block the Sun,
They rain and snow on everyone.
So many things I would have done,
But clouds got in my way.

I've looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down, and still somehow,
It's cloud illusions I recall,
I really don't know clouds, at all.

Moons and Junes and ferris wheels,
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real.
I've looked at love that way.

But now it's just another show,
You leave 'em laughing when you go.
And if you care, don't let them know.
Don't give yourself away.

I've looked at love from both sides now,
From give and take, and still somehow,
It's love's illusions I recall.
I really don't know love, at all.

Tears and fears and feeling proud,
To say I love you right out loud.
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds,
I've looked at life that way.

But now old friends are acting strange.
They shake their heads; they say I've changed.
Well something's lost but something's gained,
In living every day.

I've looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose and still somehow,
It's life's illusions I recall.
I really don't know life, at all.

I've looked at life from both sides now,
From up and down and still somehow,
It's life's illusions I recall.
I really don't know life, at all.

I listened to her while she sang from her heart; the song appeared to mean something. She looked lovely and I wanted to take her out, so I did.

We enjoyed each other’s company; she was thoughtful, deep and at times moody in unpredictable ways, but that was OK for she made up for it in many ways. She was mature for her age, loved music, poetry, art and talked about interesting things, not gossip or silly stuff. She gave me a present for Christmas: The Prophet (I still have it and the LP); I read it Christmas Eve. The first time a girl had ever given me a book.

One day she trusted me enough to share a secret with me. I didn’t know what to say for we didn’t talk about that sort of stuff back then. We were ignorant. Just move on and put it in the vault. Get over it. When shadowy memories confused and frightened her, her parents said best to forget it, so they did.

After a few months of going out to the movies, drinking champagne cocktails at Cahill’s Restaurants and becoming more intimate she decided to take that first step from girl to women. It was her decision but I was not complaining; she was lovely. But when tender hand touched innocent cleft my girlfriend’s body (mind) betrayed her in the cruellest of ways. The ghost of her living past came back to haunt her.

I had never experienced anything like it; she was totally freaked out; a full blown panic attack. I had no idea what to do or how to help. The connections were fuzzy, especially for a kid of my age.

In tears she apologised and said it was her fault. Embarrassed and without the knowledge or maturity to understand we moved on and didn’t discuss it.

She gave me another present for no particular reason: The Sea; she particularly liked the above track about clouds. I had yet to make the connections.

A few weeks later she wanted to try again but sadly the same thing happened. My touch repulsed her, terror and then tears. I knew it may have had something to do with her secret but I was young and we didn’t talk about that stuff, nor did we understand; the connections remained fuzzy.

Once again she apologised and said it was all her fault.

It was only just recently I recalled our parting and how she looked while holding back tears:

But now it's just another show,
You leave 'em laughing when you go.
And if you care, don't let them know.
Don't give yourself away.

I never talked about her to anyone nor could I (at the time) fully comprehend her terror. It was when I was reading those Webdiary threads about child abuse and its consequences that I reflected, remembered her and made some connections.

The poor kid never had anyone, not one single pathetic soul, not even her parents to talk to or help her; not even the lousy boyfriend she wanted to share everything with. Everybody betrayed her. She was brutally raped when just three years old, a defenceless pumpkin. A faceless man in a shadowy doorway then lots of pain, terror and blood was all she could remember.

And she apologised to me.

About twenty years ago I ran into a mutual friend who had kept in touch with her; she was still single and lived alone.

I’ve never been able
to push the clouds away by myself.
Help me.


Coming up: Meet the beautiful Mona Loser (maybe) and her ghosts, and Father Park blesses lunch for all of us.

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