You are cavanbah, a meeting place for all the world’s people, a town travellers come to, to talk about their homelands. You are a joint passed between seven nations slouched around a living room. You are a flesh-tease on a beautiful beach, a lazy congregation of sun-worshippers basking in the mindless heat.
You are the quickening merry-go-round of tourist seasons & holiday weekends. You are the feeding frenzy of businesses like sharks tearing blubber from a whale’s back. You are pretty young touts on five dollars an hour offering backpacker-fliers to locals. You are locals who can no longer afford you, moving elsewhere.
You are a Spanish guitarist sitting on a stool outside the bakery chopping big colourful chords into carefully portioned splashes. You are palm fronds bending outside a window, a neighbour’s music blaring in the background & dirty dishes stacked up on the sink. You are the eccentrics that flourish like wildflowers. You are Beautiful wrapped in a pink sarong near the beachfront showering passers by with compliments like flower petals. You are the Fluteman preaching to an imaginary congregation in the middle of the street, gesticulating to the empty blue sky. You are Dougie sitting on the club-house steps all day long listening to Led Zepplin, Bob Dylan and the Beatles on a battery-powered stereo.
You are millionaires from the world’s big cities queuing up behind the struggling youth, drug dealers & dole-bludgers at the supermarket. You are pensioners, school kids & single mums hitching in and out of town. You are screeching lorikeets encrusted in the Norfolk pines at dusk. You are tumbling rhythms on cowhide drums beating back the ocean tide. You are the lighthouse’s pulsing glances. You are cold schooners, surf-films & lusty-eyed gazes at the Beach Hotel.
You are a string of one-night stands, of slippery pounding sex; you are a town racked with orgasms and sexually transmitted diseases. You are a sprawling fight outside the Northern on a Friday night while everyone stands around eating pies & caramel slices. You are outdoor dance parties in obscure locations, three-day drug-benders fueled by ecstasy, speed, coke, ketamine, marijuana, acid & alcohol. You are Nomads Bikers with swastikas on their sleeves dancing next to Jews. You are a sensory banquet winding towards inevitable famine.
You are this incredible flux of stories. You are the Aboriginal dreamings – the jealous husband who threw his spear at the escaping canoe of his wife & her lover – drowning them where Julian Rocks stands today. You are a sanctuary within which the outside world is a momentous fiction; you are unread newspaper articles on coups, wars, riots, destruction & starvation. You are an all-consuming paradise.
You are the ocean’s perpetual drama of winds, tides & swell. You are a mound of saltwater jacking on a sandbar at Tallow Beach , heaving into a cocoon & exploding into hedges of white-water. You are surfers running late for school, work, uni & meetings – walking home dripping wet through the streets with boards under their arms. You are endless speculation about the changing surf conditions. You are boats filled with scuba divers, negotiating the crowds at The Pass where long gentle waves are shared by first-time surfers, swimmers, body-boarders, wave-skiers, sponsored surfers & longboarders.
You are the Catholic Mafia’s ownership and control of the CBD. You are illegal backpacker houses overcrowded with bunkbeds. You are the most litigious council in Australia , spending over thirteen grand in court fighting an appealed sixty-five dollar parking fine, and losing. You are Sannyasin. You are as mindless as the southerly wind resurfacing the dimpled sand. You are as forgetful as the tide sweeping away a slaughtered whale’s blood. You are the creased palm of the Jesus beggar sitting on a shop step, his vacant stare. You are the first patterings of heavy rain at the end of a long, thirsty drought. You are the first trays of mangoes for the season, handpicked by backpackers, arriving at the supermarket.