Sunday, October 4, 2015
THE BEACH REPORT : Third Season, 2015-16
Now I'm one of the old men with thin legs in long shorts by the sea…
I had in mind to write a paragraph about the old men, which would then refer to Bill Downing as the oldest of them as per his visit to the Shop a few days ago*. Ive been thinking about him as one of the many characters around La Mama (the place and, importantly, the Poets Workshop, the poetry sheets, little mags, poetry readings, meetings) ca '68/'69. For example, have begun piece about Paul Smith describing our dispute about self-immolation political protest, wch i'd mocked in poem & he'd responded, rebuked me. May well refer to Garrie Hutchinson's reconnoiter of Vietnam War era in his book from '99 wch ive picked up again recently. Ive described Michael Dugan in the Paul Smith piece --Michael being our reporter from the Melbourne front during '68 when we met, filling us in on all the history other side of Loretta's red flagging & Eltham lore i'd learnt through '67, thus Geoff Eggleston, Paul, Meher Baba, home grown mysticism, Beats etc… Michael prime candidate for retrieval, certainly as a character (a figure) and surely a place for his poetry as well…
Time doesn't stand still when one's youthful/active. It does later --a chance to recuperate, retrieve, right the wrongs…
Bill Downing dropped in & then without goodbye shuffled out. Returned a few minutes later to ask me how he cld use his mobile phone to get money! I wouldn't have a clue of course so i took him to see Mary Farrugia next door. Introduced him to Mary & explained the problem and she & her customers said we shld go to the 7Eleven! Down in the lift we went, luckily no one in their shop & they were able to explain Bill needed 'sim card' & ID & etc. Said we shld find Vodaphone shop in Bourke Street… I suggested to well & truly baffled Bill it was too complicated & that we shld now ring his wife who might then be able to come to the City? Upstairs at the Shop again i rang her (Bill knew how to locate her phone number on his mobile), explained the situation, and she said he wld have to return home & she'd help him from there! So off Bill went to catch the train. Loretta said i'm 'very kind'. Let's hope people are as kind when we're old i said. Which is the truth of it…]
Sunday, October 4th, '15
The third season begins.
Corp on cell behind me, appropriately disembodied voice : "Harry? Harry? You're dropping out. I cant hear you." But I can amigo!
God help us!
OK, it's behind me, literally. Focus instead upon the white sand & placid sea & cloudless blue sky from umbrella-less chair & table on the esplanade.
First weekend in October's pre-summer heat wraps around old bones like The Past --the past, as aggregate of equanimity that is --as --as just this, --this sea-side, --this sea-side note-book jotting, as though all perfect unbounded Mind. Then, across the sand, down to the sea and first immersion!
Cold, predictably, but not like some occasions previous summer's end. It's approaching midday & I'm the only bod in the sea, old or young. Old or young same difference in swimming togs in the sea.
Head under the water, can claim real swim now. Kick legs behind me, eyes wide open dead man's float.
Tread around small rocks on pleasantest gradation, seaweeds bobbing.
Then sudden return to the sand and stand for blissful minutes in comparative tropics --hah! --as it always was for English migrant, remember first Melbourne autumn & winter, 1966, --such cold as English made summer of…
Now ah & ah…