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Doo Town

March 2004, no. 259

Doo Town

March 2004, no. 259

Just off the A9, en route to Port Arthur,

Here close by the Blowhole,

Tasman’s Arch and the Devil’s Kitchen,

 the little settlement of Doo

revels in its punning nomenclature.

The vying houses try to outdo one

another: Doo Drop In, Nothing to Doo,

Diggery Doo, Morning Doo –

we are the punning species,

looking for ways to escape

enclosures of language,

the incarcerations of identity:

give us a gap in commonsense

and we’re quick to brave chained

dogs of earnest and deadly probity.

At Port Arthur, only eleven

men ever escaped, though one at least

perished in the Bush, the leg irons

still fixed to his skeleton.

They were poets every one.

Guarded by the criminally sane,

we go about our business in the modern

panopticon, while miles of video tape

record inanities in the bank,

the supermarket, outside the apartments

of the wealthy, before the consulates

of the civilised nation states.

In the unconsecrated church at

Port Arthur – built by those hardened

boy criminals from Point Puer,

who cut the stone, fashioned

the bricks and carved the woodwork –

we stand in the open space (the roof

burnt down from a trash fire

next door) thinking, what

at this point in this anomalous

place, can one do? Our escapes –

our escapades – may be momentary

freedoms, but this place seethes

with unlawful provocation.

It is no nightmare from which

we simply awake – and for those in

hammocks slung low across the cells

the morning sun was the eye

of despair. Do unto others, the

golden rule of Tasmania. One could

do worse than live in the village of Doo.

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