We were driving the ute, well sort of.
Me, the wife and the other woman,
she of indeterminate relationship,
daughter, sister, polygamous second spouse perhaps.
on the back of the ute was a home-made cage
of forked branches, not really holding, more reassuring
a pair of randy Arapawa rampant rams.
We were driving through America
despite the kiwi plates on the ute
and international restrictions
on the movement of livestock.
We came to a one-horse, clip-clop,
clapboard, cedar-shingled, hickory-smoked,
huckleberry finned, hunky dory,
little old Appalachian hill-billy town.
The locals had that kerchiefed, snub-nosed,
vacuous, inbred brethren look.
We parked in an old abandoned lot,
piles of rubble, pools of oily water,
datura and pokeberry weeds.
A flea-bitten red dog, tied to a live-oak tree
with a piece of string, scratched and yawned
to show his yellow fangs and anaemic, hookworm gums.
The rams were having none of this,
and immediately broke out of their boma.
No house of twigs would save them from this wolf.
Atticus Finch, where are you when you are needed?
Nostrils flehming to the harem hormones
of the kerchiefed ewes across the road,
they jumped the fence to fraternize with the enemy.
In months to come I could envisage shorn ewes
paraded in shame through the town
with their healthy hybrid piebald lambs.
We walked, my wives and I, down the street,
past the grim faced matrons
and the laconic, quid-hoiking, stringy men.
We were anthropological tourists,
A field study on the effects of
“are you awake Mum?” foreplay
on the genetic health of the natives.
The street went on and on,
barbers’ poles and hitching rails,
sarsaparilla stalls and funeral parlour.
“I’d better get the ute,” I volunteered.
“You mosey on down a mite,” slipping into
The local lingo. “Buy yourselves some bonnet ribbons.
I’ll be back in two shakes of a coon’s tail.”
Delayed only briefly by the charms
of an antiquarian bookshop,
I returned to the erstwhile vacant lot.
Our ute was now behind a row of metal stakes
And a purposeful electric fence – quite a shock.
A man stood there in dungarees and wide-brimmed hat.
He leered at me and reluctantly let me in.
He wasn’t going to release the ute until I signed some form,
some waiver he waved at me, some indemnity.
I started to sign, but he stopped me,
claiming my penmanship was illegible
and he had better do it himself.
I pointed out that my signature would be invalid
If it wasn’t in fact signed by me.
He demurred and I wrote down some pseudonym.
“John Hancock” I believe it was.
The ute was bogged down in the oily ground.
I unloaded all the Faraday cage of branches
that had housed my pet rams, Schroedinger and Freud
and the ute sucked up out of the mud.
“Okay, if I leave all these here?” nodding at the branches.
“No!” he yelled, but still in first
I slammed out of the gate and down the road.
Boys on heavy, black-framed bicycles with plaid shirts and fishing-poles
wobbled towards me.
I swerved madly but still hit a few. I luckily avoided however
a rickshaw with a towering, teetering column of banana boxes.
I careened on down the road to pick up my womenfolk.
I haven’t had a dream like this since my vasectomy.