Sand Flies and Tea Tree Oil

I remember your face so well but then
your picture has travelled with me
down through the decades
28th March 1987 – almost thirty years ago
you must be what, forty now?
I don’t even know your name
never took the trouble to write it down
you passed me with your mum and dad
their 4×4 robust compared with my very
unsuitable 400cc Suzuki road bike
not the ideal transport on an undulating
sandy track through Aussie rainforest
four hours to cover six kilometres!
the whole campsite cheered when I appeared
that’s one amazing thing I’ve achieved
although at the time I was scared shitless
as the light faded and my confidence waned
but it was worth it just to find that beach
and the Cherry Venture wreck
sharing food and camp fires
magical moments that stayed with me forever
I wonder how they shaped your life
young boy with the cheeky smile
all covered in sand in your Lufkin hat
do you remember being stung in the sea
and my tea tree oil took away the pain and tears
the sand flies were a menace too
big fat bastards but easily swatted
if you kept your wits about you
and let them settle before thwacking them dead
it all seems such a long time ago
a distant echo on so many waves
a million tides of crashing surf
I hope life turned out well for you?

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(Tea tree oil is an essential oil extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, which is native to Southeast Queensland and the Northeast coast of New South Wales, Australia. It was virtually unheard of in the UK back in the eighties but is now globally widely used in many products for its antimicrobial properties despite evidence in its favour being low, according to Wikipedia. This poem links back to my previous posts on the The Cherry Venture wreck if you skip around my little Haiku Hiking interlude. Where to next I wonder).

The Cherry Venture Adventure

rusted ribs resist the salvage attempts
prefer instead the salted licks of coral seas
a battered sand blown year long deterioration
rivet by rivet    sand fly bitten
the tourists come    snap    gawp    marvel
climb aboard Jonahs on three night camp outs
four by four they land cruise up coloured sands
utes    jeeps    barbecued fleets of sun kissed cheeks
name one amazing thing you’ve done
and then move on.

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Looking back I was lucky to stumble upon my Cherry Venture Queensland adventure for she is sadly no more. Finally broken by wind and wave she relented to the salvage man’s cutting gear and only the buried hull remains. But she has her own Wikipedia tribute page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_Venture

and for some downright Down Under weirdness you surely cannot beat this – six months in a leaky boat haha:

 

The Tempests of Time

a sparkle of diamonds float upon the ocean waves
each a reminder of lives lost to the tempests of time

the rolling   swelling   ubiquitous current of life
calling and beckoning with weeping siren wails

from the hulks of shipwrecked Viking longboats
multi masted clippers   steely leviathan tankers

yet still we trust her promises of distant shores and
wonder at what might lie beyond her blue horizons

the shimmering   glimmering   wavering frontiers
sun kissed   storm battered   sunset gilded

each flash of light brightens the momentary eye
awareness glimmers in the fractal curve of a glance

snatched seconds break over fatal decisions made as
gaping mouths retch for the last pockets of precious air

a great portent of gushing waters salt brine our tombs
bubbles of hope   molecules of flashing faces on

every sparkling diamond reflecting every perished soul
the memories of mankind captured by the tempests of time.

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(so I am linking on from my previous poem and developing the theme of drowning using the image of the glinting sun on the surface of the sea – each flash of diamond light representing a lost soul).

Painted Rocks

I wake
to a blank morning
your tears stain the pillow
like drops of memories left abandoned
on a melted heartbeat burned
and charred under this equatorial sun

another step closer the edge
another deep breath

a paradise for tourists
a flaming hell for the unbelonging
glinting sunlight on wave after wave
crests diamond studded and jewel reflected
as far as your eye could never see
when blinded by such darkness

another step closer the edge
another deep breath

I relive your last moments
imagine your plight
but it is unfathomable
lost to me on a dolphin’s dive
you are simply gone now
another name on a painted rock

another step closer the edge
another deep breath

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(this piece links to my previous post – the memorial to those who had committed suicide by jumping from a cliff on Gran Canaria. I tend to use the theme of wide open spaces – sea, sky, deserts, highways – in which to arrange and hang my imagination. I try to leave enough room between my words for readers to place their own interpretations –  a dreamy vagueness perhaps. I might use this idea of linking from one post to the next as an aid to writing and exploring different subject matter. It is all too easy to get bogged down with the same old words and never realise that your writing has stagnated).

Searching for Avalon.

Does my header art remind you of a seventies Roxy Music album cover? Maybe it’s the foliage and the expectation of two scantily clad women appearing from behind the signs. The signs themselves were photographed on Gran Canaria during a trip in January 2016. Much needed winter sun. A zigzag path opposite the hotel led to a rocky headland, a lighthouse and a favourite spot for suicides. It was a long, thoughtful journey to the rocks below. A small memorial of painted stones marked the spot near to where those brave unhappy souls had taken their final step of faith into the unknown: Nayra, Saul, Alberto.

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Just names on the parched volcanic ground to me but to someone else a loved one – brother, sister – boyfriend, girlfriend. The bottle of beer reminded me of Jim Morrison’s grave in Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris. Perhaps an anniversary gift and one for the road. The heat of Gran Canaria in January seems an ocean of time away and I look now towards my two month summer trip to the States which starts on the 25th July. Searching for Avalon maybe.