32 | Poetry by PS Cottier, Poetry Editor at The Canberra Times & Australian Horror Writers Awards Finalist
Editor’s Note: PS wanted to be sure that the meaning of “barbie” (a barbecue/barbeque, noun; or, to barbecue/barbeque, verb) was clear to non-Australian folks. Let me tell you, I for one knew! Thanks to Australian actor Paul Hogan of Crocodile Dundee movie fame having utterly monopolized US commercial airtime during my childhood with his cheerful and memorable line, “Throw another shrimp on the barbie, mate!”
Out of step, 1969
I never understood the excitement
when that man stepped on the moon.
My parents watched, spellbound,
but I had known Spock and Kirk,
and travelled far beyond that familiar,
pox-faced lump. Had they forgotten
that all you needed was a call-box,
a companion, an English accent,
and you could tumble into the future?
Or that warp-speed was really a thing?
I knew that sneaky aliens walked among us,
their enormous ships securely buried,
but ready to fire up, unstoppable,
certain as any weekend barbie.
Later, underawed, I went off to bed,
and had solid dreams of Daleks,
unaccountably wrangled by Uhura
in far-flung, star-rich, space and time.
Far more real than that smudgy image
of a man climbing down a ladder,
clumsy as a classmate’s drunken Dad
dressed as Santa for a Christmas lark.