Crane Gazer


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Crane Gazer 

    Not a bad view at all.
Sitting pretty on top of the world.
Some might say, and I wouldn’t blame ‘em, that this was a cinch to win best alternative office space. Not that I’ve ever worked in an office, mind you.

This has been my scene for nearly 20 odd years, give or take a few when I worked on site, or actually on the scaffold rather than perched up here.
And I wouldn’t change it for quids.
Well maybe if I won lotto. You never know…

Dad was a labourer and then crane driver too.
Seems nowadays the term is ‘operator’, but I still reckon I drive the thing.
I spose I could be considered an expert in my field.
The training and accreditation all adds up to something.

Must admit that I’m glad I’m not that easily distracted.
That’s all part of the high risk work license, mind.
A view to a thrill if you’re a Bond nut, but I prefer the feeling
of a job well done, preferably without any casualties.

I have to say the development in this city is at an all-time high.
All around me dotting the skyline are the arms of progress,
dipping in polite consideration of potential and raising the odds
of success based on boom and bust, a kind of robust dialogue.

That’s where the union is a must.
I’m CFMEU all the way. Use to be the old BLF in dad’s day.
‘Dare to struggle, dare to win’ was their motto – sounds like a Rose Tattoo song.
You can take your pick between it and ‘if provoked we will strike’. Sounds like a snake.

But, still, I do believe that ‘workers united will never be defeated.’
Nothing militant about that. Just decent common sense to band together.
Protect our rights. I spose I am Labor through and through.
You know, a fair go. That’s the deal. Not that’s it’s always done.

Sometimes it takes one of those Eureka moments.
Seems kinda logical that our flag is named after the place
where miners fought for justice and were willing to die for the cause.
Pause for thought, that. Although this structure’s gonna overshadow any stockade.

Under the southern cross. Crux Australis. We fly our colours proudly.
Not that I get to appreciate the stars from this vantage point.
Well and truly knocked off. Me for tea, not by design.
You can’t misappropriate the universe when it’s on your side, anyway.

That’s bleedin’ obvious. The crux of the matter when you look at it,
I feel like I’m the one being watched. CBD towers abound with big looking glass windows. Depends on the sun, but I reckon there’s a regular across the way every lunchtime when it catches their ID and I squint to make out their appetite for construction.

It’s not like there aren’t any idle moments for reflection. Can’t let the concentration lapse though, the cramped cabin makes it necessary to frequently readjust my focus and trust that I’ve enough piss bottle not to overflow or that the deck’s emergency bucket is secure.
Valuable hook time equals years of conditioning the body to a pre-climb number crunch.

As for lunch, I have my thermos and pail. Reminds me of those old photos of derring-do men balancing on steel beams hundreds of feet vertical without any safety harness.
While our standards are highly visible you still have your own superstitions in the way you do yourself up and recall an instant between knowing what’s left from right and wrong.

I had a visitor one day. 
Would you believe it? A flamin’ wedge-tailed eagle!
Some place to roost. Staring straight at me as if, or was it through me, on no account that I am a constant. Reminds me of that big carving of a spirit bird currently watching over more docklands expansion. Bunjil’s his name.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard of the Dreamtime and all that, but imagine taking a bungee jump from a rig like mine. 
Reckon they’d have to be purpose built, but you could never rule it out. Wouldn’t wanna be afraid of heights. Vertigo, I think it’s called. 
Don’t quote me on it.
Maybe it’s one of them ‘phobia’ words. Either way, the horizon’s not a perfect rule of thumb.

Strong wind’s a nightmare. Case in point a jib that’s not fixed to ride through the night risks ending up a twisted Meccano set come sunrise and a stop work call to clear the pile’s jibe, before we have to put to right the damage done at the mercy of nature to defy to its face gravity’s hold and leave behind a trace of sheer-sheeted audacity for a future wrecking ball.

Michael Haward.

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