Sojourn's Respect


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Sojourn’s Respect

Victoria’s Pyrenees by degrees at a remove from strict coordinates,
the weather for a Saturday befitting higher climes and rhymes of the loose-limbed advocates;
for tracing a legacy to uphold and flag future windfalls.
Regional trendsetting to attract big city dwellers surge 
as winter frolics to splurge and escape the rat race,
only to discover that it’s wall to wall festival throng.
A binge to mingle at the mining exchange and tipple the light wine-dango, in fear of a stagger and fall.
Up against prestige cars gracing the slabbed floor heated to implore
removal of outer layers, if only room is found at the inn of the counter-intuitive hospitality hung up to waylay connoisseurs granted exemptions to coin garrulous phrases of appreciation, really only a drop in the ocean.
Of ‘greedy reds’ and ‘sneaky whites’ and why is the cab franc doing so well – to serve popular vote or support terroir regimes?
Smiles galore, or so it seems, as a lead to golden backgrounds
Capped at the margins of feverish displays of consumption.
When the town hall mocks at leisure, it’s time to wind you up and pay
lip service to any sunset clause open to expectation, and remain true 
in spirit to the cause and stay, enough is enough.
So take your leave with laden saddle bags of promise to restore
and mosey on up to prospects booked in accord with the getaway;
miner’s tavern where hope and hops spring eternal and sustenance raises the bar.
The football comes to town in advance of an ominous forecast to taste,
TV in pride of place on the walls to whip up support and overlook the case for and against itself in favour of a ratings coup.
A home and away game to host two clubs from the big smoke 
on the morrow to suck from the maw of cross-promotion 
a win-win outpouring of devotion, no tongue in cheek intended to dispute the bulldogs’ coming to the party.
Instead, this party of two settles in to convince themselves 
they still have what it takes to man up and embrace the odds, 
of themselves, no forgone conclusion too far gone to avoid an upset thrashing of amour proper, over the potpourri of ‘you’ and ‘me’ or ‘us’ and ‘them’.
They while away the reservation over another sampling, 
this time in glasses half full, and their convivial company of choice selection to reflect personality on a plate – 
pasta for her and a roast meat for him (“just needed more mustard and gravy”) - to absorb the saturated infliction of their fancy.
Onward and upward to explore the ultimatum of a dance floor 
and quartet set apart from the cordon of curious eyes 
at sanction’s shared table,
13 comported bottles up against the wall on the promise 
that they are designated luggage bound for home.
Table for eight quite sedate comprising sojourners including the intrepid
duo from down south, blow-ins from France and retirees from Bendigo,
decked out in rock and roll glad rags to revisit the Lindy hop in crepe 
soled creepers and jeepers sneakers beneath petticoated flounce,
for bounce and pleated movers & shakers cuffed to restore confidence
in carefree moxie adapted for town and country, bowling alley or prom.
A couple in and out of time so effortlessly evocative to trace the steps
gracefully in synch with an era’s recall on display to sway 
even the most cynical naysayer reluctant to glide into view and reshuffle the old soft shoe,
when the strain of exuberance proves too much to hold and befalls 
in sweeping her off her feet cradled in his arms to pass out and rest,
beneath the folds of the starched white linen’s subversion. 
Courtesy rallies to turn the spotlight on the casualty, 
the band pulls the plug to refrain from further agitato of the airwaves 
and take five in the vein of the brew beck and call songbook to announce the ambulance is on its way.
Requests for updates circulate in the wake of overheated overtones
summon the paramedics in time to count in once more ,
with audience approval instrumental in exciting the pulse to take advice and sit the next one out;
embarrassed but content to relent and release concern from its orbit 
and entrust to calm observance of a dignified motion 
no disco ball could hope to shock, as her feet continue their stroll secure under the table.
The programme marches on as even reserves begin to fade on the curve
where least resistance is wed to much ado in staking provocation 
to harness potential’s claim for a polite excuse and take their leave 
to make weary tracks.
Laden with spoils, the convention to be placed at the mercy of a local knowledge to transport prospectors to their digs in temporary conviction of a patch, 
and lay them down to dream on a plan of history’s payday in coming home to toast,
the heyday state of being along for the ride with directions to impress
leaving nothing to chance but for idle conversation to reveal
the throwaway line that you’ve gotten in the “wrong fucking cab”.
Blame it on good humour on the part of the driver in return
for mistaken identity,
in thinking her a he and greeting with a right of reply not so much 
as a how’s your father, but an irrefutable “g’day mate” to earn.

Michael Haward.

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