Cloudland – John Bradley

Pile of rubble
wood that would be walls
scattered remains
architecture no longer evident
an ultimate Armageddon of confusion
point of elevation for aircraft
meeting place of ballroom dancers
of casual acquaintanceship
now gone
in variegated light
a monumental landmark
of discordant colours
sunrise sunset
stark white at midday
endowed instead with sumptuous curves
an unavoidable attraction
on an otherwise featureless landscape
grounded groundless

you still draw me close to you
with your soft young body
green satin skirt and twin set
my own Gigi
muted music soft lights
spinning silver ball
the magic of each other
through solo trumpeter’s lips
in our ears
all the hard questions had been posed

where do you live
not Sandgate or Oxley
there was little time in the Tap
Gypsy Tap
to firm a relationship
Bardon was a vigorous hike
to my swampy home
on the mouth of this river delta
but the tram trip was worth it
for a peck on the cheek
and the warm clasping of your hand

a pile of rubble
they have numbered all my bones
exposed the flatness of the hill
for what it is
the basic rock
a resting place
for future rubble
on this civilized tell


Author’s Note:

“Cloudland” was the central ballroom for Brisbane and featured in the lives of thousands of Brisbanites.
It was famous for its big bands during the age of “swing” and was instrumental in its introduction of all dance styles to an otherwise conservative population. In 1982, during the dark period of Jelke-Peterson, the Deen brothers destroyed it in the dark of night. Brisbane woke to find it was gone. Other monuments of architectural significance and cultural value disappeared during that period as well. I went up with others and wandered through the rubble.
It was the longest period of civil unrest this state has ever known. The poem is a metaphor of personal destruction.