Nullarbor Song

Stream of consciousness words written on the Indian Pacific travelling across the Nullarbor Plain in Australia whilst having the jazz classic Bitches Brew by Miles Davis on heavy rotation, along with his other works Big Fun, Live Evil & On the Corner. The journey began in Perth, Western Australia taking in stops at Kalgoorlie and Cook along the way before arriving two days later in Adelaide, South Australia.

Guess Nullarbor Song has in mind the original inhabitants of the land of Australia, those peoples who had lived there for over 60,000 years and seamlessly blended in with its foreboding environment, who knew its dangers and wonders intimately. Made it a sacred landscape. Sure it also touches upon the activities of those people who have been in command of things for just over the last 200 years – the white man – but it most certainly does not seek to elevate their relentless exploitation of Australia’s natural resources, something which has been undertaken with unceasing greed and vigour. No, Nullarbor Song is not for them; let them stay in their mansions, let them fly above us in the private planes and corporate jets, let them sail around the continent in their luxury yachts and eventually at the end of their lives let them go far, far away from us.

land of the empty bowls
on a curve side track
unknown hills of the once holy
days of the graze
how did this land ever get to be?
ancient perplexity
perplexity of the ancients
in the settin’ sun
sandy soil
multi-coloured earth foil
bush scrub blue
in a church less land
no religion
no junk

not much in the way
of complication
slate wiped clean
different journeys
to arrive in cities
but the cities aren’t there
land too old, land too young
in a cross conglomeration
of strangeness
for us to ever be
more than
window watchin’
for people, humans
but there are none
to see –
skeleton invisibility

slowly gettin’ used
to this way of writin’
dream tracks
that follow no pattern
no obvious pathways
as the words just come
do they make sense?
read easy?
jus’ dunno
will have to see…
words held up to my face

highways on their way
to somewhere
but the somewhere is just a speck
just a speck headin’ east
on a curve beat swing way
where we just wanna see
the usual vocabulary faded
pipeline roadways –
either the end of the world
or the birth of
a superior humanity
what is it gonna be?

tree shapes unfamiliar
a cross-reference into a
big fat nuthin’
forkin’ outwards
to a split horizon
circuits in symphony
multiplied into nuthin’
birds flyin’ free
to the rumble of appearances
i never expected to see

tree dotted plains
earth red
song circuits
song circuits on
twisted river tracks
dry as the sky is blue
dream deeper
go further still
into this earth
of no reference
to say it is beautiful
is not to even begin to describe it
never gonna be able to catch it
earth it
escape it
so i will just roll along
submerged in the scenery
outer tree stations
on cut shape horizons
signals of the haze trick
deity incredible

from an order of imagination
in all that is perfect

light – like a bird flyin’
from off a pole
beyond the pale
swingin’ along
above the grassland scrub
rust farm homes
of the few and hardy
come back to it
again and again
there is no disturbance
all past experiences
have the feelin’ of centuries
freed into outer space
implanted upon them

familiar country
but the landscape here
is not like that
there is the ancient
now fused with the new
ancient land
where nuthin’ has changed
for millions of years
now suddenly
in the space of just a couple
of centuries
undergone huge transformations
not really, story of humanity
man to man
dog eat dog if you like
but the basic quest for survival
food in the belly
is fused in the belly
fused together in the light of day
spear to gun
gun to pop and the land won
cities will later rise
outta the dust here
of that you can be sure
future cities
come back in 1000 yrs
count the populations
dust risen
swingin’ along

ever changin’
always perfect
open immensity
sheep an’ trees
red soil
sandy dry rivers
and salt pools
all under sweeps of blue
sun rusted fences
demarcations of property
in a continuous land
of seeming nuthin’
overwhelmingly empty
anyway seems so to me
an opportunity
to paint the standin’ stations
and go trail river ridin’
in the land before god
any gods
thank god

no man in sight
railroad highway
straight dissection
single track
an awesome whack
solitary trees
bunches of trees
scrub hunches
bunched symphonies
in immensity bowls
of radio light

take it or leave it
must fall steady
or ya jus’ ain’t ready
the urge to write
hand combined
in the show of no force
so important
rollin’ along
that is all there is to it
all there has to be
cuttin’ out shapes
different directions
against trajectory
not best to do when
too far out of station
to create the right kinda
turn yer head around
try to describe
is tragedy overdrive
scrub pile bakin’
like meditatin’ inside out
on the road to ruin
without a doubt

faith is what you need
faith an’ prayers
glidin’ through this land
before god
solar illumination
expounds sun giant
profound grounds
of proper contemplation
where observation
is not some infestation
by the right an’ wrongs
of babble boys
and babble girls
dressed in their
burkha bible brained
bomb belts
fear smelted
by the graceless hand
of old time man –
what do you say
when all that is swept away?

red soil
map hanging down
directions to where?
land curved plain flat
at the same time
like ya jus’ have to
carry on with this
railroad writin’
doesn’t have to make sense does it?
rise and fall, comes an’ goes
words on the page
thoughts outta my head tumble…
clear blue sea sky
slowly fadin’ light
red earth illuminates
takes us to a different station

sunset jazz
sundown jazz
track rollin’ radio jazz
funky 60s jazz
when the drugs of experience
rumbled onto the land
of the never again
snapshot from
another time
can only be talkin’
‘bout miles
miles ahead
in ace black
trumpet visions

decades old
decades young
centuries too
old / young time
spun around
and inside out
in time out here
millennia are clearly
simply unmistakably
totem pole immensities
sealed in shinin’ symphony
of red earth dazzle
to the extremities of space
which we walk upon
as wrapped around the finger
of how it is to be
to which i am a stranger –
nonsense maybe
but these track rollin’
pretension prizes
are what you now see
comin’ outta me

when will it stop
when will it end
anytime ya want it to
ain’t nuthin’ fancy
about these
scribbles soon to disappear
easy as abc
plyin’ cycles
of hungry determination
deservedly won’t do
life can kill ya
fill ya full
an’ overspill ya
best to take things as they come
but sometimes
even that philosophy
of the tin pot
don’t stop me from feelin’
all at sea

what did i do?
what have i done?
stranger to me
is what you see
dunno those outer edges
inner fences
not always under the
constant observation
needed to diminish
that can only end in

train is rockin’
more than i thought it would
filled with more old people
than i would have ever thought possible
for a train to be filled with
journeys –
lookin’ for the crescent moon of new ideas
new thinkin’
to fall down from outta the sky
an’ into my lap
but somehow i jus’ don’t think
it is gonna happen
anytime soon…
nuthin’ is gifted
you only get what you
are able to have in life
from outta yer own
in diggin’ out
invisible infinities
so i jus’ try to keep my
mind in equilibrium
accept the situation
as all is certain
as all is as it is meant to be
there are no mistakes in life
as some people say and yes bob
it is true sometimes
that you can see it that way

takin’ the motion
outta hand
sending the tanks in
onto a tankless land
is senseless
and here i was
wantin’ to sneak down the alley
of complete an’ utter
before those hangman dreams
finally get me
what do i do
when i don’t think i
can make sense no more?
skeleton you
skeleton me
our bones wrapped
in spirit flag
cacophonies of
immortality –
how could it
ever not be?
yeah, could do that
the outer hand motion
but i don’t have to shut up
if i don’t wanna
‘coz i ain’t speakin’
to no one but me see
so if i wanna go on talkin’
then i am free

free to talk about
the red birds flyin’
low across these open plains
for a million years
down here
there has been a river
but these are now the
dust trail times
and all that you
can now see
are the sand-shape
territory testaments
to the vast inconceivable
aspects of this land
terr to the e-v-e-r-y
wanna leave tracks?
these are my tracks
no one will
read ‘em believe ‘em
but me
…hastily written down
in the middle of nowhere
on a straight dissection
of an awesome whack

symphony punch back
so easy for things to turn
outta key
what began as beautiful
in the mornin’ sun
ends up turnin’ into a
teatime tragedy

they were the better times in which to live
so say the people who are now old
decades of livin’ behind ‘em
though they still want more
and are prepared to put themselves
above others with curses
of compromised humanity
to get what they want
by no means uncommon
such infantilism
is so sad to see

too much time
spent livin’
keepin’ my mouth shut
when i should have spoken
shadow doubts
now close in on me
from not makin’
those crucial decisions
when the winds were still
in my mind sails
to cut an’ run
now i only sit an stare
at the moon
thinkin’ it fancy
thinkin’ it is gonna deliver me
from the mundane monotony
that is the shape of things to come

seams of threads
used to think
it should all make sense
now I just chose
to sit an’ gaze
upon this desert
wrap arounds
on the plains of nowhere
of impeccability
in the city struck
imagination pools
in which i swim
the hidin’ hounds
of the concentrated
that all roads out there
lead to the one
into me

who is to say
what anything means?
those that adjudicate?
those who are commemorated
long after their sunrise / sunset
has come and gone?
me i follow the
pipeline of the light
straight as it comes
take the spine tank
cowboy lasso trail
into the bushy grasslands
bushes in which are hidin’
petroleum predestinations
of immensity
telegraph wires
stretched to all points
on the compass
water pools
in oceans flowin’ green
ridin’ those sun breezes
of continental vastness
out manoeuvred
by their own beauty
indescribable –
all of this i can see
but how i put it down
is wasted validity
an’ these compounded words
are the pale witness
to earthquakes
of a mind
deliriously cravin’

slept the light of a sleep
that you only get
on the plains of mystery
lands of flatness
woke to mist on the railway
no sign of humanity
other than the tracks
we be travellin’ on
no animals
no birds
just scrub
the good god scrub
of a church less land
mile upon mile
to that tree in the distance

flat white sky
sun ball round
silver perfect to the east
smile and burn
soon it will turn
the mornin’ mist away
then back to the blue
summary heat
in scenery sheets
gazin’ upon lands stretched
to the far horizons
all is empty
emptier if possible
than should ever be

12 hours ago
when the day rolled around
into night
the plains disappeared
and we only had these people
on the train for company
– old timers
chime buddies
shadow punchin’
who have lived most of their time
in the last century
wobblin’ round
slowly they talk to each other
and not to me –
just how it should be
so 21st century

dots on the horizon
plenty of nuthin’ to see
empty sweeps
rocks in the open
red stretched soil tracks
low lyin’cloud
made for the days of bounty
when that mythological hunter
who only ever did exist
in the depths of my imagination
side collided
and super-sized
into the strange idea
that all of this was
alien implanted and
exactly as it was meant to be

trees the size of bushes
scrunch punched
low upon the territory
rocks casually strewn like sin
upon the open spin
how they ever got here
who will ever know?
it is a mystery to me
need to ask those
who have the knowledge
of the rise an’ fall
of this planet formation
and disintegration
need to sit with them
ride their waves
of explanation
but first i have to fly
to find them high
up in the sky

place names
here mean little
more than nuthin’
because they
are nuthin’
points on the line
dots on the track
dustbowl pins
stakes in the open
where in the land
of nowhere to be seen
a broken fence is a form
of celebration

clouds floatin’
seas of them
above the plains
in shadow pool
banked stacked
over twenty deep
in air terraces
turned inside out

rusted drums
left to stand
around every
coupla miles
oil drums
drummed out
side fallen
in symphony
with the rocks
and stunted trees
punch bunched
on the empty
drums of rust

radio jazz
railroad jive
slight sense of
from radio jazz
playin’ to the nation
horizon shuffle
engine tug
pullin’ us along
but lest we forget
out here there is
no destination
time curved
soil packed
red to the limits
of how far the eye can see
premonitory dreams
fresh as milk
where there is no adulteration
are booked for me

rock collapse
swing darlings
millions of years
in perpetuation
their atomic crunch
denser in station
than plasma of suns
tiny mimics
though they are
of those mighty
solar pumps
signpost infatuation
or however you wish
to describe the
cosmic carpentry
with all its inconceivable
complex mathematical
quite acceptable
if the right equation
is part of your

beautiful lonely cloud
your tracks will
only last for so long
and then they will
be gone like jazz
faded waves
no memory traces
tears which will one day
rain down and ruin
the carnival
are your babies
deep in the middle
of mystery places

weather changin’
something new
land water air
these heavenly horizons
punched back
as far as i can see
space on earth
here we can
stand the stretchin’
to the southern dream
as bells ring empty
to contemplate
and pull apart
the bars of the heart

diggin’ in
open out
down an’ down
circling deep
power punched
hand of man
precious cargo
pulled back up
particle prize
gold shake
but immense crust
is the price

powder puff stuff
day in day out
signals fried
far away
from any other
kinda country
in cowboy stretch
run to the coast
12 hr time bubble
highway ridin’
road house / road horse
spine tanked
then you rest

country bop
railroad radio
land – pancake flat
makes me wanna
start imaginin’
how far ya have ta go
to reach new territory
turn yer head north
put one foot in front
of the other
an’ start walkin’
eventually for sure
you will arrive
at those rocks
worth of currency
for any population
but how far?

fires under stars
in spiral climbs
special times
when the moon is right
in its turnin’
an’ we are waitin’
for the knowledge
of how it all rides
to fall from outta the sky
an’ hit the crust
bounce in the dust
to be picked up
without any fuss
by a worthy claimant
but ya know
that kinda show
was many years ago
if ever in fact
maybe jus’ my

rigours of the train
shake an’ shuffle
ridin’ through terrain
with not much to see
if your sight is ordinary
otherwise there is plenty
finer details can please
more than you ever thought
possible before
makin’ sense outta lands
of little sensory
apart from –
low clouds flyin’
across an uncontrollably
vast and empty sky
shadow pools upon the
earth beneath them

signs of activity
are what you wish for
but the action lies
in another sense
big time action
planet shifts
take millennia
of cycle shreds
as we roll
onto another
turn of the mighty
earth wheel
terrestrial space rock
again and again
on and on
and so it shall be
until big brother sun
eventually goes pop
but no need
to attempt to
the as and when
of such events as that
way too big
as they are for
flesh an’ bone
to decipher
without goin’
round the bend
fenced as we are
we are not meant to

abandoned town
people gone
nuthin’ to sustain
their remainin’
dust tracks
spin away
leadin’ into nuthin’
big fat nuthin’
when dust settles
only the breeze
for company
in the afternoons
played out
over an’ over again
shapes in the distance
indicate nuthin’
but haze illusion
tricks of the light
sleights of hand
like magical cockatoos
of the south lands
rollin’ away
to painted nowhere
in geomantic

stones all around –
rolled here
from god knows where
only god don’t know
for this land was here
long before those
snake shuffle
human philosophies
came on the scene
hungry in their craziness
diseased they were
with physic imbalance
indicative of the terror
of terrestrial
with no seeming
for the scenery curves
and seasonal pulses
that devastate
and re-create in
equal measure
yes, before those
snake shufflers
all this was still here

shufflin’ along
day after day
collectin’ thoughts
tryin’ to make ‘em pretty
do i succeed?
who do i tell?
these random circuits
like abandoned cars
an’ dust pile gazin’
starin’ at the great unknown
these are the things
my mind comprises
with the promise
of no compromise
anytime soon

join the places
dot to dot
lines on empty
plains of nuthin’
plenty of empty
rock upon rock
too much here
to know what is what
rocks in heaps
single rocks
rocks like sheep
with pure breezes
from the east
rollin’ in –
winds on face
and wisdom fires
whip those rocks

100 K
in any direction
bearings without
are not possible
dangerous too
but keep dreamin’
keep believin’
in those sacred rocks
lyin’ further up
deep inside
far to ride
through this big country
mundane minds
to their power
but stray from the path
is big peril
and no peril needed
enough already
if ya slip up
the result will be

purple flower patches
close to the tracks
by the sidings
scrub bunches
pointed perfectly
and solitary trees
movin’ against
the wide horizon
artillery bushes
struck on the plain
and green green grasses
these are the things
that i see

this place – so removed
from what i am used to
the returning will be
a mighty shock
not really
exaggeration is a
family legacy
unwanted voodoo
in the bloodline
but seriously
it will be a tragedy
to say goodbye
to this world of
empty possibilities

jazz in my ears
dark jazz
pulse jazz
the best jazz
there will ever be
monuments of sound
in magic elastic
uncontrived complexity
waves to ride
they keep on comin’
spin me round
back to ground
plain gazin’
for signs
down the track
snap after snap
no goin’ back
ain’t never seen nuthin’
quite so pretty
sun slowly settin’
way out west
as we ride east
into the blue
the deeper blue
of evening sky
moon sky
swoon shadow depths
the plain now trees
popped up outta
red soils
red as red
can be

sunset city
down the line
but it ain’t really there
just a straight dissection
down the tracks
out in front and
to our backs –
relentless nuthin’
slowly endin’
slightly bendin’
into lands of
stunted trees
on red soil stacks
power graded
in symbiotic
think i need
a cup of tea

more land
sunlight cast
by an unseen hand
if i could i would
kiss it
such is the beauty
of what i see

peoples’ voices
outside my cabin door
sound like the same
voices as ever before
just as it appears to me
the scene outside
in symmetry
no way of tellin’
when this show is
gonna be goin’
maybe hints an’
will soon appear
but funny how
it will always
have to be
even when it feels
like eternity

horn blown jazz
confession jazz
better than Confucius
on its day
miles –
miles behind
miles ahead
double drum
trouble tread
hope enough
to wake the weary
but Babylon
is a place where
the sleep is deep
dirty mean
and downright
only say so much
then trip back
to your own
hey wow far out
‘coz people don’t like us
no one likes us
spikeheads that we are
to consciousness
no one likes us
to come upon them
miles away
and now miles is dead

only so much puff
left in me now
take the back roads
one day
onto the plain
into the scrub
again an’ again
never would be possible
to run outta
no places to go to
cardinal blandness maybe
but instead of nuthin’
there is everything
as horizons shift
from rollin’ along
to little bits
little pieces
testaments to territories
mirrored in sameness
yet different
with barely a tree
between them
and on the edges
by the roadside
but not here
no, nuthin’ here
only bushes scrub
soil red enlisted
until sun punched
into desolate beauty

night ridin’
super collide
thoughts from inside
back to nuthin’
onto the plain
in moonlight
faint south
extraordinary configurations
lines to somewhere
single tracks
meet upon the
acoustic horizon
gone lunar goodnight

shuffle ride
high collide
rollin’ on
another station
seen so much
seen so little
hard to say
what it was
to find the words
in which to say
illuminated celebration

great vision of cities here
on this plain
1000 yrs to come
empty visions
probabilities plucked
empty pretty
and so they gotta be
unless the
mineral crunch
digs around
makes it less of nuthin’
but kills the crust

holed up in some station
sleep now gone
berth hot
and outside
sounds like steam pumps
and the neon
would make it cruel
to pull up the blinds
hibernation safer
station to station
last throw of the dice
for these plain ride writings
sittin’ on the bunk
aboard the lunar terrific
that has now gone
trails, traces
god knows what…
never suggested
they were supposed to have
any kinda destination
just squiggles
and the occasional dot
sense twisted
i kid you not

Here ends Nullarbor Song.

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