14 December 2010

Tuesday Poem: Accountant


He went up the Murrumbidgee for the GST
helping drovers, helping contractors
learn to welcome change.

North of Wagga Wagga
there was a woman. Her brothers,
big men all, found out

and ran him out of town.
Lost for words, he drifted west by north
until the desert took him in.

Six months later, caked in dust,
he hitched a ride from Hawker Gate.
He downed a beer

to wash the silence from his throat.
"Mate!" he said, and "Thanks."
They dropped him off in Narromine

where drought drove farmers from the land.
He helped them straighten their affairs
then went to ground in Sydney

where he checks the weather daily,
watching the western horizon
for the tongues of fire and sand.

Tim says: "Accountant" was first published in Bravado Issue 7 (2006). Anyone who's read "Rat Up A Drainpipe" in my short story collection "Transported" will recognise the basic storyline - this is how I treated it as poetry.

When Goods and Services Tax, referred to as "GST" in New Zealand and "the GST" in Australia, was introduced in Australia in 2000, it was reported that a number of New Zealand accountants, already familiar with its operation, crossed the Tasman to help Australian companies come to terms with it.

You can read all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog.


AJ Ponder said...

I do love the "tongues of fire and sand"

Madeleine Marie Slavick said...

yes, i also love the close of the poem, and thanks also for the little commentary, useful for me -m

Helen Lowe said...

I like this poetic take on "The Rat Up A Drainpipe" short story--both work excellently in their respective forms.

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Alicia, Madeleine and Helen. I am glad you enjoyed it.

I'm sorry I haven't been very active over the past couple of weeks, in replying, commenting on Tuesday Poems etc - I have a couple of short story deadlines I'm trying to meet before Christmas, and in addition, things have got really busy at work - so, until all that's out of the way (maybe by next Tuesday?), I won't be as present as I'd like.