Saturday, November 22, 2008

Magritte & my father

Series Magritte #35

The Liberator

I have always thought
of the subject as
Italian. The patriarch of
a transported family, sugar
cane growers in North
Queensland, the first here,
able to speak a little
English, his wife far less
because she never mixed
outside the community. He
is a picture on the wall
or a watcher at the festival
parade, no breath left
to play the tuba in the
marching band, no longer
able to keep in step
with a step he never really
was in step with. Eyes
on an embellished past as a
diminishing present passes by.


I see echoes of my father
also. Non-Italian. Freemason.
The attache case with the regalia
hidden inside, the pearled
candelabra reminding me
of jewels & embroidered
aprons. He never talked to me
about it. I never asked. He
never talked because I didn’t
ask. I never asked because
he never talked about it. Round
& round. We never came close.


Never a liberator. Quite
the reverse. A tight hold
on the family. Rationed
freedom. We escaped by
becoming birds or keys or
pipes or wineglasses. Every-
day objects that could always
be replaced. He never
noticed. The space inside
the outline is as it has always
been, a shadow of himself, how
he’d always seen us. The
eyes in the pearled lorgnette
are mother’s eyes. She is
held tightly. A second cane.

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