What’s a nice girl like you – Queensland Police 1977

Eventually, I am going to properly explain what’s going on with my mass murder ballad problem at the moment, but of late there has been so much research and thinking and strangeness and what did I just watch… and well, this one came along. I have to say I watched it with so much sadness and weirdness and kitschness and lameness and horror. Eventually, you are on the internet long enough and things just make sense.

You were warned
You, Cathy. You, Julie.

Blue and starched, at first I thought
they were to rape you, but we turned that magic
on its head. Delayed the inevitable.
I guess you only wanted
a bit of sun, a bit of surf, you’d never “had
any hassle”. Before.

It was a mother of a car, a bright
red ruby red red ruby.
You both got in.
Solicitous and brisk, he drove,
until there was a clear
piercing, bird-like shriek,
a flaying of back against the stubbled stone.
He departed with your friend.

Salved by the interminable rotary dial
(for the emergency) you called for help.
Callous and administrative, I couldn’t help
but wonder why “111” wasn’t emergency?
Some of us still remember how slow, the silliness
of the pock marked earpiece uncurling.
I suppose we assumed it wouldn’t happen.

They marshalled all the resources
every vehicle observing (until advised)
the body lain as sleeping beauty
the small working men mining for gold for prints
the wag of the dog the hub of the deal.
Who could anticipate that she would be badly
battered around the head,
that she’d had a good fight around here, and
just how many men would follow suit
to stare to snap to get in line
to attend her.

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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