tonight, I'm all over the place, doing five things at once, just like
                        Jean Cocteau


If you're concerned, annoyed or angered by the recent changes at Australia's multicultural public broadcasting service, SBS (especially the changes to the tv news, commercials interrupting programs, the risible excuse for a weekly movie review and so on) register your opposition by signing the petition.


Yesterday I put the old hail-dinged 1994 Daihatsu in for a service and oil-and-grease at a country garage with a dark interior and nicely imperfect, handyman-built wooden storage shelves. A few cars were parked in a dusty, ditch-pocked gravel yard under a couple of dried-out trees. The two mechanics, in black overalls, were leaning into the engine of a big truck. I thought of Elizabeth Bishop’s classic poem -

   Filling Station

   Oh, but it is dirty!
   - this little filling station,
   oil-soaked, oil-permeated
   to a disturbing, over-all
   black translucency.
   Be careful with that match!

   Father wears a dirty,
   oil-soaked monkey suit
   that cuts him under the arms,
   and several quick and saucy
   and greasy sons assist him
   (it's a family filling station),
   all quite thoroughly dirty.

   Do they live in the station?
   It has a cement porch
   behind the pumps, and on it
   a set of crushed and grease-
   impregnated wickerwork;
   on the wicker sofa
   a dirty dog, quite comfy.

   Some comic books provide
   the only note of color -
   of certain color. They lie
   upon a big dim doily
   draping a taboret
   (part of the set), beside
   a big hirsute begonia.

   Why the extraneous plant?
   Why the taboret?
   Why, oh why, the doily?
   (Embroidered in daisy stitch
   with marguerites, I think,
   and heavy with gray crochet.)

   Somebody embroidered the doily.
   Somebody waters the plant,
   or oils it, maybe. Somebody
   arranges the rows of cans
   so that they softly say:

   to high-strung automobiles.
   Somebody loves us all.

                             Elizabeth Bishop

I once lent my copy of Elizabeth Bishop's Geography III to someone and I never saw it again. Borrower, are you out there ?