Type
Article

Reincarnated Revolutionary Rastaman

by A. S. Patric

She has the voice of Nina Simone reincarnated into a Melbourne real-estate shark. She bends down, close to my neck, so that I can feel her words falling over me like a house of cards.

“You look,” she says, in the reggae rhythm of Rasta Man Chant, “like a fellow… in need… of a revolution.”

But she must have read that in someone else’s heart, because these days, all I’m hoping is for a little improvement in the weather, and that the days of singing for a reborn world will come again when I’m reincarnated as a bird or a bomb.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

AS Patric is the award-winning author of The Rattler & other stories (Spineless Wonders, 2011), Las Vegas for Vegans (Transit Lounge, 2012) and Bruno Kramzer (Finlay Lloyd, 2013).

More by

Comments

  1. Sometimes a person longs for something without realising it. Maybe that revolution will allow him to fly again without the need for reincarnation.

  2. You just lack inspiration, friend.

    I propose 9 changes to the conditions imposed by the state on the lost ones who get locked up in the Melbourne Custody Centre, AKA The Submarine.

    In no particular order:

    1. Prisoners must be allowed to make one free phone call each day they are incarcerated. When I was there last year, prisoners were permitted one phone call for the duration of their stay and it was made on their behalf by the Salvation Army.

    2. Prisoners who smoke must be given several free cigarettes a day and be allowed to smoke in a designated smoking room and/or be given several pieces of nicotine gum each day.

    3. The food must be as good as it is in prisons like the Melbourne Assessment Prison. This food could easily be prepared at The Map and transported to the custody centre.

    4. Prisoners must be allowed to watch films on DVDs in addition to TV shows, films like The Shawshank Redemption.

    5. Every prisoner must be allowed into their cells during the day. As things stand, prisoners are herded into one large cell reminiscent of the cylinder in Samuel Beckett’s The Lost Ones for each day’s duration. Some prisoners need a safer, more personal space.

    6. Prisoners must be given reading material other than the Herald Sun and religious texts.

    7. Prisoners must be allowed to view the sky at least once a day. It might be difficult to build a room or open area from which the sky can be viewed, but it’s not impossible.

    8. The cells must be air-conditioned (if they aren’t already).

    9. Heroin-addicted prisoners must be given methadone (if they aren’t already).

    Here’s a little poem I wrote in support of these changes. Written in the character of a crazed criminal who is not unlike the media and entertainment industry in that he’s impressed by a crazed criminal he’s describing who’s impressed by his own crazed criminality, I think it’s scary enough to scare any potential prisoner or critic susceptible to the thought that the custody centre wouldn’t be a terrible place if the changes were made. The banging is my character fondly recounting blows to an innocent committed by the main character and a Holy Shit!, but I suppose it could also be my character recounting blows to smash-proof glass.

    Stewed.

    Bang! Bang! Bang! BANG!

    Well, his wife can’t say he never rang,

    echoed the absence of the light of day,

    circled like a wolf around innocent prey

    and befitting a man fed a diet of dog food

    and the cult of celebrity cooks, stewed,

    said ”Fuck the Herald Sun!

    And fuck the fucking bible!

    They never made me

    feel the least bit tribal!

    I need nicotine,

    in gum if not tobacco!

    When I don’t get any I go

    WHACK! WHACK! WHACKO!”

  3. Thanks guys. Since it’s a fiction, I’m going to lay claim to the voice chanting Revolution as well as the more apathetic voice. For all of us that want radical social change there are these internal polarities. Perhaps it’s a question of how pessimistic you are, but if there’s as much apathy out there as I think, simply bringing up the idea of revolution is a revolutionary act, (albeit a very small one).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>