Published in Overland Issue 202 Autumn 2011 Main Posts / Writing The Influence of Lorca in the Outback Michael Farrell Where they once ate camel grease (and before that I don’t know), they now eat moon butter. Where they once drank electric guitar (and sometimes acoustic guitar) they now drink lightning. They talk about the Spanish Civil War as if it happened just around there, just over there. The Outback’s too large a temple for a Christ. They’re always writing poems about the hot snow of suffering – or odes to roosters. These are the reports we hear. They go looking for bones to talk to, like Lorca was a character in Hamlet. Of course, it could just be a living analogy: a clinamen in attempts at Indigenous and European reconciliation. At one school in South Australia, the girls were so taken with the House of Bernarda Alba that it became a cult, enacted day and night, its themes and narrative infecting the girls’ mothers and other women. There was much wearing of black (or green, with straw) of stylised repressive and rebellious gesture (but mercifully no shooting). It’s said that elderly Aboriginal women would suddenly run into the street saying they wanted to be married and have lots of children. The play had become a feminist masque, and spread across state borders. In one town in New South Wales the whole male population donned Southern European mourning drag in order to not be left out. But this attracted too much media, and the women all went into the hills until the men put their jeans back on. The many graves of Lorca scattered throughout the desert and in oblique spots on towns’ outskirts have become shared sacred places. Even in the cities it’s known the Outback is no monoculture; whispers have been heard of resistance, especially by men who find Lorca too feminine. It’s said that, here and there, the influence of Rimbaud is beginning to show. That the Paris Commune is referred to as a local moment; while many teenagers wear wrist bandages, and travel the continent on foot. Still others are living more reclusive lives in the style of Dickinson: collecting native flowers, wearing white, and making packets of poetry. Michael Farrell Michael Farrell's latest book is Family Trees (Giramondo), which includes 'Fiat In Turin', published in Overland 229. More by Michael Farrell 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. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 11 November 202211 November 2022 Main Posts On the last day of Subscriberthon, our amazing online editor gives you one last (very good) reason to subscribe Editorial team What's in store for the last day of Subscriberthon? First published in Overland Issue 228 10 November 202210 November 2022 Main Posts On the second-last day of Subscriberthon, our favourite editor-duo give you reason #1002 to subscribe to Overland Editorial team What's in store for the second-last day of Subscriberthon?