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 Originally from Bombala, NSW, Michael Farrell is a Melbourne-based poet, with a collage practice which can be seen on instagram @limechax. Googlecholia is out now from Giramondo. 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 25 May 202326 May 2023 · Main Posts The ‘Chinese question’ and colonial capitalism in New Gold Mountain Christy Tan SBS’s New Gold Mountain sets out to recover the history of the Gold Rush from the marginalised perspective of Chinese settlers but instead reinforces the erasure of Indigenous sovereignty. Although celebrated for its multilingual script and diverse representation, the mini-TV series ignores how the settlement of Chinese migrants and their recruitment into colonial capitalism consolidates the ongoing displacement of First Nations peoples. First published in Overland Issue 228 23 February 202324 February 2023 · Writing From work to text, and back again: ChatGPT and the (new) death of the author Rob Horning Generative models extinguish the dream that Barthes’s Death of the Author articulates by fulfilling it. Their ‘tissue of signs’ seems less like revolution and more like the fear that AI will create a recursive postmodern nightmare world of perpetual sameness that we will all accept because we no longer remember otherwise or how to create an alternative.