By | 1 September 2023

A tribute track for the Topp Twins

nobody can be afraid of you if you are good enough at yodelling
they will be too perplexed by those mesmeric ululations
to scorn the shaggy mullets traditional to our people
the flannel check and denim and the hankies that dangle
from the back pockets of the country’s best-beloved bumpkins
line-dancing over a stage strewn with camping detritus
to lead us yeehawing into the century of the cowgirl…
Belle and Belle and Ken and Ken
hand in hand on the picket line,
untouchable, touchable, we burn easily
but we are bloody gorgeous
parading in our many splendid genders,
fondly parodic as the rural tearooms’ toilet signage
of cartoon sheep in striped ties or polka-dot frocks:
ewes, rams, mixed flock…
the fringes swish on our wedding-satin western shirts
as we romp through a country of treacherous nostalgia,
the rose-tinted redneck fantasy
gentling the herd to trot along with us,
drag kings chugging stubbies
with the shearing gang at Showgirls…
sweating under stick-on moustaches
while awarding the A&P show cup for best bull
as rodeo boys in wrangler jeans
make out behind the bales of hay…
there sure seems a lot of us are turning out this way…

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