Miles Away
by Geoff Goodfellow (from Poems for a Dead Father)

I remember my feet
on the cold kitchen lino
that morning
a teenager with
bumfluff & pimples
i was leaning over
the kitchen table
most of its red & white
marbled laminex top
covered in the morning

as i stood above it all
i read there was a war
in the jungles of Vietnam
& they were sending Aussies

Vietnam I thought
Vietnam . . .
where the hell is Vietnam

& i found The Jacaranda Atlas
from school
Vietnam  i kept thinking –
it must be next to Queensland
but it wasn’t

it took a while but i did
find it
it was on page 75 –
& it was miles away

as i stared at the map
i thought about the madness
the old man lived with
& how he served
in the Middle East

i thought about the madness
uncle Bronte lived with
how he served
in New Guinea

i thought about the madness
cousin Neville lived with
how he served
in Korea

Vietnam  i thought
Vietnam . . .
& I knew then
I knew then i was going –

Geoff Goodfellow is an Australian poet who lives in Adelaide. He has been writing poetry for over 30 years and published 10 books of poetry.  His most recent collection Waltzing with Jack Dancer: a slow dance with cancer  is a record of his survival from throat cancer

His poems detail the lives of ordinary everyday people whose lives are overlooked and forgotten, including those who occupy the margins of Australian society. These are the voices of people often not found in contemporary Australian poetry and literature.

He has also written and read poems for trade unions.

An article on Geoff Goodfellow from the Age is here.

His website is here.