... I don't know just where I am. Am I in the public bar at Maiden's Hotel, Menindee, watching a TV upon which is Doris Lessing looking grumpy about getting the Nobel prize? Or am I in the dining room next door examining a brick from the original hotel upon which someone has painted a view of the hotel in which there is a brick upon which someone has painted a view of the hotel ... ? Or wandering down Emerald Street in South Melbourne looking for real clues to the fictional Cody's Boarding House that I wrote was here? Why do I keep thinking I am at the heart of the oneiric pantopticon that once stood where the old Darlinghurst Gaol is now? (You can see it, the panopticon, in a view of old Sydney Town in a show now on at the Museum of Sydney.) Maybe I'm standing at Dost Mohamed's grave out on the lonely plains where he used to pray, with the two tombstones, one old and faded and beautifully unreadable, the other a brand-new slab with the identical letters cut incisively into it. Or on top of the slag heap that over looks, looks over the Victorian-Colonial town of Broken Hill. (They'll mine that slag heap again one day, for sure. Even if they have to take down the Miners Memorial to do it.) Or perhaps I'm at the bottom of Myall Street, Balranald, on the banks of the Murrumbidgee, gazing down at stars so deep in the depth of black water they are further away than ... the stars. Among the miniature mesas and buttes of the Gol Gol. In a cave on the rocky slopes of Mt. Hope where there used to be a still. Quietly watching purple swamp hens play in the reeds at a Darling bend. Or am I, like they say really, at a Punch & Judy Show on some corner in London Town about, oh, about 1821. Just as Punch persuades the Constable (played by John Howard) to put his own head in the noose. Sometimes ... I just don't know.

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