Allan Lake

Allan Lake

Allan Lake, originally from Saskatoon, Canada, has lived in Vancouver, Cape Breton Island, Ibiza, Tasmania, Western Australia and Melbourne. Lake has won Lost Tower Publications (UK) Comp, Melbourne Spoken Word Poetry Festival & publication in NewPhilosopher. Latest poetry chapbook (Ginninderra Press) ‘My Photos of Sicily’.

Twenty-Minute Documentary

I only know a few phrases of Italian,
being a stray Canadian at my partner’s
Uncle Lilo and Aunt Gina’s for big fam din.
Sicilian is another language and everyone’s
yelling in a combination of that and Italian
so I have no clue but there’s great food and
lots of love. I imagine how a filmmaker
might let cameras roll, select snippets, add
selected subtitles. A dozen adults, including
overseas relatives and half a dozen unruly kids
so no single conversation and TV is on noisy
cartoon channel at volume because it’s mealtime.
Throughout the 2-hour+ din we plough our way
through pasta, the fishy dishes, the salad and all
the side dishes. Super abundance, loud voices,
laughter. In English-speaking homes the volume
and gestures might be considered overacting
but in Sicily – IT’S ALWAYS THIS WAY!
Predictably, my amusement expires, numbness
sets in. Survival mechanism: I visualise a water-
fall I once saw on another continent, try to ‘be’
there but voices flood out my attempted flight
to tranquility (my stunned/glazed look would
work in the doco). Ball lands on dining table.
Kids blame each other, appeal to parents for
justice, arbitration. Such comedy, pathos and
pandamonium might win hearts at film fest
post surgical editing. I won’t detail the
irresistible sweets that, although art,
should have been resisted when
we were already more than full.
Admired then devoured. Cut
to shots of espresso then
lemoncello for adults
before long, loud,
loving good-

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Poetry in this post: © Allan Lake
Published with the permission of Allan Lake