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ray, from redfern

Ray’s a writer, he says, and more often than not he’s sitting up at Doma with his head down writing lines in an exercise book, thickly-inked lines, pages of them looking like a long letter home from the trenches.

Ray’s a solid Koori bullet. He fought his way out of Redfern twenty years ago and by the look of the pits and gouges in his face it wasn’t an easy passage. But now he’s up here in the hills, lank-haired, unwashed, thick in neck and trunk, hands like weapons. But a writer. That’s what drew us together years ago, but getting a word in with Ray was never easy. He’s got too many of his own.

The day I found a fly-blown bandicoot ten days expired in the pool and a frilled-neck lizard dead on the porch Ray waved me down as I passed the local school where both my grandsons learnt to read and write.

He’d sold his home and the forested two acres surrounding it and was heading for somewhere closer to the ocean when he saw it was my car rattling past and thought to say goodbye.

‘No sense in being a stick in the mud,’ he said to me when I backed up to see what he wanted, ‘you’ll just end end up being stuck in the dirt. All the harder to up stakes.’

Couldn’t have said it better.

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