travel notes

A poem containing Melbourne weather

Faces in the street are coming for me
down the dusk grids of the city
under day's wandering light - ugly, lovely
depends on your own arc
how your skin attaches or repels
the raid on the eternal which is another
idea born of clouds and a whisk of stars.

Or here in the hum of a hotel room
in sight of spires and towers just above
what is now so apparent, readily available
but hard to distinguish where it belongs
on this table, in this work, through this radio.

The surprise is the blue above the squall
a shining through the other or the outer
patchworks like love or beauty unexpected
though not completely how it is you could
keep on pretending division belongs
not even in the sky an enhanced reality
besides which the grey gets grey

and makes sense to crowds floating
but also held to the way that keeps them
if they cannot know even the spires
that routinely mass above them.

The cycle is less massive than hum-drum
than desperate necessity somewhere
between blood and movement
some ante-vision as light cries down
and rain laughs its way past afternoon
wheels knocking out cloud echoes.

- Melbourne, April 2004

Interpreting taxis

streets are blacker here
they fall gracefully
past showers of waiting souls
aligned with venues
clouded by programs of laughter
as if there were too many of them
to count

there's something pitched in them
like need
but less certain
set with certain hours
before events before
numbers outside
where the real thing happens
without cause almost
perhaps this too is unfortunate

but there's no way to figure
how full a taxi might be
they display uncertain lights
the street trembles constantly
with tramways
then empties

- Melbourne, April 2004

1980s decor

there's smoke grain in the walls
wheels turning outside
showers and trickles on other floors
a solo piano, fusty, semi-idle
on the airwaves
a famous Wagnerian tenor
some residual pain in my knee

I'm surrounded by mirrors
lessons of light
that somehow there's a side
to me not seen
apart from the fox
at the bevelled edge

- Hobart, April 2004

Walking to water

It's a town of accelerations
and hills
like my town that falls
on its harbour
places where I've walked happy
kicking air and invisible mists
over water

so I walk out like myself
making do with days
that come out of nowhere
making this corner
this chance, this dash
of light that cuts up
stone shadow or
soft dark edges

people to sell you -
also making - something
sweet or heavy
in the hand - a bowl
a taste of rough paper

still a beginner here
I'm unknown and hardly
first fashion
at least let that
become me
dress me up like winter sun
that's a little lighter
down here nearer the pole
where something -
nearly, almost? -
essential is the river

and open-mouthed young
girls dressed for church
or meeting call out to
Billy who's shouting
testing sound at odds
with echoes, broader
fuller than Sunday's street
which has a lazy skim
even as the way
is made busy
in the longer gaps

- Hobart, April 3004


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