Melbourne, August 2007

Having been in the pretend-New-York Fitzroy grid and the
pretend-Europe St Kilda seaside village and the
city upstairs yellow Hare Krsna foodroom and the
Fuck Off architecture of Federation Square
I’m lentil as anything looking for some place to be
and to think of you what I damn well think of you

So right in the grey middle there’s the flowing
river Yarra with a huge bridge
that’s beautiful from beneath and cheeping birds and weeds
with joyous green bodies and differently-yellowed flowers
— if that’s not joy, all that unthinking spreadingout of beauty —

I sit by the Yarra path
and every 2 minutes the Melbourne cityites pass me,
jogging, cycling, marching, talking,
if not to each other then into their mobiles,
maybe to a colleague in a city officebox

A footworn dirt path leads me up through the vegetation
under the looming retaining wall. At the top there’s a
burnt metal drum, cinders, some rubbish, and a shadecloth
shelter, high enough to crouch in, wide enough to sleep in.
Old couch cushions, a couple of thin blankets,
a dark inner recess

Someone sleeps here. If they wake up,
if it’s not raining,
if the green opposite bank’s there like yesterday,
if the trees are filtering the traffic noise,
if the birds are singing and the sun’s on the water,
they’ve got the best view in Melbourne.

At Collingwood Children’s Farm
while kids on school excursions quack and moo
I walk quiet through the food forest.
The cat sneaks over for a snuggle.
A boy, maybe 5, comes to pat the cat and tell me
about his pets and his friends’ pets.
I tell him about Midnight the rabbit and Snowy the guinea-pig.
The cat sated strolls away. We go back
towards the people and the boy’s mother.
‘There he is. He always wanders off’, she says.

(First published in The Broadkill Review)