Someone crossing Grafton Bridge
lifts a hand toward the wall
of honey-coloured concrete.
The moving shadow touches
light against the side,
in the space between the hand and stone.
At the far end, the Jewish graveyard
where they found the prostitute.
My sister lived on Cross St then,
which was lit with hallucinogenic lamps.
They stood at the corners (girls one end,
trannies the other), hovered in clumps;
the close-fitting leather boots,
the tops that come short of the stomach
Those nights they were edgy.
You could hear them
screaming in mock-fright,
sounding much like a flock of birds
Have you got a home?
It can be harsh otherwise,
this place that flattens out
the meeting of motorways.
That jumper with the holes unravelling,
won’t warm you. At night
the sun catches up its own threads.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
of polished, dirty
shell, so cleverly
The orange, tan,
pearl, brown, pale
parts of them.
The oak tree grows out of Hobson’s Grave.
Its leaves thicken yearly in the sun,
from spring yellow to a darker green.
The girth of the trees is wide
and the grain is deep, rived
in hard and driven breaks.
However hard you look,
the tree is far too quick.
The impervious face of its
appearance already settled
every second before eyes touch it.
Nothing is ever finished except this tree.
Sipping wine on the top of the Hannah’s roof,
Alex and Renée hail Reuben from the clouds,
their tipsy angels’ voices falling
down to street level, where
he stands, puzzled, looking
to left and right. Hey Reuben!
We can see you man! hey, up here.
Stay another day Maggie,
with your cloud of candyspun hair
so brittle and tragic, yellow and gray.
Your face collapsed like a scuttle,
the bent nose and cancelled cheeks.
The Rendells lipstick: Tangerine Dream.
Stay another day, in your widow’s furcoat
and plain slacks, your feet
in their white and gold vinyl flats.
Maggie, with your claim
on urban legend, and your hand
on the sherry bottle: Bristol Cream.