Cool hip tear-shaped suburb

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At Home in Clifton Hill 

Roaming the green corridor 
beside Merri Creek, we’re glad
of game-wakened dog song
and the weir-teased water, 
far from the wipe-out week.

Here where we fatten on heart’s ease,
  one among us is not at home.
Someone caught in an endless trip
  masking misery through Melbourne streets;    
  shrouding night in a picnic shelter
  walled in by the road embankment,
  tiered cliff and the half-pulled curtains
  of bush that lets the bike paths in.
Someone now cast in forgetfulness,
  out cold – dumped down in a sleeping bag
  moulded like a burial mound.
  And by their side neatly aligned, 
   threads of an abandoned bedside?
  paired runners with socks tucked inside.

Feet plunge on passing peddles;
eyelids hood a second look;
dogs lose themselves in scent. You 
turn   hungry for home
in a cool hip, tear shaped suburb [1].

 [1] Brown, Jenny. ‘From a tip to serene and green’ in The Age: Domain, May 3, 2008, pp 4-5.



Strait Record

...nature has provided many means for securing
 concord...not merely to afford pleasantries... 
                                                               Erasmus

   We've only paddled in the strait;
  only strolled by light's diamond-scattered
cabinet of glass, though we've baked
here in luck with mates all holiday.
  We've been lulled behind sun shades
   by romance on the Honeycomb Coast.

   But we'd break the beached ranks if peace
  walked like a prince on this water 
and overruled a smoking wind. 
We'd push in and block the minders;  
  climb on a friend's shoulder to look
   and cup a burst of whoops in our hands.

   We'd swamp the TV shows with the news;
  damp down Tax Cuts with mean print and swell 
Miracle with coloured headlines,
if peace rode up in an armoured tank
  on a carpet of shirts, out of dunes,
   into Jerusalem and Baghdad. 

As it is, peace is the shy achiever
  in our house; the mortar sandwiched between
   bricks, the pipe that fetches and freights in water.
   It is the squat chair underneath our coat;
  the switch for light and heat; the bulb wintering
for spring, plumb deep in bedded-down garden. 

It is the roots holding the trunk up like a hip;
  the footpath jogged on beside stretches of green;
   the freeway whizzed down without a second thought.
   It is the car cuing the speedster past,
  who gives them the finger; the click of amber  
and the bridge the level-headed thrum across. 

Peace is the teacher who, in the gullet of shells
  and gunmen, spirits the teenager still to write
   words on yellowed newspaper. It is the neighbour
   edging a hole through the wall, to cable
  a share of power salvaged from the flotsam 
left in the wake of insurgents, wrangling for blood.

   Put down the love story. Take off 
  the glasses. Flick away the sand. 
Let's roll and rocket on a breaker.
We'll mingle our shades of salt and warmth 
  with the swimmers in a strait where west
   and east coursing oceans rub and sift.

   Let's be fools, pull right out–further,  
  further–past the lifesaver's buoy; fill up
the lungs; fall in with the strongest
of currents downwelling to stillness 
  beneath the flush of thinner waters;
   clear a passage for them to flow.

If we dare, we could plunge all the way
  down towards the current 
   that drifts from the other hemisphere; 
   reach to rewrite the records–
   nudge a strait of all oceans, lift 
   to the tug, surge with the fall.


PoetPauline Reeve is a Melbourne based poet and writer for children who supports her writing through part-time teacher-librarianship. Her poems have been published in Meanjin, Blue Dog and various anthologies.

Topic tags: new australian poems, Clifton Hill, Merri Creek, Melbourne, homelessness, Pauline Reeve

 

 

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Great work Pauline
paul Mitchell | 23 March 2011


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