At Parramatta

 A jacaranda reaches out
delicate octopus tentacles
towards a quarter moon as thin
as a Thursday evening sales-smile.

blossoms hang in mauve-blue clouds.
There is a row of shops
an advertiser’s voice
a church—

its blond stones
cut by prisoners long ago.
Angels grieve in window niches.
Tinted glass holds martyrdoms—
the stations of the cross
for every day.

Down the square, Falun Dafa people
legs folded lotus-style
withdraw behind shut eyelids;
silk banners, melodies on tape
speak for their silenced
co-religionists in China;

while a bearded man in jeans
bears Christians’ God loud witness
from the lip of a six-tiered amphitheatre

but for a sushi chef on smoke-break
& a girl with Barbie-fluent hair
arguing with some delinquent bloke
inside her mobile.

A Chinese boy greets his girl with silence,
one concentrated kiss.
Young-man sedans by the railway bridge
hit bass—

rave & hip-hop, looping north
past the jail where inmate boys might hear
having survived
another day in the yard;
locked down with currawongs’ last roosting-calls.

On the plaza
someone’s screaming:
’You fucking ... fucking ...’
agonised, full-throttle.

More soberly an older voice
yells, ‘Hey mate’; is ignored.
Teenage boys manhandle
two belligerents

who thrash out of grip,
eyeball; howl
’Fucking hit me ... Go on!’
till briefly caged

by mates’ arms
(enforced restraint
is honourable

they bounce on sneakered feet to punch-up provocations,
hassle on the lope
above a stony turf.
Their mates’ hands interlock again
around their hunched-for-brawling shoulders;

no fight occurs.



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