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At Parramatta

  • 21 April 2006

 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 deserted

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 almost)

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.