Crack troops of one mortgaged dream


The terrace next door

Seven kids and a parrot in a small terrace house.
Where squawking ended and shouting began
I could not say. But one sudden day, they spread wings,
left cage and house empty, my ears ringing on quiet.

Until six stoned students, without a single book,
set up camp. Smiling hammocks in the backyard sun,
contents content. Guitars, flute, piano-accordion,
folding time like an unwritten essay, due last week.

The six sixties clones left, sweet smoke signals blown.
Five rugby boys scrummed in, all frantic barbecues,
discarded runners, toxic socks smelt over fence,
and a screen bigger than the house, to pack in the front line.

Was it the four intense Vietnamese, who came next to next door?
Inexplicably neat, the terrace became clipped hedge suburban.
Or the three goths clothed in darkness who never met my eyes,
papers piling archaeologically on pavement, abandoned?

Better those times than the perfect couple's renovating din,
as they improve the street out of sight, pave it with expectations.
Each hammer blow smashes the ex-rental like a musty egg,
as they grow golden equity, crack troops of one mortgaged dream.

P. S. Cottier P. S. Cottier is a Canberra poet. With this poem, she won third prize in the poetry division of the 2007 NSW Writers' Centre Inner City Life Literary Competition.




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Existing comments

I commend the content & regularity of your publication as I print copies for those in Nursing Home & pass on the e-mail address for those with PC access
John P Keane | 05 February 2008

What a great poem! If Ms Cottier only won third prize, the first and second prize winners must have been good!
Cathy Taggart | 05 February 2008

Loved the poem. The best in Eureka Street for a year or two.
Tom Cranitch | 05 February 2008


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