The strong mass of pedestrian

Point of interest

Me, is it?
angling my foreground
to move with me
along a crowded pavement
in one clarified direction,

eyes set to recognise one doorway
of gravelled glass and a particular
curlicued frame.

Or is it us?
in two directions
designed to meet in golden intersection
to contradict
the deeply textured thrust along the pavement—
among shoved elbows
to take hands for one moment
unprotected skin
between your cuffs and mine,
to meet eyes that pleasantly
the strong mass of pedestrian
and shift towards a new destination
quick flick before
the structure reasserts.

Or them, is it?
the crowding round
zigzagged to such crossed purposes
no one can meet so many eyes
so many expectations,
such heavy-hatched
continuous bodiment.


The house
the car
even the imagined to be free
persona comes tight-wrapped
in bristled skin, watchdog.

Step out for breathing-room
the small open between bush and buildings.
Sunlight flicks off and the real day rains
devaluing the shoulders and other
vulnerable parts. No policy
fully covers to roof out
sunstroke, thunderstroke,
even this petty sprinkle
of the unexpected.

The sky the breath the tongue
take your own name in vain
and when you listen back
your own voice slips
into a foreign vernacular.
When your name
is danger
when your language
is danger
you learn the dangerous skill
of silence
and some speak
never again.

But there is still
the wrapped house the uninsured
person watchful in the shrunk pelt.

Aileen Kelly Aileen Kelly is a Melbourne poet. Her most recent collection — The Passion Paintings: Poems 1983-2006 — was published by John Leonard Press. The above poems were first published in Eureka Street in 2005.




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