Nightwalks

VanGogh-starry_night_ballance1

Nightwalks

each city you leave behind no longer exists
a dream dissolving like a lozenge on
the tip of your tongue, frozen in honeyed amber
the round untouched circle of wood
on a dusty shelf somewhere sleepy

lisbon

alfama at midnight was a cup
of steeped tea, brown sepia
and the light of peach street lamps,
ripe and ready to fall
the kids ran round the tiled alleys –
where do the sandmen and bogeymen wait –
the old women are not at their windows,
their washing is dry
now their husbands stand, smoking in doorways
the young men lounge on the stairs, music
behind the walls, but the quiet creeps
following your rushed footsteps through
the steep hills past the fado house you
could not find, past strangers, past
the realisation of traveling alone
your best friend asleep in the studio apartment
whose locks defeat you
as the small foyer fills with
the smell of your sweat

pj

you could drive here blindfolded
the turns and rhythms are that familiar
the traffic lights count down a time
you memorised in your days being driven
to school, your life then a snow globe
of this special little town
a series of highways that melt into each other
bright whites and hazard yellows
the basins of underground parking garages
and their LED lights, their menacing grey
the coffee shops, the food trucks
the roadside stalls, the sleeping houses
of your best friends
the only place you dare cut through
clustered neighbourhoods, knowing you could
never be lost

melbourne

the wind bites at your ankles through the
60 denier nylon, target bargain
the colour of the sky is asphalt, the neon
sparkles broken bottles of vb and boags
the gutters mix glass and fallen leaves
it is too late for buses, so you wait for the
rumble of the 86 turning up gertrude
hugging into smith, fading into old plenty
eyes swimming in the dull galaxy of a tram floor
at midnight, spilt big m making trails – a river delta

all the walks you no longer do
trekking from stop 60 to chisholm
moonlighting as a student after hours
walking through postcode 3086
barefoot on the pavement, skipping over
snails to cabernet crescent
the clipped trot out of northcote
past the party planners and the
gentlemen’s club, sighing the long
exhale from reservoir to the vicarage
home after a long day

orange sulphur sodium light
the cafes glow in brunswick,
like we never sleep like we never leave the
twinkling skyscrapers from spring to spencer
like we never leave
like you never left

 

xx

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