The poem Crosswords will be published in the Voices Israel Anthology 2007.

Cross words

Heady dark air that doesn’t circulate
filling his throat, his lungs,
the spaces that used to be hers.

His comfort zone —

leather jacket in Fitzroy pubs
waking up at 3 pm on Sundays
sitting at the wooden table
in the warehouse
the crossword in front of him
his rich schoolboy friends beside him
the same faces, grown older
the same conversations

her empty coffee cup.

He decided not to keep your love
weighed the pros and cons
and found you to be on the side lacking.

I rather be without you
This is too hard
You, are too difficult

Does it trouble you at all
to sleep alone
without her tangerine body
her hello morning kisses
the joy, in you, she dug

She did the long yard,

took a scalpel to your chest
burnt the layers under your skin
until she felt
the radiant brush of butterfly wing

She witnessed you
self you show almost no one
share with almost no one
are with almost no one

So, enjoy your pub-crawl
your night sex you won’t be able to remember
your crossword puzzle of paper
rather than life

Number 3 across:
a five letter word signifying remorse
the liability for letting go of her hand


Hardening of city

My walking city, Melbourne
bridge over the Yarra
grid patterns of the streets
like the London I remember.

My walking city Melbourne
where once the workers of the docks,
the railheads,
the cartage companies
all lived, close together.

The city hardened with the coming of the motor car,
chaos on the 1920 streets
traffic like chopped tree trunks,
thickening of tar.

When the road users demanded better order,
the authorities followed US initiative—

they told us when to turn
which roads to take
the act of jaywalking.

Because of the cities central grid
fixed gyration
spread across Melbourne town,
locking us sick to one another.

And the single princess bridge
had to carry all the traffic from the south,
we could not enter Batman’s swamp,
and it took great cost to reach the north.

It was the waterfalls and shallow river
that prevented traffic from moving westward
delaying movement
of goods, services, people,
for which officials and motorists blamed
the slow-drawn carriages of horse.

And by the late 1920s,
slow-walking pedestrians like myself
were forced to take to footpath,
no longer having any claim, any heart, to the Melbourne street.

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