Factories sulk with sweat and grit

Cafes and hairdressers wild

with renewed hustle

Slick-back and jet-black and conk shaved

of sick disarray, and one dark fringe longer

and falling without the need to flick it back.

Down around the natural bend,

roundabout roundabout,

Church Street bros of beachy olive skin

and Bollywood glam.

Evergreen office workers playing Oztag

in the park, and lingering into company time,

a white barista with sleeve tattoos

sneaking a smoko with the work hubby

from the kebab shop next door.

Matcha and chai is slung for cheap,

but not as cheap as raisin toast deals,

giving a second home to those in the head crunch.

Vice vice vice, dosh dosh dosh. Easy to hide

though nobody cares unless it’s particularly pronounced or weird.

Save it, we’re cheering ya. Go suck bevvies

at one of the Whiter establishments, if you must.

Wash clean regal spunk, self-conscious dribble forcefield,

swivel back to pave-scrape, pave-scrape.

Dot-point clarity tickled by breeze. Get it off my Simba chest.

Parra is new age multicultural women –

power suit and pomegranate juice, hair-dry blown

and hot-fruit aroma,

salon on the daily,

and dyed mussy haired post-student

holds a mainstream newspaper I don’t read,

a distraction I can no longer.

And heartbeat men I might be,

if Voodoo gave me one forced chance,

a last falling kiss. Bombastic

Southern European bloke

in Ray-Bans,

earphone monologue to his bestie

at lunch. Calm South Asian papa

doling out advice in the laundromat,

like a good uncle. Parra these days

has a dignified reluctance,

barbecued by peril

and the new Powerhouse Museum site

is flooded by torrential rain.

A Mauritian suburbanite, absorbing petty,

bitter laughs from the church crew

he feeds. The Aboriginal fella who works

in media by day and writes and volunteers

at the food bank in his spare time.

The sky is always cobalt blue,

even when overcast and grey like my angst,

deep blue cavorting night.

I still get lost and w(h)ined up,

under gallery fluorescence

like I used to under ambient strobe

at the Roxy.

As powerline galahs dawdle in the dawn,

swoop to squash petals of jacaranda in Granville,

the landscape here cheers on the sun.


Jason Gray

Jason Gray is the author of prize-winning book, HAUNT (THE KOOLIE), published by Subbed In, 2019, the winner (2012) and judge (2018–2019) of Zine West Word. Published widely, including Liminal anthology Collisions (2020) and Griffith Review (2017). T: @jasongray. I: @connectionrevolution.

More by Jason Gray ›

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