Monday 12 July at 2 pm

I can’t think about your anniversary.
At 2 pm, I don’t want to be here:
A coffee shop next to the Entry of
Woolworths Shopping Centre at Hilton.
I try to write a poem for you, Viejo Neruda
But prices & offers tangle up my hands;
I’m trapped by products.

I drink my long black & see
             Shelf Prices
             Reduced-In Green
1–10 long & narrow corridors.
In the street the wind battles with clouds
And rain wounds the pavement.
It is cold, my bike is an old poem
Leaning against a line of shopping trolleys
Like an old figure’s head in the middle of nowhere
Como un Viejo mascarón de proa en el medio de ningún lugar.

Your voice came from this verse:
Venid a ver la sangre por las calles.
I can still recite this poem by heart.

G’day mate, someone said to me;
he carries a green bag.
I drink my long black
& I can see Special Price: Kellogs Cereal. Any 2 for $9.00
I can see Special Price: Huggies Nappies. Any 2 for $32.00

Noise is traffic junk in the car park, shopping trolleys.
Customers want to leave soon and go home.
Your voice is still in my head & your verses in my mouth.
I can’t shut up; your verses come out louder,
Like a strong wind shaking the remain leaves
Of the gum tree in the corner of the car park
I can’t shut up; your verses come out louder:

Venid a ver la sangre por las calles.
Venid a ver
La sangre por las calles …

Juan Garrido-Salgado was born in Chile and was a political prisoner under the Pinochet regime, but now lives in Adelaide. He has published three books of poetry and his poems have been published in Chile, Columbia, Spain, El Salvador, Brazil, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.

© Juan Garrido-Salgado
Overland 203-winter 2011, p. 72

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