Published in Overland Issue 206 Autumn 2012 · Uncategorized Constant companion Kerry Leves A scalpel chill snips through the weave of beanies. Woollen scarves put up a thin resistance. Night’s south-west wind goose-bumps uncovered skin, the few bare patches. A boozy couple quarrel at the bus stop. Central Station clock, that golden dial, looks down its long hand nose at half past nine. Snarling each other’s wrongs, the pair ignore me. I walk my shadow free, see it stretch, grow huge on the underside of a stone arch, a tunnel for walkers. Then streetlights project it on hastening cars. Wentworth Avenue. Sound-systems pound the darkness to a diamond-dust moving stream. Constant companion glides over zebra stripes ahead of me. Oxford Street trades constant companion for non-stop bright illumination: dance floors, bars, café tables work together to dissolve it – ’evening, light bath; goodbye, shadow. Taylor Square lights up half the sky. Traffic crocodiles, with glittering hides, give one another the go-by. Taylor Square threads party people, buses, beggars, moviegoers, night commuters, coppers, tourists, local shoppers through its navel. Without an i.d. – like everyone else’s – constant companion spills on the ground with the fountains by Gilligan’s Island. At Sacred Heart in relief, alone, Jesus oversees the church entry. His open arms & flowing drapery argue with the stuff that he’s composed of; talk back to stone. Enveloped by history, St Vincent’s Hospital shines geometrically – a procession of windows, calm & orderly. Green Park – opposite – starts with a wall: cars cruise, stealth glances, muttered offers chafe the air; constant companion loses me on that thoroughfare among evergreens rustling like far-off autumns. But when we get to the wire mesh fence on Cutler Freeway, constant companion breaks out as deftly as a well-trained dancer – paling fences, concreted yards lap it up yet don’t absorb it; no ‘inner life’, it’s a moving outline – graceful, silent – no effort apparent. While I pace along bitumen exhale carbon clouds, try to keep up, my shadow walks me home as smoothly as a subtle actor; pouring over tin roofs’ silver like an overturned Manhattan – fluent in the wind-chill factor after winter night-shifts. Kerry Leves Kerry Leves (1948–2011) was a poet and critic who regularly contributed to Overland before he recently passed away. He composed this poem for the ‘Sydney: Endless City’ reading of the Harbour City Poets group at the Sydney Writers Festival, May 2011. More by Kerry Leves › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 4 December 20234 December 2023 · Climate politics Where is the Australian climate movement’s solidarity with Palestine? Alex Kelly Let this be a line in the sand. Let us learn our history. Let us listen to liberation movements around the world. Conflicts for land and water will shape the decades to come. Showing up for each other and building power to demand justice is our only hope for a humane future. First published in Overland Issue 228 1 December 20231 December 2023 · History ‘We’re doing everything but treaty’: Law reform and sovereign refusal in the colonial debtscape Maria Giannacopoulos I coined the concept of the colonial debtscape while working to understand the relation between debt and sovereignty in the wake of the 2007 Global Financial crisis. Despite the referendum held in Greece in 2015 where the people voted against austerity, austerity as punishment, was imposed anyway. As this was a colonising move, that is, the imposition of an external and foreign law on local populations against their will, it was to Aboriginal scholars here that I turned to begin to put the pieces together.