APAD 12 prompt: pick a city
Living in the CBD, Melbourne
My colleague lives on the corner
of Little Collins Street and Spencer Street
right across from Southern Cross Station
where all the trains from country towns
terminate, and the racket of metropolitan
trains can shake the teeth from your gums.
Today his lunch included roast pumpkin
from my garden, out there where country
trains are born, and I asked him, "Are you
growing herbs on a balcony where you live?"
"Ah, no," he said. "They'd get covered
in soot. As a matter of fact, I'm asthmatic."
As I chewed my home-grown cucumber
and spicy pumpkin dip on bread sold in
paper bags to enhance its image as healthy,
I pondered the gifts of the city: great views
of public sculptures, parklands pasted over
industrial wastelands, the vertical challenge
of journeying in lifts day in, day out, the risk
of needing a doctor at midnight, the lights
that are never turned off, glass walls that
provide myriad images of self and other
self and others, others, others, and self.
Dying with blackened lungs, for research.
Singing in the Baptist Church
It's been associated with women and seduction
the danger of sirens ringing through centuries of ears.
It's been the best way of being breath-taking
for those of us who, ex-smokers, now
enjoy oxygen in our advanced years.
We ain't no rock
and we are marching
freedom is coming
o La Lay!
That's our repertoire
in the A-Choired Taste
of Gospel, whether or not
we come here to pray.
My daughter's not old
her voice is pure
if anyone's a siren here
it's her and Lauren, sure.
But without them rocks
and miles from a shipping
our energy rises as
our voices dispute
the sinful nature of
singing out loud.
And it's the harmony
that really makes us proud.