Words by Lachlan Brown


Like a lo-res rainbow, stuck to the
screen of someone’s mobile phone

I dreamt that my alarm had sounded
and that I had forgotten the code

my ears were ready too, for a high pitched
siren that never began, and anyway

on waking, a security pass had split,
its two halves sliding over one another

like yesterday or the day before when my car
almost spun out, somewhere in the backstreets

of Prestons where sleepy mansions crowd the
edges of blocks and artificial bends shape chicken-

farmed land with new and beautiful truths.
I think my tyres need changing, because I may

have lost my grip on all this, you know when
the world starts to spin? I’m seeing stars in

the sky and in those counterfeit newspapers
that flutter in carriages, heading out west.


Of course, you do admit that we are
retelling the same stories, for instance

the one about peak-hour traffic and
some dumb shit of a driver, cutting

across four lanes, eyes on a text message
thrown up by a shiny black phone,

and the edge of the road that is lined with
litter as though this were the aftermath

of some kind of parade, and so
now one silver hatchback trawls the

left hand lane, its eternal blinker
repeatedly pointing out the problem.

And if your hand were to become
a giant foam hand, then you too could

gesture toward all this important stuff,
an unheeded speedo, a crow searching

through fast food containers and
the trail of brake lights guiding you home.


To exist within this weatherboard valley
is to remain always six degrees from the

city. Here the kids pedal wide streets that
pretend to lead nowhere, whilst their elders

cultivate a nostalgia for sprinklers and
those ancient dreams that can never leave

this suburb. On a blistering afternoon
a council truck is removing tall trees,

so that no one will confuse this vista with
a place of moneyed elegance. And maybe

the scream of the chainsaw means you’re
not ignored, as cut limbs crash through

the dry air. And maybe, what’s left is
for your own good, and the streetscape

becomes a mouth smashed up during a bar fight,
with its bare stumps grinning cruelly in the heat.

Now each day you must arise in a dark place,
reminded by what we can do to greatness.


And now that late night game shows
have flourished then disappeared we

are resigned to failure: those dubbed
movies, those advertisements for impotence,

those dating lines dribbling their phone numbers
into the morning. Outside drunk cries give

the blackness depth, shattering like bottles
hurled against a brick wall, and you recall

the sirens that ghost alongside your dreams.
Could it be that these are the only ways

to cash out a life? In a cell at the station
there is a bloke nursing a fractured eye

socket. He remembers nothing, except
glass & florescent tubes & a sign

saying ‘Have You Seen Anything?’
Elsewhere, good people are finding sleep,

counting every interest rate rise and
rows of wooden letterboxes snapping shut.


Noon. The day has flatlined. The eucalypts
point their leaves toward hard ground, the

cars stop flying down the hill from Glenfield.
The shopping trolleys no longer clash

in the Coles carpark. And even the
truanting kids have stopped hurling

rocks onto carport roofs. You see, they’re all waiting for a breeze to jumpstart
the afternoon. But the day’s like a Falcon,
chocked up in a front yard, it’s like gate

that’s been welded shut because you know
we’re not in Vaucluse or near some beach

where they film iconic Australian TV. You
know that within these cul-de-sacs you

have to earn any hint or breath of change. You
have to pay with sweat, with grease on

a two-stroke, with teeth set like wire cutters,
ready to meet the fenced-edge of the landscape.

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