(from ‘Postcard Ping-Pong’)

It is the end of November, a mollusc-shell dull, mute day

when I find Sydney Harbour in the small
dry pigeonhole where the gardien
grudgingly dumps the mail.

I can’t believe this bluer-than-Brett-Whiteley-blue.
It smashes out into the dark French foyer
like a souvenir Perspex paperweight
of the Eiffel Tower with all its artificial
copper sulphate air suddenly splashing free.
The photograph of what should be so familiar
looks so peculiar. It looks
like an electrically charged creature
which could skid off the top of the TV where I try
to balance it
and when I walk out and lock
the heavy studio door, behind me the room
drowns in forty years of copybook Quink.

It is the end of November — a dull, mute day.

When I burst out to the street, schoolgirls in black
are spilling from the nearby lycée into their narrow
lunchtime break. Between stacked-high eggshell-pale stone,
the soft air offers us its secret zing.

Five minutes later, my hands are on the rounded stone
of a bridge across the Seine . . . I am here . . .
Familiar-unfamiliar water flows under me

as replete with its own glow as an oyster just-shucked.

(from Travelling with the Wrong Phrasebooks 2012)


JK Sydney Harbour on a summers day