Academic journal article Antipodes

Victoria Street Mall

Academic journal article Antipodes

Victoria Street Mall

Article excerpt

The usual crowd of fat pigeons parts briefly

for wheelchairs and the squealing feet of boys,

then rushes back to the gossip of crumbs.

Between the Continental Grocer, Barber Shop,

packed falafel joint and Indian cafe, the blue fog

of a hundred smokers. Mediterranean gents in loose

semi-circles finger prayer-beads and cigarettes.

They sip and cough, arguments slow as clouds.

Nearby, three strangers sit inside the warm

silence of each other and order nothing.

One man, mumbling, his head as clogged

and broken as Sydney Road, shuff les the length

of the mall and back. All the tables are taken.

I think of the coffee, like concentrated Merri Creek,

wonder if I'm welcome. The self-appointed host,

blue-jeaned and coughing, winds between tables,

handing out rough kisses, gentle punches.

She asks how I am, calls me Colin again.

I forget her name. …

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