The Wrong Address index
Harris Street, Ultimo, Sydney 1967
The place was jerry-built a hundred years ago -
An agglomerate of mortar and cheap bricks
To pack in inches of free air, an allotment
Yielded by the gill for pound by pound of flesh.
The working men of Sydney, depreciating every year,
Kept remnants of life at rest; when cast forth
From factories and driven from the pubs
They came to terms with every antic dream,
Stank, cried, ate sausages and bled
From death till morning on this wobbly bed.
My room is long and narrow, facing west.
Fresh linen with the rent mister,
Ten-fifty every week.
A bed covered in green candlewick, a chair
Slapped over with grey paint.
The wardrobe is propped backwards
On a wad, to keep its door in check.
There is a view for thirty feet
Of rancid, heavy air.
The rest is bricks from sash to sill,
A factory in the rear.
The sun comes in, just briefly
On the final yellow dustbeamed shot of day,
Breaks on each brick and body cooling
And then fades.
The heat goes on though
Dully through the nights,
While a hangover of memories tugs and whines -
They are pencilled on the walls,
"I love you Marg", "The foreman is a mongrel",
"Fuck you Sally", and "tomorrow's piss is mine".
My sustenance of light,
A single frosted bulb, populates the hour,
Thin shadows flit and wane,
For the walls reflect my predecessors
Supping on tinned pudding - join our snack;
It's Christmas, and I'm getting boozed
In a town that's out of whack.
© copyright Thorold May 1995 All Rights Reserved
published by The Plain & Fancy Language Company ACN 1116240S Sydney, Australia
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