The Wrong Address index

The Wavering Moon
Burton Street, Sydney 1966 



Was there ever a mouse

Leapt over the screaming moon ?

Hey Diddle,

Please give me my pants dear..

Let me go you ovulating milch cow !

Hey Diddle.. hey Diddle,

Are you a man or a mouse ?

She roars again.


The plywood partition

Between our lives buckles like broken knees,

Groggy under the bovine moon

Of Saturday night fever,

And decrepit paint flakes into my instant coffee.


I see him sometimes on the stairs,

Narrow shoulders hunched

Against the pain of the world,

Clothes threadbare, pale unshaven cheeks,

And feel ashamed

Of shaking with silent laughter

For twenty-one is a heartless age;

Yet year by later year

His shadow is at every turning

Like an ancient mariner

From the realm of hidden fears.


Dress our sadsack

With four stars and a baton :

Watch him incinerate a nation

To salve his bedroom wounds;

Give him a pen to embroider and craft

A searing novel of self-justification;

Have the kindness to give a quid

For a bottle of cheap sherry,

Let a bloke sit in the park...

Can someone amongst us be free of scorn and pity ?


Boy !

They let me breathe the frenetic air,

Yes sir!

Serve God, buy icecreams for the editor,

Split copy as a hopeful in waiting.

See life sonny,

So you want to be a journo'?


Massaged with vague smiles:

Have faith in those icecreams.

Oh yessir,

Nine quid a week on the Daily Mirror

And the big-time's coming kid,

Soon, real soon.


Are you a mouse,

Mickey the ears, Mehitabel shy,

Unmasked to the wavering moon ?

Hey you !

Lick crumbs and scuttle to unwholesome places,

Bed down in scunge, hunt for dank cracks

In old city walls :

Room cheap for sober gent;

You pay your tithe to some faceless predator

From a leafy suburb,

Merry with children singing.


Hullo lover,

Show you a good time ?

Know my byeways, wend and beckon,

My harlot mistress, Sydney-town,

From bed-down at Cockroach Crack (special mister)

To the Mirror's tumultuous presses.

See our exhibition of faces in the street :

Roll up ! Waxwork ladies, clever gents,

Recognize your dreams of wine and roses.


Was there ever a more timid mouse

Tripped over a fallen moon ?

Hey sexy !

Blink back reflections that whisper,

Glitter in the shop windows

Of army disposal stores up Oxford Street.

Pose in the mind's eye with clever tools,

Bayonets and bush jackets, working girls,

(Get it off honey),

Old aerial cameras, bodies that you covet

For barefoot engineering in the dark.


Flee to morning, haunt clear bright caverns,

The arched iron cathederal of Central Railway Station,

Refuge to pilgrims, sleepless men,

Where homesick Italian migrants crackle and pop

Bizarre electrical non-language from loudspoken turrets

To grandmothers down for a visit,

For here in greeting and farewell

The country shyly meets the city

Over a custard tart and milkshake,

Sticky sweet.


But daylight is an intermission,

Unnatural to creatures of the driven, silver moon.

Got a light mate ?

G'dday Kath.

Coast's clear babe; legs away

In the showroom doorways of dude mile,

Where hard skinny girls,

All lip-stick and mascara eyes,

Tremble, step out

With cruising Johnnies on the lam,

And after the late shift I say g'dday

Then pass,

For she's missing the high rollers

And fears her keeper.. Watch it kid!

Yar, keep yer pants on

And Mickey the ears does too..


A neon night blazes forever, pulsing

Like the promise of Shalom without her veils.

See that swaggering skyline:

Everything for sale and steal the rest

The hustlers wink

As de Lacey quaffs a schooner in one gulp

And slips a bold hand under the barmaid's skirt,

Though she wails Rack off ya creep!

We pity the boobies blowing their dough

For a loveless flash of tits to music ...


Well, who'll swap delusions ?

Your shout Mick of the ears

And pass the sodden ammunition.

It is a mirage though, this Moulon Rouge

If truth dwells where our dreams are.

The screaming moon and Cockroach Crack,

Whores and neon sighs, mere painted scenes

To the real drama of our hearts: Freedom !

(We don't yet ask from what ..)


Freedom is a five shilling paperback world

Of apricot evening light

Beyond old Steppenwolf's secret door;

It is romping with forbidden Lolita

While the the Lady Murasaki shows me all the ways of love.

I am a catcher in the rye ..

For how can life compete with art

When glory is a wheely in an FC Holden

And breathless chivalry comes down to ..

See ya Kath.


Fragments from an Australasian Life
Thorold MAY
copyright Thorold May 1995 All Rights Reserved 
published by The Plain & Fancy Language Company ACN 1116240S Sydney, Australia
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