If it’s a dim view of humanity you want,
Balaclava, a Melbourne suburb, will do.
Alcoholics on bus stop benches kill bottles
of cheap wine, wash it down with beer.
Beggars bum smokes from tattooed women
who roll their own. Orthodox Jews in full regalia
choose this supermarket or that supermarket,
depending on sect. Chinese sell bagels; Indians
make pizza; I polish off a Polish doughnut.
Two-storey buildings all have childish graffiti
along tops where fartists lean over with spray cans,
despite being artistically disabled. Above Taco Shop
a signed mural of Mexican corpse playing guitar.
An ancient mariner scours filthy footpath for specks
of gold or tobacco or meaning in dog turds.
He would miss descending messiahs but bumps
into fake leopard that imagines it’s on a catwalk.
A tram, a taxi, a classic punk who spent an hour
in front of a mirror, old woman with purple hair
and permanent scowl. There’s one tree outside
my window and its roots, pushing through asphalt,
suggest it’s slowly trying to make a break for it.
You would too if your body was used to prop up
flattened cardboard that whispers of long-gone
forests, blameless lives before this unattractive
burb blossomed then decayed into its current
whateverness where, on just such days,
I feel strangely at home.
Originally from Saskatchewan, Allan Lake has lived in Vancouver, Cape Breton Island, Ibiza,
Tasmania & Melbourne. Poetry Collection: Sand in the Sole (Xlibris, 2014). Lake won Lost
Tower Publications(UK) Comp 2017 & Melbourne Spoken Word Poetry Fest/The Dan 2018.
Poetry Chapbook (2020, Ginninderra Press): My Photos of Sicily.