Les Wicks

Life is Just a Bowl . . .

Where there is stone, add stone. The dearth of construction
beside an unruly line of river
left a clamour of crabs. Men planted
civilised trees as bastion.

1930/ money stopped. No one quite understood but
hated the banks. We are colonised in our pockets. . . chains
clutter the soul. Make-work, The Oatley Park Castle stands yet as
councils again spend to keep ratepayers busy & liquid. We forget

in our conflux of cages
the suburbs of glut that's
all happened before as
we water our money & count on permanent shelter.
Our leaders are aflame with cobbles,
every recovery has its kernel in a list:
re-tint the angophoras, paint the toilet block, massage
a cracked path perhaps
guttering is the new hat.
New workers will purposefully stand around —
slack back perhaps inspirational wounds from Afghanistan
or Saturday night at Revesby.

Some say only the fear is real,
but they've got jobs. This latest Big Empty
is reaving across the globe, migrant workers
bring nothing to nothing home. We can barely chart their return,
microscopic retreats as nannies desert KL for a village SW Java
where the men haven't produced much for years.
The same delusion that made us rich
leaves a Hungry by the doors.
By comparison the "wealthy" ones, Australian with homes
on the market, no offers,
bereft in Bankstown
wails in Warrimoo.
People are & want good. Philosophy or psychology is useless.

The Castle is a landmark, folly simultaneous. . .
pointless poetry, bread & sausages. You're at a slit
in the suburbs of the Lower Superfluity,
offer shade with a hail of arrows. Throw
a confetti of langrage & kill the neighbours with rubbish & pottery shards, old nails.
These skirmishes & rout across real estate, all of us
stand in our small, spotless pits with adamant walls.

The dead in her parlour, Castle's blocky virility nulls the sun.
Deft stonework is roofed by concrete, the woman
climbs the ramp to stand on the platform to look out because one does.
On cue she says Oh. I imagine
the battlements manned as we fight again
for stable booty. This rectangle of promise above the tides,
undertows of business
swollen with debris that sees all the plans burnt off
like sunspots on superannuated backs.
This is embodied memory of works, working.

The weave slightly,
cold days in a limp,
smell of territory — today. Our soggy inferno, cinched tight in each mind,
life is an old habit. . . promises persistence, if not joy.

South of savagery
we are beneath the East, becalmed in the wake of
American shoppers, those burly trolls.
We hope quietly against reason
when reason is not even in play.