Freeway Towns (After Kenneth Slessor)

Freeway townswith your dusty brownsand shady grassall moving past,with parks astridethe freeway’s sideand hearts that knowand streets that glowin summer sunat half past one,that tolerateour hasty gaitwhile moving onto where we’re from:you watch it all,while freeway’s calldenies the chanceto meet your glance.The moment gone,we part unknown.I wish I knewthe half of you.

And who is my neighbour? Part 3

Being a neighbour is fraught at any time, but in a time when suburbs, states and families are being isolated from one another, it is even harder. As an Australian, being part of an island nation has much impact on how we view our own place in the world, and in this time of remindingContinue reading “And who is my neighbour? Part 3”

In Our Father’s House

I wrote this poem yesterday for the third installment in a series of videos about being a neighbour. As I wrote, I was contemplating the prospect of my Melbourne suburb being the next to go into lockdown. Little did I know that today the whole city would be put back into lockdown. So I’m postingContinue reading “In Our Father’s House”

Christmas 1: Greensleeves in the Suburbs

Nothing says summer like this: Renaissance minstrel piped through tinny speakers, musicbox-like, rotating through sleepy street, a call for ice-cream from a roaming van, suburban icon, half-sinister, half-sweet. To us in the south it seems fitting that the tune should be used too for carols: “What Child is This?” and another I don’t know, “NowContinue reading “Christmas 1: Greensleeves in the Suburbs”

Hyfrydol in the Suburbs

A scramble for parking greets us, then the festive aisles to survive. These shelves have been stocked with seasonal cheer since the night when the dead arose. Now celebration cake replaces pumpkins to carve, and the shock is swapped with the joyful trimmings of the time. Yet what room is there? I negotiate tight spacesContinue reading “Hyfrydol in the Suburbs”

Wednesday’s Colours (Glenroy Lent #2)

Fire is the colour of the eastbound sun lighting the face of the dusty sky. Ash is the colour of this roadwork black, of tarmac where the plane lost flight. Red is the colour of the traffic light, gold the colour in the new day’s eye, and ash to ash is this road we drive;Continue reading “Wednesday’s Colours (Glenroy Lent #2)”

Glenroy Lent: Long Shrift

Suburb has its own time. Nestled just beneath city’s scheduled view, it sits when city runs. It holds deep memories and secrets, left in garages, holds hopes in council offices. Roadwork punctuates the day’s first lines. Promises in orange signs declare: something soon is happening. Prepare. You may have left your lunch behind, may haveContinue reading “Glenroy Lent: Long Shrift”


We also came across the seas, my people: Romans, Vikings, colonials, the lot of them, convicts and scoundrels, emperors and ne’er-do-wells. They came and they saw, they usurped, or were sent. You came like us, to this lucky country. You came in hope. We take it from you. We also heard of the boundless plains;Continue reading “Advance”

Westgate Country

Did you know that Melbourne has a Brooklyn? Mostly factories, but behind the freeway Nestled amidst houses there’s a church, in Low-ecclesiastic cream brick. Today On my way to work I saw it, vacant Being Wednesday. But on Sunday there’s family. And I smelt the Spotswood Vegemite plant With its playful chimneys; a child mightContinue reading “Westgate Country”