In Sydney today

 

: I got your Rothko

All bright and solid expression

Of a section from the start of a body that slowly 

goes blind 

From sense to wonder to a hard black

that echoes in my heart 

empty and full as the Turbine Hall.

 

I found a white hair 

A bright and solid expression

of a slow, sectional movement of bodies  

towards echoes 

From wonder to sense to a blackness 

that’s suddenly concealed and evoked by my new niece, 

hair as copper as your own. 

 

And in Sydney today, I’m in Sydney

all bright and solid expressions

that are only the echoes of bodies in and

across time.

The wonder, the sense, the slow blackening

concealed from hearts like wrinkles from  

sections of skin pulled taut. 

 

All the same and changing,

 

With love,

 

CP


 

In London today,

 

I know just what you mean about the getting old.

On these cold mornings like the ones that you left

That are rolling in now. Almost September time. My left wrist explodes as I curl it around a coffee cup.

 

But it’s not old, not exactly, or because of the cold

but how work gets into your body,

Bites down on your fingers and holds you between its teeth. 

The body rebels against time spent bashing out words for others and aggressively signing off emails

‘thank you so much.’

 

And didn’t we stretch our young skins over David Foster Wallace,

like canvas over canvas

pull it all over that city you’re in

its lights tumbling out of our mouths

and promise we wouldn't

 

and I still think, in my concertina of a heart, that we don’t,

not as much as the others, who are richer than us.

Will you still promise me that you won’t?

 

thank you so much,

 

love,
RV

 


 

In London today

the sky is like a two day old bruise

grey jubilee lines grow

purple lilacs and parma violets bloom

UKIP purple and yellow at the edges.

J’adore asks in my classroom Why is it yellow, your eye-skin Moshtaba, why is it yellow?

I fell over

But why is it yellow?

Because, well, because it’s magic.

Magic? J’adore considers it.  

You know, says Moshtaba, magic

Like Allah and Santa.

Magic like how this suddenly shining sun lights up the estate turning every puddle in Hackney into gold.  

Oh yeah, says J’adore, magic. I know that guy.


 

In Sydney today

 

I was stopped by security

downstairs 

ID please and apparently 

the trains have stopped

 

the jacarandas have faded more

sweets on the tongue than

bruises 

since we last spoke

 

And I got some messages 

are you in the CBD?

if you are there are no 

taxis 

 

outside 

the air and concrete

are slick with frangipani

 

and an email 

office 

closed please leave

no buses going north

 

nobody 

is stopping in Sydney today 

the jasmine is fragrant and very still

 


 

In London today, 

 

I'm in Marseille, 

the rough jewel of the Riviera, or so they say.

So amongst the dates and the olives and the pats of green soap

Kim Kardashian sightings are irregular.

 

Except in Hello magazine I bought in attempt to 'relax' 

and get into the 'holiday vibe.' 

 

I could have bought Charlie Hebdo 

because in France no one is supposed to be anything but Je suis Charlie. 

 

But instead I take Kim down to the port with me to watch the ships going to Algiers

the place I Google maps street view the most when I'm bored at work. 

 

And in Marseille today, no one is supposed to see the eighteen year old border guard say to an old man. 

You 

are Tunisian. 

You are 

Not French. 

So, 

I watch the ship churn the sea up at least as white and frothy as Kim Kardashian’s wedding dress and I do not watch the child behind glass moving his gun from hand to hand. 

 

 


 

In Sydney Today

 

its all churning dreams and space 

and floating borders

where I’m atop a 

inside of 

almost the sea; a ferry

 

in civilisations without ships

that French man once said 

dreams dry up

don’t they?

 

I’ve been thinking about guns

and children and ships

ten years from not now

we’re dreaming

submarines on Europa  

 

we’ve imagined already the way

arabic on mars 

is Sydney

is Marseille 

 

it jumbles together

prison dream place foam

we watch the churning

our floating

between us port other and

 

there are children outside the borders

leaking wet dreams dry

no ship ports

no dreaming

 


 

In London today

 

I'm thinking about Sydney, how

Ideas like water run off the sides of  her glass buildings after summer rain pelts down,

evaporate back to nothing Sydney.

I read Peter Carey to try and understand you, Sydney.

Used to hang out up the cross,

and how many times did we do the King Street crawl, looking for your underbelly Sydney

running young palms over grave stones Sydney and climbing the fig.

Drinking gin hurling thoughts chipped mugs from the top floor of your university

 thinking maybe from up here we could see

what was under your alfoil

 

You are as shiny white,

caps flat white luna park teeth Sydney.

You taste like metal Sydney, no memories Sydney

And in London,

in London today I’m sinking my teeth in the Thames, the books are wet on my shelves and newsprint comes off on my hands. Fish bones and clay pipes and chip boxes, London, 

I can bite into you but it’s so much more than I can chew. 

 


 

In Sydney Today

 

your formaldehyde 

words have got me 

trying to be 

in London today,

in the different rain

drinking gin, not beer

smelling dust and stone

ignoring the brightness of the Shard

with you

 

I’ve been looking 

at the Rothko that you sent me

 

In Sydney today 

we could be

at an op shop or

in a shoe box or

on the wall of a friend

where our letters might be found

when we’re dead

if someone cares to

keep them

 

I’ve been reading 

all these photographs of us

 

it’s raining in that pelting way

with the all the strength of the emotion

behind tears

but it’s done so 

on and off for weeks, 

I guess lifetimes

so it’s hard to know 

what it means 

and what it doesn’t

 

In Sydney today 

I am only ever half present

 

with love,

CP