Saxe Blue Sky (Thursday Morning)


the millennium train
whips past
the tollway to the Harbour Bridge
CHANGE GIVEN CHANGE GIVEN AUTO COINS ONLY
in bright orange
against a saxe blue sky.
the gigantic matchsticks sculpture,
one burnt, one phosphorous red and ready,
jutting up
from a closely trimmed mound of couch.
a bronze frieze in capital letters, on the corner
of the NSW Art Gallery —
CHRISTOPHER WREN, (old cosmopolitan),
(Thomas) GAINSBOROUGH —
flashes by,
seventeenth and eighteenth century ghosts,
glimpsed like brief suggestions, or notes,
as I enter the drab tunnel
towards Martin Place
on my way
to advance automation,
to sort a set of bookbinding cards
(discard, edit, or keep,
according, fo course,
to a method)
cards detailed with
pencilled handwriting,
traces of colleagues
now moved on.
I remember most of them,
more, I remember their memos,
circulated notes —
our names listed,
stapled to a corner,
memo read, name ticked, then passed along
to the next name —
pre-email,
and computers then exclusive to data,
the binding card
mimicking book spines,
a card index
the instrument of record.

the train squeals into Redfern
I emerge from the dim light
deep under the city
to see the saxe blue sky
look smoggier,
pale grey-brown on the horizon,
from here, in the inner west,
the way I walk to work,
the block — the aboriginal housing co-operative —
demolished, gone.
another set of glimpses, whisps,
traces of people
now moved on.
on this frosty thursday morning
only a small group of revenants
warming up around
a smoking 44-gallon drum.

by Pam Brown

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