braced for a mugging is stranger than the
Eritrean boy asking the question
outside Clifton Hill station. The skinnier
for baggies he’s hop & a skip
across three lanes following my hand.
No way to countermand him.
No way he’d stay for the whole
story. The ghosts of spray-can gangs
who tagged the length & breadth of the subway
are benign I’d tell him. There’ll be
the odd gutter-crawler in front of the House
of Love. Keep walking. The garage’ll be closed
but in summertime a gaggle
of mechanics will punt a football
in the road there. One missing his mark
is bound to call an Eritrean
to kick it back. Ignore them.
Continue to a far flung franchise
of the American dream. Once it was
the dull red brick of the United Kingdom
pub where the last of the blessed
aged quicker than most
on Victoria Bitter.
Now it’s the McDonalds
of this convergence of worlds
in whose vicinity I’m more
or less lost.