From our back issues…

Luna Park

Forget the Opera House, forget everything. What I remember
is Luna Park, inaccessible behind
chain link fencing and KEEP OUT signs.
To call it a funfair seemed inadequate:
it was fantasy made metal and plywood, an inspired
blend of naïve art, imagination
and simple engineering. There was The Bug,
a shiny giant ladybird, bright red
with black discs the size of car tyres,
that jerked up and down, its scary feelers
spring-loaded, on a vertical steel track.
And The Clown, a vast face coloured like an iced cake
with red nose and corrugated ruff.
What was its purpose? Did people ride in it
and roll about? I could never find out.
There was the Ferris wheel whose top car teetered
again and again as if always about to go
over the top, but it was only the wind
that rode there. And the roller-coaster that gave
an excuse for closing the whole place down: it ran
too near to a block of new flats, whose tenants complained
about the happy terrified screams of children
and lovers as it gathered into the plunge
of its downward graph. Condemned
for its sins, its too-explicit vulgarity,
its cheapness – even its plain cheerfulness
an affront to sophistication and serious money,
not to mention its real estate. Times had changed.
The future of fun was gameboys and ipods, built bodies
on surfboards across the bay at Bondi,
sharks hauled from the sea by thickset men, photographed
showing their teeth in morose, predatory grins –
or bleached airheads hurling themselves off bridges.
This place was too shabby for the stainless-steel
granite-topped disposable future
we’re supposed to want. But I wanted Luna Park,
now only the reflection of light in a wavy mirror,
fading script in the protein of a few memories,
some words, small bright twist in the whorl of time.

from New Walk 1, October 2011

*          *          *


And here too, in the place that loved you back,
your absence grows; in the guillotine of greenhouse
glass, in a trellis slung from the hips of a rose.
The sun hangs in an empty feeder, which jigs and birls
on the cherry tree, a web spans tongue to heel across
your weather-cured shoes, still two sizes too big for me.

from New Walk 1, October 2011

*          *          *

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