The Victoria Markets

By | 1 June 2014

Storm over the old mart,
closed these two hours.
Slick on bitumen
reflects eruptive cloud.
After editorial days
I go out for late beer,
admire the frenzied workers.
It is like a military operation,
our vegetable Dunkirk.
Having come from White Horse
or Point Nepean
(‘into the centre from the source’),
they put away their wares
until someone wants:
‘Cheap today, lady, cheap today!’
mere echoes of their taunts.
Forklift trucks flit
from stall to freezer,
bearers of the wilted spring.
Prawns shimmy on old bones
and gulls will have their say.
By the ring-road,
near an old gas stove
in Federation colours, a boy
practises sharp manoeuvres
on a bandaged skateboard.

This poem nods to (and quotes from) Frank Wilmot’s great poem ‘The Victoria Markets Recollected in Tranquility’.

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