“I once loved a hobo in the park.”
This was my friend’s mum talking, her papery face
suddenly a lantern. I kept prattling
as if she’d said something ordinary, something
not quite so aligned with my own predicament.
A hobo in the park – my inner tape recorder
got it, even if my drunk-mind didn’t.
Her eyes were the same blue as a Sydney summer,
the same eyes that once treasured society’s trash.
The stupidity of wisdom. I told my lover
once: “You’ll end up like one of those guys in the park
you know, the ones who yell at nothing and throw
bottles at people.” We were in my car, driving
across the Harbour Bridge. “I don’t care!” he said,
a fresh burst of spittle coating his week-old t-shirt
like air freshener, the cheap kind that’s labelled ‘Alpine’
in black letters, and smells even worse than shit.
It was 11:30 by the time we made it to his office,
which is either shockingly late or “Just in time
for lunch!” depending on whether your half-filled glass
contains vodka. At some point I suppose
I’ll have to stop finding him hysterical
or I’ll end up with the surname ‘Jones’
and a bedroom with a leafy vista.
I know. But my friend’s mum doesn’t lecture
because she knows the wilfulness of love,
the hurricane that howls in from nowhere,
from stillness to gale force in a breath.
Transient as we all are; voyeurs in a dream.
My Friend’s Mum
1 May 2015