Sunset here is the distant roar
of motorbikes, and down Pacific Street,
I hear the enormous rage
that fills the mosquito’s head. Flies still circle
the day’s unalterable groove. A gull pierces
the distance like a sail needle. Summer’s
already gone with its squalls and king tides,
quarrels between breakers and shore.
In the palm fronds, a windy shootout —
a cockatoo firing gun-metal screeches
into the dusk. At the marina, boats called Insolence,
Betrothal, Party Girl, Gypsea, Liquidity
bob in the swell, their masts tip
like competing violin bows —
those principal instruments
which must be heard above all others.
On the headland, motels light up
like bright perfume bottles selling sex,
headlights flare like shoals of jellyfish,
then cruise away. On the beach’s far end —
pylons in tight barnacle socks, pelicans lumbering
where a few old men hold fishing rods and all evening
listen to the irascible abrading of their reels
along with the crickets in the marram.
Youths throw bottles into the surf —
they know the fast language of money
is spoken only in the casinos
and restaurants and by those who own
the shopping malls and boats.
They listen to the tide struggling
over the sandbar, their eyes coined
in the beer bottle glass
breaking along the rocks with the force
of their curses. Now a few gulls, like last season’s
junked fliers, peel away in the wind, and
the moon writes its graffiti in silver glyphs
across the hoarding of the cliff.
4 May 2016