Sixth Bell

1 May 2012

He washes up upon the shore,
that blue man, waxen in the printer’s trowel
of harbour light. A wedding pumps
on the waterfront, a limo driver smokes
and blows his rings at bats, and he
who looks so often to his watch sees
the washed up golem beyond the rail
and parking bay and barrier and
does and says nothing.

So the sixth bell peels at two AM,
when poems fall away and the tired quay
sighs; the circle train death-rattles
from cut to cut, slipping into Hades’
graffiti bunkers, satanic murals,
black water, black rubble, Tank Stream.

The dead man brushes himself off,
scrapes his way up sandstone walls
and shuffles toward The Lord Nelson.
The bell sounds again, and something
vibrates in wet jeans – the cross is right
way up on an eastern hill. Time falls
back into the space between steps;
the echo of the bell is set to ring.

Stormwater gushes from a cut below
the city’s ribs, as if the CBD sucked
vinegar from a sponge. Metals settle
like a drowned man’s hand across the silt
and scalps of rusted weed roll, quaffing
through a tide of endless wash.

The moon lights Lavender Bay, a light
moons coal-lap bars as coloured rays
dance from off the decks of charters,
or leap from North Sydney towers, taking
brands from neon scaffolds, drowning them
along with lost dogs and the drunks of Darlo.

The dead man touches all the figs from
shadow-bridge to Barangaroo and steps
toward the bar to find the happy-hour spent,
and TVs mounted on each wall ticker-taping
news events to a room of people blue as he.
‘What will it be?’ the barman asks, as once
again his wet pants buzz.

Barangaroo
was the woman who presumably tamed
Bennelong, or was it the other way? Or
was it neither way? All the blue man knows
is in the heated room, is in the amber diamonds
flitting from his glass onto the beams of ships
planed and bolted down to stay the swaying.

Stormwater pours out a clean deluge
which hides in crystal flux the heavy metals
of give-and-take and rips like razor light
into the shoals. A sixth bell tolls.

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