a clarity of smog

nine days in Japan and already you’re a megalomaniac

drunk on the fame of being slightly apart

backhome there are bushfires and The Test on TV but here

you’re in the manic phase of a bipolar New Year.


even getting off the train at the wrong station when you can’t

read the signage and no-one speaks your mothertongue doesn’t

phase you. a divine messenger disguised as a mid-level clerk

tells you that the train to Mega is nexto-nexto.


you’re completely alone in your ipod universe as Antony sings

everything is new in the space between your ears and you walk

the winter greyconcrete streets of Mega/Shikama houses and

steel smokestacks beside a river tamed with cement.


refinery pipes, mega-pylons supporting arcs of cable

inscribed from some point above and

triangulations of scaffolding infrastructure

your artificial horizon.


you know in your bones that the sun rising red through smog

is rising just for you and despite the photochemical haze

there’s a clarity                 like individual rainbow ice crystals

refulgent on dead rice stalks beneath your feet.


the day is new. those birds you pass have migrated from Siberia

to forage for insects between the backstreet cabbages at this

precise second for your entertainment alone. you love each

moment.           like now.          and this one      now.


the entire day is unfolding. you don’t need a god

when the Universe is so perfect and selforganised.

each day dripping into the vast pool

of dayspent.


occasionally we find ourselves

at an intersection where

any choice will be

the right one.


a clarity of smog was first published in foam:e #11. It has also appeared in Australian Poetry Journal Members Anthology 3, tropeland and Silver Singing Streams (Friendly Street Poetry Reader #39, ed. Kalicharan N Dey & Geoff Hastwell, FS Poets, 2015.)

It was awarded the Friendly Street Poets Satura Prize in 2015.

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