I live in Canberra, the Australian capital. It is the seat of our National Government and home to many national institutions. It is a beautiful city and, as cities go, a great place to live. It is known as "The Bush Capital" as the Australian bush encroaches to the very centre of the city. It is this bushland, however, that provides shelter for the not so glossy resident.
These are real people. I see them most days, or used to, until they.....Moved On!
He used to live on City Hill,
well, just to one side, actually.
Hidden deep in a cosy, bushy place
a few hundred meters from the Canberra Theatre.
A tarp for shelter
and a few bits of junk.
Not much more.
Maybe fortyish, hard to tell;
tall, thin, bedraggled - you know the look.
Haven't seen him for quite a while - not surprising.
Can't have "that" hanging around
when the "tutt-tutters" take in a show.
She might be forty something, too.
A handsome women, once.
Black as pitch
A supermarket trolley full of crap,
two suitcases and stuff.
Pushes her world across the bridge,
and back again.
From the shadows of Parliament
to retail paradise.
A return ticket to purgatory.
Missing of late..moved on!
I call him Jesus.
Tallish, well built,
with used-to-be blonde hair and beard
and used-to-be white clothes.
He has a supermarket trolley, too,
piled high with his life.
From city outskirts to city centre
he wanders, with a passing nod at power.
Or he did...gone now...moved on!
Then there's "Carpet Top"!
Hair all matted, greasy,
under a crazy hat.
Tall, gaunt, haunted.
A battery radio for company,
different one every week, or so.
Plonks it in a doorway, music on
picking up butts.
Must have a camp near the city,
or he did.
Gone now...moved on!
And these silent ghosts,
of haunted folks,
reminders of discarded dreams,
float, quietly, across our vision
ignored, except for our derision.
Echoes of our nightmare screams!
Laurie Favelle, Canberra, July 2010