Melbourne Poems, Three Psychogeographic Studies

The City, Study No. 1

The city carries very much on its back. The lights, the clocks, the trains and the tracks. The red-brick buildings, the stations, the bus stops, the fast food joints, the bars, restaurants, the bridges. The skyscrapers that cloud in the heights hover over us mortals down below. Some say the city grows on you. The city with its gestures that represent every human emotion. The city with regrettable faces, dead faces, sad faces, mad faces, trying to hold onto things that aren’t there. It is hard to say how or why a city can make you fall in love with it.

The City, Study No. 2

The city

/ is an entire different thing, on the whole the city is alone, very much contained, like a bowl of jelly, or a block of wood, a bar of soap, a slip of tongue, a wild oat;

/sleeps on its side and never snores, always diving deeper into a hole, a seamless transfer of fluids, thoughts, images, like ducks and coca cola ads, like salamis and miami beaches, like palms and hands, like gauguin and cezanne (pronounced the American way);

/wandering from one chair to the next, from one machine to another burning oil drum, from highways to the moroccan, from mildew to scum; the city is infested with sporadic conundrums, idiosyncratic dilemmas, enigmas, stigmas, enema;

/walking on pincers, prongs, prunes, dunes, thongs, rubber dongs, sitcoms, nuns, noons, nonentities, songs, and lines and lines of them; no rocks, no ice cream, no rivers, nude and green, no mountains, tall and lean, no nothingness, but full of nothingness;

/ travels light, speeds past grasses, graves, gravels, masks, police cars, sand, bulrushes, bushes, dog excrement, ferment of big voices broadcasted from one speaker to another, from one heart to another; estimation is cost-effective;

/blue and grey, savage, voiceless, a wreck, the age, construction cranes, helmets, high-visibility vests, arms and legs, concrete slabs, steel racks, curbside oddities, plastic waste, ramps, lights and flowers, trams, the city is late and arrives on time, the city is on strike and the sky is alien to night;

/ cannot relate, walks away, comes back, yawns, grows wings but does not fly, lazy,  heavy, its skyline changes, its face, an ever-shifting blur, a wall of water that separates the foam from the film of earth, a solid hour in a putrid room;

/ is cloud, is doubt, is fear, is anxiety: the city is feet, the city is music, the city is beat, but the wild rhythm, tap tap tap on the root, throat strains, eyes read crazy, defiled, dirt and grime, loneliness inside the busy throng?

/ asks little, thinks a lot, broods, large questions settle on ennui, question marks floating from window to window twenty storeys above, what do we know? how can we answer?

/ answers,
it doesn’t know.

City Dogs, Study No. 3

pipes, fences, grasses, tennis court, weight of the wind, chimneys, mirrors, roofs, and we come riding like a pair of straw-necked seagulls, gulping the earth and the sea, the church and the office, the parliament and the law courts, the rainbow and the sand, and because we are seagulls, we go like a bunch of mad men at the chips scattered from human hands

Janet Jiahui Wu