May 1992




walleah press



Fitzroy I hardly know you
Returning after how many years
Smith Street still wanders
Into Victoria Parade's tree-lined shade
Into Victoria Parade's tree-lined shade
Buildings of one-way glass corrupt the space
Between McDonalds & St Peters on the hill
Recollecting the early seventies
When Carlton was on the make
While the Brotherhood St Vinnies & CAA jostled
To provide a measure of relief at home & abroad
The drunks had never heard of Liberation Theology
Until Mother Therese arrived with her Sisters
The third world offered comfort in Fitzroy
The reversal left many uncomfortable
Her face Calcutte-ivory - extended time
In the tropics does this to women
Blue eyes her handshake wise
Or so I chose to believe
Friends bought Fitzroy houses cheaply
Pulled down the outdoor dunnies
Potted palms in piss-dank courtyards
Stripped bluestone walls
And installed skylight above mezzanine floors
Fitzroy saw the light & prices escalated
None of us could afford to live there now
'La Mama' on the fringe with Williamson
Blundell & Gillies at 'The Pram Factory'
Our bums stiffened on wooden benches
As unaware we watched a renaissance
These days it's readings at 'Lord Jims'
Fitzroy still clings to its derelict ways
At least flagon port was more honest
Than wine in chem-filled casks
It's a long walk to Ozanom House
Vietnamese are advancing from the east
Dykes have moved to Clifton Hill
Over coffee & Sambuca I reminisce
And listen to Zydeco on Smith Street

Sue Moss is a poet, performer and song-writer published in anthologies and literary journals. She works as a part-time teacher and flower-grower and has lived in Tasmania since 1974.