Today I was happily surprised to read a reflective piece on aspects of Sydney written in response to the poem 'Saxe Blue Sky' from my new book True Thoughts. It's by Tim Wright, poet and co-editor (with Nick Keys) of When Pressed. You can read it on swim/swam.
Here is the poem :
Saxe blue sky
the millennium train
the tollway to the Harbour Bridge
CHANGE GIVEN CHANGE GIVEN AUTO COINS ONLY
in bright orange
against a saxe blue sky.
the gigantic matchsticks sculpture,
one burnt, one phosphorus red and ready,
from a closely trimmed mound of couch.
a bronze frieze in capital letters, on the corner
of the NSW Art Gallery –
CHRISTOPHER WREN, (old cosmopolitan),
(Thomas) GAINSBOROUGH -
seventeenth and eighteenth century ghosts,
glimpsed like brief suggestions, or notes,
as I enter the drab tunnel
towards Martin Place
on my way
to advance automation,
to sort a set of bookbinding cards
(discard, edit, or keep,
according, of course,
to a method)
cards detailed with
traces of colleagues
now moved on.
I remember most of them,
more, I remember their memos,
circulated notes -
our names listed,
stapled to a corner,
memo read, name ticked, then passed along
to the next name -
and computers then exclusive to data,
the binding card
mimicking book spines,
a card index
the instrument of record.
the train squeals into Redfern,
I emerge from the dim light
deep under the city
to see the saxe blue sky
pale grey-brown on the horizon,
from here, in the inner west,
the way I walk to work,
the block – the aboriginal housing co-operative –
another set of glimpses, whisps,
traces of people
now moved on.
on this frosty thursday morning
only a small group of revenants
warming up around
a smoking 44-gallon drum.
The southbound eastern suburbs train speeds by the old Brett Whiteley matchstick sculpture faster than ignited saltpetre.
The Art Gallery of New South Wales' incomplete frieze of artists' names zips by at the same speed, and none of the artists on the railway side that I mention in 'Saxe Blue Sky' are in this photo.