H  O  M  E    &    A   W   A   Y      2  0  1  0
   n z e p c
Michele Leggott  

All Together Now: A Digital Bridge for Auckland and Sydney             


many hands

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8


day seven

we’re walking down Pitt Street
to meet her when the phone rings
in his pocket    there’s been an earthquake
she says    a big one nobody dead but the city
on the plains is a mess    SMASHED    AFTERSHOCK
headlines rumble as our calls queue up    jamming
the networks    bricks became birds tiles turned
to leaves and fell    they thought it was a rat a cat
giving the chimney pots wings

at the dance school by the harbour
where she brought her girls for years
on Saturday mornings we sit down
far away from the two typewriters hammering
the cold of that city on the plains   
mama and papa are dead and their rings
are with the Madonna in the Abruzzi church
where it all began    the words tremble
under the weight they carry the distance between
the beginning and the end of this story    and others
we remodel as hours vanish and the tide
lifts boats outside the picture window

gales freshen    we stroll to Kirribilli
over the bridge and catch a water taxi back
to town    now it’s time to visit 117 George Street
where the Academie Julienne is in session
at the top of narrow wooden stairs    much as it was
when Lola Ridge was here    perhaps a student
perhaps a model for the life class perched on a stool
the premises have changed but the school persists
and it’s easy to imagine her hauling canvases
or sketchbook from the ferry    mama and little son
awaiting her return each day to the North Shore
where she is shedding marriage and connections
to the mining town 1200 miles across the sea

her name is not part of the writers’ walk
but Henry is there with many others as we enter
the Botanic Gardens looking for a man with a stone face
dappled by sunlight    finding instead Mrs Macquarie’s Folly
ibis on patrol and a faun with the face of someone
who fell off the Manly ferry and drowned 
in the long distance between periphery and home
here McCahon went on his all night walk
with the spirits whose images in the rock beneath
his feet are tracks of light for the dispossessed
the deranged the lost and the breathing dead   

p  e  r  i  p  h  e  r  y    the golden limousines
of wedding parties circle park and gardens    the bride’s
feet are sore but her girls have taken off their shoes
as they troupe back from the fountain    did they pose
by Diana and her dogs or drink from a spouting turtle?
our dreams tonight are transfers from tv
sand volcanos in the bathroom rivers of mud where
we want to drive the car nine people dead
in a plane crash at Franz Josef    (don’t you remember?
won’t the lost shake for any cry at all?)    we wake
in the dark to get an airport shuttle    out on the street
the sun is coming up and the ground is still    four girls
in short skirts and high heels petition a driver
but he won’t take them three blocks to their hotel    
so off they go    a little the worse for wear but clearly
crispy wantons leaving their wedded sisters now
for embarkation to a palace among the stars


©Michele Leggott