Our first date was Summer Vacation: 1999
(Nen no natsu yasumi, 1988)
at the Walker St in North Sydney in 1990.
I had never been to a cinema
(or anything else) across the bridge.
The film was avant-garde:
it was unclear whether the actors were girls or boys.
(They were girls playing boys. A good omen.)
We caught the train back to Town Hall,
walked up Oxford St in the rain
and had Thai at the Silver Spoon off Taylor Square
(it no longer exists, neither does the Walker St;
all the repertory cinemas are gone)
then coffee at Bill and Toni's downstairs.
(Its real name is something else nobody knows.
When I show you the draft of this poem
you say it wasn’t Bill and Toni’s
but the one across the road.
Your memory is better.)
Almost nothing has changed
since I first went there in the 70s.
On our second date I fell down the steps
of the Museum of Contemporary Art
and got up unshaken. (Another sign.)
The first gift I gave you was a tartan shopping trolley.
You wheeled it up and down the hall with a big grin.
You gave me your umbrella.
Since then we’ve lived in a terrace in Annandale,
a crumbling georgian in Darlinghurst,
an arts and crafts jewel box in Potts Point (Kings Cross),
and a warehouse in Surry Hills
(ex-hat factory and lock-up).
Clover’s Harmony Park, across the road,
fills up with toy dogs every evening.
(You’re a cat lover without a cat
since Portia died a decade ago.
Maybe this year, maybe not: in due season.)
The ‘original’ men's toilets
in the Hollywood (diagonally opposite)
are popular with location scouts.
I don't think I’ve ever seen them
though I have seen (as who could forget)
the poetry reading in The Monkey’s Mask
(aka Poetry, Sex in Japan)
shot in the main bar with regulars
and Kelly McGillis as the lesbian professor,
a decade before coming out (after Jodie)
boarding a cruise in Florida in 2009.