M u d l a r k   N o .   1 9   ( 2 0 0 2 )

Smith Street: a melodrama in three acts

(or, Sunset Clause)


Smith Street (Between Heaven and Hell)

by John Kinsella, Tracy Ryan, and Steve Chinna

John Kinsella is the author of more than twenty books whose many prizes and awards include The Grace Leven Poetry Prize, the John Bray Award for Poetry from The Adelaide Festival, The Age Poetry Book of The Year Award, The Western Australian Premier's Prize for Poetry (twice), a Young Australian Creative Fellowship from the former PM of Australia, Paul Keating, and senior Fellowships from the Literature Board of The Australia Council. His POEMS 1980-1994 and volume of poetry THE HUNT (a Poetry Book Society Recommendation) were published in May 1998 by Bloodaxe in the UK and USA, THE UNDERTOW: NEW & SELECTED POEMS (Arc, U.K), VISITANTS (Bloodaxe, 1999), WHEATLANDS (with Dorothy Hewett in 2000), and THE HIERARCHY OF SHEEP (Bloodaxe/FACP, 2001). He is the editor of the international literary journal SALT, a Consultant Editor to WESTERLY (CSAL, University of Western Australia), Cambridge correspondent for OVERLAND, (Melbourne, Australia), International Editor of the American journal THE KENYON REVIEW, and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. A novel GENRE was published in 1997 (Fremantle Arts Centre Press) and GRAPPLING EROS in late 1998 (FACP). He co-edited (with Joseph Parisi) a double issue of Australian poetry for the American journal POETRY and more recently an Australian issue of THE LITERARY REVIEW. He is Professor of English at Kenyon College in the United States, a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University, and Adjunct Professor to Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. His work has been or is being translated into many languages, including French, German, Chinese, and Dutch.

The Writings of John Kinsella |  His Homepage on the World Wide Web

Tracy Ryan was born and grew up in Perth, and has taught writing and literature at various universities, most recently at Curtin University in Western Australia. In the past few years she has also lived in Britain and the USA. She has published a novel, VAMP, and three volumes of poetry. A new volume of poetry, HOTHOUSE, and a new novel, JAZZ TANGO, will be published with Fremantle Arts Centre Press in 2002. An experimental work, BLOC-NOTES, is due out in the USA with POTES & POETS.

Steve Chinna teaches theatre and performance studies in the Department of English, University of Western Australia. He works with scripted plays, and devises, writes, and directs new works, often in collaboration with students. These new works have included: FROM DREAMS OF REASON, 1992; LOVE AND ADDICTION: THE DIARY OF A CURE, 1994; THE SHE-WOLF'S BLOODY NECKLACE, 1995; MISSIONARY POSITIONS, 1996; ENCOUNTERS WITH THE ALIEN (DARK HEARTS), 1998; and Kinsella/Ryan/Chinna, SMITH STREET (BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL), 2001.

SMITH STREET was first performed by Theatre Studies students at the Dolphin Theatre, the University of Western Australia, on 24 May, 2001, with the following cast.

ANGEL    Romy Kennedy
JACK    Justin Barrett
NARRATOR    Jenn Piper
MRS WALPURGIS    Annwen Griffiths
MR CLIPBOARD    Andrew Hunter-Christy
MAGISTRATE    Renita Almeida
CLIENT    Sharyl Sapari
COP 1    Kris Bowtell
COP 2    Emma Nicoletti
           Sharon Davis,
           Sara Fonck,
           Tammy Mulder,
           Yajna Ramasary

Directed by Steve Chinna
Stage management by Peter Evans
Lighting design by Aja Styles
Music devised and performed by Kris Bowtell and Emma Nicoletti
Production duties shared by Clarabelle Chaw, Clara Fletcher,
    and Monique Rampono

Programme Notes

Smith Street (Between Heaven and Hell) explores the lives and politics of local 'high' and 'low' life who intermingle in a space between heaven and hell — where naturalism moves to fantasy, prose to poetry, dialogue to song, and the distinctions between law makers and law breakers are destabilised.

When John Kinsella approached me late in 2000 regarding the production of a play he was writing — based around events in Perth concerning Smith Street, kerb-crawling clients, prostitutes, and political game-playing — he expressed the wish that it be first performed by students at the Dolphin Theatre at UWA in recognition of the long involvement in theatre production and performance by staff and students at this university. The play was written in collaboration with Tracy Ryan and its poetical nuances display the verbal gymnastics and strong visuality of the dialogue. I was given carte blanche to add material and direct it for performance without authorial intervention. It was clearly recognised by both John and Tracy that a script can only be a potential in terms of staging. I am grateful to them for the opportunity to present this work in performance, and to the efforts put into it by all concerned — especially the students of both cast and crew who have worked on this project with such enthusiasm — against study and work commitments that often made sustained rehearsal impossible.

Steve Chinna


ANGEL, a young prostitute
JACK, her pimp
NARRATOR, a butch dyke
MR CLIPBOARD, a Resident


Should be in some way arranged into three distinct sections: Hell, Earth and Heaven. Smith Street winds through all three zones so that the characters can move back and forth between them. There is a conspicuous belltower. There is a peepshow which may simply be depicted by a banner bearing that name, possibly with a rainbow flag. There are blocks of flats, anonymous-looking, as well as a "Tuscan Splendour" in which Mrs Walpurgis lives. We can see into this house. There is a courtroom and the dilapidated interior of a squat.


Act 1: Scene One | Scene Two | Scene Three | Scene Four

Act 2: Scene One | Scene Two | Scene Three | Scene Four

Act 3: Scene One | Scene Two | Scene Three | Scene Four



(The street. CLIENT is 'asleep' on stage — under the Belltower. TOURISTS enter to music.)

TOUR LEADER:  Welcome all to Smith Street
     Named after a famous thief
     A picturesque burlesque
     A risqué place of mischief.

     Now, stick together, please
     don't be wandering off
     the denizens are dangerous
     they're full of rancorous wrath.
     And that's the folk that live here —
     the citizens on the hill
     Don't worry about the street folk
     they can't hate enough to kill.

     Here we have a monument
     a monumental monument
     can anybody tell me
     who's responsible for building this?

CLIENT:  A priapic pile of phallic pride
     a memorial to those who've died
     an excremental pile of crap
     a symbol of great hubris.

(TOURISTS and CLIENT freeze. All others enter running and take up positions. They freeze and then move slowly like automatons. NARRATOR enters. MR CLIPBOARD traverses stage during the following.)
NARRATOR:  Dawn birds taken for police radio
     outside her window
     skin no longer a delimiter
     they tread their beat in her
     and in the real
     Mr Clipboard does his rounds
     old man chafes at his sagging pants

     not even shopping or baggage
     deflects them
     we all look the same in the dark

     they are two sides of the one appetite
     circling    closing
     as small boys
     do wheelies

     "you waiting for a lift miss?
     just checking"

     Smith Street: John Citizen, Jane Citizen
     and every in-between citizen
     everyman, everywoman,
     any woman.

(ALL exit, except ANGEL and NARRATOR.)
NARRATOR:  Starting early today, Angel?

ANGEL:  You gotta get them before work.
     Lowers the tension levels for the day.

NARRATOR:  I've always meant to ask you
     where you come from.
     You just seemed to appear
     a few months back out of nowhere.

ANGEL:  Where do I come from? Who am I? Why am I here?
     A girl from the wrong side of the tracks?
     A farm girl lost in the city?
     An opportunist from St Kilda or the Cross?
     Who knows? What does it matter?
     I'm here and the birds are singing in Smith Street
     and the cops don't come out this early.

NARRATOR:  Not what I've heard.

ANGEL:  They're only barricading in the evenings.
     But I guess it won't be long.

NARRATOR:  I'm off to get some coffee.
     Catch you round.

ANGEL:  Yeah, later.

(ANGEL wanders back and forth between hell and heaven, as if waiting for something. After a couple of turns, she leans up against the belltower and begins to chant the following lines.)
ANGEL:  Though so many people live on this street
     it is rich in trees, grass, and birds;
     there is always a light shining through the night
     in the window of a flat — somewhere someone is awake.
     You are never alone, it's good to feel safe.
     Early morning movers come past throwing papers,
     making deliveries of legal and illicit substances.
     All cast an eye over me, some checking me out.
     I've blown men from all walks of life.
     Each has a technique they think especially cool.

NARRATOR:  Tell me about it!

ANGEL:  Sidling up and taking control
     or standing cow-eyed
     to draw me to their side.
     Then there are the crawlers, who pull you into their car
     before you've a chance to suss them out.
     One guy moved so fast he had me in there
     before I could shout,
     almost strangled me except I finally got out.
     That's when I took up Jack's offer
     to keep an eye on me
     though he takes half the earnings
     and charges me double for powder.
     Here he comes with that sarcastic leer
     wondering if there's any action.

(JACK enters.)
JACK (sung):  I'm the noted name in the robber's game
     I shoot my mouth I take no blame
     I scream my pride my mouth struck wide
     I stream the street I ply my trade
     I sell your meat I deal high grade
     I cut the stash I hawk your gash
     I split the deal the punters squeal
     I strut your stuff I call their bluff
     I fight to show my bluff's not blow
     I strip the park I haunt the dark
     I split their heads I wear cut threads
     I'm the monster mobster macho man
     the street's my gift the sky's my span
     I lunch at dusk I spit the husk
     to livid spies behind privet eyes
     my name is Jack my name is Jack

     I spin the name of the oldest game
     I give a flick don't give a fuck
     you turn a trick hand, hole, or suck
     I hold the bag you make a grab
     you're spellbound by my gift of gab.

     How's it going, Angel? Got some good gear
     coming in this evening, so look sharp.
     I like the morning when the air's clean.
     Though a bit of carbon monoxide
     goes with the territory! Look,
     we gotta watch out today,
     you know there's been some grumbling
     in the community,
     the Residents of the Precinct.
     They want your sort out of here.
     There's a lynch mob forming.
     I've heard a whisper from my contact
     that the wagons'll be pulling anyone
     working this street today. So if you see them,
     just keep walking,
     and turn into the Trinity
     where they can't touch you, okay?

ANGEL:  Okay.

JACK:  Whatever you do, don't carry any gear.
     I won't be far away, but I can't help you
     with the cops. And we can't afford hassles,
     'cause you still owe me for that last batch.
     Even if they lock you up,
     I'll get it out of you.

ANGEL:  I couldn't give a fuck.

JACK:  Oh, you will, bitch.
     You don't mess with me.
     you know that.

(ANGEL exits.)
     I've seen some weird shit
     over the years — people
     melt into pools on the floor,
     and then people forgetting
     they ever were. You know,
     not even obituaries.
     I've seen the bad air
     come out of the neat
     gardens and swallow houses.
     I've seen trees transform
     into people darker
     than the night, sucking
     everything in like gravity.

     The sky turns green the nightbirds scream
     it tears my brain shatters the pane
     gives my pain an altered frame
     my name is Jack my name is Jack
     my name is Jack and I'll be back

(JACK exits. Light onto MRS WALPURGIS and MR CLIPBOARD.)
MRS WALPURGIS (sung): There's a body inside this shell
     A heart beats behind the armour
     Flesh moves beneath the crust
     The carapace that shields my ardour

MR CLIPBOARD:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Crusts cut off

MR CLIPBOARD:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Ironed pleats

MR CLIPBOARD:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Best-dressed girl

MR CLIPBOARD:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Polished feet!

     I had a friend... did she know me?
     She dressed so strange; what could she show me!

STREET PEOPLE:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Pull the shutters down

STREET PEOPLE:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Support a closing down

STREET PEOPLE:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Drive them off the street

STREET PEOPLE:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS: The running feet

MRS WALPURGIS (sung):  There's a body inside this shell
     A heart beats behind the armour
     Flesh moves beneath the crust
     The carapace that shields my ardour

MR CLIPBOARD:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  Despise the deviant

MR CLIPBOARD:  Not my fault

MRS WALPURGIS:  A political expedient



(The Street. MRS WALPURGIS is leafletting on the street. NARRATOR is watching her.)
NARRATOR:  Morning, Mrs Walpurgis!

MRS WALPURGIS:  Do I know you?

NARRATOR:  Saw you in the local rag.
Your picture's everywhere.
The clean-up action plan.

MRS WALPURGIS:  I don't think...

NARRATOR:  Well, you know, I'm a resident too.
I sit here and mind my business
most of the day (points to peepshow)
and sometimes it does get busy.
I hate standing around
with nothing to do. They say
the devil makes work for idle hands.

(MRS WALPURGIS exits hurriedly.)
NARRATOR:  Goodbye Mrs W!
     I went to school for a while
     there with her, but she doesn't
     remember me. Of course,
     we've both changed a lot since then.
     Finished up in the same town,
     opposite ends of the spectrum.
     I know her daughter, though —
     comes every year to the Pride Parade
     giving out holy medals,
     thinks we need a miracle
     swooning saints on gilt-edged cards
     promising discount on purgatory.
     What can you say?
     It's a free country.
(NARRATOR withdraws. ANGEL enters. A CLIENT enters and falls into step with ANGEL.)
ANGEL:  What's happening?

CLIENT:  How much?

ANGEL:  It's going to be a nice day
     wouldn't you say?

CLIENT:  I wouldn't know about that.
     Now how much? I haven't got
     much time to spare.

ANGEL:  You've got a nice voice. I like
     hearing you speak.

CLIENT:  I need relief.

ANGEL:  I understand. Relief
     is what I give. Fifty
     for a hand job, eighty
     for the tongue and lips.
     One-twenty for the whole bit.

(CLIENT takes calculator from pocket.)
     Time is essence,
     so to speak.

CLIENT:  My boss is always
     saying something similar.
     I'd like her
     to relieve me
     but there's no chance
     of that...

ANGEL:  I'll be your boss.

CLIENT:  You're not dressed for it.

ANGEL:  Then close your eyes
     and I'll clothe myself
     in whatever you want.

CLIENT:  I can't wait.
     Time is of...

ANGEL:  the essence. Move on down
     the road. I'll catch you up.

(BOTH exit.)


(MRS WALPURGIS' house. Monologue of MRS WALPURGIS to a group of RESIDENTS who enter as ANGEL and CLIENT exit in previous scene.)

MRS WALPURGIS:  There's something in the static,
     in the dots on the television screen
     between channels, before the test
     pattern. And God speaks
     between the notes
     of Kenny G, I hear him,
     it's not a cliché.
     Christ was a handsome man
     and loved all his children.
     He redeemed that slut Mary,
     but I know she was the only one.
     Since my husband's death
     I've kept my body intact —
     it doesn't embarrass me
     to talk about it. I wear
     a bra to bed and my breasts
     are firm and sharp.

     They're all connected,
     these papers. A photo shoot
     for the community rag —
     a stepping stone
     to the holy grail.
     A moral paper, this is not
     a sacrilege. See, I think about
     every implication.

     In the beginning was the word.
     The state paper is dedicated
     to prising out evil
     in the public interest.
     It takes a stout heart.
     It sees the brilliant aura
     of our leader,
     his Christian spirit
     shining through
     every tough decision.
     It never lets them go.
     That harlot looking innocent
     on the front cover!
     It's not long before
     I replace her: from darkness
     to light. My dark hair
     is not a hindrance,
     it still has lustre.

(MR CLIPBOARD enters and gives each RESIDENT a 'plate' before exiting.)
MRS WALPURGIS:  Would you like some sponge?
     A muffin or two?
     Thank you, do.

RESIDENTS (they share these following lines — sung):
     Carbohydrates dampen ardour
     make your will and temper harder
     set your mind to stamp out evil
     every nook and every cranny
     squeaky clean and sharp and canny
     no more slut or handsome devil
     everything is on the level

MRS WALPURGIS:  No! It won't harm your ulcer, it's quite bland.

     Cooking keeps idle hands
     from temptation

     everyone in the area knows me,
     the butcher keeps the best cuts
     behind the counter, a signifier
     in any community

(RESIDENTS, with fixed smiles, giggle.)
     the youngest lambs
     grace the plates
     of my guests,
     more tender
     than what they serve
     at receptions
     and festivals.

 (RESIDENTS, with fixed smiles, giggle.)

     It is essential
     we set the standards —
     right down to what we eat,
     how we groom
     and deport ourselves.
     This is for the children
     I saw that slut Angel
     near the school
     the other day.
     Heading for Smith Street.
     She makes her way
     right past the playground —
     back from Oaken Park
     where she takes her clients.
     They let her place her mouth
     around their appendages
     without protection.

     We now have a new law
     to stop that.
     Aids is everywhere.
     Smith Street
     is full of it,
     I don't doubt.
     We've more than
     our fair share
     of homosexuals here.
     But first things first.
     little by little.
     step by step.
(RESIDENTS exit. ANGEL appears upstage behind MRS WALPURGIS. She is watching MRS WALPURGIS. She isn't spying, she's just there, hovering. She sees everything, but it's as if she stares right through MRS WALPURGIS, deep into the audience.)
     Well, that was a great success,
     though I wish Mrs Hymenie
     would eat her cake
     over her plate,
     she leaves such a mess.

     I can see
     they're all thinking
     my way. They just needed
     a spark. A leader.

     It's like herding cattle.
     I shouldn't laugh.

     Time to relax
     With serepax!

 (She turns to exit upstage and starts, and screams, upon noticing ANGEL.)
ANGEL:  Lovely dress you're wearing.

MRS WALPURGIS:  A Grace Brothers special.

(To audience, as ANGEL exits.)
     The try-on wear-out
     kind of shopping!
     I deserve it. If they
     ever found out, they
     couldn't touch me. I do so much
     for the community.


(The street. ANGEL and JACK enter.)
JACK:  I dreamt about you last night, Angel.

ANGEL:  That's because you won't touch me, Jack.

JACK:  You know it's the dirt, Angel.
     The dripping taps. The stoves
     left on when we've been spotting.

ANGEL:  In your dream I became something else?

JACK:  Yes, something else.

ANGEL:  What?

JACK:  I don't know really.
     A bird of some sort.
     A water bird. Picking
     at the carcass of a cow.
     Eating her insides out.

ANGEL:  That's your guilt
     for eating cows, Jack.

(ANGEL exits.)
JACK:  What is it with these birds?
     I dreamt of parrots on a farm:

     a Nissen hut of netting
     designed to keep the parrots out
     that trapped a pair of twenty-eights:
     vingt-huit, vingt-huit, vingt-huit,

(PROSTITUTES enter and form line. JACK 'works' his way among them.)
     a French colony, historic,
     like the closing of brothels in Roe Street
     or the surveillance
     and vigilantes here in Smith Street —
     the new phoneboxes without
     glass walls, citizens
     with notepads hoping
     for kerbcrawlers, spitting

     at your sort — refined varieties
     in gardens that won't tolerate
     trampling, the "wandering about"
     roughing it on the edge

     of salinity, or in lingo,
     making a go of it,
     despite the gentrification,
     the naming, the lists

     bred from a new mathematics.
     A storm struck hard
     in the summer, and that's why
     the netting lifted. The parrots'

     panopticon of colours
     looking for an out —
     extra-spectra, safe in the open,
     the daylight, their language.

NARRATOR (emerging from her shop):
     Fancy words from a fancy man.
     Jack of all trades and master of none
     except Angel. Jack, be nimble, be quick,
     the tricks are few and far between
     they're cleaning up and driving out
     and what will you do to earn a crust
     when the Tuscan splendour's all there is
     and the girls go back to school?
     Who'll be your mainstay then?

JACK:  Always got a trick
     up my sleeve, darling,
     they're not going to get
     the better of me; actually,
     I've just tripped over
     a few dozen stereos --
     could be a few bucks
     in it for both of us...

NARRATOR:  Ah Jack, your deals are always
     such big deals! I've heard your talk before.

JACK:  And don't you love it —
     I'll get you on board
     one of these days. Shit!

(PROSTITUTES exit hurriedly.)
     Looks like a pig wagon.
     Angel's out on a date...
     Hope she doesn't roll up
     while they're sniffing about.

NARRATOR:  Yeah, it'd only be the hundredth time
     they've been up and down today. They reckon
     your game is a mug's game...

JACK:  Genetically modified organisms.
     Transgenic pigs. Always seen myself
     as the head of a nature cult —
     we could use some of your
     bondage stuff and make them
     feel at home. Look, it's
     a Mexican standoff. Mexicans
     make great cop movies.
     Something of the Cars
     that Ate Paris going
     on here as well.
     An Aussie flavour.
     Gee, I love the movies.

NARRATOR:  Don't go that often myself. Some of us
     got work to do. But there's a film fest
     coming up at the Rainbow Centre... not
     your cup of tea!

JACK:  Ah, the dialogics of fucking.
     Like my vocabulary, fancy, you say —
     useful for judges. Makes a difference
     if you've got cultural references
     at your fingertips. And a private
     school education. Singapore.
     I've got what you might call
     cachet. Mix it with street cred
     and I'm a star. Don't need to
     punch my girls around,
     they worship me. I'm a god.

NARRATOR:  I'm an atheist myself. No desire
     to get down on my knees.
     But hey, I hope you have a few thunderbolts
     up your sleeve — you might just need them.
     Those cops aren't exactly godfearing types.
     And speaking of things heavenly, there's
     your lady...

(NARRATOR exits.)
JACK:  Shit! and there's a client
     about to make a swoop,
     I'd better catch her eye
     before she hooks him
     — there's no way
     she'll see the cops
     from there...
(ANGEL and CLIENT enter.)
CLIENT:  Let's take a walk.
(They fall into step.)
ANGEL:  Where are you parked?

CLIENT:  At the end of the street.

(COPS enter.)
COP 1:  Soliciting.
(CLIENT panics. Starts denying it.)
ANGEL:  He's a friend.

CLIENT (confused):  I'm not. I mean, yes...

COP 2:  Cut the crap.

JACK:  What's the problem, officer?

COP 2:  Piss off, or you'll go too.

(COPS walk ANGEL upstage. ALL freeze.)
NARRATOR (voice only, heard in darkness):
     Watch this space.
     Each patch and fetish a
     pitch to stopper it, each
     posture to quiet it,
     loud mouth
     this flag this red rag as it
     moves tenuously
     like Ruth singing
     "cover me, cover me
     extend the border of your mantle over me" —
     freedom would be
     oblivion or
     possession of it.
(ALL exit.)
     Watch this space.



(The street. NARRATOR enters. ANGEL enters, with PROSTITUTES — like a bodyguard.)
NARRATOR:  Good to see you back again.

ANGEL:  Oh yeah, a spell in the lock-up,
     a cavity search, and I'm a new woman.

NARRATOR:  Cavity search. Open season on any woman.
     She said love your cunt not lumber
     it around like hunger. Nobody else
     will, remember, forgotten how. Poor
     Miranda, no other treasure. Eye for a
     bargain, eye for an eye. You can let them
     in there, they won't find a thing. She said
     seize back the means, they try to
     privatise but you can put it out there. What
     does it have in common with a 747. What
     needst thou have more covering and
     so on. She said Lady,

     love your cunt,

NARRATOR:  but Fred Nile is in touch with the beating
     heart of Australia and police
     can authorise a nurse or a doctor I assure
     you it has no nerve endings and on the
     screen, worn as the battered aperture
     of an old camera the dusk and "soft musk of her hollows"
     the doctor is awed before. Imaging such
     dilation. Stainless, like steel.

ANGEL:  They went close to something.
     I can feel it. You don't need
     nerve endings. I vomited
     in the morning.

NARRATOR:  Behold the handmaid of the world.

ANGEL:   Be it done to me according to the word.

NARRATOR:  So how long are you going
     to work this street. Surely
     it's time to move on?
     There are riper pickings
     on the other side of town,
     or maybe around Fremantle.

ANGEL:  This street is ordered confusion.
     The high-rise flats mean the yuppies
     won't win out entirely — see,
     don't stereotype me.

(During following TWO PROSTITUTES cross stage and 'slash' ANGEL with  lipstick and exit. TWO OTHER PROSTITUTES cross stage and slap/smudge ANGEL'S face, and exit.)
     I don't wallow in the filth
     or float ethereally;
     no Manichaean take
     on council rates.
     I've worn wigs
     and sat in on meetings.
     So excited to have a new face
     they didn't even recognise
     their nemesis. And I got
     that idea from Star Trek.

NARRATOR:  Boldly going where no man has gone before!
     Do you know what I do with their leaflets?
     I wipe my arse with them.
     It's called recycling.
     Don't you worry, they won't stop
     at anything. They only tolerate me because
     I pay rates: prime location
     in the middle of town. But don't put it past them,
     they're into purgation.

ANGEL:  If I let them contain me
     and my cavities, they'd
     fill me anally and love it.
     I'm good for profit,
     and the mining industry
     likes that. It's just more gold
     to give away.

(JACK enters. NARRATOR withdraws and watches from a distance.)
ANGEL:  Jack, you're my man.

JACK:  I'm nobody's man.

ANGEL:  You're a man's man.
     A blokey bloke.

JACK:  What are you implying?

ANGEL:  That you like your body.
     I know you work out.

JACK:  What's it to you?

ANGEL:  Words don't work for this.
     We provide for each other.

(ANGEL and JACK take up parodic tango drop position. ANGEL starts caressing JACK but this turns into a search inside his coat.)
JACK:  I am a creative person.
     I am your agent. A spiritual
     mentor, a physical protector.

ANGEL:  A provider. You are
     my programme.
     We counsel
     each other.

JACK:  But I don't need you, Angel.

(JACK drops ANGEL and moves away. NARRATOR crosses to help ANGEL.)
     I'll do okay when our
     partnership breaks up.
     In fact, I'm thinking
     of registering
     for the small business
     incentive scheme.
     I've got a plan.

NARRATOR: Jack, the man with the plan.

JACK: Butt out of it.

(JACK and ANGEL exit. STREETPEOPLE enter.)

STREETPEOPLE:  (Shared lines, with reference to MRS WALPURGIS and MR CLIPBOARD.)

     There's that bitch

     There's that shit

     There's the vigilante clutch

     The god-blessed creep who runs this street

     The god-sucked geek who whacks his meat

     Who blocks her snatch

     Who ties his cock

     Put cling wrap round their private parts

     Pull up the sheets and sniff their farts

     Put shit upon the queens and tarts

     Take notes on those upon the street

     Live lives unblessed by joy and grief

     (Rhythm change)

     Live their lives in a ditch

     Upstanding cits

     Upstanding what?

     Upstanding shits

     Upstanding what?


ALL:  So high

     phallic monuments...

ALL:  So low

     to perverted...

ALL:  So down


ALL:  Go down

(STREETPEOPLE 'go down' into a tangled and writhing heap on the stage and remain there as lights change into next scene.)


MRS WALPURGIS:  Street scum!

MR CLIPBOARD:  Street scum!

MRS WALPURGIS:  Where is there restraint?

MR CLIPBOARD:  Where is their restraint?

BOTH (chant):  We work
     We work
     We prosper
     We smirk

MR CLIPBOARD:  We take the moral high ground

MRS WALPURGIS: We see the scum around

     inhabiting the street
     their dopey drug-led feet

MR CLIPBOARD:  Their vacant smiling stares
     They haven't any cares

MRS WALPURGIS:  Where is there restraint?

MR CLIPBOARD:  Where is their restraint?

(MRS WALPURGIS and MR CLIPBOARD stroke and fondle their own bodies before and during the following song.)
     (Sung) I hear what you are saying
     your words fill me with glee
     I gaze upon your body
     so strong, so pure, so free


MR CLIPBOARD:  Street scum!

(STREETPEOPLE laugh, make insulting gestures, and exit. Pause.)
MR CLIPBOARD:  I saw her at it again. Not the morning,
     she's working the dusk. Kids were still
     out and about. She was wearing
     hardly a stitch. You could see
     her bottom. I got some numbers,
     even in the half-light. And one bloke
     went for a mother and her daughter.
     I got his number and he almost
     ran me down. The surprise, the fear
     on his face gave me a pleasant shiver.

MRS WALPURGIS:  I'm glad you're so committed,
     but we must remember
     this is not about us — it's about
     the community. Our daughters, especially.
     It's a fine line, Mr Clipboard, a fine line.
     I shudder to think. I try not to.
     I focus on what can be done.
     Faith without works is dead, that's what
     the apostle says.

MR CLIPBOARD:  I see myself as being
     in the vanguard, not a mere disciple.
     I want to set a good example,
     to be remembered for my works.

MRS WALPURGIS:  But works of course are not enough. As it says
     in Hebrews —

MR CLIPBOARD:  You photograph well, Mrs Walpurgis.
     There was another shot of you
     by the corner phone booth.
     Funny watching them
     try and huddle under
     the wind shelter now.
     Puts a bit of a damper on things.

MRS WALPURGIS:  Yes, well, those with nothing to hide
     have nothing to be afraid of. I've always kept
     an open house myself.

MR CLIPBOARD:  When we've sorted this problem out,
     we'll have to look to the Aboriginals
     that hang about. This stuff about
     tribal meeting places is so out-of-date.
     School kids play footy
     on that oval where they gather.
     Another lot we should move on quickly.
     Just watch the property prices go up!

MRS WALPURGIS:  You should read He wants us to Prosper,
     Mr Clipboard. The Lord
     likes abundance, you're a man
     after His own heart.

MR CLIPBOARD:  Yes, Mrs Walpurgis,
     I like to be well fed.

MRS WALPURGIS:  Abundance! "The earth
     is the Lord's and the fulness thereof" —
     doesn't say anything about
     them now does it? Heaven helps those

MR CLIPBOARD (chiming in with her):
     help themselves.

(SFX — bell sounds, lighting change)


(Near the belltower. JACK calls and COPS enter.)

JACK:  Hey boys! What do you think
     of the new belltower?
     A bit of a prick
     with a bunch of bells —
     must have been exposed
     to radiation at a young age.

COP 1:  You know us Jack,
     we won't take this crap.
     Shut it while your luck's in.

JACK:  Now, now, I'm your friend.
     You like my girls, they
     keep their mouths shut
     and make you spend spend spend!

COP 2:  This guy's getting to me.
     He's full of it.

JACK:  Just shootin' off my mouth...

(They rough him up.)
     Fuck off! Keep the hands to yourself.
     I'm telling you, I've got friends.
     And some of your park-dwelling habits
     would be of great interest to them!

     COP 1:  Your friends in the press
     have had a sock put in it:
     one of ours
     is holding the reins now.
     And he's going to hang you high,
     Jack boy. A tongue-lashing
     with bite!
     Jack and the belltower.
     We should send him up there.

JACK:  And what? Chop it to the ground
     before I get down?

COP 2:  This sounds like blasphemy.
     The tower is a beacon for posterity.

JACK:  I sold a stereo
     and a car radio
     to a labourer
     who drank beer
     by the river
     after a hard day's work
     on the holy tower.
     He said that after a few
     it was true,
     as rumour has it,
     that no one could understand
     what the others were saying.

(JACK exits)
COP 2:  A holy place. Holy places
     do that to you.
(Sound of a phone ringing. Or, COPS 'vibrate' before taking mobile phones from pockets. The two COPS speak in turns, as if automated.)
COP 1:  And which street was it on?

COP 2:  And you were walking home from work.

COP 1:  Well yes Ma'am, I'm sorry to have to say this,

COP 2:  and I don't mean it as an insult,

COP 1:  but it's likely he took you for... (pause)

COP 2:  Just because you were in the area.

COPS (together, as if chanting):  If you ring our hotline, we can have someone out there
     within five minutes to remove him.

(COPS exit.)


(Courtroom. NARRATOR, ANGEL, and JACK. SFX. Wind, hellfire, lighting effects. The following shouted as though on the deck of a ship during a storm.)
NARRATOR:  Angel, you know something
     that might work in your defence:
     if the hand of those who condemn you
     is caught in the till,
     things will be easier.

ANGEL:  I see a lot of things,
     but what binds me
     is stronger than
     the hippocratic oath.
     A lawyer must respect
     the confidentiality
     of his client. It's a contract.

NARRATOR:  Election promises are made,
     few are kept.

(PROSTITUTES enter with tables, CLIENT with chair. After placing they take up positions in 'court'.)
JACK:  Listen to her, Angel,
     she's been there before.

ANGEL:  Do you want me about, Jack?

JACK:  It's not that, it's just
     you score well for me.
     You keep us both happy.

ANGEL:  You're a romantic, Jack.

MAGISTRATE:  Do you like publicity, young lady?

ANGEL:  I didn't ask to be photographed.
     Those cameras
     are embarrassing my family.

MAGISTRATE:  You're embarrassing your family,
     let's get this right.

ANGEL:  You're making my problems
     their problems.

MAGISTRATE:  I see that you've been
     on the methadone programme before.

ANGEL:  'Done doesn't work for me.
     It's bad art.

MAGISTRATE:  It's bad art or jail.
     And you know the new law.
     It's just a matter of how much jail.
     You've confessed your guilt.

JACK (yelling out):  Mitigating circumstances!


ANGEL (as if in tongues. SFX under):
      Up-flow spreads and hazes
     the spaces between buildings,
     the step of a mother and her child
     is loud behind me; it's you,
     in the accusative, the princess
     and the pea, the hoaxes
     performed brightly
     in peasant's garb. I'm
     central European. We are
     parallel notations. Script.
     The sounds between the notes.
     The dust collects
     in make-up during the summer months.
     Clients like the stiff-nippled cold.
     Inquisitor. Purple. The monochrome
     businesses that fuel, ad nauseam.
     The furies are contained
     neatly. A register. Signatures.
     Income tax.

(SFX cease.)
JACK:  Tell her, Angel, tell her
     what you saw! Angel sees things,
     your Honour. And she can
     get inside people's dreams.
     But she's discreet,
     and only goes where she's wanted.

MAGISTRATE:  Enough from you.
     One more crack and that's it.


     Now, Angel, what's
     this gentleman
     talking about?

ANGEL:  I see things, your Honour,
     but it's not for me
     to say what I see.

MAGISTRATE:  Well, you're under oath
     and I expect the truth.

ANGEL:  I'm not sure
     if this is to do with truth,
     your Honour.
     But if you consider
     the court a gallery,
     we could hang pictures.

MAGISTRATE:  That sounds vaguely contemptuous,
     but I'll let it go.
     Don't forget you need a few
     grains of sand
     in your favour.

ANGEL:  What I see is nothing, really.
     People just think loudly.

MAGISTRATE:  If offered a jail sentence
     or a court order for rehabilitation
     which would you take?

JACK (yelling out):  Watch those preferences —
     they'll always be given
     to those who do you
     the most damage.

MAGISTRATE:  One more time, and that's it!

(ANGEL shifts across to MAGISTRATE. Wooing him/her.)
ANGEL:  Jack is right, your Honour.
     The people you've driven out
     from the city, the concrete
     blurring their meeting places
     and the by-laws moving them on.
     The preferences go to those
     who'd make their lives harder.
     The blood that flows through my cunt
     grows louder and louder.
     My clients ask me if I practise yoga.
(MAGISTRATE has moved to be near ANGEL Intimately.)
MAGISTRATE:  Don't think I don't know a spell
     when I hear it! We do in-service
     courses for things like this.
     I am an amateur photographer —
     don't you love that word...
     amateur  amateur  amateur...
(ALL repeat 'amateur' several times, descending into sotto voce.)
      know how to capture the moment.
     Carpe diem. But I'm not ready
     to make a martyr of you yet.
     And watch the language,
     your vocab's pushing the envelope.
     Do you believe in fate.
     As flies to wanton... girls?

ANGEL:  Sometimes I feel like the whole street
     is flowing through my body.
     I can hear the sweet words,
     the arguments, television sets.

MAGISTRATE:  Sometimes I get that feeling up here.
     The river flows through me.
     I sail at twilight.
     The cormorants hunch
     on the pylons and jetties.
     The landfill brings an intensity
     to what's left. I don't
     know what I mean, but preservation
     is a decision. The night heron
     lives in colonies. I see
     a lone heron stalking.
     I see one near the old brewery.
     Birds alive in the darkness.
     Is this what you're saying?

ANGEL:  It is, your honour.
     It is.
NARRATOR:  There's a link been forged here.
     He feels for her. The sentence
     will be harsh.
(MAGISTRATE moves back behind table.)
MAGISTRATE:  Six months.
(ALL gasp. For some it's too long, for others, it is not long enough.)
(ALL sigh, some with relief — some with exasperation.)
     But only because
     something's in the air.

NARRATOR:  Could it be
     politicians' promises?

(ALL express surprise, then exit other than PROSTITUTES.)
PROSTITUTES (sharing the following lines — perhaps while shifting tables etc. off stage):

     The street plays the game

     It always looks the same

     It stretches to the north
     and the south

     It is so very strange
     it's hard to rearrange

     I stand here with my hands and my mouth

     With my hands and my mouth.

     (rhythm change)

     I left home
     my mother beat me

     I left home
     my father fucked me

     I left home
     and hit the street

     How romantic!

(Rhythm change. CLIENT enters. PROSTITUTES share lines.)
CLIENT:  Where's the place that I can score?

PROSTITUTES:  Where's the hit?

     Where's the store?

CLIENT:  Where's the man?

PROSTITUTES:  I'm waiting ...

     Where's the hand?

     I'm waiting ...

     Where's the mouth?

     I'm waiting ...

     And, where's the hole?

     So coy!

(PROSTITUTES seize CLIENT and lift him up.)
CLIENT:  Where's the way out of here?

JACK (voice off):  Who wants out?

(PROSTITUTES exit, carrying CLIENT.)



(The street. ANGEL enters.)
ANGEL:   It all passes through me,
     as if the myth fits the form.
     The Master Basho
     would make a haiku of me.
     Your private spaces
     are made public
     through my body.
     I am a concept. I am a snail
     that carries my home —
     my mouth, my cunt,
     my arsehole,
     around with me.
     I am on your front lawn,
     your doorstep,
     in your letter box,
     slipped through your front door.
     Piled high in the newsagency.
     I am spit in the eye
     of Pauline Hanson.
     I am the dirt under
     the fingernails
     of parliamentary
     I am the film
     on the teeth
     of the health department.
     I am nicotine. I am alcohol.
     I am an absolute point on the spectrum.
(NARRATOR enters.)
NARRATOR:  Out there where the only steps
     are sharp or jazz-tango, bit
     between his teeth and he'll
     have his head or death of, safe
     in that alabaster chamber your
     cold bed/fast bolt/bills mount
     you hold out for a way will make
     an honest woman of him yet.
     Red-eyed in the red light.
     Roll model, the only spring
     you'll trigger a bedspring.
     Count every muscle, Ophelia
     practise with lulls in traffic that pelvic
     floor the one floor you'll ever hold
     limp as excuses and a hobbled
     walk. Because you're mine/I keep
     a close watch, walk the skirt the
     verge of something a break—
     through like in love for the very
     first time, the fixed foot brings them
     home like fetishists, lean and hearken
     so I bend where I lonely began.
(They dance a tango.)
ANGEL:  Where do I begin
     and end? My limits
     he city limits.

NARRATOR:  The city is a body.
     The body eats itself.

(The tango stops.)
     Using this model
     you might think
     running a peepshow
     belongs to the anatomy
     of excrement.
     But this body is Frankenstein,
     genetically modified: there's
     no logic as to how it's put together.
     Unlike Adelaide or Canberra,
     planned cities made
     without convict labour,
     Perth's hydraulics run
     on different pressures.
     So here I stand,
     doorkeeper to a cybernetic

ANGEL:  Or a spiritual story,
     a transcendental tale,
     a dialogue of humours.
     Plants with special properties
     that might heal or comfort
     lungs, stomach, heart,
     left behind in the rush
     for synthetics. Out there — diminished —
     the hakea, dryandra, grevillea,
      names stripped of their growth,
     a place in language. They grow on the roadsides,
     in the parks, in the streets.
     Full of fluid I let them fill
     the spaces I save for myself.
     They can't understand this.
     It's not to do with anything good
     or bad, it's just the case that is.
     The parks and the gardens —

NARRATOR:  and the universities
     are our Walden Ponds:
     out there, discovering
     the limits and satisfactions
     of the body.

ANGEL:  Solitary.

NARRATOR:  Thinking about community.
     We are all parents and children
     of this hybridised body.

(NARRATOR and ANGEL exit — with lingering eyelines to each other. PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION enters and does 'song and dance' routine to following:)
     We're a parliamentary delegation
     sent here to spy out deviation
     To regulate against the whores
     with their nasty habits
     and filthy sores
     to clean the dealers off the street
     In itself that's no mean feat

     We're a parliamentary delegation
     sent here to spy out deviation
     To regulate what's right and wrong
     To lock some up
     move others along
     to clear the riffraff off the street
     put  bombs beneath their feet

     We're a parliamentary delegation
     sent here to spy out deviation
     We're sent by the powers that be
     to root out filth
     to set you free
     to cleanse and clean and clear the streets
     Keep naughty business between the sheets.

(Repeat of first two lines before marching off without sound, other than 'fascist' footfalls.)


     We checked out that plate
     you took down last week:
     the kerbcrawler
     chatting up the mother.
     It was his wife, the child
     you mention was his daughter.
     They park their car
     out front everyday.

COP 2:  Zealous. Very zealous.

COP 1:  You're not going
     to help the case
     by being too enthusiastic.
     Fortunately the newspaper
     isn't interested
     in the family's complaints.

COP 2:  Doesn't sell newspapers.

MRS WALPURGIS:  We mustn't criticise
     Mr Clipboard,
     he's on the front line.
     Friendly fire
     it's called. This is a war,
     make no mistake,
     and all wars
     have collateral

     Look down this street.
     I've seen gangs of youth
     with spray cans
     in broad daylight
     putting their marks
     on the bright wash
     of architect-designed
     houses. How are we going to
     attract the professionals
     if that keeps up?

     And I've seen her
     chatting with them
     and handing out cigarettes —
     a crime in itself,
     tobacco to minors.
     She should be locked
     up for that anyway.

MR CLIPBOARD:  The word. Graffiti. Signatures.

COP 1:  What's he on about?

MRS WALPURGIS:  Shell shock. He's under stress.
     We need to support him.

COP 2:  I was shot at once.
     The guy who tried to plug me
     was a doctor. Had put a bullet
     in his wife in a blind rage.

MR CLIPBOARD (dreamily):
     She talks to me while I take down numbers.
     Sometimes I feel like she's family.

MRS WALPURGIS:  Come on Mr Clipboard,
     it's time you were
     getting back to your post.

MR CLIPBOARD:  Yes, there's a lot of cars,
     a lot of number plates.
     a lot of numbers
     to be taken down.

COP 2:  He's got a problem.
     An unreliable witness.

COP 1:  His observations don't add up.
     Doesn't work as data.

MRS WALPURGIS:  He is a powerful symbol.
     A neighbourhood icon.
     In the vanguard.
     A martyr.

(COPS exit.)
MRS WALPURGIS:  He is a powerful symbol.
     A neighbourhood icon.
     In the vanguard.
     A martyr.


(Interior of squat. NARRATOR, JACK, and ANGEL. As NARRATOR begins speaking, ANGEL goes into labour and eventually gives birth.)
NARRATOR:  Smith Street stretches
     from Lowland to Mount Regulation.
     It cruises past park territory,
     the Tuscan splendours.
     The squats where vigilantes
     oust mothers and kids,
     "wallowing among the filth",
     drug paraphernalia, dirty knickers
     and used condoms.
     They think so hard about it
     the place arranges itself
     perfectly for them.
     Their polluted minds
     open up.
     Wire out the poor.
     No squatters. Neat ones
     are the greatest threat. Moving in
     as if nothing's happening.
     Taking over. Upsets
     the balance. The belltower
     needs the taxes.

JACK:  Look! The head's appearing
     out of Angel's darkness.
     It's like the night
     is unfurling.
     The sun's up
     and it's midnight.
     Why is she screaming!?

NARRATOR:  It's a different kind of opening.
     She needs a place to bring it up.

JACK:  We'll tear down the wire,
     we'll dig the garden.
     We'll polish the kitchen tiles.
     Repair the verandah.
     We'll stake a claim,
     we'll open our doors,
     we'll make community.
     My brothers
     will be godfathers.
     The sisters will be godmothers.
     The displaced will wander by
     and bless their child
     in their own language.
     The state won't have enough money
     to evict us. We'll invite
     the newspaper
     for the baby photos.
     We'll sing our lungs out.

MAGISTRATE (entering):  This is justice!
     We'll sing
     as if our lives
     depend on it!

(ALL enter during following.)
NARRATOR:  So we sing for the people of Smith Street.
     We sing for the coppers. We sing for the court.
     We sing for the Liberals who send out
     surveys and spout prayers against debauchery.
     We sing for Mr Clipboard and Mrs Walpurgis,
     we recognise the belltower
     as the true meeting of art and spirit:

ALL (singing, first to the tune of "Ding Dong Bell", and then to the tune of Monty Python's "Every Sperm is Sacred". During this, ANGEL walks downstage with 'baby/bundle'.):

     Big dong bell
     Pussy's in the cell
     We put in her in
     Then we'll let her out

     What a naughty boy was that
     To try to win our vote like that
     Clean the streets by changing laws
     And promise us a sunset clause...

     Every womb is sacred
     Every womb the State
     If a womb gets wayward
     Court can legislate

     (Repeat) Every womb...

 (ALL except NARRATOR exit — singing.)


(The street.)
NARRATOR:  From the third or fourth story
     of the apartment blocks, the city
     glows in the afternoon heat.
     The light is sweet, not fragmented
     and variegated as down in the street.
     And sound rises up into lyric,
     and counter beat sets up harmony,
     the wave motion sweeps
     out toward the hills, resonating
     like the skin of the eardrum.
     Down here, the city
     is just flesh. A body.
     I celebrate mine,
     others replace theirs.
     Angel is an angel is an angel.
     Her offspring is hungry.
     Her milk never came.
     I am lactating
     in sympathy
     and the baby
     will have mine.
(NARRATOR exits. COPS enter and seize CLIENT as he enters. COPS pull a mailbag over CLIENT and COP 1 lifts him onto shoulder in 'fireman's lift'.)
COP 1:  How many crimes
     will she get away with now?

COP 2:  Let's send a baby photo
     to the paper. The child of angel.
     An archangel.

COP 1:  You've got to have
     a sense of humour
     in this job.
     Did you notice the light
     when we went up to search that place
     last night? The city lights.
     As if night was alive,
     without pollution.

COP 2:  All light is pollution.

COP 1:  I was brought up C of E.
     I don't need to pretend
     this kid's not mine.

COP 2:  And I a Baptist.
     I positively
     deny it.

(COP 1 puts down CLIENT.)
COP 1:  But we got into this
     feeling we could make a difference.

COP 2:  I used an enlargement method
     from the back of a magazine
     and it left me an object
     of ridicule in the change rooms.

COP 1:  I change on my own,
     avoid the change rooms.

COP 2:  I've always wanted a child.
     Maybe this one will do.

COP 1:  Ditto. But the brass
     might suspect
     conspiracy. Say
     it's one of theirs.

COP 2:  Well, if it's got
     teeth and gold fillings
     we'll know for sure.

(COP 1 picks up CLIENT and exits.)
     Jesus, without Jack and Angel
     we're out of a job.
(COP 2 exits. NARRATOR and JACK enter.)
NARRATOR:  Something has happened to you, Jack.
     You're well dressed, man — caring
     for the girls has come a cropper.
     Your dark side is showing.

JACK:  It was always showing, O my purveyor
     of eye candy and abjection,
     just because I keep my fluids
     locked in their tubes
     and chambers, people don't
     see it. I've got an idea, no more
     of this sentimental shit.
     This baby of Angel's
     is my ticket out of here.
     I've met this man
     high up in the law, shall we say,
     who'll pay anything — he can work
     it; there'll be no legal comeback.
     His wife's barren. She
     draws babies on her stomach.
     She puts plastic toys
     into her cavity.
     Angel is blasted.
     She can't look after a child.
     She sold it to me
     before it popped
     into her belly.

(JACK starts, as ANGEL appears, as if from above, in a blue light, like an apparition of the Virgin.)
ANGEL:  The precipice, the waterfall,
     faultlines and cracks in the surface,
     broken fences, electric gates
     swinging open onto cars,
     traffic lights flicker,
     headlights fray, blurred
     on the edges the grass
     struggles to hold back the concrete.
(The blue light flickers into a scratchy video image of ANGEL across the backdrop.)
     I made television last night,
     couldn't recognise myself,
     even determined not to recognise
     myself. They condemn me as failed
     woman and mother and citizen
     outright. No place on the census
     for such flotsam and jetsam,
     that sea of light flooding
     out like filth from blocked drains.

NARRATOR (pleading):  What do you see?

ANGEL:  Reporters and policeman and doctors
     and nurses and health inspectors.
     Councillors with hell problems
     behind closed doors. I see in
     and look on past. I see the blood
     on my hands, pollution
     where I walk. A red bird
     sits where my heart is: my heart
     is reliable because the red bird
     always sits there, bobbing slightly.

JACK:  Rehabilitation. Parole.

(JACK exits.)
ANGEL:  They think I planned the birth
     to keep them out of my heart-space.
     Like they said with Lindy —
     taking what little
     she had left —
     drew their mother's milk
     and spat it back at her.
     The film that rolls on like an oracle
     I keep to myself. They fear
     my prophecies.

NARRATOR:  Where will you go?

ANGEL:  A flight into Egypt,
     a midnight flit.
     Help me.

(MAGISTRATE enters with 'baby' and places it in ANGEL'S arms. NARRATOR moves toward ANGEL — the three forming a group together, with ANGEL in the centre.)
ANGEL:  It's the light in the hair
     the camera remarked on.
     My hair, the hair
     I could almost believe was mine
     if I let go, drifted
     down the street
     before breaking out
     into the black light.
(ANGEL, MAGISTRATE, and NARRATOR exit. PROSTITUTES enter and form line. JACK enters and 'picks' them up as he crosses. PROSTITUTES follow JACK off stage. CLIENT enters, sees everyone has gone. He takes up starting position under Belltower. Lights fade on him.)


William Slaughter, Editor
Department of English & Foreign Languages
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, Florida 32224-2645


All rights revert to the author upon publication. Texts distributed by Mudlark may not be republished for profit in any form without express consent of the author and notification of the editor but may be freely circulated, among individuals, for personal use providing this copyright statement is included. Public archiving of complete issues only, in electronic or print forms, is permissible, providing no access fee is charged.

Contents | Mudlark No. 19