(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.)

Smith Street | Mudlark No. 19
Contents | Act 3, Scene Two