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  • The streets of my youth.
    Number 54 - the house I was born in, the youngest of five.
    We slept under the roof. The dormers are a more recent addition.
    The tiny house was bursting at the seams when we seven strolled up the hill to the house on the corner.
    The attraction was the built-on 'inside' bathroom. Really.

    Industry Street, Industry Place. The fetor of coal and progress.
    Someplace we called "Pross-Berty Square".
    When I was older and could read and decipher the sign, it said "Prosperity Square".
    How Utopian. How ridiculous.

    No trees, no gardens, no green.
    Just 40 shades of grey.

    Especially today, the first week of January.
    The house I grew up in is empty.
    The house is haunted with my mother's absence.
    It's hard to be here and she not.
    Dementia and her incarceration in a retirement home have stolen her autonomy.
    But what was her life here? In this house?
    Alone. One ear on the radio. One eye on the telly.
    The other gazing out the window on "Aidan's Sky". ( My brother is a pilot.)
    "There's nobody around", she would say. She was right.
    It made her restless.

    It makes me restless.
    Being here.
    With the ghost of her absence.

    So my wife and I drive to the coast, to Crosshaven, where my family spent our summer holidays when I was a child.
  • The leaden heaven shrugs its’ murk
    The hemorrhaging cities sigh
    Begins anew the leaching-out to foreign lands
    of our young and able heads and hands.
    Come-in-from-far for the Christmas Gathering; away, they now must go
    To Adelaide, Johannesburg; from Dungarvan, Trim, Mayo

    The leaden heaven shrugs its’ murk
    The bleeding cities sigh
    those politicians couldn't give a fuck
    Who let our towns and cities die

    More grey.
    I'm looking for a chink of light, a glimmer of hope, but at Crosshaven the summer is suspended and shrouded in drab.

    Around the next headland is Camden, beyond that Grab All Bay where, as children, we swam
    alongside the rusting effluent-pipe emptying into the sea.
    Evenings at the "Merries", where we spent our pocket-money on the bumpers, the merry-go-round, the rifle-range.
    La Scala was for the older children, where fortunes were won and lost on the 'slots'.
  • Is there nothing here?
    Is there nothing left?

    I am the one who left.
    I am the one who didn't want to stay.
    I am the one who wanted to spread my wings.
    Broaden my horizons.

    Not today.
    Today I am a fish out of water.
    A ship without a sea.
  • I turn around.
    And there it is.
    Of course. Now I understand.
    It's my pilgrim soul.
    Longing to be buoyant. All at sea.

    But for now I am temporarily in dry-dock.
    To scrape my barnacles.
    Jettison my jetsam
    Re-float my flotsam.
    Shuffle and order my maps and beautiful charts.
    Trim my tell-tales.
    Wet- and dry-paper my keel to its' marine-architect's demeanor.

    To, once again, slide and glide
    on a full spring tide
    to the chorus of bottled bubbles breaking
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