Report cover
Inner urban conservation and development - An independent panel report on a proposal for Smith Street, Collingwood, under Melbourne 2030. Edited by Miles Lewis, August 2004. Order your copy

Poem: God Help Smith St

16 Feb 2005

by Barry Dickins

The earth�s crust seems made of schoolchildren
As though grinning and joking will do for a building
Darting down alleys of Smith Street that seem anonymous
Luckily the Drunkards know
Each lane starts with Hieronymus
Bosch wasn�t it who painted Hell as Home
No: Breughel painted grostesqueries all alone

Christ among the Developers � grotesque enough
Wouldn�t you say? Such a beautiful face
Opposite Safeway � Jesus writing couplets yesterday
Rhymed lustrous with disastrous � you�d have to say
He had a way with words � almost uncanny
But developers aren�t letting him get away with
Too many �
Gorgeous unending sadness called slum by some
Heaven by others who live in her arms
Like a drum beating fatally for obscure jewellers

Scorched jewellers� shops � incinerated dreams
Scorched hot bread archipelagos
Galleons of mangoes � histories of coconut carters
Chinese mythologies hieroglyphed into lettuce
By Everyman who writes of holy benefice

Every hippie who got a room going on Stanley Street
Devoted student of mesmeris at least he�d try
Listen man I knew that guy � he was the incredible
Stand in for Athol Guy � billionaires spitting in a skip
In which several ghoulish kids sleep �
Trying to get a kip � the sleep of the just isn�t it?
They were born in a doorway off Smith Street
Who�s to help us? Cry the covetous architect
Here they come right now and dressed for tennis

Anyone for History? Crumbling wedding cakes
Scared powered parapets because of course
Smith Street alphabets � who killed the Greek shoe shop?
Who vaporized certain 1886 spires? It�s a conspiracy
Of lies � who memorizes ruin? Who catalogues desolation?
Who bothers cataloguing the Sons of Smith Street who
Are the true unteachable heart of Anonymity �
Another baby is born outside of Jonathan the Butchers�
Is he gay? Has he pity? Does he give free lectures
All he ever says is God Almighty

Posted by Author Editor


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