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The Bubble

every night
the coal-fired city glistens
it hums and fumes,
market shelves bristle
whiplash cracks of stilettos echo along arcades
takeaway espressos are texting Bali at the ATM feedlot,
everyone queues
queueing for peakhour, queueing for home;
in the happy hour
(waiting to be happy)
herds of bachelors prowl under mirror-balls
with schooner shaped hands pulsing,
slow motion cars crash on a multi-screen comedy show
million dollar footballs are kicked around arenas
drunken heads are kicked into concrete
drunk women are pulled into fast cars;
they’re only taking potshots out in the western sprawl
the odd stray bullet of gangland tit-for-tat
scaring the pigeons –
we deadlock against the headlines:
crisis shambles scandal chaos
surfing channels
nature is a TV doco
climate change is a prank phone call –
boats keep coming
gate-crashing the party
shocking the shock-jocks of 24/7 puppetry;
 we read each other like barcodes
like molten icebergs
like sprinklers sprucing desert parklands,
we are a fire sale on fire,
electric billboards howl
you want it! now!
while a roll-call of extinction reads:
tigers, koalas, polar bears, frogs, bees,
we are failing at chemistry, at biology physics history
we are at war with religion
we are winning at scrabble, at Facebook
at the technobabble of apps and acronyms...
up through the thin and fractured membrane of our bubble
the looking-glass searching space
for a drop of water, a skerrick of life –
nothing, nowhere to conquer
to mine, to drain, to suck the gas,
just this solitary sphere, a breath of life,
this tiny troubled tired and wasting bubble.

David Hallett