On the green and orange lines,
stories are scribed in modern day hieroglyphs
on the side of train tracks with spray paint.
But unlike the Egyptians these stories won’t last
and will be rolled over in gray paint.
But I can tell you of the tales they hold.
Of accidental oracles, wielding spray cans
like a calligraphers brush; painting temporary stories
with an unknown expiration date.
Young boys channeling wise men through laughter,
stained hands and close calls.
They paint of a Sydney, south west.
Of long summers where sunlight lingered
between the leaves and the air.
Where, mothers bellowed from their balconies
for them to come home;
blowing away the last of the light.
Street lamps without fail would flicker on;
silent sentinels taking guard until daylight visited once more.
They paint of run down housing commissions,
where under the cover of night, scorned lovers batter beaten doors;
a diseased heart, struggling to find regularity,
rung through the building, interwoven with
‘Baby I love you, I’m sorry, just open the door so we can talk.’
And apprentices in training, scrawl ancient sayings
on the peeling paint of aged walls, knowledge
imparted on us mere mortals like “Lebs rule!!”
Of lost souls strolling the streets, looking to heal a broken faith
at the bottom of beer bottles, the puff of joints or through
fist on face.
They are of a suburban forest, of rivers and woods
where kookaburras laugh along with the roar of the M5,
at those stuck in peak hour traffic.
And the Winds bring inland, stories from the city,
speaking through the rustling of tree leaves it would mock them
at how the only ones that noticed their painted prophecies were children.
But they laughed, spat back in the winds face
and showed where they’re from
the wind is soaked in cigarette smoke, basking in its aroma
men sip vietnamese iced coffee that matches their skin
and regale each other in stories of times long gone.
The air is heavy with prepubescent teens
convening meetings to discuss high school politics
with bubble tea in one hand and banter in the other.
Their winds are drenched in scents of fresh fish
and fragrant spices, sights of old men
playing Chinese checkers or grannies
selling veggies on sidewalks.
They paint of a unity unlike any other
found in Bankstown Central
where multiracial “gangs” thrive
Arabs, Islanders, Asians alongside
stride without stares.
And where varying ethnic oldies
view spring rolls as a smaller kebab
and kebabs as a larger spring roll
where carefree xin chao, salam alaikum and talofa lava flow in the air.
Those from all lands now on Dharug land.
With traditions that transcend time,
they the wayward wanderers will,
for as long as there’s surfaces to cover.
And ink that flows, paint
of a Sydney, south west.