House

For Bec

 

I sometimes dream of a house.

I know I lived there but I don’t remember when.

Maybe when I was really young, I lived there with my parents.

Maybe it was a relative, and we used to stay there over night.

Maybe it was a friend’s house, and I use to stay after school.

Maybe I moved in there on my own for a short time, between the large number of places I’ve lived.

Maybe it was in Hong Kong. Or Australia. Or London.

Or maybe it’s somewhere I stayed for a little while abroad.

It’s not clear.

What is clear is the house.

I can draw you the exact layout without missing a beat.

The colours of the walls and the sofas.

One of four town house apartments in an old building.

Long – the living room at the front, the kitchen at the back, with one stair separating them.

Two bedrooms upstairs along the railings, and the bathroom at the end.

The slither of concrete yard at the side, where the bins live.

The grassy, wooden fence that leads to the back, where I can see flats from the neighbours.

I can even see it from the outside – it’s on a busy street with a traffic barge in the middle. Free standing and old. And near the water.

Thing is, I never lived there.

We could not a afford a place that big in Hong Kong, nor could anyone we know (and that architecture did not exist).

Same goes for in Australia, until the point I was old enough to remember, and it never happened.

Since I moved out of home I lived in several places. I have tried to find six months where maybe this place existed, maybe in Ashfield or Randwick or somewhere. But no gap in time exists.

Although I can see London people I know in that house, I think it’s my dreams playing tricks on me. I have diaries of where I was almost every day.

As the morning carries on and the dream fades, the more I realise how impossible it is that this house exists. But when I’m dreaming it’s right there.

Last night I dreamt I was trying to find this house. People who must have come around or visited were questioned. Each one thought, even in my dreams, I was mad.

Then I asked you and you said “sure”. You knew the place. Described it well and knew where it was. Then you said we should go drive by it and have a look, which we did.

And that is how I feel about you.

Italian restaurant

The girl from the Italian restaurant
Gives me a smile every time I go out for smoke.

We say silent “hi”s to eachother from afar
And I always give her my best smile back

And over the course of each smoke I try to catch a glimpse of her
And she does the same thing back

I know because we sometimes catch eachother
Looking at eachother
And we smile at eachother again.

I know nothing about her
Other than she works across from my building

And she is cute as a button
And she has a smile that makes me feel great and nervous

And she knows nothing about me
Except that I like to smoke

She counts how many, and holds up her hand to remind me
One, then two, then three so far

And I’m up for killing myself faster, four, five
To get a few more smiles a day.

I know we’ll never actually talk
I can’t imagine ever knowing her name

I don’t know why she started smiling at me
Yet I wonder why people don’t do it more

Come Home

For Jodie

Everybody loves a holiday
Everybody likes to run away
Home is both a time and place
Everybody feels that way sometimes

I have a feeling you’ll be fine
Wherever you go, whatever you find
But Jodie don’t you think you should come home?

You’ll be out on another date
Some other guy in some other place
You can talk to us any day
If you want to call us from time to time

I have a feeling you’ll be fine
Wherever you go, whatever you find
But Jodie don’t you think you should come home?

We’re gonna miss you, just so you know
We’re standing still and you’re gonna show
Us how it’s done
To go back to everyone
To conquer all your fears
While we pretend we’re kids for a few more years

You can’t always be on holiday
You can’t always be running away
We will miss you every day
And maybe you will think of us in your new life

I have a feeling you’ll be fine
Wherever you go, whatever you find
But Jodie don’t you think you should come home?

Names For Kids

for Kim and Lisa

Just like every girl I’ve ever met
She had the names for her kids all set
Two seconds and a first for two boys and a girl
All future husbands will just have to accept

Funny how a name can recur through a life
I refer to experience that they’re all alike
Good guys named Ben and sweethearts named Em
Familiar names tend to make good friends

Remember the time we found that book in that store
Written by somebody with the same name as yours
If I ever meet someone with her exact name
It would only kick up old feelings again

I’ve never met anyone with that name before
Your folks were inspired when you were born
It echoes in my head and it’s so pretty to say
I want to write it on my pencil case

Danny

The Last Week Of Smoking In Paris

I was there for
The last week of smoking in Paris
Before they banned it in all the bars.

And I met a man enjoying
What may have been his last ever cigarette
Like an old friend he will never see again.

And yes, it wasn’t always good for him.
And yes it did him harm.
But he remembers the good times they had.

And he has promised to quit
It’s best for the long term; best for his health
He feels like his chest could feel better.

He’s been smoking so long
And it may take a long time
But he’ll get over it one day.

You were there for
My last week of living in Sydney
Before I left you in all the bars

And I saw you were enjoying
What may have been my last kiss on your neck
With an old friend I would never see again.

And yes, you weren’t always good for me
And yes you did me harm
But I’ll remember the good times we had.

And you had promised to quit
It’s best for the long term; best for our health
I feel like your smile could be better

We’ve been at this so long
And it may take a long time
But I’ll get over you one day.