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Fitzroy Streets make me cry

Fitzroy Streets make me cry. 

Jasmine scents, basil plants, fried coffee grounds on the gas stovetop. Purple love-bites wander downstairs, smeared mascara, bruised thighs. Paperbacks strewn on the dusty carpet, threadbare runners on the stairs. Overflowing gutters and fragile drainpipes, smashed-in cars and broken hearts-these are the days that float back on the warm air.

Cornflowers in a metal vase, Jonathan Richman and Billy Bragg playing from a tinny stereo. John Berger's Ways of Seeing, Karl Marx, Terry Eagleton, Helen Garner's Monkey Grip and Susan Sontag's On Photography. Pasta pots and ashtrays, tumble-down dunnies and creepers hanging low into the lanes. Dark night lights on the cobblestones.

Sunday night sessions at The Standard, with a roast cooking in the oven as the pedal steel wails. Heart strings playing, lurching gut, blushing over the beer order. A deep bass vibrates across the bar.

These Fitzroy street are filled with fever, tears and rage. Ornaments on a sideboard, someone else's jewellery on a dressing table beside the stolen kisses. Things left behind, crushed metal, dented doors, lost bits of trust and battered brain. Fried.

Sometimes pieces of poetry appeared on walls, or on bits of paper left to find. A sense of never staying still, moving on and moving through. Marking the landmarks, crossing bridges, moving back and forth along the grids and through the parklands. Always the late nights and sometimes oblivion. Liquids spilled in the streets, blood, sweat, shit and tears. Vomit on the verandah. But in my memory, despite all this, always the jasmine, and the warmth and the promise. For this, I cry.


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