Tuesday, June 12, 2012

best job in the best city in the entire universe / human...


This morning,
I find it so hard to rise...

Winter's teeth snap & snarl
outside cozy warm bedcovers,
& the temporary sanctuary
of shower
seems so distant
& out of reach.

Showered, dressed,
I brave & brace myself
for the cold & unknown outside my front door.

But this morning,
the rising sun has
There is no sky &
birdsong is mysteriously absent.

The city is draped in
heavy grey fog.
Street lights,
thick like cataracts
do not light my way.

The cool morning air
is pierced by an eerie silence.
There are only shadows and smudges
where once lay
familiar landmarks, trees & buildings.

Standing alone
in the murky grey swell,
my misty breath seems to
add to the surrounding chill,

and it threatens to swallow me up whole.
I shiver.

Suddenly, in the shroud
a noise breaks the silence...

Two huge, mournful
(yet hopeful) yellow eyes
break though the milky blindness,
familiar tram sounds
fill my cold ears.

I leap on board
& am at once filled with the warmth
of body heat,
bustle, mindless chatter
& human company.

I slowly feel the grey lift,
smiling a wide smile
under my scarf...

Secrety armed in the solitary
feeling of knowing that
I am on my way
to the best job
in the best city
in the entire Universe...


Seven short hours have passed.
I sit at a cafe table,
surrounded by the bustle & noise
of a Queen's Birthday Monday.

In front of me
lies a giant piece of sticky date pudding
& a coffee...

I eat slowly, deliberately,
with a relish earnt from
entertaining & drawing for
so many,
complete strangers.

Memories waft back through the fatigue...

A balding man, and his love for fishing.
No money, but a promise to
buy me a coffee next time he sees me.
The joy in his eyes as he leaves,
clutching his cartoon portrait prize
is payment enough.

Two young brothers from Brisbane,
in matching black cheesecutter hats,
both also wanting to be
immortalised in cartoon as fishermen.

One removes his hat to reveal
lots of curly hair, very similar to my own.
He tells me he grows it like that
to keep him warm,
when he comes to Melbourne
for Winter holidays...
I chuckle loudly.

Another two brothers,
one leaves an AFL legend,
the other a Jedi Master,
brandishing bright blue lightsabre.

Sometimes it feels I have
spent my entire life (or at least thirty six years of it)
drawing characters from the Star Wars universe.

A young Italian girl captured in ink
as a Piano Star.

Three sisters, a netball player,
tennis player...
And the youngest, all of four years old,
declaring to myself and her mother, boldly:
"When I grow up I want to be
a rockstar & an artist!!"

Two more brothers from Ballarat,
one another aspiring artist,
who likes painting stripes.
He proudly tells me his secret technique
of using masking tape.
His brother is more motivated
by two wheeled machinery,
an aspiring motorbike rider.

A man in impressive Father Christmas-like beard,
in Melbourne for the weekend
from Adelaide,
to celebrate his mother's 70th birthday.
She gives me a handful of gold coins,
hard earned reward for
forever capturing in ink her grown son
as the 'Patron Saint of Fine Pale Ale'.

Three more cartoons
for the children of the cafe owner.
A star fighter, AFL player and gymnast.

So many more I've forgotten,
including forty (or more)
random cartoons & quotes of animals
to help entice customers into the cafe...

I am exhausted
(despite ever flowing free coffee
and the good cheer of cafe staff).

I eat my warm
sticky date pudding

slowly, deliberately.
I savour the sweet caramel sauce
and melting cream.

I am tired, but happy
knowing full well
that I have earnt that fatigue;

I smile a large beaming smile
behind my cake fork,
knowing all too well

I have
the best job
in the best city
in the entire Universe...


I am home, alone.
I sit at my computer,
and chat to a woman I have met
in another city.

She, like me, is an artist,
a very good one
and a magician of words.

For a few minutes,
she makes me forget my exhaustion.
She makes me feel safe, warm
and not so alone.

She tells me not to idolise her,
that she is very human
and may disappoint me.

I take note not to
spoil her so much,
but to do what I can
to care for her,
even from this persistent
& annoying distance.

We are briefly warmed
by the trust we have
in each other,

close & far.

She has gone now,
to take shelter from Winter
in her drawing...

I have had enough of drawing today.

I miss her.
I want to be able to hold her
and tell her I care for her
that her brother's an idiot...

...and do something (anything)
just to make her smile
& hear her laugh,
call me a dag.

What is the point of all this,
I ask myself grumpily
in the silence...

What's the use of
the best job
in the best city
in the entire Universe...?

...when the best girl
(I have ever met)
lives in another city?!!

Getting ready for bed,
I quietly hope she does
not idolise me, either.

That she knows that
this fellow butterfly
is also very human
and may disappoint her.

I feel a slight shadow
of cold, grey melancholic fog
tapping at my shoulder.

It threatens to swallow me up whole.
I shiver.

But as I turn off the light
and get into bed,
this human
feels a little less alone
in the Universe...

that someone cares.

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2012.

"Take shelter in each other." (Irish Blessing)

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