They are the harbingers...
They are the harbingers of hard times for a business…
Somehow, the man with the bag
from an airline that no longer exists
knows the shop is in the wrong place.
His attentions mean the traffic will pass through other doors
coursing through zones of higher rent.
Only he alights at one end of the counter,
like the insects attracted to sick eucalypts,
better analyst than the B.Coms with fractal ties
and earlobes studded with tiny hunches.
His querulous denunciations of life, or love,
or the last person to slap his face or his hopes
echo in the high nest-rustling trusses of the market hall
while the butcher skewers price tickets
shoving entrails forward into the pink neon light
with deuteronomic gestures
as if to propitiate the man in the baggy corduroy.
Because, for a moment, as you too pass through
to the mall’s meringue realms
it seems you catch something, sotto voce
but intelligible, something like “Cry out,
For the economy is a god
Who must be woken.”
Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology 2008