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Adam Aitken

Duende in Dulwich Hill

Exhausted with intensity, they move through
to the balcony view: the long shot
to a full moon over Coogee.
Still life with Mexican palm behind them,
and a shelf of old Tequila bottles
backlit by a sunset
the colour of Angostura Bitters.
The magnetised plastic cockroach
blu-tacked on a gas bill
on a humming fridge door
waves its feelers, and reads advice
printed on yellowed filing cards:
“Keep fish at an optimum 5 degrees.
This wine drinkable now. Don’t eat
the tapenade: it’s off.”

They head to the bar.
The Diggers Club. Flak jacket conversation
between tables, sniping, bright neon,
thick and humid, barbequed steaks,
jungle warfare at the bar. He thought
of Spanish names and dancers he had
danced with drunken — his lyrics sad
as the evening;
she switched to grey-scale channel 27,
the darkened lovers
about to come to grief,
inexplicable as bad reception.
“. . . with the best of them, to die better than the rest!”:
Machado’s last stand
in a forties film noir.

Photo of Adam Aitken by John Tranter

Adam Aitken is a Sydney poet. He has a homepage at
Photograph of Adam Aitken copyright © John Tranter 1998

Aitken book cover

Adam Aitken’s latest book, Romeo and Juliet in Subtitles is published by Brandl and Schlesinger, New South Wales, Australia. On the Internet at

Jacket 4 — July 1998   Contents page
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