24-hour glamping Siddhartha

for Ashley McCarthy


From the ferry’s awning over the stern

two yellow lights settle


and lights across the water

along a road-thin line

flicker on.


Here, on a deck chair

(Jessie–if deck chairs could talk what would they say?)

under the trees of Cockatoo Island,

a soft neon emerges and starts up trunks.


Lights from planes bloom

slowly ascending fireworks

to disappear into cloud

and beams reappear miles ahead.


Another bloom of light lifts from the horizon

in this metronome of planes.


Gladsville Bridge joins the show

and draws long lines of manuscripts

in quiet determination

from the shadows of her greater sister bridges.


Within the cabin of a catamaran

well dressed women,

one in a red long-sleeved dress,

glide down the harbour.


Commuter ferries abound and alight.


A dinning ferry,

elegant in deck to ceiling windows,

enable waiters to walk across the water.


The night life brings out more technicolour

in a blazing Sydney Showboat.


The seagulls haven’t stopped–it’s their island.

Calls of comfort against the night.

Invisible fishing nylon crossed

even without the glint of sunlight

keeps the gulls overhead

for they know it’s there.


At 3.27am they’re quiet

and at 5:50am the first light fills my tent

with shapes and calls.


I hear a keen motorboat power by

and retract my eyes

from the unzipped flap of clear white day–


oddly flat for patterns have not yet been made by shadows.


The first plane I hear but cannot see for cloud,

and the next I catch light in a cockpit window.


Planes and seagulls

the same grey

one agile, the other fixed,

over a silver sheet of sea.