Elly McDonald



Byzantium (1983)

A neon script emblazoned on the skyline

And the bassline from the car radio


Throbbing like the tremor of a long-bow string

After the arrow is loosed.

God is starry-eyed in the heavens

Tonight, and the streets down here are paved with gold

Light gilded – a Byzantine mosaic

Our city, bejewelled, wears a halo.

Driving through the night (through a pageant)

We are silent

We are blessed

We are wonders in a world

Of precious detail-work, of graven

Images: richly-inlaid mysteries

From the radio the bass emanates and


A textured mantle, dark

And warm as blood

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Tourist (1982)

You with that silly, happy smile on your face

Your Luna Park expression

The night the bridge astride the Harbour

jade structure: onyx waters

A photo in the negative, inverse vigour

Oil-slick black

Your laughter your face

Lit up like the foreshores

Glisten lights dazzle: blare life

A night studded gold and incorrigible red

These ferries (marine glow-worms)

Humming purposefully by

Your eyes wide and shining

Firefly city

burn bright

I don’t want you to leave me