• Time to read less than 1 minute

The cab driver shakes his head
when I look in his direction.
He’s not free.

I ask a passerby.
Which direction is uptown?
A few foreign words spill from her lips.
She probably thinks 
I’m asking for change.

It’s starting to rain a little.
I curse myself for leaving my umbrella
in the hotel room.

The traffic is loud and loathsome,
none of it going my way.
The taste of the morning’s coffee,
straight from the La Brea tar pits,
is still on my tongue.
I despise not knowing where I am.

Then some guy jumps in front of me,
opens his jacket to expose
a full line of fake Rolex watches.
I step around him 
like a running back with fancy footwork.
That’s an excuse for the rain
to come down that much harder.

I have my camera with me.
A snapshot of the downpour
is just the thing to show the folks back home.
Or why not a closeup of pigeons
splashing in a puddle.
Nothing says "Wish you were here" 
like a flock of rock doves.

Maybe there is no uptown.
The city is wherever I am.
It’s noisy, foreign, unfriendly.
Even the birdlife.
I seek shelter under the nearest awning.
Here at last.

Share this and help promote amazing Aussie writing.

About the author:

John Grey

Profile picture for user jgrey5790
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Poetry East and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Harpur Palate, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.

Popular on Brain drip

Office Jetlag

Profile picture for user email_registration_q29dHSJAdT

His face was trapped in the ceiling tiles above my computer. I stared at the roof, feeling the bile rise up in my throat. I hadn’t noticed it at first. The line on the bottom could have been anyone’s smile, and the two black dots among the white plaster could have been anyone’s eyes. But after he had leaned over my desk the first time, shouting at me, I stared at the ceiling tile straight afterwards and ever since pictured the outline of his face every time I looked at it.

Closer In

Profile picture for user caitlin_prince_1

You show up in Parnawarratji and try to arrange the single loop of sealed road, the vacant red dirt lots and the dotted housing with massive metal cages on the front, into a ‘community’ in your mind. It isn’t what you were expecting, but then, you didn’t know what to expect. Certainly not so much sky, arcing over the horizon, the line blurred by a hazy fringe of spinifex grass.