picking up syringes
in a laneway off Alfred St

thinking of you
somewhere beyond the tunnels
& concrete hills

wanting to connect
take your hand

tell you a story
about monkey skulls

bound with iron circlets
by Sumatran monks

& the great plaza of Tikal
awash with the blood of
kings & priests

piercing their tongues &
penises with stingray spines

playing soccer
with human heads

stopping for corn bread
at half time

instead of this slow wasting:

childhood found in a bin
by the railway lines

yellow in colour
drowned in a spoon
beside a dealer

hands a pair of wet
swollen phone books

the aimless subterranean shuffle
of plague children

heads low
mask of walking

life as a concept reduced to
car parks & stairwells

washbags & bloody fingers
water from toilet cisterns

jamming phones to get on
injecting dirt & bark &

morning is darker here
like hidden sky or

of a black boned angel

the city sun dismembered &
bundled into plastic bags

rotting in a box behind
Esther St hot water system.



I wrote 'Fortitude' one day during my break. I work in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley doing education with injecting drug users about blood-borne virusues and safer drug use. Part of my job involves doing 'needle sweeps'--walking around with sharps bins, picking up used injecting equipment. It all helps to keep the community happy. It was Valentine's Day, and I thought how much it sucked, to be doing this when I really just wanted to be with my girlfriend, doing all those wonderful, cliched Valentine's Day things. I really wasn't into picking up blood-choked fits that day.