Ken Bolton

On Reflection

                                                    for Ruth Fazakerley, punter

                                         I will have spent 
half of my life on this street

that I like
                 but that I never
pay attention to

                           I think I don’t
want its image fixed
too unchangeably


                                 It has
that combination of bland & bleak
I like
                   & bits
have a different character
from the whole

                       perhaps there is no whole
                            no single Hindley Street

Nothing over two stories pretty much except
at either end—

lots of sky.

I used to ride in from West Terrace in
the early 90s, five days a week—

                                                   the ugly end,
that has got even uglier,
tho its resolutely charmless sequence

of takeaway food, closed businesses, Canadian Lodge,
give it character.  Unkempt, un-cared for.  
                                                                              No foot traffic.

The bowling alley amuses—

fifties-sixties moderne, curved roof, wall surfaced 
with some material featuring 

mica or crushed glass.
The sparkle that will entice.  Better, the

electricity sub-station, so out of place 
in the centre of a town.  Genuinely amusing.

                   Hindley seems suspended
between the two relative higher points:
the West Terrace end & the King William.

                                                                      I like
                           the middle, either
side of the Greek chemist


reminds me of a Hopper streetscape
I knew—Mexican-looking, I
always thought, tho probably it isn’t—


                                   & where the lovely,
anomalous Star Grocery—Greek, blue-&-

on the corner of Morphett,

                     like something in an Australian
country town

                         but now, at last, gone

The King William St end 
consists of a flow—

people sluice in & out, via Hindley,
past various retail snares—

from King William and nearabouts—
to disappear into the railway station—

or they gobble food & go. 

(A different 


This is not the real Hindley St.


                                      The Star Grocery,

replaced by the awful Hog’s Breath,
which lasted a year or so & closed,

where now there is a twenty-four hour 
convenience store.  Like a country town 

somewhere else—India?—how long 
will this last? 
                             There is one—‘conveniently’—
almost every hundred yards.  
                                                Innocuous enough, 
there are about three I sometimes go to, 
not very regularly,

on the basis of what they stock: some 
don’t sell nuts. Some papers, some … 
In each case they’re broke I expect tho maybe not
(one is forging ahead)

Across the road is the hotel, one of the five
or six.  I’ve seen awful things happen there

A crazed bikie head-butted his girlfriend
outside this one on a busy Friday or Saturday night

She fell instantly.  I remember the crowd kept moving—
He was too violent to deal with.

The street feels both intimate & pleasantly wide,

The traffic moves slowly for the most part
& you can step off the curb into it

pretty much as you like, unless you actually have
a death wish—& then, why not if that’s how you 
(In which case, Morphett Street or the West Terrace end
is the place to go.)
             In the coffee shop yesterday
as I was reading & thinking—in my 
‘some-call-it-thought’ mode—
                                                        I heard
a voice say “Stan Brackhage”

How amusingly high-art & avant-garde &
shorthand for—well, whatever Stan stood for.

Or what he now has been boiled down to mean

(I’ve seen half an hour or so of
nothing-happening & was not impressed:

give me earlier more German film
or give me Cassavetes or Fassbinder 
even Woody Allen

                              or visual art (LeWitt,
Hesse, Smithson)
                           a film festival  is being organized,
or so I think—
                   I hadn’t realized the arts-powerful
were at the next table

                                 tho, in various combinations,
they do come here a bit

                                      the ‘arts-powerful’

a phrase coined, on the model of
David Kerr’s “the art-interested”

                                                  one I
always loved
                      Now we just say “punter”
tho I know the Australia Council expressly said
somewhere, that we shouldn’t use the term

a bunch of people like—well, no,
exactly like—a Houyhnhnm Commintern—

small-minded,  noble,  idiotic


                                          I like the light

         I like, I think, the way
                                           it’s not
a shopping street: people move mostly on it

—amble, lope, trudge & bounce along—

casually to a pub, to TAFE or Uni, or to get
to some other part of town
goes by on a skateboard

                                      girls wander
              in pairs, students

                                         —the permanent
feminine conversation that establishes the limits
& shape of normalcy, what is real,
                                                  “the Idiot Dreams
Of Men” :

                  like mine

                                      Or are they more often
                 More than I think?
                                                 it was a woman who said 
“Stan Brakhage” this morning

                                                    —its valency
having changed for me

                          changed in my estimation

for now.

                  Tho for why for now?—

her thoughts focus on the same things 
as mine do

                     (Eva Hesse
                                          Rainer Werner Fassbinder—

to use them   as counters, tokens

skipping constantly between existing
in their own right
                                  & as ideas, signs
I think the Marxist term, once,
was “reified”
                       Tho the Australia Council
has probably ruled that term out of count, off-

              at least ‘for a funded oeuvre’


“You do want to be funded, don’t you, buddy?”


                    For Communism — No banana!

                                           Who, decorative, did
Zeus appear to     as 
                                   ‘a shower of gold’ ?

                 —  (‘funding’)  —

                                                      Some Baroque 
(in Rembrandt, Gentileschi)
                                                (in Klimt & in the
film of the Henry James novel
                                               Wings Of A Dove?
with beautiful Helena Bonham-Carter)
                                                           Are  We
In  VENICE  Now?

                            No, I’m pressing the button
for the lights
                     & leaning here, with the mail—

quite a lot of it this morning

                                           envelopes & boxes

& waiting for the traffic to stop
                                                 so I can 
cross Morphett St  & go to work.

                             (really go to work)

                                                             The LAC,
whose grandiosity as a name
                                             is made to fade
by the sculpted lion that represents it & stands
looking out to the Adelaide Cricket Ground, or the
shunting yards of the railway,
                            where they’re about to build a hospital,
                                             moodily heroic
reminding of all that is passed
                                                 the 1950s, the
British Empire
                       a world that was simpler,

                                                         the avant-garde?

Has the avant-garde passed?
                                              Someone ask the Arts Council.
What is the responsible view?

                                             The clouds that gather
behind the lion
                         that gather almost as if
his profile required them,
                                     massed, & ‘beautiful’,  if sad—

bland, bleak, Turneresque

                                        That old bore
                                                                give me
one of the other great names instead
                                                        almost any
will do
                  Dufy, Picasso
                                                Gerhard Richter

maybe not Stan Brakhage

(A Turner painting—The Lion Arts Centre, sunset,
storm approaching, 
                                 ink & watercolour, 2012.)

                                                    Hindley Street
doesn’t even shrug

                               —at these names, these meanings—

even to appeal  (like a street in Paris), Am I
not more beautiful?

                                  (Than Stan, than Raoul, than Gerhard
would depict?)
                                Hindley Street doesn’t
in fact hear or notice
                                Like a man in a t-shirt &
            & on his feet, thongs—
folded into the sleeve of his shirt—

with something more practical

                                            some dream more

                     —rent, the body’s well-being—

A student I know 
                             goes past, I register &
say hullo
                  his mind, like his girlfriend’s,
less concerned with reification


                            —  as I did,
                                            a moment ago.

Now the traffic prepares to slow
                                                slows & stops
& I go to work.

               I always knew this would happen

                                          Danae — that is
the name.  Money for love.


                   “punter, punter, punter”


& as I arrive there is a punter right there—
Ruth, waiting to buy some Foucault

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