the demolition kid

by Andrew Pike
SplashHall Poetry
Honorable Mention, February 2007
Judged by Pascale Petit

stars dip their heads
in and out of the atmosphere.
the pet shop boys announce – go west…
my father veers his truck
between pre-dawn buses,

landing alongside a mcdonald
sign on paramatta road.
today, apartments grow there,
but fifteen years ago bloomed
a golden M, thirty feet high.
i smile out my window.
father, glum at the prospect
of taxis and glowing pale yellow
from the dashboard gauges, he
turns to me and asks; son,
are you hungry?

to work, in an alley off george street.
sunlight leaks down the western walls;
down the rear porches of first floor lofts,
smeared in peeled apricots.

first things first…

son, let’s learn to tie a sheepshank.
afterwards, bring down the jackhammer, the grinder
and the wheelbarrow,

and try not to make so much noise;
this is residential.

can you handle this?

of course.

i prove to co-workers how many bricks
i can wield in a wheelbarrow,
up a flexi-board mountain.
sixteen was my record at age eleven…

… the boss’s son.
gasps all ’round.

the rich man’s restaurant; a mesh of gyprock, studs and brick.

the centrepoint tower; a black prong in an amorphic skyline.
the harbour bridge; half a web over a buzzing river…

out back, the one way traffic
and a white truck, etched in silver scars,
leaning from the sidewalk
into bitumen.

the stench of grease from central station
outflanks the aroma of coffee beans
being cracked open in michel’s cafe.

by ten a.m. i become the caffeine boy.

a notepad in hand,
my writing is uncursed and primitive;

2 s m, X 5.
and for henry – an egg and bakan roll.

a fifty crumples in my fist
and i scamper through the metal nest.

the red afternoon tucks itself into a corner
pocket of the earth. white ball, sinking colour
into the landscape as i linger outside the ettamogah.

it is one of those night jobs
i conceal from mother.