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States of Poetry 2016 - South Australia | 'What Do I Owe Them?' by Ken Bolton

States of Poetry South Australia - Series One

States of Poetry 2016 - South Australia | 'What Do I Owe Them?' by Ken Bolton

States of Poetry South Australia - Series One

Should the unique serve to typify?
Have they been ill-used? To what purpose?


Asian Couple

                    The Asian couple.
I am inclined to think Chinese –
mostly on the basis of size,
but not Japanese (the man
might be bigger, be
better, less self-effacingly
dressed) – maybe not
mainland Chinese.
is a bright shape & colour
Soutine, Sargent, van Dongen –
for the fast, big city.
I like her for her good humour,
appetitive, optimistic – for her
visual eclat. Tourists, or living here?
In the market – for oysters, sights,
real estate?
She has her husband's arm. Both smile.
He is laid back.


African Girl with Chips

The Africans seem increasingly
to fit in. They are a new factor.
Week by week less surprising.
They assert themselves
in small groups, talking animatedly
in pairs, striding, quieter solo.
Perhaps the chips are protection,
compensation, or just a meal. An
ordinary girl – of 18, of 20 or so?
Black jeans, blue top a fashionable
parka, her expression one of
caution, defence, apprehension.
She looks about.


Fast-walking guy

The guy walking fast, phone
pressed to his ear – all for business –
in which case the business looks shifty
tho it may just be his manner – on his way to borrow fifty,
meet a friend, give somebody
a piece of his mind, pick
a car up, have an argument



The homeless guy I see him
only from the back, which makes him
more of a 'subject' – 'subjects' look out
a window, don't they, like I do –
& think – & as with
those romantic paintings I see
his view – it's mine – he is 6 metres further in –
rounds the corner, moves eastward
with the crowd. Rundle Mall. Somewhere.
Which might be what he is thinking:
where to go, what to do, for
heat, for movement, the long day to fill in.

(The young guy in black – who rounds the corner
of the Boulevard – Gilbert Place – thinks what?)



The thirty-year old with the umbrella,
striding – where the homeless kid
was strictly 'graphic novel' –
has that hipster look,
of operetta.

Debonair. Protected


Ken Bolton

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