Friday 2 May 2008, Melbourne, Naarm

It’s soon after I moved

from the country to the city

to work at a hospital

pharmacy.

 

It’s my first Friday

night out here

and I’m allegorically alone.

 

I find myself on my own

in the Forum,

flying solo

at the first gig

I’ve ever dared

attend without a friend.

 

I don’t know

if standing alone is sad

or a sign of dedication

to a ’90s Britrock band

that still knows how to rock.

 

That overpriced alcohol

is flowing so fast

into the mouths

of fun-loving fans.

 

I’m now partaking

in this legal drug

for the first time in months,

drinking with strangers,

coalescing into crowds

within crowds.

 

Midway

thru the performance,

I hear Kelly Jones sing

the words to a couple

of my fave ’Phonics songs—

Pick a Part That’s New

and Just Looking

from Performance

and Cocktails.

 

I finally find myself

mouthing every single word,

listening to others sing along,

overhearing someone close by

 

say out loud

‘This guy speaks my mind’.

 

I smile

and drink

to that, savouring

the community

here amidst the loneliness

of the city.

 

Stereo Story #669

 

Michael Leach is an academic at Monash Rural Health, Bendigo. His poems reside in Rabbit, Cordite, Meniscus, Stereo Stories, the 2021 Hippocrates Prize Anthology, and elsewhere. Michael’s poetry collections include Chronicity (Melbourne Poets Union, 2020) and Natural Philosophies (Recent Work Press, forthcoming). He lives on unceded Dja Dja Wurrung Country.